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(Winona) – A shooting that took place in Shannon County in the overnight hours is currently under investigation.

Winona Police Chief Alonzo Bradwell confirmed to Ozark Radio News Wednesday afternoon that the shooting took place at a home about 5 miles south of Winona around 1 AM Wednesday morning, and that a woman was shot in the head by a man who was known to her.

At this time, the identities of the parties involved have not been released.

Bradwell also confirmed that there was a Winona police officer who showed up shortly after the shooting and helped save the woman’s life. Sgt. William Knobbe and officer Greg Abney with the Winona Police Department secured the scene shortly after arrival and Sgt. Knobbe gave the woman first aid until an ambulance showed up almost a half-hour later.

Reports indicate that the woman was later flown to a Springfield hospital.

“Sgt. Knobbe has shown outstanding police service and put others lives above his own in the performance of his duties. I cannot stress enough how proud I am of Sgt. Knobbe’s performance to our community, and his outstanding service to the Winona Police Department,” Chief Bradwell said in a statement.

No motive has been identified in the shooting at this time. It is being investigated by the Shannon County Sheriff’s Office.

We will have more information on this story when it becomes available.

by Andrew DeMillo, AP

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, right, answers reporters' questions as Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe, lisens at the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Hutchinson on Wednesday called for changes to the state's religious objection measure facing a backlash from businesses and gay rights groups, saying it wasn't intended to sanction discrimination based on sexual orientation. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, right, answers reporters’ questions as Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe, listens at the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Hutchinson on Wednesday called for changes to the state’s religious objection measure facing a backlash from businesses and gay rights groups, saying it wasn’t intended to sanction discrimination based on sexual orientation. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

(Little Rock) (AP) – Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday called for changes to a religious-objection measure that provoked a backlash from businesses and gay-rights groups, saying it was not intended to sanction discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Republican governor said he wants the Legislature to either recall the bill from his desk or pass a follow-up measure that would make the proposal more closely mirror a 1993 federal religious-freedom law.

“What is important from an Arkansas standpoint is one, we get the right balance. And secondly, we make sure that we communicate we’re not going to be a state that fails to recognize the diversity of our workplace, our economy and our future,” Hutchinson said at a news conference at the state Capitol.

Hutchinson initially supported the bill, which prohibits state and local government from infringing upon someone’s religious beliefs without a compelling interest. On Tuesday, the governor’s office said he planned to sign it into law.

His change in thinking comes after Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a similar measure into law last week. This week, Pence said he wants follow-up legislation to address concerns that the law could allow businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation.

Similar proposals have been introduced in more than a dozen states, patterned after the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Nineteen other states have similar laws on the books.

Hutchinson did not specifically call for changes that would prohibit the law from being used to deny services, but said he did not believe the bill was intended to do so.

“This law that is under consideration does not extend discrimination,” Hutchinson said.

The governor also said he was looking at signing an executive order preventing workplace discrimination by state agencies.

Opponents of the law said they were waiting to see what the proposed changes would do, but were encouraged by Hutchinson’s comments.

“What’s clear is the governor has been listening,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights group. “The governor listened to business leaders in this state and around the country, and the governor listened to tens of thousands of Arkansans. …. Now what we have to do is keep the pressure on.”

Conservative groups that had been pushing for the measure questioned the need for any changes.

“I’m very puzzled at this point to see why the bill would need to be amended at this late date, considering everybody in the chamber has had a chance to see it,” said Jerry Cox, head of the Arkansas Family Council. “I think it’s been thoroughly vetted and it’s a good law.”

The lawmakers behind the proposal said they were open to discussions, but stopped short of saying they would support any changes.

“We’re going to go to work on it,” Republican Rep. Bob Ballinger of Hindsville said.

Legislators face a short window to address Hutchinson’s concerns. The governor has five days to take action on the bill before it becomes law without his signature, and lawmakers had hoped to wrap up this year’s session by Thursday.

Removing the bill from Hutchinson’s desk will require a simple majority in the 100-member House, but reversing the votes that gave the measure final approval needs the support of at least 67 members. Lawmakers could also use an abandoned bill that had been intended to expand the state’s anti-discrimination laws to amend the religious-objections measure.

Hutchinson has faced pressure from the state’s top employers, including retail giant Wal-Mart, which a day earlier asked the governor to veto the bill. Little Rock’s mayor, the city’s Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas-based data services company Acxiom all urged the governor to reject the measure in recent days.

Hutchinson noted how divisive the issue has become, saying his son Seth was among those who signed a petition asking him to veto the bill.

“This is a bill that in ordinary times would not be controversial,” he said. “But these are not ordinary times.”

(ORN photo)

(ORN photo)

(Mountain View) – Congressman Jason Smith visited Mountain View-Birch Tree Liberty High School and Gainesville High School on Tuesday to talk with students about the legislature and answer questions they may have had about the legislative process, or his position on certain issues.

Smith spoke with Ozark Radio News via phone on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his trip, which he said went extremely well:

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Smith added that schools aren’t the only stop during his week at home, and he’s working to visit as many counties as he can:

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Smith also told us about his legislative priorities before the break, and what he’s hoping to get accomplished after the break:

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Below are some of the questions given by students at MVBT Liberty High School during Jason Smith’s questionnaire. Answers from Jason Smith are summarized unless quoted.

“What is it like being a Representative?”

Every day is different. It’s exciting, but my life is constantly under scrutiny. I don’t get to see family and friends as often as I’d like to.

“How does a special election work?”

A special election happens when a replacement is needed for a congressional seat. I was chosen by a Republican committee to represent the party in the special election. Afterward, we went to a general election, and the 8th Congressional candidates were the only issue on the ballot. “It was scary, because people were only voting on the one issue. Either they were voting for me, or against me.”

“Now that the House and Senate are Republican controlled, how easy or difficult is it to get legislation through?”

It’s still difficult, despite the majority. The Senate takes longer to pass legislation, while things seem to move faster in the House.

“Why are school lunches seemingly getting worse?”

The federal government sets guidelines. I believe that decisions like this should be made at the local level.

“Do you think the Indiana law possibly allowing business to deny service to LGBT people could happen in Missouri?”

I believe that it’s a state issue.

“Do you think teachers should be able to carry guns to protect students?”

Yes.

“Do you agree with Missouri’s Safe School Act that says if you’re being bullied you can’t defend yourself?”

I disagree, but it’s a state issue.

“How do you feel about drug testing for welfare and food stamps?”

I believe that it’s a state issue. I’m in favor of it.

“Do you believe in climate change or global warming, and how should we protect our planet?”

I believe the climate changes year to year, but I disagree with the cause being man-made. We should protect our planet, as “it’s the only planet we have”, but we need to stay away from burdensome regulations.

“If we can fight for God and country at the age of 18, why can’t we buy alcohol?”

Great question. If you can vote and you can serve our country, why are you treated differently? I don’t know.

“Will we legalize marijuana?”

I don’t believe it should be legalized for recreational usage, but, again, I believe it’s a state issue. I also doesn’t agree with the federal government taking tax money from states where marijuana is legal.

“Do you agree with the way the administration is dealing with ISIS?”

No. I think the administration has a huge issue in dealing with foreign policy. It’s not where it needs to be.

“Do you think there should be more stringent gun control laws?”

No. I think we have enough laws on the books, but we do need to increase access to mental health services.

“If we have such a deficit, how do we continue to operate?”

We print the money, and we take out loans from other countries.

“How do we improve job prospects in the region?”

We bring those jobs back from overseas and we get rid of burdensome regulations that eliminate jobs. We also need to make sure American companies aren’t disadvantaged through taxes or trade policies.

“What are your thoughts on gay marriage?”

“I support the Missouri constitution that states marriages are between one man and one woman.”

(Little Rock) (AP) – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has approved the wording of a ballot proposal to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the state’s anti-discrimination protections, clearing the way for supporters to gather signatures for the measure.

Rutledge on Tuesday certified the proposed initiated act, which would expand the state’s civil rights act. Rutledge’s certification means supporters of the measure can begin gathering the nearly 68,000 signatures from registered voters required to put the proposal on next year’s ballot.

The measure was proposed after Gov. Asa Hutchinson allowed legislation to go into law that prohibits local governments from adopting anti-discrimination ordinances that offer protections that go beyond state law.

(Mountain Grove) – The Wright County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Mountain Grove VFW for a prescription pill take-back event on April 8.

The event, which will run from 11 AM to 4:30 PM at the VFW location at the intersection of Bell Crossing and Wheeler Arch roads, will collect outdated or unwanted prescription medication for proper disposal. Organizers say only pills will be collected, and no liquid medication will be accepted.

For more information, contact the Wright County Sheriff’s Office at 417-741-7576.

The Sinking Creek bridge. (MoDOT photo)

The Sinking Creek bridge. (MoDOT photo)

(Sikeston) – The bridge over Sinking Creek on Route 19 near Round Spring in Shannon County has been reduced to one lane with a weight restriction of 20 tons due to bridge deterioration.

MoDOT officials say the reduction comes after routine bridge inspections, and the reduction will stay in place until funding for a bridge replacement becomes available.

The bridge is striped and marked with signs, and motorists are urged to use caution and watch for opposing traffic when traveling in area.

This two-dimensional acrylic painting created by Jenna Collier of Glenwood School took best of show honors at the 2014 Art Around Town exhibit. This year’s event is set for April 8-19 at the Gallery on the Mezzanine at the West Plains Civic Center and is being hosted by the Missouri State University-West Plains University/Community Programs (U/CP) Department.  (Photo provided)

This two-dimensional acrylic painting created by Jenna Collier of Glenwood School took best of show honors at the 2014 Art Around Town exhibit. This year’s event is set for April 8-19 at the Gallery on the Mezzanine at the West Plains Civic Center and is being hosted by the Missouri State University-West Plains University/Community Programs (U/CP) Department.  (Photo provided)

(West Plains) – Artwork by area elementary school students will take the spotlight during the annual Art Around Town exhibit April 8-19 at the Gallery on the Mezzanine at the West Plains Civic Center.

Sponsored by Missouri State University-West Plains’ University/Community Programs (U/CP) Department, the event, in its 15th year, will feature two- and three-dimensional pieces by children in grades kindergarten through eighth from the Dora, Fair View, Glenwood, Howell Valley, Mtn. View-Birch Tree, Richards, Thayer, West Plains and Willow Springs school districts.

Thirty pieces of artwork from each school district – a total of 270 pieces – will be displayed in the exhibit.

The exhibition also will include an awards ceremony at 2:30 PM Sunday, April 12, in the civic center theater, followed by reception on the mezzanine. The works will be juried by art instructors from the region.

Area residents are invited to view the pieces during regular civic center hours, 8 AM to 8 PM Mondays through Fridays and 1-5 PM Saturdays and Sundays.

For more information about Art Around Town, contact the U/CP office at 417-255-7966. For more information about U/CP programs, visit the department’s website at wp.missouristate.edu/ucp.

(West Plains) – Work has started on the West Plains Transit Facility, according to city clerk Mallory Hawkins:

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The deadline for the lifeguard positions is today, April 1.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri lawmakers, who over the years have voted to honor a state dinosaur (the hadrosaur), state exercise (jumping jacks) and state dessert (the ice cream cone), are considering clamping down on the state’s laundry list of official symbols.

A measure up for a vote in the House would cap state symbols at the current 28, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The legislation targets pending bills to anoint “Jim the Wonder Dog” as state Wonder Dog and “Old Drum” the state historical dog, along with one to name the white-tailed deer as the state game animal.

Lawmakers, typically urged by constituents or niche interest groups, often anoint what they see as Missouri mainstays, such as big bluestem grass, the paddlefish and mozarkite, the state’s lithological emblem.

Most common among states are official flowers, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The pink or white Hawthorn tree flower – not to be confused with the state’s official tree, the flowering dogwood – earned that distinction in Missouri.

Every state has a collection of official symbols. Iowa has the least with eight, and Massachusetts the most with 44.

Rep. Tom Flanigan, a Carthage Republican, is sponsoring the bill to block adding more to Missouri’s list.

(Jefferson City) – 33rd District Senator Mike Cunningham says Senate Bill 30, which would increase the penalty for knowingly allowing a minors to drink or possess alcohol or failing to stop a minor from drinking or possessing alcohol, was heard in committee earlier this month:

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Senator Cunningham adds the same panel also heard Senate Bill 31, which would modify provisions relating to controlled substances and requires probation and parole officers to arrest people suspected of violating their conditions of release:

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Senator Cunningham also says Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 42, both of which would modify provisions relating to elementary and secondary education, are not good for his district:

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Cunningham also shared his thoughts on the 2016 budget, and funding for area schools:

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The Missouri Senate went back in session on Monday, after a week-long spring break to mark the end of the first half of the session.