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(West Plains) – A recap of the educational European trip students in the William and Virginia Darr Honors Program took this summer will be the topic of the next Friends of the Garnett Library monthly luncheon meeting Friday, December 12, on the Missouri State University-West Plains campus.

Darr Honors Program Director Alex Pinnon and the students will present a program about their Honors Abroad trip to Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland in May and discuss the impact traveling abroad had on what they have learned.

The luncheon and meeting will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in rooms 104 and 105 on the lower level of the Lybyer Technology Center. Parking is available in the lot off Cass Avenue on the north side of the building. The cost of the meal is $10, and it’s payable at the door. Those wishing to eat are asked to make a reservation by calling 417-255-7940 or emailing FriendsofGarnettLibrary@MissouriState.edu by Tuesday, Dec. 9.

(Mountain Home) – The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office is joining forces with other state and local law enforcement officers over the 2014 Thanksgiving holiday.

The “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign during the holiday period begins Monday, November 24 and continues through November 30.

The Thanksgiving holiday is among the busiest of travel periods both in Arkansas and across the nation, and deputies will be working overtime to ensure the highways and streets are safe by strictly enforcing the laws, including the Arkansas mandatory seat belt law.

There were 301 traffic deaths nationally during the 2012 Thanksgiving reporting period, and sixty percent of the passenger vehicle occupants who died were not wearing seat belts. In Arkansas, during the same holiday reporting period, ten people lost their lives and 201 people were injured.

According to estimates from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during calendar year 2012 seat belts saved more than 12,000 lives nationwide.

(Mountain Home) – Arkansas State University-Mountain Home (ASUMH) and other two-year colleges across the state will celebrate Community College Work$ Week December 1-5.

In a recent proclamation, Governor Mike Beebe declared the week a celebration of the work of community colleges across the state, and vital role that these institutions play in meeting local economic development and workforce needs.

As a part of the state-wide celebration, ASUMH will host government and business leaders at the ASUMH Technical Center from 7:30-8:30 AM on Monday, December 1 for a continental breakfast, facility tours, and information on training programs. The center is located at 4034 Highway 62 West in Mountain Home, AR.

Community College Work$ is joint project of the twenty-two members of Arkansas Community Colleges (ACC), formerly the Arkansas Association of Two Year Colleges (AATYC). For more information on Community College Work$, contact Christy Keirn, Director of Communications and Institutional Advancement, at 508-6109.

(Mountain Home) – Area teens are invited to Teen Tuesday at the Donald W. Reynolds Library Tuesday, November 25 from 5-7 PM.

Teen Tuesday is a monthly program at the Library designed especially for teens in grades 7th – 12th, which includes snacks, movies, or activities with a different theme each month.

For additional information, contact Teen Librarian John Dyer at john.d@baxlib.org or 870-580-0703 or visit www.baxlib.org. The Donald W. Reynolds Library Serving Baxter County is located at 300 Library Hill, Mountain Home, AR.

(Melbourne) – Ozarka College offers an Associate of Science degree and a Certificate of Proficiency in Criminal Justice and Corrections, both of which can be completed fully online.

The Criminal Justice and Corrections program prepares students for career opportunities, as well as transferability for a Bachelor of Science degree.

Earning a degree in the field of Criminal Justice and Corrections provides students with career opportunities for Federal level law enforcement, such as the FBI, DEA, ATF, Air Marshal Service, Secret Service, and Border Protection.

Spring and summer registration is currently open, and financial aid is available for students who qualify. For more information about Ozarka College’s Criminal Justice and Corrections program, please contact Nick Wilcox, Ozarka College’s Criminal Justice Program Coordinator at 870.994.7273 or email: nick.wilcox@ozarka.edu.

FILE - In this Monday, June 23, 2014 file photo, an Islamic militant group fighter stands with two children posing with weapons as they watch other members of the group parade in commandeered Iraqi security forces vehicles down a main road at the northern city of Mosul, Iraq, more than two weeks after IS took over the country's second largest city. Across the vast region in Syria and Iraq that is part of the Islamic State group's self-declared caliphate, children are being inculcated with the extremist group's radical and violent interpretation of Shariah law. (AP Photo, File)

FILE – In this Monday, June 23, 2014 file photo, an Islamic militant group fighter stands with two children posing with weapons as they watch other members of the group parade in commandeered Iraqi security forces vehicles down a main road at the northern city of Mosul, Iraq, more than two weeks after IS took over the country’s second largest city. Across the vast region in Syria and Iraq that is part of the Islamic State group’s self-declared caliphate, children are being inculcated with the extremist group’s radical and violent interpretation of Shariah law. (AP Photo, File)

(Beirut) (AP) – Teenagers carrying weapons stand at checkpoints and busy intersections in Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul. Patched onto the left arms of their black uniforms are the logos of the Islamic Police.

In Raqqa, the Islamic State group’s de facto capital in Syria, boys attend training camp and religious courses before heading off to fight. Others serve as cooks or guards at the extremists’ headquarters or as spies, informing on people in their neighborhoods.

Across the vast region under IS control, the group is actively conscripting children for battle and committing abuses against the most vulnerable at a young age, according to a growing body of evidence assembled from residents, activists, independent experts and human rights groups.

In the northern Syrian town of Kobani, where ethnic Kurds have been resisting an IS onslaught for weeks, several activists told The Associated Press they observed children fighting alongside the militants. Mustafa Bali, a Kobani-based activist, said he saw the bodies of four boys, two of them younger than 14. And at least one 18 year old is said to have carried out a suicide attack.

In Syria’s Aleppo province, an activist affiliated with the rebel Free Syrian Army said its fighters encountered children in their late teens “fairly often” in battles against the rival Islamic State group.

It is difficult to determine just how widespread the exploitation of children is in the closed world of IS-controlled territory. There are no reliable figures on the number of minors the group employs.

But a United Nations panel investigating war crimes in the Syrian conflict concluded that in its enlistment of children for active combat roles, the Islamic State group is perpetrating abuses and war crimes on a massive scale “in a systematic and organized manner.”

The group “prioritizes children as a vehicle for ensuring long-term loyalty, adherence to their ideology and a cadre of devoted fighters that will see violence as a way of life,” it said in a recent report. The panel of experts, known as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, conducted more than 300 interviews with people who fled or are living in IS-controlled areas, and examined video and photographic evidence.

The use of children by armed groups in conflict is, of course, nothing new. In the Syrian civil war, the Free Syrian Army and Nusra Front rebel groups also recruit children for combat, said Leila Zerrougui, the U.N. secretary-general’s special representative for children and armed conflict.

But no other group comes close to IS in using children in such a systematic and organized way. And the effect is that much greater because IS commands large areas in which the militants inculcate the children with their radical and violent interpretation of Shariah law.

“What is new is that ISIS seems to be quite transparent and vocal about their intention and their practice of recruiting children,” said Laurent Chapuis, UNICEF regional child protection adviser for the Middle East and North Africa, using an alternate acronym for the group. “Children as young as 10, 12 years old are being used in a variety of roles, as combatants as messengers, spies, guards, manning checkpoints but also for domestic purposes like cooking, cleaning, sometimes providing medical care to the wounded.”

“This is not a marginal phenomenon. This is something that is being observed and seems to be part of the strategy of the group,” Zerrougui said in a phone interview from New York.

She said some children join voluntarily for various reasons but others are targeted.

“They are abducting children and forcing them to join, they are brainwashing children and indoctrinating them to join their group. All the tools used to attract and recruit children are used by this group,” she said, adding that children as young as 9 or 10 are used for `’various roles.”

In areas of Syria and Iraq under their control, the Sunni extremists have closed schools or changed the curriculum to fit with their ideology. Their goal, according to the U.N., is to use education as a tool of indoctrination to foster a new generation of supporters.

A video recently published by an IS media arm shows what it says is a graduation ceremony for boys, who appear to be in their teens. Dressed in military uniforms, they are lined up to shake hands with a sheikh. Another scene shows the boys posing with AK-47s, their faces hidden under black masks. The video touts the children as a “generation of lions, protectors of religion, dignity and land.”

Residents of IS-controlled areas said the militants are teaching children at school to become fighters.

One resident in the Iraqi city of Fallujah described seeing his 6-year-old son playing with a water pistol in front of the house and screaming: “I am a fighter for the Islamic State!”

“I waved him to come to me and I broke the gun in two pieces,” said the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of his life.

He also said he and his son recently stopped at an IS checkpoint. His son shouted, “We love the State!” and one of the fighters asked, “Which state?” When the son replied, “the Islamic State,” the fighter “told him, `Good boy,’ and let us through,” the resident said. The incident persuaded the man to move his family to the northern city of Kirkuk, now in Kurdish hands.

“The boys are studying, not to learn, but to become mujahedeen,” he said.

Earlier this year in Syria, the Islamic State group abducted more than 150 Kurdish boys, held them in a school in Aleppo province and showed them videos of beheadings and attacks, while subjecting them to daily instruction on militant ideology for five months, the U.N. and Kurdish officials said. The boys were later released.

In Raqqa province, an anti-IS activist collective has documented the presence of at least five known youth training camps, one specifically for children under 16 in the town of Tabqa. The collective, named Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, has released a video showing children crawling under barbed wire as part of their military training. The video could not be independently confirmed but is consistent with AP reporting on the subject.

Residents in IS-controlled areas in Iraq, such as Mosul and Fallujah, say it is not uncommon to see gun-toting boys in their late teens standing at checkpoints and even younger ones riding in militant convoys, usually accompanying their fathers in parades.

Another resident of Fallujah said many boys as young as 11 volunteer to join the group, but that IS often seeks the parents’ consent for those under 16. He said others join under pressure or in exchange for money.

“Once they’re done training, their skills and abilities are tested before they decide where to send them off. Many want to be on the front lines,” said the man, who identified himself as Abu Abdullah al-Falluji.

In a report released earlier this year, Human Rights Watch interviewed four former IS child fighters in Syria who described military training with the group. One, Bassem, who joined the group at 16, said he left after being seriously wounded by shrapnel in battle. A 17 year old, Amr, told the group that children in his unit signed up for suicide missions – and that he reluctantly did so as well under pressure.

Thousands of foreign fighters have flocked to IS areas from all over the world, many of them with their families.

A video emerged this month showing two boys, both speaking perfect French, holding guns aloft and claiming to be in Raqqa. They stand on a dusty street; a man walks by and takes no notice of their weapons. The boys, who look much younger than 10, say they’re from Strasbourg and Toulouse. French prosecutors have opened a formal investigation to identify the children.

“Over there, you’re in a country of infidels. Here, we’re mujahedeen. We’re in Syria, we’re in Raqqa here,” one of the boys says in the video. “It’s war here.”

Salama reported from Baghdad. Associated Press writer Lori Hinnant in Paris contributed to this report.

(Harrison) (AP) – Agriculture officials say heavy rains during the year may mean higher production costs for Arkansas cattle farmers this winter.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service says 52 percent of Arkansas’ pastures are in good or excellent condition. Heavy rains throughout the year largely benefited cattle farmers with plentiful hay.

But excessive rains in north-central Arkansas diminished the crop’s nutrient content and will likely require some farmers to rely more heavily on supplemental feed through the winter.

Boone County Extension Agent Mike McClintock says a high volume of hay was produced this year but the quality of the hay is much lower in terms of its nutritional value. Fescue hay typically has a crude protein content of about 8 to 10 percent if harvested in late May, but drops during the summer.

(Columbia) (AP) – Missouri hunters likely will use lead bullets during firearm deer season this year despite potential health complications from the metal.

The Columbia Missourian reports little is being done in Missouri to warn hunters about the risks of lead despite efforts in other states to encourage using safer copper bullets.

Lead bullets, Carrol Henderson of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said, leave fragments of the metal after the bullets strike.

Copper bullets cost about twice as much, but tear into an intact, blossom shape on impact.

Henderson said a deer hunter might spend an extra $5 a year on copper bullets.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed elevated levels of lead in people who recently ate wild game shot with lead bullets, though it stopped short of saying that the meat was the only possible reason for the elevated levels.

Lead in bullets is a relatively new public health issue, but the negative mental and physical effects of lead exposure have been documented for thousands of years, according to an article from the Environmental Protection Agency. Young children are particularly at risk from lead exposure, which can impair brain development and lead to cognitive and behavioral problems.

According to the CDC’s website, no safe blood level of lead in children has been identified, and a 2005 report analyzing intellectual test scores of 1,333 children found there was “no evidence of a threshold for the adverse consequences of lead exposure.”

The Missouri Conservation Department has no regulations on lead bullets, although there are strict nontoxic shot rules for shotgun handling. The department’s website does contain a word of caution about lead exposure on a page titled “Hunter Ethics and Safety.” The paragraph devoted to lead bullets says that “lead in venison is a concern, but not a human health crisis.”

Protesters march Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, along a stretch of road where violent protests occurred following the August shooting of unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. Ferguson and the St. Louis region are on edge in anticipation of the announcement by a grand jury whether to criminally charge Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Protesters march Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, along a stretch of road where violent protests occurred following the August shooting of unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. Ferguson and the St. Louis region are on edge in anticipation of the announcement by a grand jury whether to criminally charge Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

(Ferguson) (AP) – Several dozen protesters have been marching in Ferguson as the community awaits a decision from a grand jury considering whether to indict the police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The protesters out Saturday evening were praying, playing music and chanting slogans including, “No justice, no peace” and “Mike Brown means, we’ve got to fight back.” Cars stopped and drivers honked, slowing traffic.

Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, spoke to protesters through a bullhorn and urged people to be careful, saying, “don’t agitate them, and don’t let them agitate y’all.”

The grand jury is deliberating whether charges are warranted against Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Brown. Wilson is white and Brown, who was unarmed, was black. There have been many demonstrations since Brown’s death.

FILE - In this July 6, 2009 file photo, former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry attends a news conference in Washington. Barry, who staged comeback after a 1990 crack cocaine arrest, died early Sunday morning Nov. 23, 2014. He was 78. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

FILE – In this July 6, 2009 file photo, former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry attends a news conference in Washington. Barry, who staged comeback after a 1990 crack cocaine arrest, died early Sunday morning Nov. 23, 2014. He was 78. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

(Washington) (AP) – Divisive and flamboyant, maddening and beloved, Marion Barry outshone every politician in the 40-year history of District of Columbia self-rule. But for many, his legacy was not defined by the accomplishments and failures of his four terms as mayor and long service on the D.C. Council.

Instead, Barry will be remembered for a single night in a downtown Washington hotel room and the grainy video that showed him lighting a crack pipe in the company of a much-younger woman. When FBI agents burst in, he referred to her with an expletive. She “set me up,” Barry said.

Barry died Sunday at 78. His family said in statement that Barry died shortly after midnight at the United Medical Center, after having been released from Howard University Hospital on Saturday. No cause of death was given, but his spokeswoman LaToya Foster said he collapsed outside his home.

Speaking at a 4 a.m. press conference at United Medical Center, the city’s mayor-elect Muriel Bowser called Barry an “inspiration to so many people and a fighter for people.”

“Mr. Barry, I can say this, lived up until the minute the way he wanted to live,” said Bowser, who had served with Barry on the D.C. Council.

The year was 1990, and crack cocaine had exploded in the district, turning it into the nation’s murder capital. In his third term, the man known as the “Mayor for Life” became a symbol of a foundering city.

Federal authorities had been investigating him for years for his alleged ties to drug suspects, and while he denied using drugs, his late-night partying was taking a toll on his job performance.

The arrest and subsequent conviction – a jury deadlocked on most counts, convicting him of a single count of drug possession – was a turning point for Barry. He had been elected to his first term as mayor in 1978 with broad support from across the city. With his good looks, charisma and background in the civil rights movement, he was embraced the dynamic leader the city’s young government needed. The Washington Post endorsed him in each of his first three mayoral runs, although the 1986 endorsement was unenthusiastic.

Barry’s six-month term in federal prison was hardly the end of his political career. But it forever changed how it was perceived. To some, he was a pariah and an embarrassment. But to many district residents, particularly lower-income blacks, he was still a hero, someone unfairly persecuted for personal failures.

Barry returned to the D.C. Council in 1992, representing the poorest of the city’s eight wards. Two years later, he won his fourth and final term as mayor. The electorate was starkly divided along racial lines, and Barry advised those who had not supported his candidacy to “get over it.”

“Marion Barry changed America with his unmitigated gall to stand up in the ashes of where he had fallen and come back to win,” poet Maya Angelou said in 1999.

Barry’s triumph, though, was short-lived. In 1995, with the city flirting with bankruptcy from years of bloated, unaccountable government, much of it under Barry, Congress stripped him of much of his power and installed a financial control board. Barry held authority over little more than the city’s parks, libraries and community access cable TV station. He decided against seeking a fifth term.

Barry spent a few years working as a municipal bond consultant, but he couldn’t stay away from politics. In 2004, he returned to the council, again representing Ward 8, where he remained beloved. Many constituents still referred to him as “Mayor Barry,” and he was re-elected in 2008 and 2012.

Barry was born March 6, 1936, to Marion and Mattie Barry, in the small Mississippi delta town of Itta Bena, and was raised in Memphis, Tenn., after the death of his father, a sharecropper.

While an undergraduate at LeMoyne College (now LeMoyne-Owen College), Barry picked up the nickname “Shep” in reference to Soviet propagandist Dmitri Shepilov for his ardent support of the civil rights movement. Barry began using Shepilov as his middle name.

Barry did graduate work in chemistry at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., earning a master’s degree. He left school short of a doctorate to work in the civil rights movement.

His political rise began in 1960, when he became the first national chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, which sent young people into the South to register black voters and became known as one of the most militant civil rights groups of that era.

Barry’s work with the committee brought him to Washington, where he became immersed in local issues, joining boycotts of the bus system and leading rallies in support of the city’s fledgling home rule efforts.

In 1970, The Post wrote: “Four years ago widely considered a young Black Power Militant with almost no constituency, (Barry) has become a man who is listened to – if not fully accepted – on all sides.”

Barry’s activism propelled him into local politics, first as a member of the Board of Education and then in 1974 as a member of the first elected city council organized under home rule legislation.

In 1977, he was wounded by a shotgun blast in the Hanafi Muslim takeover of D.C.’s city hall. A young reporter was killed. The shooting was credited with strengthening him politically.

In 1978, he defeated incumbent Mayor Walter Washington – the city’s first home rule mayor – in the Democratic primary and went on to easily win the general election.

Barry’s early years in office were marked by improvement in many city services and a dramatic expansion of the government payroll, creating a thriving black middle class in the nation’s capital. Barry established a summer jobs program that gave many young people their first work experience and earned him political capital.

In his second term, the district’s finances were rockier, and some of his appointees were caught up in corruption scandals.

The city’s drug-fueled decline mirrored Barry’s battles with his personal demons, leading to the infamous hotel room arrest on Jan. 19, 1990. The video of Barry was widely distributed to the media and made him infamous worldwide.

A few months after his arrest, long-time civil rights advocate and educator Roger Wilkins, a past supporter, wrote in The Post: “Marion Barry used the elders and lied to the young. He has manipulated thousands of others with his cynical use of charges of racism to defend his malodorous personal failures.”

Even after his comeback, controversy continued to dog Barry. Several times after his 1990 arrest, Barry sought treatment or counseling for problems with prescription medications or other substances. In 2002, he made an attempt to seek an at-large seat on the D.C. Council but abandoned his bid amid allegations of renewed illegal drug use.

In 2006, Barry was given three years of probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges for failing to file tax returns from 1999 to 2004. As part of a plea bargain, he agreed to file future federal and local tax returns annually, a promise prosecutors later said he had failed to keep.

In 2010, he was censured by the council and stripped of his committee assignments for steering a government contract to a former girlfriend. The council censured him again in 2013 for accepting cash gifts from city contractors.

Barry played the role of elder statesman in his later years on the council, but he sometimes exasperated his colleagues with his wavering attention at meetings and frequent, rambling references to his tenure as mayor.

He suffered numerous health problems over the years. In addition to kidney failure, he survived prostate cancer, undergoing surgery in 1995 and a follow-up procedure in 2000. In late 2011, he underwent minor surgery on his urinary tract. In early 2014, he spent several weeks in hospitals and a rehabilitation center battling infections and related complications.

In a statement Sunday, current Mayor Vincent C. Gray expressed deep sadness after learning about Barry’s death. Gray spoke with Barry’s wife, Cora Masters Barry, late Saturday and shared his condolences and sympathies with her. The couple was long estranged but never divorced.

“Marion was not just a colleague but also was a friend with whom I shared many fond moments about governing the city,” Gray said. “He loved the District of Columbia and so many Washingtonians loved him.”

Mayor Gray said that he would work with Barry’s family and the Council to plan official ceremonies “worthy of a true statesman of the District of Columbia.”

Barry was married four times and is survived by his wife, Cora, and one son, Marion Christopher Barry.