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Congressman Smith, left, and Singletary after Monday's meeting. (ORN Photo)

Congressman Smith, left, and Singletary after Monday’s meeting. (ORN Photo)

(West Plains) – Congressman Jason Smith (R-Salem) visited Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative on Monday to discuss proposed EPA regulations on coal with officials with the cooperative.

Smith told Ozark Radio News that the proposed regulations will have a drastic effect on public utilities:

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Howell-Oregon Electric CEO and General Manager Dan Singletary echoed Smith’s sentiments about the proposed regulations:

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Singletary also talked about the sources HOEC uses to supply power to the region, and how the cooperative has helped the environment through some of their programs:

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Congressman Smith, who has been at war with federal agencies over what he considers burdensome regulations, says that with the new Congress taking office in January, he’s hopeful that legislators can keep the EPA and other groups in check:

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Comments on the proposed 1600-page EPA carbon emission plan will be taken until December 1. So far, over 1.1 million comments have been submitted nationally.

To leave a comment online, you can visit action.coop. You can also fill out a comment card and give them to your local cooperative. We have some of those cards here at the Ozark Radio Network offices, at 983 US Highway 160 E., West Plains.

(Jefferson City) – West Plains customers of Summit Natural Gas will be seeing an increase in their bill next month.

Many customers received a letter on Monday, stating that the Missouri Public Service Commission approved the company’s request to increase base rates, effective December 1. The letter states the average customer will see an estimate bill increase of $189 per year.

The price increase is being attributed to an cost increase for producing and delivering gas, increased inflation and taxes, and safety and reliability improvements.

People are urged to call 1-800-927-0787 with any questions.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri State Rep. Holly Rehder said Monday that after years of failed attempts, next session could finally mean a breakthrough for creating a prescription drug database.

Pharmacies would submit the names of people who buy a prescription drug, the quantity and date and other details. The data would be considered confidential but could be provided to doctors, pharmacists, regulators and law officers who have a subpoena or court order. Anyone who unlawfully releases that information would face misdemeanor charges.

Missouri is the only state without legislation creating such a database, which is meant to stop “doctor shoppers” from refilling the same prescription in multiple pharmacies, either to feed an addiction or to sell the pills for profit.

The bill had success in the House, but Senate lawmakers have cited concerns with personal privacy and the security of the database.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri lawmakers plan to make a new push next session to pass an agricultural package that could help dairy, cattle and crop farmers – this time, without a contentious deer-ranching provision that doomed the measure.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey said the bill will be on a fast-track to passage without the captive-deer measure when legislators convene in January.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed this year’s version of the bill, citing concerns about shifting the authority to regulate deer farms and hunting preserves from the Department of Conservation to the Department of Agriculture. The Republican-led Legislature fell one vote short of the necessary two-thirds majority in an attempt to override the veto.

But supporters are hopeful it has better chances without that contested provision.

Sen. Brian Munzlinger – a farmer and Republican from Williamstown – said he plans to draft a new bill with almost identical wording, including state-funded insurance subsidies for dairy farmers. The measure would require the state to offer to pay 70 percent of dairy producers’ federal insurance premium payments. The program reimburses farmers if the cost of feed for cows rises too high and starts cutting into their profits.

Larry Purdom, chairman of the Missouri Dairy Association, said it would make expensive insurance more accessible to farmers and could help some continue operating in rough years.

The bill also would require the University of Missouri to conduct annual research on the sales tax revenue generated from dairy products and to create a plan for boosting the Missouri dairy industry.

Students in agricultural degree programs who pledge to work in the industry would have access to 80 scholarships worth $5,000 if the legislation passes.

Cattle farmers would get benefits as well – the measure would protect them from lawsuits if people are injured by their herds. Weight restrictions on trucks carrying cattle also would be lifted.

The Conservation Federation of Missouri, which opposed the effort to shift regulatory authority over deer farms, said it would support a new version of the agriculture legislation lacking the deer provision.

(West Plains) – The West Plains Fire Department has finished clearing Buck Park for development of the new disc golf course in West Plains.

City Clerk Mallory Hawkins told Ozark Radio News that things are moving along nicely on the project:

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Buck Park is located off of BB Highway in West Plains.

With the tree above are FAO members, front row from left, Allison Sweatt, Camdenton; Jahmia Jujan, Dixon; Danisha Hogue, St. Louis; Zach Kaufman, West Plains; and Young.  Back row:  Reagan Caldwell, Plato; and TJ Wallis, New Bloomfield.  (Missouri State-West Plains photo)

With the tree above are FAO members, front row from left, Allison Sweatt, Camdenton; Jahmia Jujan, Dixon; Danisha Hogue, St. Louis; Zach Kaufman, West Plains; and Young.  Back row:  Reagan Caldwell, Plato; and TJ Wallis, New Bloomfield.  (Missouri State-West Plains photo)

(West Plains) – The public is invited to the 9th annual tree lighting ceremony at 3:30 PM Tuesday, December 2, in the Lybyer Technology Center at Missouri State University-West Plains.

This free event, sponsored by the Future Alumni Organization (FAO), rings in the holiday season on campus. Chancellor Drew Bennett will welcome guests, and the West Plains Elementary School choir will lead everyone in singing some seasonal songs. FAO president Darrius Young of St. Louis, will light the tree to shine on hand-made ornaments by students from the university’s various organizations.

Cookies and hot cocoa also will be served.

(Willow Springs) – The Willow Springs City Council met for a regular council meeting on Wednesday, November 19, at the Willow Springs City Hall.

City Administrator Bob Pollard presented years of service certificates to a number of city employees. Pollard also asked the council for approval to close Main Street on December 6, for the Christmas Parade. Parade line-up begins at 9 AM at Booster Field, and the parade will begin at 10AM.

Willow Springs Mayor Jay Waggoner stated that they need more communication in the community to help make the downtown a better place and that they also need to find a way to make people want to live in the Willow Springs school district.

Joy Ellsworth said that Willow Springs has tried in the past to find ways to improve the town. Missouri Main Street Connection has proven methods to help rural communities improve their town and grow businesses. The Willow Springs Development Corporation is funding the 40% of the 60/40 matching grant the Downtown Historic District is applying for. The council then approved the resolution of the city council for the support of the downtown historic district of Willow Springs to participate in the grant.

(West Plains) – The West Plains Zizzer Pride Band will present their free annual Sounds of the Season Concert on Tuesday, December 9, at 7PM, in the West Plains Civic Center Arena.

This year’s concert will feature all the performing ensembles from both the high school and middle school bands. Ensembles that will perform include the High School Marching Band and Colorguard, High School Symphonic Band, High School Jazz Band, and the Middle School Advanced, Intermediate, and Beginning Bands. The 225+ students will perform many of your holiday favorites, and will conclude with a combined all bands selection.

All guests are urged to bring canned or other non-perishable food items as donation to the West Plains R-VII Bridges Program, which helps provide essential items like food and household basics to students in need for all the West Plains schools.

For more information please contact Band Director Rocky Long via email at rlong@zizzers.org or by phone at 417-256-6150 Ext. 4315.

Zurcher

Jesse Zurcher

(Yellville)- The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a 19-year-old Yellville man in connection with the theft of a handgun, ammunition, and some prescription pills from a residence on Baxter CR 139 that was reported on November 18.

The victim told deputies that a work crew was at his residence to install flooring, and that one of the workers was acting suspiciously, including making several trips to the bathroom where the prescription medications were kept and adjacent to the bedroom where the handgun and ammunition were kept. After the work crew left, the victim discovered the firearm, a Glock Model 22 .40 caliber handgun, to be missing from the bedroom and the prescriptions missing from the bathroom.

The suspect, Jesse Zurcher, was brought to the sheriff’s office to be interviewed about the thefts, after which he was booked into the Baxter County Detention Center on charges of possession of a controlled substance, a felony; possession of controlled substance, a misdemeanor; theft of property, a felony; and theft of property, a misdemeanor.

Zurcher was held at report time in lieu of $20,000 bond, and he is scheduled to appear in Baxter County Circuit Court on December 4.

Wickser

Roger Wickser

Wickser

Michelle Wickser

(Mountain Home) – A Mountain Home couple was arrested this past Thursday afternoon by investigators after they allegedly broke into some resort cabins on Bull Shoals Lake.

55-year-old Michelle Wickser and 54-year-old Roger Wickser were arrested and charged with with criminal mischief and commercial burglary.

The resort owners reported that they discovered the Wicksers living in one of their resort cabins without permission. According to the victims, the cabin was damaged, and wax had been poured down the kitchen sink. The amount of rent and damage was estimated to be $1,000. The victims were reportedly given three different credit cards by the couple, but they were all declined.

Both Wicksers were held on $5000 bond each, which was posted. They are scheduled to appear in court on December 4.