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(West Plains) – An annual tradition in West Plains will start next week, according to city clerk Mallory Hawkins:

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City offices will be closed starting at 12 PM on Wednesday, December 24, for the Christmas Holiday and will reopen on Monday, December 29.

Front Row, L to R:  John Nigliazzo,  Chance Davis, Ann Marie Morrison,  Stormy Burris. Second Row, L to R: Chesney Barrett,  Matthew McCall,  Cassidy Johnson,  Chase Riley. Third Row, L to R:  Brooke Jens,  Domineqe Mallek,  Zack Miller,  Aaron Jolliff,  Lacie Wright. Fourth Row, L to Right:  Dreydan Williams,  Community First Banking Company President & CEO Scott Corman;  Community First Banking Company Executive Vice President& Chief Lending Officer, Mr. Michael Hoff;  Brendan Blades (Provided)

Front Row, L to R:  John Nigliazzo,  Chance Davis, Ann Marie Morrison,  Stormy Burris. Second Row, L to R: Chesney Barrett,  Matthew McCall,  Cassidy Johnson,  Chase Riley. Third Row, L to R:  Brooke Jens,  Domineqe Mallek,  Zack Miller,  Aaron Jolliff,  Lacie Wright. Fourth Row, L to Right:  Dreydan Williams,  Community First Banking Company President & CEO Scott Corman;  Community First Banking Company Executive Vice President& Chief Lending Officer, Mr. Michael Hoff;  Brendan Blades (Provided)

(West Plains) – Community First Banking Company of West Plains recently donated $2,000 to the West Plains High School to support the academic reception held on Monday, November 3.

The academic reception was held to honor student academic achievements of a 3.3 or above grade point average for the previous year. Students received an award of a letter, bar or a pin.

School officials say this is the sixth year Community First Banking Company has sponsored the academic event. Scott Corman, Community First President and CEO, says the bank is proud to continue to support and encourage student academic performance.

(Washington) – Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke with members of the Missouri press on Wednesday and discussed a number of issues, including what she thinks the legislature needs to get done before the end of the year:

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McCaskill also gave her thoughts on the situation in Ferguson:

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We’ll have more with Sen. McCaskill later this week.

(Jefferson City) – A couple of education measures may be introduced once again next year. Pre-filed legislation will receive bill numbers starting on December 1, 2014.

Senator Ed Emery, R-Lamar, was a supporter of this year’s attempt at school transfers. He says that some school districts have been nearly bankrupted because of this:

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Senator Joseph Keaveny, D-St. Louis, believes that some of his modifications would greatly benefit schools:

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The First Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly will start on January 7, 2015.

(Jefferson City) – A mainstay on Missouri radio for over 40 years will be retiring from the news desk at Missourinet at the end of this month.

Bob Priddy has been the news director at the Jefferson City-based Missourinet since the Missouri news network went on-air. At the end of November, Bob will turn the reins of Missourinet over to Chief of News Services Ashley Byrd, managing editor Mike Lear, reporter and producer Kyle Loethen and others who will maintain the high standards Bob set for the newsroom.

Although he will be stepping away, Bob will continue to contribute to Missourinet: he will remain the producer, writer and voice of the always popular Across Our Wide Missouri, and he will advise the newsroom during political seasons. He may even work on a news story when time allows.

Bob is a nationally recognized journalist, author, reporter, and Missouri historian.

Priddy says that after retirement, he’ll spend a lot more time in the archives researching Missouri history, watching NASCAR, writing, hiking National Parks, sleeping past 4 AM, and traveling the country. A special page at www.missourinet.com about Bob’s retirement, which will also allow people to leave notes and well-wishes, will go live at the end of this week.

Missourinet has been affiliated with the Ozark Radio Network nearly since the beginning, being an news provider for KWPM-AM and KUKU-FM.

(Willow Springs) – Troop G of the Highway Patrol will once again be participating in enforcement operations throughout the Thanksgiving holiday.

The objective of the operations is to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes. Throughout the holiday weekend, troopers within Troop G and throughout the state will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort).

In addition to Operation C.A.R.E., Troop G will also participate in the statewide 20-Mile Trooper project during the peak travel periods on Wednesday, November 26, and Sunday, November 30. During this operation, troopers will be assigned to 20-mile stretches of Highway 60. Enforcement efforts on secondary roads will be conducted during the same timeframe within Troop G. Over the entire holiday weekend troopers will be vigorously enforcing all traffic laws and helping motorists in need of assistance.

The Patrol encourages motorists to protect themselves and their passengers by making sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint.

(Willow Springs)- The LeFevre Quartet will be performing a Christmas Concert at the First General Baptist Church in Willow Springs on Saturday, December 6, at 6 PM.

The LeFevre Quartet is one of the legendary families in Gospel Music. This year the group will be performing a Christmas Concert which features their newest Christmas project. The Gainsville, GA based group features Mike LeFevre who has been voted “Favorite Baritone Singer” three years in a row by Southern Gospel Music fans across the country at the Singing News Fan Awards.

The First General Baptist Church, located at 2507 Railroad Drive in Willow Springs. For more information or directions to the facility call 417-252-0916. A love offering will be received.

(Mountain Home) – Pre-registration for current Arkansas State University – Mountain Home (ASUMH) students is going on now for the spring 2015 semester.

Currently enrolled ASUMH students can register for classes online after meeting with their academic advisor. The first day of classes in the spring semester will be Monday, January 12. Open registration for current and new students is January 6-9. Now is the time for new students to complete admissions and financial aid paperwork.

Associate degrees offered include general studies, teaching, business, funeral science, criminal justice, information systems technologies, nursing, welding technology and more. Technical certificate programs such as health professions, information systems technology, paramedic technology, and basic electronics are also offered. Certificates of proficiency include A+ computer technician, CISCO networking, graphic design, web development, phlebotomy, certified nursing assistant (CNA), and professional medical coder.

For more information, or to get started, contact ASUMH recruiter Allison Haught at (870) 508-6262 or call (870) 508-6100. Applications and course schedules are available online at www.asumh.edu.

(Melbourne) – Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) are currently in high demand at area long-term care facilities, and Ozarka College offers college credit CNA classes (Basic Health Skills).

Students may take this CNA course at any of their four campus locations in Melbourne, Ash Flat, Mammoth Spring, or Mountain View, AR. This nine-week course meets twice per week and is offered each semester, including summer II. Additionally, financial aid is available for students who qualify.

Spring and Summer registration is open to all students, both new and current. For more information about Ozarka College’s CNA program, contact Tamra Bevill, Ozarka College CNA Coordinator at 870-368-2079 or email tbevill@ozarka.edu. Interested students may also contact Dawn Smith, Ozarka College Allied Health Instructor, at 870-368-2044 or dawn.smith@ozarka.edu.

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(West Plains) – The Ozarks Small Business Incubator, the Small Business & Technology Development Center, Downtown Revitalization, and Southern Hills Shopping Center have teamed up to support a nationwide event to get consumers to shop local this holiday season.

Shop Small Saturday is taking place on the heels of Black Friday on Saturday, November 29. Visiting a small business is a great way to complete your holiday shopping while contributing to your community’s health and get unique gifts while helping the main drivers of the economy.

To make sure that you are supporting local businesses with your holiday shopping, look for stores with the “Shop Small” stickers hanging in the windows. By visiting one of the participating business, you can receive a “Shop Small” tote bag, button, pen, or pet bandana; and even be entered for your chance to win a prize basket. Gather your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues to “shop small” on Small Business Saturday, November 29.

While you’re out having fun, remind others to Shop Small by taking part in the Small Business Saturday social media campaign, using the hashtag #SmallBizSat. This amplifies your support for America’s small businesses. People are also urged to join the Facebook group “Shop Small West Plains” for a listing of businesses who are participating.

If you are a local business and want to participate and receive a “Shop Small” sticker for your store, please contact Brittany French at 417-256-9724.