Contact Us 417-256-1025
Ozark Area Network
Horse TraderOzark Regional News Talk RadioKUKU Oldies 100KKDY 102.5KSPQ Q94 Jack FM96.9 The Fox

(West Plains) – The Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC) has dismissed a complaint filed against West Plains R-VII Superintendent Dr. John Mulford.

The MEC announced on Monday that the complaint, filed by a member of the West Plains North High School Election committee on January 21, alleged that Dr. Mulford used public funds to oppose a ballot issue. The Missouri Ethics Commission determined “no reasonable grounds exist to support a violation”, and dismissed the complaint, saying that providing information at a meeting of school personnel of the West Plains School District did not advocate, support or oppose the ballot measure.

“The information I provided to our employees was factual in nature and in response to several questions I had received from our faculty and staff in regard to the impact that a second high school would have on our district and to the accuracy of the information that was being circulated about our district. At no time did I oppose or encourage our employees to oppose the proposed ballot issue in the Richards District,” Mulford said in a news release, “During this meeting I actually discouraged our faculty and staff from getting involved in this ballot issue unless it was going to affect them personally as a resident of that district. I did, however, specifically ask them to take opportunities to correct misinformation about the West Plains School District anytime it arises, whether related to this ballot issue or any other time it might come up.”

Jim Thompson, R-VII Board President, commented, “We are pleased with the decision of the MEC to dismiss the complaint against Dr. Mulford. On behalf of school board, we expect our superintendent and employees to promote our school and ensure that correct information is being shared. I am glad that the MEC recognized that Dr. Mulford was acting within the scope of his duties.”

West Plains School District officials declined to comment on or identify the member of the West Plains North High School Election Committee who filed the complaint.

Roughly 100 people attended the Monday evening meeting. (ORN Photo)

Roughly 100 people attended the Monday evening meeting. (ORN Photo)

(West Plains) – Over 100 people attended a question and answer session concerning the West Plains North High School ballot initiative held Monday evening at the National Guard Armory in West Plains

Pete Waddell is with the group Patrons for Real Choice, a group opposing the high school project, which also held the meeting. He spoke with Ozark Radio News prior to the meeting to discuss some of the concerns he shares with the group. One of the concerns is the removal of choice from students in going to a school that fits them:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The school district and the group promoting the ballot initiative say that students that will be freshmen in the 2015-2016 school year will be given the choice to go to the West Plains North High School or another area high school. If they go somewhere besides Richards, the district will pay for their tuition to finish their schooling at that particular high school.

Another concern brought up by the group was class selection. Currently, the district says that math, English, science, fine arts, world languages, science, and physical education classes will be taught at the proposed West Plains North High School.

Waddell says that these classes are the bare minimum required by the state, and he and other patrons are worried about other courses currently offered by other high schools that aren’t specifically mentioned in the proposed project:

This rendering of the proposed 48,000 square-foot high school building. (provided)

This rendering of the proposed 48,000 square-foot high school building. (provided)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Another consequence of removing children from area high schools, such as West Plains, Willow Springs, Dora, and Koshkonong, is the impact to those schools due to a loss of tuition money from Richards. West Plains School District Superintendent Dr. John Mulford was in attendance at the meeting to help answer financial and school district-related questions, and said that roughly 150 students at West Plains High School are Richards district students. If those students are removed from West Plains High School, Mulford says, staff and programs may possibly be impacted.

Another concern brought up is the funding of the project and the operation of the school. Currently, the proposed tax levy will pay for parking, sport facilities, and a 48,000 square foot state-of-the-art school with an initial 16 classrooms, with a design to add another floor and ten classrooms if the need arises. District officials say money saved in tuition will go toward paying for teacher salaries and upkeep.

Waddell says that the funding methods the district has currently explained don’t seem to add up:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

A 20-year tax levy of an extra 68 cents per $100 of assessed property valuation for 20 years is requested from residents of the Richards School District on the April 7 ballot to pay for the building’s construction. The current levy is $2.75.

Patrons for Real Choice officials told Ozark Radio News that members of local school boards, including Richards, West Plains, Dora, Koshkonong, Glenwood, Howell Valley, Willow Springs and Mountain View, were invited to the meeting, along with the planning group for the project. No Richards district board members were in attendance, however, people parked at the Armory lot had a leaflet attached to their vehicles promoting a positive vote on the initiative, which attendees found after the meeting was over.

More information on the West Plains North High School can be found at www.westplainsnorthhigh.com. The opposition group also has a site with more information on their positions at www.patronsforrealchoice.com.

Vallia

Raymond Vallia

(Moriarty) (AP) – Authorities say a 13-year-old Missouri girl who was allegedly abducted has been found safe in New Mexico and a man is in custody.

New Mexico State Police say 55-year-old Raymond Vallia was arrested Monday afternoon after a traffic stop east of Moriarty.

The Missouri Highway Patrol and Henry County Sheriff’s Office issued an amber alert for the girl after Sunday’s alleged abduction and believed Vallia would be with the teen.

Authorities say the two apparently met over social media and Vallia reportedly lives in Amarillo, Texas.

State Police say the girl appeared to be unharmed and has been placed in protective custody.

They say Vallia was being booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque on suspicion of felony kidnapping and the FBI now is handling the investigation.

(Cherokee Village) – The city of Cherokee Village will begin taking recycle drop-offs in the town center parking lot on April 1.

City officials say the drop-off will be available starting Wednesday at the parking lot next to city hall.

Also, residents are reminded of the spring clean-up day on April 18. Residents can bring their items to the green building between St. Michaels and Auction from 9 AM to 1 PM that day. Items that can’t be taken include gasoline motors, batteries, and electrical items.

For more information, call Cherokee Village City Hall at 870-257-5522.

(West Plains) – A meeting on the possible future of a diaper bank in West Plains will be held on Thursday.

The meeting will be held April 2 at 6 PM Ozark Action building #2. Penney Alverson, director of the Martha Vance Samaritan Outreach Center, says the meeting will be held to discuss options for starting a diaper bank that will supply diapers to various groups in the region, which will then distribute them to low income families. The meeting will also cover creating a means of supplying diapers to Howell County, and possible expansion after implementation.

If you would like more information on the meeting, call the Martha Vance Samaritan Outreach Center at 417-257-7792.

(Melbourne) – Ozarka College has been granted formal approval from the Arkansas Department of Education to continue serving as a digital learning provider in Arkansas.

Ozarka College received approval for seventeen courses, which includes American History, American National Government, Biology, College Algebra, Communications, English Composition, Fine Arts Music, Geography, Computer Applications, Psychology, Trigonometry, World Civilization, and World Literature.

Additionally, these courses may also be taken by students wishing to earn concurrent credit. Pending approval from the individual school district, students can take selected courses through Ozarka College and earn both high school and college credit, which additionally will transfer to any institution in the state through the Arkansas Course Transfer System.

For more information about distance learning opportunities, visit www.ozarka.edu.

(West Plains) – Officials with The Kloz Klozet and Cottage Flowers and Interiors invite everyone to their annual spring fashion show, “All Eyes on Fashion,” Friday, April 24, at the West Plains Country Club.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Garnett Library, the event, which benefits Missouri State University-West Plains’ Garnett Library, will feature the latest styles in dresses, slacks, accessories, shoes, fashion jewelry, travel accessories and handbags, fresh and silk flowers, furniture, cookbooks, gifts and home decor items, according to Florence James and Kristi Bash, owners of The Kloz Klozet and Cottage Flowers and Interiors, respectively.

Those attending will also be able to view a table of gift items now available at both The Kloz Klozet and Cottage Flowers and Interiors, including baby clothes and a large assortment of gifts for new arrivals and their parents. Gift registries are available, and items purchased can be gift wrapped. Cottage Flowers and Interiors also has a wide range of flower arrangements, both fresh and artificial, as well as large assortment of jewelry, scarves, accessories, gift items, home decor and accent furniture.

Doors will open at 11:30 AM for those who wish to come early to shop and socialize. Attendees also will have the opportunity to shop immediately following the show from 1-1:30 PM. Those who attend the fashion show will receive $10 gift certificates from the presenters. Other prizes also will be given away.

Admission is $25, with proceeds going toward furnishings for a collaborative learning space in the library.

Seating is limited, so those planning to attend the April 24 event should purchase tickets in advance at the Garnett Library, 304 W. Trish Knight St., or at The Kloz Klozet, No. 16 Court Square, or Cottage Flowers and Interiors, 917 W. Broadway. For more information, call 417-255-7945 or e-mail FriendsOfGarnettLibrary@MissouriState.edu.

(Jefferson City) – The Missouri legislature will be tackling the budget during the second half of the session, which started again on Monday.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, says that the Senate Appropriations Committee is almost ready to send the budget to the full Missouri Senate:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Senate Minority Floor Leader Joseph Keaveny, D-St. Louis, says there’s a different approach to the budget timeline this year:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Typically, the Missouri Senate starts work on the budget after the mid-session recess is completed.

(Birch Tree) – The community Easter egg hunt in the town of Birch Tree will be held this coming Thursday, April 2 at 2 PM at Birch Tree Elementary School.

The event, sponsored by Birch Tree Place, will include age groups birth through fourth grade, plus a fifth grade egg toss.

The public is invited to attend the event.

(provided)

Children at a recent Junior Ranger Day. (provided)

(Eminence) – Children can see live eagles up close and personal, touch a snake, and learn about birds, water quality, search and rescue, and other exciting topics at the National Park Service’s annual Junior Ranger Day, which will be held this year at Alley Spring at 9 AM May 1.

Local schools, homeschoolers, scout groups, and the general public are invited to bring their 2nd through 5th graders to this free event. Schools and large groups should RSVP by calling Dena Matteson at 573-323-8028.

Park officials say there will be a number of presentations during the event, including a birds of prey presentation from the World Bird Sanctuary in St Louis, Ozark Riverways’ Search and Rescue Team, the Cave Research Foundation, Project Wet, the American Canoe Association, and the Missouri Master Naturalists.

For more information call 573-323-4236, or visit www.nps.gov/ozar.