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(West Plains) – Several offices at Missouri State University-West Plains will offer extended hours in January to accommodate students with last minute business for the 2015 spring semester. Below is a list of dates, offices that will be open on those dates, and hours of operation:

On January 5-8, from 8AM-6PM academic affairs, admissions, Advisement and Academic Coaching Center for Empowering Student Success (AACCESS), the business office, Drago College Store, financial aid, registration and records, student services, the Veterans Center.

January 10, 9AM-12PM admissions, AACCESS, the business office, Drago College Store, financial aid, registration and records, the veterans center.

January 12, 7:30AM-6PM – admissions, AACCESS, the business office, Drago College Store, financial aid, registration and records, the veterans center. Academic affairs and student services offices will be open 8AM-6PM

January 13-15, 8AM-6PM – academic affairs, admissions, AACCESS, the business office, Drago College Store, financial aid, registration and records, student services, the Veterans Center. All offices will be open regular hours, 8AM-5PM Friday, January 9.

The Garnett Library will be open from 8AM-6PM January 5-9, 9AM-12PM January 10, and 7:30AM-10PM. January 12. On January 13The library will resume its normal semester hours 8AM-10PM Mondays through Thursdays, 8AM-6PM Fridays, 1-5PM Saturdays, and 1-9PM Sundays.

University officials said these special extended office hours will be a good time for students to purchase text books and school supplies, check on financial aid matters, get another copy of their class schedule, visit with advisers, and finalize any other last minute paperwork for the spring semester. Officials remind the last day to register for classes is January 11. Classes begin January 12.

For more information about spring classes or how to enroll, contact the Missouri State University-West Plains admissions office at 417-255-7955 or visit the website at

(West Plains) – AmVets Post 98’s Ladies Auxiliary will host their annual Christmas for Area Kids Enjoyment (C.A.K.E.) Children’s Christmas Party this Saturday morning, December 20. Santa will be there to take photos with the children in attendance.

Toys and a food basket will be given to each family selected from their list of those in need. This year’s event will benefit 30+ families, including more than 60 children, within the West Plains and Howell County community. This event is not open to the public, the families who are to take part in this event have already been selected by Post 98 officials.

The AMVETS Riders Chapter and Ladies Auxiliary of Post 98 would like to thank everyone who made donations at the Southern Hill Shopping Center during their two recent C.A.K.E. Toy Drive and Fundraiser events on November 29, and December 6.

Thanks to the generosity from the community this year’s event raised approximately $1800, between cash donations and the estimated value of toys received, to aid in supporting their C.A.K.E. Children’s Christmas Party. Because of the level of support received from the community, this year’s event was the best toy drive and fundraiser since AMVETS Post 98 added it to their annual program of events.

(Thayer) – The Repertory Theater of the Ozarks will hold its annual Christmas Party and Show starting at 5:30PM this Friday, December 19, at the Thayer Fun and Friends Center located on the corner of Front St. and Chestnut in downtown Thayer, Mo.

Admission is by donation and is open to the public. All former RTO members and friends are also invited as RTO lets its hair down to sing their favorite Christmas songs, Broadway songs and western and pop.

RTO singing stars George R. Seaberry III, Janie Crews, Mariann Hyslop, Phyllis Simpson, Dennis Hobbs, J.W. Brewer, and Howard Elliott will be on hand for the fun

Join in with RTO singers; there will be an open mike for singers, bands and anyone who wants to join in the fun.

Free Christmas dessert, pies, cakes and cookies will be served. Also, beverages will be available. For more information, contact Caroll Lucas at 870-937-4235 or Mariann Hyslop at 417-274-0758.

(West Plains) – The Howell Valley R-1 School Board of Education will be meeting for a regular session meeting on Thursday, December 18, at 6PM in the Technology Building.

Items on the agenda include the review of the cash report, the cash journal, the general ledger and bank reconciliation; as well as the approval of the payment of bills.

The board will be looking to discuss and possibly approve a revised 2014-2015 budget, approve their updated polices and regulations, appoint a District Compliance Officer, and set the time and date for the next board meeting in January.

by David A. Lieb, AP

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri higher education officials are backing off an attempt to make scholarships available to students at an online university, after the proposal drew opposition from some traditional institutions and sparked plans for a legislative hearing.

A joint House and Senate panel had been scheduled to meet Wednesday to consider blocking a proposed rule change for scholarship eligibility that would have redefined what it means for an institution to be “located in Missouri.” The intent was to make Access Missouri scholarships available to students at Western Governors University-Missouri, an online-only school.

But the hearing was canceled Tuesday after the Department of Higher Education withdrew the proposed rule change. A memo from the department to the legislative committee said the agency wants to “provide additional time to discuss the issues further with interested parties.”

Gov. Jay Nixon had directed the agency to ensure WGU-Missouri students could receive state financial aid when he signed an executive order in February 2013 establishing a Missouri branch of the online university, which is based in Salt Lake City.

The rule change was opposed by the Independent Colleges and University of Missouri, a collection of 21 private institutions. That group contends that any scholarship changes should require passage of a law, not merely a rule by a state agency. It also has raised concerns that other out-of-state institutions could use of the scholarships, thus expanding the pool of eligible recipients and ultimately resulting in a smaller amount of aid available for each student.

The decision to drop the proposed rule marked an abrupt change for department officials.

The independent colleges group had sent the department a letter outlining its concerns in June. As recently as Dec. 10, the agency’s deputy commissioner, Leroy Wade, had sent a letter to the legislative panel defending the proposed rule change and dismissing the objections raised against it.

The Associated Press published an article about the proposed rule change over the weekend. The memo withdrawing the rule was dated Monday.

“We’ve decided that rather than go forward with this – if there are these level of questions – we’re better to take the time to talk to them and see what kind of compromise position we can meet,” Wade said in an interview Tuesday.

If the department later decides to pursue the rule change again, it will have to start from scratch. That process can take six months or more.

“We’re still optimistic that there will come a point where we’re able to have our students access those funds – it’s just a matter of time,” said Angie Besendorfer, the chancellor at WGU-Missouri.

Students at the online university are not currently eligible for state scholarships because WGU-Missouri is not considered to be located in Missouri. Under the proposed rule change, an accredited institution whose main campus is elsewhere could have qualified if it had a building in Missouri, employed at least 25 Missouri residents, enrolled at least 750 Missouri students, had a Missouri-based oversight board and agreed to supply data to state officials. All of those criteria would have been met by WGU-Missouri, Besendorfer said.

ASH GROVE, Mo. (AP) — A former southwest Missouri high school teacher has been charged in a child sex case involving a 16-year-old female student.

The Springfield News-Leader reports 34-year-old William Herrington of Republic was charged Monday with felony sodomy, child molestation and sexual contact with a student.

Ash Grove police say Herrington sent inappropriate messages to the girl’s Twitter account, and had sexual contact with her in the school’s library storage closet and at his home in October.

Superintendent Kyle Collins suspended the Ash Grove High School social studies teacher after the girl’s mother contacted him in October. Herrington is no longer employed by the district.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Herrington has an attorney.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A proposed Missouri bill would give legal amnesty to those seeking emergency medical help for drug overdoses.

Republican state Rep. Bryan Spencer of Wentzville recently proposed a bill protecting those who call for help from being charged with some drug crimes.

Some who call an ambulance for themselves or others would be immune from charges of drug possession, but there are stipulations. The amnesty only kicks in if the individual has less than a certain amount of an illegal substance.

For example, someone with more than three grams of heroin, cocaine or morphine would not be protected. Police still could arrest those if they already had suspicion that they were committing illegal activity before calling for help with an overdose.

swac(West Plains) – The annual Shop With A Cop program in West Plains had one of its biggest events ever on Saturday. Detective Jeremy Pounders with the West Plains Police Department told Ozark Radio News that over $14,000 was raised for the event, which benefitted over 200 children:

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Pounders says that an increase of donations and donors helped contribute to the stellar fundraising this year:

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A number of organizations helped in this year’s Shop With A Cop event, including the West Plains Police and Fire departments, Howell County Rural Fire Department, Howell County Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Child Advocacy Center, 37th Judicial District juvenile officers, the Missouri Sheriff’s Association, the West Plains High School Beta Club, and others.


(Washington) – After months of reviewing public comments, some changes are coming to the Current and Jacks Fork rivers, and to Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

Some key changes, which were announced Friday, include the elimination of many unofficial horse trails and the closing of some gravel bar camping areas. To combat these changes, ONSR plans on expanding designated horse trails and designated gravel bar camping areas. Also, camping on gravel bars will be permitted by paddlers and boaters, as long as the campsite is at least 50 feet away from any designated river access and half mile away from any designated campground.

Another issue area residents were worried about was the elimiation of powerboats on the upper stretches of the Current and Jacks Fork rivers, however, powerboats up to 25 horsepower will be allowed on those areas during gigging season. Also, powerboats up to 150 horsepower can be used on the Current River below Big Spring. A much lower horsepower limit had been proposed.

ONSR Superintendent Bill Black says that, while the changes won’t be going into effect in the near future, the park is planning on developing a road and trail plan soon.

Black added that boating restrictions won’t be going into effect anytime soon, but that boaters will probably have some sort of grace period, with notifications and signage signaling that the rules are changing. Black said the ban on powerboats on the upper sections of the Jacks Fork and Current Rivers, except during gigging and trapping seasons, probably won’t begin until the spring of 2016.

ONSR received more than 3,000 comments after it released its draft proposal of the plan in November 2013.

The full plan can be read at

st_arflag(Little Rock) (AP) – Nearly two years after approving a pair of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country, Republicans in Arkansas’ Legislature are weighing additional measures to make it more difficult for women to get the procedure.

A ban on the use of telemedicine to offer the abortion pill, cutting off public funding to Planned Parenthood and requiring more information given to women in person before they undergo the procedure are likely on the agenda for lawmakers next year.

The proposals follow a 2013 session where lawmakers approved measures banning most abortions 12 and 20 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy. The Republican led-Legislature approved both bans, overriding vetoes by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe.

A federal judge has struck down the 12-week ban, a ruling that the state is appealing.