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(West Plains) – A variety of craft beers and specially-prepared foods will be available for tasting once again at this year’s West Plains BrewFest, which will be held this from 5:30-8 PM on Saturday, February 28, at the West Plains Civic Center Exhibit Hall.

This year’s event will feature a “Blues & Brews” theme, and attendees will have the opportunity to sample craft beers from a wide range of local and regional breweries including: Mother’s Brewing and Springfield Brewing of Springfield, Public House Brewing Company of Rolla, and Piney River Brewing of Bucyrus. Great Rivers Distributing will also feature specially-crafted beers from Abita Brewing of Abita Springs, Louisiana; Anheuser-Busch of St. Louis; Goose Island Beer of Chicago, Illinois; Mixx Tail and Sierra Nevada Brewing out of Chica, California. Other selections include Blue Moon & MillerCoors of Golden, Colorado, Boulevard Brewing of Kansas City, Kraftig of St. Louis, Lienenkugel Brewery of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, Colorado, Samuel Adams of Boston, and Traveler Beer Company out of Burlington, Vermont.

Wages Brewing out of West Plains will be the demonstrator, offering Home Brew.

Locally prepared food will be courtesy of Sole Café at the Shoe Factory Lofts, Skillets, Roper’s Saloon/Café 37, Ozark Pizza Company, Ozark Café, Johnny’s BBQ, and Almost Famous Grille and BBQ.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the West Plains Council on the Arts’ efforts to promote arts in the West Plains area, as well as fund the Gatewood Family Fine Arts Scholarship, which will be awarded to an area graduating high school senior planning to major in fine arts.

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door, with the first 250 people receiving a souvenir tasting glass.

For more information, go to www.facebook.com/WestPlainsBrewfest.

(Little Rock) (AP) – A “conscience-protection” proposal in Arkansas that critics call an attempt to sanction discrimination against gays and lesbians has failed before a legislative panel.

The Senate Judiciary Committee rejected the measure to ban any local or state laws or regulations that substantially burden religious beliefs unless a “compelling governmental interest” is proven. The measure, approved by the House, faced mounting criticism from businesses, local governments and advocacy groups. The bill’s sponsor said he wasn’t sure whether he’d try again.

Retail giant Wal-Mart had said the proposal sent the wrong message about its home state. Gov. Asa Hutchinson also expressed reservations about it.

Hutchinson allowed a separate measure, which bars local governments from expanding anti-discrimination ordinances to include sexual orientation or gender identity, to become law earlier this week without his signature.

(West Plains) – The city of West Plains has some job openings, according to city clerk Mallory Hawkins:

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More information can be found at www.westplains.net, or you can call city hall at 417-256-7176.

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(Washington) – Congressman Jason Smith was recently presented with the Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

Congressman Smith originally introduced the SCRUB Act in 2014, which he says would help fix the broken regulatory process by reducing cumbersome regulations for businesses. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses spend an average of $10,585 per employee each year to comply with federal regulations. For each household in America, the price tag of regulation is more than $15,000.

The award is given to members of Congress who advocate for policies that grow manufacturing and help American manufacturers succeed globally.

The Manufacturing Legislative Excellence award presentation was hosted by NAM member company Leggett & Platt, Inc. in Cape Girardeau, a manufacturing company that has been in Missouri for more than 130 years.

(West Plains) – The Ozarks Small Business Incubator will be holding a workshop on time management in the month of March. Executive director Heather Fisher says that the workshop, which is being put on by the University of Missouri Extension and Penmac, will take place at the Incubator:

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Online QuickBooks classes will also be offered:

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More information on these programs and others can be found at www.ozsbi.com

(Henderson) – The 30th Annual Cystic Fibrosis Buddy Bass Tournament will be held on Saturday, April 18 at Henderson, Arkansas.

Boats will launch at 7 AM, with the first place winner receiving a Bass Cat Vision Boat and Trailer, donated by Bass Cat Boats of Mountain Home, as well as $1500. Prize money will be awarded 2nd through 20th place. 21st to 40th places will receive gift bags of donated items.

The entry fee is $80 per boat. Entry forms can be downloaded at hope4cf.org. You can also call Dan Singletray at 417-256-2131 or Rick Frazier at 417-255-5100 for more information.

(West Plains) – A new date has been set for The Imaginary Theatre Company of the St. Louis Repertory Theatre’s production of “Robin Hood” in West Plains.

Emily Gibson, coordinator of theater and events for Missouri State University-West Plains’ University/Community Programs (U/CP) Department which is sponsoring the event, said the performance will take place at 7 PM March 24 in the West Plains Civic Center theater.

The production was rescheduled from February 20 due to inclement weather.  Tickets sold for the February 20 performance will still be honored on March 24.

Those who do not have tickets but would like to attend can still purchase them from the civic center box office. Tickets are $8 for adults and children age 13 and under, and Missouri State-West Plains students with a valid BearPass ID, will be admitted free.

The performance is being made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

For more information about U/CP activities and events, visit wp.missouristate.edu/ucp or call 417-255-7966.

(Jefferson City) – The Hartville FFA has received a $500 grant through the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

A total of 21 youth groups from across Missouri were awarded grants from the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s 2015 Building Our American Communities grant program. The Hartville FFA chapter was the only local group to receive a grant.

The $500 grant will be used for group projects, which may include upgrades or additions to existing facilities, grounds or buildings, such as fairgrounds, parks or community centers used by the organization.

4-H clubs and FFA chapters awarded grants this year must complete their projects no later than September 1, 2015.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Critics are arguing to the Missouri Supreme Court that two Missouri constitutional amendments guaranteeing the right to farm and right to bear arms misled voters.

Judges on Wednesday heard arguments challenging the proposals, which voters passed last year.

Since then, several citizens have sued Secretary of State Jason Kander and other state leaders saying summaries of the measures didn’t accurately describe the effect of the amendments.

For example, attorney Chuck Hatfield says the gun rights measure could allow concealed carry in many public places, such as football stadiums.

Defendants for the secretary of state and state of Missouri say there’s no proof voters were misled, and that critics should have challenged wording of the summaries before they went before voters.

(West Plains) – Representatives with the Department of Economic Development and Missouri Community Betterment will be meeting with West Plains city officials and others on Thursday.

An itiniary provided to Ozark Radio News states that city officials will welcome them around 10 AM Thursday, followed shortly by a tour of the city. Afterward, DED and MCB officials will meet with city officials to discuss a number of topics, including infrastructure needs, job loss, and commercial and industrial development.

Afterward, the group will meet with the West Plains Chamber of Commerce and Young Professionals Organization, and in the early afternoon, industrial leaders, including representatives from DRS, Caterpillar, Perennial Energy, Armstrong, and Regal Beloit.

After meetings with education and agricultural leaers, the meetings will culminate with an open meeting at the Ozarks Small Business Incubator at 3:30 PM. The public is invited to attend the meeting to hear feedback from the DED and the MCB on the city’s approaches to problems, and suggest programs that can be used to accomplish goals.