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(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.

(West Plains) – West Plains Schools preschool and kindergarten screening dates have been set for the 2015-2016 school year.

Preschool & Kindergarten Screenings at South Fork Elementary will be held on Friday, March 27 from 8 AM to 3:30 PM. Preschool and Kindergarten screenings at West Plains Elementary will be from 8 AM to 4 PM on Thursday, April 9.

Screenings will be by appointment only during the specified times. You may schedule with South Fork Elementary by calling the school at 417-256-2836 and you may schedule with West Plains Elementary at 417-256-6158. If you are unsure which school your child will attend, please contact the Elementary Education Office at 417-256-6158.

Children entering preschool must be age 4 before August 1 of this year, and children entering kindergarten must be age 5.

Parents or guardians must bring a birth certificate for the child, immunization record, Social Security number, proof of residency, information about allergies or special conditions, physician’s phone number, and court order (if applicable) for the child entering preschool or kindergarten.

(Jefferson City) – The state of Missouri will hold Severe Weather Awareness Week March 2-6, and urges residents to be prepared for storms. Brett Stevens has more:

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(Springfield) – As severe winter weather begins to clear and it is considered safe to travel, the American Red Cross is asking all eligible blood and platelet donors to make an appointment to donate.

The recent severe winter weather forced the cancellation of over 30 Red Cross blood drives in the Greater Ozarks Services Region, resulting in the shortfall of nearly 900 blood and platelet donations since February 16. Red Cross officials say that blood donors of all types – especially those with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood – and platelet donors are needed.

To schedule an appointment to donate, download the Blood Donor App on your smart phone, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

(Houston) – The Texas County Health Department has released the results of their requested water tests for the year 2014.

During the year, department collected a total of 118 water samples, which were sent to the state lab for bacteria testing. 74 samples (62%) were found to be safe with no bacteria present. 45 samples (38%) had coliform bacteria present and are considered unsatisfactory for drinking purposes. 8 samples had the coliform bacteria along with E. coli bacteria present, which could indicate the contamination came from human sewage or livestock wastes.

Environmental health specialist Ronnie Gaston told Ozark Radio News that the samples were collected from private wells where the person has requested water testing and from businesses that are on private water wells. Public water supplies are regulated by Department of Natural Resources and samples are required to be analyzed monthly for bacteria contamination.

Gaston added that if you are having chronic gastrointestinal issues it would be a good idea to test your private water supply to attempt to eliminate the water as a potential source of the ailment. Another good reason to ask for private well water testing would be issues with water clarity, especially after it rains. Another good reason for testing would be for people who may have compromised immune systems, like the very young, the elderly, and those with cancer or those undergoing cancer treatment.

If you have questions on private well water, please feel free to contact Gaston at the Texas County Health Department at 417-967-4131.

(Jefferson City) – This year’s attempt to change student transfer laws continue in the Missouri Senate.

Most of the time spent last week was on Senate Bill 1, which would modify provisions relating to elementary and secondary education. Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale) offered an amendment dealing with annual report scores and charter schools:

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That amendment passed. Sen. Scott Sifton (D-Affton) also offered an amendment dealing with vacant school buildings and districts:

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Debate is expected to resume on the measure this week.

Offutt

Cory and Samantha Offutt

(Houston) – Texas County Memorial Hospital has announced that they have signed a three-year contract with family medicine physician and obstetrician Cory L. S. Offutt, MD.

Offutt is a second-year resident at the family medicine residency program at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, and he will join TCMH as a full-time employed physician in the summer of 2016 after his residency program ends. Offutt and his wife, Samantha, plan to relocate to Texas County next summer.

Offutt will be based at the TCMH Medical Complex in Houston, but he also plans to provide an outreach clinic at the TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic where TCMH does not currently have a full-time physician.

Currently Tracey Arwood, CNM provides obstetrical and women’s healthcare at the TCMH Mountain Grove Clinic and delivers her patients at TCMH.

Dr. Cory Offutt, of Lebanon, has an undergraduate degree in cell and molecular biology from Missouri State University in Springfield. He attended medical school at the University Of Missouri Columbia School Of Medicine.

Samantha Offutt, of Harrison, AR, is pursuing a Master’s degree in graphic design. The Offutt’s plan to reside in Texas County.

(Mountain Home) – The Donald W. Reynolds Library Serving Baxter County will be the host of the “Here, There, Everywhere” exhibit from NASA at the end of the month.

The exhibit explains how the universal laws of physics are revealed through everyday occurrences on Earth. Concepts featured include shadows, wind, electric discharge, bow waves, lensing, and the collisional excitation of atoms. The exhibit will be open to the public during regular Library hours February 28 through March 31.

Live demo days will take place March 17 from 4-7 PM, and March 21 from 10 AM to 2 PM. Other events in March will include “Build your own seismograph” March 7 at 1 PM, “solar system geocaching” at 1 PM March 14, a 3D printing workshop March 15 at 2 PM, a star gazing event at 6 PM March 20, and a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope on March 21 at 10:30 AM.

“Here, There, and Everywhere” has been conceived, designed, and generated by a team at the Chandra X-ray Center, which is part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA. The Chandra X-ray Observatory is NASA’s flagship mission for X-ray astronomy and one of the “Great Observatories” along with the Hubble Space Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the now de-orbited Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.

Library patrons are also invited to participate in a variety of programs designed by Library staff to correlate with the exhibit concepts.

For information about all Library programs visit the Library’s website at www.baxlib.org. The Donald W. Reynolds Library Serving Baxter County is located at 300 Library Hill, Mountain Home, AR.