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(West Plains) – The photography in “Elder Mountain: A Journal of Ozarks Studies” will be the topic of the next Friends of the Garnett Library monthly luncheon meeting on Friday, February 13, on the Missouri State University-West Plains campus.

Local photographer Dennis Crider will discuss the photos included in Missouri State University-West Plains’ literary journal, published annually by the Department of English. Copies of the journal can be viewed at the Garnett Library, or they may be purchased at Drago College Store, 411 W. Main St.

The luncheon and meeting will take place from 12-1 PM 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 is 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, February 10.

For more information about Friends of the Garnett Library, call 417-255-7940.

(Winona) – You and your family can “discover nature” in February with two programs recently announced by the Twin Pines Conservation Education Center.

The first event, “FFA Field Day”, will take place Thursday, February 5 from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Students with various FFA groups in the region will participate in a wide variety of land related activities, including how to test soil samples, timber cruise and identify tools needed for the job. Reservations are required.

Also a turkey call workshop with David Wood will be held from 9 AM to 12 PM on Saturday, February 7. David Wood specializes in making turkey calls and will be coming back to Twin Pines to continue teaching the craft to interested hunters. This workshop for people 12 and up will center on showing you how to make a box call. Materials will be provided. Reservations are required for this event as well.

For further information or to make reservations, call 573-325-1381. The Twin Pines Conservation Education Center can be found near Winona off of Highway 60.

(Melbourne) – A new scholarship opportunity is now available to adult education students in north-central Arkansas.

The GED Walmart Scholarship will cover official GED testing fees, in full, if the student meets the required criteria, which is that the candidate must be an adult education student, an Arkansas resident, and not earn more than 200 percent of the Federal poverty level. A student who has only one person in the family can make as much as $23,340 a year. As always required, the student must take and pass the section of the GED Ready test in which they are testing prior to official testing.

Students who are awarded the scholarship may take the GED test free of charge at Ozarka College in Melbourne, Ash Flat, Mammoth Spring, and Mountain View.

For additional information about free GED classes or use of the GED Walmart Scholarship, please call Ozarka College’s Adult Education Department at 800-821-4335, ext. 2051.

(Kansas City) (AP) – A special prosecutor is taking a fresh look at the death of a handcuffed Iowa suspect who went overboard as a Missouri State Highway Patrol boat was transporting him.

Amanda Grellner acknowledged she is reviewing the case after receiving new information, The Kansas City Star reported. After a coroner’s inquest found 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson’s death to be an accident, Grellner declined four months ago to press charges against trooper Anthony Piercy. Grellner, the Osage County prosecutor, said she couldn’t discuss specifics of the investigation.

Ellingson, who grew up around West Des Moines, Iowa, and had just finished his sophomore year at Arizona State University, went into the water May 31 as Piercy was transporting him from the Lake of the Ozarks on suspicion of boating while intoxicated. Witnesses have said that Ellingson’s arms weren’t in the life jacket’s arm holes and that the safety device slipped off.

Patrol officials say Piercy cannot be interviewed because of an ongoing lawsuit. Lt. John Hotz, a patrol spokesman, said that all he could say about the case review was that patrol investigators had conducted additional interviews in recent weeks.

The interviews included ones with a husband and wife who, with their son, saw Ellingson in the water minutes before he drowned and who saw his life vest float away.

In June, the Moreaus told a patrol investigator that once Piercy had maneuvered his boat next to Ellingson, the trooper showed no urgency in helping the man in the water, didn’t turn on his red lights and didn’t motion for them to assist. The family eventually left the area thinking the trooper had everything under control. They didn’t know Ellingson was in handcuffs.

Larry Moreau’s initial interview with a trooper several months ago lasted about 15 minutes. Earlier this month, he said that same trooper and another investigator interviewed him for nearly 1 1/2 hours.

“I don’t think the truth had been told,” Larry Moreau said.

Sherry Ellingson, Brandon’s mother, said she doesn’t think her son’s death was thoroughly investigated. She emailed Grellner in the fall after Larry Moreau and his wife, Paulette, told her they had contacted the special prosecutor to say that the inquest jury hadn’t heard all of their information. They were not called to testify at the inquest.

Having the prosecutor take another look is a “good sign,” Ellingson said. “I’m hopeful, but I can’t help but be incredibly skeptical, too.”

(Cape Girardeau) (AP) – Suicide claims more lives in Missouri than homicides and DWI accidents combined, according to new data.

Statistics released Thursday by the American Association of Suicidology show that Missouri had a suicide rate of 15.9 per 100,000 people in 2012. That is higher than the national average of 13 suicides per 100,000 people and ranks Missouri 18th in the nation.

And the numbers are climbing: Data from the Missouri Institute of Mental Health show a steady increase in suicide rates since 2000, nationally and statewide. It’s also the first time Missouri has reached the 15-per-100,000 threshold since at least 2000.

Like some other medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, a combination of biology and stress can lead to depression and suicide, said Del McKinney, director of education at the Community Counseling Center in Cape Girardeau. Much like a person can be predisposed to heart disease, some people are genetically susceptible to mental-health issues, particularly when high-stress situations occur.

Getting back to a healthy state of mind can be a matter of “learning to manage stress, being aware of your emotions,” McKinney said. Medication is often prescribed, and other methods can be used to help with the situation.

Struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts “doesn’t mean you’re weak,” added Michael Hester, a licensed professional counselor and specialist in co-occuring disorders. “It means you’re human. If I have depression, I’m not defective. It’s OK to get help.”

When people reach the point of completing suicide, they are often not seeing the world as others do, Hester said.

“They might see everything as negative, when maybe it’s not,” he said. “They feel they’re worthless with an unchangeable future. They may think their situation is not going to get better, and view the world as totally bad and nothing good.”

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If you’ve considered suicide, you’re not alone. For help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number at 1-800-273-8255

(Willow Springs) – A number of arrests were made in Willow Springs earlier this month in connection with a party at a residence on South Center Street.

Officcer Brian Johnson pulled over a vehicle on January 16 that contained four subjects. The driver, a 16-year-old juvenile, was issued citations for driving while intoxicated, littering, not having insurance, minor in possession and having an open container. Three other people in the car were also arrested: 21-year-old Dakota Farrell of Willow Springs was charged with four counts of supplying intoxicants to a minor; 20-year-old Juan Dona of Willow Springs was charged with being a minor in possession of intoxicants. A 17-year-old male from Willow Springs was also charged with being a minor in possession.

Later that evening, Officer Jackson received information on a party on South Center Street. A press release says that upon his arrival, a number of individuals ran out the back door while he talked with a resident of the home. The resident, 23-year-old Brittney VanHorn, faces two charges of supplying intoxicants to minors. Three other youths, ages 16, 17 and 17, also face minor in possession charges, with the 16-year-old being referred to the juvenile office.

A total of 219 canned and non-perishable food items have been collected for the local Bridges program by members of the Grizzly Basketball team as part of its food drive this season, which is being conducted in partnership with the Enactus student organization at Missouri State University-West Plains.  With the collected items above are, from left, Enactus Co-Faculty Adviser Cathy Proffitt-Boys, Bridges Coordinator Cyndi Wright, Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker, freshman guard Dazhonetae Bennett, and Enactus Co-Faculty Adviser Renee Moore.  (Missouri State-West Plains Photo)

A total of 219 canned and non-perishable food items have been collected for the local Bridges program by members of the Grizzly Basketball team as part of its food drive this season, which is being conducted in partnership with the Enactus student organization at Missouri State University-West Plains.  With the collected items above are, from left, Enactus Co-Faculty Adviser Cathy Proffitt-Boys, Bridges Coordinator Cyndi Wright, Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker, freshman guard Dazhonetae Bennett, and Enactus Co-Faculty Adviser Renee Moore.  (Missouri State-West Plains Photo)

(West Plains) – Members of the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball program have joined with the Enactus student organization this season to collect non-perishable food items for the Bridges program in West Plains.

So far, the drive, which encourages Grizzly fans to bring the items to home games, has resulted in the collection of 219 individual food items for Bridges. Those who bring one canned food item receive one free ticket to the game.

Remaining home games will be January 27 and February 7 and 21 in Joe Paul Evans Arena at the West Plains Civic Center.

All items collected will be given to Bridges, a community-based program designed to help meet students’ needs in the West Plains R-7 School District and surrounding rural schools so they can focus on their education. So far during this academic year, 250 students have been helped by the program, according to Bridges Coordinator Cyndi Wright.

For more information about the food drive, contact the Grizzly Basketball office at 417-255-7991.

Front Row, Left to Right: Foundation board member Courtney Beykirch, Simon Hodges, Thomas Killion, Camrin Honeycutt, Foundation Board President, Ericka Atkins, Foundation board member Nathan Cropper. Back Row: Karen Moffis, Glenwood Principal, DeAnn Sellers – Junction Hill Counselor, Lenny Eagleman- West Plains Middle School Principal. (provided)

Front Row, Left to Right: Foundation board member Courtney Beykirch, Simon Hodges, Thomas Killion, Camrin Honeycutt, Foundation Board President, Ericka Atkins, Foundation board member Nathan Cropper. Back Row: Karen Moffis, Glenwood Principal, DeAnn Sellers – Junction Hill Counselor, Lenny Eagleman- West Plains Middle School Principal. (provided)

(West Plains) – The West Plains Education Foundation has announced the winners of the West Plains Reads Fall Reading Road Trip Challenge.

1st Place – Simon Hodges, Glenwood Schools – Winner of a tablet

2nd Place – Thomas Killion, Junction Hill – Winner of a gift card

3rd Place – Camrin Honeycutt, West Plains Middle School – Winner of a gift card

A winter challenge will be announced in late January. For more information on West Plains Reads visit www.westplainsreads.com.

(Cape Girardeau) – With the February 15 deadline for enrolling in 2015 Health Insurance Marketplace plans just weeks away, the Cover Missouri Coalition is ramping up efforts to educate Missourians about their coverage options.

Although 209,336 Missourians have already selected Marketplace plans, Cover Missouri seeks to increase this number even further as part of its broader and ongoing work to reduce the state’s uninsured rate to less than five percent in five years.

Coalition members will be holding free education and enrollment events and extending office hours for in-person application assisters, to help empower consumers with the factual information they need to select the right coverage for them. Specific activities include:

· Enrollment and education events offered in every region of the state. Missourians can find sessions in their area, by visiting www.covermissouri.org/events/

(Jefferson City) – Agriculture students throughout Missouri have two weeks to complete their application for the 2015 Missouri Corn Scholarship Program.

High school and college students interested in a career in agronomy or other agriculture-related field must submit the necessary forms no later than February 6 to be eligible for one of seven $1,000 scholarships sponsored by the Missouri Corn Growers Association and the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council.

Missouri Corn Scholarship applications are available online at www.mocorn.org or by calling 1-800-827-4181. Documents, including an application form, official high school or college transcript and at least one letter of recommendation, must be postmarked by February 6 to be eligible. Applications received by fax or email will not be considered.

High school senior applicants must be Missouri residents from a farm or rural area. They must plan to attend a two- or four-year Missouri college or university and major in agronomy or an agriculture-related field. The scholarship funds will apply toward the freshman year of college expenses for high school winners.

College applicants must also be Missouri residents from a farm or rural area and currently a junior enrolled in a Missouri four-year college or university majoring in agronomy or an agriculture-related field. The scholarship funds will apply toward the senior year of expenses for college winners.

To learn more about Missouri Corn programs, please visit www.mocorn.org.