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(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri farmers could get money back for certifying their products as organic.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture this week announced farmers could get as much as $750 back for certification costs.

The department says the state received $127,800 in federal funds, which will pay producers and handlers 75 percent of expenses to certify their products as organic.

Businesses must renew or obtain certification and document costs to participate. Those who certify between October 2014 and Sept. 30 are eligible.

Money is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri’s U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill will travel the state this week to hear about the concerns of senior citizens in Missouri on retirement, fraud and healthy living.

McCaskill will hold eight events on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the upcoming priorities in Congress that would affect seniors.

McCaskill says she wants to hear directly from seniors about how Congress can live up to promises made to older Americans, especially in regards to health and retirement.

The Democrat is the ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which she says has allowed her to investigate scams targeting seniors, retirement security issues and concerns about Alzheimer’s disease.

Events will be held in St. Louis, Macon, Columbia, Chillicothe, Kansas City, Branson, Springfield and Farmington.

(West Plains) – Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) has been designated a Level Two Stroke Center by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

OMC applied for a Level II designation and was certified with zero deficiencies at the time of survey, the highest outcome possible. This is the second highest level of stroke center designation, with a level one designation typically being found in academic and research hospitals. In 2014, OMC provided care to 204 patients who had a stroke, according to information supplied by the hospital.

OMC’s multidisciplinary stroke team is made up of nurses, physicians, neurologists, ambulance services, therapists and Emergency Department workers who respond to stroke. After a 911 call is placed, the EMS systems notify the stroke team at Ozarks Medical Center to be on alert. When the patient arrives at the hospital, the stroke is confirmed by the doctors and CT scans are done right away.  CT scans of the head must be done right away to avoid giving clot buster to someone with a hemorrhage or another problem. The “clot busting drug”, tPA, may be given right away if the diagnosis is confirmed and blood pressure is controlled.

The national standard is to administer the tPA within 60 minutes of arrival at the hospital. OMC’s average for 2014 was 46 minutes.

The signs of stroke are easy to remember using the acronym FAST (face, arm, speech, time): Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty and Time to call 911.

For more information on strokes, contact the OMC Neurosciences Center at 417-257-6777.

(West Plains) – The employees of West Plains Bank and Trust Company are launching a new scholarship program for a graduating senior attending either West Plains High School or Liberty High School.

Established in late 2014, the West Plains Bank and Trust Company Employee Scholarship Fund was created by Bank employees with the purpose of supporting college-level study for young people interested in the field of banking.

According to David M. Gohn, West Plains Bank and Trust Company President and Chief Operating Officer, a one-time scholarship in the amount of $1,000 will be awarded for a 2015 West Plains High School or Liberty High School graduating senior.

Applications are available from counseling staff at each high school or at West Plains Bank and Trust Company locations. Completed applications, along with supporting documents, must be received or postmarked no later than April 20.

For additional information regarding the West Plains Bank and Trust Company Employee Scholarship Fund, call 417-256-2147 and ask to speak to a member of the scholarship committee.

(Mountain Home) – A rural Mountain Home man faces drug charges after he allegedly sold drugs to a police informant.

51-year-old Bobby Morris faces three charges of delivery of methamphetamine and three counts of unlawful use of a communication device.

A report from the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office states that earlier this month, Morris sold over 21 grams of methamphetamine to an informant in three transactions, using a cell phone each time.

Morris was held on $25,000.00 bond, and was also held without bond on a parole violation. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 16.

(West Plains) – Sign-ups for spring sports are underway in West Plains, according to city clerk Mallory Hawkins:

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More information on sports leagues can be found at

(Sikeston) – MoDOT has scheduled some work in Howell County this coming week.

Highway 60 in Howell County, from Route RA to Route U, will be reduced to one lane as crews perform bridge deck washing Monday, March 30 through Thursday, April 2 from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Business 60/63 in Howell County will be reduced to one lane as crews wash bridge decks from east Business 60/63 to west Business 60/63 Monday, March 30 through Thursday, April 2 from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Also, Route NN in Howell County, between US 60 and the Texas County line, will be reduced to one lane while crews perform pipe replacement Monday, March 30 through April 2 from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

The work zones will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the areas.

(Missouri State-West Plains Photo)

West Plains High School senior Bernice Worley, right, with volunteer Dakoda Trithara, a college adviser at West Plains High School. (Missouri State-West Plains Photo)

(West Plains) – 19 area residents, including students, parents or spouses, received free help filling out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during Missouri State University-West Plains’ FAFSA Frenzy event Saturday, March 7, at the Lybyer Technology Center.

This is the sixth year Missouri State-West Plains has hosted the event, a program of College Goal Sunday, which gives students and their parents free access to financial aid professionals who can guide them through the application process. Donna Bassham, coordinator of financial aid at the university, said help was given to anyone planning to attend college, not just those who are current students or are planning to attend Missouri State-West Plains next fall.

Eleven volunteers assisted students with their forms. Bassham said university officials are looking forward to hosting the event again next spring.

ASUMH student, Brittany Lowry in Dr. Eddie Dry’s biology class, working with the new lab equipment. (provided)

ASUMH student, Brittany Lowry in Dr. Eddie Dry’s biology class, working with the new lab equipment. (provided)

(Mountain Home) – Biology students at Arkansas State University-Mountain Home (ASUMH) removed the dust covers on 10 new digital microscopes earlier this month. The 10 digital microscopes represent one of the largest collections at any higher education institution in Arkansas, according to a representative of vendor Delta Optical of North Little Rock, Ark.

Following the roll out of the new biology lab equipment, students took turns peering into the eyepieces of the new microscopes after obtaining slides from Dr. Eddie Dry, assistant professor of biology, and being directed to locate and identify the various phases of the cell cycle. Dr. Dry moved throughout the lab working one-on-one with the 23 students to ensure all were able to successfully locate cell cycle phases.

But a short time later, the lab was transformed as Dr. Dry directed his students to a cabinet holding laptop computers. Utilizing installation manuals and their critical thinking and technology skills, the students connected their microscopes to laptop computers. Those connections transferred the images of the standard optical microscopes where viewing is done one person at a time onto the laptop computer screens allowing Dr. Dry to instruct multiple students simultaneously about the phases of a cell cycle from the enlarged image.

With the new digital microscopes, visuals can be captured as still images or motion video, saved and edited. The software can also be used to measure small distances such as diameters of cells or the distance between cells.

Dr. Dry said, “These digital microscopes promote higher levels of engagement between me and the students and between students. It is awesome to see students excited about a class activity and seem them sharing information with each other.”

By upgrading the college’s lab with the new equipment, Delta Optical representatives advise ASUMH’s students are gaining experience with real-world equipment, noting a larger version of ASUMH’s digital scopes are utilized by Baxter Regional Medical Center’s pathologists.

The more than $30,000 in funding for the new equipment was made available through a Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education grant administered through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

Amy McFall

Kimberly McFall

(Mountain Home) – The Donald W. Reynolds Library serving Baxter County is pleased to welcome Kimberly McFall as Marketing Coordinator and Adult Programs Co-Coordinator and Amy Huseby as Circulation Clerk.

A Mountain Home native, Kimberly McFall graduated from Mountain Home High School, earned her Bachelor of Arts from Arkansas State Tech in Russellville, AR, a Masters of Library Science from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, an Educational Specialists degree from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and is currently finishing her dissertation to complete her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at ASU.

McFall is a 17 year veteran of the K-12 classroom, having taught Music and Media in Texas, North Carolina, and Arkansas. Most recently, she was a graduate assistant at ASU-Jonesboro in the Educational Leadership department and taught at Black Rock School in Lawrence County. McFall says, “I look forward to working with the Library Staff and serving the community.”


Amy Huseby

Huseby has 14 years of customer service experience working with the American Red Cross in Blood Services/Apheresis and most recently in the banking industry as a Customer Service Specialist. She grew up in the Chicago area, later moving to Springfield, MO and then to Mountain Home in 2001 to be closer to her parents who retired here in 1993. Huseby says, “I am very excited to begin a new and wonderful career with the Baxter County Library. Having a passion for knowledge and a love of books, the Library is a perfect fit, and I look forward to the journey ahead!”