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Staff Member at Eisenhower Elementary Tests Positive for COVID-19


A staff member at Eisenhower Elementary in Independence has tested positive for COVID-19.


Independence Public Schools was notified on Saturday about the positive test. The school has temporarily closed off areas of the building the individual used in the past several days to thoroughly clean and disinfect the spaces. The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 and close contacts of the individual will not be allowed to return to school for at least 14 days from the date of exposure. They will have access to Remote Learning.


Questions may be directed to Independence Superintendent Rusty Arnold at 620-496-4706 or

USD 445 Combatting Hunger During Remote Learning Period


Starting October 1st, USD 445 Coffeyville Public Schools is providing free meals for all children from ages 1-18.


The meals are being given out because students are being moved to remote learning due to the coronavirus pandemic. Children do not have to be students of Coffeyville Public Schools to receive free meals.


Meals are available curbside daily from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Nado Café at 606 Cherokee Street.


You may sign up curbside at the time of pick up, or call Pam Lane at 620-252-1785 to sign up.

Man in Pittsburg Arrested for Arson


Units from the Pittsburg Fire Department and the Pittsburg Police Department were dispatched in reference to a report of an active structure fire early Sunday morning.


Neighbors in the area reported hearing a loud noise and then observing the structure at 615 E. 22nd St. on fire. One of the residents, later identified as 38-year-old Justin L. Smutz, was observed walking away from the structure after it was already ablaze, and then standing in the front yard watching the fire.


While officers were on scene with Smutz, he became agitated toward one of the other residents and tried to strike them, and Smutz was taken into custody without further incident. He was later transported to the jail at the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.


Smutz was arrested for felony arson, misdemeanor assault and for violation of the conditions of parole. The investigation is currently ongoing.

Man Killed in Accident


One man is dead and two more were injured in a Monday morning wreck in Montgomery County.


According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a Ford F150 driven by 51-year-old Paul Thomas of Independence was headed northbound on Independence Avenue just north of Dearing when he crossed the center line and hit a southbound 1997 Ford Pickup driven by 56-year-old Monty Phillips of Fredonia. Phillips was killed in the accident while his passenger, 55-year-old Amos Cole Jr., also of Fredonia was seriously injured.


Both Cole and Thomas were transported to CRMC.


Arson Case Investigated in Parsons


The Parsons Police Department is looking for the public's help in finding the person who set a house on fire.


Over the weekend, Parsons PD dispatch received a call of a structure fire in the 1700 block of Morgan Ave. Parsons Police Officer Russel Parsons arrived with members of the Parsons Fire Department. Once the blaze was contained an investigation revealed that the fire was potentially an arson case.


Parsons Police Departments Investigations Division was contacted, along with the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office. A State Fire Marshal responded to the scene and worked with police investigators and fire personnel. The residence was not an abandoned structure, but the residents were not in the home when emergency responders arrived. Police canvassed the neighborhood speaking with neighbors and gathering evidence along with any potential security footage.


If you have any information regarding this fire investigation, contact the Parsons Police Department at 620-421-7060.

Prepping Your Home for the WInter


It may seem a little early to be talking about preparing for winter, but there are things that can be done now to make sure you are ready. Kansas State University Assistant State Climatologist Mary Knapp says you want to protect the home from potential storm damage and prevent the cold air from getting in.


Knapp says to also get your furnace serviced and check the batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Numerous Items Covered at Labette County Meeting


A busy agenda for the Labette County Commission as the meet for their regularly scheduled meeting. Health Department Office Manager Tammie Murdock, Treasurer Crystall Addis, Public Works Director Sandy Krider and 911 Dispatch Director Brandy Grassl presented the board with the dates for their County Employee Health Fair.


The commissioners approved the use of grant money to purchase laptops, TVs, computers, tables and chairs and other items for the EOC. Parsons Economic Development Director Jim Zaleski and Parsons Community Development Director Laura Moore gave the commissioners an update on SPARK with more to come at next weeks meetings.

Bridge Improvement Application Proposal in Independence


Bridge 67 by County Road 3300 in Independence could be getting some much-needed improvements. 


An application will be sent before Thursday to the state regarding the proposal for improvements on the bridge.


Montgomery County Public Works Coordinator Jim Wright suggested to the County Commission Monday morning that the bridge be a priority and be fixed with the state's funds.


The commission agreed to allow Wright to move forward to apply for the bridge's funding. The application for the improvements is due Thursday.


The Montgomery County Commission meets every Monday morning at 9 a.m. at the Montgomery County Judicial Center in Independence.

Fugitive Arrested in Parsons


A wanted man from Arkansas was arrested late last week in Parsons.


Parsons Police partnered with the U.S. Marshals Service, Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP), and Labette County Sheriff's Office on a multi-agency fugitive apprehension. 33-year-old Bryan Lamont Smith was taken into custody in the area of Main and 29th in Parsons. Traffic was temporarily shut down during the operation.


Smith and another man are suspects in two fatal shootings in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on Sept. 3rd. He is being charged with capital murder, terroristic acts, unlawful discharge of a firearm into a vehicle, and possession of a firearm by certain persons.


Parsons Police Chief Robert Spinks said that due to hard work and inter-agency cooperation of the U.S. Marshals Service, KHP, and the Labette sheriff's office, another felon has been removed from the street of Parsons.

FKHS Debate Looking for Volunteer Judges


The Field Kindley High School Debate team needs volunteer judges for its tournament coming up next month. The tournament will be virtual, meaning anyone 18 or older can volunteer from their own home. The only requirements needed are a reliable internet connection, a reliable phone number, and free time on Saturday, October 17.


This year, the topic is about reforming the criminal justice system in one of these areas: forensic science, sentencing or policing. The sign-up link to volunteer can be found here.

CPD Receives Grant for Communications Equipment


The Coffeyville Police Department has been awarded a grant to upgrade communications equipment. CPD will receive $82,035 to upgrade systems to better allow the agency to respond locally and assist in crisis situations in the region.


Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says one of the keys to keeping the communities safe is making sure our law enforcement officers have up to date technology. The grant is part of the Federal Edward J. Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program and was awarded by the Kansas Criminal Justice Coordinating Council. Schmidt serves as the chair of the council.

Gas Holds Steady Nationally and in Kansas


Since Monday, the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline has increased by a penny to $2.19, which is one cent more than a week ago and a month ago, but still significantly cheaper than last year. Prices have held steady in Kansas.


According to AAA, Kansas prices currently sit at $1.97, which is one penny less than at the same time last week. Montgomery County sits at $1.96 a gallon while Labette County currently at $1.97 a gallon. Chautauqua County is higher by four cents at $2.01 a gallon.


Across the border in Oklahoma, the state average is $1.90. Washington County came in at $1.82 a gallon while Nowata County checked in at $1.84 a gallon.

Native American Unity Gathering Saturday


Native American Fellowship and USD 445 Indian Education Program are hosting a Native American Unity Gathering tomorrow.


The event will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m. at the grounds of the Historic Brown Mansion in Coffeyville.


The event is free and open to the public. There will be dancing, drumming, craft vendors, educational activities for kids and free food while supplies last. Seating is limited so bringing a lawn chair is encouraged.


Those planning to attend are also encouraged to practice social distancing and wear facial coverings.

Chanute Man Arrested on Outstanding Warrants, Drug Possession


A Chanute man was arrested on outstanding warrants and possession of drugs.


Earlier this week, Chanute police responded to the area of the 700 block of South Santa Fe for a report of an individual trying to gain entry into a vehicle. Upon arrival, officers made contact with an adult female and male at the vehicle. During the investigation, officers learned that the male was trying to gain entry into the vehicle for the vehicle owner, but had an active arrest warrant out of Neosho and Woodson counties.


26-year-old Dustin Earl Schaffer was arrested for the outstanding warrants along with the charges of possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was transported to the Neosho County Jail without incident.


Homicide Investigation Underway in Longton


Authorities are investigating a homicide that occurred in Longton yesterday. 


According to the Prairie Star, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Elk County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation.  The Elk County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to the scene on East 3rd Street in Longton just after 10:00 a.m. Thursday after receiving a 911 call from a family member.  Upon entry, deputies discovered a resident, 34-year-old Amy R. Lammon, deceased inside the home.  Lammon was pronounced dead at the scene. 


The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Elk County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME.

Bartlesville Woman Arrested in Caney


A Bartlesville woman is arrested in Caney on multiple drug charges. Officers with the Caney Police Department received a report of a black Dodge Challenger in the area of South High Street traveling at accelerated speeds. Officers did not locate the vehicle matching the description at that time. Later on, an officer observed a vehicle matching that description, improperly parked at the Garden Walk Apartments. When the officer approached the vehicle, the driver was not present. In plain view, the officer observed two plastic marijuana dispensary bottles on the driver’s seat.


Shortly after 41 year old Maili L. Mello of Bartlesville arrived to the vehicle and was identified as the owner and driver of the vehicle. Upon search of the vehicle, officers located methamphetamine, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. Mello is charged with possession of an opiate, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia

Pitt State Reports Decline In Positive Rate


Pittsburg State University reported Wednesday that the number of positive COVID-19 cases involving students continues to decline.


There are currently just 12 students who are in active isolation, down from 24 students in the last week, and the number of those quarantined also fell for the third straight week to about 50 students.


Among faculty and staff, four new cases were reported in the most recent seven-day period. Currently, four faculty/staff are in isolation and five are in quarantine due to possible exposure. Since the university began tracking in March, 14 faculty/staff have reported infections, and 36 have had to quarantine for any reason.

150th Cherryvale Birthday Planning Meeting Tonight


Cherryvale plans to celebrate its 150th birthday next year.


A meeting is scheduled for this evening at 6:30 p.m. where everyone will be able to share their ideas on how this special occasion should be celebrated. The meeting will be at the Cherryvale Community Center and is open to the public.


Voting for the celebration's logo will also take place at this evening's meeting. Safety percautions such as social distancing and face masks are encouraged.

Next Week Will Bring Cooler Temperatures


After higher-than-normal temperatures to end the week, cooler temperatures might prevail starting early next week.


The National Weather Service in Wichita reported that temperatures will likely remain about 5 to 8 degrees higher than usual through the weekend. After that, a cold front moving through the area will drop temperatures into the low 70s throughout the SEK area. Coffeyville will see a high of around 74 by this time.


The NWS reports that temperatures seen next week will be about 5 to 7 degrees below normal.




Two Injured After Wreck at Montgomery-Wilson County Line


Two people were injured following a collision just north of the Montgomery/Wilson County border Wednesday.


Crash logs from the Kansas Highway Patrol report the crash occured shortly before 5:30 pm. A 2011 Ford Focus driven by 65-year-old Daniel K. Wiziarde of Indpendence was westbound on County Road 6600 when it failed to stop at a stop sign. Wiziarde's vehicle was struck by a 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan driven by 35-year-old Leland Jackson Burns II. Burns was traveling northbound on U75 at the time of the accident.


Both men were taken to a hospital with suspected serious injuries. Safety restraints were in use by both drivers.



USD 446 Has Another Positive COVID-19 Case


USD 446 in Independence has reported its fourth positive coronavirus case in the last seven days.


The first one appeared last Friday at Eisenhower Elementary, a staff member at Eisenhower and a student at the high school tested positive on Tuesday, and another elementary student has been reported to have tested positive yesterday.


The school district has temporarily closed off areas that the student used over the last several days to thoroughly clean and disinfect the areas. The student and those identified as close contacts will not be allowed to return to school for at least 14 days, but they will have access to remote learning.

Genesis to Distribute Commodities Next Week


Genesis in Coffeyville will be distributing commodities from 9:00am to 11:30am, starting Tuesday and continuing each day until they are gone. Commodities can be picked up at 1312 W. 8th.


Director Linda Follet says you must live in Coffeyville, Dearing or Liberty to pick them up. She says there is also an income limit guideline that they must observe. If you don't know if you qualify, you can call Genesis at 620-251-3004 to find out. They ask that you bring a current piece of mail with you that shows your name and the date.

Eureka Man Charged With Child Sex Crimes


A Eureka man has been charged with three child sex crimes that allegedly happened when the victim was 9 years old.


The Greenwood County Sheriff's Office said 69-year-old Jim Gooch is in custody. He was charged with indecent liberties with a child, aggravated indecent solicitation of a child, and lewd and lascivious behavior. A complaint states that the alleged crimes occurred between May 1st and September 30th of 2018. The victim was 9 years old at the time.


Gooch is scheduled for a court appearance on October 6th.

Independence Man Arrested for Using Counterfeit Money in Caney


An Independence man was arrested in Caney for using counterfeit money multiple times, and owning a total of $46,000 worth of counterfeit bills.


Officers were able to locate the suspect at the Sonic Drive-In. Upon approaching the suspect, and during the arrest, a worker at the Sonic told the officers that the suspect had just used a counterfeit $20 dollar bill to purchase his food.


The suspect was identified as 28-year-old Jareel Dungy. He also confessed to a residential burglary in Altoona. Dungy was transported to the Montgomery County Jail on felony theft by deception and counterfeiting charges.


Officers with the Caney Police Department will be in contact with the U.S. Secret Service today which handles counterfeiting cases at the federal level.

House Fire in Indpendence Put Out


A fire at a home in Independence has been extinguished.


The fire started around 7:30 a.m. this morning at 606 S. 1st Street, and responders from Independence Fire-EMS first shift arrived on the scene.


Upon arrival, the attic of the home was on fire, but it was extinguished within just fifteen minutes.


The house was unoccupied and no one was injured. Independence Fire-EMS and IPD are investigating the cause of the fire.

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