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Large Galena Police presence on Black Friday tradition

GALENA, Kans. — A large police presence at a Galena intersection Friday morning was, actually, a welcome sight. Galena officers, firefighters, and other city workers set up at 7th and Main Street for the annual “Toys For Kids Boot Block” fundraiser.

They’re collecting money that will be used to buy toys for local kids. It’s something they do every year on Black Friday. The officers will then buy the toys and take them to the elementary school, to make sure every kid feels the magic of Christmas.

“And that’s the main thing of it, you know, helping those kids out that don’t get as much as some other families. And, that’s the main reason or all of this, is to help them out,” said Corporal Corky Hicks, Galena Police Department.

If you were unable to stop at the Boot Block, donations will still be accepted at the Galena Police Department.

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Missouri small town known globally for Christmas tradition

NOEL, Mo. — Once a year, a city in McDonald County changes its name for a very special postage stamp. It’s the city of Noel—which becomes “Noel” (no-ell) this time of year for the annual Christmas postmark.

The 90-year tradition lives on, as volunteers work in the Post Office lobby from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve to affix a special stamp on the incoming letters. This year, they expect to stamp more than 40,000. Over the years, cards have come in from states across the nation and countries around the world.

“We love doing it. It is a great tradition. I’m happy to be a part of it and I bet everybody’s family loves getting Christmas cards in the mail. And to have the fact that you went above and beyond and stepped into getting just a stamp put on that for them, they’re going to be excited,” said Patty Loggin, Post office Clerk.

“I think it’s very important for a small town as we are to have something to last that long. There’s, you just don’t see anything you know lasting that long nowadays, you know. We’re kind of a little tiny town and nobody knows anything about us except for our Christmas and I enjoy bringing that smile to their faces when they get these cards with the stamps on them,” said Dot Harner, volunteer.

The United States Postal Service is also proud of the impact of this simple gesture.

“We’re woven into the fabric of the community and we’re super proud to be a part of this and to deliver for Americans. See folks like this just such an awesome thing for us,” said Mark Inglett, USPS Strategic Communication Specialist.

If you would like to get a card stamped at no cost, mail it to the Postmaster in Noel.

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Porch Pirates likely to strike this holiday season amidst online shopping peak times

JOPLIN, Mo. — Porch pirates are likely to be out in full force as online shopping hits a peak this time of year. They’re known for sneaking up to your porch – stealing those Christmas gifts that you just ordered.

Porch piracy is called “a crime of opportunity,” but it can be prevented. Some steps include installing security camera doorbells that can film the thieves and track movement.

Law enforcement officers also recommend taking another extra step by investing in a smart home security system, as it helps them out, too.

“They’re very effective. It usually is beneficial, a lot of them are pretty good on how clear the image is, and a lot of times we don’t know who that person is until we blast it out there on our Facebook page and say ‘Hey can you identify this person that was in a recent theft?’ You know, make sure that you aren’t a crime of opportunity when somebody walks by and sees it,” said Andy Blair – Sergeant of Training Division, Joplin Police.

Another way is to let a neighbor know when your packages are arriving so that person can collect them for you.

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SW Missouri gem, 150-year-old Christmas tree farm ready for holidays

SOUTHWEST CITY, Mo. — All you Thanksgiving folks, time is up, and it’s now officially Christmas season, which includes picking out that perfect Christmas tree.

The farmers at Ozark Valley Christmas Tree Farm in Southwest City are in their busy season. Last year, the farm was only open for half the season because they sold out of trees so quickly.

Charity Keith and her husband are first-generation Christmas tree farmers, despite their “Manning Family Farm” being an established 150-year-old, 7-generation farm. Their first Christmas tree crop was planted around 17 years ago. The first trees were ready 7 years later so, they’ve now been selling live trees for 10 years.

More than anything, they say picking out that perfect tree is all about the experience.

“Yeah, you don’t just come buy a tree. It is definitely an experience. You do get to ride a hay ride from the gift shop area over to the farm and back. And that’s a lot of the excitement right there is getting to ride in the hay ride. We’ve got our barn that’s 150 years old and it’s decorated. People like exploring and looking at that as well,” said Charity Keith, Farmer.

The farm expects to sell between 500 and 600 trees this year.

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Joplin Memorial Run registration is open

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s officially time to register for the 12th Annual Freeman Joplin Memorial Run 2023. Registration kicked off Friday for Joplin’s biggest running event.

The May 20th race at Cunningham Park includes the Freeman Half-Marathon, the Sparklight 10K, the Liberty 5k, and the Sign Designs Kids’ Half-Mile Run.

You have until December 1st to take advantage of the lowest registration prices. The very last day to sign-up is May 17th.

Every year, the Joplin Memorial Run honors the 161 victims of the 2011 Joplin tornado. It’s also a way to celebrate the community’s strength in overcoming the destruction and loss.

Next year’s theme celebrates Joplin’s 150th anniversary. If you’re interested in registering for the race, you can follow this link here.

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KC Holiday Express train to visit the Four State area

PITTSBURG, Kans. — The Kansas City Southern Holiday Express is back for the first time since 2020. The 6-car holiday train is already making stops as it travels through 20 communities in 8 different states this year.

The train is packed with several Christmas displays both inside and out — and of course, Santa and his elves are along for the ride.

Locally — the train will make a stop in Pittsburg on Saturday, December 10th at 4 p.m. stopping at the intersection of Elm and Monroe Streets. And like every year, proceeds from the Holiday Express will benefit the Salvation Army.

“We are very appreciative of the partnership we have with Kansas City Southern in supporting us in our efforts to meet the needs of children during the holiday season. We especially, uh, in years past we’ve received gift cards and we’ve received monetary donations and we use all of that to provide a nice Christmas for each child that comes through,” said Major Patricia Johnson, Salvation Army in Pittsburg.

Pittsburg stop is the only stop in the Four State area.

For more information or to check out this year’s train schedule follow this link here.

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10 Amazon gifts for the person who has everything

KSNF— We all know them—the person who has everything they need, and usually buys what they want. These folks are usually your parents, retired, or of the “in-law” sort. Regardless, KSNF has compromised a list of things they probably don’t have, but could totally use.

1. Cherry Shaped Toilet Brush sold by EpicGifts

The Cherry-Shaped Toilet Brush is tasteful, concealed, and artistic. It gives sophisticated “Spoonbridge and Cherry” vibes. This nifty potty brush could also double as functional decor and guests wouldn’t even know what it really was. Who wants their porcelain-throne-hole scrubber out in the open anyway? Check out the brush here.

2. Car Backseat Headrest Hanger sold by AMVOYOA

This headrest hanger is a game-changer. Long past are the days of slamming on the breaks in the car and launching your purse or grocery sack into the floorboard. This little doo-dad slides onto the headrest for a convenient hook to put those bags on. It also comes in a variety of colors to match your interior. Find the iconic hanger hook here.

3. 16-Color Toilet Night Light sold by Chunace

Alright, nobody needs this, and most likely no one has this, but it’s pretty cool. Motion activated, this night light has 16 different colors that will light up your toilet bowl like it’s an NPC ready to give you a side quest in a video game. This glow-bowl device is perfect for those learning to potty-train, have poor eyesight, or like to party during private time. It would also make a great gift that’ll get a couple laughs at your work’s gift exchange.

4. Kitchen Appliance Cord Winder 6 pack sold by Raitver

This is the one thing you never knew you needed, which makes it perfect for that person who is so hard to shop for. This heat-resistant rubber cord organizer sticks to kitchen appliances easily so you can effortlessly wrap and store the power cable around it. No more dangling bits laying around! Find this nifty organizer here.

5. Portable Hair Tie Holder sold by Hair Tie Hub

This thing keeps hair ties handy and can easily attach anywhere. It’s small, sleek, and convenient. This is the perfect gift or stocking stuffer for the ones that are always unprepared and asking everyone else if they have a hair tie. Bonus points to you if you also buy them a pack of hair ties to get them started. Find the Hair Tie Hub here.

6. Bamboo Kraft Bamboo Cutting Board with Containers sold by BAMBOO KRAFT

Subway station at home anyone? This cutting board with drawers is perfect for anyone— literally, anyone who cooks, likes fruits and veggies, or meal preps. Who has time for finding different bowls, cutting one vegetable at a time, and scooping into said bowl when you can just chop and scrape those bad boys into the drawer? The possibilities are endless with this one and the meal-prepper in your life will thank you for it. Find it here.

7. Mini Video Projector sold by Sriaxnol

Why does someone need a mini-projector? Chances are they don’t, BUT it is a pretty neat tool for different experiences. It’s a good idea for those who like entertainment on the go. It doesn’t take up much space. It can be hooked to your phone for an outside Netflix screening with friends, an indoor cinema experience, or even used to project a romantic crackling fireplace on the wall during date night. Whatever the use, it’s sure to be fun. Check out this projector, and others like it, here.

8. Portable Monitor for Laptops sold by Mobile Pixels

Laptops are perfect for nearly every situation when it comes to staying busy on the go— except for the limited screen. Expand your screen’s real estate for better workflow! This laptop screen extender can be used in four different modes attached to your laptop or independently next to your laptop screen. It’s slim and works with Macs and Windows for a universal experience. Whether you need a million tabs open to bounce between one site and another, or more screens for gaming or presentations, this is the one you want. However, if you’re gifting this to someone else, you’ll want to make sure the screen dimensions are a good fit for their type of laptop. Check out what’s available here.

9. Flame Diffuser Humidifier sold by Romanplux

Whether it’s for the benefits of essential oils or because humidifiers can help ease the dryness of the air and keep you from getting sandpaper tongue when you turn into a snot-monster mouth-breather during allergy season, everyone needs one. This humidifier is aesthetic and gives the illusion of a flame, with a variety of colors. Chances are, that person in your life that seems like they already have everything they need, doesn’t have this. You can read more about the diffuser humidifier and purchase it here.

10. Fruit Sorbet Machine sold by NutriChef

Turn frozen fruit into a tasty dessert with this device. It comes with a small recipe booklet and is easy to clean. Sorbet, frozen coffee, ice cream, frozen yogurt— the creativity and possibilities for this little machine are endless and that’s why it’s an ideal gift for anyone when you don’t know what to buy them. Find it here.

There has got to be something useful out there you can buy for the person that has you stumped this holiday season. Do your best not to stress and remember, the holiday season is not about who gives the best gifts. When all else fails, a thoughtful holiday card with a restaurant gift card inside is always a safe option. I’ve never met someone who turned down free food.

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Ridgerunners take on the Titans tonight in the semifinal rounds of Class 5A playoffs

OWASSO, Okla. – Tonight the top-ranked Grove Ridgerunners will put their undefeated season to the test when they take on second-ranked Midwest City Carl Albert Titans in the Class 5A semifinals.  

This is the first meeting between the two schools.  The winner advances to the finals next Saturday against the winner between No. 3 OKC McGuinness and No. 5 McAlester.

The game kicks off at 7 p.m. at Owasso Stadium and can be heard on KGVE 99.3 or live-streamed here.

Carl Albert brings to the gridiron a rich football history. The 14-time state champions have won five straight titles between 2016 and 2020.

This is the Ridgerunners’ fourth time to advance this far in the playoffs dating back to 1958.

Grove’s juggernaut three-head beast of an offense is averaging 48 points a game and is anchored by senior quarterback Carson Trimble.

Trimble has passed for 2,329 yards and scored 33 touchdowns and rushed 447 yards and scored six touchdowns on the season.

His go-to receiver, Hagen Hacker has caught 44 passes for 805 yards scoring 15 touchdowns.

The third foundation in the high-octane offense is senior running back Emmanuel Crawford.

Crawford has lit up the scoreboard rushing for 2,081 yards and scoring 41 touchdowns (33 rushing, 7 passing, and one punt return) this season.

The senior holds the record for career rushing in Class 5A with 6,555 yards.

On the other side of the field Grove’s defense hasn’t shirked away from its responsibilities holding opponents to 16 points a game.

Grove’s swarming defense has contained their opponents all year and scored twice during regular season games.

Carl Albert’s backfield is comprised of junior tailback Xavier Robinson and senior quarterback Reed DeQuasie.

The 6-foot-2, 225 pounds junior tailback is averaging over nine yards per carry.

Carl Albert brings a strong defense with senior Tashawn James at defensive back, defensive end Brock Johnson, linebacker Easton Harless, defensive lineman Tanner Norman and safety Chancy Lester.

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Joplin Thanksgiving tradition continues for 24th year

JOPLIN, Mo. — A Thanksgiving tradition—24 years in the making, continued for the Joplin First United Methodist Church as they hosted their annual community Thanksgiving dinner. This year’s event marked a return to a dine-in format — after two years of serving drive-thru meals.

“It was started because we realized that people needed a place to come and have Thanksgiving together. And so that’s really what this is. It’s not a handout plate. It’s a gather-together meal,” said Marshall Hogue, Church member.

The Church’s objective is to create a family atmosphere.

“Being so far away from home I haven’t gone to spend Thanksgiving with my own family since my freshman year. So I mean I get to these kids are like my own and these parents are like some of my like, relatives now. Like I really feel like I’m still at home,” said Riley Laber, MSSU Soccer.

Preparing and serving the meals has been a collaborative effort.

“We have people in the kitchen making food, people making drinks. People brought in all kinds of pies and pretty sure we’re gonna have enough pies left over to take home as well. But there’s a couple of different aspects. You’ve got people here serving in the room, and then we’ve got another room in the back that is helping with takeout orders and delivery orders,” said Justin Maskus, Church member. “Part of our mission is to serve our community. And we want to make sure that we can continue to serve our community and make sure that there’s a reason for us here at 4th and Myers. And so this is just one aspect of this.”

Everyone was excited to be dining inside together this year.

“Now for it to be inside and to get to see the meals actually getting served is going to be I mean, it’s going to be a sight for me. I’m really excited to see it. See who all comes, how many people from the community feeds that we’ve had come in. The families come in, just whoever wants to is honestly welcome here,” said Maskus.

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Volunteers gathered to serve free meals in Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. — A Thanksgiving tradition continued for a Joplin organization. Every year, the Salvation Army of Jasper and Newton Counties prepares a free Thanksgiving meal for the community. Families and local businesses donate turkeys and other food items year-round to help continue the tradition.

Volunteers from Shiloh Baptist Church, St. Peters Church, and other community members helped deliver, prepare, and serve the food.

“So the to-go meals are for those who are homebound. They can’t get out, they can’t be able to make it up here to our Thanksgiving Day meal. And so we’ll have our Thanksgiving Day meal here for our in-house service between 12 and one today. So for families that can’t be, don’t have a happy Thanksgiving, or aren’t able to have a family or are able to afford Thanksgiving, we’ll have a hot Thanksgiving meal available for them,” said Nathan Hicks, Volunteer Coordinator.

Plans are in the works for the Salvation Army to host the same event on Christmas Day.