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(Indianapolis) – Olivia Powers, a member of the West Plains FFA chapter, will be on stage and in the spotlight Oct. 27-Nov. 1 during the 2014 National FFA Convention & Expo in Louisville, KY.

Powers, a Senior and the daughter of Robert Powers and Kati McKee, has been selected to perform in the National FFA Talent Competition. She will be singing a handful of inspirational songs, according to school officials.

Only 40 acts from throughout the country have been chosen to perform during convention and expo sessions, meal functions and receptions. All acts will have the chance to compete in three rounds, and will be judged on showmanship, creativity, sound quality, clarity and stage presence.

The winner will receive $250 and will be automatically accepted as a member of the 2015 National Talent.



(Mountain Home) – Chamber Ambassadors cut the Ribbon for Twin Lakes Woodworking & Remodeling in Mountain Home on Thursday, October 16.

Twin Lakes Woodworking & Remodeling, Inc., is now open for business located at 1210 Commerce Drive. They focus on remodeling, plus have a brand new showroom with a complete offering of custom cabinets, semi-custom and stock cabinets, ceramic and porcelain tile, hardwood and laminate flooring, decorative hardware, countertops including granite and quartz, showers and vanities. With a fully licensed contractor on staff, the latest design technologies, they take your project from design to material selection to construction.

Their showroom is now open 8am – 3pm, Monday – Friday.

George Underhill

Bruce Underhill

(West Plains) – The Hospice Compassus program serving West Plains and the surrounding areas has recognized Bruce Underhill during National Pastoral Care Week October 19-25 for providing the highest level of spiritual care and guidance for patients and their families.

“We are proud to recognize Bruce for his tireless efforts to provide our patients and their families with exceptional spiritual counseling that goes beyond fulfilling medical and emotional needs, by delivering a more meaningful end-of-life experience for those patients who qualify for care,” said Carla Roberts, Executive Director for Hospice Compassus – West Plains. “Bruce’s positive and caring attitude, exceptional ability to understand and comfort patients, and willingness to support colleagues makes him an integral part of our Hospice Compassus team, and we are lucky to have him onboard.”

Regardless of spiritual, religious or cultural background, National Pastoral Care Week celebrates those who provide spiritual support to others in specialized settings such as hospitals, long term care facilities, hospices, military settings, nursing homes, and many other settings throughout the world.

Hospice Compassus – West Plains will recognize other local pastoral care providers this week by presenting them with framed certificates of appreciation for their dedication to the patients and families they serve.

(Alton) – An Alton police officer who was also the city fire chief died late Monday morning after a one-vehicle accident near Alton.

Alton Police Officer Eddie Joe Johnson Jr. was responding to a residential structure fire 6 miles west of Alton on Highway 160 just before noon Monday when his patrol vehicle ran off the left side of the road, struck a driveway approach and overturned several times, ejecting him from the vehicle. Officer Johnson was rushed to Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains, where he was pronounced dead at 1:05 PM.

Officer Johnson was a 9-year veteran of the Alton Police Department and was also the Alton Fire Chief. He was also a reserve deputy for the Oregon County Sheriff’s Office.

Highway Patrol officials say the crash is being investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Major Crash Investigation Unit. A Highway Patrol report states that Johnson was not wearing a seat belt when the crash occurred.

Officer Johnson is survived by his wife and three children.


(Little Rock) (AP) – State officials say Arkansas’ unemployment rate dipped to 6.2 percent in September. That’s down from 7.7 percent a year earlier.

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services says September’s jobless rate dropped by one-tenth of a percentage point from August. The agency says the number of employed Arkansans rose by 4,500 last month in the first employment gain since March.

Five industry sectors posted job gains, with employment in government rising by 13,100 last month. Much of the increase is attributed to seasonal hiring at public schools. Jobs in educational and health services increased by 2,300, while jobs in professional and business services rose by 2,000.

The agency says the leisure and hospitality sector lost 1,100 jobs last month, primarily because of the closure of summer-related businesses.

(Leslie) (AP) – Authorities say a Searcy County deputy who was wounded in a shootout at a bakery in the Ozark Mountains has been released from the hospital.

Searcy County Sheriff Donald Ragland says Deputy Lang Holland was released from the hospital and is recovering at home after the shooting last week at Serenity Farm Bread in Leslie. Arkansas State Police say Holland was injured Friday after a man allegedly opened fire at the bakery.

Holland and an Arkansas State Police trooper returned fire and injured the man, who authorities identified as 75-year-old John Kolata.

Ragland tells the Harrison Daily Times that Kolata remains in critical condition. The sheriff says authorities don’t yet know what led to the shooting. He described Kolata as a regular customer of the bakery along U.S. 65.

(Ferguson) (AP) – St. Louis County police say a Missouri state senator has been arrested during a protest outside of the Ferguson police station.

Sgt. Brian Schellman tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Democratic Sen. Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis walked in the street on Monday night after police told her she couldn’t protest there. He says Nasheed and an unidentified man were arrested after officers asked them multiple times to leave the street.

The protesters have condemned the early August shooting in Ferguson of 18-year-old Michael Brown and other killings of young black men by white officers.

Police say Nasheed is facing two unspecified charges and is being held at the St. Ann jail.

An attorney for Nasheed says she refused bond. He says the senator was promoting nonviolence.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Rain cut into the number of days Missouri farmers could work in their fields last week, leaving the corn and soybean harvests behind schedule but putting the soil moisture supply in good shape.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports there were 3.5 days suitable for fieldwork for the week that ended Sunday.

Corn harvest is 58 percent complete, which is about 17 percentage points below the five-year average. NASS says the soybean harvest is 25 percent complete, which is 9 percentage points behind last year and 21 points behind the five-year average.

Topsoil moisture was rated at 90 percent adequate or surplus, 8 percent short and 2 percent very short. Subsoil moisture was 12 percent surplus, 72 percent adequate, 14 percent short and 2 percent very short.

(Little Rock) (AP) – Arkansas election officials say more than 24,000 residents cast a ballot on the first day of early voting, surpassing the number who voted early on the first day for the last midterm election.

Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office said 24,508 people early voted on Monday, the beginning of the two-week early voting period for the Nov. 4 election. That surpasses the 21,575 voters who cast a ballot on the first day of early voting for the 2010 election. It’s short of the 35,403 who cast a ballot on the first day of early voting for the 2012 general election.

Martin’s office has predicted 51 percent of the state’s 1.7 million registered voters will cast a ballot in this year’s election.

(West Plains) – The West Plains City Council held a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday at West Plains City Hall.

During the meeting, the city council approved three bills, on of which was Bill 4358, which was a settlement agreement with Centurylink. City officials say the total was around $80,000, and that about $4,000 will be going to the Missouri Municipal League for their assistance in the case.

Bill 1007, which was also approved Monday, will allow the city to reformat their bonds to pay for projects including the fire department and the city transit building, as well as new sidewalks and other improvement projects. Bill 1008 was also approved, and created a concrete policy for city vehicles.

The council also approved two recommendations from the West Plains Planning and Zoning committee, which included a Proposed Restaurant on Ransom Road off of Porter Wagoner Boulevard and a site development plan on retail and office space on Mitchell Road near Kwik Kar.