Jo has been with 5 NEWS as a reporter for one year. She grew up in the River Valley. She has worked in the T.V. news business over 10 years. She lives in Van Buren with her husband David and their daughter Hattie.

Recent Articles
  • Leflore County Couple Arrested After Investigators Say Paddling Went Too Far

    SPIRO (KFSM) — Leflore County deputies said a mother contacted them to say her 5-year-old daughter had just come back from her fathers home. Investigators said she told them the child was injured. “Basically, we understood that it was a disciplinary action by the father that had went too far,” Leflore County Investigator Terry Winn said. Investigators said the child was swatted with a hand and more than 10 times with a wooden paddle nearly two feet long and 3’4 […]

  • Homeless Couple Upset With New Restrictions On Panhandling

    FORT SMITH (KFSM)– Shannon Koehler and his wife Sharon are homeless. They are currently panhandling in Fort Smith to get by. “About several months ago I ended up losing my job,” Shannon Koehler said. The Koehlers said in order to eat, they panhandle. Sharon Koehler said according to what their needs are for the day is what they will write on their sign. Sharon read the sign she prepared for Thursday (Mar.23). “Disabled Vet. Live in car. Anything helps,” she […]

  • Van Buren To Draft Ordinance Banning Smoking In City Parks

    VAN BUREN (KFSM) — Recently, commissioners of the Parks and Recreation Department in Van Buren voted to draft an ordinance banning smoking in all city parks. The draft comes after city leaders said they received calls from citizens about litter from cigarette butts. City leaders cite health concerns as the reason for the ordinance. Parks leaders have also said the plan is to have the ordinance in place before the new veterans park, Freedom Place opens in mid April. Fort […]

  • Documentary Crew Compares Melissa Witt Murder To Melissa Trotter Murder

    FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A Fort Smith documentary crew investigating the murder of 19-year-old Melissa Witt is comparing her murder to the murder of another murdered 19-year-old. Larry Swearingen is currently on death row for the rape and murder of Melissa Trotter. Trotter was a community college student that disappeared from campus on December 8, 1998. Trotter’s body was found January 2, 1999 in a national forest, according to the crew. The 19-year-old had been strangled. The group compared Trotter’s […]

  • Abilities Unlimited Set To Close Three Retail Locations

    FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Through Abilities Unlimited, people in our area who have a developmental or social disability are able to work a job, collect a pay check and learn the life skills they need. Organizers at Abilities Unlimited teach classes and provide more than 60 clients with a job through companies in the River Valley who employ their service. Abilities Unlimited is an organization that started back in 1962. “This agency was formed with a small resale store in […]

  • Some Oklahoma State Parks Could Close Due To Budget Cuts

    POTEAU (KFSM) — The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department has been hit with budget cuts. According to state leaders, the department has been asked by an appropriations committee to put together what a 15 percent budget cut would look like for the department. The department responded with a list of state park closures. Sixteen out of 33 state parks could close if future budget cuts are put upon the department. A list of parks include: Talimena Stae Park Osage Hills […]

  • Oklahoma Department Of Corrections Cancels Contracts With County Jails

    POTEAU (KFSM) — The Oklahoma Department of Corrections, citing budget cuts, sent a letter to the LeFlore County jail administrator on March 8. The letter states that the D.O.C. will no longer contract the LeFlore County Jail to house D.O.C. inmates. According to the LeFlore County Sheriff Rob Seale, his county jail can house up to 186 inmates. He said 48 of the current inmates belong to the D.O.C. The D.O.C. pays the county to house their inmates. “That’s a […]

  • Local Family Gathering Donations To Help Oklahoma Wildfire Victims

    RATCLIFF (KFSM) —  Fire crews continue the battle to extinguish a wildfire in Northwest Oklahoma, along with parts of Kansas and Texas. The fire started last week and has spread across more than 800,000 acres. The Oklahoma Forestry Service reports 42 percent of the fire is contained. Numerous farms and livestock have been lost in the fires. Tyrell Berry, a truck driver from Ratcliff, Arkansas felt an urge to help the farmers as he drove through the area while on […]

  • Southside Rebel Memorabilia To Be Auctioned Off

    FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Nearly 5,000 pieces of Southside High School memorabilia with the Rebel logo on it will be auctioned off Saturday (Mar.11) at 10:00 a.m. The auction will take place at the Southside Activity Center. Organizers urge anyone who plans to attend to come early because of the large crowd expected. Organizers will provide parking on the west side of the Southside High School building. The Fort Smith School Board voted to drop the “Dixie” fight song along with […]

  • Arkansas Governor Approves Money To Build Mental Health Facilities

    FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill into law geared toward lowering the number of incarcerated adults suffering from a mental illness. The bill allocated $5 million to build three mental health crisis stabilization centers in the state of Arkansas. Many times law enforcement officers have no other choice than to incarcerate a person with a mental illness when there is a criminal disturbance. Once built, a person with a mental illness will be transported to […]

  • Fort Smith City Leaders Question Alleged False Contractor Bids

    FORT SMITH (KFSM) — State Senator Jake Files and his business partner Lee Webb are under scrutiny after an auditor for the City of Fort Smith told city leaders contractor bids submitted by their non-profit may have been falsified. The River Valley Sports Complex, a 1.6 million dollar project was approved by city leaders to be developed by RVSC, operated by Files and Webb. The project has been in the works for years. City of Fort Smith leaders said they […]

  • Trash Litters Leflore County Highway; More Volunteers Needed

    SPIRO (KFSM) — Highway 59 North outside of Spiro in Leflore County is littered with trash. From soda cans, ice chest, full bags of trash to dead animals, trash can be seen all along the stretch of highway leading to the Sequoyah County line. The clean up for that stretch of road falls on the Oklahoma Highway and Transportation Department, who said they have more than 300 miles of county roadways to cover each day. Workers with the department said they […]