Joplin moves forward with scooter rental program

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Joplin City Council decides to move forward on negotiations with Bird Scooters.

The company held a presentation before council Monday evening as they seek to come to Joplin. The scooters utilize an app that lets resident rent the scooters for a short period of time. When the person who is traveling by scooter is done, they leave it for the next rider or to be picked up by a Bird contractor for repair or charging.

“Those scooters are popular in some other metro cities,” said Joplin City Manager Nick Edwards. “So I think there’s an interest to bring those scooters here. Certainly we want to makes sure if we do so, we’re doing so in a way that’s responsible and we’re also being as safe as we can. But It does provide another means of transportation which could ultimately benefit the residents of Joplin.”

(Related story: Current 4-State scooter programs receive positive reviews)


Columbia, Joplin win millions in lawsuit against CenturyLink

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – A judge has ruled that the city of Columbia should receive nearly $54 million in a lawsuit filed against its internet and telephone services provider.

St. Louis County Circuit Judge Ellen Ribaudo also awarded the city of Joplin $1.1 million. The two cities sued Spectra Communications Group, which is owned CenturyLink, in 2014 over unpaid local taxes. Under the ruling, Columbia will also keep $2.3 million in business license taxes that CenturyLink paid under protest.

The company argued that the local taxes should not apply to some of its services, and the damages the cities were seeking were exorbitant.


SW Missouri senior centers to full reopen July 12


JOPLIN, Mo. – The Area Agency on Aging Region X (AAAX) announced all seven of its senior centers in Southwest Missouri will fully reopen on July 12. That includes centers in Barton County, Carthage, Webb City, Carl Junction, Joplin, Neosho and McDonald County.

Jennifer Shotwell, AAAX CEO, says, “After having our soft opening in May and June we feel that we are in a great position to fully open the centers. Vaccination rates have increased, and cases of COVID-19 have decreased overall.”

Each center will resume all activities (pool, bingo, lunch, cards, puzzles, exercise classes, quilting, etc.) everyday Monday thru Friday with no limitation on capacity.  The Agency is adhering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendation that vaccinated patrons do not have to wear a mask or socially distance. However if a patron or staff member contracts COVID-19, AAAX will close the affecter center without notice.


Joplin opens COVID vaccine clinics in multiple loactions

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Joplin Health Department is setting up COVID-19 vaccine clinics at various locations across the community. The clinics will offer both first and second dose Moderna vaccines.

These clinics are open to all who are 18-years-old and over, regardless of city or state residency. No appointment is necessary. Citizens should bring a photo identification, and if they are seeking a second dose, they also need to bring their vaccination card. There is no cost associated with these vaccines.


Date                            Time                           Location                                 Type of Vaccine                     

Friday, June 4            9 AM – 1 PM            Senior Center                        Moderna vaccine   

                                                                        2616 S. Picher Avenue


Wed, June 9               9 – 11:30 AM             Joplin Health Dept.              Moderna vaccine             

                                    1:30 – 4 PM               321 East 4th Street


Sat, June 12               11 AM – 3 PM           Joplin Public Library           Moderna vaccine  

                                                                        1901 East 20th Street


Joplin Boys & Girls Club of SWMO awarded $15,670 grant

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri received a $15,670 grant from the Taco Bell foundation Wednesday. The funds will be used to support more than 1,500 youth in the Joplin and Webb City communities.

The Boys & Girls Club will  put the money toward career/college prep sessions, mentoring, providing resources and other programs that educate and inspire that next generation of leaders.

“We are honored to partner with the Taco Bell Foundation in championing the educational dreams of our young people,” said Amia Warren, Development Director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Missouri. “The vision we share with the Taco Bell Foundation is one in which every young person has access to quality education and the resources they need to create good.”

Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri is one of more than 400+ youth-serving organizations that will receive a portion of the $10 million in grants being presented by the Taco Bell Foundation this year. The grants are an example of the Taco Bell Foundation’s mission to fuel young people’s boldest educational ambitions.

“We are proud to support like-minded organizations through our Local Grants Program,” said Jennifer Bradbury, Interim Executive Director of the Taco Bell Foundation. “Together with these organizations, we work to break down barriers so students nationwide can continue creating and innovating. This $10 million is going back to those in our local communities who are most hungry to learn.”


Volunteers help cleanup Joplin DMV after flooding

JOPLIN, Mo. – Last week’s severe storms flooded the Joplin DMV. The waters left a mess of building.

But now an improvement is on its way thanks to volunteers. Joplin High School football players stopped by the DMV Tuesday to help.

“We have been here all day long, some of the folks were here all weekend long,” said volunteer Kristi Seibert. “We have had to literally move everything out. We have had to get rid of things that had been ruined”

Officials say the DMV will remain closed for a few more days as clean-up continues.


Viewers submit photos of area flooding

Local residents share their flood photos with KOAM News. You can submit yours below.

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Man sentenced for molesting family member in SW Missouri

NEOSHO, Mo. – A Kentucky man will spend 10 years behind bars for molesting a child family member in Southwest Missouri.

According a release from to the Newton County, Missouri prosecuting attorney, John E. Hartle, 71, of Williamstown, Kentucky entered a guilty plea to one count of Child Molestation in the 1st degree. A judge sentenced Hartle to 10 years in prison.

The crime happened in the summer of 2020. The juvenile victim gave a discloser to a forensic interviewer at the Children’s Center in Joplin, Missouri that Hartle rubbed the victim’s genitals through the victim’s pants pockets. Family members confronted the defendant about the disclosure, at which time Hartle fled the state to attend a sexual addiction treatment center in Kentucky.

“Finding justice for juvenile sexual assault survivors in a way that doesn’t further their trauma is difficult to balance,” said Newton County Prosecuting Attorney William Lynch. “This plea allows justice to be served without requiring the child to testify repeatedly throughout the process. Given the age of the defendant, he may very well spend the rest of his life in prison.”


Joplin kindergartners experience Autism simulations

JOPLIN, Mo. – Kindergartners in Joplin work to understand what someone with Autism can experience 24/7.

St. Mary’s Elementary invited Easterseals to walk students through an Autism Simulation Activity today. Easterseals partners with families and school systems for a wide variety of services for school aged children and youth.

Students watched a quick Sesame Street video of what Autism is. The kids then did several things to represent what anyone with autism experiences and how hard things can be for them.

Kindergartners not only experienced what it can be like, but learned how to be a friend to someone with Autism. Through Autism education or sensitivity training, students can learn about acceptance and sensitivity not related to a particular student at school.

St. Mary’s Elementary presented a $729.76 check to Easterseals during today’s activity. Students raised the money during Charity Dress Day. They donated if they wanted to be out of uniform that day.

More about Autism

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States today (AutismSpeaks.org).

Discussing autism and other mental or physical disorders with your children can be a tricky if you aren’t sure how to start the conversation. There are resources to help family, friends, co-workers and teachers create an inclusive environment.

AutismSpeaks.org offers a tool kit for teachers to help peers understand Autism.

The Ozark Center in Joplin offers treatment as well as support group meetings for people with autism, parents and caregivers. They also host a parents coffee, a social group designed for caregivers of young children with developmental delay.

Easterseals also provides this list of Autism Resources.

View the map below for regional centers for autism.