Howell's It Going, June 14, 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 formerly vacant Main Street building should be filled with the sights and tastes of Italy by midsummer. A Willow Springs family has purchased and is restoring the former Masonic Lodge in the hope of opening a restaurant, The Pasta Place, by mid-July.

Owner Carol Carlson took Howell County News on a tour of the building in the midst of a massive renovation project. Unlucky with finding reliable contractors, Carol, her husband Tim, their family and dedicated employees are doing the work themselves.

Carlson, who grew up in a large Italian family, is planning to serve authentic family recipes. She will be making her own alfredo, vodka, and red sauces, saying everything in the kitchen will be scratch-made except for the pasta itself.

At this point in the process, the biggest challenges are finishing the restoration work... and parking.

There is no parking lot at the location and street parking is undesirable due to the steep curb. Carlson reports that her neighboring businesses, O'Reilly's and Crosshairs, have been very friendly and offered to share their parking areas.

No firm opening date has been announced at this time. When The Pasta Place opens, they will offer an Italian dinner menu, but smoked meats by to-go only for lunch service.



Flooding disrupted Sunday morning travel in Mountain View just a few short weeks after an EF-3 Tornado ripped through the town. Approximately 4 to 8 inches of rain fell between Saturday, June 8 and the early morning hours of Sunday, June 9th.

At 9:30 am on Sunday, the Mountain View Police Department reported that all roadways along Jam Up Creek were closed due to flooding. The flood waters began to recede around 10:30 am. The Liberty High School football field and track were completely flooded but initial reports say that the fieldhouse was not damaged.

Water levels on the Jacks Fork Rivers breached the “drop off” area at Buck Hollow, and the Ozark National Scenic Riverways reported the entirety of Jacks Fork and the upper Current River from Montauk to Two Rivers were closed to non-motorized vehicles. Alley Spring Campground was also closed until further notice. Rain gauges on the Jacks Fork River at Buck Hollow and Alley Spring had water levels reaching six-and-a-half feet on Sunday afternoon.



The driver of a semi-truck has received charges for a 2022 multi-vehicle crash in West Plains that killed a woman and her two young children. Clayton Lane Rainwater, age 23, of Newark, Arkansas, is charged with three counts of felony involuntary manslaughter in the first degree and one count of felony assault in the second degree.

The May 25, 2022, crash claimed the lives of Alexias Crider, 22, and her two children, Aiden McDaniel, 2, and Brantly McDaniel, 1, as previously reported by Howell County News. The crash occurred near the US Highway 63 and State Route 17 intersection in West Plains. Crider and her two children were killed in the crash and a fourth occupant, another child, was in critical condition and taken to a Springfield hospital.

Court documents record that Rainwater said he attempted to slow down when the light at the intersection turned yellow but he began to slide. Rainwater’s Peterbilt big rig struck an SUV driven by Chyanne Poole, 26, of West Plains, in the intersection before it hit Crider's Pontiac in the oncoming lane. The trailer jackknifed and landed onto the Pontiac.
An inspection of the truck and trailer two days after the crash revealed out-of-service violations that were not specified in court documents.




The 30th year of the Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival was held in West Plains over two days this weekend, June 7th and 8th. The festival celebrates music and traditions of the Ozarks Highlands and you can find many photos of the event in this week's paper and on the website.

The photos include bluegrass duo The Creek Rocks performing on Friday night, Saturday night headliner and fan-favorite Big Smith of Springfield, Missouri, the Journey Stagecoach and more.


This episode of Howell’s It Going is brought to you by Travis Smith for Senate. Howell County stands with Travis Smith. You are cordially invited to a fundraising reception on Wednesday, June 19, from 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Dev’s Steakhouse & Piano Bar at 37 Court Square in West Plains. General Reception tickets are $50 per person. For more information or to RVSP please contact Isabella Grander at 636-875-6515 or



The Heart of the Ozarks Bluegrass Association, better known as HOBA, held their 41st Annual Spring Bluegrass Festival over the weekend and drew one of the largest crowds in recent years.

HOBA Board Treasurer Katie Cahoj told the News why she thought this year was one of the best turnouts, crowd-wise, in ten years, saying quote “ I think that, especially post-COVID, a lot of people realize the importance of getting out and doing things because we've really picked up since 2020”

Performers at the festival included Bluegrass Express, The Baker Family, and others.

HOBA will have its annual fall festival beginning on September 26th and running through the 28th. For more information, visit their Facebook page.




On Saturday, June 15th beginning at 7 pm, The Southern Ozarks Community Orchestra will have their Garden Party concert at the Star Theater in Willow Springs. Admission is ten dollars for adults and children under twelve years of age are free.

The orchestra will be performing summer themed pieces and some sea shanties.

The concert is sponsored by the Willow Springs Arts Council and you can learn more on the council and the Southern Ozarks Community Orchestra by visiting WWW dot Willow Springs Arts Council dot org or visit their Facebook pages.


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


Howell County News

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

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