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News To Know: record voting numbers, Big Fish

WASHINGTON— The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced that U.S. Army Air Forces Staff Sergeant David E. Holeman, 39, of Le Harpe, Kansas, who was captured and died as a prisoner of war during World War II, was accounted for August 23, 2022. To read more about this coming home, click here.

JOPLIN, Mo. — The midterm elections are finally over but it was one for the record books for Jasper County. Out of 81,907 registered voters in Jasper County 34,903 ballots were cast. That means 42.67 % voted. It was the 3rd largest turnout for a November election ever in Jasper County.

NEOSHO, Mo. –The 20th Annual Crowder College Foundation Festival of Wreaths took place Tuesday evening at 5:00 P.M. The event began with a silent auction in Longwell Museum located inside the Elsie Plaster Community Center on the Neosho campus. Last year, the event raised over $137,000 for scholarships & program support. Click here to read more about this story.

PITTSBURG, Ks.— Students at Pittsburg High School are putting the final touches on their newest theater presentation “Big Fish”. The musical is based on a celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace as well as a movie by Tim Burton.

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Reconstructed Lime Kiln Rocky Slope Dam ribbon cutting

NEOSHO, Mo. — A Newton County area prone to deadly drownings is now safer thanks to a project three years in the making.

This morning the City of Neosho, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Missouri Department of Conservation cut the ribbon for the reconstructed Lime Kiln Rocky Slope Dam.

The area has been closed since June of last year two people drowned.

At least five people have drowned in Shoal Creek below the Lime Kiln Dam in the last seven years.

Past conditions at the dam also created a hazardous undercurrent and prevented fish from passing through it.

But now thanks to many organizations and construction companies the area is much safer for people to enjoy again.

“Swimming will just be like any other creek that you’ll go to, I mean you’ll swim at your own risk. What we have eliminated is the undercurrent that existed prior to the rocky slope dam,” said David Kennedy, City Manager of Neosho.

The dam itself hasn’t had any work done since its construction in the 1940s.

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Newton County Republicans' Annual "Free Bean Feed"

NEOSHO, Mo. — With the November general election just days away now, candidates are making their last campaign stops.

This evening, the “Newton County Republican Central Committee” held its annual “Free Bean Feed.”

More than 300 people came out for dinner and to listen to several Republican candidates on Tuesday’s ballot.

The committee also discussed each ballot issue, but the priority tonight was voter encouragement.

“We have what’s called a 72-hour plan. So, the last 72 hours before election day, we try and turn people out to vote and remind them it’s election day and have their friends and neighbors go vote. And what’s new this year is there’s no excuse for absentee voting. So, people can vote on Monday up to 5:00 at the Clerk’s Office and not have to have an excuse,” said Nick Meyers, Chairman, of Newton County Republican Central Committee.

The group is recruiting volunteers for even more voter outreach as we get closer to Tuesday.

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Veterans Voices: Dream Flight

NEOSHO, Mo. — One organization is helping make lasting memories for hundreds of Veterans around the country.

This morning, it got the chance to give three local men a ride they’ll never forget.

“We want this to be the best day of the rest of their lives, and for a lot of them it is,” said Jeff Klosky, Dream Flight Pilot.

Jeff Klosky is a “Dream Flights” pilot; a volunteer-based organization that takes our country’s Veterans on open cock pit flights as a special way to say thank you.

On Saturday, he took three Veterans from “Gran Villas Residential Care” up into the morning sky.

“It’s very powerful. It means a lot to them. Since we’ve talked about Dream Flight, we talked about their service and their stories are so interesting and what they gave our country is just amazing. We appreciate them greatly and that our country appreciates them greatly,” said Carman Williams, Operator, of Gran Villas Residential Care.

Jeff Klosky is a United States Veteran himself. Saturday’s Dream Flight marked more than 90 flights for him.
The organization alone has held nearly 600 flights just this year.

“Seeing the smiles on faces of our elderly Veterans, we don’t get paid in cash, but we get paid in those smiles. And so, it’s very addictive. It just brings a lot of joy, knowing that you’re bringing joy to somebody else,” said Klosky.

“I think they’d done something that’s good, something that can’t be taken away. It’ll be stuck with me for a long, long time,” said Lloyd Tanner, United States Navy Veteran.

“It was tremendous. Great time to be alive,” said Ron Lacy, United States Navy Veteran.

All three Veterans received a “Dream Flight” hat, signed by Klosky.

“Being able to do something for them, who willingly gave up everything without really asking any questions and they just did it. And so, to be able to connect with them on that is just, it’s so rewarding,” said Klosky.

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Teen killed in Neosho motorcycle crash

NEOSHO, Mo. — A teenager was killed in a motorcycle crash near Neosho on Monday, Oct. 31.

Dylan E. Cole, 19, of Neosho was fatally injured while riding a 2022 Kawasaki Z650. Cole was riding east on Route AA about two miles south of Neosho when a 2015 Toyota Camry driven by a 70-year-old woman from Bella Vista, Arkansas, made a left turn in from of him, according to a crash report.

Cole struck the Camry and was ejected from the motorcycle. Cole was pronounced dead on the scene at 2:58 p.m. Oct. 31.

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Neosho man sentenced to 15 years for Child Molestation

NEOSHO, Mo. — After pleading guilty to 3rd Degree Child Molestation a judge sentences a Neosho man to 15 years in prison.

David M. Cox, 19, received his sentence in the Newton County Court on Friday, less than a week ahead of a scheduled jury trial. His trial was moved to McDonald County on a change of venue.

Last fall, the victim disclosed to a forensic interviewer at the Children’s Center in Joplin, that she was forcibly molested by Cox multiple times and violently raped during the last attack. Those incidents reportedly taking place between the summer of 2017 and summer of 2020 – when the victim was between the ages of 11 and 14 during those times.

Cox was originally charged with first degree rape, first degree sodomy, and two counts of sexual abuse and misconduct. Additionally, police said that at the time of his arrest and charges, they knew of at least eight other potential victims ranging in ages from seven to 19. The prosecutor says those other cases potentially took place when Cox was still a minor.

Fifteen years is the maximum sentenced allowed under law for 3rd Degree Child Molestation. He will be 34 if he serves the full sentence.

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Halloween compliance for registered offenders in Newton County

NEOSHO, Mo. — Area law enforcement officials are keeping a watchful eye on sex offenders as Halloween draws closer.

The “Newton County Sheriff’s Office” has a full time officer who checks on registered sex offenders throughout the year.

But Sheriff Chris Jennings says the officer gets some extra help this time of the year,

“There are restrictions on their contact with children, they have the lights out between 5 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., not to have any direct contact with children or anything to entice children,” said Chris Jennings, Newton County Sheriff.

Jennings says they generally don’t have many problems with offenders not abiding by the regulations.

He says they must post a sign that states they aren’t giving out candy.

We have a link to the Newton County Sex Offender registry, here.

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Inside the Crowder College/Neosho Police Department partnership

NEOSHO, Mo. — Crowder College has always contracted with the Neosho Police Department to provide two of their officers on campus. Dr. Katricia Pierson, School President, says a student focus group requested the school have their own, independent fully commissioned officers to go along with an existing security officer.

“And having a police department on site is something that actually benefits retention, because those police officers are employees of the college and get to know the students in a different way and the students in turn know them,” said Dr. Katricia Pierson, Crowder College President.

The goal is to have the same law enforcement faces on campus so students can develop a rapport with them that might not develop when those faces change on a frequent basis.

And that’s just fine with Officer Johnny Humphries, who was hired by the school earlier this week.

“We’ll be providing serveral services, one of them will be just being a deterent to anybody who might cause violence to the students, making the students feel better, a lot of our job’s just providing service, might be changing someboy’s tire or giving somebody directions, that kind of stuff, general community service,” said Officer Johnny Humphries, Crowder Police Officer.

That’s exactly what happened to Kayla Talbot this week when her car had a flat. At first she thought someone slashed her tires, until it became clear that wasn’t the case.

“And he looked at the security cameras and made it like noticeable that I drove on it flat which punctured my tire and he helped me change my tire and got a couple of the guys from the diesel place to help me change and then he aired up the rest of my tires,” said Kayla Talbot, Crowder College Student.

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"Affordable Connectivity Program" providing tablets for eligible families

NEOSHO, Mo. — You might be eligible for a low-cost tablet, thanks to a new federal program.

The FCC’s “Affordable Connectivity Program” is giving away tablets for a one-time activation fee of $20.

Anyone who already receives federal or state assistance is automatically eligible, including programs like free and reduced lunch, SNAP, Pell Grants and veteran or tribal benefits.

Families making at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines are also eligible. The goal of the program is to get people connected in the digital age.

“Applying for assistance, almost everything is shifting to online. And so mail not only takes longer, but it’s becoming almost obsolete, paper. Everybody wants everything to be digital because it’s faster, it saves trees, and so on. So nowadays it seems to be crucial. And of course you have online education. A lot of medical services are going over to telehealth services,” said Robert Smith, Affordable Connectivity Program.

To register for a tablet, you can call 417-396-4365.
You can find more information on the FCC’s website, here.