Inmate accused of setting fire also accused of leading April riot at Ottawa County Jail

MIAMI, OK – An Ottawa County Jail inmate accused of leading an April riot at the jail, is now accused of setting a fire in a holding cell.

In a FaceBook post, the Sheriff’s office said investigators determined the fire on May 10th was intentionally set due to the fact that there are no wires near the area where the fire happened.

Authorities say the suspect, Tristen Tiffany, is facing charges of first-degree arson, destruction of property, and endangering the lives of first responders.

Tiffany, is also facing charges connected to a disturbance at the jail in April, 2021.



SEK Humane Society takes in seized dogs, kennel owner refutes Horrible Hundred report


PITTSBURG, Kan. – “The animal facilities inspection program at the Kansas Department of Agriculture notified some unlicensed individuals that due to the number of dogs they had at their facility they were not operating legally,” explains Heather Lansdowne with the Kansas Department of Agriculture.

Lansdowne with the Department of Ag says a residence in Cherokee County was found to have more dogs than is allowed without a license. The limit is 20. She explains the Department of Ag let the homeowners know that they needed to get a license, but they didn’t comply.

So this week, the department removed nine dogs from the location — which are now at the SEK Humane Society. After being checked out by a vet, Jasmine Kyle says they aren’t unhealthy. But the females were used for breeding, and all of them have a long way to go before they recover.

“These dogs have not been handled. They are extremely terrified of humans. It is very hard to even hold the dogs, handle the dogs,” says Kyle. “So, that is where us as humane society workers come in.”

Kyle says it’s a situation she sees too often, and can happen even at licensed facilities like dog breeders.

The Humane Society of the United States released its 2021 “Horrible Hundred” report, which highlights what they call problematic puppy sellers across the country. There are seven on the list in Kansas.

“Those are just the identified cases,” says Kyle. “So, always keep your eyes and ears open, and if you see a barn yard outlet and you see dogs in cages and units, that’s a big red flag.”

The report lists Whispering Oaks in Coffeyville, where the Human Society says they photographed dogs in crowded cages, and outdoor enclosures that weren’t structurally sound, creating a concern during inclement weather. But the owner refutes that.

Owner Kristi Hillyard tells us her cages outside are anchored and in good shape, her dogs have 34 acers to run and play on and aren’t crowded when they are inside. She says she follows all the laws and regulations and works hard to make sure her dogs are happy and healthy. She also notes that the USDA just inspected her facility in March and that no issues were found, something the Humane Society report backs up.

She tells us that she knows there are bad breeders out there, but she isn’t one of them.

We reached out to the Humane Society of the United States, but have not heard back at the time of publication.


Schools, health departments waiting for guidance following authorization of Pfizer vaccine for ages 12-15

NEOSHO, Mo. – The FDA has given emergency authorization to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15. Now, local schools and health departments are waiting on guidance to determine how to get those kids vaccinated.

Newton County Health Department Administrator Larry Bergner is excited about the new age group being opened up to vaccines. However, he knows there may be some hesitancy as many have heard the virus doesn’t impact children nearly as severely as adults. “Those younger age groups while they may not become sick or they may not be as affected they can still carry the virus and therefore can pass that on to an age group that would have more detrimental effects of the COVID virus.”

With the news of the authorization just out Monday, Bergner says there are still a number of unknowns when it comes to the best ways to get kids vaccinated quickly. “As we get more information and guidelines we certainly will share that with our school districts and those personnel and the parents in the community, but certainly we want to get the word out that that vaccine now is available and we want to start getting those folks vaccinated as quickly as we can.”

For Neosho School District Superintendent Dr. Jim Cummins, they’re playing a similar waiting game with the state. “I’m sure DESE’s going to come out with some ideas on how we can handle that for students.”

But Cummins says the district is prepared to offer whatever support they can. “If we can offer a site where they can come and do vaccinations with proper parent permission and those types of things, we’re all for it, whatever we can do to help move us past the current pandemic that we are in.”

Cummins says the district recently had a mass vaccination clinic at their junior high for teachers and staff and are open to offering similar clinics at the appropriate schools for students.


Golden Apple Awards recognizes outstanding Joplin teachers

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Monday night honored Joplin educators with the Golden Apple Awards Program.

More than 80 educators were nominated by students, parents, and co-workers based on their exceptional quality of teaching. The winners are Stephanie Reither of Cecil Floyd Elementary, Cheryl Sieber of North Middle School, Syeda Greenlee of Joplin High School and Kathy Nicodemus of Irving Elementary.

“I owe my mom a debt of gratitude,” said Nicodemus. “She taught for thirty years and I was never going to become a teacher. So I’ve become my mother and I’m a teacher and I love every minute. So I do have to apologize to my mom and say yes, it’s everything you said it would be.”

The Golden Apple Awards are in its 36th year.


Joplin Council reviews feasibility study for Memorial Hall renovation

JOPLIN, Mo. – Joplin city leaders discuss proposed additions to the city’s downtown.

(Related Story: Concerns over parking in downtown Joplin come up again with new project proposals)

At Monday night’s work session city council discussed plans for renovating Memorial Hall. Council members reviewed a feasibility study for Memorial Hall. The study analyzed the potential costs of renovating Memorial Hall, as well as a possible additional annex.

For both scenarios, a conservative and an aggressive cost estimate were given.

“I’ve heard from the community and there’s certainly one of the things we hear a lot about the cities: need for entertainment amenities,” said City Manager Nick Edwards.  “This would be a versatile space for the community to have and something that could provide a lot of opportunities for a lot of different entertainment options.”

The study was completed by two companies called SFS Architects and Ballard, King and Associates.


News to Know (5/11/21)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The FDA has authorized Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15. Tomorrow, a CDC advisory committee will vote on whether to approve the authorization. If it does, roughly 17-million children and teenagers will be eligible to receive their first shots.

WOODBRIDGE, N.J. – A pipeline stretching from Texas to New Jersey remains offline following a cyberattack. Normally, nearly half the east coast’s fuel supply runs through the Colonial Pipeline. It was shut down Friday after hackers targeted its computer systems. Colonial hopes to reopen the pipeline by the end of this week.

MIAMI, Okla. – Oklahoma authorities release the identity of a man whose body was found in Tar Creek. Police with the Grand River Dam Authority identified the man as 24-year-old Casey Hampton of Miami. A resident on Saturday found Hampton’s body in
Tar Creek just north of the Neosho River in Miami on Saturday. The GRDA recovered his body and took it to a medical examiner. The investigation continues.

JOPLIN, Mo. – Joplin Police have identified a Joplin man who died in a crash on Saturday. He was 26-year-old Chanz Olson. Authorities say Olson was riding his motorcycle going west on 32nd street when he hit an SUV that was going east, and making a turn onto Connecticut. Olson was taken to the hospital where he died.


Group helps those around Neosho struggling with addiction

NEOSHO, Mo. — Residents in and around Neosho, who are struggling with addiction, have a place to go.

The faith-based support group, Living Free, hosts meetings on Tuesday nights. It runs from 6 to 7 at the Talkington Foundation Recovery Center.

It’s located at 209 North Valley Street in Neosho.

Call Jeff at 417-451-2980 or email at jhigginsatc4s@gmail.com for more information.


Neosho High School seniors paint the hill

NEOSHO, Mo. — Seniors at Neosho High School were all about graffiti Monday.

No worries – it was all part of a plan. All part of Neosho tradition.

Neosho High School seniors are keeping a yearly tradition alive on senior hill. The 2021 graduating class started their artistic work this morning at 9.

Brylee King, Senior, “It feels great especially the last tradition that we’ve had before we graduated so most of us, this will be the last we see each other do its fun last experience that we can do together.”

“I’m painting a crown–my last name’s king so I’d thought that be really fun.”

King hopes to pursue a career in education after she graduates.

“I’m going to Freed-Hardeman University it’s in Henderson, Tennessee so a long ways from here but I’m really excited.”

Last year, students waited until July to paint the hill due to the pandemic.

Trent Barratt, Neosho High School Principal, said, “I know it’s been a long tradition 20 years ago whenever I was a high school senior here we painted the hill and it’s just a fun experience and it’s a tradition here in Neosho that other schools don’t have.”

Some of the seniors even brought their parents.

“They bring all their own equipment to paint we do provide sand because we ask them to mix their paint with their paint with that for the road.”

“Traditionally we know they would come down and paint their space whatever for the background about a couple hours later they would paint the rest of it, whatever design they chose.”

The weather wasn’t on their side, but it didn’t stop seniors from having a good time.

“I would say different but exciting, the teachers have worked really hard to make this an enjoyable year for us even though masks and covid is never fun but we’ve enjoyed each time together and we’ve been able to do most of the stuff we’ve always done,” said King


Freeman Health System celebrates National Hospital Week

SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — This week is National Hospital Week – and Freeman Health System is celebrating all of its employees on all of its campuses.

It partnered with Kona Ice Monday to give employees the chance to enjoy snow cones. A portion of the proceeds are going towards the health system’s chaplain fund – so it can help patients in many different ways, like car rides, food, clothing – even shelter.

Ryan Melton, Director Of Service Excellence, said, “Our goal is to make life better for our community to improve their health which is t’s our mission and so we can do that through to give great medication, great care and snow cones.”

The snow cone truck also made stops today at Freeman locations in Joplin and Webb City.


Kansas COVID restriction relief bill for businesses awaits decision from governor

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Hundreds of millions of dollars could be heading to Kansas businesses.

Kansas lawmakers say they are trying to help those that have suffered during the pandemic. Both sides of the Kansas Legislature passed a bill last week that is aimed at doing that. Any Kansas business with 50 or fewer full-time employees that was impacted by coronavirus restrictions since March 2020 could apply for the money.

The governor’s stay-at-home order at the beginning of the crisis lasted five weeks, which resulted in many businesses shutting their doors. Communities then put restrictions on hours and capacity limits in place impacting companies’ profits.

It’s estimated 500 million dollars could be up for grabs. That comes from federal relief bills.

The recently-passed Kansas proposal would make it so a three-person council, one member selected by the governor and two by legislative leaders, would set the guidelines of how the money will be dispersed. Supporters said the plan not only helps businesses that have seen revenues go down, but that it’s fair.

“Those private businesses were part of the solution that the government thought that they should do,” said Alan Cobb, CEO of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. “I think it’s relatively simple that, ‘hey we want to stop the pandemic, certain businesses, right, just certain, you have to shut your doors,’ so they should be compensated for it.”

Opponents worry some businesses could have an unfair advantage if the three-person council favors them compared to others.

A spokeswoman for Gov. Laura Kelly’s office said the governor has not received the bill yet. Kelly can decide to sign, veto, or let it become law without her signature.