The Joplin Humane Society welcomes its newest volunteers

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin Humane Society is welcoming its newest group of volunteers.

They are now able to help the shelter with daily operations.

“We want to give the volunteers all the skills they are gonna need to succeed. Skills on how to remain safe, how to interact with the animals and provide the socialization they need,” said Thomas Jay, Animal Behavior Manager.

Saturday afternoon the Joplin Humane society held an orientation and training session for its newest volunteers.

“We’ll learn how to get the animals in and out. Things to look for when interacting with them. Warning signs we call them. Things to let us know the animals are in an uncomfortable situation and how to deal with it when those signs come up,” said Jay.

12 people completed the training and will now be able to help with clinics and checking in on pet owners after adoption.

“There are just so many animals here. We are focusing on getting them cleaned and fed and we cannot focus on every animal. So having those volunteers come out and walk them and play with them it’s great to provide that interaction and stimulization and it looks great to the customers when they can see the animals be interacted with,” said Jay.

The shelter says the volunteers help animals find forever homes.

“We do see a lot of volunteers adopt. They come in here and they interact with the animals and they fall in love. I see that happen a lot. We have a lot of volunteers that will take them off site and they will go meet adopters out there in the world and they’ll come back here and find an animal they love,” said Jay.

The Joplin Humane Society hosts four orientation’s a month.

“I wanted to volunteer because I really like animals and this gives me something to do on the weekends. I miss having a dog since being in medical school doesn’t allow me to have a lot of pets. So I like coming here and interacting with the animals,” said Teddy Zamzow, Volunteer.

To apply to volunteer click here.


The Jasper County Sheriff's Office arrests two suspects in connection to a kidnapping

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office has two suspects in custody in connection to a kidnapping.

Friday deputies arrested two men, 19-year-old Grant Henson and 22-year-old Bryan Henson after conducting a welfare check for a missing 13-year old girl from East Prairie, Missouri.

The Sheriff’s Office says 19-year-old Grant Henson drove five hours to the victim and brought her back to his home at 4183 W. Cactus Lane in Joplin and held her against her will and sexually assaulted her.

Grant is charged with kidnapping and sodomy and is being held without bond.

During the investigation deputies found Bryan Henson with a 16-year-old female at the home.

Bryan was arrested and charged with statutory rape and is being held on a $100,000 bond.


Joplin artist uses glass art to bring snow to area

JOPLIN, Mo.–Despite the weather, some folks in Joplin were able to see snow today. The Spiva Center for the Arts hosted a class teaching people how to make snowflake suncatchers.

They are made out of fuzed glass, so participants cut the glass, layer it, and then the instructor takes it home and puts it in a kiln.

Jane McCaulley, a local art instructor says it’s her way to bring winter to the area.

“It’s nuts, it’s the snow is all gone, so we’re trying to bring our own snow and make glass snowflakes so couldn’t build a snowman, but they’re fun to make.”

McCaulley will host another type of glass fusing class next month.


“Artists Against Hunger” aims to tackle food insecurity in Southeast Kansas

PITTSBURG, Kan.–About one in six children in the Pittsburg area face food insecurity. Meaning sixteen percent of local children eat less than one meal a day. A professor at Pittsburg State University aims to fix that. 

Mayumi Keifer is an art professor at Pitt state, but before coming here, she worked at an Ohio elementary school, where she noticed food insecurity affecting her students.

“The many times that we heard or we saw a student who doesn’t have breakfast, didn’t eat and then come to school, they are not able to focus. And then also, I think it’s just the  insecurity feeling we can kind of feel and see.”

Keifer knew it wasn’t ok, so she stepped in.

“That when I started thinking of as to what can I help or what can we help as a community to support for the student or the children or some other people who are not able to receive the food for the weekend? And so we will be able to help them…In the past, we are able to help so many students in a weekend meal as a backpack program.”

In 2010, she started “Artists against hunger” in Ohio, aimed at tackling food insecurity in the community.

When Keifer started teaching sculptures and ceramics at Pitt state a year ago, she wanted to continue what she started…and added onto the “empty bowls” program.

“So I started teaching last semester and then I just jump into what can I do and what can we do then? And we started to make bowls last October and then some of the bowls were already made by local artists. So we added on and we received from their bowls and then we put together an event,” she said.

Anyone interested in a bowl, made by local artists and students containing a gift card to a local eatery, could grab one.

All they ask for is a suggested donation, which then benefits a local Pittsburg food bank, like Wesley House.

“So PSU has a gorilla pantry, a food pantry for students up there. So we got a donation through the Church of Latter-Day Saints. And so we’re giving some of the easy like you just microwavable like soups and chili and beef stew to that pantry as well. So we’re sharing,” said Hillary Houston with Wesley House.

Keifer adds as an artist, she wanted to not only pursue her passion but ensure that passion helped the community as well.


“Make-a-Wish” helps 5 year old Neosho boy’s wish come true

NEOSHO, Mo.–In 2019, Oliver Ruth suffered a major stroke after fighting influenza. Now at five years old, he’s still receiving therapy and treatments for it.

Two years ago, he was supposed to go to Disneyworld as a part of Make-a-wish, but due to Covid-19 it was postponed.

His mother, Amanda Ruth said they found “Make-a-Wish” through Oliver’s doctor.

“Oliver had a stroke, and then he was referred to Make-A-Wish by his Children’s Mercy neurologist in Kansas City.”

His mother says it’s been hard for their family. 

“It hasn’t been an easy road at all. we’re still going to therapies and many doctor visits.”

But on Friday, Oliver and his family didn’t have to think about all of that, instead, he received a big suprise from his classmates, and Make-a-wish.

Now, their family is able to focus on getting ready, for an all expenses paid trip to Disneyworld.

“They they have therapy and they have the doctor’s appointments. and this is the week that he gets to eat ice cream for breakfast if he chooses and go on his roller coasters as he wants, as he chooses,” said 

But Oliver says the best part was meeting his favorite Star Wars Character, Darth Vader. He says his favorite thing about Vader, is his light saber.

“when he touches your light saber, your hand, your hand gets cut off,” he said.

Oliver’s mother said lightsaber battles are a common occurence in the Ruth household.

“Him and his brothers, they play with lightsabers all the time at home, so it’s like constant star wars battle.”

For his mom Amanda, watching him get to live that out in real life with his favorite star wars character was a dream come true.

“I was happy that he was getting to live his dream, do something he he’s always wanted to do. “

Oliver says he’s most excited to see his favorite character again in Orlando.

When asked about Oliver choosing Darth Vader as his favorite, Make a wish says they just hope he doesn’t go over to the dark side.


Burglary Investigation at Old Seneca Milnot Building

SENECA, Mo.—Authorities are investigating a suspected burglary at the old Milnot Plant in Seneca. Officials received a call around four Thursday afternoon that someone had broken into the building. Investigators from Newton and Ottawa County Sheriff’s Offices, as well as the Seneca Police Department responded. After searching the building, officials did not find a suspect inside. Officials tell us it appears the break-in happened on the Oklahoma side of the building, so the investigation will be handled by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.


KODE Medical Focus: Duodenal Switch Surgery

KODE — You’ve likely heard of a gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery. But another surgical option is a growing trend, helping certain patients gain the best outcomes for their health.

“Absolutely you take someone who’s maybe spending a lot of money every month on medications, can’t walk, can’t play with their grandkids, you know, can’t do the things that they want to do,” said Dr. T. Brad Coy, Freeman Surgeon.

When the issue is obesity, and especially cases combined with diabetes, Duodenal Switch surgery may be the answer.

“You’re doing a gastric sleeve to get the initial weight loss off. And then you’re taking the first part of the small intestine, and you’re bypassing a large section of the small intestine. And that’s where we get most of our absorption of nutrients. So you’re bypassing a section and then sewing the duodenal to the ileum where you’ll get some absorption but not as much as you normally would.”

There are some potential issues to consider.

“So, side effect is some diarrhea. It’s a malabsorption. So you have to keep an eye on the patients. But the patients that we’ve done so far have been very successful and got off their diabetic medicines relatively quick.”

The goal isn’t just weight loss.

“Improve the metabolic function of the patient, try to eliminate or improve the diabetes, high blood pressure, the overall health of the individual.”

Patients can expect to take vitamins for the rest of their life to ensure they’re getting the nutrients they need.


Lamar deputy chief is celebrated

LAMAR, Mo. — A fixture in the Lamar community was celebrated today.

A retirement party was held in honor of Deputy Chief of Police John Davis. He’s worked for the department for 36-years. But his work in law enforcement is far from finished.

Last week, he beat out two other finalists and was named the new Police Chief of Ash Grove.

Davis is originally from the Springfield area, and has family still living in the area.

“That’s one of the biggest incentives is moving back home to family. I have a brother in Springfield, a sister in Willard, another sister in Strafford so it’s just getting us back home to family. In Lamar was the, not so much the criminals but the community. The support you get from the community. Lamar supported us, Barton County has supported us, just fantastic over the years with monetary, with bringing us food, just or good words to us. You know, being able to drive up and down the streets and say hello to people and know them by name, I mean, it just means a whole lot to me,” said Davis, New Ash Grove Police Chief.

Davis says he plans to implement several community outreach programs he’s helped establish in Lamar to the Ash Grove Police Department, including a Shop-With-A-Cop program.

The process of replacing Davis in Lamar is underway.


Delaware County man accused of raping and torturing woman to stand trial in March

JAY, Okla. — A Delaware County man charged with repeatedly torturing and raping a woman over a four-day period will stand trial.

Jake Atkins, 26, of Colcord

Jake Atkins, 26, of Colcord appeared in court on Jan. 19 and requested a jury trial on 13 charges.  The trial is set for March 14 before District Judge Barry Denney.

Atkins’ is charged in Delaware County District Court with two counts of assault and battery with intent to kill, first-degree rape – by force and fear, sodomy – by force and fear, two counts of kidnapping, five counts of domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, possession of firearms after conviction, maiming and rape by instrumentation.

The victim testified in December at Atkins’ preliminary hearing how she was almost killed when Atkins tried to drown her and bashed her head onto rocks.

The victim was tied to a chair and injected with methamphetamine, struck with metal bars on her ribs and her neck was cut almost three inches with a butcher knife, according to testimony.

Testimony showed in addition to various sexual assaults, the victim’s wrists were slit and she was tied to a tree with a rope that was also fashioned into a noose and wrapped around her neck.

Atkins remains in custody at the Delaware County jail.


News to Know: Demand for testing, life sentence, MSSU arts center repairs

TOPEKA, Kan. – Health officials in Kansas are working to improve the availability of covid-19 testing. The department says as the numbers of positive cases rise, the demand for testing is also increasing, causing delays in receiving tests and getting test results. In response, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment says it’s increasing staffing at existing testing sites and working to add 13 new testing sites. The department says it’s looking for new laboratories to reduce wait times for test results, and is searching for large indoor testing locations to prevent closures because of bad weather.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The CDC reports an average of about one in four covid tests is coming back positive, a huge increase. All 50 states are reporting a high level of community transmission. Missouri has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, and the covid situation in the state’s biggest cities is dire. Hospitals there are swamped with patients. Governor Parson declared an end to the pandemic emergency three weeks ago. That emergency order gave hospitals the flexibility to move staff around and add beds, and without it, they say they’re struggling to keep up with the rising number of patients.

FAIRLAND, Okla. – A judge sentences a Fairland, Oklahoma man to multiple life prison terms for killing one man and injuring two others, including an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper. Edwin Ball gets three life sentences, with release after 35 years, for crimes that happened in March of 20-20. Ball shot and killed Brendan Van Zwell and shot and injured Peter Stokes. The victims were the adult son and brother of Ball’s girlfriend. Ball then barricaded himself in a house near Grand Lake, where he shot and injured an Oklahoma state trooper. In November, Ball accepted a deal, pleading guilty to three charges: Murder in the First Degree, Shooting with the Intent to Kill, and Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

JOPLIN, Mo. – Repairs are in full swing inside Missouri Southern State University’s Taylor Performing Arts Center, two and a half years after it closed. The center closed in July of 2019 because of structural problems with the main stage, stairwells, and rigging system. Missouri lawmakers last year provided $2.5 million dollars to make the 47-year old facility usable again. The university expects repairs to be complete later this year.

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT: He’s a good dog… meet “Anymal” he’s a robotic dog used to keep researchers out of dangerous environments like Chernobyl and the Fukushima power plants. This morning we’re asking, how you feel about robotic animals? Join our KOAM Facebook discussion and cast your vote @ koamnewsnow.com/vote.