Expect Lane Closure on Southbound I-49 Near Nevada for Crash Clean-Up

VERNON COUNTY, Mo. — Drivers can expect a lane closure on Tuesday (1/09) along southbound I-49 as contractor crews work to clean up a recent crash.

The southbound I-49 lane between Vernon County routes D & M near mile marker 108 north of Nevada will be closed between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Drivers are encouraged to find an alternate route. There are no signed detours.

Signs and message boards will alert drivers approaching the work zone. You can check MoDOT’s traveler Information map here for road closings/traffic routes.

Civil War era was not kind to Missouri's courthouses

McDonald County, Missouri Courthouse

JOPLIN, Mo. — As we turn our calendars to a new year, you’ll find that many historical anniversaries are set to take place in 2023. In Missouri, several of those anniversaries are associated with county courthouses. However, not every anniversary is a celebratory one. For example, 2023 marks the 160th anniversary of the arson fire that destroyed the Vernon County Courthouse (including the entire town of Nevada).

The damage to Missouri courthouses has a tremendous bearing on families in each and every way. Not only are these historic buildings ripped from each of our lifetimes, but also the archives they kept: Marriage, wills, probate, land records, as well as others. Once destroyed, these paper artifacts are permanently lost.

When you look at the dates, most Missouri courthouses that were lost to fire, took place from 1881 to 1885, and it’s not just a coincidence. This was the time of the US Civil War, and when you have a slave state (Missouri) next to a free state (Kansas), small skirmishes and battles were quick to break out in nearly every county in the “Show-Me State.”

Thanks to the historical records website, “Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness” (RAOGK), the dates and information surrounding these courthouse fires have been archived for future generations to access and learn about. The following list from RAOGK reveals which Missouri courthouses went up in flames during the Civil War period of April 1861 to April 1865:

List of Missouri Counties with Burned Courthouses (1861-1865)

  • Barry County Courthouse – Courthouse burned in 1861, some records destroyed.
  • Bates County Courthouse – Courthouse burned in 1861, some records destroyed.
  • Barton County Courthouse – Courthouse burned in November 1862.
  • Chariton County Courthouse – A fire in the clerk’s office, apart from the courthouse, destroyed all county court records on November 11th, 1861, and fires set by Confederates on September 20th, 1864 destroyed the courthouse.
  • Christian County Courthouse – Arsonists destroyed the building and all court records in 1865.
  • Dade County Courthouse – The courthouse was destroyed during the Civil War on October 6th, 1863. Some records were destroyed.
  • Dallas County Courthouse – Confederate troops burned the building on October 18th, 1863.
  • Dent County Courthouse – Courthouse burned in 1864. The next courthouse, built in 1864, also fell victim to fire in May 1866. The fire destroyed county records.
  • Greene County Courthouse – A fire destroyed the courthouse on October 28th, 1861.
  • Holt County Courthouse – Courthouse fire in February 1965. Records saved.
  • Howell County Courthouse – In the fall of 1863, guerrillas burned West Plains and the Courthouse. Most records were destroyed. The county reorganized in 1866.
  • Jasper County Courthouse – Courthouse was destroyed by fire in October 1863. County records were saved by moving them to Neosho, Missouri.
  • McDonald County Courthouse – In 1856 a log courthouse, reportedly built in Rutledge, was demolished by Rioters. Bushwackers burned the courthouse in 1863, destroying most records. Deeds before 1863 were recreated.
  • Newton County Courthouse – Courthouse burned in 1862, destroying many county records.

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  • Oregon County Courthouse – In October 1863 this courthouse was burned in a Civil War incident, destroying many county records.
  • Ozark County Courthouse – Courthouse destroyed by fire in 1858 or 1859, all early records were destroyed. Second courthouse destroyed by fire sometime before February 1864. Some records were lost. Third courthouse destroyed by fire November 28th, 1934.
  • Reynolds County Courthouse – The courthouse has burned twice. The first time was in December, 1863, when the Confederate army burned it. A new courthouse was built in the fall of 1867 on the same foundation as the prior one. This courthouse was burned in late November, 1871. Both times all records were destroyed. Temporary quarters again burned May 27th, 1872, while a new “fireproof” courthouse was being built.
  • Saline County Courthouse – In August 1864 the courthouse burned as a result of Civil War activity.
  • Stoddard County Courthouse – During Price’s raid in September 1864, the courthouse was burned by some stragglers, but fortunately the records had been removed.
  • Shannon County Courthouse – Courthouse was burned by soldiers in 1863 destroying this early courthouse along with all county records.
  • St. Clair County Courthouse – The courthouse apparently was burned in September 1861 by Gen. James Lane. One account claims that Lane’s raid only partially destroyed the courthouse; by some accounts it was rebuilt and used until November 1864, when it was again burned in Civil War activity. Probate Court records were destroyed.
  • Taney County Courthouse – The courthouse was burned in 1863 by Union troops trying to keep the fortress out of the hands of Confederates.
  • Vernon County Courthouse – Both the courthouse and clerk’s office were destroyed when the town was burned in 1863. County Court records are missing from 1861-1865.
  • Webster County Courthouse – Courthouse was accidentally burned by troops in 1863.
  • Wright County Courthouse – Courthouse was partially destroyed in 1862 and then reportedly burned on January 11th, 1863.

El Dorado man arrested in Nevada home invasion case

VERNON COUNTY, Mo. — An El Dorado man who police said burglarized a home and stole property is now in custody.

The incident took place on December 21st when a 911 call came in for a home intruder with a gun west of Nevada. Before deputies with the Vernon County Sheriff’s Office could arrive however, the suspect left.

Detectives with VCSO developed a person-of-interest from a previous crime at the same residence. That led them to an El Dorado Springs home on December 22nd where authorities surrounded the home, and executed a search warrant. The sheriff’s office says Tommy J. Toothaker, 39, surrendered and was promptly arrested.

Inside the home detectives say they found the stolen items and a gun believed to have been used during the crime. Toothaker remains in the Vernon County Jail on no bond and faces the following charges:

  • Armed Criminal Action
  • Robbery – 1st Degree
  • Burglary – 1st Degree
  • Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
  • Stealing – All Other
  • Stealing – Motor Vehicle

Nevada group advocates for veteran suicide prevention

NEVADA, Mo. — As Veterans Day comes as a time of remembrance, it’s also a time of support. The Elks Lodge 564 in Nevada partnered with other veteran advocacy groups and community groups to focus on veteran suicide prevention resources.

“So, unfortunately, in Missouri, we’re seeing an increase in the suicide rate that’s higher than the national average for our Veterans. And I think it’s important that we recognize that there are some veterans that and people in the military that return home with some um, emotional issues,” said Representative Patricia Pike, (R-Mo.) District 126.

That includes the 988 Suicide and Crisis hotline and local support groups. They also offered items like stress balls, gun locks, even “kindness rocks.”

“And you know, the veterans here, and you know, across the country are an at-risk population and so we just kind of wanted to focus on them and try to make sure that they know that help is out there and that there’s hope for them,” said Debbie Jensen, Co-Chair, Veteran Suicide Prevention Campaign

Many took the time to mention that Veterans Day is an important day to check in on those who have served our country… But it should also be that way every day.

“As a fellow veteran myself, I know that we like the fact that community and that the younger generations are still educated on what it means to be a veteran and what veterans have done for them throughout all the years of history and it’s good for them to still continue to acknowledge those veterans from years past that have done a lot of good things for this country,” said Dennis Bowling, Exalted Ruler, Elks Lodge 564.

It was also a time for veterans to gather and spend time eating and socializing.

“They gave up lots. They had to leave their families and some had to leave their children and some never came home. So, they’ve given up everything to keep us free,” said Darlene Tweten, Treasurer, VFW Auxiliary 2175.

Cottey College "Descendants: The Musical" production

NEVADA, Mo. — The stage is set for a first at Cottey College in Nevada.

The theatre department will host its first-ever musical performance this weekend.

Production of Disney’s “Descendants: The Musical”. Work started in August.

More than 50 students are part of it, be it actors or production, and some have multiple roles.

“So, I play Maleficent. I’m Mal’s mother…and I’ve also helped with hair design. I set the paint. I also did poster design and I’ve kinda just jumped into little areas that need help, so I kind of do a little bit of everything,” said Taylor Jordan, Actress/Crew Member.

“They may not always just be the lead performer. They might also do hair and makeup, or they might work on the set. So, when they leave Cottey, it’s really important to have those skills at hand, and I think we’re training them enough. This show is definitely an example of a community coming together to make it happen,” said Laura Chaney, Show Director.

Showtimes are 7:30 this Friday and Saturday nights, with the 2 o’clock matinee performance on Saturday.

Tickets are $7 for students and senior citizens and $10 for the general public.

"On My Own" fair helps youth achieve their goals

NEVADA, Mo. — Just because you have a disability, doesn’t mean you don’t have hopes and dreams too.

Each student has a decision to make when they finish high school, and that includes young people with disabilities.

Helping them to make that decision is the purpose of an annual event held at the Nevada Elk’s Lodge.

“We get the youth pulled from schools and inside the community to come together to provide resources and services that help these youth transition successfully,” said Kalli Gober, On My Own Inc.

The “On My Own” youth transition fair brings together students from several school districts with organizations that can help them achieve their goals.

And if they don’t know exactly what they want to do with their lives, speakers can help them hone in on an area of interest and then point them in that direction.

Dakota Ragsdale went to this same event a few years ago when he was in high school and now helps current students to chart their post high school plans.

“I learned a bunch of different things like how to advocate for myself, what sources I needed to transition into getting a job and if I wanted to go to college,” said Dakota Ragsdale, Youth Volunteer.

“There’s this one booth that helps with people who have Autism, that’s actually very useful cause like today’s society is very difficult for people with Autism to get a job,” said Zachariah Myers, High School Sophomore.

“I want to achieve my goals on going into Psychology, or Child Development, or becoming a Special Ed teacher,” said Dakota Thill, Program Participant.

"Capital improvements" sales tax on the ballot in Nevada

NEVADA, Mo. — A use tax proposal is on the ballot for voters in Nevada, as is the extension of a capital improvements sales tax.

It’s currently one-half of one percent, and was originally passed by voters in 2004. The money is earmarked for a specific purpose.

“So what that funds is a debt to our wastewater treatment plant, as well as new improvements to sidewalks, curb and gutter and also funds public safety equipment,” said Mark Mitchell, Nevada City Manager.

Without a “simple majority” yes vote, the existing tax will sunset in 2024.

Suspect identified in weekend shooting

KSNF/KODE — The man who, police say is responsible for multiple incidents over the weekend in Southwest Missouri, including shooting at law enforcement, has been identified.

32-year old Brenton Ross is from Kansas City, and is being held on no bond.

Authorities say he led numerous agencies on high-speed chases through parts of Vernon, Barton, and Cedar counties on Saturday, and also fired shots at them. He faces more than a dozen charges.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is handling the investigation.

Ross is in the Cedar County Jail and is set to be transferred to the Vernon County Jail.

Lamar woman arrested after allegedly unprovoked knife attack

Chloe Crowe

LAMAR, Mo. — Lamar Police arrested a woman over the weekend after an apparent knife attack outside an apartment complex.

On Saturday, officers with the Lamar Police Department were contacted after an assault at the Divine Estates Apartment.

At the scene, a man was found suffering from a cut to his neck. He was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Twenty-year-old, Chloe Crowe, of Lamar, was located and found to be in possession of a stolen car, according to LPD’s Facebook.

The victim and Crowe allegedly did not know one another.

Crowe faces charges for First Degree Assault (bond $100,000) and First Degree Vehicle Tampering ($10,00). She remains in the Vernon County Jail.

Psychiatric care available for seniors, NRMC Grand Opening

NEVADA, Mo. — It will soon be easier for seniors in Nevada and beyond to receive psychiatric care. A ribbon cutting was held today for the Nevada Regional Medical Center’s Senior Behavioral Health Unit. The unit had been shut down for three years. The facility provides psychiatric health care for those 55 and older. There are eight rooms in the unit.

“We know that it’s been a need for a long time and I’ve seen really good things happen in this unit before so I’m really happy that we’re getting, we’re doing it again. Because it is such a heart-wrenching thing to see people so sick, and you can make them better in just a few days. It’s amazing,” said Holly Bush, NRMC Chief Quality Officer.

“We’ll take patients from anywhere within the state of Missouri and we oftentimes do get patients from all over the state of Missouri. And we’ll certainly take patients from Eastern Kansas as well,” said Mark Stewart, D.O., Dir. Inpatient Psychiatric Services NRMC.

The unit will begin accepting patients this Thursday, September 1st.