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Archive for January, 2013

(West Plains) – We are only about a month away from this year’s Home and Garden Show and Southern Missouri Homebuilders Association Committee member John Thomason says plans are falling into place:

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For more information about this year’s show call 417-256-2422 or go online to www.smhba.com where you will also find an updated booth map for the event.

(Mountain Home) – ACCESS volunteers will be offering assistance submitting basic online income tax returns in the Computer Lab at the Donald W. Reynolds Library in Mountain Home Friday and Saturday, February 1 and 2, from 10 AM to 3 PM each day.

There is no charge for the service.

Volunteers will be on-hand to answer questions and assist people who qualify in completing their returns online. Officials say that each person will have access to online software that is interview based, and the program will walk you through each question as you do your taxes.

This is a VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program, which offers free tax help to people who make $51,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in local communities, and can inform taxpayers about special tax credits for which they may qualify such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. There is no charge for the service.

The following items are needed in order for ACCESS volunteers to prepare your tax return:

  • Valid photo identification
  • Proof of Tax Residence status for taxpayer, spouse, and all dependents, if applicable
  • Birth dates for primary, secondary, and dependents on the tax return
  • Tuition statement from your school (Form 1098-T)
  • Wage and earning statement(s) Form W-2, W-2G, 1099-R, from all employers
  • Interest and dividend statements from your banks (Form 1099)
  • Bank routing number and account number for Direct Deposit (your bank checkbook)
  • Total amount paid for day-care, if applicable
  • Day-care provider’s identifying number, if applicable

Other items to possibly bring include:

  • A copy of last year’s Federal and State tax returns, if available
  • Current year’s tax package, if received
  • Records to substantiate any other item that you wish to include on your tax return

For information about all Library programs visit the Library’s website at www.baxlib.org.

(West Plains) – The University of Missouri Extension office in West Plains is offering a Beginning Beekeeping class.

The class will meet at the Howell County Extension Office from 6-8 PM Tuesday, February 12, Tuesday, February 19, and Thursday, February 21.

The three part introduction to beekeeping will feature the video “Honey Bees and Beekeeping: A Year in The Life of an Apiary” by University of Georgia Extension entomologist Dr. Keith Delaplane. The class will also cover required equipment, sources of bees, and how and when to start your own hives. On the last night of the course, Monty Weins of the South Central Missouri Beekeepers Association will speak, sharing experiences and answering questions.

The cost of the course is $55, and will include a book on beekeeping. Youth under 18 may attend the course free of charge, and may purchase the book if desired. Participants must register by February 8.

To register or for additional information, contact the Howell County Extension Office at 417-256-2391, or stop by the office at 217 S. Aid Avenue in downtown West Plains.

(Willow Springs) – Willow Springs City Administrator Bob Pollard is now the Emergency Management Director for the city, this after the meeting of the Willow Springs City Council on Thursday, January 24.

The man who previously held the job, Shawn Watson, no longer works for the city, according to city documents.

Also at the meeting, City Treasurer Beverly Hicks said the city is continuing to improve financially and structurally at a very good pace. She said during 2012 the city saw an increase of about 1.5% in sales tax and a 1% decrease in fuel tax. She said the city increased its spending on infrastructure in 2012 and was able to put some money in reserves for future upgrades.

The council also approved two typographical corrections in two previous bills, and the declaration of a 1,000 gallon propane tank, a 1988 Ford dump truck and the boom and bucket from the golf course backhoe as surplus items.

(West Plains) – One person was injured after a three vehicle accident Tuesday afternoon on Route 17 near West Plains.

The accident happened at 2:10 PM, when the southbound vehicle driven by 48-year-old Rodney Briscoe of Koshkonong swerved to miss a turning vehicle, and struck a northbound vehicle driven by 29-year-old Michelle Kight of West Plains head-on. A third vehicle, driven by 28-year-old Chad Robertson of West Plains, struck Kight’s vehicle from behind.

Kight suffered minor injuries, and was taken to Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains. Briscoe and Kight’s vehicles were totalled in the accident.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri’s public colleges and universities would get a funding increase under Gov. Jay Nixon’s proposed budget. But not all of the institutions would be treated equally.

Nixon’s proposed budget seeks to implement a performance funding plan that would reward some schools more than others for meeting goals in such things as student retention and graduation.

For example, the University of Missouri would get a 4.3 percent funding increase – about half of the total $34 million increase for all higher education institutions. That’s because the university system met all of its performance criteria.

But Jefferson College in eastern Missouri would get just a 2.2 percent increase – equaling about $158,000 – because it met just two out of its five performance criteria.

(Jefferson City) – The debate on Second Amendment rights are on the minds of a lot of Missouri residents, and 33rd District Senator Mike Cunningham says that the topic is a hot issue in Jefferson City:

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Cunningham says that the the issue, and the issue of state’s rights, is an important one:

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Senate Bill 150, which is co-sponsored by Cunningham, would make it a crime for an officer, agent, or employee of the federal, state or local government, or a licensed firearms dealer, from enforcing a law or order declared unenforceable by this act when the firearm, ammunition feeding device, or accessory at issue is manufactured in the state, or possessed in the state, and remains exclusively in the state.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – First-graders would be required to take a gun safety course in school under a measure a Senate committee considered Tuesday that was introduced one day before the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.

Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla, told the Senate General Laws Committee Tuesday that his bill was an effort to teach young children what to do if they come across an unsecured weapon.

Under his bill, the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program would be taught be a certified instructor in first grade classrooms across the state. The program is already being used in some schools, but it is not a state requirement.

Senators watched a brief segment of the training video during the hearing. The segment featured a cartoon eagle telling children to step away from an unsecured gun and immediately report it to an adult.

Brown filed his legislation Dec. 13, one day before the Connecticut school shooting that killed 26 people – including 20 first-graders.

School districts would not be responsible for paying the program’s teaching materials because the state qualifies for a National Rifle Association grant. Brown’s bill, however, is projected to cost districts over $16 million for teacher training.

The measure requires teachers to attend eight hours of training on responding to an armed intruder inside a school. The state education department projects that substitute teachers will have to be hired during the days salaried teachers are engaged in the safety training.

One of the committee members said she supported the bill but wants to exempt her school district from the program because of its projected cost. Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis City, said this program shouldn’t be a top priority for her district and would prefer that St. Louis Public Schools spend money on math and science tutoring.

Brown disputes the hefty price tag for his bill and said teachers could engage in the safety course during other professional development training. After the initial eight hours of training, teachers would be required to undergo four additional hours every year.

The Senate General Laws Committee did not take a vote on the measure Tuesday.

(Mountain View) – Mercy Health Foundation Mountain View will soon be awarding five $1,000 scholarships in honor of Dr. Grace O. Doane.

This is the tenth year the scholarships are being granted.

To qualify as an applicant, the high school student must be a Missouri resident preparing for a career in a health care field and be classified as a senior at one of the following schools: Eminence High School, Liberty High School, Summersville High School, Willow Springs High School, and Winona High School.

The application process requires an official high school transcript, three letters of recommendation, and a short essay outlining the student’s future career plans and goals.

Applications must be postmarked or hand-delivered by March 19, and, should be sent to:

Mercy Health Foundation Mountain View
ATTN: Scholarships
100 U.S. Highway 60
Mountain View, MO 65548

For more information about the Dr. Grace O. Doane health care scholarships, please call Mercy Health Foundation Mountain View at 417-533-6192. The scholarship application can also be found on Mercy’s website at www.mercy.net.

(West Plains) – Area businessmen, scientists, health care workers, engineers, computer experts and mathematicians are invited to participate in an upcoming expo April 5 to provide information to area students and their parents about careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The event, called the South Central Missouri STEM Expo, will be held 9 AM to 3 PM in the student recreation center at Missouri State University-West Plains. It is being sponsored by the university, Math Educators of South Central Missouri (MESCM), the Missouri State University Math & Science Club, Philanthropic Women for Education, West Plains Area Chamber of Commerce and the Ozarks Small Business Incubator (OzSBI).

According to Jerry Trick, assistant professor of math and an organizer of the event, the expo will be different than a career fair, where people fill out job applications and hope to make a connection with an employer. At this event, Trick says that representatives from area STEM-related businesses and industries will be available to help students learn about STEM careers and what degrees they should pursue in order to qualify for a job in that field.

STEM-related jobs are some of the fastest growing and highest paying jobs locally, regionally and nationally. According to the Community College Journal (Oct./Nov. 2012) issue, more than two million STEM-related jobs are expected to be generated over the next two years. Officials at the U.S. Department of Commerce pointed out in a report from 2011 that over they past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs was three times as fast as growth in non-STEM jobs.

Representatives from area businesses, industries and agencies who would like to share their experience with area students, middle school-aged and above, should contact Jerry Trick at 417-255-7292 by February 15 to reserve booth space.