Carthage High School capstone projects show vision for the future

CARTHAGE, Mo. — “I’ve had an injury, and I might need surgery later on for it,” said Sam Feurt, Carthage High School Senior.

Feurt envisions a very different kind of bone graft.

“My project is over a three dimensional bone printer,” said Feurt. “I would print out a special filament called Hydroxyapatite that will be used in place of traditional bone grafts — your bone surgeries to make more efficient, better, safer.”

It’s his capstone project — a concept taking months of research and development that could help make patients healthier and safer in the future.

“They develop a prototype,” said Gage Tiller, Carthage Technical Center assistant director. “A lot of times, it’s taking something that’s already out on the market and just a step further.”

Carthage biomed students came up with a wide range of health solutions, from an epilepsy bracelet to a patch for leg cramps.

“I picked an asthma attack detector,” said Grant Riley, Carthage High School Senior.

It’s a STEM focus, but not just for bio-medicine.

One engineering student picked a solution for a common household problem — keeping pipes clean.

“We did a lot of research,” said Aubrie Fewin, Carthage High School Senior. “We surveyed over 200 people and over 60% said they have this problem and don’t currently have a solution to fix it. So, we were like, ‘Okay, that’s obviously a problem in the community that we want to help fix.'”

It’s a conceptual solution today, which could lead to a career and a real world product in the future.


Special Olympics returns to Pitt State for first time in two years

PITTSBURG, Ks. — Close to 200 young athletes were in Pittsburg today for the first time in two years.

They were all taking part in southeast regional track youth competitions for Special Olympics Kansas.

Participants represented 12 counties — and ran and jumped their way to medals at Carnie Smith Stadium at Pittsburg State.

Due to the loss of state games due to the pandemic, organizers wanted to make sure athletes still had the chance to compete.

“This has been a really great day,” said Erin Fletcher, Special Olympics Kansas director of grants and development. “People have been able to come out in the sunshine and see their friends, make new friends and be able to volunteer and really make a difference.”

Southeast regional track adult competitions will take place on May 26th — and will also take place at Pittsburg State.


Wildcat Glades offering escape rooms

JOPLIN, Mo. — Looking for a place to escape — or at least try?

Look no further tham Wildcat Glades in Joplin.

The conservation education center will host a nature-themed version of an escape room this weekend.

Groups of up to six can sign-up to lock themselves in a room, answer questions and solve puzzles based on Missouri plants and animals.

Jessie Ballard, Wildcat Glades naturalist, said the goal is “to solve all these different clues” and “to figure out 10 different animals and their special super powers and characteristics that live right here in the state of Missouri.”

The event runs from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM on Saturday at the nature center building.

Folks need to register ahead of time – and availability is limited.

You can sign-up here.


Make your own Mothers Day cards

CARTHAGE, Mo. — You can go out and buy your mom a card for Mother’s Day — or make one yourself.

The latter is what kids in the Carthage Parents as Teachers” program were doing today.

Program instructors helped the youngsters with their creations — ones their mothers are sure to cherish forever.

“It’s great,” said Jane Goade, director of Carthage Parents as Teachers. “We opened back up for group connections and they’re here today to make a Mother’s Day gift for their moms and also we’re giving each child that comes a free book of their choice.”

Those free books were donated from the Carthage Literacy Council and the Carthage Library.


Franklin Tech selling wide range of plants

JOPLIN, Mo. — Local gardeners have a chance to support local students while expanding their green space.

Franklin Tech’s ag program is selling a wide range of plants — everything from tomatoes and peppers, to petunias and hanging plants.

Teachers say it’s a great opportunity for their students to see the whole process – from seeds and transplanting, to actually selling what they’ve grown.

“I do most of the cashier portion, but the kids grew all the crops,” said Franklin Tech teacher Charli Jo Baugh. “They transplanted everything. They cleaned, they powerwashed.”

The plant sale continues Thursday and Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM.

It’s open to the public.

Those interested are asked to enter the east side of the facility.


Joplin graduate inspired to become a local doctor

JOPLIN, Mo. — Kansas City University-Joplin is holding its first graduation this weekend.

One of those graduates says her path to becoming a physician changed the day of the 2011 Joplin tornado.

“I always wanted to be a doctor,” said Cali Clark. “But I think just graduating the day of the tornado, it just helped me to realize that Joplin really is a special community and we have such a bond with each other and it made me want to stay here and be a part of that.”

Clark graduated from Joplin High School on May 22, 2011, the day an EF-5 tornado tore through Joplin.

She says that day inspired her to give back to her community.

“It helped me to get that sense of community and sense of unity,” Clark said. “The tornado was such a horrible thing and many people lost their lives and homes and I wanted to stay here and be able to build up the community just like they had supported us during that time.”

Clark attended Missouri Southern State University for her undergrad and is now part of Kansas City University-Joplin’s first graduating class.

“It couldn’t have worked out any more perfect than that,” Clark said. “Then, being on the other side and being here four years later, its almost like this rush of this dream coming true and being able to have it fulfilled.”

She will be starting her residency at Freeman Health System for internal medicine.

On Sunday, 131 students will be graduating from KCU-Joplin and 18 of those will be staying in the Joplin area.

“The excitement in the air is palpable,” said Laura Rosch, Dean of KCU-Joplin. “It’s just so long awaited. It’s been a dream and vision of many stakeholders in the community and we are so proud of these amazing graduates to make it through.”


Local family raising chickens on own ranch

NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. — What started out as a hobby — is now a successful business in Newton county.

Angela and Robbie Hand wanted to start having a few chickens on their farm.

They loved them so much, it started to grow over time and became a passion to save and raise different kinds of birds.

Six years ago, Robbie and Angela Hand decided to start raising birds on their farm.

They started out with five.

They now have more than 600, a number that includes a vast mix of chickens and quail.

The couple decided to brand where their feathered friends now live.

The Loving Hands Chicken Ranch — where they breed, hatch and raise local and critically endangered birds.

“We love it,” said Angela Hand, co-owner of Loving Hands Chicken Ranch. “Even though some people say I have a glorified hobby, this is our passion.”

The Hands are registered with the National Poultry Improvement Plan and the Livestock Conservancy.

Some of the endangered birds they have are only a few in the world, so they are determined to raise as many as they can.


Pandemic increases esports interest in 4-State area


NEOSHO, Mo. – Esports have been growing in popularity on a global level but the Coronavirus pandemic gave them a real shot in the arm.

According to safebettingsites.com, the global esports audience is set to reach 474 million viewers this year with the viewership growing by almost 20% since the COVID-19 outbreak began. And local teams saw a part of that growth.

“During the height of the pandemic here when real sports weren’t happening, esports provided an outlet for students to interact and cheer on students here at Fort Scott playing and competing when there wasn’t any other way to do that at the time. So we saw a huge increase in our Twitch viewership,” said Fort Scott Community College esports coach Ben Souza.

And many local players are welcoming newcomers with open arms.

Players from the Crowder College and Neosho High School esports teams spent their Thursday fighting for their schools by playing the latest Super Smash Brothers game, and they say thanks to esports, they’ve got a lot more friends.

“It’s absolutely a great way to make friends. I mean, already you’re signing up for a game that you already play with your friends so now you’ve got other people who are doing the same thing as you,” said Crowder College player Logan Downey.

“The team I currently play with now, I didn’t know any of them when I first started. But now every time we group up, we always laugh, we have something to joke about, we can always just talk to each other and play a game,” said Neosho High player Chase Laughlin.

The friends and good times are definite perks but these teams aren’t clubs for casual gaming.

These players are eligible for scholarships, and just like on-the-field college athletes that means regular practice and getting passing grades.

But another big draw of esports is that anyone who has the skills and puts in the work has a shot at the big leagues.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are. It’s all about how good you are. So in theory, anybody could really join an esports and I think that’s fantastic,” said Downey.



Cherokee County Sheriff gets equipment donation

CHEROKEE CO., Kan. — Cherokee County’s K9 unit and deputies are little safer thanks to a donation from “Spike’s K9 Fund.” The fund donated an “Ace K9 Hot-N-Pop Pro and Heat Alarm” for deputy Nate Jones and his K9 partner Bear. The equipment allows a deputy to monitor the temperature in his car and turn on AC or roll down the windows if things get too hot.