Local News


Douglas County Reserve Sheriff’s Deputy Greg Martin, left, and Ozark County Sheriff Cass Martin, right, were two of about 25 officers in the Ozark/Douglas County Multi-jurisdictional Task Force who helped find and apprehend Laird following a five-day manhunt. Douglas County Sheriff’s Department officers Sam Evans, second from right, and James Nelson are also pictured behind Laird. DCSD officer Alan Daffron was there as well but not pictured.
Ozark County Sheriff Cass Martin says he is thankful for the interagency support and hardworking, dedicated officers from the region who worked tirelessly last week to apprehend Missouri Department of Corrections escapee Jason Laird. Laird, 44, who is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence...
P/PP VFD hosts brunch Saturday, July 3 Pontiac / Price Place Volunteer Fire Department will host an Independence Day Weekend brunch from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, July 3, at fire station #1 next to the post office on W Highway in Pontiac. The menu will include biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs,...

Among JoAnn Willhoit Livingston’s family heirlooms is this friendship quilt made by the families of students who attended Barefoot School. Using state class roster and teacher contract records, JoAnn’s friend Sally Lyons McAlear has determined that the quilt blocks are embroidered with the names of students who attended the school in 1922. The name of teacher Elsie Rhodes Taber, who signed an eight-month contract to teach at Barefoot on July 31, 1922, is on the quilt. One of the names on the quilt is Sally’s cousin Weldon Burnett, who would have been 6 at the time. The 20 names on the quilt, left to right, top to bottom, are Gladys Jones, Jessie Derrick, Flossie Derrick, Earnest Blankenship, Dallas Robirds, Weldon Burnett, Murriel Jones, Opal Robirds, Paul Jones, Elsie Taber (teacher), Barefoot School, Tilford Jones, Opal Willhoit, Beulah Willhoit, Willard Willhoit, Murrill Robirds, Conley Willhoit, Glessie Derrick, Willow Blankenship and Leah Derrick. The four Willhoit students named were JoAnn’s older siblings
Like the rest of us, Ozark County native JoAnn Willhoit Livingston, now 88 and living in Springfield, isn’t getting any younger. In fact, she already died once, three years ago, when emergency responders “used the paddles” on her after a heart attack and shocked her back to life, she said. Now,...

Gainesville city maintenance supervisor Mike Davis, left, and Outdoor Warning Consulting owner Bryce Koerber stand with one of the city’s three new storm sirens. The 9-foot-long, 500-pound sirens include nine 360-degree speakers capable of reaching people over a mile in each direction. The new sirens were installed on 60-foot telephone poles, a 20-foot rise from the city’s old sirens. One of the old sirens can be seen lying in the grass below the new siren. The old system had one speaker that rotated along a track to project sound. The new sirens are mounted on telephone poles wrapped in metal hardware cloth to minimize destruction by woodpeckers, which wreaked havoc on the old sirens’ poles.
Last week’s installation of three new storm sirens in Gainesville will help residents be better alerted to impending severe weather.  “It’s a big upgrade,” Gainesville Mayor Gail Reich told the Times. “I’m so happy to get them all installed. It costs some money, but you can’t put money ahead of...

Jason Laird, Missouri Department of Correction mug shot
A Gainesville man who evaded local law enforcement for more than a month last year and attempted to escape jail here has escaped from Missouri Department of Correction prison guards in Sedalia while on work release at the Missouri State Fairgrounds.  Jason M. Laird, 44, currently serving a seven-...
  At their Monday morning meeting, Ozark County Clerk Brian Wise presented the Ozark County Commissioners with three potential options to consider for upgrading the county employees’ paid vacation plan.  Wise and the commissioners have been discussing the idea of offering more paid vacation days...

A tree that sounded like thunder When this large tree fell Friday night at the home of Kevin and Cindy Thomas on County Road 119 south of Almartha, Kevin and son-in-law Denver Mitchell, who were in the house at the time, thought the loud sound they heard was just thunder.
Kevin and Cindy Thomas’ friends, relatives and neighbors stepped in to help when the storm blew down a large tree that fell on the carport at their home on County Road 119.  Cindy said Monday that Kevin and her son-in-law, Denver Mitchell, were in the home Friday night when the tree fell but...

Runaway walkway The storm Friday night caused damage to all of the main walkways at Pontiac Cove Marina on Bull Shoals Lake, and marina manager Jabet Wade said the docks were not accessible until they could be repaired at daylight on Saturday morning. One 110-foot-long walkway section, shown here ahead of a boat operated by Wade’s husband, Matt, “made its way out of the cove and was found about a half-mile north of the marina,” she said. “We were able to retrieve it after daylight and put it back together.” Wade said Pontiac Cove “is usually pretty protected from a north wind, which is the direction from which the storm came; however, the high water makes us more vulnerable. The walkways are long and not nearly as stable as they would be under normal conditions. If the lake weren’t so high, we might not have had any damage at all. We feel very lucky that it wasn’t worse than it was.”
Strong storms that swept through the area last Friday night downed trees and caused power outages. The biggest problem was dozens of trees that fell onto power lines, knocking out power to hundreds of households and blocking roadways, said Ozark County emergency management director Curtis Ledbetter...

First reported tree down, and it was a big one A Friday night phone call to Eastern District Commissioner Gary Collins about this tree that fell across County Road 502 opposite the Gene and Penny Britt home south of Gainesville was the first of several calls about storm damage the county commissioners received over the weekend and into Monday. Most calls reported downed trees and utility lines. Fortunately, little structural damage was reported.
Ozark County’s Road and Bridge crews were busy through the weekend and early this week cleaning up debris from a Friday, June 11, storm.  “They were out to two or three o’clock in the morning Friday into Saturday. Then [they] worked all Saturday and back out Sunday,” Presiding Commissioner John...

Times photo/Norene Prososki Track-star brothers Gainesville track star brothers Joshua, left, and Nate Richer display the medals they earned during this year’s track season. 
Josh and Nate Richer come from a long line of hard workers who love track and field.  The boys, who moved to Gainesville with their family in November, lived out that legacy Saturday, May 21, at the Class 2 state track meet, where they won state honors and made their mark in Gainesville High School...

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Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423