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TWO FER. McLeodUSA Inc. announced June 30 a two-for-one stock split in the form of a stock dividend. Stockholders of record when the market closes July 12 (McLeod trades on the Nasdaq under the symbol MCLD) will receive one additional share of common stock for each share held. Distribution of the shares is set for July 26. "We believe this action will help widen the distribution and enhance the marketability of McLeodUSA common stock," said Clark McLeod, chairman of the board and chief executive officer for McLeodUSA. McLeod entered the Springfield market in 1998 with the acquisition of Bi-Rite Directories and DialUS. McLeodUSA's stock closed at $56.75 on July 1.

AT THE HELM. Helm Graphics, the home-based graphic design business of Bruce Helm, was featured in the June issue of Graphic Design: USA. The article detailed Helm's work designing letterhead, business cards and an informational brochure for the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks. The design used stock photography to convey the committee's purpose. Helm described how budget constraints precluded custom photography, but stock photos were available that fit the project.

BEST OF THE BEST. The Greater Springfield Board of Realtors held a reception in honor of board executive director Lou Sable and his wife, Tess, June 29 at Highland Springs. Sable first accepted the role of executive vice president with the Board of Realtors in 1966 and has served the organization ever since, most recently as executive director. Invitations to the event described it as "a fond farewell and heartfelt tribute to one of the best of the best in the industry, our friend, Lou Sable."

DIVIDEND. Great Southern Bancorp. announced July 1 dividends of 12.5 cents per share for its second quarter. Great Southern at that time had repurchased 466,590 shares as part of a plan instituted April 24, 1998. Total shares outstanding are 7,587,208.

CONFIDENCE. "Given this data and given the strength of the national economy, for the foreseeable future the local economy should remain strong." Thus wrote Joe Bell, director of the Center for Economic Research, in the June Southwest Missouri Economic Indicators report. Among the data Bell refers to is March unemployment figures in Springfield that dropped to 2.1 percent, down from 3.4 percent unemployment in March 1998.

BLOOD SHED. A July 6 trial in the American Red Cross vs. Community Blood Center of the Ozarks et. al. federal court case did not occur. A statement from Don Thomson, executive director of CBCO read, "The American Red Cross and the CBCO have decided that the best interest of the citizens of the Ozarks would be served by ending their dispute. They therefore have agreed to resolve their differences on mutually satisfactory terms. Neither of the parties nor their representatives will have anything further to say on the subject." The statement goes on to encourage "everyone to donate to the blood center of their choice."

THE TALE OF THE TAIL. SBJ editorial staff were more than a little surprised when they arrived at the offices July 6 to find that, although Managing Editor Paul Flemming was indeed on vacation, his signature ponytail was not. The ponytail, measuring 18 inches in length and weighing in at 3 ounces, was found affixed to the editorial department bulletin board. No explanation accompanied the hair, but further examination of the bulletin board was illuminating. Two things Paul has said he would never do are: 1. cut his hair and 2. get married. The hair makes us believe the other addition to the bulletin board, a statement in Flemming's handwriting, which reads: "Paul's wedding is Nov. 27." Congratulations to Paul and his fiancee, graphic designer and artist Jeanne Forkner. We eagerly anticipate an open-bar reception.

SLICE OF NICE. A Jail and Bail will be held July 20-22 in the Battlefield Mall parking lot to raise money for the March of Dimes. Community leaders will be held in a mock jail and will ask their friends and family to help them make their bail. The bail money will be used to help the March of Dimes in its efforts to prevent birth defects and infant mortality. Local people will be jailed for a variety of crimes, including "impersonating a supervisor," or "being glued to the television during football season." A volunteer judge will sentence the offenders to one hour of jail time.

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