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Archive for March, 2013

(Springfield) (AP) – The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks has laid off 39 people in response to a drop in requests for blood products.

Spokesman Chris Pilgrim said Friday the layoffs include 27 full-time staff members. The center, which serves hospitals in Missouri and Arkansas, will have about 180 employees after the layoffs.

Pilgrim says technology and changes in protocols have reduced the need for blood transfusions in hospitals. One example is cell separators, which allow a patient’s blood to be recycled during surgeries.

Pilgrim tells KYTV that the organization is not in financial difficulty.

The blood center has two donation centers in Springfield, and one each in Joplin; Springdale, Ark.; and Bentonville, Ark.

(Mountain Home) – The Chamber Ambassadors with the Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce cut the ribbon for Farmer’s Insurance with Lisa Hodge earlier this month.

Farmer’s Insurance, located at 359 East 7th Street, offers auto, home, life and other insurance options. Contact Lisa Hodge by calling at 870-425-4989 or email lhodge@farmersagent.com.

The office is open Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Banker Lori Grover recently celebrated 15 years with Landmark Bank. Eric Wells, bank president in Houston, congratulated her and presented her with a gift basket. (Photo provided)

Banker Lori Grover recently celebrated 15 years with Landmark Bank. Eric Wells, bank president in Houston, congratulated her and presented her with a gift basket. (Photo provided)

(Houston) – Personal Banker Lori Grover from Landmark Bank in Houston, celebrated 15 years with the bank recently.

She has worked as teller and new account representative in the bank and now enjoys her role as a Personal Banker. She also worked at Landmark Bank in Licking and when there was a branch in Raymondville.

“When I started at the bank I was interested in a job that would be a challenge and allow me to continue to work with the public. I found the perfect fit at Landmark Bank,” she added.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with great coworkers through the years and been blessed with meeting a variety of great customers,” Grover explained.

She graduated from Plato High School and attended Southwest Baptist University. She graduated there with a double major of Psychology and Sociology and a double minor in Counseling and Discipleship.

Landmark Bank President Eric Wells commented, “Lori is one of the most loyal and dedicated bankers I know. She brings years of experience and stability to our teller line here in Houston,” he explained. “She is always one of the first to step up and help with fundraising and community events and is a wonderful asset to the bank.”

Grover and her husband Byron have been married for 16 years and they live in Licking. “The light of our lives are our three children, Joy who is 13, Spencer who is 10 and Autumn who is 9,” she said. She enjoys going to church, cooking, walking, reading, fishing and outdoor activities such as gardening and yard work.

Landmark Bank currently has locations in seven Southern Missouri communities including Houston, Licking, Cabool, Birch Tree, Mountain View, West Plains and Willow Springs. Landmark Bank started in southern Missouri in the early 1900s and over time expanded and opened new banks in Missouri, south central Oklahoma and north central Texas.

Landmark Bank, N.A. with assets of $1.7 billion has 41 locations in 29 different towns company-wide. Complete information about Landmark Bank locations and services can be found at www.landmarkbank.com.

These pepper plants have germinated and are growing well in the greenhouse. Before you transfer plants grown in the greenhouse or indoors out into the garden, you need to allow them to get used to the outdoor environment by “hardening” them off for a few days.

These pepper plants have germinated and are growing well in the greenhouse. Before you transfer plants grown in the greenhouse or indoors out into the garden, you need to allow them to get used to the outdoor environment by “hardening” them off for a few days.

by Marilyn Odneal, Horticulture Adviser

Starting your own seed and growing your own transplants is fun and offers you a wide selection of plant varieties to try. Once you purchase your seed and have decided the best time to plant it indoors for outdoor transplanting, you are ready to go! Starting your own seed gives you a head start in spring.

For best germination make sure you purchase your seed from a reliable source and check to make sure the seed has been packed for the current year. This date is stamped on the seed packet.

Once you have your seed, you need to plant them in a sterile potting media. The media should be lightweight, porous, and well-drained so the seeds will be moist but not saturated with water. Some potting media is milled especially fine and is specifically used for seed germination.

Many different containers can be used to germinate and grow transplants. Start seed in clean flats, trays, plastic six- or four-packs, and peat pellets or pots. Make sure that the container has holes in the bottom so the water drains through. If the container has been used, it needs to be cleaned and disinfected before using again. Wash the containers in soapy water, and then disinfect them in a solution of one part chlorine bleach and nine parts water.

Once you have your media in the container, it is time to plant. Make sure you moisten the media and plant the seed according to directions on the packet. Some seeds, like lettuce, need light to germinate. All seeds need to remain moist, not wet, during germination.

When you water the newly planted or germinating seed, make sure you use very gentle droplets of water. Squeeze bottles with perforated caps are designed to water young germinating seeds without disturbing the medium or washing the seed out of the pot, and they are fine for a few flats. Special wands that you attach to a hose can also be purchased to gently apply water if you have lots of flats full of seedlings. You can also water from the bottom by placing the flat or container in a larger container partially filled with water and letting the water soak to the top.

The majority of seeds germinate best at temperatures between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You also need adequate light from a window or a set up with a combination of warm and cool fluorescent lights or grow lights. Check your seedlings daily and water when necessary.

Once your transplant is grown and it is time to plant outdoors (this will vary depending on your plant), make sure you give the transplant some time to get used to the great outdoors. For a few days before planting directly in the garden, put the transplants out in a protected location, usually close to the house. After this period of “hardening,” they are rough and ready to be put out into the garden to grow and produce delicious veggies or beautiful flowers!

For more information, comments or questions concerning this column, contact Marilyn Odneal via email at MarilynOdneal@missouristate.edu; write to Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station, 9740 Red Spring Road, Mountain Grove, Mo. 65711; or call (417) 547-7500. Visit our website at http://mtngrv.missouristate.edu.

(Mountain Home) – ASUMH announces January and February 2013 scholarship recipients:

Christopher Telles of Norfork, AR, was awarded the Twin Lakes Veteran’s Scholarship. He is the son of Dennis and Karen Telles. Telles graduated from Sierra High School in California, where he was a member of the Future Farmers of America (FFA). Telles plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice.

Kristina Elliott of Mountain Home, AR, was awarded the Ruth E. Hamilton Nursing Scholarship. Elliott is a graduate of Gainesville High School in Gainseville, MO. Elliott is enrolled in the LPN program.

Miranda Dickerson of Mountain Home, AR, was awarded the Evelyn Hill Osborn Teacher Education Scholarship. She is the daughter of Bill and Debra Dickerson. Dickerson is a graduate of Mountain Home High School where she was involved in NJROTC, Drama, Rotary Youth Leadership, CAB WRAP (Wells Fargo Rewarding Academic Progress). She also graduated with honors. Dickerson plans to study early childhood education.

Kissie Clark of Mountain Home, AR, was awarded the Patrick Michael McKenna Memorial Scholarship. Clark is the daughter of Mike and Charlene Pabis. She is a Bay High School graduate of Bay, AR. She is enrolled in the RN program.

Cody Deeley of Mountain Home, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship. He is the son of Larry and Donna Deeley. Deeley is a 2012 graduate of Empowered by Grace Homeschool. During high school, he was a part of the Mountain Home Area Lions Basketball, AWANA Program at Mountain Home Bible Church, and Homestyle Christian Educators. Deeley plans to get his teaching certificate.

Adrienne Moore of Mountain Home, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship. She is the daughter of Denise Malloy. Moore is a 2012 graduate of Valley View High School in Jonesboro, AR. During high school, she was a youth leader and a part of National Honor Society, after school tutoring, HOSA, FCCLA, Spanish Club and Science Club. Moore plans to study nursing.

Jessica Leann Cotter of Mountain Home, AR, was awarded the Academic Distinction Scholarship. She is the daughter of Jayson and Julie Cotter. Cotter is a 2012 graduate of Mountain Home High School. She is planning to pursue a degree in Biology.

(Photo provided)

(Photo provided)

(West Plains) – Members of the West Plains High School National Honor Society ran a blood drive on March 8th and collected 130 units of blood, totaling 309 units for the year. Several students and staff participated by a making donation or by volunteering.

Above is photo of NHS members (L to R): Dalton Freshour, Trey Turner, Courtney Cox, Sarah Hess, Blood Drop Dillon Neuschwander, Andi Haney, Blood Drop Logan Miller, Morgan Cornish, Taylor Barton, Kortnee Long.

Upholding the Oath to Protect the Constitution

Lawmakers returned from mid-session break on Monday and immediately began to tackle top priorities for the 2013 session. This week, one of those priorities was debating SJR 14, which received first-round approval on Tuesday. With one more affirmative vote from the Senate, the joint resolution will be on its way to the House for consideration. This initiative is not only important to most senators, but is a vital issue on Missourians’ radar. If approved by voters, SJR 14 would modify constitutional provisions regarding the right to keep and bear arms.

More specifically, the amendment states that a citizen has the right to keep and bear arms in defense of his or her family, in addition to that person’s current rights to defend themselves, and his or her home and property. Also, the amendment provides that the rights guaranteed under this provision of the Missouri Constitution are unalienable. Missouri is obligated to uphold these rights and, under no circumstances, decline to protect against their infringement. As the federal government continues to intrude upon our state’s private business and disrespect our state sovereignty — particularly with proposals of increased gun control — action must be taken to uphold our rights as American citizens. In the Senate, discussion was held about the oaths that lawmakers took when sworn into office to uphold and defend the state constitution. The biggest perpetrator in breaching constitutional rights is the federal government, and it’s our job to make sure our liberties remain as strong as they were when our great country was established.

A bill that received final approval this week was SB 116, which would create a new system for allowing military members stationed overseas to vote and ensure their voices are heard regarding their government, even if they are far away from the polls. Members of our Armed Forces make immeasurable sacrifices for our country, and we need to ensure they can take part in their right to vote, for which they fight and protect while in service. Among other provisions, the bill would allow servicemen and women to go online and request an absentee ballot to cast their vote. The Missouri Secretary of State would be required to establish an electronic transmission system that would allow a covered voter — a uniformed service voter who is registered to vote in Missouri, has a voting residence in the state, and who satisfies Missouri’s voter eligibility requirements, as well as overseas voters who are otherwise eligible to vote in Missouri — to apply and receive voter registration material and military-overseas ballots.

My sponsored SB 432 also received attention in the Senate this week with a hearing in the Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee on Tuesday (3-26). My bill will promote the good work of charities and volunteers by allowing a non-profit organization to prepare food, in a private home or other area, for distribution at a fundraising event for a charitable purpose. Consumers must be clearly informed that the food was prepared in a kitchen that is not subject to regulation and inspection by the regulatory authority. A delicious snack or meal is a great way to bring crowds to a charitable event or cause, and this bill will strengthen the efforts of our non-profit organizations.

In my last legislative column, I discussed allegations that the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) is sharing Missourians’ personal information retrieved during the process of obtaining certain licenses with federal government entities. On Monday (3-25), the Senate issued a subpoena demanding that DOR provide emails, grant applications, and other written communication between DOR and federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, regarding changes in procedure for issuing driver’s licenses and the federal Real ID Act. The subpoena seeks records dating back to January 2009 and requires that they be supplied to the Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman by 4 p.m. on April 2.

As session continues until May 17, the Senate will work to get important bills across the legislative finish line, including the state’s FY 2014 budget, which is due by Friday, May 10. If you have any questions about bills making their way through the Legislature, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office. Thank you for your interest in state government and have a great Easter weekend.

Welcoming Capitol Guests

I am always happy to welcome guests who come to visit me in Jefferson City. This week, I was delighted to meet Amber Carr, MSU Citizen Scholar Award recipient; Katelyn Smith, who represented the state of Missouri and was awarded the title of Princess for the National American Miss Pageant; numerous FFA students; and recipients of the Missouri Arts Awards, including Molly Davis and Nolan Stillwell, who received the “Governor’s Best” Award from Missouri’s First Lady Georganne Wheeler Nixon for his artwork titled “Trophy.”

If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.

Cabool Art Students, front row: Meagan Reich, Megan Smith, Nolan Stillwell, and Mason Bryant. Back row, Teacher, Tiffany Green, Scott and Kristi Stillwell and Wendy Everling.

Let me begin by saying how proud I am of the citizens of District 142. It was refreshing to see so many familiar faces who made the trip to the state Capitol this week to take part in the legislative process. It was an honor and a pleasure to welcome them to the capital city. This week was a very busy week within the Missouri House, and we have a wide variety of items to discuss.

Youth Art Education Week

Youth Art Month is celebrated every year during the month of March with a student exhibit in the Capitol Rotunda. Each member teacher sends in up to four pieces for this exhibit. Artwork that reaches the state rotunda is an honor in itself. In addition, there are six other awards including the Governor’s Choice Award, Governor’s Mansion Award and one for each division, lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school and high school.

This year Cabool and Licking School Students participated and had their artwork featured in the Capitol Rotunda. Among those students, Nolan Stillwell from Cabool High School was awarded the Governor’s Choice Award, which was presented to him by our First Lady Georganne Nixon, and his artwork will hang in the Governor’s Capitol Office. I would like to recognize the following students and their instructors, for their fantastic work:

Licking Jr/Sr high, teacher Felicia Ellis

Students:

Alysha Falterman

Sarah Stogdill

Ariana Wilhite

Damian Kurbursky

Cabool Elementary & Middle Schools, teacher Erin McLaughlin

Students:

Kiley Kelly

Desiree Cantrell

Gracie Campbell

Cabool High School, teacher Tiffany Green

Students:

Meagan Reich

Chelsea Clark

Brandy Sillyman

Nolan Stillwell

Cabool Elementary/Middle, teacher Courtney Morrill

Students:

Remington Supancic

Megan Smith

Mason Bryant

Megan Morrison

District 142 Speaker Luncheon

Another very exciting event for District 142 was a luncheon hosted by the Speaker of the House, Representative Tim Jones, for members from across the district. Eleven individuals from Cabool, Licking, Houston, Summersville, Edgar Springs and Mountain View, were welcomed to the Capitol this week. I would like to personally thank the attendees for the dedication to our community and their willingness to take an active role in working to improve the quality of life for all those who call our district home.

House Completes Balanced, Fiscally Responsible Budget

This week was budget week in the House, as we finalized amendments and approved the 13 appropriations bills that make up the state spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. In total, the bills contain more than $24.8 billion in funding for our various state departments and agencies. I’m proud to say the budget represents a balanced spending plan (as constitutionally required) that forces our state to live within its means (which the federal government should take note of). Yes, there are certain areas of the budget where we would have liked to increase funding, but the end result is one that represents the best we can do considering the amount of revenues that will be available to fund our priorities. Due to the limited amount of available space and the other issues to discuss this week, our budget and the changes made this session will be discussed in greater detail in future reports.

Taking Time to Honor Those Who Serve

While many may not realize it, this week marked the first observance of Veterans of Operation Iraqi/Enduring Freedom Day. The day was created with the passage of legislation last year that designates March 26 as the day to give special honor and recognition to veterans who have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Desert Storm.

I hope you will join me in recognizing this important day so that we will not allow the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families to ever be forgotten. Let us never forget they deserve our daily respect and admiration.

It was a busy week in the Capitol as the Missouri House worked on the state’s $24.7 billion operating budget for the 2014 fiscal year. Balancing the budget is the most important job the Missouri legislature has. In fact, it is the only constitutional duty that we, as elected members of the legislature, are required to perform.

Education is perhaps the most important area of spending and is constitutionally required to be funded before any other area of state spending. This year the Missouri House was able to increase spending for the Foundation Formula by $65 million. Moreover, a $2.4 million increase for Bright Flight Scholarships and a $1 million increase for the Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program were allotted for in the House budget.

Sadly, one of Washington’s first targets with sequestration cuts were scholarships for members of the country’s military. The Missouri House values the sacrifice that so many of our fellow Missourians have given while proudly serving this America. Working diligently together, we were able to restore the cuts to the Missouri National Guard tuition assistance scholarships.

Education is just one of the many areas of spending that the state budget covers. Other highlights of the budget include the restoration of the $1.5 million cut to the Cyber Crimes Task Force the Governor proposed earlier this year. Moreover, after the recent discovery of the Department of Revenue scanning and retaining personal documents, a violation of state statute, $85 thousand was cut from DOR’s appropriation for FY2014.

The FY2014 budget is comprised of thirteen separate spending bills, each with a specific area of appropriation:

-HB 1 Appropriates money to the Board of Fund Commissioners

-HB 2 Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the State Board of Education and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

-HB 3 Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Higher Education

-HB 4 Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Revenue and Department of Transportation

-HB 5 Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Office of Administration, Department of Transportation, and Department of Public Safety

-HB 6 Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Conservation

-HB 7 Appropriates money for the expenses and distributions of the departments of Economic Development; Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration; and Labor and Industrial Relations

-HB 8 Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Public Safety

-HB 9 Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Corrections

-HB 10 Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the Department of Mental Health, Board of Public Buildings, and Department of Health and Senior Services

-HB 11 Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, and distributions of the Department of Social Services

-HB 12 Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of statewide elected officials, the Judiciary, Office of the State Public Defender, and General Assembly

-HB 13 Appropriates money for real property leases and related services

In the Missouri House, we are committed to making sure Missouri’s budget lives within its means just like all Missourians do when making decisions about our families’ finances. The task is often difficult; especially when funds are limited. However, it is an important duty. The budget now moves to the Senate where it awaits committee hearings and floor debate.

For more information about the bills mentioned above or about any others that have been introduced please visit the House of Representatives website, www.house.mo.gov. As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House of Representatives.

Taking Time to Honor Those Who Serve

While many may not realize it, this week marked the first observance of Veterans of Operation Iraqi/Enduring Freedom Day. The day was created with the passage of legislation last year that designates March 26 as the day to give special honor and recognition to veterans who have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Desert Storm.

Missouri is blessed to have a large population of veterans who we strive to honor and appreciate for the sacrifices they have made for our nation. We also have a new generation of brave individuals who have served in the modern day conflicts that have taken place in the Middle East. Just as we honor those who served in World War I and II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, we must also take time to recognize the tens of thousands of Missourians who have risked their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect our way of life.

I hope you will join me in putting this important day on your calendar so that we will not allow the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families to ever be forgotten. Let us never forget they deserve our daily respect and admiration.

House Completes Balanced, Fiscally Responsible Budget

This week was budget week in the House as we approved the 13 appropriations bills that make up the state spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. In total, the bills contain more than $24.8 billion in funding for our various state departments and agencies. I’m proud to say the budget represents a balanced spending plan that forces our state to live within its means. Yes, there are certain areas of the budget where we would have liked to increase funding, but the end result is one that represents the best we can do considering the amount of revenues that will be available to fund our priorities.

We have made education a top priority in all of our budget discussions and I am happy to report the spending plan we approved includes an additional $65 million in funding for the formula that funds our system of K-12 education. That brings our total funding for the formula to nearly $3.1 billion, which is a record level for education. Keep in mind the total does still fall short of the funding level called for by the formula, but I’m happy to see we are moving in the right direction by increasing education funding as our revenues allow. The education budget also includes a $7 million increase for the High Needs Fund that supports the needs of special education students; a $5.4 million increase for the Missouri Preschool Program; and a $1.5 million increase for the First Steps Program that provides families with the tools they need to help their children be successful.

The budget approved by the House also includes an additional $20 million in funding for our public institutions of higher learning. We also increased funding to our A+ Schools Program by $2 million, which will allow the program to expand to every school in the state. The program has been a huge success in helping to prepare high school students for success in college and beyond. In addition, the budget increases funding by $2.4 million for the Bright Flight Scholarship Program and by $1 million for the Access Missouri Scholarship Program. Increases to both will allow even more Missouri young people to achieve the dream of obtaining a college education.

Another item of interest in this year’s budget is a new program created to provide tuition assistance to the men and women who so ably serve in our Missouri National Guard. As you may know, the federal government’s inability to pass a budget led to the Sequester cuts that are impacting the lives of many around the country and right here in Missouri. The cuts include a decrease in funding to tuition assistance for the members of our military. Because we want our men and women in uniform to continue their academic pursuits, this year’s budget includes $1.5 million in state funding for tuition assistance. These dollars will help more than 900 National Guardsmen who will lose their federal tuition assistance at the end of the current semester.

Additionally, we added $7 million to the tourism budget for marketing and attracting visitors to our state. Tourism is an important economic driver in our state, especially in our region. Tourism and travel is the state’s second largest industry providing thousands of jobs and revenue for our state and local economies.

These are just a few of the highlights of this year’s budget, which includes funding for everything from the Missouri Department of Public Safety to the Department of Economic Development. The thing all Missourians should feel good about with this budget is that it represents a fiscally responsible spending plan that doesn’t saddle our state with financial obligations we cannot afford to meet.

House Moves to Reinstate Reasonable Malpractice Liability Limits

Also this week, the Missouri House approved a bill designed to contain the costs of health care and retain the state’s best doctors. HB 112 would reinstate the $350,000 limit on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases.

Missouri had liability limits in place thanks to legislation passed by the Republican-led legislature in 2005. While the limits were praised by the medical community for helping to hold down health care costs, they were struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court in July of 2012. Our medical community is now fearful that limitless damages will drive up malpractice insurance premiums and force many doctors out of the state.

The bill we approved would replace the common-law right to sue over health care services with a statutory right to sue. The move would address the Supreme Court’s ruling that liability limits violate the common-law rights of Missourians to seek damages for medical malpractice claims. The end result would be a reinstatement of the limits approved by the Missouri General Assembly in 2005. The change is an important one if Missouri hopes to compete for doctors with states like Kansas, which saw its Supreme Court uphold $250,000 damage limits last year.

Reasonable liability limits worked well for years here in Missouri and will work well again. In fact, we have seen where the caps helped reduce the cost of liability insurance for health care providers by more than $44 million over a five-year period. This is a move supported by the entire medical community because it is the fairest way to contain costs while still allowing Missourians to recover damages against doctors who are negligent in their duties.

As always, it is an honor to serve the good folks of the 153rd District. If you would like to discuss any issue, please call 573-751-1066 or you can e-mail me at steve.cookson@house.mo.gov .