"Home for the Holidays" festival in Galena

GALENA, Kan. — A Southeast community hopes the holiday spirit will pay off big come summertime.

The Galena Parks and Rec department hosted its second annual “Home for the Holidays” festival.

Proceeds from this year’s event will go towards a splash pad for the community.

Today’s festivities included a little something for everyone with local vendors, food trucks, photo booths, and a live auction.

“There’s a lot of people who need somewhere to go and something to do for the kids, I think it also shows them that our community no matter how little, that we can come together and enjoy the holidays together,” said Nancy Flint, Galena Parks, and Rec Committee.

Flint says the city has held a Christmas parade for several years and they wanted to provide people with other activities to do while at the parade.

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.

Decorating for Christmas early is a passion for this Kansas family

GALENA, Kan. — This weekend marks the time when a majority of people will start decorating for Christmas.

Not the case for a Galena woman. She started weeks ago, and, by no means, is it the first time.

“It kind of started way back when we were little and it just has lived through ever since,” said Ashley Groves.

Ashley Groves is talking about her passion for Christmas decorating, something that is a big deal in the Qualls and Hall families.

She’s one of the grandchildren of the late Bill Hall, an icon in the Galena community.

She’s made it a big deal in the Groves family.

The mayor of Galena and business teacher at Galena High School, married to Cherokee County Sheriff, David Groves.

“I’ve, I’ve always enjoyed Christmas. It’s a special time of year,” said David Groves.

And the Christmas season for the Groves starts early, just after Halloween.

“I post my tree every year on Facebook, and now I do it with the preface that I don’t care about all the naysayers and all the haters that are gonna say something, because this is what I want to do and it’s my house and I’m gonna do it anyway,” said Ashley.

“Since I’ve known Ashley, I’ve never known her not to have a Christmas tree up, regardless of the time of year. She’s always got one up,” said David.

“I think it brings so much joy. I know everybody can’t say that about the holidays. There’s a lot of sadness and hard times, too, but there’s just something about lights on and Christmas music and the cooler weather that makes people happy,” said Ashley.

And, for the first time this year, the Groves will see Christmas through their son’s eyes.

They are parents for the first time.

“This year has been quite an experience. You know, this time last year, we didn’t expect to be new parents, but we’ve got a little one in the house this year, and we’re excited for Christmas and start making memories with him,” said David.

“Whether it’s my husband or my sisters or my parents, they could get through life without me. It’d be sad and it’d be hard, but they could get through life without me, but that little boy needs me. So, I think that’s been the biggest thing is there’s somebody in the world now that actually needs me and would be lost without me,” said Ashley.

Those decorations go up early, but when do they come down?

“She likes the tree up as long as possible. We usually go all the way through January, sometimes into February and, again, I just learn to embrace it and if it makes her happy, then I’m good with it, but, yeah, after Christmas, I’m ready to take it down,” said David.

Happy wife, happy life.

“That’s the way to go,” added David.

And there’s this, according to research listed in the “Journal of Environmental Psychology”, people who put up decorations early tend to be happier and friendlier.

"National Prescription Drug Take Back Day" a success in Cherokee County

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Kan. — Nearly 500 pounds of prescription drugs are now in safe hands.

Throughout the day on Saturday, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and the Galena Police Department participated in “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.”

It’s an opportunity for the community to safely get rid of unneeded or expired medications.

All the collected drugs will given to the Drug Enforcement Administration for proper disposal.

Hundreds attended this Galena "Trunk-or-Treat"

GALENA, Kan. — Despite some rain this evening, hundreds still came out for some Halloween fun.

The Park Hill Nazarene Church of Galena held it’s annual “Trunk or Treat” event. This year’s event featured monster trucks, motorcycles, and of course, plenty of candy.

Kids and their parents came in Halloween costumes, making their way through the church parking lot to fill up candy bags. Church officials say hosting this event is a way to be more involved in the community.

“To show people, kids, parents that God loves them and we care about them. And hopefully if they don’t have a church home, they’ll come back and learn more about God and ultimately, come to know him as their savior,” said Brad Hunt, Pastor, Park Hill Nazarene Church.

The most popular guest today was Polo, the Riverton School District’s therapy dog, who proudly wore his Pitt State Gorilla shirt.

One person airlifted after vehicle strikes pedestrian

(CourtesyGoogle Maps)

GALENA, Kans. — A vehicle strikes a pedestrian on a residential street in Galena, sending one person to a Joplin hospital.

It happened this evening (Tuesday, October 11th) near the intersection of East 22nd Street and South Wood Street.

Galena Police Chief, Billy Charles said the pedestrian was then airlifted to Freeman Hospital.

The extent of the injuries to either the pedestrian or the driver of the vehicle involved, are unknown at this time.

Galena Police are now investigating the incident.

This is a developing story, and we’ll have more information as it becomes available.

The big three stories of the week: cyclist succumbs to injuries, Galena motel arrest, Pizza Ranch opens in Joplin

NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. – Joplin police say a man riding a motorized bicycle involved in a crash with a Newton County deputy has died from his injuries. The Joplin Police Department stated that 44-year-old Ryan D. Hunnell of Joplin died at 3:33 pm on Sunday, July 10th, at Freeman West Hospital. Authorities notified his next of kin. Click here for more information.

GALENA, Ks. – On Friday, July 8th, the Galena Police Department was notified by the Simpson County Mississippi Sheriff’s Office that a female with a federal arrest warrant and an endangered runaway juvenile may be in the Galena area. The suspect, Emily Yeary, 24, of Summerset, South Dakota, was taken into custody. Yeary was transported to the Cherokee County Jail where she is being held without bond, awaiting federal extradition. If you would like to read more about this story, click here.

JOPLIN, Mo. – Pizza Ranch opened in Joplin Monday, July 11th,  at 3223 E 20th. The first 100 people in line will get free pizza for a year. Click here to read more about this story.

BONUS STORY: JASPER COUNTY, Mo. – This weekend celebrates the 60th Anniversary Summer of Mo-Kan Dragway, with special guest, the father of drag racing, “Big Daddy” Don Garlits. If you’d like to read more about this story, click the link we’ve provided.

Those are the big three stories of the week.


Galena man killed after his motorcycle hit a telephone pole

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Kan. – A Galena, Kansas man is dead following a Motorcycle crash. The wreck happened 0.3 miles North of the State Line Road & 21st Street intersection in Galena.

The Kansas Highway Patrol says 20-year-old Theodore Lane III was driving southbound on State Line Road. Lane left the roadway, struck a telephone pole and was ejected from the motorcycle.

Lane was pronounced at the scene

Diamond man killed in late night wreck south of Galena

GALENA, Kan. – A Diamond, Missouri man dies in a two vehicle wreck south of Galena, Kansas Thursday night.

According to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, 28-year-old James Wealot’s car crossed the centerline and struck a car driven by 38-year-old April Mathis of Galena just before 11:00 p.m.

Wealot was pronounced dead at the scene. An ambulance transported Mathis to a Joplin hospital with non-life threatening injuries.