Program at Pitt State brings together students and industry pros

PITTSBURG, Kans. — The semester hasn’t started yet at Pittsburg State University, but people are already taking advantage of all it has to offer — getting a new insight into the woodworking industry.

“We’re not training students in our degree here at Pitt State, but we actually have industry professionals in here, and kind of giving them an overview of our program and the wood industry as a whole,” said Charlie Phillips, PSU AMMT Associate Professor.

Students aren’t the only ones getting an education at Pittsburg State University. For the past week, professionals in the woodworking industry have been getting hands-on experience in their field.

Since 2015, the Wood Tech Boot Camp has been a staple of the Architectural Manufacturing Management and Technology Labs.

“It was actually suggested by some of our industry supporters, they wanted some place where they could send some of their new sales associates that maybe didn’t have a lot of experience within the wood industry, or any experience at all, get a good overview of various aspects of it so they would be more informed when they go out and speak with their customers.”

Twice a year, the boot camp has become a resource itself for companies hoping to provide insight to its staff.

“As a company, we’ve sent the most people to this woodworking class. I deal with moving material, instead of just moving machines and what they can do, but it’s understanding what the customers’ needs are and when they talk about certain techniques, then I understand that and I can better serve the customer with their needs,” said Matthew Smith, Wood Tech Boot Camp Participant.

Each participant will go home with a reference notebook once the program comes to an end.

“I would say ‘the book is the Bible,’ and then we’ve also got all the notes and references.”

“I mean it’s always changing, but of course it’s changing at a much more rapid pace,” said Phillips.


Local four-time champion is headed to Vegas for another competition

MIAMI, Okla. — It’s not unusual to try your hand at gaming when you go to Las Vegas.

But one local man will be putting everything on the line when he goes there next week.

There are a lot of construction workers in the Four States that can build a wall with bricks, but most of them can’t do it as quickly and as accurately as Miami-native Darian Douthit.

He built this wall in Las Vegas a few years ago and ended up winning a utility vehicle for it.

“The wall is 26 foot by 8 long and you lay both sides of the wall and really it’s just, you get one hour to lay as many bricks as you possibly can, as straight as you can,” said Douthit, four time champion.

Douthit is getting ready to compete in the Spec Mix Top Craftsman Competition in Las Vegas, Nevada next week.

An event he’s won four times already and is hoping to make it five.

While there aren’t any guarantees in competition at this level, but he knows one thing for certain, how he’ll feel when it’s all over.

“Honestly, the pain, the back pain, the arm pain, for an hour, it’s pretty brutal. About ten minutes in it you’re thinking ‘why did I do this?'”

Douthit first heard about the competition from an old instructor of his.

He learned his construction trade at the Afton Campus of Northeast Tech 34 years ago and has been laying bricks ever since.

“Oh it’s, it’s bragging rights for a year. It makes you feel good when you’re against all these guys and girls included, that are all over the country that have won their region.”

Whether he’s building a wall in Vegas or one here in the Four States, if it’s a job worth doing, he says it’s a job worth doing right.

Local bricklayer Darian Douthit looks at a house he is currently working on

Pittsburg Public Library reinstates winter hours and COVID-19 protocol

PITTSBURG, Kans. — Due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, the Pittsburg Public Library will adjust its operations.

Beginning on Tuesday, it will reinstate its winter hours through the end of February; closing early on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

During this time, library personnel will also reinforce a one-hour time limit for patrons inside the facility and put limits on room capacity in an attempt to avoid overcrowding.

“Our staffing has been affected by COVID, so this just allows us flexibility in our staffing. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve had the potential for building limits here at the library, we rarely have to enforce it. We just want people to be aware, for their safety and for library staff safety, we may have to implement some building limits,” said Bev Clarkson, PPL Director.

Out of caution, library officials are asking that no volunteers be in the library for the rest of the month.

Book donations have also been suspended until further notice.


Almost 200 dogs are at the Joplin Human Society and they need help

JOPLIN, Mo. — An area animal facility needs your help in dealing with a growing number of dogs.

Close to 200 are currently housed inside the Joplin Humane Society. Shelter Services Director Tianna Fisher says there are a couple of ways residents can help the facility cope with that number:

First, through adoption.

Second, by giving them a temporary home until a permanent one is found.

She says they’ll even provide you with food to feed them.

“We are looking for fosters to help with some of our bigger dogs. We’ve got lots of them that need a place to stay for a little while to get out of the shelter and into a home environment. And we will provide those fosters with a crate to keep them in,” said Fisher.

Speaking of wire crates, Fisher says they could use more of the larger crates to be able to house the dogs both inside the shelter and when they’re sent home with foster families.

For more information on the animals available for adoption, as well as the facility’s needs, you can follow this link here.


Amber Alert Awareness Day

JOPLIN, Mo. — Today, January 13th, is AMBER Alert Awareness Day.

AMBER stands for “America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response,” as well as the first name of Amber Hagerman, a nine year old girl who was kidnapped and murdered in Arlington, Texas in 1996.

The system is used to enlist the public’s help in locating a missing child or children.
In order for area law enforcement to activate the system, certain criteria have to be met.

“It can’t be used for a juvenile that runs away or you know, a child custody situation where a parent may take another child and they may not be in danger. You can’t utilize it for those types of situations. Law enforcement can’t use it you know if there’s a bank robbery and we have a suspect vehicle and say it’s an AMBER Alert just to get information out, that’s not the intent. That’s not what we’re willing to do,” said Captain William Davis, Joplin Police Department.

Therefore, an alert is issued when there is reasonable belief that a child abduction has taken place, and that the victim faces a credible threat of serious injury or death.


KODE Medical Focus: Radon Awareness Month

KODE — Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer… And first if you’re a non-smoker.

But the odorless, invisible gas is tough to detect.

“…and there are natural levels of uranium that are around in our soil and in our basements all over the place and this guy has a gradual decline or has a gradual or wearing down of the uranium and as it wears this down, it actually changes into radon,” said Dr. Philip Slocum, Freeman Lung Center.

Dangerous for those who come in contact with radon, which the EPA says leads to 21,000 lung cancer deaths a year.

“Recent review in the European Respiratory Journal. They looked at a number of studies and they did an estimate and they think that with significant radon exposure, you increase the risk of lung cancer and non-smokers by 15% over people who are non-smokers and have not been exposed to radon.”

Risk levels in the Four States area generally thought to be lower than some other regions, but that’s no guarantee.

“That is a general evaluation of the whole environment and where we live, but individual spots and individual homes still can have high levels of radon and they need to be monitored.”

And that’s not a one-time test.

“They need to be monitored at least several years at a time. So you need monitoring. Now you come back in five years and you’re monitored again, the same place has to be looked at over and over again,” said Dr. Slocum.


Deadline to enroll for Health Insurance Marketplace quickly approaches, CHCSEK offers walk-in enrollment assistance

SOUTHEAST KANSAS — The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is working to help residents get insured.

It’s offering free walk-in enrollment assistance for Health Insurance Marketplace shoppers.

The service started today and will continue tomorrow from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM at the Pittsburg Clinic on Michigan Street.

“If a person has affordable health insurance, then it opens up doors for many people, there are a lot of services that don’t cost anything for a person that they can get like preventative care with insurance,” said Laura Julian, CHCSEK health worker.

The deadline to apply is Saturday. Applications can also be submitted online.

For more information you can follow this link here.


Kansas City police warning of possible ticket scams for Chiefs playoff game

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri Police Department has important information for anyone going to the Kansas City Chiefs game Sunday, especially for people who are traveling to the city from out of town.

“We just worry that that they may present people with an opportunity to take advantage of that situation,” Sgt. Jake Becchina said Thursday.

Becchina wants to make sure fans use caution before they buy tickets.

“Absolutely. Yes,” Becchina said when asked if people ever call them saying they’ve been scammed.

Becchina said the Economic Crime Section of KCPD investigates these situations all the time. He hopes to keep this crime at a minimum, especially if there are a number of home games.

“If somebody is the victim of that, we ask them to make a police report,” Becchina said. “Sometimes, it may be frustrating. You may think, ‘Oh nothing’s going to be done about it,’ but it is a documentation. It will get investigated. Our Economic Crime Section will get that case assigned.”

Becchina hopes fans buying tickets from outside the Chiefs use a reputable site.

“If you’re buying from us online or buying from us over the phone, you’re getting our best price in essence. The price is the price,” Tickets for Less Director of Sales and Service Carson Brackney said Thursday.

Brackney said the only thing you’d pay extra money for on his website is a sales tax, but for a local game like the one on Sunday, that’s not even the case.

“For a Kansas City event, there wouldn’t even be an additional fee structure,” he said.

KCPD said not to post pictures of your tickets online, especially the barcodes, because those can be easily stolen.


Free at-home COVID tests: Here's who isn't covered under new program

(NEXSTAR) – The first of the White House’s major initiatives to get everyone access to free, at-home COVID testing takes effect Saturday. Starting Jan. 15, private health insurers will be required to reimburse members for up to eight test kits per month.

But the new policy doesn’t benefit every American.

For starters, it only applies to people who have private health insurance. That leaves out uninsured people, an estimated 28 million or 8.6% of Americans.

It also doesn’t affect an even larger segment of the population: Americans 65 and older covered by Medicare. That’s 18.4% of Americans, as estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020.

Not everyone who has public health coverage is left out. Medicaid recipients and children covered by CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) will be eligible for reimbursement.

“People with Medicaid or CHIP coverage should contact their state Medicaid or CHIP agency for information regarding the specifics of coverage for at-home COVID-19 tests, as coverage rules may vary by state,” says the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Medicare recipients and uninsured Americans will still benefit from the White House’s plan to distribute 1 billion at-home COVID-19 tests directly to people for free. That plan is still in the works. People will soon be able to sign up to get a test mailed to them, the White House says, but the website to sign up hasn’t yet been launched.

More details and a website are expected to come next week.


Human remains found in Coffeyville

COFFEYVILLE, Kan.–Coffeyville Police officers discover human remains while investigating a missing person on Monday, January 10th.

The Coffeyville Police Department and the Kansas State Fire Marshall’s office executed a search warrant at 304 W. 3rd street in Coffeyville.
Officers are investigating a missing person report filed on January 5th.

According to a post on the Coffeyville Police Department’s Facebook page, based on the condition the remains were in, the identity could not be determined.

Authorities sent the remains to the state coroner’s office for an autopsy. Preliminary results determined the remains are of a caucasian male, but further investigation is still pending.

Anyone with information should call the Coffeyville Police Department at 620-252-6160, Detective Sgt. Vargas at 620-252-6010, or Detective Kastler at 620-252-6145. Anyone wanting to stay anonymous may provide information to the Crime Tip Hotline at 620-252-6133.