New bill would allow Missouri schools to teach LGBTQ history

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A new bill would allow Missouri schools to teach history about the roles and contributions of the LGBTQ community to students.

First-year State Rep. Doug Mann (D – 50th District) introduced HB 507 as the state’s new legislative session opened on Wednesday.

According to the bill, school districts would not be required, but may choose to “teach students information on the roles and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of the United States.”

The bill calls for schools to familiarize sudents with the history of LGBTQ social movements and current issues within the community. Mann says the bill is intended to “protect the right to teach” and is hopeful the legislation will promote more acceptance and diversity among younger generations.

“With a rise in discrimination against the LGBT community, we must educate the next generation on the contributions of the LGBT community as well as the historical struggles the community has faced,” said Mann via Twitter on the bill.

In neighboring Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker approved legislation in 2019 to require schools to teach age-appropriate lessons on LGBT history.

At least one Missouri lawmaker has countered with legislation taking a different stance on LGBTQ rights in the state. State Sen. Justin Brown (R – 16th District) has introduced SB 87, legislation known as the “Save Women’s Sports Act.” That would prevent anyone not assigned female at birth from plying in “sports or athletic competitions, tournaments, and games intended for individuals under the age of nineteen” at schools.

3 children kidnapped near Wichita school, 1 arrest

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Police say a man kidnapped three children in two separate incidents near Clark Elementary School in the past 24 hours. Police say the children are safe, and an alleged suspect is in custody.

Around 3:50 Wednesday afternoon, a girl in her early teens reported she had been kidnapped by a man driving a blue vehicle in the 6600 block of E Boston, near Boston Park. She said the man tried to sexually assault her in the car, then let her go. The girl told a family member, and the police were called.

Just before 9 a.m. Thursday, two elementary students, a boy and a girl, left their home on foot on South Drury. A man in a blue vehicle kidnapped them. A short time later, he dropped off the boy but kept the girl. When he got to school, they called 911.

“A young student a male student showed up at school, rather frantic, and reported to administrators at school that his sister and he had gotten into a vehicle, and that she was not dropped off,” USD 259 Director of Safety and Environmental Services Terri Moses said.

Police say the girl was found safe a short time later.

Police officers patrolled the area and found a vehicle similar to the description near Harry and Woodlawn. It turned into a foot pursuit of a suspect. Police say they arrested him without further incident in the 6600 block of East Boston.

Neighbors say it’s scary something like this happened near them.

“I moved over here because I thought it was pretty safe, school right across the street,” Heaven White said.

Janna Palmer is spreading the word.

“Making sure that all of the neighbors know the situation, so we can all be more aware,” Palmer said.

Moses encourages parents to have conversations with their children about what to do if you feel uncomfortable or are in a similar situation.

“When we talk to children, we want to talk about behavior not just strangers, and the fact that somebody driving down the road, it would be unusual and inappropriate for somebody you don’t know to offer you a ride.”

Police say the alleged suspect is a 21-year-old man. They are still investigating, but they believe he is responsible for the kidnappings. They are also looking into whether he has any previous arrests or convictions.

During a news conference Thursday morning, police were asked about the condition of the children.

“This kind of situation is going to be extremely traumatizing,” Officer Chad Ditch, WPD spokesperson, said. “The children are physically safe.”

Ditch would not say what charges the man could face. He said that would depend on what is learned during the continuing investigation.

Watch the full news conference below:


KSN News reached out to Wichita Public Schools for a response. WPS spokesperson Susan Arensman said the children told school officials as soon as they got to school and police took over from there.

New Missouri attraction could see 500,000 visitors

Artist rendering of a new $300 million family resort and entertainment district planned for Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks. (Photo Credit: Skyview Partners)

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (KSNF/KODE) — A planned $300 million family resort and entertainment district set to be built at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks could be bring half-a-million new visitors to Missouri as soon as 2024.

The major project known as “Oasis at Lakeport” and is planned for the community of Osage Beach. A press release about the resort and entertainment district was released in early November.

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In the press release, project managers claimed the total cost will be $300 million dollars. The plans call for 20 acres of amusement rides plus hotels, restaurants, marina, boardwalk and a 200 foot tall observation wheel. The amusement park itself will include a lot of roller coasters and thrill rides.

Saint Louis-based SkyView Partners said they hope to break ground sometime this year which would allow the Oasis at Lakeport to open as soon as the summer of 2024. They quote Missouri’s lieutenant governor as saying that the project could bring 500 jobs and 500,000 new visitors to Missouri.

You can find more information on Oasis at Lakeport, HERE.

Romance novelist fakes suicide, returns to Facebook

Books written by author, Susan Meachen (Photo courtesy: Getty Images).

KSNF/KODE — A romance novelist has been accused of faking her own suicide after posting that she was alive two years after a social media status from her account announced her death, USA Today reported. Susan Meachen sparked a furious reaction from other self-published writers after announcing she was alive and had simply needed a break from social media. 

“I debated on how to do this a million times and still not sure if it’s right or not. I am in a good place now and I am hoping to write again. Let the fun begin,” the Tennessee-based author said before the controversy enraged the world of independent novelists.

The writer of titles such as His Wicked Way and Chance Encounter said, “But my family did what they thought was best for me and I can’t fault them for it. I almost died again at my own hand and they had to go through all that hell again.”

Her Facebook page became a shrine to the scribe after it was used to announce her death in October 2020.  A post on the page blamed her suicide on harassment and bullying from other members of the book community.

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USA Today reported that the page was later used to give away audiobook codes of her novels, raise funds for charities, and to source editors for her unpublished work. In 2021, a Facebook post by someone claiming to be Mrs. Meachen’s daughter said her mother’s books would be “unpublished” unless sales increased. 

Love to Last a Lifetime, the tale of a man born to riches who falls for his best friend’s girlfriend, was published and put on sale shortly after her “death,” said Rolling Stone Magazine.

Southwest Missouri man accused of using children in shoplifting scam

JAY, Okla. – Oklahoma authorities issue an arrest warrant for a Noel, Missouri man for allegedly making his children shoplift beer and steaks from a Grove Walmart.

Gary Cook, 52, is charged in Delaware County District Court with two counts of child neglect and petty larceny.

Cook is accused of trying to steal food and clothes totaling $707.39 on Sept. 10 in two separate incidents, according to a Grove police report.

In the first incident, police say Cook was in the parking lot with a shopping cart full of items when confronted by the store’s loss prevention officer. Cook allegedly left his shopping cart and ran toward a 1990s F150 with a white camper.

Police say some of the items recovered include two bags of charcoal, several packages of ribeye steaks, two men’s hoodies and four loaves of bread.

In the second incident, police say Cook made his children, ages 15 and 7, steal items totaling approximately $442.25 of merchandise.

Some of the items included beer, ribeye steaks and other food items, men’s underclothes, men’s jogger outfits and Halloween candy.

When the juveniles were stopped by police, the children reportedly told police, “The plan was to get the items and meet their father at the truck.” But police said when the boys went to the parking lot, they could not find their father’s truck.   

Officers say the 7-year-old was “emotionally distraught” and “the 15-year-old was calm and comforting the 7-year-old.”

A surveillance video reportedly shows Cook and the two juveniles walking into the store together, but grabbing separate carts and going separate ways once inside the store.  The report says the surveillance video also shows the group meeting up periodically inside the store as they fill the carts full of items. 

Officers say Cook is seen exiting the store alone and the juveniles exiting the store with a cart full of items, passing all the cashiers and self-checkout lanes.

The police report indicates the boys weren’t aware what they were doing was wrong. Officers say Cook simply left the boys at the store.

Chronic Wasting Disease confirmed in Southwest Missouri

BARTON COUNTY, Mo. — Testing for Chronic Wasting Disease in Missouri has turned up two new cases in our area.

Samples from Barton County have tested positive—the first time it’s been identified in the county.

Southwest Missouri had previously seen just one case—and that was in Barry County.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is in the process of testing more than 28,000 samples statewide. The goal is to identify cases early to minimize the potential spread of the disease.

New Joplin facility offers more intensive care for patients 65+

Joplin, Mo.— A new medical clinic is open in Joplin, geared at patients 65 and older. Mercy 65 Prime Plus opened Wednesday and celebrated today (1/06) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a special blessing. It’s located at 2216 East 32nd Street — on the west side of Mid-Missouri Bank.

Officials say it’s different from geriatrics — and offers patients a more intensive primary care experience.

“As our population in the United States changes, we’re seeing a big increase in our 65 and older population. As we see that, we have recognized at Mercy that they have a lot of needs that we might not be able to meet in our regular clinics, and so rather than them feeling like they’re being lost in the shuffle, the idea is this will be more dedicated. Mercy really feels that it’s important to start this work, and in Joplin, we have been the first ones to put it in place,” said Allison Rhodes, Mercy.

The clinic extends appointment times for patients — from 15 minutes to a half-hour. Patients will also receive their appointment times a year in advance.

Same-day appointments will begin in March.

New terminal at KCI airport to open soon

Artist rendering of the new, single terminal at Kansas City International Airport, set to open in March of 2023.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSNF/KODE) — Construction of a brand new $1.5 billion terminal at Kansas City International Airport is nearly finished.

Inside the skeleton of the roughly 1 million square-foot terminal, more than half of the artwork — created by multiple artists after an intensive selection process — has been installed. Two moving walkways will expedite transfers between two concourses which house a total of 39 gates.

Accessibility is a key theme in the design of the terminal. Each concourse has a restroom core that includes a water bottle station, a family restroom with an adult-sized changing table, a multi-user restroom, gendered restrooms and service animal relief areas.

The terminal will also include 10 rooms for nursing mothers and infants, a quiet room, two Delta Sky Club lounges and an aircraft cabin simulator made with the front of a scrapped Airbus A321 plane to accommodate autistic passengers who may experience negative reactions to airplane travel.

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In 2017, Kansas City residents voted to go ahead with the largest infrastructure project in the city’s history, trusting in promises that the new terminal would create a much-improved passenger experience and be good for the region’s economy. Supporters said it would likely result in more flights in and out of Kansas City, including international flights.

At the time of the vote, it was apparent that the airport’s horseshoe-shaped terminals, built in 1972, were obsolete. They lack adequate space or modern security checkpoints, have limited restroom capacity, and offer few food and beverage concessions.

The new terminal will expand KCI’s passenger capacity from about 30,000 passengers a day to more than 50,000. It’s expected to officially open sometime in March. You’ll find more information on the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport, HERE.

Afton woman sentenced to 15 years for beating her toddler

JAY, Okla. – An Afton woman pleaded guilty to child neglect involving the beating of her daughter that left the girl’s eye swollen shut.

Tabetha Townsend, 26, and Chandler Blackwell, 26, were charged in Jan. 2020 in Delaware County District Court with child neglect for the beating of Townsend’s 21-month-old daughter.


A judge sentenced Townsend to 15 years in prison with the provision that part of her sentence could be suspended if she completes a substance abuse treatment program.  

According to the arrest affidavit, the toddler’s head and face were swollen causing “her left ear to be downward placed and her left eye to be swollen shut.”  

Officers also noted the child had bruising on her eye and right forehead, along with several small, faint, blue bruises on her foot, thighs and upper back.

The child was admitted to St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa.

The judge also gave Blackwell a 15-year sentence, with similar provisions – that the balance of his sentence be suspended after he completes a residential treatment plan, obtain his GED, and completes parenting classes. 

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections website shows Blackwell remains incarcerated.  

Top 5 NY Times self-development books for 2023

KSN/KODE— It’s one of the most popular lists to date—The New York Times Best-Sellers list. It’s a weekly report ranking the most books sold the previous week. Thousands of locations and vendors report book sales to the New York Times.

A new year often brings with it a time of reflection and a sense of new beginnings. There’s something to be said about pursuing self-development literature as the new year begins. The first list published for 2023 reflects the sales for the week ending December 24, 2022.

The Top 5 are:

5. “Atlas of the Heart” by Brené Brown

This book has been on the list for 46 consecutive weeks.

In the book, Brown writes, “If we want to find the way back to ourselves and one another, we need language and the grounded confidence to both tell our stories and be stewards of the stories that we hear. This is the framework for meaningful connection.” She unpacks the complexities of 87 different emotions and behaviors that are triggered by human experiences to empower the reader to understand their feelings and express them for deep meaningful connections with others.

Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston and has spent decades studying complex emotions and human experiences.

4. “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*CK” by Mark Manson

This book has been on the New York Times Best-Sellers list for 278 weeks—a little over 5 years in a row. The author, Mark Manson, runs a large personal growth website and is a seasoned blogger.

Manson explores toxic positivity, being honest with oneself, and confronting painful truths—like flaws, loss, unfairness, and being at fault. Readers can learn how to accept those uncomfortable truths, choose what is worth caring about, and let go of what isn’t. He has a blunt tell-it-like-it-is approach to living a contented and meaningful life, as the title implies.

3. “Never Finished” by David Goggins

Goggins is a retired Navy Seal and renowned world athlete that has endured many tribulations. He uses his experiences to provide practical tips to empower others to conquer their minds and limitations by looking deeply at themselves. Readers can expect to learn how to challenge themselves and be vulnerable.

This book has been on the Best-Sellers list for three weeks.

2. “Faith Still Moves Mountains” by Harris Faulkner

This book has been on the list for 6 weeks. It focuses on stories and lessons of Christian faith and hope.

Harris’ storytelling shows readers that prayer is more than a habit, but is an intentional act of hope in times of disaster and darkness. Readers can glean wisdom from the experiences and lessons within the collection of stories.

Harris is an award-winning journalist and FOX News anchor.

1. “Atomic Habits” by James Clear

This book has been on the Times list for 161 weeks—which is equal to a little over three years. James Clear is an expert on habit formation and regularly speaks at Fortune 500 companies. He uses his strategies to help readers reshape their thoughts about progress and success.

Readers can expect to learn how to break bad habits and form good ones with small behaviors that lead to large results of change.