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Archive for April, 2012

(Willow Springs) – Troop G of the Missouri State Highway Patrol will be working with members of the Missouri Operation Lifesaver program in Howell County to raise the awareness level for crossing safety and trespass prevention.

Troopers will be talking with motorists briefly in advance of certain railroad crossings, reminding them of the dangers associated with the crossings, and giving them several safety tips for approaching the railroad tracks.

Officers and personnel from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, BNSF Railway, Missouri Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, and Operation Lifesaver volunteers will be handing out materials at various railroad crossings in Howell County on Tuesday, May 1, and Wednesday, May 2.

Over the past two years, six crossing crashes have occurred in Howell County resulting in one fatality and two injuries. In addition, two trespass incidents have resulted in two fatalities in the county during the same time span. Crossing crashes increased 17% in Missouri in 2011, with fatalities rising from eight to 13. Targeting the counties with the highest rates of incidents will be implemented throughout 2012.

Additional information or statistics may be found at www.ShowMeOL.org or the national website at www.oli.org.

(Mountain Home) – A missing 12-year-old autistic boy was found safely Sunday evening after he walked away from his home into a wooded area in the Salesville community.

The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office was notified that the child was missing around 6:20 PM on Sunday, April 29. Several deputies responded to the area, and the Sheriff’s Office helicopter was launched to assist with the search for the child.

Tracking dogs from the North Central Unit – Arkansas Department of Corrections were summoned for assistance. Slightly less than one hour later, at 8:34 PM, the child was found in a heavily wooded area by the tracking dogs. He was checked by medical personnel and was unharmed. He was returned home at 9:24 PM.

(West Plains) – Agricultural officials in Missouri are urging farmers and landowners to be on the lookout for True Army Worms, which they say are out heavier than normal this spring season.

Ozark Radio News spoke with Sarah Kenyon, Agronomy specialist with the University of Missouri Extension, who told us more how to identify the worms:

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Kenyon says that landowners should begin control measures when there are four or more per square foot of land. She says that some places in their service region, like in southern Oregon County, are seeing number 6 times that amount:

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She says that these numbers spell trouble for a number of landowners, as the True Army Worms eat over 2,000 varieties of grass and plants:

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Kenyon says that, with a large initial number of worms, that they could bring problems in the weeks to come:

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There are, however, a few steps farmers can take with their fields to protect themselves against the worm invasion:

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Again, if you have any question, contact your local MU Extension Center, or call the Howell County Extension Center at 417-256-2391.

(Success) – Three people were injured Saturday night after a one-vehicle accident near Success.

The accident happened just before 9 PM on Route 32, when the vehicle driven by 16-year-old Timothy Baumgarner of Plato traveled off-road and overturned.

Baumgarner suffered minor injuries, while two passengers, 18-year-old Laney Bryant and 18-year-old Kassie Jackson, both of Success, suffered moderate injuries. All three were taken to Texas County Memorial Hospital.

(West Plains) – West Plains city officials know the value of having spare equipment especially when it comes to critical services such as electricity. City public information officer Laurel Thompson says a piece of equipment that has been gone for repairs for some time is closer to being put back in service:

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The West Plains Police Department will be participating in Kids Fest to be held Saturday May 12 at the National Guard Armory in West Plains. The annual event is sponsored by Howell County Emergency Services and the Missouri National Guard.

(West Plains) – It’s time to get out those dancing shoes and get ready for the 11th annual Bob Holt Old-Time Jig Dancing Competition, which is returning as a featured event of the 18th annual Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival in downtown West Plains.

The festival, which celebrates the unique culture of the Ozarks Highlands, is set for June 15 and 16 in and around the West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St. Admission is free.

The Bob Holt Old-Time Jig Dancing Competition will take place at 1 PM Saturday, June 16, in the civic center theater. Contestants will compete in four age divisions: Under age 17, age 18-50, age 51-70, and over age 70. No entry fee will be charged, and contestants can register to participate by contacting Kathleen Morrissey at the West Plains Council on the Arts by calling 417-256-1813. Over $500 in prizes will be awarded, organizers said. Cathy Marriott, master dancer from Ava, will be the competition’s emcee.

Within the southern folk tradition, there are several styles of solo, freestyle dances, organizers said. Flatfooting and buckdancing are two of the most common forms. In the Ozarks, the term “jig” is frequently used to describe this style of dance.

Although these dances are all loosely related, they also are distinctly different. The word “jig” dates back at least to 1500 AD and is probably somewhat older in usage. It describes a solo dance that originated in the British Isles where it consisted of repeated hops on one foot while the free foot pointed patterns in the air – heel and toe, front, side or back.

The Ozark jig draws not only from British tradition, but also from American Indian and African cultures. It basically consists of movement from the hips down while the upper body is held erect, organizers explained. Emphasis is on leg rather than body movements, and the steps are individualistic and virtually limitless. The feet serve as a rhythm instrument, and the sound of the shoes striking the floor beats the time of the music.

Even though a number of jig dancers may take to the floor at the same time, each dancer’s steps are improvised without regard to the movement of the other dancers. When jig steps are incorporated into square dances, no effort is made to synchronize steps with other dancers in the square, organizers explained.

Another major difference in the British and Ozark versions of the jig is the rhythm of the dance, they added. In the British Isles, the jig was danced to a lilting 6/8 rhythm. Ozark dancers prefer extremely fast-paced, driving 2/2 or 2/4 hoedowns. The Ozark style of jig is a “freestyle” dance form identified with northern Arkansas and southern Missouri.

Each year the Bob Holt Jig Dance Competition is enjoyed by hundreds of spectators and contestants, organizers said, adding this year’s event is being sponsored by The Fish Shack in West Plains.

For more information about the festival, visit www.oldtimemusic.org.

(Jefferson City) – A former West Plains resident has been named the new Media Relations Director of the Missouri Bar.

Missouri Bar Executive Director Keith Birkes made the announcement last week that Farrah Fite would succeed Jack Wax, who retired after more than 20 years of service. Fite joined The Missouri Bar’s staff March 19 and had been working with Wax for the past month.

Fite comes to the role after serving as the Communications Director for the Missouri Senate’s Majority Caucus for the past eight years. While there she was charged with communicating an array of public policy issues to the public, served as press secretary and speech writer to Senate leaders, and worked to provide members of the media with accurate and timely information.

Fite has eight years of experience as a communications director, four additional years as a broadcast communications specialist, and two more years as both a local television reporter and national television news program producer. She earned a Masters in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an undergraduate degree from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

Fite is married and resides in Jefferson City with her husband, Gus Wagner. She is the daughter of James B. and Cherry-Ann Fite of West Plains.

(Horseshoe Bend) – The 26th annual Dogwood Days festival will be held in Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas on May 12, and two televison personalities from the History Channel will be in attendance.

Ozark Radio News spoke with festival co-chair Patti Wolff, who told us more about the event:

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For more information on the event, visit www.horseshoebendarcc.com

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri lawmakers are considering whether initiative petition canvassers should have to collect signatures from throughout state to qualify for the ballot.

Currently, initiative supporters must get signatures equal to 5 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election, from two-thirds of the congressional districts. That threshold rises to 8 percent if they are proposing a change to the state constitution. Supporters often concentrate on districts with the largest cities.

A proposed constitutional amendment that has passed the House and faces a Monday hearing in a Senate committee would require signatures from all congressional districts. But the number needed would drop to 3.25 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election for a statutory measure and 5.25 percent for a constitutional amendment.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – A Missouri lawmaker wants tourism officials and government agencies in the Show-Me State to start using another slogan he believes tells more about the state’s heritage and attractions.

A resolution by Sen. John Lamping encourages the Division of Tourism to incorporate the slogan “The Great Rivers State” in its marketing.

The St. Louis County Republican’s measure notes that while the Mississippi and Missouri rivers are well-known waterways with significant places in history, Missouri has more than 110,000 miles of rivers and streams altogether.

Lamping’s resolution has cleared the full Senate and won endorsement by a committee in the House, where debate is possible in the weeks ahead.

The Show-Me State is already marketed with other slogans, including “The Cave State” and “Where the Rivers Run.”