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Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson awarded Presidential Citizens Medal

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal Friday, with President Joe Biden saying she helped safeguard the will of the voters in the November 2020 election.

“Full of integrity, she is a true leader in our nation,” Biden said of Benson.

The ceremony at the White House bestowed Benson and 13 other people with the nation’s second-highest civilian honor on the two-year anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. All of the medal recipients were involved in managing the election or responding to the riot. Other honorees included two Georgia poll workers who were falsely accused of tampering with ballots; Arizona’s speaker of the House, who refused his colleagues’ push to overturn the vote; and Capitol Police officers, including two who died after the Jan. 6 attack.

“History will remember your names,” Biden said.

“To be standing with folks who kept guard over the electoral vote and others in the Capitol in receiving this recognition is really extraordinary,” Benson said. “And it gives me a lot of hope that in a challenging moment for our democracy that we can, I hope, move forward and see our democracy emerge even stronger than ever before.”

Biden praised Benson specifically for refusing to overturn the results despite threats.

“An armed mob outside of her home on Christmas Eve when she and her son were decorating their Christmas tree inside, but she refused to back down,” Biden said.

Benson said she was simply doing her job.

“While there were moments where I felt personally targeted … it was always coupled with a sense of duty and responsibility to stand by the will of the voters,” she said, “and that was something I was very actually proud to do.”

She urged Americans to remember their own role in preserving democracy.

“To see that up close and to be on the front lines of that really re-instilled in my sense, a sense of both the fragility of our democracy and how important it is to have people of integrity on both sides of the aisle,” she said.

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Girl Scout Cookies go on sale today

JOPLIN, Mo. — Hungry for Girl Scout cookies?

This year’s Girl Scout Cookie Season kicks off today, January 6th.

The new cookie this year is the Raspberry Rally cookie.  The thin, crispy cookie is a “sister” cookie to the favorite Thin Mints.  The cookie is infused with raspberry flavor instead of mint and dipped in the same delicious chocolaty coating.

This new cookie will be the first in the Girl Scout Cookie lineup to be exclusively offered for online sales and direct shipment only. 

Selling cookies embraces the understanding of the world of business, money management, and entrepreneurship, said Lauren Slamb, Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland spokeswoman.

Every package is filled with leadership and life lessons, she said.

Girl Scout Cookies were originally home-baked by girl members with moms volunteering as technical advisers, according to the national Girl Scouts website. The sale of cookies to finance troop activities began as early as 1917. The Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project.

According to the national Girl Scouts website the best-selling Girl Scout Cookies are: 

  1. Thin Mints® 
  2. Caramel deLites®/Samoas®
  3. Peanut Butter Patties®/Tagalongs®
  4. Adventurefuls™
  5. Do-si-dos®/Peanut Butter Sandwich

How to Purchase Girl Scout Cookies This Year 

If you know a registered Girl Scout, reach out to her to find out how she’s selling cookies in ways that meet local and state safety protocols. 

You can also text COOKIES to 59618 to be among the first to receive information about Girl Scout Cookies.

Beginning February 17, enter your zip code into the Girl Scout Cookie Finder at www.girlscoutcookies.org to find a booth near you, to purchase cookies from a local Girl Scout troop for delivery, or to donate cookies to local causes. 

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You could receive $10k for donating blood

JOPLIN, Mo. — January is National Blood Donor Month a time to give thanks to those who donate blood. And, the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is celebrating with a special 56-Day Challenge. It encourages people to donate once every 56 days. It also gives them a chance to win up to $5,000 dollars.

The first step — donate blood sometime this month.
Next, fill out a challenge form online.
Finally, make a second donation by April 6th.

“After that, you will go in a drawing for a $1,000 Visa gift card. But don’t stop there, because it’s a challenge for all year long. You can donate every 56 days, and every time, the pot gets bigger. So, for the second drawing, it’s going to be a $2,000 drawing, then 3, 4, and 5. And what’s really cool is, if you win once, you can win again,” said Michelle Teter, Media Relations Representative, CBCO.

On average, a person will donate blood twice a year — but this challenge comes with the goal of getting more donors in order to meet the demand local hospitals continue to see.

For more information on the challenge, along with donation sites follow this link here.

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Kansas man captured for rape of a minor after barricading himself, refusing officers

CHERRYVALE, Kans. — Law enforcement agencies attempted to serve a warrant for felony rape of a minor and criminal threat to a residence in Kansas that led to the subject barricading himself, refusing to come out.

Montogomery County detectives and the Kansas Bureau of Investigations arrive at the residence to serve the warrant on Niklas Nelson. Upon arrival, officers made contact with Nelson’s father and gathered intel that Nelson was hiding inside a large metal shop on the property, in the second level/roof area.

Personnel also learned that Nelson possibly had a handgun in his possession. This prompted officers to surround the building and start an armed and barricaded procedure.

May be an image of 1 person and standing
Niklas Nelson

A search warrant was obtained for the property and the Montgomery County Emergency Response Team (SERT) was called to the scene. Kansas Highway Patrol also responded with a helicopter.

According to the Montgomery Sheriff’s Office, the SERT team was able to take Nelson into custody with the use of less lethal chemicals and less lethal tools.

Nelson was transported to the Montgomery County Department of Corrections where he was booked for the warrant for rape, interference with law enforcement, and possession of methamphetamine.

The case has been submitted to the Montgomery County Attorney’s Office for proper charging. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Plans to demo old Jasper Co. courts building move forward

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. — County construction isn’t quite done yet.

Across the brand new parking lot, the now old courts building, which has stood there for 49 years. There are still a few things left to move over to the new facility.

Crews hope to start the demolition process on the old building next month. And, there are plans for the space after it’s gone — but those will have to wait a few weeks.

“Then there’ll be a couple maybe a month or two because it’s winter time. You know we can’t asphalt at that time but there’ll be areas to park for the public. It won’t be on the asphalt necessarily but it’ll be places to park nonetheless. And then once springtime comes, then they’ll finally complete the parking lot and then we’ll be done,” said Erik Theis, Jasper County Court Admin.

Voters approved funding for the project in 2019 — and construction on the new building started in December of 2020.

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New Jasper Co. courts building is ready to open with state-of-the-art technology

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. — Three years and $35 million later – Jasper County now officially has a new courts building. This morning was a chance to show it off before operations kicked off, drawing a big crowd.

The new Jasper County Courts Building is ready for business.

“It is gorgeous. It’s spacious – it’s very organized. It seems to be an efficient layout and it’s, it’s going to serve this community very well,” said Ken Surbrugg, Joplin Resident.

More than a hundred people toured the site, starting with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Heightened security is just one new feature, both for visitors coming in the front door, as well as officials and even inmates entering from secure underground parking.

“The prime thing that we wanted to accomplish was security for our key personnel. And so we spent a lot of effort in fulfilling that. We wanted it to be friendly and easy. For the people that came and I hope we’ve accomplished that. And then thirdly, we wanted our employees to have a place that that they can be proud to come to proud to be a part of,” said Darieus Adams, Jasper County Commissioner.

The footprint of the new building is organized with county elected officials offices nearest the front door.

“Absolutely. I would say everything is your state of the art. I know technology changes daily, but we’d spent a lot of time, a lot of effort. A lot of research went into maximizing flows and being comfortable at your job and giving them all the benefits that they did have a need to use that to help in their jobs,” said Adams.

Court operations sit on the west side of the first floor and throughout the second floor.

“I would compare that with any federal courthouse in the United States, the technology, the security components are just top notch. Matter of fact, this building has three areas of circulation as a public circulation, and employee circulation and security circulation, and none of those touch each other. And so there’s no co-mingling potential, which is one of the big problems that we had in the old courts building as well as a lot of courthouses across the United States,” said Theis.

Nearly the whole building will open for business at 8:30 Monday morning.

The County Collector’s Office is the exception, where they say they’ll need at least one more day to make sure everything is operating properly.

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New Year's resolution: Start clearing your phone's cache

(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

KSNF/KODE — A smartphone is an amazing little device, letting you fit a flashlight, camera and computer in your pocket. It gives you access to the entire worldwide web on the go, letting you browse through page after page of information online at high speeds.

But even the latest iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models might start to feel sluggish over time. One of the simplest New Year’s resolutions you can make is to start clearing your iPhone cache every month. If you’re not quite sure what cached data is, let’s take a quick look.

What Is Cached Data?

With every app opened or website visited, comes a flood of information. The user gets to enjoy content in exchange for location info, which device they’re using, which browser they’re using, time spent on pages, and other user behaviors.

Then there’s cached data.

Laptops, tablets, smartphones — it doesn’t matter. All our devices have some level of reserved space to store this type of data for quick access.

The technique of storing cache data or cache files as history on a phone or web browser to improve the user experience on future visits to a website or an app is known as “caching.”

Is Cached Data Important?

Cached data isn’t inherently important, as it’s only considered “temporary storage.” However, it does exist to improve the user experience.

On-page elements like images, videos, and even text take some time to load. When this data is cached, we can reopen the app or revisit the page with confidence that it won’t take anywhere near as much time.

Cache memory also saves states. For example, if you close your Twitter app and reopen it 10 minutes later, you’ll be able to scroll down and see posts that were previously loaded. Without cache, everything would need to reload. You can specifically remove the cache on certain websites but leave others in place, which can be particularly useful if you are managing multiple sites.

Should I Clear My Cache?

The short answer is ‘yes.’ If you find your mobile device memory being drained from cached data, you should probably clear it. After all, cached data isn’t vital to the performance of an app or website; it just means the files on it will have to be reloaded.

Although, constantly clearing your cache isn’t a permanent solution since you’ll eventually be reopening apps and revisiting websites at some point. The data will be re-cached, and the cycle will continue.

If you’re that strapped for memory, consider deleting old text messages, images, or video files on your device. It’s also worth looking into cloud-based file storage and sharing software like Google Drive or Dropbox if you want to hold on to your files. These options typically offer a free amount of cloud space.

How To Clear Cached Data

  • You’ll find easy instructions for clearing cached data on an iPhone, HERE.
  • If you’re phone runs on Android, you’ll find an easy “how-to” guide for clearing cache, HERE.
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What to expect in 2023 when it comes to gas prices

A man fills up his truck with gas at Casey’s General Store, located at 7th Street and Schifferdecker Avenue in Joplin, Missouri.

KSNF/KODE — In 2022, consumers saw record-high gas prices thanks to refineries being shut down by COVID, drivers getting back on the road, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

After all the commotion in gas prices last year, what can drivers expect in 2023?

According to GasBuddy’s 2023 Fuel Outlook that was released today (1/6), the yearly national average price of gas in 2023 is forecast to drop nearly 50 cents per gallon from that of 2022, to $3.49.

Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, told KMOX News Radio in St. Louis that prices should start falling in the early, colder months of the year.

“Americans don’t drive as much in January and February. But we tend to see prices start going up in late February, early March, that’s when we start to transition to more expensive summer gasoline,” said DeHann.

That’s also when Americans typically “come out of their hibernation,” he explained, increasing the demand for gasoline.

“And then we see a decline again in the fall as we do every year. And people are going to say, ‘oh, it’s an election.’ Well, demand goes down in the fall. That’s what we saw this (last) year as well. And so that’s kind of the yearly chart of prices, they go up in the spring, they fall in the fall,” said DeHann.

| Stamps To Increase In Price >

DeHaan added that since oil refineries are also subject  to the elements, they can be affected by subzero temperatures — things like steam production and frozen valves can cause prices to shoot up.

But, one thing that doesn’t affect gas prices, DeHaan said, is politics.

“Everyone likes to think the president is all-powerful and controls everything. But this is a global commodity. This is not just something that the US is producing and consuming ourselves as a global market. Hundreds of countries consume oil and the president has very little control over what’s happening in oil producing countries and oil consuming countries.”

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Pittsburg crash damages signal – drivers beware

PITTSBURG, Kans.— A traffic crash today (1/04) at the intersection of East Cleveland Ave and South Broadway Street damaged a traffic signal.

The intersection has been converted to a three-way stop in all directions while crews work to restore the signal lights.

The City of Pittsburg released a statement urging motorists to be aware of crosswalks, yield to all pedestrians and workers in the area, and use caution when traveling in that vicinity.

If you have any questions you can contact the Public Works & Utilities Department by phone at (620)240-5126.

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Construction zones could delay travel for southeast Kansas drivers

PITTSBURG, Kans. — Lane conversions on South Rouse will begin in the construction zone on Friday (1/06) around 12 p.m.

The City of Pittsburg said traffic will be converted from the west side of South Rouse Street to the east side of South Rouse Street. North and south-bound traffic will still be limited to two lanes through the construction zone.

Traffic will be able to use East Quincy Street at the Rouse intersection. Motorists traveling westbound on East Quincy will be required to stop at the Rouse Street intersection, before proceeding to turn north or south.

Motorists need to pay attention to changes in lane markings and traffic control devices as they approach the construction zone.

The north and south flow of traffic on South Rouse Street will not be stopped.

Motorists are encouraged to seek alternate routes when possible, to slow down, to use caution when traveling in the area of construction, and be aware of workers in the work zone.

If you happen to have any questions you can call the Public Works & Utilities Department at (620)240-5126.