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LOVE THAT BUG. Missouri's Public Service Commission has opened a case to evaluate utility company efforts to address any looming computer bugs associated with the well-known, fast-approaching year 2000. "It is clear that the first order of business is avoiding any interruption in utility service to Missouri ratepayers as we enter the new millennium," said PSC Chair Sheila Lumpe. The commission in February surveyed utilities under its purview for information on preparations. Now, the PSC will change its focus from technical compliance to actual business readiness. The case will also look at municipal, cooperative and other utilities regulated by the commission for safety purposes. All Missouri utility companies are to submit detailed surveys by Sept. 17. Top priorities, according to a release from the commission, include conversion and testing of all, not just critical, systems; assessing compliance of all external contractors, vendors and business partners; and development of contingency plans.

CHRISTMAS IN AUGUST. Full-year employees of Litton Advanced Circuitry and Inter-Pak Electronics got $1,145 incentive checks in August. Almost $750,000 in checks was distributed. The incentive program had a record payout, which a release from the company said was a result of the Springfield division's success. In the last three years, the local divisions grew at a compound rate of more than 30 percent a year. Litton Advanced Circuitry and Inter-Pak Electronics provide printed circuit boards, backplane assembly and systems integration for telecommunications, high-speed computing and data-storage markets.

BBQ. The Exchange Club of Springfield will hold its fourth annual Chicken Bar-B-Que Sept. 3 at Pat Jones River Park south of Strafford. Chicken will be served 6-8 p.m. The $10 tickets are available from Exchange Club members. Proceeds from the event go to various local charities. In the event of rain, the barbecue will be held Sept. 10. For more information, call Andy Osis at 887-4420.

GET YOUR SHOVEL. Empire Bank will break ground on its 16th location Sept. 4. The new, full-service bank will be on Highway 14, two blocks south of Highway 65, in Ozark. For every person who brings a shovel to help with the ceremony, Empire Bank will donate $5 to benefit the Ozark High School Jazz Band.

KICKOFF. Ozarks Technical Community College has announced that Jack Stack, of Springfield ReManufacturing, and Louise Henson, of the Springfield Home Builders Association, will lead the campaign effort for the 1 percent property tax increase the college is seeking. The increase, which is a 5-cent property tax levy, will finance the construction of a 75,000-square-foot job training center, the renovation of Lincoln Hall and a study to determine whether OTC needs a satellite campus. Jim Street, of Village Bank, will serve as treasurer for the campaign committee, which hopes to raise about $50,000 for the campaign effort. The levy increase would be the first in OTC's seven-year history in Springfield. The technical college serves students in an eight-county area. The proposal will be voted on in each of the eight counties. This ballot issue comes to voters after a $23 million bond issue failed during the April 1997 election. That issue, which needed a super majority, received only a simple majority of votes overall.

APPOINTMENTS. The Urban Districts Alliance has new members to serve on the center city umbrella organization's board. Springfield News-Leader President and Publisher Bernie Griffin, David Knight, of Butler, Rosenbury & Partners Inc., and Greene County Presiding Commissioner Dave Coonrod will serve.

SLICE OF NICE. The Family Violence Center will hold its Fall Volunteer Training 6-9 p.m. Sept. 11 and 8 a.m-5 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Harmony House, 529 E. Cherry. The center needs volunteer help in many areas, such as the Children's Program, court advocacy, maintenance, shelter relief and on the hotline (additional training is required for the hotline). If you are interested in volunteering, you must call and enroll in the program beforehand. For more information, please call Jackie Pool, volunteer coordinator, at 837-7700.

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