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Join Kaylee Cole from 8-10p on Saturday, April 25th, at GUITARS ROCK N' COUNTRY BAR on West 7th Street in Joplin! NO COVER til 9p and drink specials until 10p!!

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"Free Shep." That's the social media hashtag started by supporters of Sawyer Shepherd, a Carthage High School senior suspended after officials found a disassembled shotgun under the seat of his vehicle earlier this week. Webb City State Representative Charlie Davis tells News Talk KZRG he thinks the school's reaction was a bit much.


"I believe it's an
The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce recognized its outstanding citizen of the year Thursday night (4/23).  Peggy Fuller, vice president of marketing at Southwest Missouri Bank, was recognized for her volunteer work with Spiva Center for the Arts, Bright Futures and Pro Musica.  Fuller tells News Talk KZRG she was honored and surprised by the award.

"I know when Shelly Kraft was up on stage and talking about the person that was going to win, it took me a long, long time before I realized--it was me."

Fuller thanked her family and Southwest Misssouri Bank for making it easy for her to donate so much time as a volunteer.  She says she's been volunteering since she was a teenager.  "It's just something that I've always been interested in and I've always gotten a lot of pleasure out of it.  I always feel that if you're working with something that your're passionate about, it's certainly not drudgery and it's not a chore.  It's not something you feel like you have to do."

Fuller adds she's made many friends while volunteering and that has also enriched her life.
The Joplin Blasters unveiled their uniforms, and their manager Friday (4/24).  Carlos Lezcano was making his first appearance in Joplin after being hired by the American Association baseball team.  Lezcano tells News Talk KZRG he's ready to go.

"You guys are going to be proud of this team.  I look at the stadium, it's going to be beautiful.  I just can't wait to start. You're going to see players that respect the game, are going to play hard, do things the right way.  The people that pay to go see us play are going to get money's worth.  They're going to hustle and do things the right way."

Lezcano will have to wait a couple weeks, though.  The Blasters season opener against Wichita isn't until May 21st at Joe Becker Stadium.

Joplin Mayor Mike Seibert helped Lezcano and Blasters General Manager Shawn Suarez unveil the teams' uniforms.  You can see more in the photo gallery at
A research group is warning the state's 10-year highway program could be threatened if the Kansas Legislature continues to use State Highway Fund money for other state expenses.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports state transportation officials remain confident the projects in the highway program, called T-Works, will be completed. They acknowledge some projects meant to prevent more costly repairs in the future might be delayed.

The Kansas Center for Economic Growth said in a report released Thursday (3/23) that the state is maintaining a commitment to scheduled projects that result in new bridges and roads but it is falling behind in maintaining existing roads and bridges that lead to the new projects. The nonpartisan, nonprofit group has been a frequent critic of tax cuts championed by Governor Sam Brownback.
If you see lots of emergency vehicles at Missouri Southern State University Saturday--it's a drill.  Students in the Emergency Medical Technician and paramedic programs at Southern will participate in an all-day training exercise. Students will be responding to a car accident.  Damaged vehicles have been donated to create a realistic scenario.
Missouri has extended football coach Gary Pinkel's contract through the 2019 season and upped his yearly salary to $4.02 million, making him the 10th Southeastern Conference coach to have a yearly salary of at least $4 million.

Pinkel is headed into his 15th season at Missouri and is already the winningest coach in school history with 113 victories. He was making $3.2 million per year.

The 62-year-old Pinkel has led the Tigers to SEC East titles the last two years. Missouri, which joined the SEC in 2012, has won five division titles under Pinkel, including three in the Big 12.

Pinkel was coach of the year in the SEC last year, guiding the Tigers to an 11-3 finish and Citrus Bowl win after being picked fourth in the division.
The Joplin Police Department and the Southwest Missouri DWI Taskforce will beholding a DWI checkpoint this weekend. Sgt. Ryan West tells News Talk KZRG that even though a lot of motorists find them inconvenient, and maybe even unfair and unconstitutional, they're perfectly legal.


"Our checkpoints are conducted within constitutional guidelines that
One of Joplin's former Master Developers has been ordered to pay a $1.5-million settlement by a Texas judge. An Amarillo newspaper says Costa Bajjali will have to pay up, on a missed 2012 court settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Bajjali and his former partner, David Wallace, have been hit with nearly a dozen lawsuits since their company dissolved in
A drug investigation in Vernon County has led to one arrest.  The Vernon County Sheriff's Office tells News Talk KZRG 55-year-old Julie Reed was arrested at her home in Nevada early Thursday morning (4/23).  She's accused of possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute and keeping or maintaining a public nuisance.  Both are felonies.
Carl Junction is preparing for its annual citywide sale on Saturday (4/25).  Gary Stubblefield, executive director of the Carl Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, tells News Talk KZRG it's such a big event that local businesses have extra staff on hand.

"The Chamber puts out 2000 printed maps, but historically they only represent about a third of the sales.  So we're predicting about 300 sales.  There's sales in every neighborhood. There's tailgate sales out at the High School."

Stubblefield says Carl Junction's citywide sale is officially from 7am to 1pm Saturday.  But there are so many sales, some of them start Friday (4/24) and he says you might even find some bargains on Sunday (4/26).
The Missouri Supreme Court has set a June execution date for a man convicted of fatally stabbing his girlfriend and her 2-year-old daughter in 2000.

The court on Thursday (3/23) ordered 48-year-old Richard Strong to be executed June 9 for the deaths of Eva Washington and her daughter, Zandrea Thomas.

The victims were found dead Oct. 23, 2000, in Washington's apartment in the St. Louis suburb of St. Ann. A large butcher knife and the uninjured 3-month-old daughter of Washington and Strong were sitting on a bed next to a pool of blood.

Strong was convicted of first-degree murder in May 2003 and sentenced to death. The state Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence in August 2004.
The Missouri Legislature has passed a $26 billion spending plan for next fiscal year.

The budget approved Thursday (3/23) will cut spending for social services by about $46 million while increasing basic aid for K-12 schools by about $84 million compared to this year.  That increase still falls about $400 million short of what's need to provide public schools with full funding.

More money will go to public colleges and universities. Lawmakers have proposed a 1.3 percent increase of $12 million in performance-based spending for those institutions.

State employees will not receive a pay raise. Efforts to block the governor from extending bond payments to pay for a new St. Louis football stadium also failed to make it into the budget.

The bill now needs approval from Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.