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From left, Community Marketing Director and West Plains Downtown Revitalization, Inc. (WPDR) board member Todd Shanks, WPDR Director of Events Mary Mike Taylor, Mayor Pahlmann, WPDR Chair Vicki Hogan, and WPDR board member Joshua Shirley. (Provided)

From left, Community Marketing Director and West Plains Downtown Revitalization, Inc. (WPDR) board member Todd Shanks, WPDR Director of Events Mary Mike Taylor, Mayor Pahlmann, WPDR Chair Vicki Hogan, and WPDR board member Joshua Shirley. (Provided)

(West Plains) – West Plains Mayor Jack Pahlmann recently signed a proclamation declaring the tree on the lawn of the Howell County Courthouse on the Historic Court Square as the official “2014 West Plains Christmas Tree”.

The tree will officially be lit on the First Friday Night Stroll on Friday, December 5, with Santa arriving at 5:30 PM, followed by carols at 6 PM, and the tree lighting at 7:30 PM.

The First Friday Stroll is held the first Friday of each month on the courthouse square and down Washington Ave. in West Plains.

(Willow Springs) – Willow Springs Superintendent Dr. Derrick Hutsell told Ozark Radio News that students in the Willow Springs School District will be in class for a few days next week before Thanksgiving break:

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Hutsell added that Christmas break will start December 19 in Willow Springs.

(Washington) – Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke with members of the media earlier this week and discussed a number of issues, including her legislation that seeks to protect students from sexual assault on college campuses.

McCaskill says that she is confident it will be passed in the next Congress:

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Many people thought that McCaskill would attempt to push the legislation through during the “lame duck” session, however that didn’t happen. She explains why:

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The “Campus Safety and Accountability Act” would also establish stiff penalties for non-compliance with the legislation’s new standards for training, data and practices.

(Eminence) – On Saturday, December 6, Ozark National Scenic Riverways is hosting their final event in a yearlong series to honor the 50th Anniversary of the park’s establishment. An old fashioned Christmas celebration will be held 10AM-1PM at the Alley Mill and General Store.

Bring the whole family and your friends to view Alley Mill and the general store all dressed up in holiday decorations. Feast on cookies, cider and hot chocolate. Try out your creativity by making old-time ornaments that you can take home and hang on your Christmas tree to enjoy.

Alley Mill and General Store are located six miles west of Eminence, Missouri, on State Route 106. For more information, call 573-226-3945 or 573-323-4236 during business hours Monday through Friday 8AM-4:30PM; visit the park’s Facebook page, or website at www.nps.gov/ozar.

(Cabool) – A free winter dance concert hosted by the STARS Foundation, will be performed on Saturday, December 6, at 7 PM, at the Cabool High School located at 720 Peabody Ave, in Cabool.

The STARS Foundation is a non-profit, community wide, Fine Arts School. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.thestarsfoundation.org.

FILE - In this  Feb. 11, 2014 file image from video provided by the City of Ferguson, Mo., officer Darren Wilson attends a city council meeting in Ferguson. Wilson is not expecting to face criminal charges from a Missouri grand jury that has been investigating the nationally watched case for the past several months, a police union official said Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. Jeff Roorda, the business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, said he met Thursday with Ferguson Police Officer Wilson, who has remained secluded from the public eye since the Aug. 9 shooting. Wilson remains confident in the outcome of the grand jury investigation, Roorda said.    (AP Photo/City of Ferguson, File)

FILE – In this Feb. 11, 2014 file image from video provided by the City of Ferguson, Mo., officer Darren Wilson attends a city council meeting in Ferguson. Wilson is not expecting to face criminal charges from a Missouri grand jury that has been investigating the nationally watched case for the past several months, a police union official said Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014. Jeff Roorda, the business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, said he met Thursday with Ferguson Police Officer Wilson, who has remained secluded from the public eye since the Aug. 9 shooting. Wilson remains confident in the outcome of the grand jury investigation, Roorda said. (AP Photo/City of Ferguson, File)

(Jefferson City) (AP) – The suburban St. Louis police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown seems confident that he will not face criminal charges from a grand jury that has been investigating the case for several months, a police union official said Thursday.

Jeff Roorda, business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, said he met Thursday with Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, who has remained secluded from the public eye since the Aug. 9 shooting that sparked tense and occasionally violent protests and drew national attention.

Wilson has been under a lot of pressure and stress but appeared confident in the outcome of the grand jury investigation, Roorda said.

“It’s fair to say that neither he nor his defense team expect an indictment,” Roorda said, offering his impression of the situation based on the meeting with Wilson.

Roorda later told the AP in a text message that he was only speaking for himself.

“Wilson seems confident that justice will be served, but neither he nor his attorneys shared any expectations with me,” he said in the text.

One of Wilson’s attorneys, who also attended Thursday’s meeting, said there was no specific discussion of expectations.

“We have absolutely no idea – no more than anyone else – what may or may not happen,” attorney Neil Bruntrager said. “The only expectation that we would have is that the grand jury would be thorough and fair.”

If he is indicted, Wilson will immediately turn himself in to authorities, Bruntrager said.

Wilson has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.

A 12-person St. Louis County grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case as it weighs whether to issue charges against the white officer for the black 18-year-old’s death. A decision could come soon, though authorities have not publicized any specific date for an announcement.

Roorda said St. Louis city police have been notified that they are switching to 12-hour shifts starting Saturday, a preparation for a potential uptick in protests.

The St. Louis County Police Department has not yet decided whether to switch to longer work shifts, spokesman Brian Schellman said.

For weeks, local and state police have been preparing for a grand jury announcement in anticipation that it will result in renewed protests. Earlier this week, Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to help with security.

Authorities have said Wilson shot Brown, who was unarmed, following some sort of physical confrontation that occurred after Wilson told Brown and a friend to stop walking down the center of a street.

Wilson told authorities that the shooting happened after Brown struggled with him for his gun, according to reports by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the New York Times that cited unnamed sources. But some witnesses have said Brown had his arms raised – as if to surrender – when the fatal shot was fired.

Riots and looting occurred a day after the shooting, and protesters filled the streets for weeks. Police responded by firing tear gas and smoke canisters into crowds of demonstrators after some people threw rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Protests have been nearly constant since the shooting. The vast majority of protesters want to see the officer charged with murder. Many are also pushing for changes in the way police and the courts interact with minorities. A handful of demonstrations have been in support of Wilson.

Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Brown’s family, described the investigation as an “emotional roller-coaster” for his clients. Even if Wilson is indicted, there’s no guarantee of a conviction. And if he isn’t charged, Crump said Thursday, “they get no chance of justice for their child.”

Crump said he had no insight into the timing of the grand jury’s decision, but that he expected to be notified ahead of any public announcement.

Wilson has incurred significant legal, medical and relocation expenses, and a police charity has raised close to $500,000 for him, Roorda said.

(Provided)

(Provided)

(Willow Springs) – The city of Willow Springs honored a number of employees for their years of service at the city council meeting on Wednesday.

Recipients and photos are below.

Tom Benyo, left, received recognition for 12 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

Tom Benyo, left, received recognition for 12 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

Robert Rackley, left, received recognition for 30 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

Robert Rackley, left, received recognition for 30 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

Marsha Asberry, left, received recognition for 15 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

Marsha Asberry, left, received recognition for 15 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

Jim Stillwell, left, received recognition for 26 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

Jim Stillwell, left, received recognition for 26 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

James Walton, left, received recognition for 13 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

James Walton, left, received recognition for 13 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

David Gooch, left, received recognition for 26 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

David Gooch, left, received recognition for 26 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

Danny Cooper, left, received recognition for 13 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

Danny Cooper, left, received recognition for 13 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

Chipper Wood, left, received recognition for 12 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

Chipper Wood, left, received recognition for 12 years with the city. At right is City Administrator Bob Pollard. (Provided)

Thomas Harvey

(Mountain Home) – Three people were arrested Thursday morning when authorities conducted a probation home visit and search at a home in rural Mountain Home.

58-year-old Thomas Harvey, 36-year-old Jeremy Thorgensen, and 25-year-old Bethany Williams, all of rural Mountain Home, face a variety of charges related to drugs and probation violations.

Investigators say that during the search, officers found approximately 1.2 grams of meth, drug paraphernalia, and firearms, all of which were seized and taken into evidence.

Agencies participating in the search and arrests were the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office, Mountain Home Police, and Arkansas Department of Community Corrections.

williams

Bethany Williams

thorgensen

Jeremy Thorgensen

Pictured from left, ASUMH Communications Team: Linda Clark; Christy Keirn; Amanda Herd; Sarah Sikes. (Provided)

Pictured from left, ASUMH Communications Team: Linda Clark; Christy Keirn; Amanda Herd; Sarah Sikes. (Provided)

(Mountain Home) – Arkansas State University-Mountain Home’s (ASUMH) Department of Communications and Institutional Advancement recently received four awards for marketing pieces submitted to the District 4 National Council for Marketing & Public Relations (NCMPR).

As part of District 4, ASUMH competed against two-year colleges in Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. NCMPR is the only organization of its kind that exclusively represents marketing and public relations professionals at community and technical colleges.

ASUMH received Medallion Awards as follows: Gold, Viewbook; Silver, Novelty Advertising; Bronze, Novelty Advertising; and Bronze, Printed Academic Catalog. These items and publications have been used for recruiting and promotion of ASUMH and its new logo, which was officially adopted in September.

Ric and Tommie Kristeff, Owners of Finch’s Locksmith Service. (Provided)

Ric and Tommie Kristeff, Owners of Finch’s Locksmith Service. (Provided)

(West Plains) – Finch’s Locksmith Service was founded by the late Kevin Finch almost two decades ago, and quickly became a household name in the West Plains area. Now, its new owners are hoping to continue that great service.

Finch’s Locksmith Service reopened in May 2014 under the new ownership of Ric and Tommie Kristeff, who are excited to continue serving the community for the future decades to come.

Shortly after the purchase, Finch’s Locksmith Service became an affiliate client of The Ozarks Small Business Incubator. They are utilizing OzSBI’s services including a team of highly trained mentors, marketing assistance, networking, and other business services to grow their business here in the Ozarks.

Finch’s Locksmith Service is bonded and offers automotive, commercial and residential locksmith services. Call Ric at 417-256-8657 to set up an appointment.

For more information on how OzSBI can help your business, call us at 417-256-9724 or visit us online at www.ozsbi.com.