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(ORN photo)

(ORN photo)

(West Plains) – An animal is being named as a possible cause of a Thursday car fire in West Plains.

The call came in to the West Plains Fire Department around 10:45 AM of smoke billowing out of a car parked at Bradford Pharmacy off of Kentucky Ave. in West Plains. Crews arrived shortly afterward and extinguished the fire, which caused extensive damage to the vehicle.

At this time, the official cause of the fire is unknown, however, crews at the scene told Ozark Radio News that a rat was seen falling out from underneath the car shortly after they arrived, and that the animal may have caused the fire by chewing through wires near the engine block.

Thankfully, no injuries were reported.

(ORN photo)

(ORN photo)

(West Plains) – A West Plains resident was killed Wednesday afternoon after a two-vehicle accident near West Plains.

The accident happened at 4:35 PM a mile north of the Junction Hill School on Route 17, when the southbound pick-up truck driven by 32-year-old Kevin Stephens of Pomona crossed the center line and hit a van driven by 32-year-old David Riley of West Plains head-on.

Riley was pronounced dead at the scene. Stephens was taken by air ambulance to Cox Hospital in Springfield with serious injuries.

The death marks fatality number 4 for Troop G for this year, compared to 4 at this time last year.

Tammy Hathcock (Drury photo)

Tammy Hathcock (Drury photo)

(West Plains) – The investigation into a shooting that took place near West Plains last week continues, according to Howell County Sheriff Mike Shannon.

He spoke with Ozark Radio News and told us that a number of agencies have been working on the case, and thanked them for their assistance:

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Many people are confused as to why information on a suspect or motive hasn’t been released. Sheriff Shannon says that it’s a matter of playing their cards right:

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The incident happened April 13 at the victim’s home on CR 6300, where an unknown assailant shot Tammy Hathcock, an employee with Drury University in Thayer and West Plains, multiple times. Hathcock was able to get into her vehicle and drive to Fairview School for help. Hathcock was taken to a hospital in Springfield for treatment.

(West Plains photo)

(West Plains photo)

(West Plains) – The public is invited to honor five national celebrities that were either born or raised in West Plains at an unveiling of a mural and museum during an official ceremony at the the Ozark Heritage Welcome Center on south Highway 63 West Plains at 1 PM Wednesday, May 13.

The “West Plains Wall of Fame” project, supported by the tourism board and the city, is meant to pay homage to the contributions of Jan Howard, Porter Wagoner, Preacher Roe, Bill Virdon and Dick Van Dyke and their impacts on the national stage.

A mural painted by local artist Michael McClure depicts the five local legends performing in their primes on the south interior wall of the welcome center, while two glass display cases will showcase artifacts from their careers. City officials say many of the items have been donated personally by the individuals or from family members.

The ceremony is expected to include some special dignitaries, including Jan Howard and Bill Virdon, along with other family members and friends.

For more information, people may contact the Welcome Center at 417-256-8835.

Onescu (Springfield Police Department)

Ashley Onescu (Springfield Police Department)

(Fordland) (AP) – Authorities say the skeletal remains of a missing Springfield woman have been discovered near Fordland.

The Webster County sheriff tells the Springfield News-Leader the body of 22-year-old Ashley Onescu was found Sunday. She had been missing since June and was last seen getting into a green vehicle with two men.

The sheriff said that her death is considered suspicious. Foul play is believed to be involved in her death.

Springfield police say evidence from the case will be turned over to the county sheriff’s office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol to help with their homicide investigation.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call authorities.

(Mountain Home) – The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office and the Baxter County Coroner’s Office are once again participating in the “National Take-Back Day” on Saturday, April 25.

The endeavor, which will take place from 10 AM to 2 PM at the Donald W. Reynolds Library in Mountain Home, seeks to remove unwanted, unused, and potentially dangerous controlled substances and over the counter medications from area medicine cabinets.

The National Take-Back Day provides an opportunity for the public to dispose of expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications. These drugs are a potential source of supply for illegal use and an unacceptable risk to children and to public health and safety. This event is intended to bring national focus to the issue of increasing pharmaceutical controlled substance abuse.

In addition to the library event, people may use the secure sheriff’s office drop box at 206 West 8th Street, which is available around the clock, and is under video surveillance.

(Little Rock) (AP) – The Arkansas Senate has changed its rules to allow the chamber’s president to seek a second term.

The Senate approved the rule change Wednesday before formally adjourning this year’s legislative session. Senate President Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang has said he hasn’t decided whether to seek another term leading the 35-member body.

Dismang, a Republican, said he doesn’t have a timeline for deciding whether to run again.

House Speaker Jeremy Gillam earlier this month said he plans to seek another term leading that chamber.

(West Plains) – Plans are underway for the annual Howell County Relay For Life, which will be held in June this year at a new location, and with a new time.

Event chair Ashley Walker spoke with Ozark Radio News and told us about the event, and the location and date change:

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She also talked about the shorter length for the event:

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She added that sign-ups are currently underway:

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For more information on the event, call Walker at 417-293-9507 or visit relayforlife.org/howellcomo.

(Jefferson City) – Missouri senators returned to the Capitol on Monday afternoon to discuss several measures, including Senate Bill 400, which would that the state could not require maintenance of licensing or any form of specialty board certification to practice medicine. Senator Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, sponsors the proposal:

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During debate, Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, shares her concerns about the measure:

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Senate Bill 400 has been set aside for future debate.

Missouri senators also gave preliminary approval to Senate Bill 352, a measure that would allow the state attorney general to institute civil and criminal proceedings relating to criminal enterprises and racketeering. Senator Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, is the bill sponsor:

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During discussion, Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, tells the sponsor about a situation involving part of her district that might relate to this proposal:

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Senate Bill 352 has received first-round Missouri Senate approval and still needs another affirmative vote before it could move to the Missouri House of Representatives for similar consideration.

Mark L. Kennedy receives the Honorary State FFA Degree during the 87th Missouri FFA Convention, April 16-17, in Columbia, Mo. Kennedy is pictured with the newly selected Missouri FFA President Adam Kirby. (provided)

Mark L. Kennedy receives the Honorary State FFA Degree during the 87th Missouri FFA Convention, April 16-17, in Columbia, Mo. Kennedy is pictured with the newly selected Missouri FFA President Adam Kirby. (provided)

(Jefferson City) – Three Houston residents received an honorary Missouri FFA degree at at the 87th Missouri FFA Convention.

The Missouri FFA Association recognizes Honorary State FFA Degree recipients each year at its annual state convention for their valuable efforts and contributions to the FFA organization and its members. Those eligible to receive the Honorary FFA Degree include farmers, school superintendents, principals, members of the board of education, chapter advisors, teachers, staff members in agricultural education, business professionals and others who are helping to advance agricultural education and the FFA while rendering outstanding service.

Mark Kennedy, who retired in 2014 after more than 35 years of service as a state grassland specialist with the United States Department of Agriculture, and Richard and Shirley Best, who have assisted local FFA chapters by hosting area dairy cattle evaluation career development events at their farm over the years, were the three recipients.

Richard D. and Shirley Best receive the Honorary State FFA Degree during the 87th Missouri FFA Convention, April 16-17, in Columbia, Mo. Pictured with the Bests is newly selected Missouri FFA 1st Vice President Brandelyn Martin. (provided)

Richard D. and Shirley Best receive the Honorary State FFA Degree during the 87th Missouri FFA Convention, April 16-17, in Columbia, Mo. Pictured with the Bests is newly selected Missouri FFA 1st Vice President Brandelyn Martin. (provided)

All three also have FFA experience: Kennedy was active in FFA and has supported local FFA chapters throughout his career, while Richard Best was a four-year member of FFA in high school and served in leadership roles. Shirley was active in 4-H for nine years as women were not permitted to be FFA members in the 1960s. The Bests also provided cattle for CDEs at the Missouri State Fair and Cabool Farm Fest. The fair barn built for use by FFA and 4-H at the Texas County Fairgrounds was funded in part by a donation from the Bests.