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MSU-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett speaking at the "State of the University" address. (ORN Photo)

MSU-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett speaking at the “State of the University” address. (ORN Photo)

(West Plains) – During the annual “State of the University” address put on by Missouri State University, MSU-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett and MSU System President Clif Smart both discussed one of the system’s larger problems – retention rates, or keeping students within the MSU system.

Bennett told Ozark Radio News that MSU-West Plains has been looking at a variety of programs, including one implemented this past summer, that looks to improve retention rates:

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MSU-West Plains saw a retention rate of 45.4% in fall 2013.

(Pontiac) – Two Gainesville residents suffered minor injuries Friday night after a one-vehicle accident in Ozark County.

The accident happened at 11 PM on County Road 603, about five miles east of Pontiac, when the northbound vehicle driven by 27-year-old Evelyn Vetter ran off-road and hit a fence.

Vetter and a passenger, 32-year-old Paul Yager, both of Gainesville, suffered minor injuries and sought their own medical treatment, according to a report from Troop G of the Highway Patrol.

(Melbourne) – G.I. Jobs has named Ozarka College to the 2015 Military Friendly Schools list.

This marks the fifth consecutive year Ozarka College has received this honor. According to G.I. Jobs, schools that have earned the elite Military Friendly designation have demonstrated a commitment to supporting student veterans on campus and in their careers.

The Military Friendly Schools list, found at www.gijobs.com/school, explains the mission of G.I. Jobs, which is to “simplify the military transition experience using education and employment tools and resources to guide you to a successful career.”

When qualifying schools for the Military Friendly Schools list, G.I. Jobs rates schools under categories including On-Campus Military Support, Credit Acceptance, School Offered Tuition Assistance, Spouse and Dependent, and Flexibility. Ozarka College received the highest rating possible for Flexibility.

Ozarka College has four campus locations: Melbourne, Ash Flat, Mammoth Spring or Mountain View, AR.

(Ash Flat) – The Ash Flat Library will be hosting a Civil War Symposium at the Ash Flat Community Center, across from the library, on Saturday, October 25.

Registration will start at 9AM. The first presentation will be “CSS Pontchartrain-The Forgotten Warship of Arkansas”, presented by William Stevens, at 9:30 AM. The CSS Pontchartrain arrived in Arkansas during the summer of 1862, and never left. However, few people know of the vessel’s existence and the role it played in defense of the Mississippi, Arkansas and White Rivers. This program will discuss both the civilian and military history of the vessel and the search to find its forgotten remains and final resting place of the largest warship in the waters of Arkansas.

A break will take place at 10:30 AM, and things will resume at 10:45 AM, with the second speaker, Dr. Michael B. Dougan, who will address “Cabins Divided: The Extremely Un-Civil War in the Ozarks.” Dr. Michael B. Dougan, Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus, Arkansas State University, hails from Neosho, MO, where he grew up in the former home of Col. Thomas R. Freeman. Like many families in the Upper South he has both Confederate and Union ancestors. Uncle J. Posey Woodside fought at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek for the Missouri State Guard and then joined the 4th Missouri Infantry. Wounded at the Battle of Corinth he remained crippled for life. His brother, Leigh Bowlin Woodside, was a private in the 13th Missouri Cavalry. Both brothers served together in the 1876 session of the Missouri legislature.

Lunch break starts at 11:45AM returning for afternoon presentations beginning at 1 PM. The Conway Women’s Chorus Civil War Ensemble will bring the first musical program ever to our Civil War Symposiums. In connection with the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, the Civil War Ensemble of Conway Women’s Chorus has prepared a program of songs and stories from the war years.

“General Robert E. Lee” will arrive at 2 PM to articulate his personal overview of the war years brought to us by Louis Intres. Uniforms and period dress are welcome Free admission and door prizes.

(Mountain Home)- The Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce will be electing board members on October 31.

The vote will take place during the meeting from 11AM-1PM at El Chico’s Café. The six candidates with the most votes will join the Chamber Board for 2015-2017. A light taco bar will also be available.

Chamber executive director Eddie Majeste says that a minimum of 10% or 60 members must vote for this to be a valid election. Each membership is allowed one vote and a ballot will be presented to each member at the October 31 meeting.

(Mountain Home) – The Friends of the Baxter County Library would like to invite the community to their monthly meeting on Wednesday, October 22, at 1:30PM at the Donald W. Reynolds Library in Mountain Home.

The guest presenter will be poet Pat Oplinger with her program entitled “Poetry as Panacea.”

For information on all Library programs, visit the Library’s website at www.baxlib.org.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri wildlife officials are considering more restrictions in whitetail deer hunting to reverse a continuing decline in the deer population, caused mostly by an outbreak of hemorrhagic disease and liberal hunting regulations.

The Missouri Department of Conservation reports hunters took 251,924 whitetail deer during last season, the lowest total in a decade. In response, the state limited hunters in some counties to only one deer, rather than an unlimited number, during firearms season in the spring. And public hearing were held this summer on further proposed restrictions, The Kansas City Star reported.

“We received a lot of feedback after the deer season that something had to be done,” said Jason Sumners, a deer biologist for the Department of Conservation. “We agreed. But that feedback wasn’t the only reason we made changes. From a biological standpoint, we feel that regulation changes will help rebuild our deer herd.”

But Sumners said he didn’t expect the population to significantly rebound quickly.

“Typically, it takes several years for a deer herd to recover,” he said.

Kansas is also dealing with a declining population but wildlife officials say the numbers in that state aren’t down as sharply as Missouri’s.

“A combination of three years of drought, land coming out of CRP (the federal Conservation Reserve Program that compensates landowners for idling marginal crop land), and some outbreak of hemorrhagic disease has had an effect,” said Lloyd Fox, deer biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. “Our deer numbers are down, but not drastically.”

Fox said the state has reduced the number of days in some areas during extended hunting seasons, with the season reduced by as much as eight days in some regions.

In Missouri, the problem began in the early 2000s, when deer populations exploded in some parts of the state, particularly in the north, prompting wildlife managers to take the limits off antlerless deer during the firearms season. That helped until 2012, when a severe outbreak of hemorrhagic disease hit parts of the state. Some regions escaped the problems but some areas saw their deer population decline 20 percent or more, wildlife officials said.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri could be the first state to enshrine the role of student performance data in teacher evaluations in its state constitution if an initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot gets enough support.

The proposal would amend the Missouri Constitution to require a majority of teachers’ evaluation scores be based on student performance data, which could include standardized tests. The measure also would limit future teaching contracts to three years, curbing the current tenure system.

State educator groups are rallying behind the Committee in Support of Public Education, which so far has raised more than $1.8 million to fight the initiative.

But supporters of proposed Constitutional Amendment 3 have stopped campaigning for it after poor public opinion polling. A spokeswoman for the Teach Great organization that sponsored the initiative didn’t respond to interview requests from The Associated Press.

Teach Great was financed by investment firm founder Rex Sinquefield, the state’s most prominent political donor. The group did not receive any donations in the latest quarter.

Supporters had said the measure was meant to increase teacher accountability and improve education in Missouri’s schools. But some parents, teachers and school administrators say they’re worried the initiative could force educators to “teach to the test” rather than treating students as individual learners.

Teachers nationally have resisted efforts to tie what they call high-stakes testing to performance evaluations. Some worry about unfair scores for qualified teachers of at-risk children who struggle with school because of factors’ beyond the teachers’ control. In Missouri, the issue has also raised questions about local control over teacher evaluations, how to test subjects such as the fine arts and the cost of developing tests for those subjects.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in August that too much standardized testing is “sucking the oxygen” out of classrooms. He gave states the chance to delay complying with a federal requirement to tie testing to teacher evaluations.

No other state has approved a constitutional amendment tying teacher evaluations to student performance, according to a review of a National Conference of State Legislatures database. The Center on Great Teachers & Leaders at the American Institutes for Research reports that 39 states and the District of Columbia mandate student learning be included in some way.

Missouri School Boards’ Association spokesman Brent Ghan said placing teacher evaluation requirements in the constitution would make them challenging to change later.

“That’s one of the biggest flaws,” Ghan said. “The constitution is no place for a policy such as this.”

Missouri teachers already are evaluated in part based on how students perform in the classroom. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education earlier this year adopted guidelines requiring student performance to play a significant factor in how schools evaluate teachers, but it’s up to districts to decide exactly how much.

Opponents say the ballot initiative would take away local control over how to rate teachers. Critics also question how districts would gauge student progress in grades and subjects that currently don’t have standardized tests, including for students in kindergarten through second grade and physical education classes.

But education officials in other states say similar policies can encourage improvement in previously untested subjects. Tennessee lawmakers four years ago mandated that student performance data make up 25-35 percent of teacher evaluations.

Angela Minnici, director of the Center on Great Teachers & Leaders, said these policies can give educators an incentive to pay more attention to how well their students are progressing and push them to improve. But she cautioned that performance-based teacher evaluations should be paired with other policies to effectively make a difference in classrooms.

“I really hope voters don’t go to the polls and think that this single approach is going to really improve teaching,” Minnici said, “because we know it won’t.”

If passed, the changes to teacher evaluations would take effect in July 2015.

The Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (upright plant on lower right) and Pothos (hanging plant upper left) are houseplants that were used in this patio garden during the growing season. Now it is time to move them back into the house for winter. (Provided)

The Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (upright plant on lower right) and Pothos (hanging plant upper left) are houseplants that were used in this patio garden during the growing season. Now it is time to move them back into the house for winter. (Provided)

by Marilyn Odneal, Horticulture Adviser

Many of us move our houseplants outdoors in spring for summer use on the patio or deck decor. Indoor plants fill in gaps in our container gardens and put on new, healthy growth in the process.

Now we are getting ready for the dormant season by cleaning out our fountains and rearranging our “outdoor rooms” for winter. That means moving the houseplants that summered on the patio or deck back indoors for the winter. A good time to make the move is when temperatures during the day are in the 60s and in the 50s at night. Some tropical houseplants can be injured at temperatures in the 40s – so if these temperatures are forecasted, it is time to move quickly.

If some of your plants have increased in size during the summer, it’s a good idea to re-pot them. You can either put them in a pot that is slightly larger than the one they are growing in, or you may put them back into the same pot after pruning off some of the roots. The root ball should have about an inch of free space between the wall of the pot and the outer roots to give them room to grow.

If the plants are fine in their present pots, take them out anyway to make sure there are no critters like slugs at the edge of the root ball. Then check the foliage for yellow or otherwise damaged leaves and remove them. If you see any insect problems that you want to treat with insecticidal soap or another pesticide, do so outdoors. If not, it is a good idea to spray the plants with a mist setting on your hose spray gun to clean them.

Once you bring your plants in, it is a good idea to isolate them from your other houseplants just in case they are harboring pests. You might even put some light plastic, like the material used to for clothes at the dry cleaners, if you think there may be an infestation. Inspect the plants after they are indoors for a few days and then move them back to their place in the house.

Remember that your plants are moving from the outdoor environment to the indoor environment. They are bound to lose some leaves or show some stress in the move. Don’t worry; it will just take some time to readjust. Remember that in fall and winter, day length is not as long and light levels are not as intense. Of course, light levels in the home are not as intense as outdoors either.

In fall and winter, the plants are not growing as much as in the summer and will not require as much water or fertilizer as during the growing season. Setting them on a tray with pebbles and water will help maintain higher humidity and help modify the dry winter air. Adjust care accordingly and your summer deck dwellers will soon be happy and healthy houseplants again.

Direct comments or questions concerning this column to Marilyn Odneal via email at MarilynOdneal@missouristate.edu; write to Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station, 9740 Red Spring Road, Mountain Grove, Mo. 65711; or call (417) 547-7500. Visit our website at http://mtngrv.missouristate.edu.

(Mountain Home) – Arkansas State University Mountain Home (ASUMH) has announced recent scholarship recipients.

Sarah Avey of Mountain Home, AR, was awarded the Patrick Michael McKenna Memorial Scholarship.

Jennifer Bailey of Jordan, AR, was awarded the McMullin Outstanding Student Scholarship. Jennifer is a member of the Fran Coulter Honors Program and co-founder of Twin Lakes Independent Business Group.

Dylan Bradbury of Norfork, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship. Dylan was a member of the Norfork High School BETA club and SADD club.

LaJeana Chapman of Cotter, AR, was awarded the Wilma Greely Memorial Scholarship. LaJeana is a student of the ASUMH LPN Day Program.

Dawn Dickerson of Mountain Home, AR, was awarded the Martha A. Grant, CPA Scholarship. Dawn attended Norfork High School and participated in Girl Scouts.

Linda Duren of Mountain Home, AR, was awarded the Wilma Greeley Memorial Scholarship.

Gregory Cole Ford of Mountain Home, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship.

Shelby Halliday of Pyatt, AR, was awarded the Mildred S. Griffin Endowed Scholarship. Shelby attended Valley Springs High School and was a Rapid Response and CPR instructor.

Sonya Heiskill of Cotter, AR, was awarded the Patrick Michael McKenna Memorial Scholarship. Sonya was homeschooled and involved in the Twin Lakes Community Choir, Lions Homeschool Athletics and the HCE Praise Band.

Michael Hilton of Horseshoe Bend, AR, was awarded the Friends of the North Fork and White Rivers Scholarship. Michael is the recipient of the ASUMH Academic Achiever Award and is a member of the Stream Team.

Alexis Knapp of Norfork, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship. Alexis participated in the Norfork High School history club, basketball, yearbook, and other organizations.

Stephen Kruse of Lakeview, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship. Stephen played baseball for Mountain Home High School and was a member of German club.

Meagan Loucks of Flippin, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship. Meagan was an active member of National Honor Society at Flippin High School and was a volunteer for many community events.

Jesse Parker of Viola, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship. Jesse was involved in Salem High School BETA club and student council.

Michael Tanner Phillips of Harrison, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship. Michael is active in his church and participated in the Valley Springs High School art club.

Natasha Phillips of Mountain Home, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship and the Evelyn Hill Osborn Teacher Education Scholarship.

Lea Powell of Gassville, AR, was awarded the David and Ethel Powell Memorial Scholarship. Lea is a member of the ASUMH Criminal Justice Club and a proud member of the Mountain Home Police Department Citizen Police Academy.

Matthew Sage of Flippin, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship.

Kyndal Smith of Salem, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship.

Taryn Smith of Gassville, AR, was awarded the Patrick Michael McKenna Memorial Scholarship. Taryn is a graduate of Cotter High School and was a member of the yearbook committee.

Jesse Stone of Yellville, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship. Jesse was in band and served as class president of Yellville-Summit High School.

Buck Stoops of Yellville, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship.

Bailey Turner of Mountain Home, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship.

Amber Varn of Flippin, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship. Amber was a member of the Flippin High School National Honor Society, FFA, FBLA, basketball, and volleyball.

Kendra Wallace of Gassville, AR, was awarded the Douglas Family Scholarship. She was a graduate of Cotter High School.

Nicholas Wilhite of Mountain Home, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship. Nicholas participated in German club, FBLA, football, soccer and band for Mountain Home High School.