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(West Plains) – A Dutch oven cooking workshop has been announced for the Old Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival.

The workshop, which is scheduled for 10 AM on Saturday, June 20, will be presented by members of the Ozarks Dutch Oven Cooking group, and will be located on the West Plains Civic Center’s west lawn. All are invited to attend and learn how to cook in Dutch ovens prior to the annual cooking competition.

The workshop will be led by Dennis Slane, co-Founder of the Ozarks Dutch Oven Cooking Group. Slane began actively preparing foods in cast iron Camp Dutch Ovens in 1996 as part of Boy Scout Adult Leader Training, and began teaching basic Dutch oven cooking skills classes as outreach with the Federation of Fly-Fishers – Southern Council for groups in 5 surrounding states. In 2011 after attending a competitive Dutch Oven cooking competition in Wichita, Kansas he co-founded the Ozarks Dutch Oven Group with Barry Trimmell.

After the workshop, the art of Dutch oven cooking will again be a featured event at the annual Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival. Competitors will be asked to try their hand at main dishes and/or desserts made from scratch in this annual event. There will be no entry fee for participants. The competition is sponsored by the Ozark Mountain Long Rifle Club.

Participants have until 2 PM to enter; judging will begin at 4:30 PM. Winners will be announced about 5 PM that day at the What’s Cookin’ stage.

Prizes will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place finishers in each category, and audience members are encouraged to sample the chefs’ results following the awards ceremony.

For more information about the event, including entry information, contact Larry Lindeman at 417-255-3977, or e-mail the West Plains Council on the Arts at info@westplainsarts.org. Entry forms and flyers are available from the Festival website at www.oldtimemusic.org.

The Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival is the signature event for West Plains, and seeks to celebrate, preserve, pass on and nurture an appreciation of the old-time music and folk life traditions distinctive to the Ozark Highlands. For more information on the festival e-mail info@westplainsarts.org, visit the website at http://www.oldtimemusic.org, or find the festival page on Facebook.

(West Plains) – With May halfway over, many schools are gearing up for summer school, and Missouri State University-West Plains is no different.

MSU-West Plains Chancellor Dr. Drew Bennett spoke with Ozark Radio News and says that taking advantage of summer school is a great way to save money, with students saving an average of $700 versus taking the courses in other ways:

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MSU-West Plains held its commencement ceremony this past Saturday.

(West Plains) – The Missouri Humanities Council has awarded a $7500 grant to Trillium Trust in support of their high-tech history project.

Trillium Trust, a privately held non-profit corporation based in West Plains, Missouri, is the caretaker of the “Unlock the Ozarks”, a history project that seeks to bring classic Ozarks storytelling into the modern age by creating markers across the Ozarks plateau that contain a Quick Response (QR) code that can be scanned with a smartphone or similar mobile device. When a user scans the code, they are taken to a webpage dedicated to the place they are standing, which will include historical photographs, audio recordings, video, and stories. Several Keys are already in place in downtown West Plains and downtown Gainesville, Missouri as well across the south-central Missouri Ozarks.

The funds from the Missouri Humanities Council will go toward a project designed to commemorate, and educate, people on the historic journey of Henry Schoolcraft. In late 1818 and early 1819, Schoolcraft journeyed across the Ozarks plateau looking for mining opportunities. His journal became the premier source of information on the Ozarks before it was changed by large populations or industry. 50 Keys will be placed along the path of his journey, often at locations where he camped or made notes in his journal, with a number of Ozarks experts speaking on and giving information about the journey.

For more information about Unlock the Ozarks or Trillium Trust, visit www.UnlockTheOzarks.org or www.TrilliumTrust.org.

by Summer Ballentine, AP

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced Tuesday that insurer Aetna has agreed to pay $4.5 million for violations of state law that included paying for elective abortions when the women were not eligible under their policies, marking the largest insurance penalty in state history.

In documents outlining the agreement, the insurance company said it covered elective abortions for women who did not pay for additional insurance for those abortions. A 1983 Missouri law requires that women buy optional insurance for elective abortion coverage.

Aetna also reported that it violated a 2010 law mandating certain treatments for autism be paid for.

Spokesman Rohan Hutchings said the company notified members that the autism insurance was optional, but did not require members accept or deny the additional coverage. Hutchings said Aetna is reviewing claims of those potentially affected, which he said do not include individuals on Medicare and Medicaid, and will pay for claims that were incorrectly denied at 9 percent interest.

Hutchings said the company “takes responsibility,” and that “when we make mistakes, we do take steps to correct our errors.”

Aetna now covers autism treatments in all policies, Hutchings said, and claims for abortions undergo additional vetting.

The settlement follows a $1.5 million fine against the company in 2012 for similar claims that it violated state laws on health coverage of autism and abortions, as well as contraceptives.

Since then, Aetna reported providing nine elective abortions to women without additional insurance riders despite agreeing in the 2012 settlement to comply with those laws. The company also failed to fully audit its compliance of state insurance laws, which it said meant Aetna continued to violate state mandated coverage for autism treatments.

Aetna faces a three-year monitoring period as part of the new settlement. The Department of Insurance can stop Aetna from conducting business in Missouri for as long as a year if the company continues to violate state laws outlined in earlier agreements.

The department will waive $1.5 million of the $4.5 million fee if Aetna complies with state law and other stipulations in that period.

by Andrew DeMillo, AP

(Little Rock) (AP) -Arkansas highways officials say more than $50 million in federal funding is at risk after the state Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors must prove intent in driving while intoxicated cases, and hope legislators can address the issue during next week’s special session.

A spokesman for the Highway and Transportation Department on Tuesday said officials believe a change in state law is needed so the state will still be eligible to receive certain federal highway funds. Spokesman Danny Straessle said the department believes the state risks losing those funds after last month’s state Supreme Court ruling reversing a Springdale man’s driving while intoxicated conviction.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s spokesman said the change is one of several items he’s considering putting on the agenda for the special session.

(Jefferson City) – The Missouri Legislature wrapped up the first session of the current General Assembly on Friday, and discussed some of the priority legislation passed during the session.

Senator Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, discusses Senate Bill 12, which looks to improve Missouri’s dairy and $12.5 billion-a-year agriculture industries through insurance subsidies, scholarships, eased restrictions, and other provisions meant to help crop and livestock farmers:

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Also speaking was Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, who said that the legislature looked to balance some discrepancies in state funding:

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State Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, also talked about some of the tax code changes made this year, which came after a tax cut was passed last year:

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The session ended on Friday, May 15 at 6 PM.

Alderman

Kayla Alderman

Weedman

Eli Weedman

(Mountain Home) – Two Baxter County residents were arrested earlier this month on multiple felony charges.

Eli Weedman and Kayla Alderman were arrested on Wednesday, May 13, after an investigator with the Mountain Home Police Department received information that Weedman, a parole absconder, was at an area home.

Sheriff’s department investigators, Mountain Home investigators, and agents with the 14th Judicial District Drug Task Force went to the residence off of Baxter County Road 903 to search for Weedman, and found Kayla Alderman, who reportedly told officers that he was not at the residence. After being told that officers could hear a male voice inside, Alderman granted entrance to the residence, and officers then found Weedman and arrested him. While inside the residence, officers observed drugs and drug paraphernalia in plain view.

Investigators then obtained a search warrant for the residence. During a subsequent search pursuant to the warrant, officers found approximately 21.4 grams of methamphetamine, approximately 6 ounces of marijuana, one morphine pill, and numerous articles of drug paraphernalia.

Weedman and Alderman were both charged with felony possession of methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance, three counts of felony possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession in proximity to a church. Weedman and Alderman were held at report time on $75,00 bond each, and are both scheduled to appear in court May 28.

(Mountain Grove) – The deadline for signing up for the Mountain Grove city-wide yard sale is fast approaching.

The deadline will be this coming Friday, May 22 at 3 PM. The yard sale will be Saturday, June 6.

The cost is $2 to sign up, which includes getting your yard sale on the city yard sale map. You can register at the Mountain Grove Chamber of Commerce office at 120 E. 9th Street between the hours of 9 AM and 3 PM, or you can mail your entry to the Chamber office.

For more information call the chamber office at 41-926-4135.

(Melbourne) – The Ozarka College Foundation has selected Molly Carpenter of Cherokee Village to serve on the foundation board of directors.

Board members serve a five-year term and work collectively to support Ozarka College in their efforts to provide life-changing experiences to individuals through education. In addition, foundation members serve in a public relations capacity to represent Ozarka College in their individual communities.

Carpenter is the Director of Marketing and Public Relations and is a fourth generation community banker at FNBC Bank. Prior to joining FNBC Bank in 2014, she worked at Ozarka College in the Public Relations Office and as director of the Ash Flat campus.

Carpenter is an active member of numerous community and professional organizations, including the Quad Cities Rotary Club, where she serves as president and in 2014 was recognized as Rotarian of the Year, the Rotary Club District 6150 Leadership Academy Board of Directors, is a Leadership Academy Class III graduate, and has been named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International Foundation. She has also been active in the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR), and Arkansas Community Colleges (ACC).

Carpenter, a native of Ash Flat and Highland High School alum, holds a bachelor of science in journalism from Arkansas State University, where she served as editor-in-chief of the University’s award-winning publication The Herald. She will complete her Master of Business Administration in Leadership and Ethics from John Brown University in June 2015, and will be a member of the University of Colorado in Boulder’s Graduate School of Banking Class of 2017.

by David A Lieb, AP

FILE - In this May 15, 2015 file photo, Todd Richardson raises his hand to be sworn in by state Supreme Court judge Patricia Breckenridge as the new Missouri House Speaker in Jefferson City, Mo. Richardson, who took over for John Diehl, who resigned in disgrace after acknowledging he had exchanged sexually suggestive text messages with a 19-year-old Capitol intern, acknowledges that Missouri Republicans have had a rough year _ but believes they can rebound. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

FILE – In this May 15, 2015 file photo, Todd Richardson raises his hand to be sworn in by state Supreme Court judge Patricia Breckenridge as the new Missouri House Speaker in Jefferson City, Mo. Richardson, who took over for John Diehl, who resigned in disgrace after acknowledging he had exchanged sexually suggestive text messages with a 19-year-old Capitol intern, acknowledges that Missouri Republicans have had a rough year _ but believes they can rebound. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

(Jefferson City) (AP) – In many regards, Missouri Republicans have seldom been more powerful than they currently are, well positioned to carry out their part in the conservative movement sweeping the Midwest and South.

They hold commanding majorities in the Legislature and have helped make this historic swing state Republican-leaning territory in presidential politics.

Yet they seem beset by troubles that have all the makings of a made-for-TV drama, and have left some wondering whether the turmoil will hamper the party’s effectiveness in the future. There have been sexual indiscretions. Political mud-slinging and backstabbing. A high-profile candidate brought down by a verbal gaffe. Allegations of religious prejudice. Even a pair of tragic suicides.

The latest fallen star is Missouri House Speaker John Diehl, who resigned in disgrace last week after acknowledging that he had exchanged sexually suggestive text messages with a 19-year-old Capitol intern.

The saga has left people asking: “What’s going on with Missouri and the Republican Party in that state?” said Dave Robertson, a political science professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

There is no simple answer. Some of the party’s woes stem from poor decisions by individual members – the types of things that could happen anyplace. Other problems have revealed internal divisions that have been amplified as the GOP’s ranks have grown, providing a cautionary example to majority parties elsewhere.

The larger question is whether Republicans can recover in time for the pivotal 2016 elections, which feature contests for president, Senate, governor and most of the state’s executive offices. A Republican presidential candidate is unlikely to win without carrying Missouri. And without winning the governor’s mansion – which Democrats have held for 18 of the past 22 years – Republicans may not be able to enact some of their priorities, such as a right-to-work law limiting union powers.

“Missouri is a very contested state, and the last thing you want is an image that seems to be one-sided … a negative image that is restricted to one party,” said Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida, who has seen some of the unflattering Missouri headlines from afar.

So extensive was the disarray during the sexting scandal last week that the House cancelled all business on its penultimate day. But it still had a more productive final week than the Senate, where GOP leaders chose to quit early rather than endure a filibuster from Democrats protesting their management. Legislators passed nearly a third fewer bills than last year.

“Obviously, over the past weeks and months, it has been a rather difficult session at times for a variety of reasons,” said new House Speaker Todd Richardson, who took over for Diehl.

Missouri Republicans have at times been split among a moderate, business-oriented wing that has traditionally provided its financial base and a more conservative, tea-party element.

“That deep division is nationwide,” Robertson said. But the factions “may be more closely balanced here … so the explosiveness may be a little bit more pronounced.”

Heading into the 2012 elections, Republicans figured to have a good shot at unseating Missouri freshman Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. But Todd Akin, the strongly conservative congressmen who won the GOP primary, doomed his challenge by telling a TV interviewer that women’s bodies have ways of preventing pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.” Big Republican donors abandoned him, and he lost badly to McCaskill.

Similar GOP chasms were revealed in February, when State Auditor Tom Schweich fatally shot himself just weeks after declaring his candidacy for governor. A Republican operative already had aired a negative radio ad mocking Schweich’s physical appearance, and it seemed to Schweich that other Republicans were aligning to oppose him. Schweich had wanted to go public with allegations that the new state GOP chairman had led an anti-Semitic whispering campaign against him.

A month after Schweich’s suicide, his former auditor’s office spokesman fatally shot himself.

The deaths shook Republican politics like an earthquake.

Diehl’s resignation amid a sexting scandal was like a political aftershock. On the session’s last day, Republicans had to reshuffle their leadership at a time they would have been concentrating on legislation.

But Richardson believes Republicans can rebound. Since Schweich’s death, several Republicans have been eyeing a bid for governor, creating a potentially multi-way primary. And Republicans already have candidates for each of the other statewide offices.

“These transitory things – that make the paper and are sensational – make you think that something significant is happening to the landscape when maybe it isn’t,” said Woody Cozad, a lobbyist who served as Missouri Republican Party chairman from 1995 to 1999. “I don’t see anything that’s happened in all of what’s gone on … that actually reduces our chances of winning office.”