Howell's It Going, March 28, 2024

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

Bear Nation will be welcoming a familiar face to lead their football program this fall. Logan Schwalm has been selected as the head football coach for the Willow Springs High School. Schwalm led the Bears the last time they played a District Championship game in 2019. He returned to the Willow Springs school system in 2022 where he took the position of assistant principal in the elementary school.

The head coach position has been of considerable interest, and many have questioned the choice of a member of the district’s own administration as well as a member of the AD’s family. Schwalm is Athletic Director Robert James’ cousin by marriage. Our print version of this story incorrectly refers to Schwalm as James' brother-in-law.

James was unequivocal in his response that the family connection has no bearing on the decision to place Schwalm as head coach.

Another addition to the coaching staff for the fall is Ian Ary. Ary is the youngest son of legendary Bears coach, Steve Ary.

On hiring Ary, James said “that's a home run for us” noting Ary is fresh out of college at Evangel and that he is passionate about football coaching and training kids.


The April Second election is coming up fast and three people are running for the two West Plains School Board positions.

The two men that are running are current board members. These are board president Jimmy Thompson and board member Brian Mitchell. Throwing her name in the hat is Shealia Harper of West Plains.

Thompson has been on the school board for over thirty years, first being elected in 1987. He is a retired avionics technical support advisor who worked for Air Evac for 20 years. Thompson, his three children, and one grandson are all graduates of West Plains High School.

Mitchell has been on the school board for eleven years and has worked for the City of West Plains for many years, currently working as the Transportation Director for the city. Mitchell and his two sons are graduates of West Plains High School.

Harper is a local business owner who runs Easley's Body Shop with her husband Roger. Harper has grandchildren in the West Plains School District.



Three more candidates have entered the race to replace State Representative David Evans. Evans announced earlier this month he intends to retire. Larry Lindeman of West Plains filed as a Republican candidate on March 20th. Lindeman joins Republican candidate Lisa Durnell of Willow Springs in running for the seat

As well as Republican Mark Collins of West Plains.

Democrat JoJo Stewart filed last week as well. The primary among the Republicans is in August, and the General election will decide the seat in November.


Those near the Howell County Courthouse on March 15th may have seen a man escorted out of the building after he was arrested following a scuffle with court security.

Taylor J. Nelson, age 40 of Pomona, is charged with multiple felony charges including resisting arrest and assault. He is being held on a $25,000 cash or corporate surety bond.

Court documents say Nelson refused to leave the courthouse after not consenting to the standard security check and continuing to go further into the building after the Sheriff's Deputy that works security told him multiple times that he had to leave. Court documents then say Nelson fought the deputy and others as they tried to take him into custody, hitting one in the head and breaking his radio. Nelson received additional charges after he was taken into custody and is accused of damaging the booking cage at the Sheriff' Office.

Nelson has a bond review hearing scheduled for April Ninth.


We have a few local events to talk about this week, with the first coming this Easter Weekend.


Jeff and Sherry Easter will be in concert this Saturday at the First General Baptist Church located at 2507 Railroad Drive in Willow Springs. The concert will begin at 6pm on Saturday, March 30th, with the doors opening at 5pm. There is no charge for this concert. If you'd like more information, call 417-469-2709.


A benefit to support the Eminence Area Volunteer Fire Department following the tragic fire that destroyed their firehouse and a historic firetruck will be held on Saturday, April Sixth at the Jacks Fork Campground from 11am to 8pm. There will be music, a cornhole, tournament, silent auction, a 50/50 drawing, food, and much more. Admission is $15 and this includes a kid zone with bounce houses, games, and prizes. For more information, call Kaylin Inman at 573-355-7023.


Neighborhood Christian Schools will be holding their annual Fundraising Banquet on Thursday, April Eleventh at the First General Baptist Church in Willow Springs. Doors will open at 5pm and dinner will begin at 6pm. The banquet will feature a catered dinner, presentations from students, and a gun raffle. Individual tickets are $25 each and tables of eight can be sponsored for $200. Table sponsorships, individual tickets, and gun raffle tickets are available at Good Graces Pharmacy in Willow Springs, calling the school office at 417-469-1117 or emailing


This years' Willow Springs Alumni gatherings will be held during Memorial Day Weekend on Saturday, May 25th. The Alumni gatherings will begin at 3pm at the EAA Facility on 810 Bryan Street in Willow Springs. Organizers Phyllis White and Jane Bailey are reminding visitors that this event is sponsored by donations and are reminding guests that donation jars will be available at the buffet and cookie tables at the event. Additionally, if anyone would like to donate to the Willow Springs Alumni prior to the event can mail W.S. Alumni, 127 East Main Street Willow Springs, Missouri 65793.

If you are planning on going to the gatherings, organizers ask you provide information such as your name, spouse, and graduation year by calling 417-469-1400 before May 17th so they can better plan the food preparation.

Also happening on the morning of May 25th is the annual Rotary Pancake Breakfast at the Methodist Church from 7:30am to 10am. Adults will be Seven Dollars and kids will be Three Dollars.


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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