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(Jefferson City) – Among the first measures to be heard in committee this year is Senate Bill 12, which would modify provisions relating to agriculture. Senator Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, sponsors the proposal. He tells the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee Senate Bill 12 is much like a similar proposal that was vetoed last year:

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During discussion on the bill, Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City, mentions one aspect of Senate Bill 12 that would allow large trucks to haul more weight:

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The Missouri Senate continues to do committee work this week.

West Plains Mayor Jack Pahlmann recently signed a proclamation recognizing February as American Heart Month and Feb. 6 as Wear Red Day in the city of West Plains. Pictured, from left, OMC Director of Imaging John McKinzie; Heart Care Services Supervisor Devon Emerson; Invasive Cardiologist A.K. George, MD; Pahlmann; Interventional Cardiologist M. Faisal Khan, MD; Surgical and Cardiovascular Services Director Tim Kimball; and Chief Operating Officer Jeannie Looper. (Provided)

West Plains Mayor Jack Pahlmann recently signed a proclamation recognizing February as American Heart Month and Feb. 6 as Wear Red Day in the city of West Plains. Pictured, from left, OMC Director of Imaging John McKinzie; Heart Care Services Supervisor Devon Emerson; Invasive Cardiologist A.K. George, MD; Pahlmann; Interventional Cardiologist M. Faisal Khan, MD; Surgical and Cardiovascular Services Director Tim Kimball; and Chief Operating Officer Jeannie Looper. (Provided)

(West Plains) – West Plains Mayor Jack Pahlmann has joined with Ozarks Medical Center Heart Care Services to promote awareness of heart health by declaring Friday, February 6 Wear Red Day.

This is a national event that encourages people to wear red to recognize the beginning of American Heart Month, celebrated each February. On this day, individuals wearing red may visit the OMC Cafeteria and receive a free apple.

Director of Cardiovascular Services Tim Kimball said American Heart Month is a great opportunity to reach out to our community and alert individuals to their personal risk factors for heart disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States each year, or one in every four deaths. Kimball said taking good care of your heart means controlling your risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity, and being overweight. He also encourages individuals to know the signs and symptoms of heart attack.

Symptoms include chest discomfort, discomfort in other areas of the upper body including one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach, and shortness of breath. Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

In recognition of Heart Month, OMC will host a number of community events.

A free Heart Health Screening will take place from 7-11 AM February 6 at OMC Heart Care Services, 1115 Alaska Avenue, Suite 114. The screening includes a cholesterol panel and blood pressure check. Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) screenings are also available to those at risk of the disease. The event is free but appointments are required by calling OMC Education Services at 417-257-6793. To serve adults who do not live in West Plains or cannot attend the Feb. 6 screening, individuals may receive a free cholesterol panel and blood check screening during the last week of February at OMC Rural Health Clinics, February 23-27. Call 417-257-6793 for more information on the rural clinics.

Also, a free Heart Healthy Breakfast will be held at 7:30 AM February 17 in the OMC Willard Hunter Classroom at Parkway Center. The breakfast is free but a reservation is required and may be made by calling 417-257-6793.

(West Plains) – A Zizzer Cross Country Alumni Reunion will be held on Saturday, March 21 from 3-5 PM at the West Plains Civic Center.

Organizers say the event is for all past, present, and future Zizzer cross country runners, their families and supporters, as well as track and field athletes. The guest of honor will be Coach Joe Bill Dixon, who has been coach of the West Plains Zizzers Cross Country team since 1978.

Reunion t-shirts will be sold prior to the event. You can order on the Zizzer Cross Country and Track Facebook page. Some shirts will also be available at the event. Event coordinators are hoping to sell enough shirts to cover the expenses of hosting the reunion. Shirt sizes small- XL $15, larger sizes $20, with youth medium and large also available.

More details will be posted on the Zizzer Cross Country and Track Facebook page as the event gets closer. Questions about the event can be directed to Event Coordinators Alicia Gunter (agunter@zizzers.org or 417-255-2407 or at West Plains High School, 417-256-6150) or Mindy McGinnis (mmcginnis.richards@gmaill.com or 417-293-4504).

(West Plains) – The Missouri Department of Conservation will be offering a Prescribed Fire Workshop for landowners on February 10 from 6-8 PM at the Ozark Regional Office in West Plains.

Organizers say the objective of the workshop is to provide an overview of how to plan and conduct a safe and effective prescribed burn on various habitat types. Prescribed burning is an effective and cost efficient management tool, however, there are many issues and concerns to be considered before starting. Effective planning is necessary to achieve beneficial effects as well as maintain a safe burn.

This program will cover topics related to fire history, planning, weather, safety, and equipment needs. Participants are asked to pre-register at the Ozark Regional Office in West Plains by calling 417-256-7161.

(Willow Springs) – A special showing of “The Kid” starring Charlie Chaplin will take place Saturday. Wendell Bailey told Ozark Radio News more about the special showing, which includes a free showing of historical films in Willow Springs:

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Bailey added that concessions will be available at the event.

(St. Charles) – Michael Burke must take 13,000 pills and complete 500 hours of therapy every year simply to stay alive. Not expected to live beyond childhood, Burke, who is now 45, is hiking 230 miles on the Ozark Trail to raise money and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis.

The extreme hike is slated for September 8-25. Starting in Leasburg, Missouri and finishing in Winona, Burke will journey through the mountains, hills, knobs and valleys of the Ozark Trail.

Burke is coordinating his 230 mile adventure with the 30.1 mile Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Xtreme Hike fundraising event on September 12. The CF Xtreme Hike raised over $150,000 last year and the 50 hikers participating had an incredible experience pushing their abilities and dedicating their efforts to saving lives.

Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that affects 30,000 adults and children in the United States and 70,000 people worldwide. It causes debilitating lung infections that lead to premature death. More than 10 million Americans are symptomless carriers of the CF gene.

You can follow Michael’s journey and donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by visiting his website at www.michaelpatrickburke.com.

(AP)

(AP)

(Jefferson City) – The Missouri Department of Agriculture has grants available to animal shelters, rescue groups and other non-profit organizations for spay and neuter services.

The Pet Spay and Neuter Program helps animal shelters, humane societies and non-profit groups with the costs of spaying and neutering animals. Last year, the Department provided $25,000 for spay and neuter initiatives through this program. Applications for 2015 grants are available now through the March 2 deadline.

The required forms and instructions for preparing an application are available on the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s website at agriculture.mo.gov. This year’s process has been simplified, allowing qualified organizations to complete their application electronically.

The Pet Spay & Neuter program is funded through the sales of “I’m Pet Friendly” license plates through the Missouri Department of Revenue. Each sale of the plate donates $20 to the Missouri Pet Spay & Neuter Fund, which is administered by the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

For more information, please visit the Missouri Department of Agriculture online at agriculture.mo.gov.

by Marie French, AP

(Jefferson City) (AP) – With about 2,000 veterans waiting for a room, Gov. Jay Nixon is hoping to tap into new bond revenues to pay for an additional veterans nursing home.

But he will need the approval of legislators, who must weigh the proposed veterans home against desires for dozens of other improvements at public facilities across the state.

“These men and women did their duty to God and country so that our lives might be better,” Nixon said during his State of the State address on Wednesday. “Now we need to be there for them. Let’s work together to get this built.”

A new veterans’ home with 150 beds is estimated to cost $50 million.

“Just one home is not the final answer but it’s a great step forward,” Missouri Veterans of Foreign Wars legislative chairman Dewey Riehn said.

Currently, some veterans can face wait times of up to six months to a year for one of the 1,350 spaces that can provide the skilled nursing care they need, he said.

“They’re told they have to go on the wait list and it really shocks them. Their family usually ends up putting them in a private paid facility,” Riehn said, adding that though some veterans may receive Medicaid assistance, the cost of a private home can be a burden for their families.

An updated bonding measure is needed to use any of the funds for new construction on a veterans home. That’s because last year’s up to $600 million of bonds was for renovations and repairs at state facilities and college campuses, not new buildings.

The governor’s budget proposal seeks to tap into last year’s bonding plan for about $353 million of renovation projects at higher education institutions and state facilities, including $14.5 million for renovating the state’s seven existing veterans homes. Specific renovation projects also require legislative action.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer had not yet seen a detailed proposal Thursday about the new veterans home.

“There is a need” for it, he said, but added that there were other priorities competing for the bond money.

Missouri Veterans Commission deputy director Bryan Hunt addressed renovations at the existing homes, saying there is a constant need for repairs and updates to the facilities, which must meet exacting standards set by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Needs in the homes, which range in age from three decades to 10 years, include nurses’ stations renovations, ventilation system repairs and other improvements.

“We hold it of the highest importance every year to renovate and maintain the existing facilities to provide quality nursing care for our veterans and the most home-like environment possible,” Hunt said.

by Summer Ballentine, AP

(Jefferson City) (AP) – The Missouri Automobile Dealers Association is suing the state revenue department for allowing electric car maker Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers rather than using a dealership as a middleman.

The car dealers, including Reuther Ford Inc. and Osage Industries Inc., filed a lawsuit Thursday in Cole County Circuit Court claiming the department violated state law by licensing the California-based manufacturer as a franchise.

Department of Revenue spokeswoman Michelle Gleba said the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Car manufacturers typically provide cars to a franchised dealership to sell, but the department in 2013 licensed Tesla to sell its vehicles in a University City facility.

The lawsuit filed this week claims the department “created a non-level playing field where one entity – Tesla – is subject to preferential treatment and all bona fide dealers are discriminated against.”

The suit claims no other car manufacturer in Missouri has those powers.

The traditional dealer-franchise model for selling new cars, the lawsuit states, protects the consumer by providing a local point for test drives and service.

But Tesla said buying directly from the company eliminates an unnecessary intermediary.

The lawsuit is an attempt to “create a distribution monopoly that will decrease competition, hurt consumer choice, and limit economic investment in Missouri,” said Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s vice president of corporate and business development, in a written statement.

Tesla has come under fire before, both in Missouri and other states.

Lawmakers last year proposed failed legislation that would have banned Tesla from selling vehicles directly to consumers. The car maker has fought similar legislative battles in New Jersey, New York and Ohio.

(St. Joseph) – The superintendent of the St. Joseph School District has been placed on administrative leave.

KCUR reports that Fred Czerwonka was placed on administrative leave after a closed school board session on Tuesday. The school’s chief operating officer was also placed on administrative leave during the meeting.

The decision comes after Czerwonka came under fire from the school board and the community for taking roughly $270,000 in insurance rebates the district received in March 2014 and handing out stipends to 54 district administrators without the school board’s permission. The FBI has been investigating the school district since April 2014.

The Associated Press reports that during a 2014 board meeting, Czerwonka apologized for not coming to the school board before administering the stipends, which he said were handed out to temporarily boost morale and administrative salaries, both of which he said were low.

Another school board meeting has been scheduled for Monday.

Czerwonka left the West Plains district to become administrator at St. Joseph in the summer of 2013.