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(West Plains) – In early September, Arvest Bank announced the beginning of its fourth annual “1 Million Meals” campaign, which challenges bank associates, customers and communities to fight hunger by providing at least one million meals to those in need. Today, the bank announces the campaign has exceeded 500,000 meals, or halfway to the goal of one million meals.

Arvest branches throughout Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma have been participating in this initiative by collecting nonperishable food items and monetary donations. These efforts will continue through November 1 with the intention of reaching one million meals donated to the local communities Arvest serves just in time for the holidays.

Every dollar raised through 1 Million Meals provides the equivalent of five meals for local, hungry families.

Locally, Arvest Bank in West Plains has partnered with the Samaritan Outreach Center, who will receive all of the nonperishable food and monetary donations made in West Plains through November 1.

Arvest Bank in West Plains has also partnered with the West Plains elementary and middle schools during the month of October to collect food items to benefit the Samaritan Outreach program.

West Plains residents can help support the Samaritan Outreach Center during the 1 Million Meals initiative by dropping off nonperishable food items or monetary donations at Arvest West Plains, 1311 Porter Wagoner Blvd. or by calling 866-952-9523.

For more information about 1 Million Meals, visit

(Jefferson City) (AP) – U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is planning to travel to Missouri colleges and universities to discuss ways of addressing sexual violence on campuses.

McCaskill’s office says she will hold events at schools in 10 cities next week to listen to opinions about her legislation on the topic.

The bill would require campuses to designate advocates to confidentially discuss options with victims and to develop agreements with local law enforcement agencies on handling sexual assaults. Schools that don’t comply with new standards for training and data collection could face penalties.

This summer, McCaskill released survey results showing that 40 percent of campuses reported no sexual assault investigations in the past five years.

McCaskill’s events will be in Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Kansas City, Kirksville, Maryville, Rolla, St. Joseph, St. Louis, Springfield and Warrensburg.

(Omaha) (AP) – A monthly economic survey index for nine Midwestern and Plains states suggests economic growth in the region will slow down in the months ahead.

A survey report issued Wednesday says the overall September index dropped nearly three points to 54.3, from 57.2 the previous month.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, says a drop in grain prices over the past year has led to a pullback in economic activity for the heavily agrarian region.

The survey results from supply managers are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests economic growth, while a score below that suggests decline.

The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

(St. Louis) (AP) – Missouri House Majority Leader John Diehl wants to let voters decide whether to abolish the state lottery, which he calls an “unstable and “inefficient” funding source for public education.

Diehl said he will present the idea to fellow Republican lawmakers in hopes that the House could consider a measure next year that would place a referendum on the lottery on the 2016 ballot.

“I think we should let the voters have a say in whether or not our commitment to public education should be left to the whims of collecting gambling revenue,” Diehl told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The lottery, at the end of the day, is government-run gambling, and it’s been inefficient.”

The lottery had record sales of nearly $1.16 billion during the 2014 budget year that ended June 30, marking its fifth straight year of growth and the fourth consecutive year that it set a new high for revenues. Yet the amount of lottery proceeds transferred to education declined to $267 million this past year from a high of nearly $289 million in 2013.

The amount of lottery revenues provided to education had consistently been above 25 percent annually during the past decade but dipped to 23.1 percent this past year. The rest of the money goes toward prizes and lottery operations.

That education funding decline prompted Gov. Jay Nixon to order a review of the lottery’s operations and replace all five of its commission members, with an emphasis on boosting the percentage of money that goes to education.

If the lottery were eliminated, legislators would have to come up with about $278 million that the lottery is expected to generate for education under the latest annual estimate.

Diehl said the money could come from growth in state general revenues or by cutting less important programs.

Some lawmakers are urging caution. If the state had to replace lottery funding for education, programs such as mental health could face budget cuts, said Sen. Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis.

Missouri voters authorized the lottery in 1984 and voted to earmark lottery proceeds for education in 1992.

(West Plains) – Those who ordered doughnuts as part of the Howell Valley Choir fundraiser are urged to pick their orders up this evening.

Doughnut pick-up will be from 3:30-6 PM on Wednesday at the Howell Valley cafeteria off of Route ZZ.

For more information call 417-256-2268.

(Willow Springs) – The Willow Springs City Council discussed the upcoming year’s budget at their most recent meeting, and City Administrator Bob Pollard says they discussed some issues, including infrastructure and dealing with problem properties:

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The council meeting was held on Thursday, September 25.

(West Plains) – The City of West Plains had a power outage on Friday, and City Clerk Mallory Prewett says that they encourage people to report power outages:

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The number for city hall is 417-256-7176.

(Winona)- The Department of Conservation is hosting several events at the Twin Pine Conservation Education Center in September and October to help citizens connect with nature and the outdoors.

From October 18, starting at 8AM through October 29, at 5PM the Twin Pines Conservation Education Center is having a Discover Nature: Backpacking workshop.

This backpacking trip will take you on the Ozark Trail with an overnight camp at the mid-point of the journey. The group limit is only 20 people ages 12 and up. Those under 16 must have a parent or guardian present and reservations are required. For details on the trip route and other backpacking information, call 573-325-1381.

On Thursday, October 30, the Twin Pines Conservation Education Center from 10AM-6PM is hosting their Owl-o-Ween event.

During this event you can explore the myths and superstitions that have developed regarding this traditional seasonal icon. The Dickerson Park Zoo will be bringing a Great Horned Owl, Screech Owl and Barred Owl. The 10AM-1PM programs are for schools and the 6PM program is for the general public. Reservations are required for the schools and general public.

For further information or to make a reservation, call 573-325-1381.

(Jefferson City) – Missourians might notice more neighborhood foot traffic as students participate in International Walk to School Day on October 8.

The Missouri Department of Transportation encourages parents and communities to help children establish ongoing walking and cycling programs.

To help ensure safety, participants can go to to map a safe route to school. Families who live farther from school can drive part of the way and join the walk along the designated route.

MoDOT oversees the Safe Routes to School program, which is a national program funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation that provides children in grades K-8 with education, training and infrastructure for bicycling and walking to school safely. The program is designed to provide public awareness and outreach to encourage walking and bicycling to school, instead of riding in cars and buses.

Is the event at your school on the national list? Find out by visiting There you can learn more about how your community benefits when students walk and bike to school.

(Mountain Home) – Bert and Valerie Cullen have presented the Mayflower Silver Series of reference books to the Donald W. Reynolds Library serving Baxter County in Mountain Home.

Known first as the “Five Generations Project,” these books also called the “Silver Books”, survey and document the genealogy of the first five generations of Mayflower descendants.

Patrons can access the books in the Local History and Genealogy Room of the Donald W. Reynolds Library. In addition, anyone interested in documenting their Mayflower ancestry may contact the Arkansas branch of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants at or the main office in Plymouth, MA,

For information about all Library programs visit the Library’s website at