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Crowder College hosts Dance and BBQ night for students

NEOSHO, Mo. — Crowder College is making students feel at home with a dance and BBQ night.

Tonight on Wednesday, the college held a square dancing night on the quad.

Students were able to mingle and enjoy some food and fun. The college says this gives students a chance to feel connected to campus.

“It’s super important. What you want is students who are in the classroom and engaging with faculty, but you want them to feel a sense of community. You don’t want anybody feeling homesick,” said Tiffany Slinkard, Vice President of Student Affairs.

And more events are planned in the future. Next Tuesday, crowder college will have live music on the Quad.

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KCU-Joplin welcomes two married couples for the first time

JOPLIN, Mo. — In tonight’s dose of good news, a local university is seeing a surprising enrollment.

Two married couples recently started physician school at KCU-Joplin. Both couples tell me it was a challenge getting accepted into the same program.

“It’s very hard to get into medical school itself and then to get into the same medical school,” said Brianne Werner, KCU-Joplin Student.

Kansas City University-Joplin is recognizing a first.

The school has two married couples attending their first year of physician school.

“100 percent easier having my spouse with me. We suspect although we have no frame of reference. It has not been easy but its probably been better with us both being together,” said Ben and Holly Weeks, KCU-Joplin Students.

Ben and Holly Weeks got married in May and are high school sweethearts. They want to specialize in family medicine and hope to open their own practice after graduation.

“Her parents are practicing in her hometown and we would like to go back there. And they’ve welcomed us to hurry up and get over there so they can retire and be family practice,” said Ben Weeks.

Brianne Werner and Zach Werner got married in 2019 and have been together since middle school.

They say them both attending the same physician school since July has been a great experience.

“I think it’s a benefit. I think some of our friends have expressed to us a little jealously that we can bounce ideas off each other. Just to have each other learn and grow,” said Brianne Werner.

“Kind of hold the other one accountable, make sure we are on it at all times,” said Zach Werner, KCU-Joplin Student.

Both couples are part of the 2025 graduating class.

“The odds of having several married couples is not that great. We do have a married couple in another class which we though was unusual. But this has been truly unique to have two,” said Shannon Peterson, Assistant Director Of Student Affairs.

Both couples started physician school in July and are taking the same classes.

Both couples say they have different study methods so they learn the material separately and quiz each other.

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The EPA is putting a Kansas plant on the National Priority List for contamination

WEIR, Kans. — The Environmental Protection Agency is adding four superfund sites to its national priorities list.

The EPA says the Cherokee Zinc-Weir Smelter Superfund Site in Weir, Kansas poses a threat to human health and the environment.

They say multiple residential yards are contaminated with metals like lead, arsenic, cadmium and chromium.

The EPA is concerned the metals could move downstream.

The agency says the metals are remnants from the smelting location that was in operation from 1872 to 1909. Being added to national priorities list means the site will now be eligible for federal funding for long term cleanup.

The other three sites are in Texas, Montana and New Jersey.

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Southwest Missouri man recaps his service after 9/11

JOPLIN, Mo. — If you were alive 20 years ago, you probably remember where you were and what you were doing when the Twin Towers in New York came down.

That lead a southwest Missouri man you’re probably familiar with, to serve his country, despite some unusual circumstances.

“I joined, went to basic and had to sign an age waiver,” said Tim Hayes, U.S. Army Reservist.

Due to his age, 37, and skill set, he’s a practicing attorney, the army had other plans for him than most men and women who have served during the war on terror.

He was ideally suited to serve as a J.A.G., or Judge Advocate General.

“When there are accidents that occur with the U.S. Military and civilians, we also pay the civilians, the Iraqi civilians, I worked in that and something called detainee operations, and detainee operations involve a lot of things, you know, like how can you question detainees, how can you punish detainees, what are their rights when it comes to release and appeal for release, so those were the kind of issues I was addressing,” said Hayes.

After a deployment to Kuwait and Iraq, and having served 10 years as a reservist, he volunteered to go back to the middle east, but this time as a volunteer with a humanitarian organization known as free Burma rangers to help many of the same people he encountered while in the army, this deployment much more dangerous than before.

“I was shot at by ISIS, mortared, drone attacks, all of that in Mosul, I was in Mosul on four different occasions and my daughter went over with me who’s a nurse and she spent on the front lines treating casualties that were coming in from the civilian population during that fighting,” said Hayes.

With all the time he’s spent in that troubled part of the world, both in uniform and out, he’s grown close to interpreters risking their own lives to help both the U.S. Military and humanitarian groups.

“It’s difficult to explain the relationship that you have with a person who’s from another country but you both are working to try and help people, and you’re working under a particular threat, and all these U.S. soldiers now are trying to help their interpreters, and sometimes it’s just not happening, they’re getting left behind,” said Hayes.

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Missouri murder suspect found dead in Dakota Dunes area, officials say

ELK POINT, S.D. (KCAU) — A man wanted out of Missouri for the murder of four people was found dead in the Dakota Dunes area after authorities were alerted he may be in the area.

According to the Union County Sheriff’s Office, they were alerted Wednesday around 8:30 p.m. by the U.S. Marshals that J.T. McLean, 45, was in the area. He was wanted out of the Missouri counties of Boone and Miller for the murder of four people. Authorities believed that McLean stole one of the victim’s vehicles, and OnStar found the vehicle in a motel parking lot in the Dakota Dunes area.

It was known that McLean had family around the area, so the family was contacted and moved from their residence the sheriff’s office said.

Multiple law enforcement agencies worked together. They contacted the motel and found the stolen vehicle. The sheriff’s office said that nonlethal means were used but that McLean did respond.

After deploying a drone over the vehicle, McLean was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Union County Sheriff’s Office said.

The U.S. Marshals, South Dakota Department of Criminal Investigation, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Sioux City Police Department, and North Sioux City Police Department assisted the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

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Iraqi man to head home after life-saving ear surgery in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- Dlo Yaseen has spent the last few months away from his family due to a drastic surgery on his right ear.

Now, Yaseen is ready to see his family again when his visa expires on September 20.

“I’m so excited,” Yaseen told OzarksFirst.

Yaseen has had a long history of ear troubles. In 2010, he had surgery on his left ear. A couple of years later, he noticed his right ear started acting up while he was rescuing refugees with the organization Free Burma Rangers (FBR). Yaseen worked in Iraq with a Springfield man, Tim Hayes, to figure out how to get him back to Springfield for the surgery since it was not an option in Iraq.

“It’s a privilege and honor to be sitting on the same couch as this man because he’s enormously brave,” said Hayes.

Yaseen and Hayes talking about their journey

Yaseen had a three-hour surgery in late July.

“Tim was in the room and my other cousin. It completely was really fine,” said Yaseen.

After the surgery, doctors told Yaseen he could not fly until six weeks after the surgery. So, he spent that time traveling the country.

“I felt good, and then like two weeks after surgery, I had for like almost a month, every day is pain,” Yaseen says.

Yaseen had developed a small infection from the stitches on the outside of his right ear. This made Yaseen worried about his appointment that occurred earlier this week.

“When I wasn’t taking medicine, the pain started. When I was taking medicine, there was no pain. Because maybe I have to stay here longer. I hope not,” said Yaseen.

Yaseen now has a plane ticket to head home on September 12 and is eager to see his family.

“I want to go back to my family. Every day they are calling me,” he says.

Doctors gave Yaseen his wish and cleaned the infection, and got him on a new prescription.

“My family is so happy. I was talking with my wife, and she said, ‘Okay, I am going to come to the airport.’ To be honest, I tried to surprise them and not tell them,” Yaseen said.

Once back in Iraq, Yaseen wants to rest for a month then go back to helping refugees, including the recent refugees in Afghanistan.

“That is what Dlo’s life is,” says Hayes.

“I will be happy to help them. I will be happy anytime,” says Yaseen.

Yaseen says he considers America his second home, and he would love to come back with his wife someday.

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Thousands line 12-mile route to honor fallen Wentzville Marine

ST. LOUIS – Those who were part of it had never seen anything like it. They hoped the same for the family of fallen Marine Jared Schmitz of Wentzville.  

Thousands lined Interstate 70 and every overpass from St. Louis Lambert International Airport to Baue Funeral home in St. Charles to pay their respects Wednesday afternoon.  

Schmitz was one of 13 U.S. troops killed in the suicide bombing at the Kabul, Afghanistan airport Aug. 26 giving their lives for the evacuation of fellow Americans and Afghan allies. The 2019 Ft. Zumwalt South graduate was just shy of his 21st birthday.   

“I was out cutting grass. My wife told me they were doing this. I said, ‘let’s get in the truck,’” said Ryan Penrose of St. Charles.   

He joined nearly 200 others on the First Capitol Drive overpass to await the procession escorting Schmitz’s body to the funeral home.  

Pam MacCarthy is a dear friend of Schmitz’s grandmother, DJ.   

They are co-workers at Phoenix textiles which provides linens for U.S. military hospitals, at home and abroad. MacCarthy was holding a company flag, hoping her friend would see it.  

“This flag means something. Out of the ashes, the Phoenix bird arises,” MacCarthy said. “We’re proud of Jared. We’re proud of DJ’s service to the military. Our whole Phoenix team is very proud of both of them.” 

“It really is echoed here today that all of these people would come out and show their gratitude for what their son has done,” St. Charles Fire Capt. Kelly Hunsel said.  

She and her coworkers stood on the overpass with a 20-by-30-inch American flag suspended from a ladder truck. 

Thousands lined the entire 12-mile route. St. Charles County Police officers stood at attention along the interstate as the procession passed, Hunsel and the firefighters saluted from above.  

Paula Tompkins, from Schmitz’s hometown of Wentzville, held a sign with his picture on it.   

“I had it in my yard with 13 flags around it,” she said. “Today, I took it out to bring it here.” 

“He is in heaven. There has to be no doubt about that. He’s a hero,” Penrose said.   

“Maybe looking back in the days and weeks and months to come (his family) can see he really did make a difference and that he was cared about,” Hunsel said.   

Wednesday’s visitation was private.   

There’s a public visitation set for Saturday, Sept. 11, at Baue Funeral Home at I-70 and Cave Springs from 3-10 p.m.  

There will be a private burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

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Second round of Missouri vaccine lottery winners announced

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – On Wednesday, Missouri announced the latest group of winners in the state’s vaccine incentive lottery.

Governor Mike Parson announced the COVID-19 vaccination incentive program on July 21, with five drawings generating a total of 900 winners. The state said 800 winners will be adults and will receive a cash prize of $10,000. There will also be 100 adolescents, aged 12 to 17, who will win a $10,000 education savings account through the Missouri State Treasurer’s MOST 529 program.

Approximately 550,000 doses of the COVID vaccine have been administered since the launch of the program, health officials said Wednesday. More than 62% of all eligible Missourians—ages 12 and up—have initiated the vaccination process.

The third drawing is Friday, Sept. 10. Winners will be announced after their vaccination statuses have been verified.

You only need to enter one time to be eligible for the remaining drawings.

If you can’t enter the sweepstakes online, assistance is available by calling the COVID-19 hotline at 877-435-8411 Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Official rules and frequently asked questions can be found online at MOStopsCovid.com/win.

You can view the cash prize and scholarship winners below.

Cash-Prize Winners

2 Keegan Anderson Saint Louis St. Louis City
2 Ida Olivia Bracken Saint Louis St. Louis City
2 Jacqueline Bryant St Louis St. Louis City
2 Theresa Bussen Saint Louis St. Louis City
2 Beronica Davenport Saint Louis St. Louis City
2 Darlene Dilbeck Saint Louis St. Louis Co.
2 Douglas Eller Saint Louis St. Louis City
2 Laveina Harris Ferguson St. Louis Co.
2 Timothy Havens Saint Louis St. Louis City
2 Jackie House Webster Grvs St. Louis Co.
2 Courtney Isadore Saint Louis St. Louis City
2 Linda Koleda St. Louis St. Louis Co.
2 Erica Mann Hazelwood St. Louis Co.
2 T-Asia Mays Saint Louis St. Louis City
2 Margaret Riley Saint Louis St. Louis City
2 Lauren Roberds Saint Louis St. Louis City
2 Phyllis Roberts Saint Louis St. Louis City
2 Angela Simmons St. Louis St. Louis Co.
2 Jennifer Wadley Saint Louis St. Louis City
2 Brenda Willis Saint Louis St. Louis City
DISTRICT 1
2 Kelsi Bryant Saint Charles St. Charles
2 Jerry Carter Creve Coeur St. Louis Co.
2 Nicholas Durkovic Saint Louis St. Louis Co.
2 Kevin Goersch Saint Louis St. Louis Co.
2 Daniel Grzybowski Wildwood St. Louis Co.
2 Sarah Harms O Fallon St. Charles
2 Robert Harper Saint Louis St. Louis Co.
2 Molly Heidbrink Saint Louis St. Louis Co.
2 Deanna Koonce Manchester St. Louis Co.
2 Danielle Kussman Maryland Hts St. Louis Co.
2 Chelsey Lappe Saint Louis St. Louis Co.
2 Stephen Mikola Saint Louis St. Louis Co.
2 Kathleen Murphey Saint Louis St. Louis Co.
2 Stephen Randolph Saint Louis St. Louis Co.
2 Mandy Schwartz Wildwood St. Louis Co.
2 James Stewart Chesterfield St. Louis Co.
2 Stephanie Thayer Kirkwood St. Louis Co.
2 Katie Totra O Fallon St. Charles
2 Erica Wissler Webster Groves St. Louis Co.
DISTRICT 2
2 Vivian Amick Jefferson City Cole
2 Robert Geiger O Fallon St. Charles
2 Ceasar Jones Jefferson Cty Cole
2 Sandra Kremer Loose Creek Osage
2 Alexander Lehman Winfield Lincoln
2 Patricia Maggi Saint Peters St. Charles
2 Grant Muench Saint Charles St. Charles
2 Jessica Napolis Wardsville Cole
2 Linda Rackers Jefferson Cty Cole
2 Thomas Roma Wentzville St. Charles
2 Judy Schulte Eldon Miller
2 Daniel Smothers Moscow Mills Lincoln
2 Mackenzie Warner Saint Clair Franklin
2 Lindsey Weiland Sullivan Franklin
2 Melissa Williams Lake St Louis St. Charles
2 Hannah Wilmes O Fallon St. Charles
2 Kendra Wilson Jefferson Cty Cole
2 Colin Wunderlich Henley Cole
2 Adolfo Zamores Saint Charles St. Charles
2 Susan Zink Iberia Miller
DISTRICT 3
2 Susan Boden Clinton Henry
2 Jocelyn Bryan Lebanon Laclede
2 Teresa Clark Lebanon Laclede
2 Matthew Dunegan Saint Robert Pulaski
2 Mary Ebert Columbia Boone
2 Randy Gallick Village Of Loch Lloyd Cass
2 Vera Lichtenhan Warrensburg Johnson
2 Marta Lynch Mexico Audrain
2 Mackenzie May Columbia Boone
2 Bria Neill Columbia Boone
2 Craig Reichert Thompson Audrain
2 Pamela Short Columbia Boone
2 Maria Del Mar Soria Lopez Columbia Boone
2 Nora Spurling Mexico Audrain
2 Mackenzie Staats Belton Cass
2 Jona Still-Smith Warrensburg Johnson
2 Sarah Varvaro Columbia Boone
2 Christina Wickman Elkland Webster
2 Joshua Wilkes Pittsburg Hickory
2 Kathleen Wulff Raymore Cass
DISTRICT 4
2 Cole Barnes Grandview Jackson
2 Katie Butler Kansas City Jackson
2 Ben Carpenter Kansas City Jackson
2 Johan Chavarin Kansas City Clay
2 Aaron Childress Kansas City Jackson
2 Amy Cordes Richmond Ray
2 Randy Ditton Raytown Jackson
2 Jamie Fanning Lawson Ray
2 Tracy Gilbert Independence Jackson
2 Nnenna Kalu Grandview Jackson
2 Lashaunda Lewis Kansas City Jackson
2 Dakota Littlecreek Kansas City Clay
2 Megan Miles Lees Summit Jackson
2 Marlin Morris Lawson Ray
2 Janice Morrow Marshall Saline
2 Giang Phan Kansas City Jackson
2 Rena Roberts Independence Jackson
2 Richard Steward Independence Jackson
2 Melody Taylor Kansas City Jackson
DISTRICT 5
2 Shannon Beedle Saint Joseph Buchanan
2 Bryanna Blanch Liberty Clay
2 Ellen Burns Brookfield Linn
2 Frances Burr Holt Clinton
2 Jennifer Chrane Lathrop Caldwell
2 Thomas Cole Liberty Clay
2 Matthew Crawford Dearborn Buchanan
2 Natasha Fostek Saint Joseph Buchanan
2 Larissa Gamm Bowling Green Pike
2 Veronica Hill Liberty Clay
2 Gary Hughes Excelsior Spg Clay
2 Yvonne Lafave Kearney Clay
2 Jill Lager Rock Port Atchison
2 Danielle Lager Liberty Clay
2 Lisa Rhoads Novinger Adair
2 William Rothery Kansas City Clay
2 David Schooler Chillicothe Livingston
2 Micheal Sherril Mc Fall Gentry
2 Loretta Stark Cainsville Harrison
2 Brett Stewart Kearney Clay
DISTRICT 6
2 Toby Bass Neosho Newton
2 Amanda Carr Springfield Greene
2 Brad Daniel Ash Grove Greene
2 Charla Fields Billings Christian
2 Candace Garner Springfield Greene
2 Olivia Garren Neosho Newton
2 Krista Halstead Republic Greene
2 Eric Lansdown Rogersville Webster
2 Brandon Martinsen Morrisville Polk
2 Susan Mueller Springfield Greene
2 Dustin Pearce Joplin Jasper
2 Kelly Peavler Joplin Jasper
2 Timothy Rear Battlefield Greene
2 Cheyenne Riggleman Hollister Taney
2 Terri Robinson Springfield Greene
2 Matthew Schubert Marionville Lawrence
2 Scott Schultz Carl Junction Jasper
2 Virginia Severs Ozark Christian
2 Dennis Stock Chestnutridge Christian
2 Jamie Temple Springfield Greene
DISTRICT 7
2 Brad Barton Newburg Phelps
2 Thomas Becker Piedmont Reynolds
2 Elizabeth Beffa Hillsboro Jefferson
2 Shari Buerck Perryville Perry
2 Erica Chitwood Poplar Bluff Butler
2 Amanda Crofford Naylor Ripley
2 Jaron Evans Poplar Bluff Wayne
2 Peggy Gibson De Soto Jefferson
2 Julie Johns Hillsboro Jefferson
2 Billy Minter Glenallen Bollinger
2 John Riley Sikeston Scott
2 Shamyia Roston Portageville New Madrid
2 Bill Starkey Fredericktown Madison
2 Sharon Taylor Poplar Bluff Butler
2 Joel Taylor Puxico Stoddard
2 Charles Tyra Essex Mo Stoddard
2 Danielle Walker Solo Texas
2 James Wengler Fredericktown Madison
2 Sean Young Rolla Phelps
DISTRICT 8

Scholarship Winners

2 Nolen Elder Overland St. Louis Co.
2 Amaniah Henderson Saint Louis St. Louis City
2 Montez Holmon Saint Louis St. Louis City
2 Samantha Brummett Saint Louis St. Louis Co.
2 Thomas Lyon Manchester St. Louis Co.
2 Summer Street Saint Louis St. Louis Co.
2 Evelynn Costephens Foristell St. Charles
2 Brooke Kiel Saint Peters St. Charles
2 Kalli Mueller Washington Franklin
2 Mason Graham Columbia Boone
2 Breanna Houston Independence Jackson
2 Nam Phan Lees Summit Jackson
2 Alexander Willard Gladstone Clay
2 Jeremiah Bloemker Smithville Clay
2 Peyton Cordray Kirksville Adair
2 Dillon DiBernardo Parkville Platte
2 William Fish Stanberry Gentry
2 Kinsey Peterson Lawson Clay
2 Jarron Hembree Diamond Newton
2 Caydence Jansen Jackson Cape Girardeau
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Joplin parking garage closed for structural analysis

JOPLIN, Mo. — Keeping you and your car safe — that’s the goal of a structural analysis of a parking garage in downtown Joplin.

The site at 6th and Virginia will be evaluated by ground penetrating radar to determine potential risks to the stability of the garage.

It’s the latest step in a plan to rehab the parking area to prolong safe usage.

The analysis will close part of the parking structure from the morning of Friday, September 10th through Sunday, September 12th, affecting the concrete area on the north side of the garage.

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Joplin CVB invests in local tourism with grant money

JOPLIN, Mo. — Tourism is the focus of a new round of grants from the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

About 90 thousand dollars will be distributed to a wide range of events, everything from CrossFit Monster Games and the OCC Conference Series to a disc golf competition and the Carl Junction Bluegrass Festival.

New events include the Art Con in Neosho and a girls basketball tournament hosting teams from around the nation.

The goal is to attract visitors to the metro area – spending money at hotels, restaurants and shops.

“We have a radius we try to work with — just look at the impact on Joplin hotels. So like the Carl Junction Bluegrass Festival and the Art Con down in Neosho will have some impact on our hotels. And that’s where the return on investment is,” said Patrick Tuttle, Joplin CVB Director.

We’ve got a link to the full list of grants here.