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(Little Rock) (AP) – Arkansans can begin early voting in this year’s busy midterm election.

Voters can cast ballots from 8 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday, and 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturdays. Early voting wraps up at 5 PM on Monday, November 3 – the day before the general election.

Arkansas election officials predict that 51 percent of the state’s nearly 1.7 million registered voters will cast ballots for the general election. That’s an increase from the last midterm election in 2010, when 47.6 percent of Arkansas’ 1.6 million registered voters cast ballots.

This year’s ballot features a heated U.S. Senate contest between Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor and Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, along with the governor’s race with Democrat Mike Ross and Republican Asa Hutchinson seeking the office.

(West Plains)- The West Plains City Council will meet this evening at 5:30 PM for a regular council meeting in the West Plains City Council Chambers at West Plains City Hall.

During the meeting the council will look to make Bill 4358 into an ordinance. The bill will approve a settlement agreement with Centrylink and assigning a percentage of the settlement proceeds to the Missouri Municipal League.

There are also two other bills scheduled to be discussed – Bill 1007 would declare an intention to reimburse certain capital expenditures from proceeds of a proposed lease purchasing financing; and approving the engagement of certain professionals relating to the proposed financing, while Bill 1008 would adopt a city vehicle policy for the City of West Plains Employees.

The council will also hear a bid to replace handheld units for meter readers and the hearing of planning and zoning recommendations.

Economic Development Director Bob Case will give a Department Presentation followed by the administrators report.

(Mountain Home) – Mountain Home School District Superintendent Dr. Lonnie Myers will be retiring at the end of the school year.

Myers’ retirement was approved at a special school board meeting this past Thursday. Myers is in his fifth year as superintendent of Mountain Home Public Schools, and has a total of 39 years of experience in education.

Since becoming superintendent, Myers has overseen a number of improvements in the district, including improved ACT scores and an increased graduation rate.

His retirement will be effective June 30, 2015.

(Houston) – The Texas County Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation is gearing up for the Eighth Annual Chili Cook Off on Saturday, November 8, in the Community Building at the Texas County Fairgrounds.

The Foundation is hosting the event to raise funds to benefit TCMH Hospice of Care. Jay Gentry, director of the Healthcare Foundation, is overseeing the chili cook off and related activities.

The TCMH Healthcare Foundation Chili Cook Off will feature 16 teams competing for chili prizes and in raising money for Hospice of Care. The event will also feature music, a live auction, a chili dog eating contest, a cake walk and booths with special foods or games as well as the opportunity to sample all the chili. Chili cooking teams are comprised of five people and are sponsored by businesses and organizations.

Three TCMH departments are also participating in the cook off- the EMS department, the medical surgical department; Home Health of the Ozarks and Dr. Christopher Baldwin and Tracey Arwood, CNM of the TCMH Medical Complex in Houston. A live auction held at 2PM in the Community Building will be a major portion of the fundraising for the day.

Hospice of Care provides end of life care for patients and their families regardless of a patient’s ability to pay for the service.  If insurance coverage is not available, Hospice of Care may use Chili Cook Off funds to purchase medications in addition to providing care at no charge.

Tickets to the event are $10 for adults and $5 for children and are available through Hospice of Care and the Healthcare Foundation at TCMH. For more information about a sponsorship or to make a gift in support of the chili cook off, contact the TCMH Healthcare Foundation, 417-967-1377 or online at www.tcmh.org.

(Jefferson City) – The Missouri State Highway Patrol is urging motorists to be cautious during harvest season. Brett Stevens has more:

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(Washington) – The US Energy Information Administration has released their most recent propane price study. Marcela Rourk with the EIA has that report:

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MSU-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett speaking at the "State of the University" address. (ORN Photo)

MSU-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett speaking at the “State of the University” address. (ORN Photo)

(West Plains) – During the annual “State of the University” address put on by Missouri State University, MSU-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett and MSU System President Clif Smart both discussed one of the system’s larger problems – retention rates, or keeping students within the MSU system.

Bennett told Ozark Radio News that MSU-West Plains has been looking at a variety of programs, including one implemented this past summer, that looks to improve retention rates:

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MSU-West Plains saw a retention rate of 45.4% in fall 2013.

(Pontiac) – Two Gainesville residents suffered minor injuries Friday night after a one-vehicle accident in Ozark County.

The accident happened at 11 PM on County Road 603, about five miles east of Pontiac, when the northbound vehicle driven by 27-year-old Evelyn Vetter ran off-road and hit a fence.

Vetter and a passenger, 32-year-old Paul Yager, both of Gainesville, suffered minor injuries and sought their own medical treatment, according to a report from Troop G of the Highway Patrol.

(Melbourne) – G.I. Jobs has named Ozarka College to the 2015 Military Friendly Schools list.

This marks the fifth consecutive year Ozarka College has received this honor. According to G.I. Jobs, schools that have earned the elite Military Friendly designation have demonstrated a commitment to supporting student veterans on campus and in their careers.

The Military Friendly Schools list, found at www.gijobs.com/school, explains the mission of G.I. Jobs, which is to “simplify the military transition experience using education and employment tools and resources to guide you to a successful career.”

When qualifying schools for the Military Friendly Schools list, G.I. Jobs rates schools under categories including On-Campus Military Support, Credit Acceptance, School Offered Tuition Assistance, Spouse and Dependent, and Flexibility. Ozarka College received the highest rating possible for Flexibility.

Ozarka College has four campus locations: Melbourne, Ash Flat, Mammoth Spring or Mountain View, AR.

(Ash Flat) – The Ash Flat Library will be hosting a Civil War Symposium at the Ash Flat Community Center, across from the library, on Saturday, October 25.

Registration will start at 9AM. The first presentation will be “CSS Pontchartrain-The Forgotten Warship of Arkansas”, presented by William Stevens, at 9:30 AM. The CSS Pontchartrain arrived in Arkansas during the summer of 1862, and never left. However, few people know of the vessel’s existence and the role it played in defense of the Mississippi, Arkansas and White Rivers. This program will discuss both the civilian and military history of the vessel and the search to find its forgotten remains and final resting place of the largest warship in the waters of Arkansas.

A break will take place at 10:30 AM, and things will resume at 10:45 AM, with the second speaker, Dr. Michael B. Dougan, who will address “Cabins Divided: The Extremely Un-Civil War in the Ozarks.” Dr. Michael B. Dougan, Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus, Arkansas State University, hails from Neosho, MO, where he grew up in the former home of Col. Thomas R. Freeman. Like many families in the Upper South he has both Confederate and Union ancestors. Uncle J. Posey Woodside fought at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek for the Missouri State Guard and then joined the 4th Missouri Infantry. Wounded at the Battle of Corinth he remained crippled for life. His brother, Leigh Bowlin Woodside, was a private in the 13th Missouri Cavalry. Both brothers served together in the 1876 session of the Missouri legislature.

Lunch break starts at 11:45AM returning for afternoon presentations beginning at 1 PM. The Conway Women’s Chorus Civil War Ensemble will bring the first musical program ever to our Civil War Symposiums. In connection with the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, the Civil War Ensemble of Conway Women’s Chorus has prepared a program of songs and stories from the war years.

“General Robert E. Lee” will arrive at 2 PM to articulate his personal overview of the war years brought to us by Louis Intres. Uniforms and period dress are welcome Free admission and door prizes.