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(Mammoth Spring)- The Mammoth Spring Spooktacular event will be held on Saturday, October 25, from 3:30-7PM on Main Street in Mammoth Spring.

During this event there will be lots of games, treats, a pumpkin carving contest, and a costume contest. Costume contestants may only enter one of the four categories: Adult and Teenage contest, Child 12 and under Contest, Original Costume Contest for all ages where the costume must have been made, not purchased, or the Couples Costume Contest. which is also for all ages and must be a couple or set.

Booth spaces are available for $10 if you register before October 17, after that date booths will be $15.

For more information or to register for a booth call Jennifer Crowe at 870-625-3235.

(Melbourne) – Ozarka College will host their annual Friends of the Paul Weaver Library book sale on Friday, October 3 and Saturday, October 4 from 8 AM to 3 PM both dates in the lobby of the John E. Miller building, on the Ozarka College campus in Melbourne.

The book sale will feature hundreds of books of all kinds that appeal to children and adults. Other media such as videos and DVDs will be offered as well.

All proceeds will benefit the Friends of the Paul Weaver Library at Ozarka College. Funds from previous book sales have been used to purchase materials for the Paul Weaver Library and to support special events and activities sponsored by the college and the library.

For more information, please contact Mary Ellen Hawkins or Dan Lindsey at 870-368-2054 or 870-368-2055.

(Gainesville)- The monthly meeting of the Ozark County Democratic Party will be at the Gainesville Fire Department, on Thursday October 9 at 6 PM.

State Representative Lyle Roland will be in attendance, and will be given the $250 gift certificate from Walmart that he won at the Hootin’ n Hollarin’ festival. The group will also be discussing the upcoming election and the four proposed amendments to the Missouri Constitution.

Non-members are welcome to attend regardless of political party affiliation. For more information or directions contact secretary Dennis Lawson, at 417-712-4490.

(Sikeston) – Route Y in Texas County will be reduced to one lane as Missouri Department of Transportation crews perform drainage repairs.

This section of roadway is located from Route H to Route 137.

Weather permitting, work will be performed Wednesday, October 1 through Friday, October 3 from 7:30 AM to 3 PM daily.

(Mountain Home)- Join the Issues & Viewpoints book discussion at the Donald W. Reynolds Library this Wednesday, October 1, at 1:30PM.

The discussion will be on Sutton by J. R. Moehringer, a fictionalized account of Willie Sutton, one of America’s most successful bank robbers.  Multiple copies are available for checkout.

This program is part of a line-up of special programs slated at the Library during the run of the Crime Lab Detective exhibit, which will be at the Library through November 2.

For additional information, contact Kathe Altazan, at kathe.a@baxlib.org, or call 870-580-0987 ext. 2975 or visit www.baxlib.org.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri’s public employee retirement plans generally are in better financial shape than those nationwide, though there is cause for concern about some, according to a state audit released Tuesday.

Auditor Tom Schweich’s report examined 89 public pension systems that are set up to pay defined benefits to 546,000 people who worked for state or local governmental entities. It found a wide discrepancy in the systems’ financial health, with some in “very good financial condition” and others in a “very poor financial condition.”

“Our pensions, by and large, are better managed than those nationwide,” Schweich said. “They have fewer problems, but there are still definitely some land mines out there, as far as future pension benefits go.”

Schweich placed 15 pension plans on an auditor’s “watch list” because of their finances, including those for the state transportation department and Highway Patrol employees and retirement plans for some public employees in Columbia, Joplin, Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis County. They could be subject to additional, in-depth audits, he said.

Statewide, Missouri’s pension plans had combined actuarial assets of $57 billion and accrued liabilities of $73 billion at the end of 2012, resulting in an unfunded liability of $16 billion, the audit said. The plans were funded at 78 percent of the present value of their future retirement payments – down from 83 percent in 2003 but several percentage points better than nationwide figures.

Unfunded liabilities grew in pension plans across the nation during the recession because investment losses and budget shortfalls made it difficult for governments to fully fund the plans. The audit noted several pension officials said their investment returns were much stronger in 2013 and 2014, thus improving the financial health of the plans after the timeframe covered by the audit.

Missouri’s largest public pension plan is the Public School Retirement System, which covers more than 140,000 people. It had $29 billion of assets, amounting to a funded ratio of 82 percent of its liabilities in 2012.

Schweich said a funded ratio of 80 percent or better is an indication a pension plan is “relatively healthy.”

Smaller plans had greater discrepancies, ranging from a low of 10 percent for the Cedar Hill Fire Protection District in Jefferson County, which covers 31 members, to a high of 164 percent for the Maplewood Police and Fire Retirement Fund, which covers 24 people.

Each year, actuaries determine how much money should put into retirement funds to ensure their long-term financial health. But those recommendations are not always followed by the governmental entities.

Nationwide, public pension plans received 80 percent of the recommended contributions in 2012. Missouri fared better with a 94 percent contribution rate, driven primarily by large plans that met or exceeded their targets. But the audit said 34 of Missouri’s pension plans didn’t get the full recommended contribution.

“This statistic is concerning, as it indicates sponsoring governments of some plans may not be committed to achieving plans’ overall funding goals,” the audit said.

Another financial indicator Schweich examined is the percentage of payroll costs devoted to pension plans. That figure rose over the past decade in Missouri, as it did nationally, but remained slightly below the national norm, he said.

(Willard) (AP) – The Greene County Sheriff’s Office says the death of a woman and her estranged husband was a murder-suicide.

Sheriff Jim Arnott said in a news release that deputies found 48-year-old Sandra Pendergrass lying dead on a road in Willard Monday evening. She had suffered severe head trauma and a gunshot wound.

During the investigation of her death, the body of 48-year-old Todd Pendergrass was found in Dade County near Everton. Arnott says Pendergrass shot himself.

Arnott says that before he killed himself, Todd Pendergrass confessed to his daughter and brother that he had killed his wife.

The Springfield News-Leader reports this is at least the fourth time since April that a Springfield area-woman died in what authorities called murder caused by domestic violence.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – A California contractor has been fined thousands of dollars and was banned from doing business in Missouri after scamming two people whose homes were destroyed by the 2011 tornado in Joplin.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced in a news release Tuesday a consent judgment against Clark Baxter, of Sustainable Design, Inc. Koster says Baxter’s company contracted to rebuild two homes in Joplin after the tornado but he did not deliver construction materials and stopped work before it was completed. Koster says Baxter spent the homeowners’ money on personal expenses, including a trip to Hawaii.

The order requires Baxter to pay $26,000 in restitution and fines. Some of the money will go to two charities that finished work on the two homes using their own funds and hundreds of volunteers.

(West Plains) – The West Plains Public Library will be closing at 4 PM on Wednesday, October 1 for maintenance.

Officials say that the library will open again on Thursday, October 2 at 9 AM.

The Ozarks Food Harvest Mobile Food Pantry prequalification on Wednesday will still be held from 4-5:45 PM in the library’s Community Room. People who want to attend should enter on the Cass Ave. side of the library.

(Pocahontas) (AP) – Pocahontas police have arrested a man who they say was growing nearly 40 marijuana plants in a home he was renting.

Police Chief Cecil Tackett told KAIT-TV on Monday that it’s “by far” the largest growing operation officers have discovered. He said the 37 plants ranged from seedlings to 5 feet tall.

Police were called to the residence for a welfare check after the homeowner said the 37-year-old tenant hadn’t paid rent in months. Officers say they could see and smell marijuana plants and obtained a search warrant.

Tackett says the man was arrested a few days later.

The man faces drug manufacturing and drug paraphernalia charges. Both are felonies.