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(West Plains) – The West Plains Police Department has announced that they are now using an online investigation system that will allow detectives to search for stolen property across scrap metal recyclers, pawn shops, and other second-hand stores.

The LeadsOnline system equips criminal investigators with the ability to instantly solve crimes and return goods to their rightful owners. Property can be searched using serial numbers, suspect name, item descriptions, or other information. Often, these property crimes are associated with larger crimes such as homicides, arson, and fraud.

Detective Bryan Brauer says that the West Plains Police Department solved several cases during their free 30-day trial of the program, and since signing on to use LeadsOnline, investigators have been solving crimes daily.

Without LeadsOnline, investigators had to undertake a time-consuming process of visiting all the stores in the area and physically collecting the information. Now, they can search 32,000 businesses across the country.

The online system works hand-in-hand with a new ordinance passed by the West Plains City Council at their meeting Monday, which requires second-hand stores, pawn shops, and scrap metal stores to report their purchases.

The West Plains Police Department is also encouraging residents to use a free online system that will help keep track of personal property. ReportIt is a free, secure online service allowing citizens to record serial numbers and upload images for phones, electronics, and other valuables. Should those items ever be stolen, citizens can access that information from any computer with an internet connection, and easily print it out for investigators.

To sign up for ReportIt, click here.

(Little Rock) (AP) – Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin says the Nov. 4 general election results have been certified.

Martin announced the certification Thursday, saying about half of the 1.7 million people registered to vote in Arkansas cast ballots in the election.

Under Arkansas election law, counties must certify results to the Secretary of State’s Office no later than 15 days after the election.

The delay allows overseas military citizens time to ensure their votes are counted in accordance with the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.

(ShutterStock)

(ShutterStock)

(Little Rock) (AP) – Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is warning residents to use caution when they go online to shop for gifts this holiday season.

McDaniel issued a consumer alert this week ahead of the Dec. 1 “Cyber Monday,” when tens of millions of Americans shop online.

To stay safe, McDaniel says consumers should make sure to shop websites of reputable retailers and avoid giving sensitive financial information like a credit card number unless it’s appropriate – such as on an order form.

Don’t disclose personal information unless it’s clear who is collecting it and how the collector will use it, his office says.

He also reminds residents not to divulge website, social media or email account passwords to anyone – including those who claim to be Internet service or e-commerce providers.

(West Plains) – The West Plains Schools Board of Education met for a regular session meeting on Tuesday, November 18.

During the meeting, Dr. Mulford asked the school board to consider placing a tax levy issue, which would help expand classroom space at West Plains and South Fork Elementary Schools and allow the district to reduce class size, on next year’s ballot. Dr. Mulford asked the board to allow the district to solicit proposals from consulting firms that specialize in working with school district stakeholders to conduct a needs assessment and evaluate support for potential tax levy issues. That was approved unanimously by the board.

The board also learned that the school district is currently in the process of receiving rate information from various insurance companies. For this year, the district has paid in $2.1 million in premiums and the insurance company has paid out $2.6 million in claims, which, if the district stays with Coventry insurance, a 34% increase in premiums will take effect.

For the 2014-15 school year, the West Plains School Board has approved the request of the salary committee to offer an Early Separation Incentive for employees.

At the December meeting, the school board will also make a decision on partnering with Trillium Trust and their “Unlock the Ozarks” project.

Board candidate election filing opens at 8 AM on December 16, and runs through 5 PM January 20. Sam Riggs and Brian Mitchell are in their final year of a three year term and Courtney Beykirch is completing an appointed year of the term previously held by Bo Pace. All three seats will be up for election in April.

The next board meeting is scheduled for December 16, at 5PM at the West Plains Middle School.

(Jefferson City) – The Missouri Farm Bureau says people in the Show-Me State will be paying a bit more for their Thanksgiving dinner this year.

The American Farm Bureau’s Thanksgiving Marketbasket Survey says that the national average for a Thanksgiving dinner for ten people will be $49.41, or $4.94 per person. Missourians are expected to pay $50.52, or $5.05 per person.

Turkey, the centerpiece of the meal, averages $1.24 per pound in Missouri, which is less than the national average of $1.35. Items from the dairy case — a gallon of whole milk, a half pint of whipping cream and butter — create the largest price increases year-over-year and compared to the national average.

Sweet potatoes were significantly higher this year, with no real explanation. As consumer demand for fresh sweet potatoes is strong, harvested acres are expected to be up this year compared to last year.

(West Plains) – Another nursing option has been added to the list of degree and certificate offerings at Missouri State University-West Plains.

On Wednesday, November 19, members of the Missouri State University Board of Governors’ Executive Committee approved the Certificate in Allied Health-Certified Nurses Assistant (CNA). The program will now be forwarded to the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) for final approval in February 2015. If approved, Missouri State-West Plains will be authorized to offer 17 associate degrees and 22 certificate options, which includes three associate and two certificate programs in allied health fields.

Students who seek the CNA certificate will be able to assist licensed nurses in providing patient care in a variety of settings. Also known as a nursing assistant or nurse’s aid, CNAs are often considered the eyes and ears for the nursing staff, according to Amy Ackerson, director of nursing and allied health.

In particular, this program will help prepare students for employment in long-term care facilities. Currently, there are 17 such facilities in and immediately surrounding the West Plains area, and all require CNA certification of their employees at a minimum care for the residents.

The certificate program’s curriculum is comprised of a combination of general education, allied health, and child and family development courses.

Courses for the CNA program will begin in January, and there are no prerequisites. Regular registration for 2015 spring semester classes begins Saturday, November 22. For more information about admissions and registration procedures, call the Missouri State-West Plains admissions office, 417-255-7955, or visit wp.missouristate.edu.

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.