Inaugural Bear season in Arkansas is underway

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — For the first time in modern history, Arkansas hunters will be able to legally harvest a black bear in the Gulf Coastal Plain and portions of the Delta in south Arkansas this weekend. 

While the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is excited about this milestone in conservation and opportunity for hunters, there are a few key points to remember to get the most out of the hunt and ensure it remains a fixture in Arkansas’s outdoors.

| RELATED: Missouri began a bear season in recent years. Harvesting is broken down into zones and hunters chosen by raffle.

Black bear season for Bear Zones 3 and 4 is Dec. 10-16, but may close earlier than Dec. 16 if the quota for the zone is reached.

“We’ve set the quota at 25 bears for Zone 4 and five bears for Zone 3,” Myron Means, AGFC Large Carnivore Program Coordinator, said. “Hunters need to call the wildlife hotline (800-440-1477) before their hunt to check the harvest number and make sure the quota hasn’t been reached. I’ll be updating that hotline every day at noon and every evening at 6 p.m. The season will end  in the respective zone if the quota is reached or Dec. 16, whichever comes first.”

Hunters may use modern guns, muzzleloaders or archery equipment, and the statewide limit is one bear per season.

Hunters successful in killing a bear must immediately check their bear through the AGFC’s mobile app, website or call 877-731-5627 to report their harvest. Just as with deer, once a bear has been checked it does not need to be tagged unless it leaves your possession (left at deer camp, taxidermist, processor, etc.). If a hunter cannot immediately check the bear, they must make their own tag with ink, including their name, date and bear zone of harvest. They may check the bear within 12 hours of harvest.

All successful hunters will also be required to submit a premolar from the bear. The AGFC’s bear team will mail them a packet including bags for the premolar and a hair sample with instructions on how to complete the process.

“The premolar submission is required, but the hair sample is optional; however, getting us a hair sample is very helpful in our research and continued monitoring of the population,” Means said.

Means says the warm weather may have more female bears out feeding instead of denning up, and hunters should avoid shooting any female bears with cubs.

“It’s legal to shoot one, but those cubs are the future of the population and they will den with their mother for an additional year,” Means said. “If you can tell that it’s a female, honestly it would be best to let her pass. We worked on a video to help hunters tell the difference between boars and sows, but obviously if a cub is with the bear, it’s a sow.”

Means also cautions that there are some research bears in south Arkansas that he’d prefer hunters pass on shooting. As part of the new season, biologists and staff have outfitted a few female bears with special satellite-tracking collars to give detailed information about their movements throughout the year, including hunting season. So far 13 of the dedicated 15 collars have been placed.

“Again, it’s legal to harvest a collared bear, but we really would prefer people give them a pass,” Means said. “These bears are giving us some very valuable information about the population and hunting season, and this is new territory that we really want to get some good data to help continue these hunts and keep our bear population healthy.” (SOURCE: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Follow them on social media).

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Firefighters quick work save main house from burning

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — About 9:30 p.m. Saturday night, December 10, 2022, reports of a structure fire at 410 W Walnut alerted Carl Junction E-911.

Carl Junction Fire, METS ambulance and Carl Junction Police responded.

First report on scene state the garage was fully involved and there were booms coming from the structure.

Walnut was closed to all traffic as hoses ran across the roadway.

No one was injured in the fire, or fighting the fire

Neighbors tell us there were loud booms heard as the garage was burning. Source is unknown. There was a vehicle consumed by the fire. Many times tires deflating create a boom effect.  Also propane tanks on BBQ grills can be a culprit.

410 W Walnut in Carl Junction. Google Street View, date unknown. Detached garage noted in image burned.

CJ Fire worked quickly to control the fire from spreading to the main residence, just feet away. The heat of the flames melted siding from the east side of the home.

CJ Police investigators arrived shortly after 10:15 p.m.

Chief Joe Perkins of Carl Junction Fire requested assistance from the State Fire Marshals office. On scene investigation continued until about 1 a.m. Sunday morning.

We will update this article with more information as it becomes available from authorities. Stay with Joplin News First for news where you live (click this link and save bookmark on your phone).  Scroll below and sign up for our JLNews email updates so you don’t miss an article.



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Hole forms in I-44 overpass, emergency repairs affecting traffic at Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. – About 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, December 10, 2022, MoDOT was alerted to a hole that had formed in one lane of I-44 westbound on the overpass of South Main Street.

It was determined to fix the hole so traffic was diverted as a lane was closed about 5:45 p.m.

It is unknown how long the repair will take.  But in routine repairs as such it can be into the overnight hours.

Avoid I-44 westbound from South Rangeline (exit 9) to South Main (exit 6).

This is a developing story, stay with Joplin News First on KOAM News Now as we continue to learn more and update information here in our article.



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Shop with a Cop 2022, helping 175+ kids smile more at Christmas

JOPLIN, Mo. — Despite the early Saturday morning, everyone was all smiles on December 10, 2022, more than 175 kids were able to ‘Shop with a Cop’ at Wal-Mart #59, 1501 S Rangeline, in Joplin.

  • CAPT DAVIS: Today is our Annual ‘Shop with a Cop’ where officers with the Joplin Police and Seneca Police are able to pair up with kids who may not have a great Christmas ahead of them, but we take them Christmas shopping today. It’s a great program we look forward to it each and every year.
  • Q: How many kids are here this morning?
  • CAPT DAVIS: This year we have about 180 kids between Joplin Police and Seneca Police, we both pair up. So kids are from Joplin Schools and Seneca Schools today.
  • Q: We are doing the math in our head? Each child gets $100 to spend on themselves and maybe someone special in their life. Wow! Who pays for all this?
  • CAPT DAVIS: This would not be possible without the generous donations from individuals, businesses, organizations, in and around the Joplin area. We are so thankful that each and every year they continue to donate to help make this possible.
  • Q: How is this event still special to you personally year after year?
  • CAPT DAVIS: This program is really special, when you get paired with a kid and they want to shop for people other than themselves. It really touches your heart. They maybe want to buy a present for mom, dad, brother, sister. It shows the true meaning what this is all about… helping others.

Fraternal Order of Police SWMo Lodge #27 members come together to help organize the event. Lodge members also donate money and time every year. Today we spotted Joplin Police Explorers, Joplin Police Sentinels, MSSU Criminal Justice students, Diamond Police, however dozens of others involved who were not able to attend in person.

Kids are mostly nominated by school resource officers and guidance counselors. They are each allotted a specific amount of money to shop. On a different day, which is more private, the foster children get to shop.

Wal-Mart #59 employees were numerous meeting kids and families in line with donuts, juice, milk and smiles. Dozens were there, including management, helping shoppers find certain items, keep the checkouts running smoothly, and perhaps cleaning up a spill or two quickly that happened while shopping!

I am not a part of this program, I just had to have my tires worked on today. But I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate what you all do!

Shopper talking to JPD Ofc 

Numerous other police departments and agencies across the area work to within their local communities to help those at Christmas. So there are opportunities to give everywhere.

Holding other events this season include (partial list, click each below to view):

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Pittsburg couple finds lost diamond after a year

PITTSBURG, Kan. – After taking their morning walk on October 4th, 2021, Fran Smith discovered that the diamond on her wedding ring was missing.

“At that point, she didn’t know when it had fallen out or where far, perhaps even into the shower that morning. So we searched the house and tried to find her with a light, maybe a reflection, and we didn’t come up with the sediment at all.” Don Smith said.

Losing all hope that the diamond would be found, the couple took the ring to a jeweler to remove the prongs that once held the diamond.

“So, therefore, we had the ring fixed without the diamond, and looked really nice without the diamond.”

After living without the diamond for a full year, the Smiths got a huge surprise on October 1st this year.

Finding the diamond in the crevice of Don’s walking shoe.

“I was kind of skeptical because I couldn’t think that after a year that actually we had found it,” said Fran Smith, Don’s wife.

“Well, when I saw it, I thought, my goodness, this has been stuck in here for a year. And I’ve walked around all this time and it never came out. And I was pretty confident that it was the right time. I mean, it wasn’t any fake little jewel rolling around.” Don said.

After the diamond was taken back to the jeweler to be remounted. the Smiths said a good Samaritan already paid for the diamond to be put back in its rightful place.

“And then when we went to pay the jeweler after he had put it back on the ring, he told us that somebody else had already paid the bill for us. So that was very emotional. they had to hand me a Kleenex.”

Don Smith says his children were excited.

“Our devotion to each other and to God remain the same, and so we shared the story of the finding the diamond, and everyone, our children and grandchildren included, are pretty excited about her having the diamond back in her ring.

The couple got engaged with the ring in 1966.

Joplin Police officer observes smoke coming from a residence; Joplin Fire respond

JOPLIN, Mo. – About 7:15 p.m. Friday evening, December 9, 2022, a Joplin Police officer on patrol noticed smoke coming from a residence at 1925 South Connor. Joplin E-911 alerted the Joplin Fire Dept to respond.

Joplin Fire arrival observed smoke coming from the eaves and roof of the residence.

Joplin Police tell us on scene there was no sign of forced entry.

We never observed visible flames from outside the residence.  Neighbors tell us it is vacant, the owners had fixed the home up for sale and the for sale sign is clearly posted in the front yard.

Liberty Utilities responded to cut electric from the residence. Smoke almost immediately began subsiding.

| MORE JOPLIN NEWS FIRST >> Fire Dept reminders of Space Heater Safety

Joplin Fire will have official information as it becomes available. But for now it appears it was electrical within the walls and ceiling.

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Local officers have a new tool to deter threats

MIAMI, Okla. – Local law enforcement officers now have a new way of deterring threats while preserving life using PeppeBall launchers and PepperBall Blast.

Miami Police Department Lieutenant Jason Bissell is a certified trainer and held two sessions this week to train 15 area officers on the proper use of non-lethal devices.

As the MPD’s lead trainer, Bissell also provides training for the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, where he has a Reserve Commission.

“It’s a great alternative,” Bissell said.

Bissell said the PepperBall launcher models, the FTC and VKS, are designed to prevent deaths and provide an effective option to lethal or less-lethal weapons.

About PepperBall training

The PepperBall launchers can only be used by trained officers and according to policy, MPD officers only use force when it is reasonably necessary to accomplish lawful goals, protect themselves or others from physical injury, or prevent escape.

Officers are trained to utilize a progression of force, beginning with verbal warnings, physical directions, and demands, and ending with the discharge of weapons as a last resort.

The PepperBall devices provide a non-lethal option that should only be used in active resistance situations, such as crowd dispersal or distraction during riots or when people are threatening physical harm or property damage.

Officers are trained to evaluate a situation using a three-pronged strategy that considers the seriousness of the offense, the immediate danger to the public’s safety, and whether the suspect is actively resisting arrest or attempting to flee.

The PepperBall launchers shoot hard plastic breakable spheres using high-pressure air and CO2 to deliver PAVA (pelargonic acid vanillyamide) powder projectiles upwards to 60 feet with a powder saturation of up to 150 feet.

The ingredients in PepperBalls are based on capsaicinoids, one of the spiciest substances found in pepper plants that can render a person unconscious and stop them for up to 15 minutes.

The area where the projectiles strike the person may also sustain bruises, abrasions, welts, and perhaps bleeding and officer are trained to not aim at faces, necks, spines, or groin areas to avoid potential greater harm.

Four different projectile types are utilized, each with varying amounts of PAVA, a harmless powder, or a more powerful substance called a glass-breaker that may break windows on cars and houses.

The officers also received training on how to use a PepperBall Blast, a smaller handheld weapon meant to fire a single blast for use in closer situations like entry situations and jail riots.

According to Bissell, any use of these devices by MPD officers is reported and documented.

Alternate Strategies

Officers also learned about de-escalation strategies and legal guidance on what constitutes fair and acceptable use of a weapon during the training.

Before deploying the PepperBall systems, the officers were instructed to issue verbal warnings. If fired, they were instructed to employ a certain amount of shots and, when practical, to use tactical pauses to further evaluate the situation.

The participating class was shown a number of videos demonstrating the usefulness of the PepperBall as well as other situations where having this alternative accessible would be beneficial to both suspects and cops.

After passing a test and a range training where they fired a number of rounds from the launcher, the police were certified to use the weapon.

According to Bissell, the Miami Police Department has successfully employed firearms in a number of circumstances, potentially saving lives.


Christmas is coming early to local schools

SPRINGFIELD & JOPLIN, Mo. – Christmas will be coming early this year for 1,800 students, teachers, and administrators.

As part of their yearly Season of Giving, James River Church will give each of them a unique gift.

KOAM’s Ty Parks was there today for the event

“As a church we love giving gifts, and letting children know they are loved by God is one of the most important things we do,” Chuck Greenaway, Director of Church & Community Care at James River Church, said. “We look forward to being in local schools again this year with a fun, Christmas-themed program and a gift for every child!”

James River Church has collaborated with local schools for 24 years to provide gifts and spread holiday cheer.

Five school blessings are scheduled this year, including a Christmas adventure, interactive games, and music.

Times and locations for Springfield:

  • Friday, Dec. 9th: Westport Elementary at 9:30 a.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 9th: Williams Elementary at 12:45 p.m.
  • Monday, Dec. 12th: Bowerman Elementary at 9:30 a.m.
  • Monday, Dec. 12th: York Elementary at 12:20 p.m.

Times and location for Joplin:

  • Friday, Dec. 9th: Dover Hill K-2 Elementary at 9:30 a.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 9th: Dover Hill 3-5 Elementary at 12:45 a.m.

Area schools are selected based on several factors, including the number of children enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program.

Donations for the gifts are provided by the church’s Season of Giving.

Local business is expanding to help out more families

PITTSBURG, Kan – Friday, Integrated Behavioral Technologies started construction to expand their facilities in hopes of helping out more families.

Since 2010, Integrated Behavioral Technologies (IBT) has been providing in-home applied behavior analysis services to autistic children and families in Pittsburg and Southeast Kansas.

The SEK team is happy to move out of the little clinic’s three rooms and into a bigger space that will be more accommodating for its personnel, customers’ families, and staff members.

Early in 2023, IBT and Sonshine Child Care will open a new facility to provide clinic-based services for families and kids affected by autism.

The clinic, which will be 2385 square feet in size, could serve up to 30 families.

Despite being based in Pittsburg, IBT expects that residents of nearby cities will contact them for services.

IBT was founded in 2002 to address Kansas’s almost complete lack of autism treatment resources, where 48% of the population is thought to reside in rural areas.

IBT has expanded from Dr. Heitzman-Powell and a small group of professionals working with a small number of families to a business that employs over 75 clinical staff throughout the State of Kansas.

Director Dr. Linda Heitzman-Powell, IBT Founder and Executive, is very excited about the SEK Clinic.

“Since 2014 we have talked about opening a bricks-and-mortar structure in the area with the identification of a site as a part of our 5-year plan. Not only is this a site where families can enroll their children for evidence-based treatment, this is a facility that is specifically designed to address the needs of children with autism and their families from age of first diagnosis until they transition into adulthood,” says Dr. Paige Boydston.

Boydston has been providing services to families in the Southeast Kansas area since 2011. She’s relieved to finally be able to provide greater access to services in a severely underserved area of Kansas.

“Hopefully this center will be a resource to families not only in Pittsburg, but also in the surrounding cities and counties. One of my personal goals is to help train and retain providers and professionals in the SEK area so our work can continue to expand and provide some much needed support to families.”

Pastor Talent and the IBT team are eager to collaborate with Sonshine ChildCare Facility to provide services that are desperately needed in the SEK area.

“Victory Life Church is grateful to be part of this ground-floor opportunity to bring two much needed services together for our community. We know that I.B.T., under the direction of Dr Linda Heitzman-Powell, Dr. Paige Boydston and Jon Durney, has worked diligently to provide services for those individuals with autism and their families in South-East Kansas. We are excited to be a part of this wonderful community project and we look forward to many years of growth and partnership.”

IBT is open to serving anyone in Southeast Kansas and has served families in Pittsburg, Parsons, Ft. Scott, Chanute, Carl Junction MO, and Frontenac.


Elderly woman scammed into receiving 15 pounds of cocaine, instructed to repackage and ship

TULSA, Okla. – Federal investigators have been handed a case that originated within the city of Tulsa involving an elderly woman scammed to receive drugs, and instructed to repackage and ship them to another address.

Tulsa Police say it was roughly 7 KILOS (15.4 POUNDS) of cocaine.  The estimated street value is $300,000.

| HOUSE FIRES >>Fire Dept reminders of Space Heater Safety

After serving a narcotics warrant at the elderly woman’s address near 61st and Memorial officers discovered the drugs.

Through the investigation, it appears an elderly female was scammed online into receiving the drugs and was given instructions to repackage the drugs to ship to another address. Due to the nature of the crimes, the information and the woman were turned over to federal authorities.” – Tulsa Police Dept

The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) and Homeland Security Investigations continue the investigation.

This is a breaking news story, stay with Joplin News First on KOAM News Now as we continue to learn more.  Scroll below and sign up for our JLNews email alerts so you don’t miss an article.



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