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Memorial Day is for Honoring, Remembering

Memorial Day is often called and thought of as the unofficial start to summer. However, Memorial Day is not about barbecues and lounging by the pool, it is about honoring the sacrifices brave men and women have made in the name of freedom.

As a veteran myself I always appreciate the messages and thanks on Veteran’s Day; however, Memorial Day has a special reverence. These are the brave soldiers who never returned home to hug their family. These fine citizens we honor and remember today are the elite, the best of the best. They paid the ultimate price to ensure you and I had the freedoms we so enjoy.

I have long enjoyed this poem and feel it sums up what a veteran is and what they do for each of us:

“It is the veteran,
Not the preacher,
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the veteran,
Not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the veteran,
Not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the veteran,
Not the campus organizer,
Who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the veteran,
Not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the veteran,
Not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the  veteran,
Who Salutes the Flag,
It is the veteran,
Who serves Under the Flag.”

I do hope you will take a moment to remember and honor those who have so selflessly given their lives for us, not only this Memorial Day weekend, but every day.

As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.

(Branson) (AP) – A big sinkhole discovered Friday near the driving range of a southwest Missouri golf course is attracting the attention of geological experts.

The hole, which is 80 feet wide and 35 feet deep in some places, was created by two separate sinkholes that formed near the entrance to Top of the Rock golf course near the resort town of Branson, Martin MacDonald, conservation director for Bass Pro Shops, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

The Jack Nicklaus-designed par-3 course is part of the Bass Pro Shops-owned Big Cedar Lodge complex and hosted a Champions Tour event last month. The sinkhole isn’t near the main course and won’t affect play, MacDonald said.

Geologists say such sinkholes are fairly common in the Ozarks because of its karst topography, a feature in which water is constantly circulating through bedrock below the ground. That’s why the region has so many sinkholes and caves, including Lost Canyon Cave, an attraction at the Big Cedar complex, MacDonald said.

The initial focus Friday was ensuring the safety of the public and facilities, none of which were in danger, geological engineer Gary Pendergrass said. Next week, engineers will conduct a more in-depth investigation to determine the best way to replace the 7,000 cubic feet of material displaced by the hole, he said.

But before the hole is filled, it will be explored if there’s anything to learn about karst topography.

“From the Top of the Rock perspective, it’s not what you want to have,” MacDonald said. “But we’ll see if we’ve got anything unique down there.”

Doug Gouzie, associate professor of geology and sinkhole expert at Missouri State University, told the Springfield News-Leader that the sinkhole could have been caused by an undiscovered cave and that recent heavy rains likely played a huge role.


Modena Jones (center) was names Texas County Memorial Hospital Nurse Assistant of the Year.  She is shown here with Wes Murray, TCMH CEO, and Doretta Todd Willis, TCMH CNO. (provided)

Modena Jones (center) was names Texas County Memorial Hospital Nurse Assistant of the Year. She is shown here with Wes Murray, TCMH CEO, and Doretta Todd Willis, TCMH CNO. (provided)

Melanie Evans (center) was named Texas County Memorial Hospital’s Nurse of Year.  She is shown here with Wes Murray, TCMH CEO, and Doretta Todd Willis, TCMH CNO. (provided)

Melanie Evans (center) was named Texas County Memorial Hospital’s Nurse of Year. She is shown here with Wes Murray, TCMH CEO, and Doretta Todd Willis, TCMH CNO. (provided)

(Houston) – In a special recognition event for all the nurses and certified nurse assistants (CNAs) that work at Texas County Memorial Hospital, a nurse and a CNA were chosen for special honors.

Texas County Memorial Hospital has named Melanie Evans of Houston as the 2015 TCMH Nurses of the Year and Modena Jones of Mountain Grove as the 2015 TCMH CNA of the Year.

Evans, a registered nurse at TCMH Hospice of Care, has been employed by the hospital for eight years.

Owens explained that Evans works about four days a week for Hospice of Care and is scheduled weekly to work as a nurse in another TCMH department.

Evans is also one of few nurses at TCMH that has peripherally inserted catheter (PIC) line certification. Certain patients receive a PIC line because they require long-time intravenous (IV) usage or they cannot receive a regular IV.

Jones is a certified nurse assistant in the TCMH medical surgical department, and she has worked at TCMH for 10 years. Sawyer described Jones as a well-rounded CNA that provides “great customer service and gets done every job that needs to be done”.

The nurse and CNA of the year received $250 cash, a plaque, an engraved crystal trophy and fresh flowers.

Eighteen nurses and 5 CNAs from nursing departments throughout TCMH were nominees for the annual nursing awards. TCMH nurses and CNAs were nominated by hospital managers, physicians and fellow staff members for the annual TCMH Nurse of the Year and TCMH CNA of the Year awards. The TCMH nurse managers chose Evans and Jones as the 2015 nursing honorees.

TCMH also recognized each nominee with a framed certificate.

Also during the week, a mandatory nursing skills lab was provided for the nursing staff. Eleven stations provided education—some of which was hands on—on topics such as foley catheter care, patient safety, customer service, wound care and pharmacology.

Scrubs and Beyond of St. Louis came to TCMH to allow nurses and other employees the opportunity to shop for uniforms during the day.



(Melbourne) – Ozarka Kids Academy assisted with the planting of trees during the city of Melbourne’s Arbor Day Celebration. The celebration took place on April 30, 2015, at Ozarka College in Melbourne, Arkansas.

Prior to the ceremony, students of the Kids Academy learned about the different parts of a tree, how trees are important to our environment, and they drew pictures that were showcased during the ceremony. Additionally, the students also enjoyed a special appearance by Smokey the Bear!

*Photo Caption: Students from Ozarka Kids Academy assist with the planting of trees during Melbourne’s Arbor Day Celebration.

from the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office

The Sheriff’s Office is notifying the public that a Level 2 Registered Sex Offender (moderate risk to re-offend with community notification justified) has changed addresses and moved to a new location in Baxter County.

NAME:                       THEODORE JOHN CHEEVER

DATE OF BIRTH:   09/18/1988

OLD ADDRESS:      236 Garden Terrace, #2
Mountain Home, Arkansas 72653

NEW ADDRESS:     1414 Benton Street
Mountain Home, Arkansas 72653

The offender was convicted of two counts of Sexual Assault in the Second Degree on 10/29/2008.  Documentation indicates these offenses involved the offender engaging in sexual contact with two 13 year old females.  Community notification is justified due to the young age of the victims at the time the offense occurred.

This person is not wanted by law enforcement at this time.  This notification is not intended to increase fear; rather it is our belief that an informed public is a safer public.  This information cannot be used to threaten, intimidate, or harass Registered Sex Offenders.  Citizen abuse will not be tolerated.  Such abuse could potentially end law enforcement’s ability to do community notification.

by David Pitt, AP

In this file photo, scientists test bird eggs for avian flu in 2010. (ShutterStock)

In this file photo, scientists test bird eggs for avian flu in 2010. (ShutterStock)

(Des Moines) (AP) – Egg prices surged to a record on Friday, a month after bird flu was first detected in the chicken flock in Iowa, the nation’s leading egg producer.

Midwest large eggs reached $2.32 a dozen.

Rick Brown, a senior vice president for Urner Barry, a commodity market analyst says that’s a 95 percent increase in the month since bird flu first hit Iowa chickens. He says the previous record was $2.27 set on Dec 4.

Eggs used to make ice cream, mayonnaise and other processed foods set a record Friday of $2.13 a dozen, up 238 percent from the selling price of April 22 around the date Iowa’s first chicken farm tested positive.

More than 21 million of Iowa’s egg-laying hens have been killed.

(Marshfield) (AP) – A southwest Missouri man is charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 22-year-old Springfield woman.

The Webster County Prosecuting Attorney on Friday charged Kevin Newman in the death of Ashley Onescu. She was last seen June 30, 2014, in Springfield getting into a car with two men she knew. Mushroom hunters found her remains outside Fordland last month.

Newman is currently jailed in Greene County on unrelated charges. His bail is set at $1 million.

Online court records do not indicate that Newman has an attorney.


(Jefferson City) (AP) – A Missouri man sentenced to life without parole for marijuana-related offenses is eligible for parole Friday after Gov. Jay Nixon commuted his sentence.

Nixon’s action means 62-year-old Jeff Mizanskey will be eligible for parole immediately. Mizanskey has served more than two decades in prison after being sentenced and convicted as a persistent drug offender under Missouri law that’s since been changed.

His son, 37-year-old Chris Mizanskey, said he was in awe at the news and planned to go see his father in the morning.

“It’s amazing,” Mizanskey said. “To be able to talk to him, to be able to sit here and have a conversation with him. To have my son sit on his lap, for him to be a part of his grandkid’s life, our lives, my whole family. I mean really words can’t even describe it.”

Jeff Mizanskey had two previous felony convictions for marijuana-related offenses when he was sentenced in 1996 to life without parole for a third felony offense. At the time, the law allowed a sentence of life without parole for people with three felony drug convictions and has since been changed.

Police said Mizanskey conspired to sell six pounds of pot to a dealer connected to Mexican drug cartels. Nixon said in a statement that none of the offenses were violent or involved selling to children.

“My action provides Jeff Mizanskey with the opportunity to demonstrate that he deserves parole,” Nixon said.

Mizanskey’s previous felonies were for possession and sale of marijuana in 1984 and possession in 1991. Family members, lawmakers and advocates for marijuana legalization have campaigned for the Missouri man’s freedom. Mizanskey was the only person in Missouri serving a life sentence without any possibility for parole for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses.

Nixon also on Friday pardoned five nonviolent offenders he said had completed their sentences and demonstrated an ability to turn their lives around.

Nixon pardoned Michael Derrington, a substance abuse counselor who had a misdemeanor marijuana possession conviction; Nicole Lowe, a loan officer who was convicted of misdemeanor stealing; Bill Holt, a former school bus driver convicted of misdemeanor non-support; Doris Atchison, who was convicted of misdemeanor stealing; and Earl Wolf, who was convicted of misdemeanor burglary and larceny.

(Mountain Home) – Michael Schwarz of Conway uses photography to preserve the memories and history of Arkansas places which are steadily disappearing from the landscape.  Schwarz, creator of the website, will be the guest speaker for the May 26 meeting of the Baxter County Historical and Genealogical Society.

“My interest in abandoned structures started at a young age,” says Schwarz, “when I first viewed the film Titanic.”  The images of the remains of the ship at the bottom of the Atlantic “stirred my emotions for abandoned places,” Schwarz says. His interest led him to explore an abandoned circus in Oklahoma “ to see how to build a short film around this interesting site. This led me to other abandoned structures.”

A television newscast in 2012 reported a fire at the abandoned Dunjee, Oklahoma High School, a place Schwarz had visited many times before. He went to the school to photograph the remaining ruins of the building and met the widow of the former principal. “Her story evoked strong emotions because, through her tears, she revealed this building was the last tangible memory which remained of her husband. This story changed my perspective of abandoned buildings from this point forward,” Schwarz says. “I started to realize they weren’t just buildings but places that hold history and valuable memories for many people.”

When Michael Schwarz enrolled at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, he wanted to do more than just share his photographs with friends on social media, so he created the website. The site now documents over 300 locations in Arkansas and Oklahoma, including Mountain Home’s amusement park, Fun Mountain.

Schwarz will share his photos and his plans “to continue this diary of bygone days” with the Historical Society. The May meeting will be on Tuesday, May 26, at 6:00 p.m. in the Knox Room at the Library. There is no admission and visitors are always welcome.

 From left are Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker, who presented the awards, and recipients Quinn Lockett, Krista Poole, Angelina Denton-Howell, Andrew Grisham, Shelby Harris and Ashley Howell. (MSU-WP)

From left are Grizzly Basketball Head Coach Yancey Walker, who presented the awards, and recipients Quinn Lockett, Krista Poole, Angelina Denton-Howell, Andrew Grisham, Shelby Harris and Ashley Howell. (MSU-WP)

(West Plains) – Thirty-two students at Missouri State University-West Plains received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for 2014 during the annual Celebration of Leaders student awards ceremony April 16 at the West Plains Civic Center.

The award honors those who make valuable contributions to their communities through volunteerism and recognizes them at three different levels based on the number of volunteer hours completed in one calendar year.

Receiving the Bronze Award were Brandi Blankenship, Anyta Cavitt, Lemuel Emunah, Andrew Grisham, Shelby Harris, Ashley Howell, Sarah Martin, Deborah Skinner and John Turner, all of West Plains; Kyra Bunch, Willow Springs; Christopher Kaiser, Stoutland; Jaime King, Dora; Jo Lewis, Norwood; Maranda Phillips, Hartville; Brian Powers and Sarah Powers, both of Pomona; and Janiece Wilbanks, Mtn. View.

Receiving the Silver Award were Ginger Barnes, Willow Springs; Shelby Belt, Amy Kutter and Taler Sutherland, all of West Plains; Anna Cantrell, Conway; Jeff Collins, Elkland; Alicia Martin, Winona; and Kristina Russback, Alton.

Receiving the Gold Award were Sarah Agee, Conway; Zach Collins, Willow Springs; Angelina Denton-Howell, Deborah Fox and Kelsey Robinson, all of West Plains; Quinn Lockett, Koshkonong; and Krista Poole, Jefferson City.