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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon delivers the annual State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Jefferson City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon delivers the annual State of the State address to a joint session of the House and Senate Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Jefferson City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says he is asking for relatively few funding increases in his $26 billion budget proposal for next fiscal year.

State budget director Linda Luebbering calls the budget `modest’ and says the state is recovering after revenues fell significantly short of expectations last year.

Nixon’s proposed budget includes a $50 million increase in basic aid for public schools and $12 million more for performance-based funding for public colleges and universities. He’s also asking lawmakers to approve more money for services to people with disabilities and programs to help the aging.

The Democratic governor also called for an update to Missouri’s law on the police use of deadly force after the shooting incident in Ferguson. Nixon also advocated for the consideration of a gas tax hike or tolls for aging highways, stronger ethics laws and a renewed call to expand Medicaid eligibility to low-income adults.

Nixon’s proposed $26 billion budget for the 2016 fiscal year would keep spending relatively flat compared with the current year, a carryover effect from revenues that fell significantly short of expectations last year. He also asked lawmakers to approve $353 million of repairs and renovations at the Capitol, college campuses, state parks and office buildings under a bonding plan that legislators previously authorized.

House Speaker John Diehl, who delivered a Republican response speech, accused Nixon of poor leadership during the Ferguson events and pledged that legislators would investigate why the National Guard was not used in Ferguson on the night of the grand jury decision.

Diehl said the Republican agenda includes removing “those who are capable of earning a living wage” from Missouri’s welfare rolls. He also pledged that lawmakers would pass a bill expanding the availability of charter schools and online schools for students in public schools lacking state accreditation.

(West Plains) – A former caretaker at the Martha Vance Samaritan Outreach Center has been charged with assault and harassment.

58-year-old Ronald Schrader was charged earlier this month with two counts of 3rd degree assault and two counts of harassment by offensive physical contact.

Court documents state that on October 13, 2014, police were called to the homeless shelter to talk with a resident who said that Schrader, who was the night manager at the time, allegedly assaulted him by simulating sexual contact with him while he was standing in a medicine line, and later touching his genitals. Police took a copy of security video provided by the shelter which allegedly shows the incident taking place.

Later that day, the police were called back to take testimony from a second resident who said that Schrader also touched his genitals. A number of reported witnesses at the home also wrote statements for police concerning the incident.

After the incident, officials with the Samaritan Outreach Center say that Schrader was fired. Prior to working at the center, Schrader worked as a deputy for the Howell County Sheriff’s Department in the late 1970’s and 1980’s.

An arraignment has been scheduled in Howell County on February 17.

Quebe Sisters (provided)

Quebe Sisters (provided)

(West Plains) – The Old-Time Music, Ozarks Heritage Festival in West Plains will celebrate its 21st year Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20, introducing two powerful, first-time festival performers as headliners on the main stage.

The Quebe Sisters Band will take the stage Friday night, and Dr. Ralph Stanley with Family and Friends will close the Festival Saturday night. Both performances are scheduled for 8 PM.

The Quebe Sisters, hailing from Dallas, TX, have a unique blend of music and perform a variety of music styles, including swing, vintage country, bluegrass, jazz and swing standards, and Texas style fiddling.

Members of the band include : Grace Quebe – Fiddle, Vocal; Sophia Quebe – Fiddle, Vocal; Hulda Quebe Stipp – Fiddle, Vocal; Penny Lea Clark – Mandolin, Guitar, Vocal; and Katy Lou Clark – Guitar, Piano, Accordion, Banjo, Vocal.

The group has had appearances with such performers as Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Marty Stuart, Merle Haggard, Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers, and others.

Dr. Stanley

Dr. Ralph Stanley

Performing for over six decades, Dr. Ralph Stanley has become one of the most influential artists of all time. Recognized as the leading exponent of traditional Appalachian music and a founding father of bluegrass, Stanley has spread his sound around the world during his 68 years of touring and recording.

Some of country and bluegrass music’s biggest stars came from Ralph Stanley’s band, including Ricky Skaggs, Larry Sparks and the late Keith Whitley. In 2002 Ralph Stanley received his first ever Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance of the haunting rendition of “Oh Death” that was featured in the movie and soundtrack of “O Brother Where Art Thou”. In 2006 He received the Living Legend award from the Library of Congress and National Medal of Arts given by President George W. Bush. Stanley was also honored October 11, 2014, when he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts, which was founded in 1780 to recognize America’s foremost “thinkers and doers.”

His new album, Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow was released January 19, 2015, and he will be featured in a PBS special in March.

The Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival is the signature event for West Plains. The two-day festival seeks to celebrate, preserve, pass on and nurture an appreciation of the old-time music and folk life traditions distinctive to the Ozark Highlands.

For more information on the festival visit www.oldtimemusic.org, or “like” the Facebook page by going to www.facebook.com/Old.Time.Music.Festival

(Mountain Home) – A rural Mountain Home man faces drug charges after he was pulled over Tuesday for a traffic violation.

48-year-old John Lewis was charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia, and misdemeanor driving on a suspended license and disorderly conduct.

The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office states that Lewis was pulled over on Highway 5 south of Mountain Home after 9 PM Tuesday due to a reckless driving complaint that was called into the sheriff’s office. Police say after being pulled over, Lewis began yelling at officers and became hostile, and was later found to have methamphetamine on his person.

Lewis was held on $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

(ORN Photo)

(ORN Photo)

(Branson) – Silver Dollar City hosted a number of regional media outlets on Wednesday to showcase the newest section of the park: Fireman’s Landing.

Kevin Lotter is the director of attractions at Silver Dollar City. He told Ozark Radio News more about Fireman’s Landing and some of the activities available in the new section of the park:

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Martha Bohner with Silver Dollar City also gave some of the real-world history behind Fireman’s Landing:

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Brad Thomas, Silver Dollar City General Manager, says that season passes are currently on sale, which gets you access to Fireman’s Landing as well as the rest of the park:

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A commemorative bell was placed on top of Fire House #3 on Wednesday morning. The park, and Fireman’s Landing, are expected to open March 15. For more information you can visit www.silverdollarcity.com.

(Sikeston) – Highway 63 in Oregon County will be reduced to one lane later this week.

Missouri Department of Transportation crews will be cleaning around the guardrail from Route OO to Route 19. Weather permitting, work will take place Friday, January 23 from 7:30 AM to 3 PM.

The work zone will be marked with signs and motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.

For additional information, contact MoDOT’s Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-888-ASK-MODOT (1-888-275-6636).

(West Plains) – Area residents interested in attending college can learn more about financial aid options available to them at a workshop set for 6 PM Wednesday, January 28, at West Plains High School.

The workshop is being hosted by Missouri State University-West Plains.

A representative from Missouri State-West Plains will be on hand to provide information to students and parents regarding federal and state resources available to help students finance their post-secondary education. This includes information about federal financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant, campus-based work-study programs, Stafford student loans and PLUS loans for parents, as well as state programs such as the Access Missouri grant, Bright Flight Scholarship and the A+ Program.

In addition, those attending will receive information about the financial aid application process, including instructions for filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

All of the information provided will be useful for students planning to attend any post-secondary institution that participates in the federal Title IV programs, not just Missouri State-West Plains.

For more information about the workshop, contact the Missouri State-West Plains financial aid office at 417-255-7243 or contact West Plains High School Senior Adviser Dalena Allen at 417-256-6150.

(Little Rock) (AP) – Write-in candidates would be required to meet a 90-day deadline to notify state and local election officials that they are running, under a bill approved by an Arkansas House committee.

Proposed as a minor technical change, the bill instead caused several lawmakers Wednesday to question why write-in candidates had any restrictions at all.

Write-in candidates must already notify every county in which they’re running and file other paperwork in order for their votes to be counted. County clerks are not required to include ballot lines for write-in candidates without the filings.

But Republican Rep. Jack Ladyman said he thought write-ins were “for me, the Arkansas voter, to write in anyone I wanted to.”

The measure ultimately passed by voice vote and now goes to the full House.

Dr. Khan

Dr. M. Faisal Khan

(West Plains) – The public can learn more about how to prevent heart disease and enjoy a free heart healthy breakfast from 7:30-8:30 AM on Tuesday, February 17 at the Ozarks Medical Center Parkway Center in West Plains.

The event is free of charge but reservations are required and can be made by calling 417-257-6793 by 9 AM February 16.

OMC is hosting the breakfast as part of its efforts to support heart health during American Heart Month in February, and will include a presentation by OMC Interventional Cardiologist M. Faisal Khan, MD. The presentation will cover information on the prevalence of heart disease, risk factors, and steps you can take to prevent heart disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States each year. Heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year in health care services, medications and lost productivity.

As part of American Heart Month OMC will host a free heart health screening from 7-11 AM Friday, February 6 at OMC Heart Care Services. Appointments are required and can be made by calling 417-257-6793. The screening includes a cholesterol panel and blood pressure check. Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) screenings are also available to those at risk.

(West Plains) – Heather Fisher, the executive director of the Ozarks Small Business Incubator in West Plains, told Ozark Radio News that the Incubator will be offering a number of QuickBooks classes in the near future:

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More information on the program can be found at www.ozsbi.com.