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"Holiday Tree Trail" kicks off at Mercy Park

JOPLIN, Mo. — A 3rd annual event transforms Joplin’s Mercy Park into a festive, family activity. Tonight (11/29) kicks off the “Holiday Tree Trail” contest presented by Joplin Parks and Recreation, the City of Joplin, and the Visit Joplin group.

Before everyone made their way from tree-to-tree, the evening began with several performances by Karen’s Dance Studio, while our two favorite funny guys, Howie and Bubba from KODE’S Good Morning Four States provided the introductions. Even Santa himself took time out of his busy schedule to light up the walking trail, which is made of up 40 decorated trees; each one sponsored by a different local business or organization.

“I think it’s very special for all the families to be able to come out and enjoy it together. It’s very well organized and lit up and nice. I look forward to coming every year that they have it.”

Mistey Evy – Touring The Holiday Tree Trail

“It just makes the community come together during the holiday time and just being able to be out and enjoy the wonderful event that the community puts on and just enjoy this with your family. It’s just a different thing you can do and just be able to support the community.”

Keri Kirby – Office Administrative Coordinator, Olsson

“I think that’s the great thing, people coming out and seeing the various trees by the organizations, seeing what we represent and just getting to celebrate the season with the Joplin community.”

Lori Crockett – PR & Marketing, Joplin Public Library

| Army Vet Builds, Donates Grandfather Clock >

You have until December 21st to make that tough decision: Which of the 40 trees is you favorite? Voting is done by scanning the QR codes displayed next to each tree on the trail. You can vote for your favorite tree during the park’s hours of 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The top 3 winners will receive a special trophy and catering from Texas Roadhouse in Joplin.

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Sarcoxie man killed in crash

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. — A 20-year-old man was killed after pulling into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Emmanuel I. Lovell, 20, of Sarcoxie, was driving a 2013 Fiat with a passenger — Eden J. Sims, 19, of Sarcoxie — on Missouri State Highway 37 on Nov. 29.

According to a Missouri State Highway Patrol crash report, the Fiat pulled into the path of a 2002 Ford F-250 near the intersection of County Road 40 in Sarcoxie.

Lovell was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:50 p.m., Nov. 29. Sims was taken to a Joplin hospital with moderate injuries. Both were wearing safety devices.

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How you can help "Casa De Sanidad" rebuild

A Carthage church that burned down last month has created a way for the community to help rebuild.

“Casa De Sanidad” members have gotten hundreds of messages of support and questions about donations.

An account has been created at “Southwest Missouri Bank” to funnel any incoming funds.

Anyone interested in donating can walk into the bank and give the account name.

It’s “Hispano-American Christian Church Building Reconstruction Fund.”

The church burned in a massive fire fueled by strong winds on Saturday, October 22nd.

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"Sparkle in the Park" draws over 1,000 attendees

It’s the 2nd year for “Sparkle in the Park.”

Over a thousand people gathered Monday night to watch more than 4,000 Christmas lights illuminate the trees in “Central Park.”

“Everybody getting together and having a good time and stuff like that, and I want to also commend the city for doing this you know and Carthage Water and Electric. If you drove by here in the last 3 or 4 weeks, they did a lot of work on this to put these lights up, so I want to thank them for that. And it just brings the community out, it’s a good thing. // It’s Christmas and it’s a time we spend with family,” said The Silver Family.

Since September, nearly 90 employees of “Carthage Water and Electric” have been working to create this dazzling display.

“Carthage is a great place to live and visit, and I think what this does is just highlights a beautiful park in the City of Carthage and brings people to Carthage that maybe haven’t been here before, visiting other things going on in our holiday season and I hope they just see the sense of community pride that we all have in Carthage,” said Chuck Bryant, General Manager, CWEP.

This Christmas wonderland is made of 25 miles of stringed lights, making the park look like a scene from a “Hallmark” movie.

“I didn’t expect it to be this huge honestly. Like, I thought maybe a couple of the trees would be lit up, but this is a really good surprise,” said Amber, Visiting From Joplin.

Since the tradition began last year, both “C-W-E-P” and the community now look forward to it each year.

“We’ll be 125 years old next year. Giving back to our community means a lot to all of us. And this is a great gift that we can give to the community. And we’re excited to do this for as long as we possibly can,” said Bryant.

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How to have leaves collected in Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. — If you haven’t already raked your leaves to the curb – now’s the time.

Weather permitting, the “City of Joplin” will begin its annual “Residential Leaf Pick-Up Program” Monday.

Two crews will start picking up leaves in outlying areas, working their way toward the middle of the city until complete.

If you’re looking to dispose of leaves on your own, you can take them to the “Joplin Compost Facility.”

It’s located at 3457 Eddy Lane in Joplin and is open daily during daylight hours.

The city asks that no trash bags, brush, or tree limbs be left.

Here’s a link to the city’s leaf-pick-up map, where you can see when the crews will get to your neighborhood.

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Catching up with travelers this holiday weekend

AAA estimates nearly 49 Million people likely traveled by car this holiday weekend.

And, Sunday, is right up there with one of the busiest travel days as everyone heads home.

We caught up with a few travelers at the “Missouri Welcome Center.”

“Today we are celebrating our 26th marriage anniversary and this is the first time on the road. We enjoyed it this year because we could come out because in 2019-20 we were at home not doing any travel. I didn’t think the travel was that bad either on the return.” said the Kumar Family. “I feel like it’s nice driving back to school instead of flying so you can spend more time with friends and family.”

Doing great, we’re driving back from Houston actually, to Missouri, up to Columbia yeah, yeah we’re right in Missouri.” said the Herbert Family. “We just crossed over into Missouri that’s right, we’re on our way to Columbia. Yeah, there was definitely more traffic, I would say, this year than in previous years, it seems like more people are out on the roads to be sure. The restaurants were a lot more crowded,”

“We had a great time while we were down there. My two granddaughters are going home with us and we get to St. Louis and then we’re gonna go on to Chicago
You know it’s really not been too bad but it is a lot heavier this year than the last two years, gas prices are a lot higher.” said Jack Hembree.

“We did until the COVID outbreak. This is the first time in three years, so gas prices are much higher but other than that it’s pretty much the same,” said Ed Simmons. “After staying for four days I was ready to come home.”

What are some tips for a long road trip?

“Know your stops, don’t push yourself. You feel sleepy, go to sleep, you know, don’t push too much because you might wake up in a rolled over the vehicle, so…” said Greg Icenogle “There’s definitely an anticipation to get there, but for whatever reason, it’s always faster just getting home, and I don’t know why, but it just doesn’t seem like it takes as long to get home as it does there.”

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Candlelight vigil in Mercy Park

JOPLIN, Mo. — The “JOMO Pride” group took time this evening to remember the victims of the tragic “Club Q” shooting in Colorado Springs.

A few dozen gathered under the pavilion at “Mercy Park” tonight for a candlelight vigil.

It’s a way to honor the five lives lost and the several injured after a gunman opened fire at the club last weekend.

The “JOMO Pride” group says it’s important that all voices are heard as the losses last weekend impacted many all over the country.

“I think, you know, us coming together as a community, you know, and showing strength, we feel what they feel. Just because we’re not in the same city doesn’t mean that we don’t have pain for what they’re going through,” said Stephanie Marsh, JOMO Pride Organizer.

The evening concluded as each victim’s name was read out loud before a “silent walk.”

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Joplin woman has collected over 300 "Hallmark" ornaments

JOPLIN, Mo. — A local woman has likely set the Christmas tree decorating bar high for you.

Meet Marsha Lattimer and her Christmas tree covered in over 300 “Hallmark” ornaments.

She’s been collecting these dazzling and interactive ornaments since 1995.

Each one resembles a special memory for her, like her son’s favorite toys growing up.

They’re all intricately placed, leaving no room for bare spots.

This year, she put her tree up right after Halloween, but even after initially putting it up, she makes adjustments until it is absolutely perfect.

The entire tree brings a sense of nostalgia and Christmas magic.

“Sometimes I’ll just be sitting there drinking my coffee or just sitting, relaxing and just looking at the tree and it just brings back memories and just good times. Just seeing them and, it just takes me back. The good old days were the good old days, they were the best,” said Marsha Lattimer.

Every year, she gets more ornaments to add to her special tree of memories.

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Science of cooking event held by "Creative Learning Alliance"

JOPLIN, Mo. — Some local kiddos used a bit of science knowledge, today, to create food items.

The “Creative Learning Alliance” in Joplin provided a hands-on “STEM” learning experience, using edible materials.

Kids made homemade butter by shaking cream and salt together in a jar.

Other activities included learning how taste buds work when tasting sour, salty and sweet foods like limes, chips, and candy.

They also learned some chemistry by making pink lemonade “spheres”.

These spheres were liquid, but a unique calcium bond with water gave them that jello-like texture.

“The concepts become real when you do, the learning is in the doing. And so, we want the kids to be hands-on and to take those experiences home with them so that they never leave their minds,” said Neely Myers, Project Coordinator, Creative Learning Alliance.

The next event for the “Creative Learning Alliance” will be a Breakfast with Santa event.

It will take place on December 3rd, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the morning, at the “Joplin Museum Complex”.

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Small Business Saturday in Carthage

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Today is “Small Business Saturday”, an important day that’s meant for supporting small, locally-owned businesses.

But how vital is it for Carthage Businesses?

It’s important enough that city officials gave it an official proclamation earlier this week.

Despite the rainy weather, today, many people were out shopping at stores on the downtown Carthage square.

Local businesses and restaurants offered many discounted specials for goods and services, to help with Christmas gift ideas.

What’s even more important about “Small Business Saturday”, is it’s impact on the city.

“For every 100 dollars that someone spends in our local community, 68 dollars of that stays right here. So, it’s really important for everybody to realize that while shopping, every day is important, shopping this time of year really does make a great fourth quarter for our businesses,” said Julie Reams, President, Carthage Chamber of Commerce.

“I think Small Business Saturday helps make people more aware to support small, local businesses and how important that is. It’s a big weekend for us…sales wise and helps our entire month,” said Connie Shull, Owner, The Yellow Umbrella Antiques Primitives and Home Decor.

Visitors to Carthage can also enjoy an outdoor ice skating rink and holiday lights in “Central Park” this holiday season.