Local students host Christmas show for area youth

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Santa made a brief stop today in Pittsburg, Kansas to enjoy breakfast and Christmas performances from local students.

The Breakfast with Santa event kicked off at 9:00 a.m. today in collaboration with the Mount Carmel Foundation.

Here, participants enjoyed a 20-minute performance led by students and written by Senior Ben Shawn as breakfast was served.

Watch KOAM and Fox 14 to see the full story or check back later for additional content.

Click here to learn more.

Holiday Express to stop in Pittsburg today

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Kansas City Southern Holiday Express will return to the 4-States on Dec. 10, making its first stop in Pittsburg in over 2 years.

Officials say the train will stop at Elm & Monroe at 4:00 P.M. in Pittsburg.

The attraction is free, however, the event raises money for a local Salvation Army at each train stop.

Be sure to get out there to see Santa and his reindeer before they continue their journey down the rails.

Watch KOAM & Fox 14 to see the whole story or check back later for additional content.

Click here to learn more.

Local town announces up its Cocoa & Caroling Late Night Shopping Event

FORT SCOTT, Kan. – The Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce announces up its Cocoa & Caroling Late Night Shopping Event in Downtown Fort Scott.

This event will take place on Friday evening, December 9, from 5-8 p.m.

The Downtown Historic District’s shops will be decked out for the holidays with wonderful gift suggestions.

There will be free cocoa given by the Museum of Creativity in front of Sunshine Boutique while groups of carolers stroll the streets of Downtown from store to store during the event.

This will allow the community to support local small businesses and shoppers will have the opportunity to win Chamber bucks by finding mistletoe that is hidden in these stores.

Participating stores include:

  • Angie Dawn’s Boutique
  • Barbed Wire & Roses Vintage Market
  • Bids & Dibs, Hedgehog
  • Main Street Vintage & Co.
  • Museum of Creativity
  • Sunshine Boutique
  • Treasure Hunt Flea Market

INK! Book Store and Iron Star will also be in this event until 6:30 p.m. to attend the CASA event.

Local University host their Holiday Happenings event

JOPLIN, Mo – Friday, Missouri Southern State University hosted its inaugural Holiday Happenings event on December 9 from 2-9 p.m. at the Billingsly Student Center.

“The campus and community event is a way to celebrate the end of semester and the upcoming holidays,” said Ryan Orcutt, director of student engagement and the Global Leaders program.

“We wanted to create opportunities for members of the community to participate in MSSU traditions,” said Orcutt. “We also have a new tree for Southern Lights, and buildings on campus will be decorated in lights.”

This event included:

  • Makers Market craft fair
  • mansion tours
  • tree-lighting
  • carriage rides
  • appearances from Santa and Roary

Christmas is coming early to local schools

SPRINGFIELD & JOPLIN, Mo. – Christmas will be coming early this year for 1,800 students, teachers, and administrators.

As part of their yearly Season of Giving, James River Church will give each of them a unique gift.

KOAM’s Ty Parks was there today for the event

“As a church we love giving gifts, and letting children know they are loved by God is one of the most important things we do,” Chuck Greenaway, Director of Church & Community Care at James River Church, said. “We look forward to being in local schools again this year with a fun, Christmas-themed program and a gift for every child!”

James River Church has collaborated with local schools for 24 years to provide gifts and spread holiday cheer.

Five school blessings are scheduled this year, including a Christmas adventure, interactive games, and music.

Times and locations for Springfield:

  • Friday, Dec. 9th: Westport Elementary at 9:30 a.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 9th: Williams Elementary at 12:45 p.m.
  • Monday, Dec. 12th: Bowerman Elementary at 9:30 a.m.
  • Monday, Dec. 12th: York Elementary at 12:20 p.m.

Times and location for Joplin:

  • Friday, Dec. 9th: Dover Hill K-2 Elementary at 9:30 a.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 9th: Dover Hill 3-5 Elementary at 12:45 a.m.

Area schools are selected based on several factors, including the number of children enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program.

Donations for the gifts are provided by the church’s Season of Giving.

Local business is expanding to help out more families

PITTSBURG, Kan – Friday, Integrated Behavioral Technologies started construction to expand their facilities in hopes of helping out more families.

Since 2010, Integrated Behavioral Technologies (IBT) has been providing in-home applied behavior analysis services to autistic children and families in Pittsburg and Southeast Kansas.

The SEK team is happy to move out of the little clinic’s three rooms and into a bigger space that will be more accommodating for its personnel, customers’ families, and staff members.

Early in 2023, IBT and Sonshine Child Care will open a new facility to provide clinic-based services for families and kids affected by autism.

The clinic, which will be 2385 square feet in size, could serve up to 30 families.

Despite being based in Pittsburg, IBT expects that residents of nearby cities will contact them for services.

IBT was founded in 2002 to address Kansas’s almost complete lack of autism treatment resources, where 48% of the population is thought to reside in rural areas.

IBT has expanded from Dr. Heitzman-Powell and a small group of professionals working with a small number of families to a business that employs over 75 clinical staff throughout the State of Kansas.

Director Dr. Linda Heitzman-Powell, IBT Founder and Executive, is very excited about the SEK Clinic.

“Since 2014 we have talked about opening a bricks-and-mortar structure in the area with the identification of a site as a part of our 5-year plan. Not only is this a site where families can enroll their children for evidence-based treatment, this is a facility that is specifically designed to address the needs of children with autism and their families from age of first diagnosis until they transition into adulthood,” says Dr. Paige Boydston.

Boydston has been providing services to families in the Southeast Kansas area since 2011. She’s relieved to finally be able to provide greater access to services in a severely underserved area of Kansas.

“Hopefully this center will be a resource to families not only in Pittsburg, but also in the surrounding cities and counties. One of my personal goals is to help train and retain providers and professionals in the SEK area so our work can continue to expand and provide some much needed support to families.”

Pastor Talent and the IBT team are eager to collaborate with Sonshine ChildCare Facility to provide services that are desperately needed in the SEK area.

“Victory Life Church is grateful to be part of this ground-floor opportunity to bring two much needed services together for our community. We know that I.B.T., under the direction of Dr Linda Heitzman-Powell, Dr. Paige Boydston and Jon Durney, has worked diligently to provide services for those individuals with autism and their families in South-East Kansas. We are excited to be a part of this wonderful community project and we look forward to many years of growth and partnership.”

IBT is open to serving anyone in Southeast Kansas and has served families in Pittsburg, Parsons, Ft. Scott, Chanute, Carl Junction MO, and Frontenac.


Local family’s Christmas is saved by Toybox campaign

COMMERCE, – Ok. – A Commerce, Oklahoma family’s Christmas is saved by Toybox.

The Myers family, of Commerce Oklahoma has fallen on hard times, and their mother, Misty came to Toys For Tots, who’s one of the partners for KOAM Toybox, because she needed help with getting Christmas gifts for her three children.

“If I wasn’t be able to get help this year, my kiddos would not have a Christmas,” said Misty Myers.

The second oldest child, Houston, is grateful for the gifts that he and his siblings will receive now because of the program.

“I’m really happy that we’re really getting this  because normally people don’t get these things like we will,” said Houston.

Many organizations have partnered with KOAM for Toybox, and stories like this one are possible due to helping hands and donations throughout the Four States.


“Axe the Food Tax” effort in Kansas is on track

TOPEKA, Kan. – On Friday, Governor Luara Kelly announced Kansas is on track to implement ‘Axe the Food Tax.’

Lawmakers passed the bill during the 2022 session.

This bill eliminates the state sales tax on:

  • Groceries
  • Diapers
  • feminine hygiene products

“We have ‘Axed the Food Tax’ and are putting money back in Kansans’ pockets,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Kansans will see the savings very soon, but we can do more. When the Kansas Legislature comes back in January, I will push again for the complete and immediate elimination of the state’s sales tax on groceries.”

House Bill 2106 will gradually eliminate the state’s sales tax on groceries. The first reduction of the tax rate will occur on January 1, 2023, changing the state sales tax rate on groceries from 6.5% to 4.0%. Current legislation will completely eliminate the state’s sales tax on groceries by 2025. Local tax rates still apply.

The Department has formally posted its informational notice and sales tax publication, which address the state sales tax rate reduction and the kinds of food purchases covered by the rate reduction.

“Even after providing the educational materials and opportunities as it rolls out these changes, KDOR continues to be available to retailers to ensure the transition to these sales tax savings is as smooth as possible,” Revenue Secretary Mark Burghart said.

Related article:

Seneca students collect goods for local food pantry

SENECA, Mo. – Seneca Elementary and Intermediate students wrapped up their friendly competition to see who collected the most food.

Officials say this is an annual event done with Bright Futures, and the class that collects the most food wins a donut party.

Teachers assign each class a food item like cereal or juice, and its up to the students to collect their assigned goods.

This week, all the goods were donated to the Seneca Food Pantry.

Click here to learn more.

KDOT announces bid approval for local highway projects

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Transportation announced that bids were recently approved for local state highway construction projects.

Bids were approved on November 16 in Topeak, according to the press release from KDOT.

The following projects were approved:

  • Bourbon ‑ K‑39, bridge over Owl Creek located 2.14 miles east of the east K‑3 junction, bridge replacement, Bridges Inc., Newton, Kansas, $1,992,442.43.
  • Bourbon ‑ K‑3, bridge over Paint Creek located 1.58 miles north of the Crawford County line, bridge replacement, Bridges Inc., Newton, Kansas, $1,824,955.40.
  • Crawford ‑ K‑47, from the Neosho/Crawford county line east to the west city limits of Girard, recycle and overlay, 12.5 miles, Bettis Asphalt & Construction Inc., Topeka, Kansas, $3,520,005.77.
  • Neosho ‑ K‑47, from the west city limits of St. Paul east to the Neosho/Crawford county line, recycle and overlay, 5.5 miles, Bettis Asphalt & Construction Inc., Topeka, Kansas, $1,765,476.74.
  • Neosho ‑ K‑47, beginning at the U.S. 169/K‑47 junction east to the north U.S. 59/K‑47 junction, overlay, 11.1 miles, Bettis Asphalt & Construction Inc., Topeka, Kansas, $2,863,827.07.
  • Allen ‑ Bridge over stream, located 1.0 mile south and 2.0 miles east of Carlyle, bridge replacement, 0.1 mile, J & J Contractors Inc., Iola, Kansas, $235,798.30.
  • Montgomery ‑ Bridge over Illinois Creek, located 2.0 miles north and 0.1 mile west of Havana, bridge replacement, 0.1 mile, B & B Bridge Company LLC, St. Paul, Kansas, $988,276.50.

Click here to stay up to date with upcoming KDOT projects

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