Howell's It Going, July 5, 2024

Hello and welcome to Howell’s It Going. This is your weekly update on what’s happening in your community. I’m Amanda Mendez, and this is your news.


A West Plains man will be spending life in prison for the 2020 murder of two people. Joey Allen Marcak, age 36, of West Plains, was given two life sentences for two counts of felony murder in the second degree on June 21 by Judge Robert Craig Carter at the Green County Circuit Court.

The charges stem from the murders of Frankie Ziegler, age 28, of Mountain View, and Richard Kuntz, age 30, of West Plains, committed May 5, 2020. Marcak along with two others, Kyla Croney, age 39, of Viola, Arkansas, and Levi Gunter, now deceased, were arrested in connection to the murders.

Croney was sentenced to two twelve-year sentences for the murder counts and a four-year sentence for a drug charge in October 2020. Gunter was scheduled for trial this year, but went missing in December 2023. His body was found in rural Howell County by law enforcement on January 29, 2024.


This episode of Howell’s It Going is brought to you by Travis Smith for Senate. Vote Travis Smith on August 6. For more information, go to Paid for by the committee to elect Travis Smith for Senate, Brett Mitchell Treasurer.



The Facebook page for Howell County News was hacked and deleted June 18. What was formerly a free platform for information reaching seven thousand-plus people each week is now an error message on the social media site. Law enforcement and Meta have been notified, and an investigation is ongoing. A new business page for the newspaper has been launched. Please like and follow for breaking news and time-sensitive updates. remains the same. Every website visitor gets two free news stories a week before the paywall hits, and certain content is always free. Obituaries, event announcements, classifieds, and this weekly news round-up podcast are always free to all users.
The new Facebook page cannot be used for livestreaming until it is 60 days old. This election season’s political debates will be livestreamed on both the website and via additional Facebook channels to maximize viewership.
A monetary reward is offered to anyone with information leading to the arrest of the persons or entities responsible for this flagrant attack on local journalism and the freedom of the press. For more information, email


The Cicada Symphony may be coming to an end, but the effects of the performers are becoming apparent. Calls and emails are beginning to come into University of Missouri Extension offices from homeowners reporting the ends of many tree branches are turning brown and dropping off.

MU Extension's Forestry State Specialist, Hank Stelzer says he has answered more than a dozen inquiries related to cicada damage.

Damage to trees occurs when female cicadas lay their eggs in small slits on twigs. Heavily damaged twigs may cause flagging.

Some injured branches may not break off right away, but wounded areas will be weak sites that may eventually snap off in a summer storm or winter snow.

It is not necessary to prune out any visible cicada damage on larger trees. According to Stelzer, for smaller, recently planted trees showing signs of cicada damage, it is best to consult a certified arborist to determine the best course of action.


First General Baptist Church, located at 2507 Railroad Drive in Willow Springs will hold their annual fireworks display tonight, Friday July 5. Fireworks will begin at dark. They will have hot dogs and chips available for purchase and food trucks have been invited. The church asks attendees not to arrive earlier than 5 pm. Parking assistance will be available.

Pine Meadows Venue will be holding Red, White, and Blue Concert for a Cause on Saturday, July 6th from 5:30 pm to 10 pm benefiting Whetstone Boys Ranch. Pine Meadows Venue is located at 1449 State Route 76 in Willow Springs.

There will be live events from Ozarks Pet Rescue and Get Roasted Coffee Company. Musical Performers include Anthony Garner, Nick Davis, Bradly Walton, and more. There will be food trucks and a fireworks show. For more information, call 417-252-1296 and for tickets, visit Pine Meadows dot M O forward slash Square dot Site.


The Willow Springs Fire Department, in partnership with the American Red Cross, have launched a new program that provides a free smoke alarm to be installed by a firefighter in local homes. Residents of the city of Willow Springs and members of the Willow Springs Rural Fire Protection Association are eligible for this program.

If you are interested in having a WSFD firefighter install a smoke alarm in your home for free, discuss a fire escape plan and answer any questions you may have about home fire safety, please call the Willow Springs City Hall at 417-469-2107 or email the department at WSFD at Willow Springs MO dot com or WSRFPA at Gmail dot com.


Mountain View Community Outreach is in need of volunteers. The group is looking for two or more volunteers who would like to work specifically with sorting, measuring and tagging linens. The job is considered to be fairly “physical” as each piece must be opened up, checked for stains, wear and tear, measured then refolded, tagged and placed in the proper tote. The Outreach provides free clothing for those in need.

Those interested should contact Patricia Donaldson at 417-270-6637 or stop by 303 East 5th Street in Mountain View between 10 am and 4 pm.


Two members of the Willow Springs Class of 2024 signed their letters of intent to play golf for Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio. Alex Moritz and Noah Leslie signed to play for Defiance. As a team, Willow Springs Golf placed second in the State Championship. They were District and SCA Champions.

Leslie was First Team All-Conference, All District, and All State. He received the Conference Medal and averaged 79.

Moritz was Honorable Mention All-Conference and averaged 85.


Missouri State Treasurer Vivek Malek is reminding state citizens that Missouri may be holding your unclaimed property. During June and July, newspapers across Missouri, including Howell County News, are publishing tens of thousands of names of people for whom the State Treasurer's Office is holding unclaimed property totaling more than one billion dollars.

This is not the state's money, it is Missourians' money. Malek is asking citizens to please scan these lists to see if they include your name, or the names of relatives or friends, including those who may be deceased or who no longer live in Missouri.

Visit Show Me Money dot com to find out more information and apply to get your money returned. Just enter your name exactly as it appears in the newspaper list, starting with the last name first.

Items of actual property that go unclaimed from the State Treasurer's Office for several years go to a public auction. This year's Unclaimed Property Auction will be held July 29th and 30th, starting at 9 am each day, with previews starting July 28. The auction will be located at the Oasis Hotel and Convention Center at 2546 North Glenstone Avenue in Springfield.


I'm Amanda, and this is Howell's It Going.


Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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