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(Gainesville) – A Theodosia resident suffered serious injuries Saturday afternoon after a one-vehicle accident in Ozark County.

The accident happened at 12:30 PM five miles west of Gainesville on Highway 160, when the westbound vehicle driven by 68-year-old Judith Phelan ran off-road, struck an embankment and overturned.

A Highway Patrol report states that Phelan was taken to Mercy Hospital in Springfield by helicopter.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster speaking at the Saturday event. (MPD/provided)

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster speaking at the Saturday event. (DPS/provided)

(Jefferson City) – An Alton police officer and a Missouri sheriff’s deputy who lost their lives in the line of duty during 2014 were remembered Saturday during a solemn ceremony at the Missouri Law Enforcement Memorial on the grounds of the State Capitol.

Each year, the families of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty in the previous year, and through decades, participate in the ceremony by placing a wreath in honor of Missouri’s fallen heroes. Officers from agencies that have lost officers place individual wreaths at the memorial as their names are read aloud.

On Friday, May 1, a candlelight vigil was held at the memorial in remembrance of all Missouri law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

45-year-old Eddie Johnson, Jr., an Alton police officer and volunteer Alton Fire Department Chief, was killed in a single vehicle accident while responding in his patrol vehicle to a residential fire six miles west of Alton on October 20, 2014. He was a 10-year veteran of law enforcement, including nine years with the Alton Police Department. He also served as chief of the volunteer Alton Fire Department.

Also honored was Matthew Chism, a deputy with the Cedar County Sheriff’s Department, died from a gunshot wound following a vehicle pursuit, foot chase and a shootout in which the gunman was also killed in El Dorado Springs on November 2, 2014. He was a deputy for just under two years.

This photo, provided to Ozark Radio News earlier this year, shows the structural issues on the Sinking Creek Bridge. (provided)

This photo, provided to Ozark Radio News earlier this year, shows the structural issues on the Sinking Creek Bridge. (provided)

(Sikeston) – The Missouri Department of Transportation says that they’ve been working for the past month to address bridge issues in Shannon County.

Chris Rutledge is the assistant district engineer for the MoDOT Southeast office. He spoke with Ozark Radio News and told us that the bridge over Sinking Creek on Route 19 in Shannon County has recently undergone a weight limit reduction due to structural issues:

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Rutledge added that contractor crews are working on a temporary bridge to allow the full weight limit to access that area:

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During construction, access to the Sinking Creek Campground and gravel bar will be closed.

MoDOT also recently inspected the bridge over Round Spring. Rutledge told us more about those inspections:

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MoDOT also has recently put a recent width restriction on the Current River Bridge:

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Due to an expected funding shortfall that MoDOT faces in the near future, Rutledge says that bridges on Route 19 will continue to see work and improvements due to their economic importance. Other rural bridges and crossings, however, may not be so lucky in the future:

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MoDOT had a budget in 2014 of roughly $700 million, however, officials expect that number to drop to less than half of that five years from now.

(Springfield) – The Community Foundation of the Ozarks is urging residents across the region to help their local non-profit groups by donating online on May 5.

Give Ozarks is a one-day, online fundraising event for nonprofit partners of the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Louise Knauer spoke with Ozark Radio News and told us more about the Give Ozarks event:

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She added that the CFO has been working on the project for several years:

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Donating online, and in person, is very easy:

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Knauer says that there are several goals that CFO hopes to obtain, besides raising funds for the area organizations:

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The Community Foundation of the Ozarks is a public charitable foundation serving a 58-county region across central and southern Missouri that seeks to enhance the quality of life in the region through resource development, community grantmaking, collaboration, and public leadership.

For more information on the event, and a list of local groups you can donate to, visit www.giveozarks.org.

(West Plains) – Open enrollment for programs at the South Central Career Center (SCCC) is underway.

Students can choose from Auto Collision Repair, Auto Mechanics, Carpentry, Commercial and Advertising Art, Culinary Arts, Practical Nursing, Surgical Technology or Welding.

The Practical Nursing and Surgical Technology programs run from January to December 2016 while the other programs are designed to be completed from August 2015 to May 2016.

South Central Career Center is hosted by West Plains Schools and has served south central Missouri since 1970 with adult and secondary career and technical education programs and other numerous high school courses.  With a mission to develop a highly-qualified workforce, the school works with eleven area high schools, participates in the federal financial aid program, and has close partnerships with regional industry.

For the application or more information on programs available at South Central Career Center, visit www.scccwp.edu, stop by the school at 407 Thornburgh in West Plains, or call (417) 256-6152.  Financial aid is available to those who qualify.

(West Plains) – Missouri State University-West Plains is just $7,000 away from the $250,000 needed to endow its third professorship, thanks to a generous donation from former Missouri State Senator Emory Melton.

Melton, a Republican from Cassville who served the people of the 29th District from 1972 to 1996, recently donated $50,000 to the university to go toward the professorship endowment. Once fully endowed, the professorship will provide the money needed to support the salary of the chair of the Division of Business, Applied Technology and Public Service, an important position with demanding responsibilities, university officials explained.

Melton served in the Missouri Senate during a time of tremendous growth and change. As this area’s representative in the senate, he helped secure the first state appropriations for the Missouri State-West Plains campus, and in one of his last acts as senator before retiring in 1996, he helped secure $2.8 million in capital appropriations for the construction of the 28,000-square-foot classroom building on campus that now bears his name, Emory L. Melton Hall. The building was the first new construction project in the campus’ 33 year-history that was funded by the Missouri General Assembly.

In addition to donations from area banks and financial planners, Missouri State-West Plains officials also received a gift for the professorship from Missouri State University System President Clif Smart.

Anyone wishing to make a donation or pledge toward the professorship or wanting more information about the fund can contact Joe Kammerer at 417-255-7240.

(Willow Springs) – The Willow Springs Arts Council is proud to announce two upcoming orchestral performances.

The Southern Ozarks Community Orchestra will be performing Saturday, May 16 at 7 PM at the Star Theater in Willow Springs. The theme is” Sounds of Spring” and the orchestra will perform selections including “In a Monastery Garden”, “Three Celtic Folksongs”, “Moon River”, and music from the Broadway hit “Chicago”. The Conductor is Jodie Forbes and the Concertmaster is Dani Collins.

Tickets will be available at the door. Adults $7 and children under 12 are free.

Meanwhile, the Southern Ozarks Youth Orchestra will be performing Sunday May 17 at 2 PM again, at the Star Theater in Willow Springs. The Conductor is Joy Ellsworth and the special Guest Conductor for “All the Pretty Little Horses” will be Heath Rhodes, the father of one of the performers. The theme is “ Sounds of Spring”, and the orchestra will perform selections including “Ashokan Farewell”, “A Time for Us”, and “All the Pretty Little Horses”.

Tickets for the Sunday performance will be available at the door. Adults $7 and children under 12 are free.

by Summer Ballentine, AP

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Plans to use bonds to pay for repairs to the Missouri Capitol, public universities and other state-owned buildings are moving forward in the House, but possible cuts to park spending threaten to derail the proposals as lawmakers near their budgetary deadline.

The measures endorsed this past week by a House budget committee include about $160 million in bonds for repairs and improvements at public colleges and universities, and more than $140 million in bonds for state building repairs. Millions in additional funds also would need to be re-authorized to continue payments on projects that have not yet been completed.

The bills now head to the full House for review. Both the House and Senate must approve the spending bills by a constitutionally-mandated deadline of May 8, a tight time frame to reach consensus on proposals that could meet criticism in the Senate.

The proposed project list roughly mirrors a wish list approved in the Senate months ago, but lead House budget writer Republican Rep. Tom Flanigan of Carthage reallocated nearly $15 million in general revenue spending for parks projects to university construction and maintenance.

Gov. Jay Nixon’s budget director, Linda Luebbering, said the cuts would hurt planned and ongoing projects. It could also mean the state would break contracts that already have been awarded for construction and repair work.

Luebbering warned that not meeting promises to pay for those projects could hurt the state in any future bidding. The concern is further compounded, Luebbering said, because the House bill opts for a one-year spending plan on construction and maintenance projects instead of a typical two-year plan to accommodate lengthier projects.

Supporters say that gives lawmakers greater control over state spending, while Luebbering and others argue it would create uncertainty for bidders who must rely on the Legislature to approve project payments each year.

State Parks Director Bill Bryan testified in a House hearing Thursday that projects that could be on the chopping block include $1.2 million worth of construction at Roaring River State Park to renovate a Civilian Conservation Corps lodge and a new campground at Montauk State Park.

Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, the second-in-command of House budget drafting, cited concerns with a Department of Natural Resources plan to create a new park in Shannon County without prior legislative approval. The money stripped from the budget bill had not been planned for that park.

Democrats on the House committee decried the cut, and Republican Sen. Mike Parson, who sponsored the resolution listing the Senate spending priorities, said Friday that he planned to push to maintain money for those parks projects.

“Parks brings a lot of income to the state of Missouri, it’s one of our natural resources,” Parson said. “I’m going to do what I can to support that.”

On hand for the check presentation were, from left, Ozark Horizon State School PTO President Brenda Howell and West Plains Bank and Trust Company Customer Service Representative Brandon Blake and Senior Customer Service Representative Karen Smith. (provided)

On hand for the check presentation were, from left, Ozark Horizon State School PTO President Brenda Howell and West Plains Bank and Trust Company Customer Service Representative Brandon Blake and Senior Customer Service Representative Karen Smith. (provided)

(West Plains) – West Plains Bank and Trust Company recently made a $250 donation to the Ozark Horizon State School Parent Teacher Organization.

The money will be put toward a playground equipment project, which has a fundraising goal of $5,000. According to Ozark Horizon Principal Reta House, the purchase, shipping and installation costs associated with equipment for disabled children can add up quickly but the equipment, and the joy and exercise it brings to the students, make it a worthwhile investment. Currently, the playground has only two swings for a K-12 student population of 23.

Anyone interested in contributing to the project may call 417-256-2880.

Donald W. Reynold’s Library serving Baxter County One Thousand Books Before Kindergarten Completers Front Row: Nate Johnson, Xander Vanderschoot , Presley Mayfield, Grayson Teegarden.  Back Row: A.J. Woodbury, Zoey Throckmorton, Jace Melton, Anna Owsley.  Not pictured: Relena White, Kaeden Garrison, Jace Melton. (provided)

These kids recently completed the Donald W. Reynolds Library’s One Thousand Books Before Kindergarten program.
Front Row: Nate Johnson, Xander Vanderschoot , Presley Mayfield, Grayson Teegarden. Back Row: A.J. Woodbury, Zoey Throckmorton, Jace Melton, Anna Owsley. Not pictured: Relena White, Kaeden Garrison, Jace Melton. (provided)

(Mountain Home) – During its first year, 312 of the 400 reading kits that were secured for the five year “One Thousand Books Before Kindergarten” program have been handed out to families, putting Baxter County Library on the forefront of the national program.

Twenty-one children have already completed the program, and library officials say it’s gaining steam, as an average of five new participants sign up per week. Circulation in the children’s department has jumped nine percent since the start of this program less than one year ago.

One Thousand Books Before Kindergarten is an initiative aimed at getting parents to read 1,000 books with their children before they enter kindergarten. Library officials say there is a sponsorship opportunity available to help this program continue.

If you would like more information on the One Thousand Books Before Kindergarten Program, please inquire at the Children’s Desk at the library or visit our website www.baxlib.org. All children’s programs are provided at no charge as a service of the Baxter County Library through generous donations and sponsorships. Children of all abilities are encouraged to participate.