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(West Plains) – Law enforcement across the region are preparing for a possible uptick of activity on Halloween. Lt. Mike Coldiron with the Howell County Sheriff’s Office told Ozark Radio News that they’re always prepared for possible vandalism or general problems on All Hallow’s Eve:

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Coldiron added that people can help protect themselves this Halloween by taking valuables out of their vehicles and making sure their vehicles are locked.

(West Plains) – West Plains City Clerk Mallory Hawkins spoke with Ozark Radio News earlier this week and talked about the city’s Halloween schedule:

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If you’re not wanting your children to go door-to-door this Halloween, she says the Downtown Revitalization group is offering a nice alternative:

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For more information on festivities in the city, call city hall at 417-256-7176.

(Mount Judea) (AP) – Officials have put another temporary hold on new permits for hog farms near the Buffalo National River in northern Arkansas.

It’s the second moratorium placed on the permits for large or medium hog farms. The Baxter Bulletin reports the moratorium stems from a permit the state’s environmental quality department issued for the C&H Hog Farm to operate.

Having the temporary suspension in place gives time for the Legislature to review future animal feeding operations in the Buffalo River Watershed. The hold can last for up to 180 days.

Minnesota-based food processor Cargill holds the contract on the hog farm. It has already self-imposed a moratorium on expansion of hog production in the watershed area.

Environmentalists have feared farm waste could taint the river, but studies have shown that hasn’t happened.

(Little Rock) (AP) – In addition to high-profile questions about Arkansas’ minimum wage and statewide alcohol sales, voters this year will also answer three questions from legislators.

Issue 1 would give lawmakers veto power over rules adopted by state agencies within the executive branch. Issue 2 would make it tougher for the public to place measures on the ballot, and Issue 3 would let lawmakers spend more time in office in return for tougher ethics standards.

Arkansas lawmakers are allowed to refer to the ballot up to three issues each election cycle.

The minimum wage and alcohol issues were placed on the ballot by the public. Both were the subject of lawsuits, but the state Supreme Court has ruled they can stay on the ballot.

(West Plains) – Ozarks Medical Center is once again using technology to improve patient safety and make care more efficient by adopting an electronic order system for physicians.

The system is called Care Provider Order Entry or CPOE, and hospital officials say that the new system will help eliminate hand writing errors and makes the process more efficient – once a physician puts the electronic order in, it’s then sent to the correct hospital department to be fulfilled. The computerized process also includes a real-time medication interaction and allergy check that alerts providers of potential patient safety issues.

OMC says that the change to CPOE has been a long process requiring many months of work to implement and weeks of training in order to switch to an electronic system for the thousands of orders placed each week at OMC.

In the first 13 days alone, providers electronically placed 12,419 orders.

(West Plains) – Area residents interested in attending college can learn more about financial aid options available to them at a workshop set for 7 PM Tuesday, November 11, at Bakersfield High School.

The workshop is being hosted by Missouri State University-West Plains.

A representative from Missouri State-West Plains will be on hand to provide information to students and parents regarding federal and state resources available to help students finance their post-secondary education, according to Donna Bassham, coordinator of the financial aid office. This includes information about federal financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant, campus-based work-study programs, Stafford student loans and PLUS loans for parents, as well as state programs such as the Access Missouri grant, Bright Flight Scholarship and the A+ Program.

In addition, those attending will receive information about the financial aid application process, including instructions for filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

All of the information provided will be useful for students planning to attend any post-secondary institution that participates in the federal Title IV programs, not just Missouri State-West Plains.

For more information about the workshop, contact the Missouri State-West Plains financial aid office at 417-255-7243 or contact Bakersfield High School Counselor Trudy Summer at 417-284-7333, ext. 306.

(Mountain View) – The Mountain View City Council met on Monday, October 27 at Mountain View City Hall for a regularly scheduled meeting.

During the meeting, the council agreed to have only one regularly scheduled meeting per month. In January 2013, the council approved a motion to hold two meetings per month.

City Administrator Mike Wake was also appointed as a delegate to the annual Missouri LAGER convention, which is a group that helps companies and cities prepare for employee retirement. Wake also informed the council that a pre-bid meeting with the engineer and prospective contractors was scheduled for October 28 at city hall for planned projects at the airport.

(Thayer)- There will be a Granny Blue Celebration Friday, November 7, and Saturday, November 8.

On Friday, November 7, at 12PM at the Country Cottage Cafe on Highway 19, in Thayer there will be a Granny Blue presentation and displays by Great Granddaughter Lynda Witherspoon Finch, from Bakersfield, CA. There will also be a presentation of Oregon County History through the Civil War and Granny Blue by Civil War Historian and Writer, Lou Wehmer, from Willow Springs.

On Saturday, November 8, at 12PM at the Riverside Cemetery in Mammoth Spring, AR there will be dedications by Sons of Confederate Veterans 203 Missouri and descendants of Matilda Blue and a presentation and poem by Lynda Witherspoon Finch, Bakersfield, CA. Then at 2PM at the Granny Blue Farm also known as the George Martin Farm there will be a Marker dedication for the unknown Confederate soldiers buried by Matilda Blue and Lou Ragan.

(Jefferson City) – A couple of Missouri senators comment on how they believe the fiscal year is progressing. Fiscal Year 2015 started on July 1, 2014.

Senator Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, says all sides were unable to come up with a consensus revenue estimate, so the Missouri Senate and House did something that had not been done before:

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Senator Scott Sifton, D-Affton, who also serves on the appropriations panel, adds that revenue estimates were fairly accurate for the previous fiscal year:

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Next up for Missouri Senators will be numbering pre-filed legislation to be considered during year’s regular session.

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones is forming an investigatory committee after a report that Chris Koster was one of several state attorneys general who may have been influenced by campaign contributions and lobbyists.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Koster is one of numerous state attorneys general who have changed policies and negotiated more favorable settlements after receiving campaign contributions and incentives from lobbyists.

Jones, a Republican from Eureka, said he’s hoping to appoint committee members within a week to start requesting documents and investigating Koster, a Democrat.

He said the House has the option to impeach, depending on what the committee learns.

“I’m disturbed about the fact that the chief law enforcement officer, who has a tremendous amount of taxpayer resources at hand, is apparently utilizing those resources to shake down businesses and business owners for political reasons,” Jones told The Associated Press. “It’s hard to even believe this.”

Koster said the report distorts how his office dealt with the companies.

“Today’s article in The New York Times misrepresents the facts, distorting events to create an appearance of impropriety where none exists,” Koster said in a statement Wednesday.

Documents obtained by the newspaper show Koster received campaign contributions from Pfizer and later met with lobbyists and spoke to political action committees while the company was under investigation by his office.

The New York Times reports that campaign finance documents show Koster previously received $13,500 in campaign contributions from a law firm representing Pfizer and $20,000 directly from the company.

Emails obtained by the newspaper show Koster also accepted an invitation to speak to Pfizer’s political action committee amid negotiations for the case. Emails also show that five days later his office met with attorneys and negotiated that Pfizer pay Missouri $750,000.

Attorneys general from 33 other states also were investigating the company over allegations it marketed some drugs for unapproved uses and exaggerated their effectiveness.

Most similarly sized states that together pooled their clout to fight the company received more than $1 million each, and Oregon separately negotiated a settlement with Pfizer for $3.4 million. In total, the group of states received almost $43 million.

Koster said his office has taken legal action against Pfizer at least six times. It also has taken action against other companies involved, he said.

In another case of potential lobbying influence, the newspaper reports that Koster confirmed he asked staff not to investigate 5-Hour Energy while at a Democratic Attorneys General Association conference at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in California. A lawyer for 5-Hour Energy also attended the conference.

He said most states have not investigated 5-Hour Energy, and told The New York Times that he uses the energy drink.