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(West Plains) – The Small Business and Technology Development Center in West Plains will be holding a presentation on capital. Coordinator Bronwen Madden spoke with Ozark Radio News and told us more about the forum:

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Madden says that this forum is for anyone who may be interested:

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The cost to register is $20 through this coming Wednesday. For more information visit wp.missouristate.edu or 417-255-7966. You can also register at capitalforum.eventbrite.com.

(West Plains) – A luncheon for volunteers at the Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival will be held Saturday, May 9 from 11 AM to 2 PM, in the Dogwood Rooms at the West Plains Civic Center.

The Old-Time Music, Ozarks Heritage Festival in downtown West Plains will celebrate its 21st year Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20. The two-day annual event in downtown West Plains, celebrates Ozarks music and culture. Admission to all festival events is free.

Organizers come from many different areas of the community, volunteering their time to assure a successful event. There is no paid staff, and the festival committee spends many hours over the year preparing for it.

Because of the festival’s continued growth, more volunteers are needed for a variety of jobs, including 2-hour shifts the information booths; helping with set-up on Thursday evening or Friday morning; maintaining the entrance gate for artists on the north side of the Civic Center; shuttle drivers around the grounds; and helping with simple residency and opinion surveys.

Volunteer training will be held Monday, June 15 at the civic center, and training will be conducted in segments specific to each area: gate training at 5:30 PM; shuttle drivers at 6 PM; information booth at 6:30 PM; and surveys at 7 PM.

Those interested in helping in any way should contact the West Plains Council on the Arts at info@westplainsarts.org, or call Volunteer Coordinator Dee Lewis at 417-257-5563 or 417-256-6919. The preferred deadline for volunteer sign-up is May 1. Volunteers from previous years are also encouraged to call or e-mail to confirm if they will be participating this year. Volunteer sign-up forms are available on the festival website, www.oldtimemusic.org.

For more information on the festival e-mail info@westplainsarts.org, visit the website at http://www.oldtimemusic​.​org, or find and “like” the Facebook page.

(Mammoth Spring) – The Mammoth Spring Chamber of Commerce has announced a new farmers’ market.

The market, which will be located in the Simmons parking lot on Main Street, will open May 2 with roughly 20 vendors selling a variety of items, including plants, Amish items, produce, crafts, baked goods and more. The grand opening May 2 will also feature barbecued food for sale.

The market will be open every Saturday through October 17, rain or shine. For more information on the event or the market, contact Rose Pierce at 870-955-0239 or Eve Jones at 870-625-7788.

(Mountain Home) – A benefit performance of the award-winning play “Arcadia” by Broadway playwright Tom Stoppard will be presented at the Twin Lakes Playhouse on Thursday, May 14, at 7 PM.

Tickets for the performance are on sale now for $12, general admission, at the Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce, the Old Tyme Restaurant on the Square, and at the Historical Society Heritage Center, 808 S. Baker Street. The performance is a fundraiser for the Baxter County Historical and Genealogical Society.

In Arcadia, an English country house, a writer, a professor and a grad student experience a connection with Thomasina, the young girl who lived there more than a hundred years before. Happenings in the then and now unfold the tightly woven tapestry of past and present.

For more information on the show or the Baxter County Historical and Genealogical Society, call 870-425-2551.

by Andrew DeMillo, AP

(Little Rock) (AP) – Opponents of a new Arkansas law preventing local governments from extending anti-discrimination protections to gays and lesbians have been given approval to begin gathering signatures to put the measure before voters next year.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Thursday approved the wording of a proposed referendum on the new law, which is set to take effect in late July. Her certification is required to begin gathering the roughly 51,000 signatures needed to put the referendum on the 2016 ballot.

The law approved earlier this year prohibits local government from banning discrimination on a basis not covered in state law. Arkansas’ anti-discrimination laws don’t include sexual orientation or gender identity.

(St. Louis) (AP) – The remains of a Missouri soldier killed more than four decades ago when his Army helicopter crashed in Cambodia during the Vietnam War are back home.

The remains of Rodney Griffin arrived Thursday morning at St. Louis’ Lambert International Airport, and Patriot Guard motorcyclists led the hearse back toward Griffin’s native mid-Missouri.

The Centralia man was 21 in 1970 when his helicopter was shot down.

In February, Griffin’s relatives were told that his remains had been found in a grave near the crash site, where two other men killed in the crash also were identified.

Griffin’s public funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Centralia High School, from which Griffin graduated in 1968.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri lawmakers have passed a measure granting $84 million more in basic aid to K-12 public schools.

But the spending plan passed Thursday by the House and Senate still falls nearly $400 million short of what’s needed to provide full funding.

Also passed Thursday was a measure that ups the amount of performance funding for the state’s colleges and universities. The $12 million increase is 1.3 percent more than what schools received this year, but is less than the more than $27 million in additional funding that senators wanted.

The bills now head to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who can veto spending for specific programs or services.

by Jim Salter, AP

Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, listens during a news conference Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Clayton, Mo. The parents of Michael Brown filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Thursday against the city of Ferguson, Mo., over the fatal shooting of their son by a white police officer, a confrontation that sparked a protest movement across the United States. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Lesley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, listens during a news conference Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Clayton, Mo. The parents of Michael Brown filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Thursday against the city of Ferguson, Mo., over the fatal shooting of their son by a white police officer, a confrontation that sparked a protest movement across the United States. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

(Clayton) (AP) – Michael Brown’s parents filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city of Ferguson on Thursday, opening a new chapter in the legal battle over the shooting that killed their son and sparked a national protest movement about the way police treat blacks.

Attorneys for Brown’s parents promised the case would bring to light new forensic evidence and raise doubts about the police version of events. Some of that evidence, they said, had been overlooked in previous investigations.

“The narrative of the law enforcement all across the country for shooting unarmed people of color is the same: That they had no other choice,” attorney Benjamin Crump said. “But time and time again, the objective evidence contradicts the standard police narrative.”

Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., attended a news conference announcing the lawsuit outside the St. Louis County Courthouse. A tear rolled down McSpadden’s cheek as Crump spoke.

“It’s all part of the journey,” she said.

The case had been expected for months. If it comes to trial, the lawsuit could force a full review of all the evidence in the shooting and bring key witnesses to be questioned in open court, including Darren Wilson, the white officer who shot Brown. Wilson and former Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson were also named in the complaint.

Civil cases generally require a lower standard of proof than criminal cases. Jurors must base their decision on a preponderance of evidence, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard needed to convict in a criminal trial.

A Ferguson city spokesman declined to comment, citing the pending litigation. Messages left for an attorney for Wilson were not immediately returned.

Jackson declined to discuss the lawsuit, telling The Associated Press that he was unaware of it until a reporter told him and had not had a chance to review the allegations.

Brown, 18, was unarmed and walking in the street with a friend on Aug. 9 when Wilson told them to move to the sidewalk.

The lawsuit alleges that Wilson told the two to “get the (expletive) out of the street,” causing tension to escalate. Without the “unnecessary and unwarranted profane language,” the encounter would have been “uneventful,” it says.

Moments later, Wilson and Brown became involved in a scuffle through the open window of Wilson’s police vehicle. Wilson shot Brown after the scuffle spilled into the street.

Some witnesses said Brown appeared to be trying to surrender, but Wilson said Brown was moving toward him aggressively, forcing him to shoot.

The attorneys said they planned to cite Wilson’s own initial comments to a supervisor in which, according to the lawsuit, he said Brown had his arms raised moments before the shooting.

Brown’s death led to weeks of sometimes-violent demonstrations and spawned a national “Black Lives Matter” movement seeking changes in how police deal with minorities. In the end, local and federal authorities ruled that the shooting was justified.

In the months since Brown was killed, unarmed blacks have been fatally shot by police in Wisconsin, California, Oklahoma, South Carolina and elsewhere. Unlike Brown’s death, some of those shootings were caught on video.

A St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Justice Department declined to prosecute Wilson, who resigned in November. But the Justice Department released a scathing report citing racial bias and racial profiling in the Ferguson Police Department and in a profit-driven municipal court system that frequently targeted blacks.

After the report, several city officials resigned, including Jackson, the city manager and a municipal judge. The municipal court clerk was fired for racist emails, and two police officers resigned over racist emails of their own.

Crump and another attorney for the family, Daryl Parks, said the lawsuit will include evidence that was ignored by the grand jury and the Justice Department, including bullets allegedly fired by Wilson found in buildings.

Civil suits often unfold much differently than criminal matters.

Two decades ago, football star O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. But a civil jury awarded the Brown and Goldman families $33.5 million in wrongful-death damages.

The family of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed man killed by New York police in 1999, settled with the city for $3 million in 2004 after filing a $60 million lawsuit. The city did not admit any wrongdoing. The settlement came after four officers indicted in his shooting were acquitted of second-degree murder and reckless endangerment.

Wrongful-death lawsuits have been filed in other recent high-profile cases, too.

In New York, the family of Eric Garner is seeking $75 million in damages. Garner, who was black and had asthma, died in July after a white plainclothes officer applied what a medical examiner determined was a chokehold. Garner was accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on a city street.

(Little Rock) (AP) – The Governor’s Council on Common Core Review is meeting at the state Capital for the first of several planned daylong meetings on Arkansas education standards.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke briefly Thursday to the task force that he appointed earlier this year to examine whether the Common Core education standards are a good fit for the state. Common Core standards are math and English benchmarks adopted by a majority of states that describe what students are expected to know after completing each grade.

Lieutenant Governor Tim Griffin heads the task force and said the group will examine the English and math standards in addition to standardized testing and student data privacy.

The council will hold several hearings during the next few months.

Hutchinson is asking for initial recommendations this summer.

(MSU-West Plains photo)

(MSU-West Plains photo)

(West Plains) – A new director of the West Plains Civic Center has been named by the city.

The West Plains City Council unanimously voted to hire Emily Gibson for the position during a closed session at their meeting on Monday, April 20. Gibson comes to the city from Missouri State University-West Plains as the theater and events coordinator. She is a lifelong resident of West Plains and has worked a variety of jobs, including event coordination and management, public relations, and education. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree in teaching from Missouri State University.

Gibson will begin her duties as director of the civic center on June 1.