(Little Rock) (AP) – Opposition from Arkansas legislative leaders to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling lifting the ban on gay marriage nationwide has bubbled over into a war of words between the state’s legislative and executive branches.
An email to the Senate Republican caucus late Thursday from Sen. Jason Rapert, an outspoken opponent of gay marriage, was leaked to the media Friday. In the email, the Conway Republican admonishes Gov. Asa Hutchinson for saying he would determine what legislative action is needed on gay marriage.
Rapert wrote that Hutchinson “misunderstood” the separation of powers. Hutchinson says he was referring to his job to set the legislative agenda when considering a special session.
Hutchinson previously said he doesn’t intend to call for another special session this year.
(Ferguson) (AP) – A Ferguson resident hopes his lawsuit resurrects a recall petition effort meant to oust Ferguson’s mayor from office.
The St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners announced last week that a group trying to remove James Knowles III was 27 signatures shy of the 1,814 needed to force a recall election. It was the second time since May that the recall petitions fell short.
But the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that in the lawsuit filed Wednesday against the election board and Ferguson’s city clerk, Robert Hudgins says more than 28 of the signatures that the election board rejected last week are valid.
The suit asks for a judge to determine the signatures valid and to order Ferguson City Clerk Megan Asikainen to initiate a recall election.
A Ferguson spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Tony Rice, a leader of the Ground Level Support group that gathered the signatures, said it appeared some signatures were wrongly rejected because they were printed, not written in cursive. On Thursday, Rice displayed some petitions where signers printed their names in a jagged script, as if their hands were shaking at the time they signed.
“This is an elderly population,” Rice said. “People have strokes.”
Knowles, who’s white, was criticized for comments he made after last August’s shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed, by white police officer Darren Wilson.
Knowles has said he has no plans to step down.
by Juan Lozano and Jim Veturno, AP
HOUSTON (AP) — Legal experts say the federal hacking investigation of the St. Louis Cardinals could take longer if high-level executives are implicated in the breach of the Houston Astros’ database.
No charges have been filed in the ongoing probe, which legal experts believe is several months old and has likely involved scouring Astros servers for any IP addresses that might lead back to the Cardinals organization.
Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. has blamed the alleged hack on “roguish behavior” by a handful of individuals. An attorney for the team has said high-level executives were not involved in the scandal.
Former federal prosecutor Philip Hilder says if any “higher-ups” are implicated, that would require corroboration and extend the investigation’s duration.
If it’s just low-level employees, it could wrap up quickly.
(Jefferson City) – The Missouri State Highway Patrol has announced the results of aquatic law enforcement efforts.
The Highway Patrol worked in conjunction with the national “Operation Dry Water” campaign to detect impaired boat operators. Troopers conducted special operations over the past weekend to include sobriety checkpoints, saturations, and heightened awareness during normal patrols.
Despite less than desirable boating weather, troopers arrested a total of three people statewide for boating while intoxicated, contacted 543 vessels and 1,531 boaters, and issued 85 boating violation summonses and 588 warnings. Marine operations troopers also issued 137 summonses for non-boating violations during the 2015 Operation Dry Water weekend Juny 26-28.
This is the seventh year for the national effort to reduce impaired vessel operation by highlighting enforcement efforts.
Highway Patrol officials say special enforcement operations will continue throughout the summer months.
(West Plains) – Ozark Action will be celebrating the organization’s 50th anniversary with two open house events in Ozark County.
The first event will be on Wednesday, July 8 from 12-2 PM at the Gainesville Outreach Office, 526 3rd Street. The second event will be held August 28 from 11 AM to 1 PM at the Gainesville Head Start Center, 7886 Highway 5.
The public is invited to attend both events.
For more information on the events, call 417-256-6147 or visit www.oaiwp.org.
(West Plains) – Ozarks Medical Center will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 12:15 PM July 14 for the new home of the OMC Orthopaedic Clinic at the corner of Kentucky Avenue and Ninth Street.
At 6500 square feet, the new clinic will greatly increase the size of the current clinic facility at 1609 Porter Wagoner. OMC CEO Tom Keller said plans for the new facility include doubling the number of exam rooms, a more patient-friendly waiting room, imaging (x-ray) equipment, as well as a room for casting and physical therapy. A parking lot will adjoin the facility.
The OMC Orthopaedic Clinic has been serving the region since 2009, and is staffed by three board certified orthopaedic surgeons: Dr. David Denenny who began at OMC in 2009, Dr. James Rushford who began in 2014 and Dr. Susan Jolly who is joining OMC in June of this year.
RKL Construction Company in West Plains will serve as the construction manager for the building project. Bates and Associates of Springfield is the architectural firm.
Construction of the clinic is expected to be complete in spring 2016. The existing building on the corner of Kentucky Avenue and Ninth Street will be removed to prepare the site for new construction. It has belonged to OMC for some years and has been used as OMC office space. The current clinic location at 1609 Porter Wagoner is listed for sale by Westgate Carol Jones Realtors of West Plains. The clinic will continue to operate at 1609 Porter Wagoner until the new facility is ready for occupancy.
To reach the OMC Orthopaedic Clinic, call 417-256-1745.
(Eminence) – Ozark National Scenic Riverways will host the annual Alley Spring Independence Day celebration on Saturday, July 4, from 6-9 PM.
Organizers say the event commemorates the traditional picnic celebrations that were held at Alley Spring around the turn of the twentieth century, when the area was the social gathering place for local families.
Area residents are urged to bring the whole family and neighbors to enjoy musical entertainment by Birch Tree bluegrass musicians the Baker Family. Other events include old fashioned games and toys. Attendees are reminded to bring a lawn chair or blanket for the entertainment.
Funnel cakes and ice cream from the Spring Dipper will be available for purchase on the grounds, along with free watermelon and lemonade from ONSR.
Alley Spring is located five miles west of Eminence, Missouri, on State Route 106. For more information, call 573-226-3945 between 8:30 AM and 5 PM, or visit the park’s Facebook page or website at www.nps.gov/ozar.
(Mountain Home) – The second annual Mountain Home/BPW Women’s Expo will be Saturday, August 29 at The Sheid on the ASU-Mountain Home campus from 10 AM to 3 PM.
The Building Powerful Women Expo will highlight over 40 businesses in the Ozarks that are focused on women’s issues and/or are owned by area women. In addition to area businesses and artisans with great products and information, there will be short, informative demonstrations of fashion and how-to’s throughout the day. A number of prizes will also be given away during the event.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the annual BPW Scholarship fund, which awards scholarships to deserving college students from the area. In addition, a portion of the proceeds will go to the ASU-Mountain Home Scholarship fund.
If you are a business that is owned by or focuses on women and would like to have a booth at this event, contact Tink Albright at 870-656-4095 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Eight x 8 booth space is $150 or 8 x 16 for $250.
Sponsorships and in kind sponsors are also available for this year’s expo starting at $250.
Admission to the event on August 29 is $5. Advance tickets are $4 and can be purchased at the main branch of Integrity First Bank and all three Arvest locations.
For more information, visit the Mountain Home BPW page on Facebook.
(Springfield) – When considering energy-efficiency upgrades and improvements to a home, it is important to know where to start and what will offer the greatest return on investment.
A home energy audit can show where the home leaks or has inadequate insulation, as well as, to help prioritize heating, venting, air conditioning, plumbing fixture and appliance replacement. In Missouri, homeowners may qualify for a deduction on their personal income taxes.
In 2008, Senate Bill 1181 was signed into law, providing a Missouri personal income tax deduction for qualified home energy audits and the recommendations of those audits, beginning with the 2009 tax year. SB 601 passed in 2014 extended this tax deduction through December 31, 2020.
Any taxpayer who paid an individual certified by the Division of Energy to complete a home energy audit may deduct 100 percent of the costs incurred for the audit and the implementation of any energy efficiency recommendations made by the auditor. The maximum subtraction may not exceed $1,000 per year, for an individual or $2,000 per year for taxpayers filing combined returns.
For more information, contact Jeff Barber at 417-881-8909, by email at email@example.com, go online to extension.missouri.edu/greene.
(Melbourne) – After receiving a $50,000 donation from the late Gwenn A. Lea, Ozarka College has designated a portion of this gift for endowment scholarships that will benefit students in the new Aviation Program.
Ms. Lea, who was from Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas, passed away on March 1, 2015 and left funds to the College for scholarship purposes.
Ozarka College will offer two scholarships, endowed at $10,000 each, for students who have declared their major as Professional Pilot – Aviation at Ozarka College, to use for lab (flight) fees. Each scholarship recipient will be awarded $500 per semester, beginning in the Spring semester of the 2016 academic school year.
The deadline to apply for each of the Gwenn Lea Memorial Aviation Scholarships is October 1, 2015.
To apply for the Gwenn Lea Memorial Aviation Scholarships or for more information about enrolling as a student pilot in the Ozarka College Aviation program, please contact Nick Lenczycki, Ozarka College Director of Aviation, at 870-368-7926 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.