Frost Advisories and Freeze Watches for Friday morning

Frost Advisory in light purple:
Frost And Freeze Conditions Will Kill Crops, Other Sensitive Vegetation And Possibly Damage Unprotected Outdoor Plumbing.

Freeze Watch in blue:
Outdoor Water Pipes Should Be Wrapped, Drained, Or Allowed To Run In A Slow Steady Stream. Precautions Should Also Be Taken To Protect Small Plants And Tender Vegetation.


Final phase of vaccine distribution begins in Kansas

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. – 59-year-old Baxter Springs resident Timothy Fish has been waiting for this day for what seems like forever.

At first, he wasn’t eligible to receive a vaccine because he didn’t fall into the first few phases. And then, last week, he had a heart attack and had to spend time in the hospital.

“They put in a stint in and three, three and a half days later I got out. And I was ready to get out. Tired of being used as a pin cushion,” says Fish.

But he was happy to be a pin cushion again on Monday when he was at Wolkar Drug.

“Found out while I was here doin’ something else that I could get it, and I could get it right now. I was like, ‘Can I do it? Yeah sure,’” explains Fish.

“We didn’t have any doses scheduled. But we had, with the opening up of the new phase, we had a lot of interest,” says Brian Caswell, Owner of Wolkar Drug.

The state of Kansas on March 29th opened up phase five of the vaccine distribution plan for the state, making every Kansan 16 and older eligible for the vaccine.

So Caswell decided to put together a small on the spot clinic, where the pharmacy would pop open a vial of doses if at least ten people committed to getting a dose before 6 p.m. on the same day.

“It’s a little riskier, but I think early in the stage like this we’ll be able to fill up that ten,” says Caswell. “And if not, then we won’t open the vial and have everyone else schedule an appointment for a little later on.”

Caswell isn’t sure if that’s something they will continue to do though — since they don’t want to waste any doses of any of the vaccine. So moving forward, they will continue to rely on appointment based clinics. But no matter how they do it, Caswell says they’re ready to get doses into arms as quickly as possible.

“It just creates this feeling of like liberation. Knowing that I’m able to make that step to a new normal,” says Caswell.

“I hope that this gives me some protection and I mean, you gotta protect yourself and everybody else,” says Fish. “I just hope that it’s the start of a better future.”

To schedule a vaccination appointment at Wolkar Drug, call 620-856-5555. Wolkar Drug currently only has Moderna vaccine available. The pharmacy has received doses of the Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccine, but all of the doses that are up for grabs have been used, and Caswell isn’t sure when they will receive more.

You can find COVID-19 vaccine near you at https://vaccinefinder.org/search/. 

Local Health Departments. 

KOAM also reached out to many of our local health departments to see how they plan to facilitate vaccine distribution now that the state is in the final phase. We have how some of them plan to do that, as well as details for upcoming vaccination clinics below.

Cherokee County.

According to Public Information Officer David Groves, the Cherokee County Health Department will continue to move forward with vaccine clinics that are appointment based.

He also says that the health department will not be vaccinating residents who are under 18. That’s because they only have the Moderna vaccine — which does not have approval for use in people under 18. He suggests calling other vaccine providers in the county — such as pharmacies and CHC/SEK to see if they are offering vaccines to those 16 and 17 years old.
Residents can call 620-429-3087 to make an appointment.
Crawford County has a few clinics scheduled for this week.
3/31/21  Crawford County Fairgrounds Drive thru clinic  Noon to 6:00 pm –  No appt needed.  First come first served.
3/31/21  Lincoln Center 9:00 am to 2:30 pm  –  For those who have made appointments already, your vaccine is reserved.  We will also take drop ins.
4/1/21  Crawford County Health Department 10:00 am to 12:00 pm  This clinic will be for those wanting Johnson and Johnson vaccine. First come, first served.
For faster service at any of the upcoming clinics, download the vaccine consent form from the Crawford County website and have it completed before you arrive.     www.crawfordcountykansas.org
Wilson County.
To sign up for COVID vaccine in Wilson County:
All vaccine sites offer COVID vaccine by appointment only.
Wilson County Health Department: 620-378-4455. Clinics generally on Thursdays and Fridays.
Porter Drug Store: 620-325-2671
Fredonia Regional Hospital: 620-378-2121
Wilson Medical Center       http://www.wilsonmedical.org
Neosho County.
According to the health department, the hospital still requires appointments.
But, the health department has started doing some walk-in clinics. Those clinics are announced on the health department’s Facebook  page. The health department is only vaccinating those people 18 and older.
SEK Multi County Health Department.
In Bourbon County, there is a clinic scheduled for April 6th, from 9-1:30 at the health department. Only for those 18 and older, and they will require appointments.
Anderson County – There is a walk-in clinic scheduled for March 31st from 9 to noon. At the Fairgrounds Community Building. Persons 18 and older.
Bring a completed consent form with you — they can be found at sekmchd.com.
Allen County — no clinics currently scheduled for this week. Call the SEK Multi County Health Department at 620-365-2191 for an appointment or to get on the waiting list.
Woodson County – no clinics currently scheduled for this week. Call 620-625-2484 for an appointment or to get on the waiting list.



Success for South Middle School’s spring market

JOPLIN, Mo. – Joplin’s South Middle School hosted their third annual spring market on Saturday.

The event allows vendors and their families to rent out space at the school gym so they can sell odds and ends to their friends, neighbors, and community.

The market also serves as a fundraiser for the school and helps them cover expenses outside their normal budget. A school representative said in the past, the market helped the school raise money for new choir equipment.

Organizers say they are grateful that the community is supportive of the school and students and shows it by attending the market.



Billions in federal funding dedicated to small businesses, restaurants

FORT SCOTT, Kan. – From state lockdowns to local restrictions, restaurants and small businesses have been hit perhaps the hardest by the pandemic.

At Holmtown Pub in Fort Scott, things are starting to get back to normal, but it’s still not quite the same.

“We’re not to where we were this time last year, but we’re making headway,” says owner Kristy Holmes.

In 2020, the pub lost around 25 percent of their normal revenue. To stay open, Homles had to put in the work to apply for several different grants, including for the Paycheck Protection Program on two separate occasions.

“When business was slow, we were able to make payroll. We used some of it for utilities, or to make loan payments on the building,” says Holmes.

“In the first round we assisted 68 businesses to the tune of about 1.6 million dollars. With the second round, we’ve assisted 87 businesses for just over a million dollars,” explains Katie Casper at Union State Bank.

The Paycheck Protection Program was created with the passage of the CARES Act in 2020. In a nutshell, it’s a program that allows businesses to get loans to cover the cost of their payroll, with the loans being forgivable if the funds were used for their intended purpose — retaining or rehiring workers.

Small businesses specifically had to apply through their bank, such as Union State Bank, to get the loans.

The $349 billion originally allocated to the program with the passage of the CARES Act ran dry within two weeks. The Associated Press found that at least 94 companies that disclosed receiving aid were publicly traded, some with market values well over $100 million. In December 2019, $284 billion was added to the Paycheck Protection Program with the passage of the second COVID-19 relief package. Now, after the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, an additional $7.25 billion is being added to the Paycheck Protection Program. But, the current March 31st end date for the program is still in effect. Legislation has been introduced to extend the deadline by two months, to May 31st, according to reporting by CBS News.

“I think it’ll continue to have an impact, because there are those businesses out there that just don’t know about it. And the stimulus packages, as they’ve been passed, keep gaining steam,” says Casper.

But additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program is far from the only funding designated for businesses still struggling to get back on their feet. The American Rescue Plan Act also created the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the first stimulus program created specifically for restaurants.

“We’ve had some wins along the way. We’ve gotten things like PPP. But our goal has always been an industry specific solution. And the passage of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund is a big step toward that,” says Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at the National Restaurant Association.

$28.6 billion dollars is being dedicated to the program, which will provide grants to restaurants that are equal to the amounts of its pandemic related revenue loss. Something that could be a good thing for the industry, since according to the National Restaurant Association 110 thousand businesses have closed since the onset of the pandemic.


Unlike the PPP program, restaurant owners will have to apply for grants directly through the Small Business Administration. The application process is not available yet, because the SBA is still in the process of creating it.

“It includes bars, it includes taverns, it includes food trucks, it includes restaurants of every shape and size beyond that,” explains Kennedy. “We’re hoping that this money’s gonna go out quickly, but we’re still waiting for… there’s a lot of things the SBA needs to do.”

In Holmes’ case, the amount she could qualify for may be lower since she received two PPP loans, but she plans to apply once the process starts.

“Things are just so tough on small businesses right now,” says Holmes. “People are still scared. They’re not getting out like they were before. They’re starting to come back, but we have a long way to go.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted a webinar on Friday that explains a lot of the programs for businesses included in the American Rescue Plan Act.

You can find that here: https://www.uschamber.com/co/events/small-business-update-town-hall/small-business-update-american-rescue-plan-act


Alleged victims relieved to see charges filed against Circle of Hope owners

CEDAR COUNTY, Mo. – Details of restraints that made it hard to breath and left bruises, instructions detailing how to commit suicide, accounts of young girls being forced to consume dishwashing liquid, and sexual assault that progressed to statutory rape.

All in a 37 page document, detailing charges against Boyd Householder.

“It still blows my mind that it actually was even able to happen,” says Gabrielle Whitton. “Those weren’t punishments… that was every day.”

On Tuesday, March 9th Boyd and Stephanie Householder, the owners of the Circle of Hope Girl’s Ranch in Cedar County, Missouri were charged with a combined 101 felony charges — including physical, mental and sexual abuse and neglect against minor girls.

“We believe this to be one of the most widespread cases of sexual, physical and mental abuse patterns against young girls and women in Missouri history,” says Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt in a Press Conference on Wednesday.

(You can see the press conference here: https://www.koamnewsnow.com/state-to-give-update-on-circle-of-hope-girls-ranch-abuse-investigation/)

In August, 2020, the state removed around 20 girls from the facility as the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office and Missouri Department of Social Services started a criminal investigation. In November 2020, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office got involved in the investigation.

So far 16 alleged victims have come forward, giving testimony of abuse that spans back to October, 2016.

“It is simply unthinkable to me that this kind of neglect and abuse can be perpetrated against those who are so vulnerable,” says Attorney General Schmitt.

“They did what they did. I’m just glad they’re being held accountable for it. Something I never thought was going to happen,” says the Householder’s adult daughter Amanda on TikTok.

For more than a year, Amanda has been speaking out about the alleged abuse at the boarding school — taking to social media and speaking with news agencies, trying to shed light on the situation.

This is the outcome she and many others have been working toward, but she explains that it’s still difficult.

“No one ever wants to see their parents go to jail, but they did this. They are being held accountable for their own actions,” explains Amanda. “I’m more frustrated at the fact that it took this long for anything to be done.”

“I’m more like almost disgusted after reading some of the things that I didn’t know about,” explains Gabrielle Whitton.

Gabrielle Whitton, who was at the facility for just under a year around a decade ago, says reading the charges against the pair takes her back to her time there — reminding her of the constant fear she was in.

She’s glad to see that there is finally true action being taken, so that no other girl will have to go through the same thing at the ranch in Cedar County.

“It’s been a long time of hearing the same stories, so to see this actually finally happen, I think I’m mostly like relieved and happy,” says Whitton.

The Householders are being held at the Vernon County, Missouri Jail.

Circle of Hope was a boarding school in Cedar County — with the now removed website saying it was Christian based. The facility closed permanently in September 2020, after the beginning of the investigation.

You can read the full list of charges, and a brief synopsis of what lead to each charge, below:

2021.03.09 Boyd Householder Information

2021.03.10 Stephanie Householder Information


This is a story that KOAM has been following since the investigation began. You can find the previous stories below.







Joplin man sentenced for allegedly shooting at car

JOPLIN, Mo. — A Joplin man, Zachary Tallie, is sentenced to 15 years in prison for shooting at people in a car with a shotgun last year. Tallie pled guilty to charges of unlawful use of a weapon and first-degree child endangerment back in December 2020. The shooting happened in February of 2020. Authorities say Tallie was riding in a vehicle with his girlfriend, when he leaned out the window and shot at another car and the two people inside. The victims, Eric Smith and a 16-year-old, were not hurt.