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by Claudia Lauer, AP

(Little Rock) (AP) – The number of abortions performed annually in Arkansas has increased for the first time in almost a decade.

Numbers released by the Arkansas Department of Health last week show an increase of 541 abortions to 4,273 performed in Arkansas last year. The numbers had been falling since 2007.

Abortion opponents say the increase came after the number of women from Tennessee seeking abortions in Arkansas more than doubled and the number from Mississippi almost doubled.

Even with the 2014 increase, the number of abortions in Arkansas has dropped by 5.7 percent since 2010. A national analysis of state records by The Associated Press shows most states saw a decline in abortions since 2010, the year before many state legislatures started enacting additional restrictions on the procedure.

(West Plains) – Electric crews in West Plains are busy replacing utility poles, according to city clerk Mallory Hawkins, who says crews will be on Mitchell and Harlin this week:


She added that the city has completed their TIGER grant application for a railroad overpass:


The overpass project on Independence Ave. is estimated to cost $7.5 million. The city is requesting $5.7 million in grant funding from the US Department of Transportation.

City officials say the overpass would help alleviate traffic and allow emergency responders to get around the city easier in emergency situations.

(Little Rock) (AP) – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network has refunded donations from Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan and his Deputy Chief of Staff Jason Brady.

Ray Carson, the cancer group’s Associate Director of Media Advocacy for the South Region, says the group had received the checks last week and notified both men that they would be refunded. Carson says there is an ongoing investigation as of Monday into allegations that Brady, a former action network employee, worked on Milligan’s campaign for state treasurer using his email address at the nonprofit.

In April, Milligan suspended Brady with pay for three days during an internal investigation at the treasurer’s office that found “no wrongdoing.” Milligan declined to comment on the refund or the amount of the donation, which he says was from private funds.

(Van Buren) – Ozark National Scenic Riverways will be hosting the Ozark Heritage Day event at Big Spring on Saturday, June 13, from 9 AM to 4 PM.

Organizers say the Ozark Depression Homestead at Big Spring will come alive with high stepping cloggers, bluegrass music, storytelling and Ozark folkway demonstrations during this free event.

Scheduled events include a variety of demonstrations, including wool spinning, pottery, woodworking, chair caning, quilting, fiddle making, blacksmithing, and lye soap. Attendees can also learn some traditional Ozark dance moves by joining in on clogging demonstrations by the Fireside Cloggers. Live music will be provided by Buzzard Run, and food will be available for purchase from a local vendor.

Big Spring is located four miles south of Van Buren, Missouri, on State Route 103. For more information, call 573-323-4236, or visit the park’s website at

Bears can get into bird feeders, so the MDC recommends people do not feed birds during the spring and summer months. (MDC photo)

Bears can get into bird feeders quite easily, so the MDC recommends that people do not feed birds during the spring and summer months to help keep bears away from homes. (MDC photo)

(Jefferson City) – The Missouri Department of Conservation is urging area residents to be “bear aware” this spring and summer. Brett Stevens has more:


(Houston) – The Texas County Food Pantry doesn’t just help people with food needs, but also with job hunting and resume building, according to pantry executive director Benny Cook:


Again, that number is 417-967-4484.

(Mountain Home) – After serving for 26 years as director of the Baxter County Library, Gwen Khayat will be retiring on June 30.

During her tenure, the Baxter County Library system has seen many changes, including the new Donald W. Reynolds Library location on Library Hill in Mountain Home.

Gwen, a third generation native of Baxter County, joined the Baxter County Library in October of 1989. Khayat graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business from Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, MO in 1972. She began her career at Western Auto Supply Company headquarters in Kansas City from 1972-1974, moved to Kuwait with husband Tony where they worked for United Arab Shipping Company until they returned to Houston, TX in 1982. After selling their business in 1984, Gwen, Tony and daughter Dalal returned to Mountain Home, where Gwen taught classes for North Arkansas Community College while completing her Masters of Library Science Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg in 1990.

The public is welcome to a retirement reception that will be held for Gwen Tuesday, June 30 from 1-3 PM at the library.

(Houston) – The Texas County Memorial Hospital breastfeeding support group will meet Thursday, June 25 from 6:30-8:30 PM in the second floor med surg education room at the hospital.

Jennifer Terrill, a registered nurse and internationally board certified lactation consultant at TCMH, will facilitate the breastfeeding support group.

The group, which offers education, support and encouragement for area mothers, is open to mothers that are currently breastfeeding or expectant mothers that are planning to breastfeed after the birth of their child. Mothers may bring their breastfeeding child to the meeting if they wish.

The support group is free, but the obstetrics department requires pre-registration prior to the support group.

For more information or to register, contact the TCMH obstetrics department at 417-967-1260 or 1-866-967-3311, extension 4449.

(Little Rock) (AP) – A judge says he’ll rule in the next two days on whether Arkansas should recognize more than 500 same-sex marriages performed in the state last year.

An attorney for two of the couples told Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen that her clients’ rights were being deprived by the state not recognizing their marriage licenses.

The state Supreme Court halted the distribution of marriage licenses to gay couples after a week in May 2014 and is considering the appeal over a voter-approved same sex marriage ban.

The couples are seeking the recognition so they can enjoy a host of benefits, including filing taxes jointly and enrolling together on state health insurance plans.

(Forest City) (AP) – A 47-year-old northwest Missouri man has died from injuries he suffered when his ATV flipped over and landed on top of him.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says Patrick Meyer, of Oregon, Missouri died in the accident Sunday afternoon about three miles north of Forest City.

The patrol says the front tire of Meyer’s four-wheeler hit a rut in the road and overturned. Meyer was thrown from the vehicle, which fell on top of him.

The St. Joseph News-Press reports Meyer was pronounced dead at the scene.