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(Little Rock) (AP) – The state’s director of rural services has been tapped to serve as Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s designee and alternate to the Delta Regional Authority’s board of governors.

Hutchinson’s office made the announcement Friday that Amy Fecher would be the designee.

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership that’s congressionally mandated to help create jobs, build communities and improve lives through investments in economic development in the 252 counties and parishes of the Delta region.

In her role, Fecher will represent Hutchinson at DRA meetings, work with the agency’s staff and leadership and advise DRA leadership on state needs and investments.

The DRA board is composed of the governors of each of the eight states covered by the DRA footprint. Each governor can select a designee and alternate to represent him.

(Springfield) (AP) – A Springfield man who withdrew his guilty plea to second-degree murder after Missouri voters approved an amendment changing state gun laws has been convicted of a lesser crime in his girlfriend’s death.

Darrell Smith was convicted Thursday of second-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action for shooting his girlfriend, Kimberly Walker, in December 2012. Smith had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last summer but withdrew his plea after Missouri voters in August approved an amendment that allows nonviolent felons to possess guns, The Springfield News-Leader reported.

When he is sentenced on March 27, Smith will face significantly less prison time. The sentence for second-degree murder is between 10 to 30 years, while the maximum sentence on the manslaughter charge is seven years. Smith could get additional prison time for armed criminal action.

Before Amendment 5 was approved, Smith could have been found guilty of murder for committing a felony that resulted in a death. He would have been considered a felon in possession of a firearm because he has past convictions for stealing.

Smith cried after the jury’s verdict on Thursday, and his mother called it a blessing. Walker’s parents were visibly upset and declined to comment, the newspaper reported.

Walker’s attorney, Charlton Chastain, contended the shooting was an accident and that Smith’s actions afterward – taking Walker to a neighbor’s house and the moving the gun – were stupid but not criminal. Walker died the day after she was shot.

“Stupid? It should probably be tattooed across his forehead,” Chastain said of Smith. “But if stupidity was a crime, jails would be busting at the seams.”

Prosecuting attorney Philip Fuhrman argued the shooting was not accidental, noting Smith’s history of domestic violence and changes in the story he told police. Smith initially said Walker shot herself, then said he was holding the gun when it went off accidentally.

“When you consider all of the physical evidence and how many times the defendant changed his story, he is not telling the truth,” Fuhrman said. “He is not telling the truth because he killed Kim intentionally.”

(Kansas City) (AP) – State lawmakers from Missouri and Kansas are pushing similar bills that would restrict firearms for people with domestic violence or stalking restraining orders or convictions, but a pair of Missouri state representatives called the legislation a publicity stunt with no chance of passage.

“We would never look at anything like this,” said Rick Brattin, a Harrisonville, Missouri, Republican. “We’re not in favor of domestic violence, but with our (concealed carry) permits, someone may not like the fact that you’re carrying a weapon and say they feel they’re being threatened.”

Kansas Rep. Barbara Bollier joined Missouri Rep. Stacey Newman at Jackson County, Missouri, prosecutor Jean Peters Baker’s office on Friday to pitch the bills that were recently introduced in Topeka and Jefferson City, The Kansas City Star reported.

Newman, a Democrat from Richmond Heights in St. Louis County, said her bill includes language that would allow law enforcement and family members to restrict those considered “in crisis” from gun possession. She said the measure is similar to California legislation signed into law soon after the mass shootings near the University of California-Santa Barbara campus last year.

“The public gets it completely,” said Bollier, a Mission Hills Republican and former practicing physician.

Newman’s bill is unlikely to get a warm reception in Jefferson City, said two Missouri representatives who are strong gun-rights advocates.

Rep. Joe Don McGaugh, a Carrollton Republican, said the bill is “patently unconstitutional” because it has too few protections for gun owners before a court strips them of their Second Amendment rights.

“Everyone wants to keep firearms out of the hands of someone who is not competent to own them,” McGaugh said. “But I think what we should concentrate on is the individual and not the gun.”

Newman’s bill could be used to harass law-abiding gun owners, Brattin said, and probably wouldn’t get a hearing.

(Van Buren) – Acting Midwest Regional Director of the National Park Service Patricia Trap signed the Record of Decision for the Final General Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for Ozark National Scenic Riverways, making the final GMP the official guiding document for approximately the next 20 years.

The Final GMP was released to the public on December 12, 2014. The required 30-day review period began at that time in order for the National Park Service (NPS) to consider the plan for approval. It allowed 30 days for the public to review the plan before any proposed actions could be implemented.

The signing took place January 22.

Throughout the GMP process, which began in 2006, the National Park Service encouraged and appreciated public involvement at every stage, receiving more than 3,000 public comments on the proposed plans presented in 2014.

Park Service officials say that plan approval does not guarantee that funding or staffing needed to implement certain elements of the plan will immediately take place. Some management proposals will require additional planning and design, public feedback, or regulation before they can be implemented.

The Final GMP and Record of Decision can be downloaded from the National Park Service website at parkplanning.nps.gov/ozarkgmp. For more information, visit the park website at www.nps.gov/ozar, or call 573-323-4236.

(West Plains) – Ozarks Medical Center has named long-time local physician Rick Holloway, MD, the new Chief Medical Officer for the health care organization.

Dr. Holloway, a urologist with OMC Urology Clinic, has been in practice locally for the past 18 years. He will continue to see patients at the clinic as well as work in OMC administration.

In his new role, Dr. Holloway will work closely with the OMC medical staff and hospital administration in areas of health care quality, standardization of practices throughout the institution, strategic planning and medical staff leadership development.

Previously, Dr. Holloway served as OMC’s Chief Medical Informatics Officer, working closely with the hospital’s Information Technology Department to implement electronic medical records and computerized physician order entry. He has also previously served on the OMC Board of Directors.

Holloway received his undergraduate degree from Louisiana Tech University and his Medical Doctorate from the Louisiana State University Medical School in Shreveport. He completed his residency in urology from the University of Missouri in Columbia.

In addition to serving on the OMC Board of Directors, Holloway is active in his local church, serves on the boards for the West Plains Christian Clinic and Whetsone Boys Ranch in Mountain View. Holloway and his wife Sidney have been married for 33 years and enjoy ballroom dancing, especially swing. They have two married daughters, Haley and Sophia, both of whom live in Jackson, Tennessee. They are soon expecting their first grandchild. In his free time, he enjoys participating in triathlons and bicycling.

(Willow Springs) – A woman from Willow Springs suffered minor injuries Thursday morning after a one-vehicle accident in Texas County.

72-year-old Janet Millraney was taken to Texas County Memorial Hospital in Houston, according to a Highway Patrol report.

The accident happened at 10:45 AM on Route U, about 10 miles north of Willow Springs, when the vehicle Millraney was in ran off-road and overturned. The driver was not injured.

(West Plains) – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon spoke to Ozark Radio News in an exclusive interview to talk about the state’s efforts to establish trade with Cuba. Nixon says that the country is a big agriculture market just waiting to be tapped:

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Nixon talked about the export business in Missouri and how Cuba plays into it:

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If trade with Cuba is established, it will be another country added to Missouri’s customer base, after the state began dealing with Ottawa last year. Nixon gave us an update on that relationship:

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Nixon and agricultural leaders in Missouri met on Thursday to discuss an upcoming trade mission to Cuba in March.

(Houston) – If you get pulled over in Houston in the near future, you’re interactions may be recorded.

Officers with the Houston Police Department will begin wearing body cameras in the middle of February. The Houston City Council approved the purchase of three body cameras during their most recent meeting, at a cost of almost $800 each. The program will be reviewed by the city council after a year to determine if more cameras are needed or newer models should be purchased.

The cameras will be turned on anytime the officers interact with the public, with the ability to record at least 300 minutes of video. The videos will be downloaded at the end of each shift and stored on a secure hard drive.

Officers who do not turn their cameras on during interactions with the public would be penalized, according to a personnel policy that the council asked the police department to adopt to get the cameras.

(West Plains) – A group of students from the West Plains campus of Missouri State University were recognized Wednesday as the winners of a national volunteer award from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The award recognizes the 16 students who assisted the Howell County NRCS office with outreach and education by developing and presenting natural resources demonstrations to 153 students in 16 Howell County schools.

Under the direction of Debra Mayers, instructor of the Biology for Educators’ class at MSU-West Plains, the students presented age-appropriate lessons on pollution, water conservation, recycling, the water cycle, and cohesion. The Howell County students learned important conservation concepts while their parents, other educators and community leaders were made aware of the NRCS presence in their communities.

The MSU group was selected in October as the winner of NRCS’ Earth Team Volunteer Group award for Missouri, and its nomination was forwarded to NRCS’ national Earth Team office for consideration for the national award.

(Little Rock) (AP) – An Arkansas House committee has approved a proposal that would require a doctor to be present when women take abortion-inducing medication.

The Public Health, Welfare, and Labor committee Thursday voted to send the bill to the House. It would prevent any instance of the medication being administered through telemedicine and require that doctors attempt to schedule a follow-up visit.

Republican Rep. Julie Mayberry of Hensley says her bill is aimed at protecting the health of women who might have adverse reactions to abortion-inducing pills. She says a doctor should be present.

Opponents say lawmakers shouldn’t dictate how doctors practice medicine. They say the bill grants government too much control.

Mayberry says that telemedicine isn’t used to administer the pill in the state and that her bill is a preventative measure.