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Prairie Grove training video depicts school kids as shooting victims, admins on leave

PRAIRIE GROVE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Prairie Grove School Board has placed two district administrators on paid administrative leave following outcries from teachers about a school safety training video they say depicted their families as victims of a school shooting.

After meeting in executive session Friday night, the board announced that Superintendent Reba Holmes will be on paid administrative leave until her scheduled retirement in 2023. Prairie Grove Middle School Principal Shayne Taylor was also placed on paid administrative leave.

The Prairie Grove School Board held a special meeting on Dec. 2 where many teachers expressed concern about the video.

Several Prairie Grove Middle School teachers tell KNWA/FOX24 the training video is giving them nightmares.

According to the teachers, school administrators were concerned about staff keeping doors locked within the school as a safety precaution.

They say during the training session on Nov. 30, administrators showed a video that upset several staffers.

Some of the people who viewed the video say it depicted Prairie Grove teachers and their biological children as victims of a school shooting.

The educators claim the district took their family photos from Facebook.

Aubrey Crain, a teacher at the school, says this was especially disturbing because it combined her two worst fears: a school shooting and the death of her child.

“It was absolutely chilling and disgusting,” Crain said. “I will never unhear the first gasp of the teacher. The first teacher that saw her personal blood-related child on the video. It was just horrifying. Absolutely chilling.”

Another teacher described some of the images in the video.

“(They) turned on the video and it was there that the words ‘Prairie Grove Middle School’. (The video showed) there was a school shooting at Prairie Grove Middle School on December 14, 2022. This is the 10th anniversary of Sandy Hook,” the teacher said. “The next slide said 36 students were killed and 11 staff members were killed. The next slide read ‘These were the lives gone too soon.'”

KNWA/FOX24 left several messages for the Prairie Grove School Superintendent and never heard back.

KNWA/FOX24 also went to the administrative offices this afternoon and was told no one would comment.

KNWA/FOX24 did obtain an email from the school sent to middle school staff apologizing for the video saying it was in poor taste.

It also stressed the importance of safety measures like keeping doors locked.

This is an ongoing story. Stay with KNWA/FOX24 for more information.

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Meet Brenda Andrew; Oklahoma's only woman on death row

OKLAHOMA CITY – Former Sunday School teacher Brenda Andrew is the only woman on Oklahoma’s death row.

In 2004, she was convicted of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the Nov. 2001 shooting death of her husband, Rob Andrew, according to published reports.  Jurors recommended the death penalty.

Brenda Andrew, Oklahoma Department of Corrections mugshot (2017)

The Court of Criminal Appeals sets execution dates and at this time, the court has not announced a date for Andrew’s sentence to be carried out, said Josh Ward, Department of Corrections spokesman.

Andrew’s lover and fellow Sunday School teacher, James Pavatt, was convicted in 2003 of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to death.  The Court of Criminal Appeals set his execution date for July 11, 2024.   

A month before the Nov. 2001 shooting, Rob Andrew reported to police his vehicle brake line had been cut, and he believed Pavatt, his insurance agent, and his wife were trying to kill him for insurance money proceeds, according to published reports.

The 39-year-old ad executive was fatally shot in the family’s garage on Nov. 20, 2001, while picking up his children for child visitation. Instead of taking her two children to their father’s funeral, Andrew and Pavatt head to Mexico where they spent almost three months on the run.  The couple was taken into custody at the Mexico border when they tried to reenter the United States.

Founded in 1990, the Death Penalty Information Center is a national non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment.

Women are rarely sentenced to death in the United States and executions of women are even more rare, according to Death Penalty Information Center data. Researchers have suggested that women who are sentenced to death are often perceived as breaking gender norms.

Andrew was known for her habitual affairs.  Her tight-fitting clothes and cleavage exposing shirts were documented during her trial, according to published reports. She had filed for divorce weeks earlier and trial testimony indicated the motivation for the shooting was insurance proceeds, according to published reports.

Oklahoma has the second-highest state incarceration rate for women in the United States. The Sooner state incarcerates 226 female prisoners, according to 2022 data by Fair Punishment, a legal resouce website. Arkansas is ranked 17th, Missouri is ranked 26th and Kansas is ranked 33rd.

Oklahoma has put four women to death since 1903.

Dora Wright, a black woman, died by hanging in 1903 when Oklahoma was Indian Territory. She was convicted of fatally beating and torturing 7-year-old Annie Williams, a white child.  The victim was purported to be Wright’s niece, published reports state.  

Since Oklahoma was not a state, Wright’s fate was in President Theodore Roosevelt’s hands.

Roosevelt was quoted in newspapers saying, “If that woman was mean enough to do a thing like that, she ought to have the nerve to meet her punishment.”

Almost a century passed and in 2001, Oklahoma executed three women in the same year.

Wanda Jean Allen, 41, a black woman, was executed on January 2001.  She was the first black woman to be executed in the United States since 1954. She was convicted of killing her female girlfriend.

Marilyn Kay Plantz, 40, a white woman, was executed in May 2001 for her role in the killing of her husband, Jim Plantz,  for insurance money.

Lois Nadean Smith, 61, a white woman, was executed in December 2001 for the murder of her son’s ex-girlfriend. “Mean Nadean” was convicted of torturing and killing Cindy Bailee, 21.

Currently, there are 40 inmates on Oklahoma’s Death Row and most of the death-row prisoners’ sentences are to be carried out through December 2024, according to the Department of Corrections website.  

The state has executed 199 men and three women between 1915 and 2022 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, according to the state’s Department of Corrections website.

The last execution by electrocution took place in 1966.

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Grand Lake features Bethlehem marketplace, nativity scene, & more

DISNEY, Okla. – A Christmas journey to Bethlehem is set on the shores of Grand Lake this weekend.

The “Journey to Jesus”  is a walkthrough of Bethlehem, Jesus’s birthplace,” said Linda Goldner, co-founder of the Picture In Scripture Amphitheater.

The journey features a living nativity scene as well as a historic Bethlehem marketplace, she said.

“There are some cute and furry friends that greet everyone,” Goldner said.   

The journey is from 3 to 8 p.m. from Dec. 2 through 4 at the Oasis Animal Adventures exotic zoo.

Families can get close to Daisy the spider monkey, Dory the baby kangaroo, and Sadie the coatimundi.

Established in 1985, this is the first Journey to Jesus presentation for the Picture In Scripture Amphitheater. The 1,000-seat outdoor amphitheater presents an original Biblical production every summer. 

Admission is $5 per person and pony and camel rides will be available for an additional $5. For more information, call 918-435-8207.

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Missouri's poorest city may come as a surprise

KSNF/KODE — The consumer price index (CPI) has climbed steadily nearly every month for the last two and a half years, hitting a multi-decade high of 9.1% in June 2022. Though inflation has since cooled, dropping to 7.7% in October, the CPI remains at historic highs, and Americans across the country are feeling the pinch — particularly those without the means to absorb rising costs.

The typical American household earns $64,994 annually, according to five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey (ACS). But in nearly every state, there are cities where most households are earning far less than that.

Among the 28 places in Missouri with available data and populations of at least 25,000, Springfield ranks as the poorest. The typical Springfield household earns $37,491 a year, compared to the statewide median household income of $57,290.

| How Many People Are On Death Row In Missouri? >

Home values are often a reflection of what people can afford. In Springfield, the typical home is worth $122,200 — compared to the typical home in Missouri, which is worth $163,600.

Here’s a look at the poorest cities in each of the 50 states:

State Poorest City Median Household Income ($) Median Household Income In State ($) Median Home Value ($) Median Home Value In State ($)
Alabama Bessemer 30,284 52,035 100,100 149,600
Alaska Fairbanks 64,397 77,790 217,700 275,600
Arizona San Luis 41,648 61,529 128,500 242,000
Arkansas Pine Bluff 34,410 49,475 74,900 133,600
California Coachella 33,999 78,672 238,500 538,500
Colorado Pueblo 42,902 75,231 149,600 369,900
Connecticut Hartford 36,154 79,855 170,200 279,700
Delaware Wilmington 45,139 69,110 173,500 258,300
Florida University (Hillsborough County) 29,380 57,703 91,900 232,000
Georgia Statesboro 32,790 61,224 115,100 190,200
Hawaii Hilo 65,727 83,173 341,500 636,400
Idaho Rexburg 33,278 58,915 221,700 235,600
Illinois East St. Louis 24,009 68,428 53,900 202,100
Indiana Gary 31,315 58,235 68,400 148,900
Iowa Clinton 46,066 61,836 100,800 153,900
Kansas Kansas City 46,424 61,091 101,300 157,600
Kentucky Richmond 39,329 52,238 148,900 147,100
Louisiana Monroe 31,926 50,800 150,000 168,100
Maine Lewiston 42,969 59,489 150,100 198,000
Maryland Hagerstown 41,905 87,063 160,000 325,400
Massachusetts Springfield 41,571 84,385 162,900 398,800
Michigan Flint 30,383 59,234 31,700 162,600
Minnesota Winona 48,653 73,382 153,500 235,700
Mississippi Greenville 29,013 46,511 79,900 125,500
Missouri Springfield 37,491 57,290 122,200 163,600
Montana Butte-Silver Bow 49,659 56,539 156,400 244,900
Nebraska Fremont 54,291 63,015 140,400 164,000
Nevada Winchester 39,368 62,043 172,300 290,200
New Hampshire Manchester 62,087 77,923 241,600 272,300
New Jersey Camden 28,623 85,245 82,500 343,500
New Mexico South Valley 41,537 51,243 153,400 175,700
New York Jamestown 34,767 71,117 66,400 325,000
North Carolina Asheboro 37,171 56,642 119,700 182,100
North Dakota Grand Forks 50,194 65,315 209,800 199,900
Ohio Warren 27,108 58,116 66,100 151,400
Oklahoma Stillwater 34,906 53,840 185,300 142,400
Oregon Grants Pass 46,580 65,667 260,400 336,700
Pennsylvania Chester 32,867 63,627 70,300 187,500
Rhode Island Woonsocket 44,310 70,305 191,500 276,600
South Carolina Anderson 33,569 54,864 138,000 170,100
South Dakota Rapid City 53,760 59,896 194,100 174,600
Tennessee Morristown 33,511 54,833 119,500 177,600
Texas Huntsville 31,020 63,826 168,800 187,200
Utah Logan 43,056 74,197 216,200 305,400
Vermont Burlington 55,461 63,477 312,200 230,900
Virginia Danville 37,147 76,398 95,500 282,800
Washington Pullman 32,073 77,006 287,700 366,800
West Virginia Huntington 33,012 48,037 100,300 123,200
Wisconsin Milwaukee 43,125 63,293 128,300 189,200
Wyoming Laramie 47,463 65,304 225,400 228,000

In the table above, populations of at least 25,000 were considered cities. Statistical data is provided by the ACS.

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KC Holiday Express train to visit the Four State area

PITTSBURG, Kans. — The Kansas City Southern Holiday Express is back for the first time since 2020. The 6-car holiday train is already making stops as it travels through 20 communities in 8 different states this year.

The train is packed with several Christmas displays both inside and out — and of course, Santa and his elves are along for the ride.

Locally — the train will make a stop in Pittsburg on Saturday, December 10th at 4 p.m. stopping at the intersection of Elm and Monroe Streets. And like every year, proceeds from the Holiday Express will benefit the Salvation Army.

“We are very appreciative of the partnership we have with Kansas City Southern in supporting us in our efforts to meet the needs of children during the holiday season. We especially, uh, in years past we’ve received gift cards and we’ve received monetary donations and we use all of that to provide a nice Christmas for each child that comes through,” said Major Patricia Johnson, Salvation Army in Pittsburg.

Pittsburg stop is the only stop in the Four State area.

For more information or to check out this year’s train schedule follow this link here.

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20+ year Joplin heating and air business joins Paschal company

SPRINGDALE, Ark.— Paschal Air, Plumbing, & Electric is expanding its operations into Southwest Missouri by acquiring Lyerla Heating and Air.

Lyerla Heating & Air is an award-winning customer service company, founded in 2001. The company has been one of Joplin’s leading home-service providers. Lyerla President, Kevin Brady says he is proud to pass on their tradition of quality, professional services to Paschal. As they combine their companies, Brady will join Paschal as the general manager of the Southwest Missouri division.

“We couldn’t be more excited to expand our operations in the Four-States Area. We have made a positive impact in Carthage, Joplin, Carl Junction, and beyond. Paschal will be able to better serve our Missouri customers by adding Lyerla’s experienced home services team to ours,” said Paschal owner and CEO Charley Boyce.

Paschal was founded in Northwest Arkansas in 1968. The company has more than 250 team members across seven locations in Missouri and Arkansas. Paschal will combine their people with those from Lyerla to deliver air, plumbing, and electric services and installation to the Four-State area.

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Commerce resident dies in house fire

COMMERCE, Okla. – An early morning house fire has claimed the life of a Commerce resident, Police Chief Ray Horn confirmed on Thursday.

The victim’s identity has not been released. Horn said not all of the victim’s family had been notified.

Horn said the state Fire Marshal is on the scene.

Ottawa County Sheriff’s dispatchers confirmed the residence was on Maple Street.

This story is developing.

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Delaware County Cold Case Unit to look at 15 unsolved homicides or missing persons cases

JAY, Okla. – The Delaware County Sheriff’s Department has several unsolved homicides and missing persons cases, one dating back to 1973.

“The families haven’t forgotten about their loved ones – and neither have I,” said Delaware County Sheriff James Beck.

Beck said he feels drawn to bring justice to the grieving families no matter how many years have passed.

During the last election, Beck campaigned on developing a “Cold Case Unit” comprised of retired and former law enforcement officers.

“We are looking to expand the program with volunteers who have a medical background, private investigators and depending on their background – regular citizens,” Beck said.

Beck said it wants to get the “Cold Case Unit” operational by the first of the year. 

“We want to solve these cases,” Beck said.  “Some of these cases are cold cases, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be solved.”

After so many years have passed, people start remembering events or situations about cases that at the time of the person’s disappearance or killing, they didn’t think were important, he said.

“All details are important,” Beck said.

All volunteers must pass a background check.  For an application please click the link.

https://delaware.okcounties.org/file/jobs/delawareapplication_030718_263.pdf

Beck said he has comprised a list of unsolved murder cases and missing people but acknowledges the list may be incomplete.

“If someone knows of a case not listed in the Cold Case Unit please contact the Delaware County Sheriff’s office,” Beck said. 

COLD CASES

Georgie Cannaday

Cannaday’s body was discovered wrapped up in a rug or blanket at her Zena home on June 18, 1973.

William Reed

Reed was last seen on Dec. 9, 1987, in the Colcord and West Siloam Springs area.  He used three different dates of birth — March 12, 1955; March 31, 1955; and March 21, 1956.

Johnnie Ball, 60

Ball was last seen on Sept. 27, 1988, in a green Dodge vehicle in the Twin Oaks and Siloam Springs, Ark., area. A search in 2005 tuned up parts of a shoe or boot and an empty brown billfold.  Ball was declared legally dead in 1996.

Doris Harris and Danny Oakley

The couple was found on Feb. 21, 1996, inside their mobile home in rural Delaware County near Afton. They had been shot to death, and the home had been set on fire.

Ron Faulkener and Denny Hunnicutt, Fairland, were taken into custody as material witnesses in connection to the slayings.

On the morning of the slayings, an intoxicated Hunnicutt was arrested in North Miami. He was driving Oakley’s car.

 An Oklahoma State Bureau investigation report about the Oakley/Harris slayings shows there was an unidentified fingerprint and four unidentified palm prints found inside Oakley’s car. Hunnicutt pled guilty to federal drug charges in 1997 and was sentenced to seven years. He died in 2006, according to published reports. 

Barbara Ann Johnson-Willard, 29, of Colcord

Johnson-Willard was reported missing on June 17, 1996. Days later, her red Mercury Cougar was found in a ravine on a farm in southern Delaware County.  Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents recovered skin tissue from the trunk of the vehicle and cigarette butts from the ashtray.

John Lee Weeks, of Gentry, Ark., was charged in Delaware County District Court with first-degree murder. Testimony showed the fingerprints and DNA found in the automobile matched Weeks.

Weeks and Johnson-Willard both worked at Simmons. Weeks’ last day of employment was June 14, 1996 — the last day Johnson-Willard worked. The case was dropped against Weeks after some of the victim’s family expressed doubt Weeks was the killer.  Weeks is serving a sentence in the Lansing Correctional Facility in Lansing, Kan., on multiple offenses, including aggravated kidnapping, rape and aggravated criminal sodomy.

Peggy A. Sweeten, 52, of Grove

Sweeten has been missing since Jan. 17, 1998.

James Sweeten filed for divorce on Feb. 9, 1998, three weeks after his wife’s disappearance. Peggy Sweeten did not appear in court for the proceedings and a divorce was granted on April 6, 1998, court records show.

James Lee Sweeten, a former Arma, Kanas school superintendent, refused to submit to a polygraph test, according to the search warrant.  He also “appeared to be deceptive and evasive” during the interview and was attempting to find out how far the investigation had progressed and what direction the investigation was headed, the search warrant stated.

Coffey County, Kan., court records show Debra Hammond’s divorce was granted on April 1, 1998. James Sweeten and Debra Hammond moved in together in June 1998 and were married in December 1998, the warrant states.

Misty Dawn Faulkner, 29, Eucha

Faulkner was last seen on January 14, 2011, in Eucha.

After work, Misty contacted her grandmother to tell her that she would go pick up groceries from a Walmart in Jay, Oklahoma before heading home. Her purse, cell phone and groceries were left in the vehicle that was still parked in her grandparents’ driveway. Authorities administered several lie detector tests on a few persons of interest but they have not released the findings from those tests.

Timur Mardeyev, 27, of Grove

Mardeyev was last seen on Nov. 29, 2011, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

According to published reports, Mardeyev left his Grove home alone traveling to Tulsa.

His car was parked in front of the Riverspirit Casino for an hour, then it left and was parked again at the Batman Convenience Store. On December 9, his car was towed from the convenience store parking lot where it had been abandoned.

Mardeyev’s keys were in the ignition and his GPS system and expensive sunglasses were inside the car, along with a bottle of Coke and an open bottle of whiskey. His Bible and some paperwork he was filling out for his visa were missing.

He was carrying his wallet, passport, and approximately $3,000 to $5,000 in cash at the time he went missing.

Mardeyev was born in the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, which was then part of the Soviet Union. He was in the United States on a work visa in 2011 and lived with his sister and brother-in-law.

He was due to fly to Russia for Christmas but never made his flight.

Michael Shane Chapman

Chapman was last seen alive on January 27, 2013.  His boat was recovered near Sail Boat Bridge, but no body has been recovered.  

Dustin Ray Carver

Carver was last seen alive on March 03, 2014. The state Medical Examiner’s office has bones retrieved from a site in Oaks, but they have never identified them as belonging to Carver.

Thomas William Barkfelt

Barkfelt was last seen alive on  October 12, 2015.  On Oct. 24, 2015, the Oklahoma State Game Wardens towed Barkfelt’s vehicle from the Wildlife Management Area west and south of Eucha Lake Dam.

Christopher Teel, 33, of Jay

Teel was last seen around Jan. 1, 2017. He had been staying with his aunt for a few nights before he went missing, according to published reports.

Aubrey Dameron, 25, of Grove

Dameron, who is transgender, was last seen leaving the family’s home near Grove around 3:30 a.m. March 9, 2019. Several searches in the area have been unsuccessful.

Tyson Wright, 49, of Grove

Wright died on Jan. 29, 2021. His body was found in a vehicle engulfed by fire in the Zena area. No arrests have been made for his death.

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Missouri woman sues Walmart for failure to warn about dangers of prenatal Acetaminophen exposure

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Missouri woman has filed a lawsuit against Walmart in federal court, alleging that the Bentonville-based retailer failed to warn about the dangers of prenatal exposure to Acetaminophen.

The suit was filed in the Western District of Missouri court by Alana Swindell on November 10.

Published scientific studies have demonstrated that prenatal exposure to Acetaminophen alters fetal development and significantly increases the risks of neurodevelopmental disorders. The more Acetaminophen the mother takes, the greater the risk. Significant prenatal exposure to Acetaminophen can cause children to be born with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But Walmart has declined to warn pregnant women of these risks.

Alana Swindell, individually and as mother and guardian of a minor, vs. Walmart, November 10

The lawsuit alleges that Acetaminophen was “unreasonably dangerous when ingested by pregnant women” and should not have been marketed to pregnant women and that Walmart “failed to warn consumers” about the increased risk to children exposed prenatally to Acetaminophen. The filing also alleges that Walmart’s wrongdoing caused permanent injuries and significant pain and suffering.

“Defendant has concealed and failed to disclose to the public the serious risks and the potential complications associated with the product, so as to ensure continued and increased sales and profits and to the detriment of the public,” said attorney Julien Adams of Dovel & Luner.

“Plaintiffs brought this lawsuit to protect future consumers and bring justice to those who have been wronged,” he added.

The filing stated that the plaintiff “believed it was safe for her to take Acetaminophen during her pregnancy” and that she frequently took it multiple times per week to relieve her headaches. It adds that her child was diagnosed with ASD and ADHD when he was five years old.

The suit added that the boy’s mother “was unaware of the defects and dangers of the Acetaminophen products, and unaware that prenatal exposure increases the risk of brain and behavioral development of her child.”

It continued by stating that Walmart’s negligence was the cause of her son’s injuries. It also noted that the plaintiffs “have suffered permanent injuries and significant pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages and earning capacity, and diminished quality of life.”

The suit asked for compensatory damages, restitution, punitive damages and attorney’s fees. It also requested a jury trial.

KNWA/FOX24 asked Walmart to comment on the lawsuit and received the following response:

“Walmart does not manufacture these products.  We expect suppliers to provide safe and quality products that comply with all applicable laws, including labeling requirements.  We will respond in Court as appropriate.”

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What your vehicle needs before winter snow and ice hits

JOPLIN, Mo. — With the possibility of the first snowfall this season just around the corner, vehicle maintenance experts say now is the best time to prepare your car. There’s no getting around winter, so instead of dreading it, prepare for it by checking out what your car needs, in order to gear up for cold, wet, winter driving conditions.

Vehicle mechanics agree that it’s best to winterize your car before the first flake falls, because small problems that may have been ignored during warmer months could grow worse, leaving you stranded when the temperature plummets. Here’s a few tips that will help keep your car running all winter long:

  • Take your car to a mechanic and have them check the following: battery, antifreeze level, thermostat, heater, brakes, and defroster.
  • Make sure your tires have adequate tread. If the treads are worn, replace them. Ideally, you should look at snow tires which have treads that provide better traction and are equipped to handle extreme winter driving conditions.
  • Inspect your vehicle’s lights. Make sure the front and rear lights are working properly, especially the flashing hazard lights.
  • It’s possible that your windshield wiper fluid may freeze at some point during the winter months, so instead of toughing it out until spring, exchange the fluid with one made especially for freezing, or below freezing conditions.
  • Speaking of windshield wipers, it’s a good idea to purchase winter wiper blades. They’re made to cut through snow and ice instead of using the regular blades all year long.
  • Check the spray nozzles of your windshield-washer system. Sometimes, they get blocked by build up and debris. You can use a needle or pin to clear blocked nozzles.
  • Road salt commonly used during the winter months can damage your car’s paint. Rinsing it off every once in a while can help, but a good wash and a coat of fresh wax will go a long way in preventing corrosion — keeping your vehicle looking like new.

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It’s also a good rule of thumb to keep a box of emergency supplies in the trunk in case of an emergency. Extra clothing, blankets, non-perishable food, water, and a phone charger can make a big difference. You’ll find an extensive list, HERE of everything that vehicle mechanics suggest you do, so that your car is ready to go for the worst winter weather.