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(Houston) – The Texas County Back to School Fair and Parents as Teachers Health & Safety Fair will be held Saturday, August 8 at the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce Building, located at the Texas County Fairgrounds, from 9 AM to 1 PM.

Families that have signed up at their school for the event will have their backpack filled with a wide variety of school supplies, while families that have not signed up will receive any supplies and backpacks available.

The Parents As Teachers Health & Safety Fair will have a wide variety of vendors, as well as the Missouri child identification program (MoCHIP), provided by the Houston Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star. The program consists of five major components—digital photographs, digital fingerprints, vital child information and emergency contacts, a dental bite impression, and two laminated ID cards. The photographs, fingerprints, and child data are burned onto a mini-CD that is compatible with the Amber Alert system, while the dental impression provides a virtual diagram of
the child’s biting surface, which, like fingerprints is unique to each individual. Parents will receive a packet with all of the information after the child is processed through the program.

Families will also be able to get a hot dog, chips and water for a limited time. If you have questions about the event, call 417-967-4484.

(Sacramento) – Small, non-farm businesses in 67 Arkansas counties and neighboring counties in Missouri are now eligible to apply for low-interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the excessive rain, flash flooding, flooding, hail, high winds, lightning and tornadoes in the following primary counties that began March 1, 2015.

Primary local Arkansas counties include Fulton and Sharp, along with neighboring Baxter and Izard counties. Missouri counties include Howell, Oregon, and Ozark.

Small, non-farm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at
Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling 1-800-659-2955 or emailing For more information about SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit

The deadline to apply for these loans is March 29, 2016.

(Jefferson City) – U.S. Senator Roy Blunt’s staff will host a mobile office event in Wright County on Monday, August 10.

The event will be held from 9-10 AM at the Wright County Courthouse in Hartville.

Mobile offices held to allow Missourians to discuss their questions or concerns with the federal government one-on-one with members of Senator Blunt’s staff.

Senator Blunt’s Columbia office also extends one-on-one service to all Missourians who have an issue with a federal agency or need additional assistance. To reach the senator’s office of constituent services, call 573-442-8151.

(St. Louis) (AP) – Former St. Louis news anchor Robin Smith announced Sunday that she’s running as a Democrat for secretary of state.

The retired KMOV-TV anchor appears to be the first Democrat to enter the 2016 race for the seat, which is opening because Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander is running to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

Two Republicans also are running for secretary of state: St. Louis attorney Jay Ashcroft – the son of former governor, U.S. senator and Attorney General John Ashcroft – and state Sen. Will Kraus of Lee’s Summit.

Smith, a 60-year-old Eureka resident, started working in television news in 1974 during an internship while studying communications at Lindenwood College in St. Charles. She touted her more than four decades of experience in the field on Sunday. She retired from KMOV-TV Friday.

Smith also has served on St. Louis University’s Board of Trustees.

Smith said her husband Isaac “Bud” Stallworth – a former NBA player and All-American at the University of Kansas – will help with her campaign.

Ashcroft said he looks forward to “a clear contrast” between his platform and Smith’s. Kraus said he “will continue to focus on the issues that matter most to Missourians.”

Both Republican candidates have backed efforts to allow the Legislature to require voters to present photo identification at the polls as part of their campaigns.

Although Smith said voters’ opinions matter most and “the issue needs to be open to public debate,” she also said she has concerns that such a system could make voting more difficult for older residents, students, minorities and those who are too poor to be able to afford a car.

Smith will have to start from scratch in terms of fundraising. On the Republican side, Kraus has significantly more to spend on a campaign than Ashcroft does – more than $505,700 as of June 30 compared to Ashcroft’s roughly $60,600.

Christy Hoover with one of the auction items that will be auctioned off at the event. (ORN)

Christy Hoover with one of the auction items that will be auctioned off at the event. (ORN)

(West Plains) – The group Common Grounds for Girls will be holding a fundraising event on August 22.

Christy Hoover with the group spoke with Ozark Radio News and talked about the event:

She also talked about Common Grounds and their mission:

Again, the event will be held August 22 at The Barn event center south of West Plains starting at 6:30 PM. Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 at the door, and can be purchased from Mulligans, Uptown Boutique and the Party Pantry in West Plains.

from left: Ashlyn Hufstedler, Thayer, and Kaylee AraSmith, Alton. (provided)

from left: Ashlyn Hufstedler, Thayer, and Kaylee AraSmith, Alton. (provided)

(West Plains) – Two local students were among the 98 high school students from across Missouri who recently participated in the Electric Cooperative CYCLE program.

Ashlyn Hufstedler of Thayer and Kaylee AraSmith of Alton were sponsored by Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative of West Plains, were the two local student who attend the CYCLE conference, or Cooperative Youth Conference and Leadership Experience, July 15-17 in Jefferson City.

The conference is held each year in July to provide high school students opportunities to learn first-hand what it is like to be involved in politics, the cooperative form of business and being a leader. The program included nationally known speakers and a day at the Missouri State Capitol learning how a bill goes through the process to become a law.

For more information about CYCLE, contact John Thomason, HOEC Member Services Representative at 417-156-2131, refer to the HOEC website at or email at

From left: ):  Don Thompson, OzSBI Vice Chair, Brenda Smith, OzSBI Board Secretary, Toney Aid, Chief Financial Officer Heather Fisher, Executive Director. (provided)

From left: ): Don Thompson, OzSBI Vice Chair, Brenda Smith, OzSBI Board Secretary, Toney Aid, Chief Financial Officer Heather Fisher, Executive Director. (provided)

(West Plains) – The owner of the Ozark Radio Network has retired from the Ozarks Small Business Incubator board.

Tom Marhefka, owner of Ozark Radio Network, served on the OzSBI Board for 10 years, many of which were spent as the vice chairman. He was honored Tuesday, July 15 with a plaque for his years of service on the board.

“I am very proud to be a founding member of the board for OzSBI,” Marhefka said, “I had ten great years working with Toney Aid and the entire board of directors. We had many challenges but we always worked as a team to reach our goals and develop OzSBI into the leading business develop organization in our seven county service area. I will miss not being involved with the day to day developments but look forward to supporting the board as they continue to develop and grow new businesses for our region.”

The Ozarks Small Business Incubator is a business support center that provides affordable office space and comprehensive business support services to meet the needs of businesses of all sizes. For more information, visit

(MSU-West Plains photo)

(MSU-West Plains photo)

(West Plains) – Eighty-two fourth through eighth graders participated in the annual Kids’ College program July 7-9 at Missouri State University-West Plains.

The program gives area youngsters a taste of college life by allowing them to “register” for classes and “earn credits” for graduation. Brenda Polyard, director of the University/Community Programs (U/CP) Department, which sponsors the event, noted students from as far away as Summersville and Cherokee Village, Ark., attended the classes.

Polyard also thanked the students, instructors and volunteers who made this year’s event “a huge success.”

Those who would like to attend next year’s event are encouraged to call the U/CP office at 417-255-7966 to be placed on the 2016 Kids’ College mailing list.

Students attending this year’s event, in no particular order, are Shelby Davidson, Caulfield; Robert Parkerson, Cherokee Village; Kori Dunlap, Hardy, Ark.; Arianna Walsh, Peace Valley; Hanna Manion, Izzi Manion, Taylor Rothermich and Natalie Thompson, all of Pomona; James Owsley, Pottersville; Gavin Yearwood, Summersville; Matthew Denton, Lane Komm, Lance Komm and Gabriel Todd, all of Thayer; Lily Autry, Leyla Baldwin, Jaden Barrett, I. C. Bivens, Rylee Brown, Joseph Busbey, Grace Cook, Jacie Cotter, Jackson Cox, Ben Decker, Owen Fisher, George Fisher, Justin Fleetwood, Savannah Gargus, Mary Claire Gohn, Gillian Grigsby, Gus Grigsby, Dylan Groves, Jayna Gunter, Lucy Hershenson, Cole Jett, Kaden Jung, Mathias Jung, Isaac Kammerer, Toby Keith, Riley Keith, Jessie Keith, Alexis Labbee, Martin Leija, Liliana Leija, Alexis Mattson, Molly Mattson, Nina Niemotka, Wyatt Niemotka, Caitlyn Palmer, Emma Peugh, Abbie Peugh, Addie Peugh, Joseph Pierce, Kelsey Pitts, Andrea Rivera-Estrella, Jordan Romans, Jacob Ruhland, Aaron Ruhland, Anna Rutledge, Katie Sandgren, Kenzie Sandgren, Rose Schilmoeller, Andrew Schnurbusch, Emily Schnurbusch, Kenny Shepherd, Nick Shipley, Lauren Shipley, Erin Smith, Lara Smith, Natalie Stewart, Zachery Vandiver, Matthew Watkins and Mariam Zeidan, all of West Plains; Claire Clarkston, Benjamin Clarkston, Jessie Clarkston, Ceraphina George, Benjamin Ivins, Reese Morrison, Luke Morrison, Shauni Olmsted and Olivia Wood, all of Willow Springs.

(Mountain Home) – Join the Baxter County Public Library Foundation at Pub Night Friday, August 7, 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm at Donald W. Reynold Library Serving Baxter County.

Enjoy a sample selection of craft beers from regional breweries and a pub foods menu by Blackbird Café.  Music will be provided by Branson’s Don Audette, with a Rod Stewart tribute.  The “Heroes for Hire” Auction will feature several talented men and women that will be up for bid with a service they will provide. A list of “heroes” and their unique services will be available at the Library and soon.  Tickets for Pub Night are $30 and are available now at the Library.

For additional information, contact Catherine Sawyer at 870-580-0705 or Jennifer Veloria-Dunn at 870-580-0991, or visit the Library’s website at  The Donald W. Reynolds Library Serving Baxter County is located at 300 Library Hill, Mountain Home, AR.


Standing for What You Believe

It has been hard to miss the news reports regarding Planned Parenthood and some of their questionable, illegal and immoral practices. While most people across this great state and country are shocked and outraged at the allegations, I am proud to say the Missouri Senate quickly moved to create the Senate Interim Committee on the Sanctity of Life to investigate the practices of this organization in our state.

This committee is chaired by Sen. Kurt Schafer, R-Columbia, and was created in response to a video featuring Planned Parenthood’s top leaders candidly talking about the transfer of fetal tissue to another for-profit group. The video, issued by the Center for Medical Progress, angered thousands of pro-life supporters. I am one of them. The thought of an organization that facilitates the end of a child’s life before it has begun is preposterous to me. Now seeing and hearing that the group may be profiting from the sale of the fetal tissue angers me. That is why I am proud to say that Missouri is one of many states examining the group’s practices in their respective states. While we are being told this is not happening in Missouri, we must guarantee it is not. An investigation is taking place as you read this column.

I can assure you that I am not the only Missouri senator who is outraged that this committee had to be created to investigate matters such as these. I stand with Sen. Schaefer and others in promising to use any means to find the facts to ensure the “disgusting” actions in the tape have not and will not happen in Missouri. The committee will look into whether or not any legislation needs to be written to make sure such acts did not and will never occur in the state.

In the future, we will use this column to examine actions taken by the committee and its report, due by the end of 2015, has determined to be occurring at Planned Parenthood offices in our state.

As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.