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Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery, left, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. (Twitter)

Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery, left, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. (BCSO/Twitter)

(Mountain Home) (AP) – The attorney for two Arkansas prison inmates who were sentenced to life without parole as juveniles told the state Supreme Court that both should be resentenced based on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Jeff Rosenzweig argued Thursday to the state court meeting in Mountain Home that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling should be applied retroactively and Aaron Hodge and James Grubbs should each receive new sentencing hearings.

Assistant state Attorney General Valerie Glover Fortner countered that some previous U.S. Supreme Court rulings weren’t applied retroactively and that “inequality exists in the law.”

Both Hodge and Grubbs were 17 when convicted in the 1990s on separate murder charges. The U.S. Supreme Court in a separate Arkansas case ordered resentencing for a man sentenced to life in prison as a juvenile.

(West Plains) – West Plains FFA placed 32nd out of 338 chapters in the state, earning a Top Chapter Award at the 87th Missouri FFA Convention.

Only 10 percent of state chapters receive a top chapter designation each year.

Chapter activity awards, sponsored by FCS Financial, are given to chapters achieving excellence in student, chapter and community development, according to information provided by the Missouri FFA Association. The West Plains FFA Chapter advisors are Jay Hale and Tonya Jedlicka.

The West Plains FFA Chapter student development activities included a Career Success Day and a leadership training series. Community development activities included growing plants for a community container garden project. The West Plains FFA chapter also raises funds to provide food for children who are not getting enough food at home. The chapter recently received a BOAC grant, and they are using these funds to make improvements to the local fair.

The top chapters are submitted to the National FFA Organization where they compete for the National FFA Chapter Award. The competition will be this fall at the 88th National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky.

The Missouri FFA has 25,829 members representing 338 chapters. The national organization has more than 610,000 members representing 7,665 local chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

(West Plains) – West Plains city clerk Mallory Hawkins recently told Ozark Radio News that weather has hampered the city transit building project, but crews are working in that area when they can:

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She added that street and engineering crews will work on a new storm drain in the city to prevent flooding issues:

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This weekend is the city-wide yard sale in West Plains. For more information call city hall at 417-256-7176.

(West Plains) – The West Plains School District has announced that summer school will take place June 1-25.

The summer school session is available to all students in kindergarten through 8th grade. The program will be held at the West Plains Elementary School and the West Plains Middle School, Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 3 PM. The program is offered for open enrollment for all students in the area.

School officials say the program will focus on reading and math instruction through interactive activities and field trips. Breakfast and lunch will be served to all students free of charge. Transportation will also be provided to students living in the West Plains School District.

For more information please contact the West Plains Elementary at 417-256-6158.

(ShutterStock)

(ShutterStock)

(Springfield) – If your farm has been in your family since December 31, 1915, you can apply to have it recognized as a Missouri Century Farm.

To qualify, farms must meet a number of guidelines, including having the same family owning the farm for 100 consecutive years. The farm must also be at least 40 acres of the original land acquisition and make a financial contribution to the overall farm income.

In 2008, the Missouri Farm Bureau joined MU Extension and the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources as a program sponsor.

Since Missouri began the program in 1976, more than 8,000 century farms have been recognized.

For applications received by May 1, a $65 fee covers the cost of a certificate, farm sign and booklet for approved applicants. If the application is received between May 1 and May 15, the cost is $75. Applications must be postmarked by May 15 to be considered.

Applications can be completed online at extension.missouri.edu/centuryfarm, or you can call the Extension publications office toll-free at 1-800-292-0969, or call your local MU Extension office.

(Pine Bluff) (AP) – The Arkansas Department of Correction will soon begin transferring female inmates who are eligible for a work-release program into a new facility in Pine Bluff.

The department says the process of moving 54 inmates to the Pine Bluff Re-Entry Center will start on Saturday.

The department’s work-release program is for inmates who are within 30 months of parole. Only those with non-violent convictions and clean disciplinary records are eligible.

All beds are expected to be filled by next week and the transfers will allow the department to move women being held in county jails into the state prison beds left vacant by the inmates moved to Pine Bluff.

The department said that as of Thursday there were 205 female state inmates being held in county jails.

by Marie French, AP

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri lawmakers would be able to hire defense attorneys under a measure modified in response to a lawsuit filed by a liberal advocacy group against the Senate and three Republican senators over alleged violations of the state’s open records law.

The measure gained initial approval in the Senate Thursday. It would allow individual chambers of the General Assembly or members of either chamber, with the approval of the respective chamber’s leader – the House Speaker or Senate President Pro Tem – as well as administrative committee, to hire an attorney to be paid for from state funds.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey said the state’s attorney general has been contacted about the lawsuit but has not yet responded.

“This would allow us to retain a private counsel,” Dempsey said.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cole County Circuit Court by Progress Missouri says the policies of some Senate committee chairman have violated the Missouri Sunshine Law by barring the group from filming hearings. The state’s law governing open records and meetings does allows public bodies to establish guidelines on recording to minimize disruption, but the lawsuit says Progress Missouri’s filming wouldn’t have been disruptive.

The lawsuit also challenges some senators’ policy allowing only members of a Capitol media association to film hearings – stating that it violates freedom of association by essentially requiring Progress Missouri to join the group.

Some senators expressed concern Thursday about the potential costs of a private attorney in such lawsuits. Sen. Scott Sifton, D-Affton, said the wording of the bill carves out these lawsuits from the attorney general’s ability to defend in these lawsuits.

The measure would also allow the Senate and House leaders to intervene in lawsuits challenging state laws if the attorney general declines to pursue further appeals or action.

Republican lawmakers have criticized Attorney General Chris Koster for not exhausting every possible challenge in cases involving same-sex marriage in the state. Missouri’s constitution includes a definition of marriage limited to one man and one woman.

“I think he’s not doing his job in defense of the Missouri constitution,” Dempsey said.

The measure would also allow individual members of the Legislature to file amicus briefs with the court if they don’t agree with the position of the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem, a change made in response to concerns from Democratic senators.

(Little Rock) (AP) – The Arkansas attorney general’s office has referred a request to investigate the construction of two Washington County bridges to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says In a letter to Washington County Justice of the Peace Eva Madison that she doesn’t have jurisdiction to investigate concerns that Stonewall Bridge and Harvey Dowell Bridge are unsafe. Rutledge referred the request to the Highway Department and noted other concerns should be addressed in court.

A civil lawsuit was filed in December by a Washington County Road Department worker saying the construction crews “dangerously” deviated from the engineer’s designs for the bridges to meet deadlines.

County Judge Marilyn Edwards sent a letter Wednesday asking the Highway Department to inspect all Washington County bridges built in the last 20 years.

(Clayton) (AP) – Police reports obtained by The Associated Press show former Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich felt abandoned by Republican allies before fatally shooting himself.

Schweich died Feb. 26 after shooting himself in his Clayton home. Minutes before, Schweich told an Associated Press reporter that he was ready to go public with allegations that the state party chairman told donors that he was Jewish.

Schweich was Christian but had Jewish ancestry. He viewed the remarks as anti-Semitism. Police reports say that his friends and political advisers discouraged him from publicizing those concerns.

Records released Tuesday show he told his chief of staff the morning of his suicide that he would have to “run as an independent or he needed to kill himself.”

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Lane Roberts, a former Joplin police chief, will become the leader of Missouri’s Department of Public Safety.

The Senate confirmed Roberts’ appointment by voice vote on Thursday. Gov. Jay Nixon nominated Roberts to the position in March.

Roberts led Joplin’s police department for seven years before retiring in 2014. He helped coordinate emergency and aid responses after a deadly tornado struck there in 2011.

Roberts will take over for former director Daniel Isom II, who served for only six months before announcing his resignation to teach at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Isom, who is black, was appointed following unrest in Ferguson after the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer. Nixon has faced criticism for lack of diversity in his cabinet.