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(West Plains) – The city of West Plains has landed on another “Top 10″ list this year.

The website City Described, which makes a variety of “top 10″-style lists ranging from “Small Soccer Cities” to “The Best Private High Schools in Los Angeles”, named West Plains number 2 of the “Top 13 Small Cities in Missouri in 2015″ list, which was published at the end of 2014. Reasons given for the ranking include the city’s location, festivals and events, and cultural and historical heritage.

Other cities named to the list include Jefferson City, Glendale, Kirkwood, and Columbia, which took the number one spot.

This isn’t the city’s first time on a list like this: Cities Journal also ranked the city in 2014.

(Thayer) – A West Plains man faces charges of parental kidnapping in the city of Thayer.

26-year-old Christopher Richardson was arrested on April 10. A press release from the Thayer Police Department states that Richardson had taken a 1-year-old from his girlfriend’s aunt’s house after getting into an argument with the girlfriend. Police say he then went to the girlfriend’s residence and, as she tried to get the one-year-old and another child out of the car, took off with the woman and two children in the car.

Police say Richardson then dropped one of the children and the woman off at a gas station in Koshkonong, and took the one-year-old to West Plains, where he was later arrested.

At report time, Richardson was being held in the Oregon County jail on $10,000 bond.

(Carter County) – Two Poplar Bluff residents suffered serious injuries Sunday evening after a two vehicle accident in Carter County that involved a motorcycle.

The accident happened at 6:12 PM at the intersection of Route K and Route B in Carter County, when the southbound SUV driven by 33-year-old Nikki Knight of Doniphan attempted to cross Route B, and struck a motorcycle operated by 35-year-old Joseph Riley of Poplar Bluff.

Riley and a passenger, 37-year-old Kristi Riley, both suffered serious injuries and were both taken to Mercy Hospital in Cape Girardeau by helicopter. The driver and four passengers of the other vehicle were uninjured.

(West Plains) – A Thayer resident was injured Saturday evening after the motorcycle she was on ran off-road and overturned.

19-year-old Stephanie Todd was taken to Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains with moderate injuries, according to a Highway Patrol report.

The accident happened at 7 PM Saturday on Route CC, about 12 miles west of West Plains.



(West Plains) – The city of West Plains and the West Plains Police Department are reminding parents to help protect their kids next month during the annual Howell County KidsFest event.

City clerk Mallory Hawkins spoke with Ozark Radio News and said that an extremely helpful service that was offered last year will return for the 2015 event:

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For more information you can call West Plains City Hall at 417-256-7176 or the West Plains Police Department at 417-256-2244.

(West Plains) – The Greater West Plains Area Chamber of Commerce and the West Plains School District will hold a ribbon cutting at the new West Plains Schools Agriculture Science Facility.

The ribbon cutting, which will be held at 11 AM April 30, is the culmination of a fundraising initiative called “Raising the Barn”, which sought to raise $800,000 to build a new 10,500 square-foot agriculture science facility on Olden St. near the high school that will give hands-on experience to the more than 200 students who take agricultural science classes at the high school each year.

Special guests scheduled to be at the event include Missouri Department of Agriculture director Richard Fordyce.

Refreshments will be served at the event. For more information on the facility, visit

(West Plains) – The Southwest Missouri Office on Aging and the West Plains Senior Center will offer a free “New to Medicare” class on Tuesday, April 21 from 12:30-2 PM at the West Plains Senior Center.

Organizers say the class will cover a number of topics, including Medicare Parts A and B, Medicare Advantage Plans, prescription drug plans, and fraud and prevention tips.

For more information or to register, call 417-256-4055.

(Jefferson City) – This past Wednesday saw Missouri senators spend time debating several issues, including Senate Bill 321, a measure that would allow victims of sexual assault to receive protective orders and modify the definitions of sexual assault and stalking as they relate to orders of protection. Senator Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, sponsors the legislation:

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The bill still needs another affirmative vote before it could move to the Missouri House of Representatives.

Senators also discussed several measures Thursday, including Senate Bill 339, which deals with property taxes. Senator Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, sponsors the measure and explains new changes added to the bill dealing with mining operations and telephone companies:

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During debate, Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, expresses concern about the potential loss of local tax dollars intended for public schools if the bill was to go into effect:

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Senate Bill 339 was later set aside for further discussion.

The Senate also gave final approval to Senate Bill 328, legislation that would require school districts to adopt a policy on youth suicide and prevention. The measure is sponsored by Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur:

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That bill moves to the House for similar consideration.

(West Plains) – The Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC), hosted by Missouri State University-West Plains, will sponsor the “Access to Capital Forum” from 9 AM to 5 PM on Wednesday, May 6, in the Redbud Rooms at the West Plains Civic Center, 110 Saint Louis St.

Early bird admission is $20 and includes lunch. To register, visit

At the “Access to Capital Forum,” participants will hear from a variety of speakers about financing options; programs and solutions available to small businesses, including crowdfunding, microloans and revolving loan funds; equity finance; angel investing; tax incentives; commercial loans; Small Business Administration (SBA) loans; and export finance. Special guests at the event include Mark Klein, regional director of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, who will share how the bank’s direct loan program works for small businesses and how banks can partner with ExIm to expand their service offerings.

The SBTDC provides assistance to individuals who want to start or run their own small businesses. SBTDC staff work with Missouri entrepreneurs and small businesses that are for-profit (not a non-profit charitable or educational organization). Whether you are currently in business or thinking about starting a business, the SBTDC can assist you in your venture.

The West Plains SBTDC serves entrepreneurs in seven counties across the region: Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Shannon, Texas and Wright. Since it is funded in part through the Small Business Administration, virtually all of the services are free.

For more information about this workshop or any other programs or services offered by SBTDC, contact Madden at 417-255-7966 or

by Marie French, AP

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri Republicans said early in the session Medicaid expansion was a non-starter again this year and despite Democratic attempts to address the issue using amendments and protests, they’ve stuck true to their word.

But Republican leaders have also said they want to see reforms to the Medicaid system. Some tweaks to the state’s Medicaid system are moving forward, including proposals encouraging the use of telemedicine, a raise to the asset limit for people with disabilities and more stringent policing of eligibility.

However, no comprehensive proposal to overhaul the state’s Medicaid system has gained traction. One group that advocates for Medicaid expansion says they’d be happy to see any reforms, combined with an expansion, move forward.

“I think the Legislature has chosen to just ignore this issue instead of really digging in and dealing with the issue and figuring out what the Missouri solution is,” said Michelle Trupiano, director of the Missouri Medicaid Coalition.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, said the Legislature is taking incremental steps toward addressing problems in the Medicaid system.

“I guess we’re taking reform in small bites, small doses,” Dempsey said.

One of the proposals moving forward this session, sponsored by Dempsey, raises the amount of money people with disabilities could have before qualifying for Medicaid. The measure would raise it from $2,000 for a single person and $4,000 for a married couple to $5,000 and $10,000 respectively by 2020.

The Department of Social Services estimated more than 6,000 more people would qualify for Medicaid due to the change. The measure passed the Senate and awaits a hearing in the House.

Dempsey said he didn’t think there would be that many more people added and said the higher asset limit would allow people to depend less on the state by taking care of their own needs.

The increase to the asset limit was one proposal that emerged from a 2013 Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Transformation and Reform chaired by Sen. Gary Romine, R-St. Francois. Romine introduced a measure this session that included several large-scale proposals such as expanding managed care, creating coordinate care organizations to replace the fee-for-service model and subsidizing private insurance for some Medicaid participants.

But Romine said he did not think there was enough support for some of those proposals and he scaled back his measure to only address the issue of telemedicine in Medicaid. His proposal passed the Senate and a similar version has passed the House. He said reimbursing for telemedicine in Medicaid would reduce costs and improve access to specialists in rural areas.

“It’s one of our keynote pieces, I believe,” Romine said.

Other proposals seek to more tightly monitor eligibility for Medicaid. The House passed a measure last month requiring the state contract a third party to verify eligibility in Medicaid and other social services programs and a similar measure is awaiting debate in the Senate. The Senate has also approved a measure to explicitly kick people with out-of-state addresses off of the program.

House Speaker John Diehl said the Medicaid system has not been administered properly, referencing problems revealed by a federal audit claiming Missouri owes $34 million to the federal government.

“We’re not inclined to start pouring more money and more eligibility into a system that’s broken,” Diehl said. “Until it gets fixed, I don’t think it’s responsible to the taxpayers to try to put more money into it.”