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First panels installed at West Plains Solar Array

Wednesday morning, July 28, the first panels were installed at the West Plains Solar Array. Evergy crews completed the first bay, which features 12 individual panels. In total, the complete array will include 26,316 panels. The Solar Array will be the largest municipal-owned solar farm in the state of Missouri.

“This marks about a third of the project being completed,” said City of West Plains Public Works Director Jeff Hanshaw. “This time next year, the array will be producing enough energy to power approximately 2,000 houses.”

All the panels are expected to be installed by early Fall with the farm being operational in April of 2022.

“It’s exciting to see the first panels go up,” said Evergy Clean Energy Development Director Brandon Sack. “We’re really happy to be a part of this project and look forward to seeing its benefits.”

In the first year of production, the West Plains Solar Array is expected to generate 10.8 megawatts of electricity. This equates to saving over 1.3 million gallons of gasoline and recycling 3,908 tons of waste to avoid greenhouse gas emissions.

The West Plains Solar Array is located on 40 City-owned acres north of town off County Road 1770.  

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City suspends recycling program until Aug. 9

Effective immediately, the City of West Plains is suspending its recycling program. The program will resume Monday, August 9.

Residents are asked to hold onto their recyclables until routes resume or take them to the recycling center, located at 1853 Goodhard Dr. Hours are Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Contact City Hall at 417-256-7176 with any questions.

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Meet Your First Responders Event July 31

On Saturday, July 31, 2021, a community event will be held at the corner of Franklin Avenue and Cass Avenue. The West Plains Police Department will be hosting a Meet Your First Responder event with the assistance of the West Plains Fire Department, and the South Howell County Ambulance. The event will start at 4:00 pm and will last until 7:00 pm.

We would like to invite everyone in our community to join us for some free food and the opportunity to meet the people who respond when you are in need.  The West Plains Police Department, the West Plains Fire Department, and the South Howell County Ambulance will have equipment there for everyone to see.

There will also be a dunk tank set up and we will have some handouts for the kids. You’ll be able to dunk our newest officer and have a hot dog served by the Chief of Police. We encourage everyone to come by, share a meal, and have a good conversation.

This event is made possible by the generous donations from Walmart of West Plains, Pepsi Co. of West Plains, and Ramey’s of West Plains.  Special thanks to the West Plains Fire Department, Missouri State University-West Plains, the West Plains Sanitation Department, the West Plains Street Department, the Howell Rural Fire Department, and the West Plains Lions Club.

Come on by and enjoy the event.

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West Plains City Council passes pair of bills during monthly meeting

The West Plains City Council met Monday, July 20, in regular session in the council chambers at City Hall.

The Council passed Bill 4688, which amends Chapter 28, Section 28-4 Interfering with Arrest, Section 28-5 False Impersonation, Section 28-119 Stealing. Chapter 44, Section 44-4 Display of State License Plate, Section 44-8 Clinging to Moving Vehicles and Section 44-89 Riding on Motorcycles.

West Plains Police Chief Stephen Monticelli stated at the meeting the amendments simply update the ordinances to match state recommendations. You can find the City’s Code of Ordinances here.

The Council then passed Bill 1143, authorizing the West Plains Civic Center Director Eryn Walters and West Plains Tourism Coordinator Melissa Wharton to negotiate and sign agreements for entertainment and talent acts on behalf of the City of West Plains.

“This Resolution will give us an opportunity to negotiate and possibly sign a significant talent act to West Plains, and in particular, to the Civic Center,” said West Plains Community Services Director Todd Shanks. “Many of those agreements occur very quickly and with no prior notice, and we now have the flexibility to bring in acts that our community will enjoy.”

Walters added, “I am very excited about the opportunities that this resolution will allow us to bring to the area.”

During the meeting’s consent agenda Jessica McCollum was appointed to the Library Board for a three-year term and Eric Judd and Jim Laughary were re-appointed to the Civic Center Board for three-year terms.

The City Council meeting can be viewed in its entirety here.

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One-vehicle accident results in power outage

Customers in the Southwest corner of the Square and along Cherry Street, north of Worcester, will experience a power outage due to a vehicle accident that happened at the intersection of Worcester and Cherry St. at approximately 12:07 pm today. The vehicle struck a power pole.

Electric crews are currently isolating the power lines to minimize the outage area. This will affect West Main Plaza and the Southwest corner of Court Square.

Customers should expect a brief outage with a longer duration for those mentioned previously.

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First Annual Community Police Academy

The West Plains Police Department is proud to announce the start of the first annual Community Police Academy.  The academy is open to all community members who live or work in the City of West Plains.  Due to the COVID Pandemic the earlier class had to be cancelled.  Almost all the participants that were scheduled for that class have been registered for the 2021 Session.  We currently have eight additional slots available for those interested.

The CPA will be held from September 1st to October 27th, classes are conducted by various members of the department each Wednesday night from 5:45 PM to 9:00 PM at the Emergency Operations Center located at the West Plains Police Department.  Applications are available below or in the lobby of the West Plains Police Department at 1912 Holiday Lane.  A banquet will be held on November 3rd for all graduates.  The due date for the applications is August 13, 2021.

Individuals attending the Academy gain an in-depth look at the various divisions within the West Plains Police Department.  Classroom discussions, hands-on practical scenarios, and a ride-along make the learning experience come alive for participants but does not certify attendees in any way as police officers.  The knowledge gained helps to open communication and therefore promote understanding of the very difficult yet rewarding profession of law enforcement.  Here is a list of topics that will highlight the two months.

Meet Chief Stephen Monticelli and his Command Staff, Tour of WPPD, Police Reserve Officer Program, Emergency Communications, Patrol Procedures, Geographic Policing, General Investigations, SRT Team, SWAT, Active Shooter, Use of Force, Drug Task Force, Cyber Crimes, Firearms Safety, Trip to the Range, K9 Operations, Traffic Stops, Crime Scene and Evidence, Emergency Management System, Crisis Negotiations Team, and Practical Night.

The West Plains Police Department looks forward to this opportunity and encourages you to apply, attend and work together for safer communities.

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City updates animal control fees

The City of West Plains Animal Care and Control strives to provide quality animal control within the city. Officer Brad Jones provides help to the citizens of West Plains with prompt response to animal related calls and a tireless effort to find homes for unclaimed dogs that are impounded.   

To help the City provide these services, fees associated with Animal Care and Control have been updated. The new fees are listed below:

IMPOUND FEES
First offense – $25
Second offense – $40
Third offense – $65
Fourth offense – $100
Dogs brought to pound by individuals – $25
Charge for feed and care – $15/daily
ADOPTION FEES
Dogs under the age of six months – $25
Dogs over the age of six months – $40

The City partners with an anonymous donor to ensure that all dogs adopted are spayed or neutered.

The Animal Care and Control facility is located at 1724 Old Airport Road. The office is not manned 24/7 but can be reached by calling 417-255-1860.

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Power restored in West Plains

Residents from CC Highway to Sunset Terrace and from Porter Wagoner to the west include Westway subdivision had a rude awakening when squirrels inside the Substation caused a widespread outage.

City Crews reported power was off for roughly one hour and approximately 2,000 customers were affected by the widespread outage.

Public Works Director Jeff Hanshaw would like to remind everyone to be patient with crews during times of power outages and to call City Hall while reporting any outages so crews can be notified properly.

As a reminder: severe thunderstorms are forecasted for this evening and extra crews will be on hand to respond to outages as they are received.

Crews worked until after 1 a.m. Saturday morning restoring power in the Bratton Avenue area following Friday evening storms.

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West Plains EDC to host hiring event

The West Plains Economic Development Corporation (EDC) will host 25-plus employers looking to fill 300-plus positions on Thursday, July 22 at the West Plains Civic Center. The hiring event will be held from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will be open to the public.

“We are really happy to be hosting this hiring event,” said West Plains Economic Development Chair Ryan Cundall. “Our goal is to connect job seekers with our local employers. We still have booth space available for local employers.”

Some of the employers will be conducting on-site interviews.

For more information or to get your business a booth at the event, should contact Donna Parrott with the Southcentral Workforce Investment Board at 417-257-2630.

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WPFD Fire Academy Class application deadline approaching

The West Plains Fire Department Fire Academy Class of 2021 is scheduled to begin August 2. The application deadline is Monday, July 12. Applications are available at West Plains Fire Station No. 1, 1901 Kissinger St.

The West Plains Fire Department is looking for recruits with a variety of professional backgrounds, life experiences, and with current/past or no experience. Recruits must be willing to meet the challenge and eager in learning the requirements of being a firefighter. Recruits need to bring a passion for the fire service and serving the residents, visitors, and businesses of the community they represent.

The Fire Academy Class of 2021 will be limited to 21 seats. There are no fees associated with attending the Fire Academy Class.

The 20-week academy will be held on Mondays and Thursdays in the classroom at West Plains Fire Headquarters. Practical Skills will be held on every other Saturday at the West Plains Fire Training Facility located at 1620 Girdley St. The Fire Academy will begin on Monday, August 2, at 6 p.m. with a formal meeting describing the class and requirements. 

After 20 weeks of extensive testing, evaluation, and successful completion of State Firefighter I/II certifications, The Fire Academy Class of 2021 will be eligible to apply for part-time firefighter positions with the West Plains Fire Department or their local area fire department.

After completing months of extensive classroom and manipulative training, recruits will have completed a rigorous regime that included fire ground operations, ladder evolutions, hose lays, auto extrication, rescue systems, firefighting, hazard materials, and ventilation practices.  In addition, after successful completion, all recruits will be certified Firefighter 1 & 2 levels through the Missouri Division of Fire Safety and IFSAC.

For more news, pictures, videos, and announcements of what’s happening with the West Plains Fire Department visit us at www.westplainsfd.org or follow us on Facebook.

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