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(Little Rock) (AP) – U. S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has made disaster declarations for farmers in two Arkansas counties that suffered losses and damage due to high winds and hail that occurred on Oct. 7.

Responding to requests from Gov. Mike Beebe, Vilsack issued the primary county disaster declarations in Craighead and Mississippi counties. Additionally, Crittenden, Greene, Jackson, Lawrence, and Poinsett counties were named as contiguous disaster counties.

Qualifying farmers will be eligible for federal aid – including emergency loans. Officials say farmers who feel they may qualify for the federal aid should contact their local Farm Service Agency office.

(Jefferson City) (AP) – Gov. Jay Nixon is seeking a federal disaster declaration for 20 northern Missouri counties that were raked by severe storms last month.

Nixon said Wednesday that the storm system on Sept. 9-10 spawned high winds that damaged schools and other public buildings and dumped heavy rains that caused widespread flooding.

The governor said an assessment showed extensive damage to roads, bridges and low-water crossings on streets. At one point, 70 different roads were closed because of flooding.

If approved, the disaster declaration would allow federal reimbursements for the costs of responding to and repairing public infrastructure and buildings.

The request covers the counties of Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Daviess, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Holt, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Mercer, Nodaway, Putnam, Ralls, Shelby, Sullivan and Worth.

(Midway) (AP) – Authorities in northern Arkansas say two men have been injured after they crashed an experimental airplane.

The single-engine plane crashed Tuesday evening northwest of Ozark Regional Airport in Baxter County. The men were hospitalized. The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t released their names or conditions.

It’s unclear what caused the crash.

Federal Aviation Administration records show the Zodiac XL aircraft is registered to 36-year-old Andrew Tuberville of Lakeview.

Federal authorities are investigating.

(Little Rock) (AP) – Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Ross is casting his ballot early for the Nov. 4 election, while Republican rival Asa Hutchinson plans to launch a tour in western Arkansas.

Ross was scheduled Wednesday morning to vote early at the Pulaski County Regional Building in downtown Little Rock. Early voting for the November election began Monday, and thousands of Arkansas voters have already cast their ballot.

Hutchinson planned to kick off his “Asa Plan Tour” with stops in Fort Smith, Greenwood and Van Buren.

The two ex-congressmen are running to succeed Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election.

(West Plains)- Howell County Clerk Dennis Von Allmen has announced the polling locations for the upcoming General Election, which will be held on Tuesday, November 4.

Polling locations will be open from the hours of 6AM-7PM on Election Day.

Persons wishing to vote an absentee ballot by mail must submit a written request no later than 5 PM on Wednesday, October 29. Absentee ballots may be voted in person in the Howell County Clerk’s Office until 5PM on Monday, November 3. The County Clerk’s Office will be open on Saturday, November 1, from 8AM-12PM for absentee balloting.

The County Clerk’s Office is located in the Howell County Office Building located in the northwest corner of Court Square in downtown West Plains.

Polling locations are as follows:

Precincts

Polling Location

Benton 1 Moody Community Building
Benton 2 South Fork School Building
Chapel Forest Dell Community Building
Dry Creek Pomona Fire Station
Goldsberry Mountain View Community Center
Howell 1 First Church of God
Howell 2 National Guard Armory
Howell 3 Howell County Court House
Howell 4 West Plains Civic Center
Howell 5 Faith Assembly of God Church
Howell 6 Junction Hill School Building
Howell 7 and Myatt 2 Brandsville City Hall
Hutton Valley Hutton Valley School Building
Myatt 1 Lanton Fire Station
Siloam Springs Pumpkin Center Fire Station
Sisson Bosserman Community Center
South Fork Good New Baptist Church
Spring Creek First Missionary Baptist Church
Willow Springs 1 Ozark Family YMCA
Willows Springs 2 First Baptist Church- Willow Springs

(Mountain View) – Board members for the Southern Ozarks Alliance for Rural Development (SOAR) have met with local and state legislators to support the expansion of broadband services in southern Missouri.

By the end of this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will decide which states get Connect America Funds—Phase 2(CAF2) designated for the expansion of rural internet in under-served areas, which have less than 10 mbps connections, and un-served areas with no service. Missouri is among the most likely states to get CAF2 dollars.

CenturyLink officials provided maps of the 8th Congressional district and the local counties that will be funded for fiber optic rural high-speed internet if Missouri receives funds, including Howell, Wright, Texas and Shannon counties. CenturyLink is one of three telephone companies that may get CAF2 funds if Missouri is selected by the FCC.

SOAR members from Texas, Howell, Reynolds, Carter, Oregon, and Wright were represented and the following legislators were in attendance: Rep. Steve Cookson, Rep. Tony Dugger, Rep. Shawn Rhoads, Rep. Robert Ross, Rep. Paul Fitzwater, Commissioner Zack Williams, Senator Mike Cunningham, Dan Hutton from Missouri Senator Romine’s office, and Tom Schulte, the Southeast Region Director for Senator Blunt.

For more information on how you can tell the FCC to support the Southern Ozarks for CAF funds, email SOARExecdirector@aol.com.

(Willow Springs)- On Wednesday, October 22, the Willow Spring City Council will be meeting for a regular council meeting at 6PM.

During the meeting the council will seek to approve the Bear City designation for the city.

In new business the council will discuss the next council meeting date and time before going into an executive session to discuss legal and personnel issues.

(Hartville) – A Hartville resident suffered minor injuries Tuesday evening after a one-vehicle accident near her hometown.

The accident happened at 8 PM on Route 38, about 5 miles west of Hartville, when the westbound vehicle driven by 31-year-old Samantha Dugger swerved to miss a deer in the roadway. Her Ford Fiesta then traveled off-road, and struck a ditch.

Dugger was taken from the scene of the accident to Mercy Hospital in Springfield by ambulance.

(Little Rock) (AP) – The Arkansas attorney general’s office says it doesn’t object to the state’s highest court moving quickly on a lawsuit challenging a gay marriage ban.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s office on Tuesday told the Arkansas Supreme Court it doesn’t object to a request by a group of same-sex couples challenging the ban to expedite the case before the high court. The state is appealing a Pulaski County judge’s ruling in May striking down a 2004 constitutional amendment and earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza’s decision led to hundreds of gay couples being wed before the state Supreme Court suspended his ruling.

The court has said it’ll hold oral arguments in the case, but hasn’t set a date.

(West Plains) – The next prequalification for the Ozarks Food Harvest Mobile Food Pantry will be from 4-5:45 PM Wednesday, November 5, at the West Plains Public Library Community Room.

November’s mobile food pantry is being sponsored by the Sunrise Rotary Club of West Plains and the Noon Rotary Club of West Plains.

Those eligible to apply for this assistance include area families with children ages birth through 18 who live within Howell County. Students enrolled at Missouri State University-West Plains and the South Central Career Center also are eligible, provided they meet income guidelines. Missouri State students must present their student identification cards in person, as well as a current class schedule; they may not send them with a family member. Families will receive only one voucher per family.

Those who apply should bring a photo ID, proof of income, proof of Howell County residency, names and ages of children, and a telephone number to the prequalification. Proof of Howell County residency does not apply to Missouri State-West Plains or South Central Career Center students.

The first delivery arrived April 13, 2010. The next prequalification date is December 3, 2014.

For more information about the Ozarks Food Harvest Mobile Food Pantry project, contact officials at the American Red Cross office in West Plains at 417-257-0018.