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(West Plains) – A new seafood business in West Plains will be holding their grand opening on Wednesday.

Derek Dowell is the owner of Fat Shrimp Seafood Company in West Plains, and is a familiar face to seafood enthusiasts, having owned the Blue Coconut seafood business in West Plains prior to its closing in 2010.

Dowell spoke with Ozark Radio News and told us more about the grand opening:

He also talked about how he began making seafood:

Fat Shrimp is also an affiliate client of the Ozarks Small Business Incubator in West Plains. Dowell talked about how they helped him and his business get on their feet:

Heather Fisher is the executive director of the Ozarks Small Business Incubator. She told Ozark Radio News that the microloan program is available for businesses:

For more information on the microloan program, visit www.ozsbi.com or call 417-256-9724. If you would like more information on Fat Shrimp Seafood Company, visit www.fatshrimp.com or like Fat Shrimp Seafood Company on Facebook.

(West Plains) – For the sixth consecutive year, people in Howell County will have an extra day to swim this summer, free of charge.

Wednesday, July 8, is West Plains Bank and Trust Company Free Pool Day at the West Plains Aquatics Center, from 12-7 PM, as well as at the Mountain View Municipal Pool, from 1-5 PM. All area residents are encouraged to take advantage of free admission during these times.

West Plains Bank and Trust Company President and Chief Operating Officer David M. Gohn says children and adults will be admitted free of charge, and he encourages residents to take advantage of the free swimming date.

(Springfield) – The University of Missouri Extension has a new 4-H Youth Development Specialist for Howell, Douglas and Ozark Counties.

MU Extension officials say Greg Carter is responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating positive youth and volunteer development programs through 4-H clubs, schools, youth-serving agencies, community collaborations, camps and fairs in Howell, Douglas and Ozark counties. He will be based out of the Howell County MU Extension office in West Plains.

Carter worked in public education for the West Plains School District for eight years, including teaching in grades K-12. He taught theater in grades 6 -12; 5th Grade Science, Social Studies and Science; and was a K-4 Technology Integration Specialist.

He holds a Bachelors in Education from Missouri State University; a Masters in Educational Administration from William Woods University; and a Doctorate in Education from Saint Louis University.

(Houston) – The Houston Area Chamber of Commerce will hold a fireworks spectacular this coming Friday, July 3 at the Chamber of Commerce Fairgrounds in Houston.

Chamber officials say parking for the event is free, however, donations will be accepted. Donations will go toward the purchase of the 2016 fireworks display.

Sponsors for this year’s display include the city of Houston, CHC Do-It Center of Houston, the Bank of Houston, Gamo Outdoor USA, Evans Funeral Home, Shelia Walker, and Chalkie and Alice Wells.

A rain date has been set for July 5.

(Mountain Home) – The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Salesville man after they say he traded drugs for stolen firearms.

46-year-old Michael McQueen was arrested last week and charged with theft by receiving and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office reports that McQueen, who was on active supervised probation with the Arkansas Department of Community Corrections, was visited on Wednesday, June 24 for a probation visit. Police say McQueen admitted to authorities that he had received several firearms and knives from two men in exchange for drugs, with two of the firearms later traded to another man for more drugs, while a third was sold outright to yet another person.

At report time, McQueen was held on $15,000 bond. Police say the investigation into these incidents is continuing.

(West Plains) – The Small Business and Technology Center (SBTDC), hosted by Missouri State University-West Plains, will sponsor the workshop “First Steps to Starting a Small Business” from 5:30-8:30 PM Thursday, July 23, at the West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St.

The cost for the workshop is $35, while university students and Ozarks Small Business Incubator and West Plains Area Chamber of Commerce members will be charged a reduced rate of $20. To register, visit http://sbtdc.eventbrite.com.

Organizers say participants will learn the fundamentals of starting a business, how to determine the feasibility of a business, the importance of business planning and how to understand financial and licensing requirements.

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). 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 coordinator Bronwen Madden at 417-255-7966 or WPSBDC@MissouriState.edu.

(Melbourne) – Ozarka College recently announced that 84 students have been named to the President’s List and 69 students have been named to the President’s and Provost’s List for the Spring 2015 semester.

To be eligible for the President’s List, a student must be enrolled in at least 12 college credit hours, excluding developmental courses, not be on any type of probation, and must have a minimum grade point average of 4.0. To be eligible for the Provost’s List, students must meet the same requirements as the President’s List; however, their minimum grade point average requirement is a 3.5 or higher.

The Ozarka College President’s List by city of residence is as follows:
From Ash Flat: Kailee A. Abney, Dakota R. Henslee, Kara D. Whited, Angela L. Wiles
Bakersfield, MO: Tammy S. Key
Batesville: Leslie L. Moody, Catina J. Tewksbury
Big Flat: Melissa L. Reny
Brockwell: Kayla Marie Cooper
Calico Rock: Sarah S. Catron
Cave City: Crystal R. Burns
Cherokee Village: Heather M. Chafin, Sharon D. Mamath
Clinton: Clarissa N. Rushing
Edgemont: Brandis S. Harness
Evening Shade: Chelsey D. Smart
Fairfield Bay: Cassie P. Latta
Fifty Six: Lindsay P. Mcgowan
Fox: Darla M. Richardson, Robert A. Watts
Gassville: Holly D. Troxell
Gepp: Adrianna N. Fletcher, Charlotte L. Galloway
Guion: Shonna M. Arnold
Hardy: Lana Bunting, Rodney C. Duncan, Tera Goodman, Amber L. Merriam
Harriet: Donald D. Buazard
Horseshoe Bend: Elizabeth R. Hall, April D. Weaver
Leslie: Amber K. Hacker
Mammoth Spring: Caitlin B. Proctor
Melbourne: Clay L. Jones, Easton D. Massey, Matthew Charles Pitts, Alexandria R. Rush, Amy L. Sartin, Kassandra M. Smith, Sherry M. Vest
Mount Pleasant: Brittnee R. Donaldson
Mountain Home: Lisha V. Hall
Mountain View: Kristle S. Banditt, Kari N. Brewer, Nathan D. Cobb, Monica B. Day, Dakota W. Dixon, Heather L. Goins, Madison B. Green, Tammy L. Knapp, Angela G. Maynard, Angela L. McCord, Robert J. Mccord, Susan M. Newman, Rachel A. Sutton
Onia: Amber D. Smith
Oxford: Rebecca R. Simmons
Pineville: Billie J. Wolford
Ravenden: Kristen E. Soraci
Rosie: Amber G. Young
Salem: Elizabeth M. Anderson, Tiffany J. Bowles, Samantha D. Clements
Shirley: Teresa L. Radke
Sidney: Shannon J. Dougherty, Morgan E. Winston
Smithville: Brittany L. Booker
Springfield, MO: Alyssa L. Orr
Sturkie: Amber N. Reynolds
Thayer, MO: Jennifer M. Baldridge, Marsha L. Earls, Brandi R. Miller
Timbo: Margo Del Real, Cody L. Delapaz, Nathan J. Wilson
Viola: Arianna N. Stewart
Violet Hill: Zachery M. Thielman, Dennis J. Tiernan
Wideman: Seth J. Stapleton
Williford: Jeremy L. Wess
Wiseman: Abram J. Mead, Maddlyn M. Meeker

The Ozarka College Provost’s List by city of residence is as follows:
Ash Flat: Joshua D. Holland, Mackenzie B. Mccord, Marvin Van Dyk, Kierra L. Witting
Batesville: Susan M. Hadley, Sarah G. Riojas
Calico Rock: Kaleb I. Wilson
Cave City: Rebecca D. Glenn, James L. Tackett
Cherokee Village: Steven A. Lewis, Jordin R. Machalicek, Ashley M. Mills
Edgemont: Kimber C. Murray
Fox: Bailey J. Stubbs
Franklin: Courtney L. Lock
Gepp: Shannon R. Cochran
Hardy: Chasity D. Chapps, Tamela L. Earls, Katherine E. Long, Vicki L. Mann, Maegan L. Mcclure, Savannah N. Phillips, Holly G. Stevens, Heather M. Weiand
Horseshoe Bend: Courtney T. Fleetwood
Mammoth Spring: Emma M. Bishop, Schuyler C. Madden, Hope M. Mccomas, Christi A. Reed
Melbourne: Jewelia F. Anglum, Samantha N. Beard, Dylan V. Biard, Candice M. Bruyette, Madison A. Deloach, Ginny M. Dudra, Daniel A. Fulcher, Makayla E. Gross, Rebecca C. Guthrie, Kendra Harralston, Shawnette N. Kimble, Kristin M. Montgomery, Kimberly D. Welch
Mountain Home: Tracy D. Flynn
Mountain View: Brenda S. Bolden, Brandie D. Chism, Amanda D. Coffell, Elizabeth M. Crymes, Martha M. Goins, Patricia L. Holt, Sarah E. Reynoso, Gabriel D. Sandefur, Markie C. Seay, Philip C. Shuler, Stephony M. Trantham, Amber N. White, Kimberly D. Yoder
Onia: Justine M. Villanueva
Oxford: Sherry A. Simpson
Pineville: Laura E. Miller
Salem: Melissa L. Bitting, Brittney N. Miller
Shirley: Kelly D. Blair
Sidney: Mandy S. Sollock
Smithville: Abigail C. Shackleford
Strawberry: Tony R. Sharp
Thayer, MO: Kaylynn D. Bullock, Paige M. Grimes, Ashley M. Smith
Timbo: Jessica L. Sutton

(West Plains) – The West Plains Elks Lodge is holding a 52 Week Gun Raffle, with a winner drawn every week for 52 weeks.

Raffle organizers say participants have great odds of winning, as there are only 1000 total tickets available. Tickets are $50 each, and every ticket is good for all 52 weekly drawings. There is also no limit to the number of times a ticket can win.

All firearms are brand new, and are a variety of pistols, rifles, shotguns, and revolvers, of various makes, models, and calibers, according to organizers.

All proceeds will be used to support the Lodge’s numerous local charities, including Christmas for Kids, veterans charities, scholarship programs, school supplies, and other local charitable needs.

Complete raffle rules and a list of all guns to be given away are posted on the Lodge website at www.WestPlainsElks.com. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact West Plains Elks Lodge at 417-256-7955.

Property Tax Bills

Given the displeasure and anger that has recently been generate in parts of the District due to the new Property Tax bills that have been received, let’s review the process – the good, the bad and the ugly!

Step 1

“The assessor determines the market value of the property.  For real property, the market value is determined as of January 1 of the odd numbered years.  For personal property it is determined each January 1.  Market value of vehicles is determined by the October issue of the NADA.

Once market value has been determined, the assessor calculates a percentage of that value to arrive at the assessed value.  The percentage is based on the classification, determined by the type of property or how it is used.  After the assessed value is calculated, the tax levies are applied.” (stc.mo.gov)

Step 2

If you do not agree with your assessment you can contest it.

First, request a meeting with the County Assessor. This in an informal meeting where will present you case for the assessment being wrong and request a reassessment.

Second, if you do not get satisfaction from the informal meeting with the Assessor, you can contact the County Clerk and request the forms to file for a formal hearing with the County Board of Equalization.

Third, if you are still unsatisfied you may contact the State Tax Commission in Jefferson City and appeal you assessment to the Commission. You have until September 30th or 30 days after the Board of Equalization makes their final ruling, whichever is later, to file your appeal with the Commission.

Large Increase in Your Assessment

What would cause your property assessment to suddenly increase by 25%, 50%, 100% or more?

The answer lays with the State Tax Commission:

Section 138.380 RSMo. It shall be the duty of the state tax commission, and the commissioners shall have authority, to perform all duties enumerated in this section and such other duties as may be provided by law:

(1)    To raise or lower the assessed valuation of any real or tangible personal property, including the power to raise or lower the assessed valuation of the real or tangible personal property of any individual, copartnership, company, association or corporation; provided, that before any such assessment is so raised, notice of the intention of the commission to raise such assessed valuation and of the time and place at which a hearing thereon will be held, shall be given to such individual, copartnership, company, association or corporation as provided in sections 138.460 and 138.470;

138.390. 1. The state tax commission shall equalize the valuation of real and tangible personal property among the several counties in the state in the following manner: with the abstracts of all the taxable property in the several counties of the state and the abstracts of the sales of real estate in such counties as returned by the respective county clerks and the assessor of the city of St. Louis, the commission shall classify all real estate situate in cities, towns, and villages, as town lots, and all other real estate as farming lands, and shall classify all tangible personal property as follows: banking corporations, railroad corporations, street railroad corporations, all other corporations, horses, mares and geldings, mules, asses and jennets, neat cattle, sheep, swine, goats, domesticated small animals and all other livestock, poultry, power machinery, farm implements, other tangible personal property.

2. The state tax commission shall equalize the valuation of each class or subclass of property thereof among the respective counties of the state in the following manner:

(1) It shall add to the valuation of each class, subclass, or portion thereof of the property, real or tangible personal, of each county which it believes to be valued below its real value in money such amount or percent as will increase the same in each case to its true value;

(2) It shall deduct from the valuation of each class, subclass, or portion thereof of the property, real or tangible personal, of each county which it believes to be valued above its real value in money such amount or percent as will reduce the same in each case to its true value.

What Has Happened?

The State Tax Commission has determined that Oregon County is being valued below its real value and has mandated that the County Assessor therefore increase the assessed valuation of all property in the county.

State Tax Commission

The Commission measures the accuracy of assessments in each county and works with assessors to promote an accurate and fair assessment program. It conducts seminars and training sessions for assessors and their staffs. The Commission also hears taxpayers’ appeals from the local Boards of Equalization, and is responsible for the statewide assessment of the property of railroads, airlines, pipelines, electric and telecommunication companies.

The State Tax Commission is an administrative agency under the direction of three commissioners who are appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate. The Commission is given the responsibility of ensuring the uniform and equitable assessment of all taxable tangible property in the state.

It certainly appears to me that the Legislature needs to take a strong hard look and how the State Tax Commission is setup and the power and authority over the taxpayers it has.

For an appointed bureaucratic commission to have near absolute authority over the level of personal property taxes seems wrong. If a commission of bureaucrats could theoretically tax you out of your property, is there any such thing as private property? Or are we just renting from the state?

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri is set to become the first state to spell out the type of eating disorder treatments that insurance companies must cover.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation this month to require insurers to cover eating disorders beyond the point of a person getting back to a certain weight.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, it’s the first bill in the nation to define such treatment.

Advocates say patients with eating disorders are kicked out of treatment prematurely, having gained weight but not having the underlying mental issues addressed.

Insurance companies who provide coverage for Missouri residents have resisted such a change, saying it could mean higher costs. But they struck a compromise with lawmakers on language to cover “medically necessary” treatments.

The law will take effect in August.