Howell's it Going, May 31, 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.


The telltale roar of a freight train rolled through the air Sunday night, earwitnesses report. Tornado activity wreaked havoc in Mountain View.
As of press time, the National Weather Service has not published a report on the weather event, but the unmistakable funnel shape captured by dozens of witnesses and storm chasers cannot be denied – and neither can the damage. Both homes and businesses suffered damage, Chief of Police James Perkins said.

Perkins told the News on Monday he recorded three tornadoes that came through the town and the biggest was north of US Highway 60, went out Delp Road, towards Y Highway.

There was only one report of a serious injury according to Howell County Sheriff Brent Campbell. The person was in a home just outside of the city limits that was blown off its foundations, injuring the occupant. The sheriff said on Monday it looks like the injured party will survive.


Fundraising and relief efforts are underway for the victims. Check back next week for ways to help.


The Heart of the Ozarks Fair is returning next week, June 3rd through June 8th at the Heart of the Ozarks Fairgrounds on North Highway 63 in West Plains. The fair features entertainment, carnival rides, food vendors, and live stock, agriculture, and fine arts shows.

The carnival will be open 6pm to 11pm Tuesday through Saturday. Admission will be free on Tuesday, $5 on Wednesday, and $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children under 6 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Armbands will be available Wednesday through Saturday for $25 each at the carnival ticket booths.

You can learn more and find schedules of livestock shows and auctions at Heart of the Ozarks Fair dot net.


The Willow Springs Rural Fire Board wishes to remind the public that an annual membership fee could save homeowners hundreds of dollars.

The Fire Board said in a release, quote “If you live in the Willow Springs school district, but live outside of the city limits, not one penny of your tax dollars supports rural fire protection services,” endquote.

The Willow Springs Fire Department responds to a call for any reaso you will be billed for their emergency services if you have not paid your annual dues.

Residents who live in the school district but outside the city limits can join the Willow Springs Rural Fire Protection Association by paying the membership fee at City Hall, or by mailing a check for membership to: Willow Springs Rural Fire Protection Association, PO Box 342, Willow Springs, MO 65793.
If you have any questions, please call Kim McCormick at 417-252-1572.



Details are not yet determined, but changes are coming to a section of Highway 137/76 in Willow Springs, known locally as the viaduct.  At this point, details are undecided and the final form the project will take may not be decided for years.
Replacing the bridge over the railroad tracks is on the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) . Burlington Northern is also a party to the final design. The only movement this year towards an eventual plan is right-of-way acquisition. Hicks confirms MODOT is approaching landowners with purchase offers.

Howell County News met with Willow Springs City Administrator Beverly Hicks Friday to separate rumor from fact.

“They have made contact with some and are negotiating the purchase with landowners,” Hicks said.

As with all MoDOT projects, there will be a period of public commentary. The formal period for the 2025-2029 STIP closed on May 30.


The Willow Springs Lady Bears softball team made it to the final four in the Class 2 State Tournament on May 20. The Lady Bears took a tough loss to the Diamond Wildcats 3 to 13 before battling it out against the Lone Jack Mules, losing 2 to 5 securing fourth place at states. Congratulations to the Lady Bears on a fantastic and historic season!


This edition of Howell’s it Going is brought to you by HOBA bluegrass. The 41st annual HOBA Spring Bluegrass festival will be taking place outside West Plains June 6 through 8. Featuring the music of Dalton Harper, Greg Blake & Hometown, The Baker Family, New Grass Attack, and Bluegrass express. Music, food and fellowship combine. A weekend pass is $25. Day passes are also available. Call 252-4373 or check out HOBA bluegrass on Facebook for directions or more information.



A fun tradition returns this summer to West Plains following a proclamation at last week's city council meeting. Mayor Mike Topliff proclaimed that each Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day as Aloha Fridays. The proclamation encourages citizens to wear the light and brightly colored Hawaiian shirts to celebrate the end of the workweek.

The city council also heard the first reads on two bills. The first bill would vacate the alley between the former Broadway Furniture building and The Hangout Drive-In. The second bill would allow the city administrator to enact agreements with contractors for the Highway 160 Railroad Overpass Project.

The city also agreed to three resolutions that are annually renewed between the city and Missouri State University, West Plains Downtown Revitalization Inc., and the public library. The final resolution covered a cost matching agreement with South 160 Community Improvement District for a project.


The Howell County Commission agreed last week to try out a new product that could improve county roads. The commission also approved two grant applications from the Howell County Sheriff's Office.

The Commission is planning to use Base One Liquid Base Stabilizer on a section of county road 1770. The chemical can help make county roads more durable and help reduce dust, according to the company. Other Missouri counties that have used Base One include Shannon and Callaway.

The first grant application for the Sheriff's Office is an annual grant for bulletproof vests. This is a 50/50 grant for ten new vests for the deputies and will cost the county $4,227.75. The commission approved this unanimously.

The second grant application is a 100% state funded grant through the MOST Smart Board for Deputy sheriff's Supplemental Salary Fund. The amount of the grant last year was around $45,000. According to Lt. Jason Long, a total amount for this grant was not available prior to the grant being submitted. The commission approved this grant application unanimously.


And finally, Summer is almost here and that means the return of the summer reading program at the Willow Springs Public Library. This begins June 18th and will continue for 6 weeks with weekly story and activity times for preschool and kindergarten-aged children at 10:30 am on Tuesdays followed by reading adventure times for elementary ages at 11 am.

There will be fun activities making “elephant toothpaste” and other things and library movie night on June 21st with Disney-Pixar's UP.

On June 25th, the library will host Cygnet Brown, local author of Gormet Weeds as she teaches about the wild plants you can eat in your back yards. This will include a book-signing and informal Q&A with the author at noon.

For more details about these events, visit Willow Springs Library dot org.


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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