Texting Bill

All Missouri drivers would be forbidden to send or read text messages on their cell phones, under a bill discussed in the Senate’s Transportation Committee. Committee members took no vote, but generally supported the idea. Democratic Senator Ryan McKenna of Crystal City has sponsored the bill in past years, including handling the 2009 House bill that, ultimately, contained Missouri’s current law prohibiting drivers 21 and younger from texting.

District Map Suit

Opponents of new state House districts took their legal challenge to a trial court Friday after Missouri’s Supreme Court refused to hear their case directly. The filing in Cole County, the home county of the state capital of Jefferson City, was expected after the high court’s ruling Thursday that the group’s effort to strike down the new House district map would need to start in the lower court. A group of more than a dozen people contend the new state House map violates requirements that districts have similar populations and be contiguous and compact.

Bridge Project

Despite earlier estimates it would take five to seven days to reroute Highway 5 traffic from the old Hurricane Deck Bridge in Sunrise Beach onto a new span, MoDOT officials now say the road will only be closed for “15 or 20 minutes” once the new bridge is built. MoDOT officials decided to award the contract to American Bridge Company of Overland Park, Kansas because they presented a plan for constructing the bridge that would prevent the closing of Highway 5 for a lengthy period while staying within the structural requirements, time allotted for the project and the money constraints set by MoDOT.

Happy Fisherman Closes

A longtime business known to Osage Beach residents has closed its doors for good. The Happy Fisherman had been in business for 37 years. The restaurant served between six and eight tons a catfish ever year. The restaurant has had only two cashiers in its lifetime, and three of the most loyal employees — Maxine Stout, Marge Adams and Adel Dickelman — total more than 100 years of service for the Craig family, which owned the eatery. A downturn in business started about four years ago, and that was a major reason the Craigs decided to close the doors. George Brett from the Kansas City Royals and Dan Dierdorf from the St. Louis football Cardinals were among the restaurant’s famous customers.

Eagles Landing Ribbon Cutting Planned

The first store at The Shoppes at Eagles Landing is opening in just over a week. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held for CVS Pharmacy February 5th at 8 A-M. CVS will be joined this spring by a Kohl’s department store, and later in the year by Menards home improvement and the new 8-screen, state-of-the-art Wehrenberg Theater.

Area O Negative Blood Stocks Low

Community Blood Center of the Ozarks has issued a Code Yellow Alert, because they’re low on Type O Negative blood. The alert means the center has less than a two day supply of O- on hand in hospitals. If you want to donate, you need to be at least 110 pounds, be in good health and present the required identification. One blood donor can save the lives of up to three people. To donate, go to www.cbco.org or call 1-800-280-5337.

UPDATE: Car Crashes into Osage Beach School

It could’ve been a disaster …when that car crashed into the School of the Osage Wednesday. The vehicle went out of control on Highway 42, struck a curb, became airborne, and when it landed, accelerated as it plowed into the southwest corner of the Upper Elementary building. A 5th grade teacher with a classroom full of students was sitting just three feet from the impact point, according to Osage Beach Police Sgt. Arlyne Page:

The classroom will likely be out of service for the rest of the school year. Assistant Superintendent Tony Hermann describes the damage

Police say the driver of the car, a 16-year-old student, was downloading music on a laptop computer when the accident happened. The car was totaled and he’s been cited for careless and imprudent driving.