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(Houston) – Increased inpatient and outpatient volumes at Texas County Memorial Hospital (TCMH) combined to give the hospital its second positive bottom line for the year, TCMH board members heard at their monthly meeting on last Tuesday.

The TCMH August financial report showed a positive bottom line of $232,039.15, dropping the year to date deficit to $643,612.21. In the financial report, Linda Pamperien, chief financial officer at TCMH, explained that inpatient revenues were down $21,459.00 from budgeted expectations and outpatient volumes were up $332,656.00 from budgeted expectations.

Pamperien noted that TCMH is still down 168 inpatient admissions compared to 2013 and Wes Murray, chief executive officer at TCMH, expressed hope that the uptick in volume was the “new norm”. Murray told board members that he was going to continue to challenge the department managers to add to their monthly department numbers.

According to Murray, hospital volumes are down across the nation, but TCMH has made efforts to grow volumes. In the past year, hospital departments have spent time educating area healthcare providers about the ancillary services offered in each department. Efforts have been made to encourage area residents to support their local hospital and healthcare providers by using local healthcare services.

Murray and Pamperien also attributed the change in numbers to the addition of new healthcare providers.

(Mountain Grove) – On Saturday, October 4, the Mountain Grove YMCA is hosting a Health, Wellness, and Safety Expo from 8AM-12PM in Mountain Grove.

The Health Expo goal is to improve the health and well being of our community by providing screening education and information about providers, services, and products related to Health and Safety in the area.

There will be lots of free and low cost health care screenings including flu shots, blood pressure, pulse oxygen, vision and hearing, early childhood education and safety. Organizations within the town of Mountain Grove promoting well being and community service will be in attendance.

The Mountain Grove Fire and Police Departments will be at the Expo where you can have a child ID card made on the spot for your child’s safety, along with information on healthy eating and the Parents as Teachers program.

For more information, contact the Mountain Grove Chamber of Commerce at 417-926-4135.

Kathryn Fisher holding her piece entitled “Lilies and Lemons en Plein Air”; Regina Willard holding “Texas Creek Bend”. (Provided)

Kathryn Fisher holding her piece entitled “Lilies and Lemons en Plein Air”; Regina Willard holding “Texas Creek Bend”. (Provided)

(West Plains) – West Plains Council on the Arts invites everyone to view a unique collection of artwork by local artists Regina Willard and Kathryn Fisher in their exhibition titled “A Brush With Life” at the Gallery at the Center, West Plains Civic Center from October 6-26.

The Gallery, on the mezzanine, is open to the public during regular Civic Center hours.

Regina Willard says she is a primarily self-taught artist and painter who works with oils and acrylics.

After years as a successful textile artist, Kat Fisher shifted from painting with thickened dye on cotton cloth to painting with oil paint on cotton or linen canvas. Her work is impressionistic with a lean toward expressionism. She has studied with such artists as Joshua Been, Dreama Tolle Perry, Michael McClure, John Porter Lasater IV, Matt Smith, C.W. Mundy and Carolyn Anderson. Her work encompasses landscapes, animals, still life and figurative paintings.

WPCA will host a Meet-the-Artists Reception on Saturday, October 18, from 1-3 PM in the Gallery at the Center. All are invited to attend, view and discuss the artwork.

The exhibit is co-sponsored by the West Plains Civic Center and West Plains Council on the Arts, with partial funding provided by Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

(Mountain Home) – An agency that has helped businesses secure nearly $32 million in government contract work in one year is offering to help Mountain Home businesses learn to tap into that market.

The Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center, or APAC, provides free training and technical assistance to Arkansas companies seeking to sell goods or services to local, state and federal agencies. A program of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, APAC has been successful in helping Arkansas businesses successfully secure $31.8 million through 523 government contract awards in 2012-13. APAC has helped businesses obtain thousands of awards since it was established in 1988.

For more information about APAC, contact the Baxter County Cooperative Extension Service office at 870-425-2335 or visit www.uaex.edu/APAC. You may also contact Eddie Majeste, CEO/President, of the Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce at Emajeste@EnjoyMountainHome.com.

See beloed advoice columnist Ann Landers come to life at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 in “The Lady With All the Answers” at the West Plains Civic Center theater.  This national touring production by the Nebraska Theatre Caravan is being sponsored by the Missouri State University-West Plains University/Community Programs (U/CP) Department.  Tickets are $8 in advance at the civic center box office, and $10 at the door.  (Photo provided)

See beloed advoice columnist Ann Landers come to life at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 in “The Lady With All the Answers” at the West Plains Civic Center theater.  This national touring production by the Nebraska Theatre Caravan is being sponsored by the Missouri State University-West Plains University/Community Programs (U/CP) Department.  Tickets are $8 in advance at the civic center box office, and $10 at the door.  (Photo provided)

(West Plains) – The story of beloved advice columnist Ann Landers will come to life at 7 PM on Tuesday, October 21, when the Nebraska Theatre Caravan brings its production of “The Lady With All the Answers” to the theater stage at the West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St., in West Plains.

The performance by this national touring production is being sponsored by the University/Community Programs (U/CP) Department at Missouri State University-West Plains. Tickets are $8 in advance through the civic center box office and $10 at the door; university students will be admitted free with their BearPass ID.

For decades millions of Americans sipped their morning coffee and began their day reading three simple words, “Dear Ann Landers.” Eppie Lederer, better known as advice columnist Ann Landers, answered countless letters from lovelorn teens, confused couples and a multitude of others in need of advice. No topic was off-limits, including nude housekeeping, the proper way to hang toilet paper, sibling rivalries, addiction, religion and wandering spouses. Landers regaled her readers with direct, insightful and often humorously honest responses. Late on a 1975 night in Landers’ Chicago apartment, an ironic twist of events confronts her with a looming deadline for a column dealing with a new kind of heartbreak: her own.

This one-woman, off-Broadway tour de force provides a compelling portrait of the bubbly, frank and slightly eccentric writer who became a fixture of our culture. It is all about the no-nonsense Sioux City, Iowa, native whose daily dialogue with America helped shape the social landscape for the last half century.

“The Lady With All the Answers” contains some adult content intended for mature audiences, organizers said. For more information about the performance, contact the U/CP Department office at 417-255-7966 or visit wp.missouristate.edu/ucp.

(Cherokee Village) – Members of the Cherokee Village Lions Club will take to the streets of Spring River area October 2-4 to raise funds as part of the annual White Cane Day.

Funds donated by community members will be used to provide vision care locally, support Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing, World Services for the Blind and Leader Dog. Those in need of glasses, eye surgery, or help in adapting to low vision are helped with these donations.

According to Lion President Nancy French of Cherokee Village Lions Club, the money raised will allow Lions to meet vision needs in the community, as well as scholarships and local charities.

The Cherokee Village Lions Club has 22 members and meets on 2nd & 4th Tuesday’s of the month at 5 PM at Words AfterWords in Hardy. For more information or to get involved with the Cherokee Village Lions Club, please contact Lion Vickie Rice at 870-847-4622.

(Scott) (AP) – Authorities have arrested a man in the case of an Arkansas real estate agent who has been missing since last week.

Little Rock police arrested 33-year-old Arron Michael Lewis on Monday morning. Lewis was named in an arrest warrant Sunday on suspicion of kidnapping 49-year-old Beverly Carter.

Authorities say Carter planned to show a house Thursday night in Scott, a rural area east of Little Rock, but she never returned from the appointment. She remained missing Monday.

Police say Lewis was arrested at a Little Rock apartment complex after someone spotted him and called 911.

The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest. Lt. Carl Minden says authorities aren’t releasing details on how investigators identified Lewis as a suspect. He says Lewis is on parole for previous convictions in Arkansas.

(St. Louis) (AP) – Assistant Attorney General Jeremiah Morgan argued Monday in a St. Louis courtroom that state law, backed by the vote of the people, makes it clear that marriage is defined as between a man and a woman.

But St. Louis City Counselor Winston Calvert countered that the state has no business treating gay and lesbian couples as “second-class citizens.”

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison is deciding the constitutionality of Missouri’s ban on gay marriage. The city of St. Louis issued marriage licenses in June to four same-sex couples, setting up a court fight over the state’s 2004 state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

It isn’t clear when Burlison will issue a ruling. St. Louis officials have stopped issuing marriage licenses to gay couples until legal issues are resolved.

(Springfield) (AP) – The state’s highest court will hear arguments this week about whether a Springfield man accused of restricting his son’s diet and locking him in a bathroom for several days as punishment is guilty of child abuse.

In 2011, Peter D. Hansen, 50, was convicted of abusing one of his children. He’s appealing the ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court, which will hear arguments on Wednesday, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

Hansen was sentenced to three years in prison in 2012, but a judge suspended the punishment and placed Hansen on five years of probation with 100 days in the Greene County Jail.

Hansen, who is a Seventh Day Adventist, said his religion encourages vegetarianism and the boy’s punishment didn’t constitute child abuse.

Prosecutors argue the boy was limited to about two cups of food per day and was punished by being confined in one of the church’s bathrooms. They say there is sufficient evidence to prove Hansen inflicted cruel and inhumane punishment by locking the boy in a small, dark and cold bathroom for days at a time and withholding food.

Hansen said the state’s evidence failed to prove either of those claims. He has denied to police that he withheld food.

Court records show the family was evicted from their home in April 2009 and lived in a car for several weeks before their local church allowed them to live in their building.

“The family had little money, but continued to live by the principles of their church in that environment, eating mostly vegetables, grains, legumes and some fruit, two meals a day, drinking water and exercising,” Hansen’s appeal stated.

Hansen’s daughter also said she was often punished by being isolated from the rest of the family or being restricted from eating “luxury foods like fruit, or butter,” court records state.

Chris Brooks leaves the St. Louis County courthouse on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014 in Clayton, Mo. Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown, received commendations for his actions in a 2013 case involving Brooks. A judge approved a request by county prosecutors Monday for a St. Louis County grand jury to review the Brooks case involving Wilson. Defense attorney Nick Zotos said his client was "roughed up" by Wilson and also questioned whether his actions merited special recognition.  (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Christian Gooden)

Chris Brooks leaves the St. Louis County courthouse on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014 in Clayton, Mo. Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown, received commendations for his actions in a 2013 case involving Brooks. A judge approved a request by county prosecutors Monday for a St. Louis County grand jury to review the Brooks case involving Wilson. Defense attorney Nick Zotos said his client was “roughed up” by Wilson and also questioned whether his actions merited special recognition. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Christian Gooden)

(Clayton) (AP) – A drug case involving an arrest made by the Ferguson police officer who killed an unarmed 18-year-old in a separate incident is on hold while a grand jury reviews the shooting.

A judge approved a request by prosecutors Monday to send the drug case involving the arrest by officer Darren Wilson to a St. Louis County grand jury. But a spokesman for Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch later said that the case is “on hold” until Wilson’s status is resolved.

Spokesman Ed Magee called the move standard procedure in cases where police officers are not immediately available to testify in court.

A lawyer for Christopher Brooks alleges Wilson “roughed up” his client after Brooks refused to hand over the keys to a locked car parked in his grandmother’s driveway, where police say they found drug paraphernalia and several ounces of pot. Defense attorney Nick Zotos wants the drug distribution charge dismissed because he doesn’t expect Wilson, who didn’t attend the preliminary hearing, to show up in court.

“Wilson is compromised as a witness,” said Zotos, who opposed the initial request by McCulloch’s office to shift the drug case to a panel that meets behind closed doors. It wasn’t clear whether Brooks made the allegation against Wilson before or after Brown was killed.

A police union attorney who has spent decades representing members of law enforcement in court told The Associated Press on Monday that he represents Wilson, who is under investigation by another grand jury over whether he used excessive force in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown.

James P. Towey, general counsel for the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police and a former general counsel for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, said Wilson may be willing to publicly discuss the case in the future. He declined to provide details of the whereabouts of Wilson, who has gone into hiding since Brown’s death.

Wilson, 28, received a Ferguson City Council commendation in February for his role in Brooks’ arrest one year earlier. Zotos questioned whether the honor was merited.

“We give trophies every day for just showing up,” he said after the brief hearing in St. Louis Circuit Court. “If you play on the team, you get a trophy.”

The grand jury is reviewing evidence in Brown’s death to determine whether Wilson should face criminal charges in the shooting that led to violent protests, hundreds of arrests, the summoning of the Missouri National Guard for security and international attention. McCulloch has said he expects that grand jury to complete its work by mid-October or early November, though its term has been extended until January.

The assistant prosecutor, who did not identify himself in court, did not indicate during the hearing why the county wants to shift the case to the grand jury. Magee did not provide a reason but said it didn’t involve an effort to prevent information about Wilson from being publicly disclosed.