The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 11, 2010

Filmmakers find stories in Picher

By Wally Kennedy

PICHER, Okla. — If the trend continues, the abandoned mining town of Picher might have a future in film.

Picher will be featured in tonight’s episode of “Life After People,” a popular series on the History Channel. The program is to air at 9 p.m.

The episode, titled “Toxic Revenge,” will feature an appearance by Earl Hatley, a local environmental activist who has documented the adverse health impact that living in a contaminated mining site can have on people.

Also appearing will be Robert Nairn, an associate professor in restoration of ecosystems at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Nairn is heading a project at the former Mayer Ranch, near Commerce, that seeks to reduce the flow of contaminated water from Picher’s mines into Tar Creek.

The creek, which turned orange/red nearly 30 years ago when acidic, metal-laden water emerged from the mines, has been featured in two documentary films.

The most recent, “Tar Creek,” by Matt Myers, takes a critical look at the history of Picher, and the recent buyout and relocation of residents by the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust.

The documentary will be shown on Sunday, Jan. 24, at the Trail Dance Film Festival in Duncan, where it has been nominated in the best feature documentary category.

Myers said footage from his film will be used in the “Life After People” episode.

“The program focuses on our toxic sites, and what better site to discuss that than Tar Creek?” he said in a recent e-mail updating local residents who participated in his film. “We have been working with some incredible folks at the History Channel who are going to use some of the footage from our film in their program.”

Residents of the town are in the final stages of being bought out and relocated by the trust because large areas of the town could cave in. Picher, once a leading producer of lead and zinc ores, is heavily undermined.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0420earthday.jpg Prairie State Park kicks off Earth Day events

    Prairie State Park began celebrating Earth Day early with an event Saturday that provided a chance for people of all ages to learn more about how they can protect the environment.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Catholic schools to hold annual spring auction

    The Joplin Area Catholic Schools spring auction will be staged Saturday at the Jack Lawton Webb Convention Center, 5300 S. Range Line Road in Joplin.

    April 19, 2014

  • Wally Kennedy MUG72.jpg Wally Kennedy: Another pizza choice and ice cream on the way

    A new pizza restaurant is coming to the northwest corner of Stone’s Corner in the Village of Airport Drive. Piez is opening this week in a storefront that formerly housed Quincy Magoo’s, 6039 N. Main Street Road, which has been closed for more than two years.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mike pound_cnhi .jpg Mike Pound: No more hiding Easter eggs or emotions

    Well, that’s a wrap on the Easter egg hunts. For about 15 years we have staged not one, but two Easter egg hunts for our now 16-year-old daughter, Emma.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

Must Read


Missouri Republicans are considering a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights: barring them from future careers in state law enforcement agencies. Do you think this proposal has merit?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter