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Pittsburg woman takes stolen vehicle to McDonalds drive-thru

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg police arrest a woman after they say she took a stolen vehicle to McDonalds for breakfast.

Authorities say they received a stolen vehicle report Friday morning at 6:24 a.m. on the 1100 block of S Elm St. in Pittsburg. The victim reported a woman with long white hair got into his 2021 Nissan Altima and drove away. Police say the keys were left in the exterior lock of the home’s front door.

Pittsburg police located the vehicle at around 6:37 a.m. driving north on Broadway Street. Authorities arrested the 55-year-old driver. Before her arrest, it was revealed the woman made a stop at the McDonald’s drive-thru and purchased breakfast. She was booked in the Crawford County Jail for felony theft where she’s held on a $3,000 bond.

Formal charges have not yet been filed.

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Local children’s author & veteran tackles tough subjects in book series

Brave Mee Book Interview Part 1:

Brave Mee Book Interview Part 2:

ARMA, Kan. – Four-State children’s author and marines veteran Laura Wright talked with Michael Hayslip about her Brave Mee book series and the upcoming reading at ArtForms Gallery in Pittsburg.

On June 1st from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., Wright will be at ArtForms to read her first book, Brave Mee and the Forest of Tangled Lies. Afterwards she will answer question about self-publishing and the writing process. She will also sign copies of her book.

In the first book, the protagonist “Brave Mee” realizes that she is unhappy and sets out on an adventure to seek out the source of unhappiness. Traveling through the forest of tangled lies, Mee is confronted by three lies, and is assisted by three adorable and relatable characters, to find the truth. Once Mee finds the truth a piece of happiness is restored. The other two books also feature Brave Mee and follow a similar theme.

In the second book, to be published in May 2021, Brave Mee Navigates the Angry Sea of Past Deeds, Mee goes out to sea and soon realizes that anger and resentment are the causes of unhappiness. Assisted by a beautiful blue butterfly, a playful sea serpent, and a knowing turtle, Mee confronts the anger to find forgiveness, including self-forgiveness, restoring a piece of happiness.

In the third book, to be published in June 2021, Brave Mee and the Variety Show of Anxiety, Mee is unaware that the symptoms that Mee is suffering are from anxiety. Mee just knows that it steals happiness. To get that happiness back, Mee goes on an anxiety inducing gameshow, assisted by a bouncing frog, a sweet young rhino, and an elegant fox, Mee must overcome the anxiety to win what is behind the curtains and the bonus round, a piece of happiness.

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Pittsburg Schools lift mask mandate

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburg School District announces it will no longer require masks for students, staff and visitors. The district made the decision at the recommendation of the Crawford County Health Department.

Students will not be required to wear masks for summer school and summer activities. Students and staff will continue with other COVID-19 mitigation and procedures.

Plans for the beginning of the 2021-22 school year will be brought before the board at a future date. Any decision made at that time will reflect the current health climate and will be at the recommendation of local health officials.

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Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce holds annual banquet

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday held it’s annual banquet.

Sen. Jerry Moran was in attendance for the event, which presents awards to area businesses like “Small Business of the Year” and the “Spirit of Pittsburg Award.

“I’m certainly supportive of the businesses in Pittsburg and the members of the Chamber of Commerce,” said Sen. Moran. “But I’m supportive of them because one: its the American dream. People have an idea about starting a business and growing a business, but the most important thing is how we employ people. It’s how (to) earn a paycheck. It’s how people can then save money for their kids education. How we can save for retirement.”

The banquet was held in Pitt State’s Overman Student Center.

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PSU rescinds mask mandate on campus

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Pittsburg State University announced Wednesday it will no longer require masks on campus.

The change comes in accordance with new CDC guidance. It states fully vaccinated people do not need to wear mask indoors or outdoors unless they are in a large gathering.  People who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated are still encouraged to wear face masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus.

PSU enacted the campus-wide mask mandate in June ahead of the Fall 2020 semester. It’s remained in place since.

(Previous Story: Masks will be required on the campus of Pitt State starting Monday)

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Downtown celebrates Pittsburg’s 145th birthday with gifts for kids

PITTSBURG, Kan. – On Thursday the City of Pittsburg turns 145 years old, so the downtown advisory board is hosting a week long celebration.

The board is trying to collect 145 presents for 145 kids in the community. People who donate will get a card with discounts to local businesses.

The gifts will be distributed between Fostering Connections and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Crawford County.

“I think it’s just really cool,” said Downtown Advisory Board Chairman Sydney Anselmi. “It’s a cool idea. It’s a cool opportunity. It’s something fun, especially at the start of summer, to give kids something maybe new to do or a new experience, or clothes, or whatever it is that they are needing or wanting. To be able to get them that at the start of the summer when they just finished up school it is really cool on it’s own. Its a really good feeling.”

For those looking to donate, gifts can be dropped of at Audacious Boutique or Sonder and Vo.

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Catch the 2021 Four State Farm Show May 21-23

PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Four State Farm Show is back! This year, for the first time, it will be held at Pittsburg State University.

Organizers planned to hold the event on campus last year, but canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pittsburg connection

The Four State Farm Show has a longtime connection to the Pittsburg area. In March 1975, the National Guard Armory in Pittsburg hosted the Tri-State Farm Show. Organizers then hosted it in Miami, Oklahoma, moved it back to Pittsburg, then to Parsons. In 1984, they settled on hosting the event at a 300-acre farm south of Pittsburg for the next 36 years.

Farm Show 2021

You can catch this year’s show from May 21st through the 23rd.
  • Location: Robert W. Plaster Center and the adjacent parking lot and grounds and the nearby Bicknell Family Center for the Arts
    • The area is located on Homer Street near the eastern edge of campus.
  • Times: May 21-22 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and May 23 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

PSU Venue

Last year, PSU announced the signing of a multi-year contract with the Four State Farm Show that relocated it from an all-outdoor venue south of Pittsburg. Weather often was an issue there.

This year, PSU and Farm Show organizers will stay in touch with public health officials in the months leading up to the show and will follow recommended best practices pertaining to the pandemic.

Using the Plaster Center will allow the show to offer over 400 climate controlled indoor booths to vendors, while more than 500 booths including large machinery will have an ideal location outdoors, noted Lance Markley, show coordinator and representative of Ozark Empire Fairgrounds.

Agriculture and Rural Living

While the Farm Show historically has been an agriculture-only event, the addition of “rural living” exhibit space in the Plaster Center will allow non-agricultural companies the opportunity to reach spectators with their products in a designated area, Markley said. A similar section has been popular each fall at the Ozark Fall Farmfest in Springfield, Missouri.

Markley says they are also bringing back lawn mower test driving, a popular feature previously. Attendees can test drive a variety of zero turn lawnmowers.

Parking

All spectator and exhibitor parking will be located on hard surface lots and will continue to be free.

Economic Impact

Pre-pandemic, the show typically attracted 20,000 visitors in three days and had more than a $1 million in economic impact annually.

Devin Gorman, executive director for the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the show is a valuable event for the entire county, and the benefits of it being on campus will make it more enjoyable for everyone.

PSU Chief Strategy Officer Shawn Naccarato described it as another example of innovative partnerships being of direct benefit to the community.

“This is just a great example of the sort of things we anticipated would be made possible by the building of the Plaster Center and the investment that the city, as well as the private donors, made to build that facility,” Naccarato said.

A Note from PSU

To borrow a line from one of the most famous sports-themed movies of all time, “If you build it, they will come.” 

That’s certainly proven true for the Robert W. Plaster Center at Pittsburg State University — a collaborative effort funded through the City of Pittsburg, support from the county, student fees, and private donors. 

This week, its staff are rolling out the green carpet to vendors and attendees of the 36th Annual Four State Farm Show at what just might be the largest event that the building has hosted to date.  

Vendors and exhibitors have begun arriving and will continue throughout the week. The show is planned from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 21-22 and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 23. 

Economic engine 

In 2012, when the building still was just an idea, it wasn’t an easy sell. The decision to invest in it was unlike any the Pittsburg City Commission had been asked to consider. 

“The university’s proposal made us pause to consider exactly what a facility like this would mean for Pittsburg,” said then-City Commissioner Monica Murnan 

Advocates argued that it could be an economic engine for all of Southeast Kansas. The city hoped to attract visitors to the community by hosting things like boat and RV shows. The university had its sights set on hosting national track championships. The county knew that attendees to any such events would mean a boost in hotel room revenue and food sales. 

When officials broke ground in 2014, it was hard to imagine what the building would host in the span of six years: 

  • Three National Collegiate Athletics Association Division II Track Championships.  

  • Three National Junior College Athletics Association Track Championships.  

  • A National Association of Intercollegiate Athletic Track Championship.  

  • Special Olympics events.  

  • A Taste of Pittsburg.  

  • A Presidential Gala.  

  • It also served as the gathering spot for 12 socially distanced Pitt State commencements in the past six months. 

  • NCAA and NJCAA events already are booked here through 2024. 

Inside 

The building flies under the radar in comparison to the architecturally showy Bicknell Family Center for the Arts next door at the corner of two busy streets and with its curving, western-facing wall of floortoceiling windows that beautifully reflect the setting sun. 

The Plaster Center is a large, unassuming gray rectangle that is tucked in behind the Weede Gymnasium. 

But inside, where the action is, it’s clearly state-of-the-art. 

The main athletics portion of the Plaster Center measures 450 feet by 275 feet — or 40 feet longer than the center field wall in Kauffman Stadium. The space is big enough to park two Boeing 787 Dreamliners, nose-to-tail.  

Surrounding the field is the 300-meter Harvey Dean Track, one of the finest in the U.S. and named after alumnus and Pitsco, Inc. CEO Harvey Dean. Along the southern wall is seating for up to 1,500 fans. 

Overlooking the track and field is the 11,000-square foot ProMaxima Strength and Conditioning Center, funded by an alumnus who built his company into one of the top names in commercial fitness equipment.  

Last year, PSU announced the signing of a multi-year contract with the Four State Farm Show that relocated it from the all-outdoor venue south of Pittsburg where weather often was an issue.  

Using the Plaster Center will allow the show to offer more than 400 climate controlled indoor booths to exhibitors and vendors, while more than 500 booths including large machinery will have an ideal location outdoors. All parking will be on hard surface lots. 

Impact 

In lobbying donors and partners to build the center, Kendall Gammon, a former PSU athletic standout and NFL player who became a major gifts officer for the university’s athletic department, said it could play a key role in recruitment of top athletes. 

It did. 

The Plaster Center certainly has helped recruiting efforts across the board; all of our sports have benefited from the facility,” said PSU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jim Johnson. “We’ve gained one of the best strength and conditioning facilities in the country, in addition to the premiere indoor track and field venue and an elite indoor practice facility. 

Since the venue opened, PSU’s track programs have won two national championships. 

“All of our head coaches would attest to the great impact the facility has had on their programs, Johnson said. 

Another lobbyist for building the center, local business leader Jeff Poe, told the City Commission that it was “the piece our community has been missing for years.” 

It would be a perfect venue for the university and local businesses to put on regional and national events, he told them. 

He was right.  

Consider this study of its impact during a one year period from May 12, 2017, to May 11, 2018: 

  • 20,186 athletes 

  • 3,286 team coaches/staff 

  • 17,186 spectators and non-sports attendees 

  • Guests to Plaster Center events spent nearly $2.8 million locally on retail purchases, food, and lodging during that period. 

  • The Plaster Center was responsible for creating and sustaining 53 jobs during that period. 

It is a good thing that we partnered because it showed the willingness of the city to partner with other entities in pursuit of their goals,” said Pittsburg City Manager Daron Hall. It also proved that good deals can be struck which will benefit all parties involved and the community as a whole. And, it set the stage for important projects to come, like Block22.” 

The county still contributes one-sixth of its transient guest tax collections toward the Plaster each year — a smart investment, noted Devin Gorman, executive director of the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

“The Plaster Center has been a great asset to our community, particularly in terms of tourism and economic impact,” he said. “The vision of PSU, City of Pittsburg, and Crawford County to partner on a facility of this magnitude clearly resulted in a win for everyone. We are excited the Four State Farm Show will be able to utilize the facility for their event, as well.” 

The Farm Show 

Visitors will get to test drive lawn mowers, see agricultural rural living exhibits, and get an up-close look at the latest and greatest in farm machinery. 

Pre-pandemic, the show typically attracted 20,000 visitors in three days and had more than a $1 million in economic impact annually. 

While it’s unknown how the pandemic will impact attendance, Gorman said the show is a valuable event for the entire county, and the benefits of it being on campus this year will make it more enjoyable for everyone. 

PSU Chief Strategy Officer Shawn Naccarato described it as another example of innovative partnerships being of direct benefit to the community.  

“This is just a great example of the sort of things we anticipated would be made possible by the building of the Plaster Center and the investment that the city, as well as the private donors, made to build that facility,” Naccarato said. 

Kansas Secretary of Commerce David Toland, who last year made the trip from Topeka to help announce the new venue, said at the time There is no better venue than the Plaster Center here at Pitt State; this is a wonderful facility that offers new opportunities for this event to grow. Its clear this is going to be a huge success.  

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CHC/SEK moves Pittsburg COVID-19 vaccine clinic

PITTSBURG, Kan. — The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas closes a vaccination center as demand for the COVID-19 vaccines decreases.

On May 14, 2021, they will close its center at 924 N. Broadway and move all Pittsburg vaccinations to the clinic at 3011 N. Michigan. The CHC/SEK still has Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines available. You can schedule an appointment to get the vaccine, but it’s no longer required.

COVID-19 vaccinations are also now available on a walk-in basis at all regional CHC/SEK clinics, according to Jason Wesco, Executive Vice-President.

“We continue to adapt in ways to help members of the community protect themselves against COVID-19 by allowing all eligible persons the convenience of walking into any of our clinics to receive their immunization without needing to schedule an appointment in advance,” he said.

If preferred, individuals can request a vaccine appointment on the CHC/SEK website chcsek.org. Click the COVID Vaccine Request button. After selecting the “first dose” button, there is an option to select the preferred vaccine. CHC/SEK representatives will contact the recipients to schedule a date for the vaccine.

For those without web access, the health center has a toll-free number, 866-888-8650 and a second number for Spanish-speakers 620-240-8940 to make vaccination appointments.

As with all COVID-19 vaccines, there is no out-of-pocket costs to vaccine recipients.