Inaugural Bear season in Arkansas is underway

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — For the first time in modern history, Arkansas hunters will be able to legally harvest a black bear in the Gulf Coastal Plain and portions of the Delta in south Arkansas this weekend. 

While the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is excited about this milestone in conservation and opportunity for hunters, there are a few key points to remember to get the most out of the hunt and ensure it remains a fixture in Arkansas’s outdoors.

| RELATED: Missouri began a bear season in recent years. Harvesting is broken down into zones and hunters chosen by raffle.

Black bear season for Bear Zones 3 and 4 is Dec. 10-16, but may close earlier than Dec. 16 if the quota for the zone is reached.

“We’ve set the quota at 25 bears for Zone 4 and five bears for Zone 3,” Myron Means, AGFC Large Carnivore Program Coordinator, said. “Hunters need to call the wildlife hotline (800-440-1477) before their hunt to check the harvest number and make sure the quota hasn’t been reached. I’ll be updating that hotline every day at noon and every evening at 6 p.m. The season will end  in the respective zone if the quota is reached or Dec. 16, whichever comes first.”

Hunters may use modern guns, muzzleloaders or archery equipment, and the statewide limit is one bear per season.

Hunters successful in killing a bear must immediately check their bear through the AGFC’s mobile app, website or call 877-731-5627 to report their harvest. Just as with deer, once a bear has been checked it does not need to be tagged unless it leaves your possession (left at deer camp, taxidermist, processor, etc.). If a hunter cannot immediately check the bear, they must make their own tag with ink, including their name, date and bear zone of harvest. They may check the bear within 12 hours of harvest.

All successful hunters will also be required to submit a premolar from the bear. The AGFC’s bear team will mail them a packet including bags for the premolar and a hair sample with instructions on how to complete the process.

“The premolar submission is required, but the hair sample is optional; however, getting us a hair sample is very helpful in our research and continued monitoring of the population,” Means said.

Means says the warm weather may have more female bears out feeding instead of denning up, and hunters should avoid shooting any female bears with cubs.

“It’s legal to shoot one, but those cubs are the future of the population and they will den with their mother for an additional year,” Means said. “If you can tell that it’s a female, honestly it would be best to let her pass. We worked on a video to help hunters tell the difference between boars and sows, but obviously if a cub is with the bear, it’s a sow.”

Means also cautions that there are some research bears in south Arkansas that he’d prefer hunters pass on shooting. As part of the new season, biologists and staff have outfitted a few female bears with special satellite-tracking collars to give detailed information about their movements throughout the year, including hunting season. So far 13 of the dedicated 15 collars have been placed.

“Again, it’s legal to harvest a collared bear, but we really would prefer people give them a pass,” Means said. “These bears are giving us some very valuable information about the population and hunting season, and this is new territory that we really want to get some good data to help continue these hunts and keep our bear population healthy.” (SOURCE: Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Follow them on social media).

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Hole forms in I-44 overpass, emergency repairs affecting traffic at Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. – About 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, December 10, 2022, MoDOT was alerted to a hole that had formed in one lane of I-44 westbound on the overpass of South Main Street.

It was determined to fix the hole so traffic was diverted as a lane was closed about 5:45 p.m.

It is unknown how long the repair will take.  But in routine repairs as such it can be into the overnight hours.

Avoid I-44 westbound from South Rangeline (exit 9) to South Main (exit 6).

This is a developing story, stay with Joplin News First on KOAM News Now as we continue to learn more and update information here in our article.



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Elderly woman scammed into receiving 15 pounds of cocaine, instructed to repackage and ship

TULSA, Okla. – Federal investigators have been handed a case that originated within the city of Tulsa involving an elderly woman scammed to receive drugs, and instructed to repackage and ship them to another address.

Tulsa Police say it was roughly 7 KILOS (15.4 POUNDS) of cocaine.  The estimated street value is $300,000.

| HOUSE FIRES >>Fire Dept reminders of Space Heater Safety

After serving a narcotics warrant at the elderly woman’s address near 61st and Memorial officers discovered the drugs.

Through the investigation, it appears an elderly female was scammed online into receiving the drugs and was given instructions to repackage the drugs to ship to another address. Due to the nature of the crimes, the information and the woman were turned over to federal authorities.” – Tulsa Police Dept

The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) and Homeland Security Investigations continue the investigation.

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Flames light up the Joplin sky from large 2-story house fire

JOPLIN, Mo. — Just before 5:30 a.m. Friday, December 9, 2022, fire reported at 832 S Pennsylvania alerting Joplin E-911.

Joplin Police, Joplin Fire and METS ambulance responded.

Joplin Fire sounded a second alarm as flames and thick black smoke were visible from an active fire. Tipsters tell us they could see fire and smoke visible in the morning sky near 26th and Pennsylvania nearly two miles to the south.

This residence is on the NW corner of 9th and Pennsylvania. 2-story wood-framed structure with an attic that harbored flames. Even with Ladder 1 and another water cannon on Engine 2 the structure became fully involved within 30 minutes.

One person of the residence was injured exiting the home.  He was transported to an area hospital.  There is no update on his condition at this time.

Shortly before 8 a.m. Joplin Public works responded to assist Joplin Fire in taking down portions of the home to expose hidden fire and hot spots within the structure.

After taking down portions they then continue to soak the areas with water. This also helps to avoid rekindle fires in the coming hours and days.

Fire was declared out at 10:11 a.m.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.  The Joplin Fire Marshal is investigating.

| HOUSE FIRES >>Fire Dept reminders of Space Heater Safety

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Better Business Bureau sees an uptick in pet scams

JOPLIN – Mo. – The Better Business Bureau says pet scams will reach 2 million dollars in North America.

The Better Business Bureau says that the number of pet scams have decreased but the cost have them have gone up.

“The average amount that a consumer is losing is an average of $850 in 2022, which is up from about $755 in 2021,” says Pamela Hernandez, Regional Director of the BBB.

One way the BBB recommends avoiding this scam is seeing the pet before the purchase, via video chat or reverse image search online.

Another safe route that the BBB suggests is adoption, and it benefits your local shelters which are often full.

To find where you can adopt a new family friend click here.


Man pleads guilty to sexually assaulting prisoner during transport

CLAREMORE, Okla. – A former prisoner transport officer pleads guilty in federal court for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a male detainee in Missouri and Oklahoma.

56-year-old Dewayne Dudley pleaded guilty in federal court in the Northern District of Oklahoma. The Court has not scheduled a sentencing hearing at this time. Following the plea agreement, Dudley faces 12 to 15 years in federal prison. After that, he could have up to five years of supervised release.

“Dewayne Dudley exploited his position of authority when he cruelly assaulted a detainee he was charged to protect,” said Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray for the FBI Oklahoma City Field Office. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to preserving trust in law enforcement. We will not tolerate public officials who violate the constitutional rights of our citizens.”

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Northern District of Oklahoma, Dudley worked as a prisoner transport officer for Blue Raven Services at the time of the crime. It’s a private prisoner transport company.

Authorities say Dudely performed the government function of picking up individuals arrested on out-of-state warrants. He would then take those individuals back to the jurisdiction that issued the warrants.

2021 Sexual Assault and Kidnapping Crime

(Some details explicit)

On August 26, 2021, Dudley picked up a male detainee from a Boonville, Indiana, jail to take him to Valencia, New Mexico.

The next day, before arriving in New Mexico, prosecutors say Dudley stopped the transport van at a Holiday Inn Express in Marshfield, Missouri. He rented a room.

The U.S. Justice Department states Dudley took the handcuffed detainee into the hotel room and told him to shower. Court documents state after the victim showered, Dudley pointed a gun at the victim and told him to undress.

“Dudley then proceeded to grope the victim’s genitals. When the victim’s penis did not erect, Dudley handcuffed himself to the victim, before going to sleep. Several hours later, Dudley resumed transporting the victim, before stopping the transport van at his (Dudley’s) apartment, located in Claremore, Oklahoma. Against the victim’s protests, Dudley brought the handcuffed victim inside his apartment. While inside his apartment, Dudley again groped the victim’s genitals, causing the victim bodily injury. The victim said, “No!,” and was able to break free and run outside of Dudley’s apartment,” the Department of Justice stated in a press release.

The Oklahoma City FBI Field Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay Compton of the Northern District of Oklahoma and Trial Attorney Laura Gilson of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section prosecuted the case.

Major crash closes I-44 at Springfield, Mo.

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. — MoDOT is reporting a major crash has closed I-44 west near the 71 mile marker on Tuesday morning about 5:40 a.m.

Westbound lanes are being diverted off I-44 at Chestnut Expressway, 72 mile marker.

The closure is estimated at 5-6 hour clean-up.

We are working to determine details of the crash that involved a tractor trailer and other vehicles.

Willard Fire, Republic Fire and Springfield Fire were on scene according to initial reports.



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Kirstie Alley dies at 71

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Kirstie Alley, who won an Emmy for her role on “Cheers” and starred in films including “Look Who’s Talking,” died Monday.

Alley died of cancer that was only recently discovered, her children True and Lillie Parker said in a post on Twitter. Alley’s manager Donovan Daughtry confirmed the death in an email to The Associated Press.

Alley was 71.

“As iconic as she was on screen, she was an even more amazing mother and grandmother,” her children’s statement said.

She starred as Rebecca Howe on the NBC sitcom “Cheers” from 1987 to 1993, after the departure of original star Shelley Long.

She had her own sitcom on the network, “Veronica’s Closet,” from 1997 to 2000.

Homicide investigation in Allen and Neosho counties

ALLEN COUNTY, Kan – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, and the Neosho County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a homicide after a man was found dead Saturday evening, December 3 in Chanute, Kan.

The Allen County Sheriff’s Office contacted the KBI for investigative assistance just after 5 p.m. KBI agents and the Crime Scene Response Team responded and began investigating.

At around 4:50 p.m., Casey M. Dye, 43, of Petrolia, Kan., arrived at the Allen County Sheriff’s Office and provided a statement to sheriff’s deputies.

MORE KOAM NEWS NOW >> Joplin Physician pleads guilty in Federal Court to Health Care Fraud

Shortly after, law enforcement officers located a deceased man in a vehicle inside an automotive glass shop at 7545 Kansas Highway 39, in Chanute. The man, who was identified as Ryan M. Holcomb, 45, from Chanute, had suffered fatal gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Dye was arrested for first-degree murder and was booked into the Allen County Jail. Formal charges are pending, and additional charges are expected.

Investigators allege Dye killed Holcomb Saturday morning at a rural property in Allen County, and then moved his body to the business in Chanute where he was discovered.

MORE KOAM NEWS NOW >> Missouri men victims in Baxter Springs, Kan. Double Homicide, KBI investigate

All suspects are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The investigation is ongoing. No further information will be released at this time.

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McDonald’s Armed Robbery, suspects arrested, evidence of other crimes say police

AURORA, Mo. — Chief Wesley Coatney of the Aurora-Marionville Police Dept release details regarding an Armed Robbery at McDonalds on November 29.

“AMPD executed a search warrant related to the robbery at McDonald’s the night before and also related to other crimes in the area being investigated by other agencies.”

Chief Wesley Coatney

Female and male were arrested, Kaylee Gold, 22, and Ryan Hall, 22, as a result of the warrant search.

| RELATED >> McDonald’s Armed Robbery in Aurora

Chief Coatney reveals, “we recovered guns used in the crimes, ammo, stolen property including cash, clothing worn during the crimes, drugs, and other items considered evidence of their criminal activity.”

The two arrested might be responsible for the McDonald’s Armed Robbery, the Chief anticipates making more arrests related to other cases.

“When that happens, we will notify the community of their identities. All suspects will continue to be considered innocent until proven guilty,” he states.

“We want to express our appreciation for the help we have received from the community, business owners, and other law enforcement agencies that also had people fall victim to these crimes. The investigation work conducted by our patrol and investigators was complex, state of the art, and required a lot of technical work we are thankful to have access to. If it were not for the training, equipment, technology, and community contacts our staff have at their disposal, this case would have taken much longer to clear.

To the men and women of AMPD. This was investigative and tactical work every bit as effective and precise as one would expect from much larger agencies with more resources. We prepare for these things so we can attack them quickly and efficiently when/if they happen. I cannot express how proud I am to be part of this AMPD team. Absolutely remarkable police work, by the best people in the business. When you know you’re going in to handle people known to be armed and willing to use those firearms, and can handle the situation without anyone getting hurt, you have won a major victory in policing.”

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