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                        Tri-Lakes Area

News & Weather

Tri-Lakes area news airs Monday-Friday at 7AM, 12 Noon, 2PM, 5PM and 9PM.

Press releases can be emailed to news@klfcradio.com or faxed to 417-335-2437.

July 24, 2014

DBBA Warns of Counterfeit Bills Being Passed in Branson
The Downtown Branson Betterment Association is warning area businesses about several incidents of counterfeit bills being passed in Branson this summer. In one recent instance, a woman dressed as a nun visited Abby's Tourist Trap and purchased a tote bag with a counterfeit $50 bill. Branson Police said that those who try to use counterfeit bills like to make purchases at businesses without security cameras, garage sales and for Craigslist items.

















Springfield Teen Injured on Table Rock Lake
A teenager from Springfield was injured in a watercraft incident at about 5:00 Wednesday morning on Table Rock Lake at Aunt’s Creek Cove in Stone County. The incident occurred when a wave runner operated by 17 year old Alex Vaughn struck another wave runner operated by 17 year old Daniel Leali-Cardenas. Leali-Cardenas was transported to Cox Branson for treatment of minor injuries.

Ozarks Man Sentenced to 7 Years for Assault on Officer
Twenty-nine year old Leavy Brawdy of Ozark has been sentenced in Taney County Circuit Court to seven years in prison for assaulting a law enforcement officer. On the morning of October 28, 2013, Brawdy was found at Blansit Road and Highway 160, asleep in a stolen SUV. When awakened by Taney County officers, Brawdy started the SUV and accelerated in the direction of the officers. One officer jumped out of the path of the speeding SUV, narrowly escaping serious injury. Brawdy evaded officers from multiple agencies, eventually parking the SUV and fleeing on foot through the woods. He was taken into custody the next day by Rockaway Beach Police.

Harrison Power Outage Caused by Broken Power Pole
The Harrison Fire Department reported that power was out in the northern part of Harrison Wednesday evening when a power pole broke in half. The pole broke when the power lines were snagged by a trailer hauling a very large cylinder shaped container. The incident occurred on Industrial Park Road near the Strand facility. Entergy linemen were called to the scene to make repairs. One resident reported that their power was out for about eight hours, coming back on just before midnight.

Turf Installed at Branson High School Football Field
Artificial turf is being installed at the Branson High School football field. The turf installation began this past Monday on the High School field and the installation phase is nearing completion. Yard line markings and the Pirate flag are next on the "to do" list as they prepare the field for fall sports.






C of O Named to “Great Colleges to Work For” List
The Chronicle of Higher Education has named College of the Ozarks to its 2014 “Great Colleges to Work For” list. The results are based on a survey of more than 43,000 employees at 278 colleges and universities. C of O received an “Honor Roll” ranking in the list for recognition in seven of the twelve categories The Chronicle measured. With a student enrollment just under 1,400, College of the Ozarks employs 88 full-time faculty members, 57 adjunct instructors, 13 administrators and 168 staff members.



July 23, 2014

Forsyth Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison
Thirty-eight year old Johnny Bryan of Forsyth has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of resisting a lawful stop, assault on a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action and tampering with a motor vehicle. The charges stem from a December 6, 2012 incident in Bryan attempted to back over Taney County deputies and then led law enforcement on a high speed chase. Bryan eventually dumped the stolen vehicle he was driving and fled on foot. He was captured several days later following a standoff at a home in Powersite.

Project Loved One Receives Tracking Equipment
The Boone County Sheriff Office announced that its Project Loved One Program has received radio equipment to aid in recovery of those that may wander away or become lost. Sheriff's Office personnel have completed training to operate this equipment and the first two transmitter bands have been placed on Project Loved One participants. Those wishing to apply for a transmitter for a loved one should call 870-741-8044. The Sheriff’s Office goal is to offer the transmitters cost free through donations and proceeds from their annual golf tournament.

Branson Aldermen Approve Several Bid Awards
Branson Aldermen met in regular session Tuesday evening and approved the first reading of several bid awards. The Board approved a $53,000 bid from Cargill, Inc. to replenish de-icing salt for the coming winter. FTC Equipment was selected to provide 2 cavity pumps for wastewater treatment facilities at a cost of $30,000. And the Board approved a proposal of $16,000 from D&B HVAC Systems to provide and install 2 heat pumps/air conditioning systems at the Meadows Water Treatment Plant.

Howe Named Clinical Director at Faith Community Health
Darla Howe, RN, BSN, has been named Clinical Director at Faith Community Health in Branson. As clinical director, Howe will act as chief executive officer of Faith Community Health, responsible for directing the operations, programs and activities of the clinic. Howe comes to FCH from Cox Medical Center Branson, where she worked on process improvement initiatives to improve the patient experience. Howe’s nursing experience includes general ICU, neuro ICU, post-partum and well-baby programming. She is currently enrolled in the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Clarkson College.






C of O PBL Students Place in National Competition
Four students from College of the Ozarks recently traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to compete in the 2014 National Phi Beta Lambda Competitions. Jessica Turner earned first place in the nation in the Business Communication category and received $1,000 in prize money. Justin Brisco, Thomas Miller and Chase Sigler competed as a team in the Parliamentary Procedure category and earned third place.

Pictured from left: College of the Ozarks Business Professor Lindon Newberry, students Chase Sigler, Justin Brisco, Thomas Miller & Jessica Turner and trip sponsor Diana Winkle



Nixon Appoints Shell Knob Man to MSSU Board of Governors
Gov. Jay Nixon has appointed William Gipson (R), of Shell Knob, to the Missouri Southern State University Board of Governors. Gipson has worked in multiple positions with Empire District Electric Company for more than 30 years. Currently, he serves as the company’s director and previously served as president and CEO. Gipson is a graduate of Missouri Southern, with a degree in management technology. The Governor has appointed him for a term ending Aug. 30, 2017.


July 22, 2014

Historical Society Collecting Information
The White River Valley Historical Society is compiling a detailed history of Taney County. The project will result in a 200-300 page book covering family histories, churches, schools, businesses, farms, memorials, tributes, clubs and organizations. The Society expects the coffee-table style book to become a family heirloom. Residents are asked to submit a brief history of their family along with a photograph. Submissions may be dropped off at the White River Valley Historical Society, 297 Main Street in Forsyth or mailed to PO Box 841, Forsyth, MO. 65653.

Sheriff's Department Makes Improvements
The Taney County Sheriff’s Department has nearly completed complying with the recommendations made regarding the department in the recent state audit of the county. The Branson Tri-lakes News reported that the audit noted that the department did not have adequate personnel overseeing inmate property. A kiosk machine is being installed. Inmates coming in can put their money into the kiosk and the machine will automatically count it, deposit it and record it. The department is also receiving bids for a system to improve record keeping for seized property.

Kneeboarding Accident Injures Texas Man
A man from Lubbock, Texas was injured Monday afternoon while kneeboarding on Table Rock Lake. 32 year old Cory Faust dislocated his hip when the board he was riding hit a wake. He was taken to Cox Health Branson for treatment of moderate injuries. The boat towing Faust was operated by 58 year old Ronald Kramer of Colorado. The 4:30pm accident occurred near Point 1.

Blood Donors Needed
The American Red Cross reports a looming blood shortage. Donations are down about 8%, that’s 80,000 fewer blood donations over the past 11 weeks. Donors of all blood types are needed now and for the remainder of the summer. Information about blood collection dates and sites is available at redcrossblood.org. In a related story, Cox Medical Center Branson is hosting a blood drive this Friday, in connection with the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks. It will be held from noon to 6pm in the Magnolia, Dogwood and Redbud conference rooms at the hospital. Donors to the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks provide all the blood needs for patients at 38 area hospitals, including Cox.

Gift of Hope Receives Grant
Gift of Hope in Taney County is one of nine southwest Missouri organizations receiving a financial grant from Mercy Clinic’s ‘Force for Good’ campaign. Gift of Hope received $10,000 which will go toward its Backpack Club, which sends food home with 850 school students each weekend during the school year. The nine organizations received a total of $85,600 to help with area family and children’s programs. The money comes primarily from Mercy Clinic doctors and co-workers.

New Law Impacts Unemployment Benefits
A new state law changes the definition of misconduct in relation to employment. It will make it harder for workers to receive unemployment benefits after violating an employer’s rules or for violating state or federal rules that could create problems for employers. A series of compromises led Governor Jay Nixon to OK the law after vetoing similar legislation over the past three years. The bill will take effect August 28th.


July 21, 2014

Black Bear Spotted in Branson
A black bear was spotted recently near Bee Creek Road and Church Road in Branson. Naturally fearful of humans, bears prefer to look for food in fields and forests. The Missouri Department of Conservation reminds residents that summer is a lean time for bears and their constant search for food can bring them into populated areas. Residents are advised to discourage bears from coming near. Keep garbage cans secured and keep pet food and livestock feed inside secure buildings. Trash should be placed roadside as close to pickup time as possible. Feeders that dispense food for wildlife should not be used during the summer. Campers should keep food locked inside vehicles with windows closed.

Two Motorcycles Collide
A collision between two motorcycles just south of Protem early Sunday afternoon caused injuries to the drivers, both from Springfield. Both cycles were approaching a one-lane bridge on Missouri Highway 125. 41 year old John Burke slowed to yield to traffic. The second bike, operated by 29 year old Todd Highfill hit the first bike, then ran off the road and hit a guard rail. Highfill was treated at Mercy Hospital in Springfield. Burke refused treatment.

Two Accidents on Table Rock Lake Saturday
Two boat related accidents on Table Rock Lake Saturday sent two people to Cox Health Branson with moderate injuries. 36 year old Gail Templeton of Kansas City was injured when the boat she was riding in west of Indian Point hit a large wake throwing her to the floor. 15 year old Shaylee Oswald of California, Missouri was hurt when she was thrown off the towed watersport device she was riding on behind a boat that turned into a wave. That incident occurred near Point 7.

Local Show Producer Owes Back Taxes
A producer of the Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai Show in Branson allegedly owes just over $271,000 in back taxes and interest. The Branson Tri-Lakes News reported that a lien against the real and personal property of Ying Xu was filed in the Taney County Recorder of Deeds office. According to the lien, Ying Xu owes taxes for 31 months between 2007 and 2010. It was not clear if the lien includes the theatre building on Highway 165. When a lien is placed on property, it must be paid off from the sales price if the property is ever sold.

Cox Holds Back-to-school Donation Drive
Cox Health Branson will hold a back-to-school donation drive this Thursday through August 15th. Employees and volunteers are encouraged to donate boxes of facial tissues, gallon size and sandwich size plastic storage bags, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizers, items that can help keep germs in the classroom to a minimum. Donation boxes will be located in the Skaggs Foundation Media Relations office in Plaza One and in the Hospital Cafeteria. Items collected will be distributed to Branson elementary schools.

The New Madrid Fault Has Become More Dangerous
The United States Geological Survey says the New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered near Saint Louis, Missouri, has grown and become more dangerous in the past 6 years. The New Madrid Zone is actually a network of faults and has a larger range of potential earthquake magnitudes and locations that previously identified. Officials say an earthquake at the eastern edge of Missouri could possibly be felt as far west as Springfield. Earthquake assessments are updated by the government every 6 years.


July 18, 2014

Town Hall Meeting Planned for Rockaway Beach
Some residents in Rockaway Beach have asked their Aldermen for a town hall meeting to discuss a variety of topics relating to the overall direction of the community. Aldermen have voted to approve the request and have scheduled July 28 for the meeting. It will be held at the town’s Community Building and will start at 7pm. One issue facing Rockaway Beach is the condition of the city parks. Residents will have the opportunity to vote on a quarter cent sales tax to improve and maintain city parks when they go to the polls in November.

New Location for Fiddle Festival
Branson’s annual Fiddle Festival and Mid-America Fiddler’s Championship, planned for August 2nd and 3rd, is moving to a new location. The festival will be held as a type of block party on Commercial Street in front of the Owen Theatre, and will be free of charge. The Championship will be held inside the air conditioned Owen Theatre with a ticket price of $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 4-12. No charge for kids under the age of 4. The event will include craft vendors, carnival games with prizes, strolling entertainment by Branson musicians, a Promised Land Zoo critter meet and greet and special activities for kids.

New Manager for Branson Bank Forsyth Branch
The Forsyth branch of Branson Bank has a new manager. Sheila Strain has 26 years of banking experience and has worked for Branson Bank since 2006 as the Retail Operation Manager at the Forsyth location. During her career, she has worked as a teller, a new accounts representative, teller supervisor, loan assistant, and assistant branch manager. Sheila is a graduate of Forsyth High School, is married and has two children. Branson Bank is a locally owned and controlled state chartered financial institution.

Enrollment Open for Branson Preschool
The Branson School District is accepting enrollment applications for its tuition based preschool program for the coming school year. Children four years of age before August 1st are eligible to enroll in the program. Scholarships for tuition are available for those who qualify. The child’s immunization records and birth certificate must be presented at the time of enrollment. An appointment may be made by calling 336-1887, extension 6011.

Workshop Planned to Help Manage Chronic Disease
Mercy Hospital will offer a free, six-week workshop in Shell Knob to help residents manage lung and heart disease, arthritis and diabetes. The program will help people learn the latest pain management approaches, learn to manage fatigue and stress, learn ways to deal with anger, fear, frustration and depression and learn new ways to communicate with family and friends. Classes will also discuss the role of exercise and nutrition in chronic disease management. The workshop will be held from 1-3 pm on Wednesdays at Central Crossing Senior Center in Shell Knob from July 30th to September 3rd. Details and registration at phone number 417-858-6952.

Missouri's Unemployment Rate Drops to 6.5%
Missouri’s unemployment rate fell by one tenth of a point in June, to 6.5%. Over the past year, non-farm payrolls have added 44,200 jobs. Industries experiencing growth in June included Arts, Entertainment and Recreation, adding 1,800 jobs. The Professional, Scientific and Technical services industry gained 1,100 jobs during the month.


July 17, 2014

American Idol Holding Auditions
The American Idol Tour Bus is in Branson looking for talent to feature on future TV shows. The production crew is recording video segments from various locations around Branson. Auditions will be held at the Branson Landing fountains Saturday morning starting at 9:00. In addition to Branson, this bus tour includes stops in Reno, Albuquerque, Amarillo and Kansas City. Information and release forms can be obtained at americanidol.com. Click on the Audition tab and scroll to the Bus Audition menu.

Search Continues for Kerry Messer's Wife
Kerry Messer has been an active leader in the pro-family movement in Missouri for many years. His wife Lynn disappeared July 8th with no evidence of what happened. Kerry told the St. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Office that he woke up at 4am and noticed that his wife was missing. Her purse, cell phone and other personal items were still in the residence. A massive search using a plane, a helicopter, K-9 Teams and authorities from numerous search and rescue operations provided no clues to Lynn’s disappearance. The search continues with numerous volunteers assisting authorities. Information is posted as available at Facebook/Find Lynn Messer.

Two Accidents Send Two People to Hospitals
38 year old Dean Rogers of Blue Eye was seriously injured Tuesday evening when the motorcycle he was operating ran off the road, then down an embankment hitting several trees. He was treated at Cox South Springfield. The accident occurred on Highway 86, five miles west of Ridgedale. 41 year old Sharon Wilson of Branson received minor injuries Wednesday morning. She was trying to move a pickup on private property 3 miles north of Branson when the brakes failed. The truck rolled down a hill and hit a mobile home. She was treated at Cox Health Branson.

Grand Opening for Dollar General in Rockaway Beach
The new Dollar General store in Rockaway Beach will hold Grand Opening this Saturday starting at 8am. The first 50 adult shoppers will receive a $10 Dollar General gift card. The first 200 shoppers will receive a Dollar General tote bag. The store, located on Highway 176, actually opened July 2nd after 6 months of construction. The thrift store for the Bridge of Faith Church was formerly at that location. The thrift store was moved to a building near the church and the previous location was cleared to make room for the new Dollar General store.

Golden Corral Employee Receives Award
The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce continues to recognize people in the community who exhibit exceptional, friendly customer service. The most recent Golden Key Award was given to Darla Schuchman, an employee with the Golden Corral Restaurant in Branson. She is in charge of group sales and is also a full-time waitress. When tour busses arrive, the riders ask to sit in Darla’s section. She has been with the restaurant for 20 years and is known for going the extra mile with excellent customer service.

New Books for Branson School Libraries
The Branson School district has received over $1,600 in books, thanks to the generosity of ‘Books a Million’ and the Branson community. The store held a book drive during the month of June to benefit the school district’s libraries. Customers were encouraged to purchase a book to donate to Branson schools. Allison King, store manager, organized the drive and presented the books to the district. They will be available for students when the new school year begins on August 21st.


July 16, 2014

Branson Man Sentenced for Forgery
35 year old Bradley Nichols of Branson has been sentenced to five years in the Missouri Department of Corrections. He pled guilty last week to one count of class C Felony forgery relating to using counterfeit cash at local businesses last year. Owners of Rowland Motel in Branson had contacted police after receiving bogus $5 bills from a tenant. Nichols, who was residing at the motel, had been using a computer and a printer to make the counterfeit currency in his room.

Cassville Teen Injured in Car Wreck
A Cassville teen received serious injuries when the car he was driving ran off the road, hit a culvert and overturned several times. 18 year old Drew Still was taken to Mercy Hospital in Springfield for treatment. The accident occurred on Highway 76, seven miles east of Cassville just after midnight on Tuesday. He was not using the car’s seatbelt.

Library Board Seeking 3 Members
The Taney County Library Board is seeking three members to complete their five-member board, after recent resignations. The Branson Daily Independent reported that Board President Roxanne Young plans to present names of prospective members to the county commission for possible appointment. The board cannot meet for official business without a quorum of three members. Residents voted down a property tax levy last year that would have funded a county-wide library system. The two private libraries in the county are funded by donations and operated primarily by volunteers.

Fuel Spill Closes Highway
Highway 160 east of Gainesville in Ozark County was closed for several hours early Tuesday night. A tanker truck transporting jet aviation fuel was involved in an accident and overturned. Crews were called to clean up the spill of several gallons of the highly flammable fuel. There were no reported injuries resulting from the accident.

Cookies to Canvas Teaches Kids to Paint
The second of three Cookies to Canvas painting events will be held Thursday morning at the Imax Entertainment Complex. The event for young people ages 6-12 provides step by step instructions of how to paint a picture on canvas and the kids can take the painting home when they finish. The $12 fee per child includes the canvas, the paint and brushes, cookies and a free movie ticket. Adult supervision is required. RSVP at 417-496-7972. The third Cookies to Canvas event will be held July 24th.

Home Defense Conference and Expo
The 2014 Midwest Emergency Preparedness and Home Defense Conference and Expo will be held this weekend at the Lodge of the Ozarks in Branson. Featured guest speakers will cover second amendment rights, how to protect houses from crime, self defense laws and firearms, women and concealed carry firearms, emergency medical procedures, emergency preparedness equipment and food and several other topics. The event Friday through Sunday is open to the public and the Friday expo is free of charge. For details call 877-327-9894.


July 15, 2014

Rockaway Teen Drowns in Table Rock Lake
A teenager from Rockaway Beach drowned in Table Rock Lake Sunday. The 16 year old was swimming with his family inside the designated swimming area at Cricket Creek Park. A diver from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Dive Team located the boy in about 9 feet of water. The Boone County Sheriff’s Department was assisted by several agencies, including the Taney County Search and Rescue Team.

New Jersey Couple Escape RV Fire
A working smoke alarm helped a couple from New Jersey escape a fire in a Recreational Vehicle Monday morning. Branson firefighters responded to the 8am fire in the RV located in the Musicland Kampground on Gretna Road, and had it under control within 15 minutes. There were no injuries but the RV was a total loss. Firefighters helped the couple retrieve valuables from the RV after the fire was extinguished. Residents in the campground provided personal items and clothes for the couple.

Car Accident Injures Branson Teen
A Branson teen received minor injuries in a two vehicle accident Monday afternoon. A car driven by 17 year Karli Brock travelled off the right side of the road. She overcorrected, causing the car to travel across the road centerline where it hit a truck driven by 58 year old Sammy Yarnell of Hollister. The 4:10 pm accident occurred on Route F, a mile east of Bull Creek. Yarnell was using the vehicle’s seatbelt but the teen was not.

CofO Professor Gary Turbak Honored
College of the Ozarks associate professor Gary Turbak was recently honored at the 65th Clinical Symposia in Indianapolis. He was named the 2014 NAIA-Athletic Trainers Association’s Athletic Trainer of the year. Dr. Turbak is entering his 20th year as head athletic trainer at College of the Ozarks and serves as the athletic trainer for the School of the Ozarks High School. He has served as president and chairman of the board for the NAIA-ATA and received the NAIA Hall of Fame Meritorious service Award in 2013.

SDC's Bladesmith Poet Dies
A long time employee of Silver Dollar City has died. Ray Johnson was a world-recognized Bladesmith Poet from Oregon County. He was initially discovered in 1986 by a newscaster when he lived Oregon County and was working as a welder, making knives and writing poetry. Ray came to Silver Dollar City in 1988 as a knife maker and poet. His most popular knife was the Damascus steel knife which incorporates 320 layers of steel.

Farmer's Market has Summer Vegetables
Summer vegetables have arrived at the College of the Ozarks Farmer’s market. Students are harvesting sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, squash, green beans, cucumbers, eggplant and melons. Students are harvesting between 2 and 25 varieties of each vegetable. Their goal is to provide 600 ears of corn per week for the next 10 weeks. The farmer’s market is located in the Sale Barn on campus and is open Friday mornings from 7am to 12:30pm. In addition to sales to the public, the vegetables are also used in menu items in the Dobyns Dining Room at the Keeter Center.


July 14, 2014

Both Drivers Injured in Two-Car Crash
Both drivers were injured in a two vehicle head on crash on Highway 86 Sunday morning. A car driven by 16 year old Braden Kraichely of Ridgedale crossed the road centerline and hit a Dodge Ram driven by 29 year old Michael Gibson of Blue Eye. The teen was airlifted to Mercy Hospital in Springfield with serious injuries. Gibson was taken by ambulance to Cox South in Springfield with moderate injuries. The 10:20am accident occurred a mile west of Ridgedale. The drivers were not using seat belts.

Woman Drowns in Bull Shoals Lake
A woman drowned in Bull Shoals Lake Sunday evening. KY3 news reported that a witness told authorities that the woman had a child on her back before she drowned. The child was not injured. The victim was taken by boat to an Air Evac Life Team helicopter. Volunteer firefighters with the Baxter County Sheriff’s Department assisted with the attempted rescue. The woman was not identified. The incident occurred at Brown’s Beach on Bull Shoals Lake. The Marion County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the drowning.

Woman from Omaha, Arkansas injured in Car Accident
A woman from Omaha, Arkansas received minor injuries Saturday evening when the car she was driving ran off the road and hit a ditch. 64 year old Joyce Barham was taken by ambulance to Cox Health Branson. The 7:35pm accident occurred on Route F, a half mile north of Merriam Woods. She was using the car seatbelt.

Grand Palace Back on the Market
The Grand Palace Theatre in Branson is back on the market. The Branson Tri-Lakes News reported that the recent bidding process failed to result in a closing sale. The FDIC, which controls the property after a bank failure in 2008, is reportedly working with a number of potential buyers who showed interest in the property. The 3,800 seat theatre is listed at $5.4 million. The FDIC is responsible for maintaining the building. There is no current deadline for new bids.

Two Branson Entertainers to Attend Convention
Two Branson entertainers will be featured guest performers at the 38th Annual International Ventriloquist ConVENTion, to be held later this week in Hebron, Kentucky. Jim Barber and Todd Oliver will be lecturing and performing with top professionals in the business. Lecture topics will include marketing ideas, showmanship, puppet manipulation, sound systems and emceeing. The conVENTion includes sessions for young people who just learning the art. Over 600 ventriloquists from eight foreign countries plus the United States are expected to attend.

Stained Glass Theatre Offers New Show Option
Stained Glass Theatre held open auditions this past Saturday for the first production in their 32nd season. The theme for this year will be The Season of Heroes and the first production, ‘The Hiding Place’, is scheduled to open September 11th. It’s the story of the Ten Boom family’s efforts to hide Jews from death as Nazi forces invaded Holland. New this year will be an additional show option. On the third weekend of each of the seven shows, the Stained Glass Theatre will have a 2:30pm Sunday matinee. It was added so Life Groups, Youth Groups and Sunday School classes could more easily attend the performance.


July 11, 2014

Taney County Farm Family Going to State Fair
A local farming family has been selected to represent Taney County at the Missouri State Fair in August. Bob and Mindy Matthews were chosen by the Taney County MU Extension Council. The selection was announced at the Taney County Fair. At that time the Matthews family were awarded a plaque and given checks from the extension council and the Farm Bureau. The finances are to help cover their expenses when they travel to the State Fair Farm Family Day on August 11th.

Lowe's Employee Receives Award
Devin Noffsinger, an employee at the Lowe’s Home Improvement Store in Hollister, has received the Golden Key Award from the Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber recently started giving this award each week to recognize people in the community who have exhibited exceptional friendly customer service. Devin was observed going above and beyond the normal by assisting customers with loading supplies and disassembling a grill so it would fit in a customer’s vehicle.

Galena Teen Injured in Car Accident
16 year old Dallas Howard of Galena was injured Thursday morning in a one vehicle accident in Stone County. The car she was driving ran off the right side of the road. She overcorrected causing the car to run off the left side of the road where it hit two trees. She was taken by ambulance to Cox South Hospital in Springfield where she was treated for moderate injuries. The 9:20am accident occurred on McCord Bend Road, three miles west of Galena. The teen was using the car seatbelt.

Moonlight Madness Coming to Silver Dollar City
Moonlight Madness returns to Silver Dollar City July 19th to August 3rd. The theme park will be open from 10am to 10pm during those days. Plus the park will be open until midnight on Saturday, August 2nd. Moonlight Madness will include a new fireworks finale in the Echo Hollow Amphitheatre and street dances on the Silver Dollar City Square at 9pm each evening. The Great American Country Nights show will start at 7:30pm in echo Hollow. Numerous shops and eateries will stay open until 10pm.

Branson Schools Starts New Student Registration
The Branson School district starts new student registration Monday. Enrollment forms for all prospective students in grades K-12 may be completed any Monday through Thursday from July 14th to the 31st. Registration will be held in the lower level of the district offices located at 1756 Bee Creek Road. Office hours are 8am to 3pm. Required documentation to be enrolled are birth certificate, proof of residency in the district, address and phone number of the previous school attended and up-to-date immunization records.

OTC Offers Free Citizenship Classes
Ozarks Technical Community College, OTC, will offer free citizenship classes starting Monday. Classes will be held at the Springfield campus and will be held Monday to Thursday July 14th to the 31st from 9am until noon. OTC citizenship classes will cover general requirements, U.S. government and history and a sample citizenship test along with interview questions. The classes are offered through the college’s Adult Education and Literacy Department. For details call 417-447-8860.


July 10, 2014

Potential Road Projects if Voters OK Tax
The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission has released a comprehensive list of projects it plans to work on if voters approve Constitutional Amendment 7 when they go to the polls on August 5th. The list includes $4.8 billion in transportation projects. In southwest Missouri, major upgrades would be made to Route 60, Route 65, I-249 and the completion of the last five miles of I-49. Other projects would include replacing or improving over 30 bridges, improvements to 5 airports, improvements to sidewalks and trails in 28 locations, improvements to railroads and the expansion of OATS transportation services in all 21 counties in the district.

New Chinese Acrobat Show in Branson
Branson now has two major Chinese acrobat shows. Under a change in management, the original Acrobats of China which has performed in Branson for 16 years, has reformed with a new troupe and a new updated show. The troupe will continue to perform in the New Shanghai Theatre on Highway 165, but now as the Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai. A second troupe of acrobats has started performing in the RFD-TV The Theatre on Highway 76, as the New Shanghai Circus.

FDIC Reviewing Bids for Grand Palace
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is completing its evaluation of sealed bids received June 2nd for the purchase of the Grand Palace Theatre, located on Highway 76 in Branson. The Branson Daily Independent reported that the FDIC will place the Palace back on the market for sale if the bids received are not acceptable. The number of sealed bids received was not disclosed. A number of liens have been filed against the property, totaling over $500,000. Since the theatre has been closed, thieves have removed most equipment plus copper wiring and pipes.

Branson Tourism Center Sells 4 millionth Ticket
The Branson Tourism Center reached a major milestone July 2nd when it sold its 4 millionth show or attraction ticket. Don and Marsha Meeker from Remus, Michigan purchased the 4 millionth ticket by phone on June 6th, but they didn’t know it until they arrived at the Branson Tourism Center on July 2nd. They were suddenly surrounded by falling balloons and cheers from those attending the celebration. The Meekers received their Branson vacation as a gift from BTC. The Branson Tourism Center is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau and employs about 100 people.

Cassville Man Injured in Crash
34 year old Aaron Miller of Cassville received serious injuries Wednesday night when the car he was driving ran off the road and overturned. He was taken to Cox South Hospital in Springfield for treatment. The 11:30pm accident occurred on Highway 76, a mile east of Cassville in Barry County. He was not using the car seat belt.

Aldermen Approve Annexation & Zoning Change
Branson Aldermen held a public hearing and approved the first reading of a bill approving the annexation of property located at 2130 State Highway 248, between the intersections of Shepherd of the Hills Expressway and Gretna Road. The land is the site of an existing dry cleaning business which has requested connection to the city’s sewer system. The board also approved the designation of C Commercial District Zoning for property located at 2181 Highway 248. The lot was annexed in the city in May. The property owner is developing plans for a filling station and convenience store on the site.


July 9, 2014

Sparta Man Injured in One Car Crash Near Galena
A man from Sparta was injured in a one car crash shortly before 3:00 early Tuesday morning on Highway 176, two miles east of Galena. Twenty-one year old Steven Green swerved his car to avoid a deer in the roadway. The car ran off the road, traveled down an embankment and struck a fence. Green suffered minor injuries and was transported to Cox South Hospital in Springfield for treatment.

Branson Aldermen Approve Road Surfacing Projects
Branson Aldermen met in regular session Tuesday evening and approved a proposal from Donelson Construction for a street microsurfacing and crack sealing project. Four sections of road will be resurfaced this year including N Wildwood Dr north of Gretna Rd, Roark Valley Rd from Hwy 76 to Forsyth Rd, Shepherd of the Hills Expwy from Brookside Golf to Roark Valley Rd and Gretna Rd from the Roark Valley Rd bridge to Hwy 76. The Board also approved a proposal from APAC-Missouri for an asphalt overlay and road milling project. That project includes two sections of roadway - Shepherd of the Hills Expwy from Brookside Golf to Hw 76 and East Main St from Commercial St to Sycamore St.

Aldermen Approve Firefighter Gear, Condo Annexation
In other action Tuesday evening, Branson Aldermen approved a proposal from Leo M. Ellebracht Company for firefighter protective clothing. This is the annual replacement of 12 sets of gear, or approximately 1/3 of the Fire Department’s bunker gear inventory. The Board also approved the annexation of property located at 344 Wimbledon Drive, Unit 8. The condo is located in the Pointe Royale area.

Gregg Richards Named Branson's Employee of the Month
Gregg Richards of the Branson Planning Department has been named the city’s Employee of the Month for July. The city said Gregg has built a strong reputation for providing timely and quality customer service, built on his own experience as an independent contractor in the area for many years. He was also praised for a recent experience where his attentiveness led him to take note of some suspicious behavior. He was able to give a detailed description of the suspect, leading to an arrest within just a few hours.

Section of Highway 76 to be Relocated West of Branson
The Missouri Department of Transportation announced that work is scheduled to begin this coming Monday to relocate a section of Hwy 76 between the Ozark Mountain Highroad and Hwy 265 west of Branson. The relocation project will move a short-section of Hwy 76 south of its current location in order to straighten a curved area. During the project, drivers may experience nighttime lane closings and short-term traffic stops for rock blasting and moving of construction equipment. The $2.4 million project is scheduled to be completed by December 15, 2014.

Branson Chamber Seeks Young Professionals for New Committee
The Branson Chamber of Commerce is seeking young professional leaders to serve on the new Branson Young Professionals planning committee. The goal of the committee is to engage future leaders and help to secure the future of the Branson community. Interested individuals are invited to the first Branson Young Professionals planning committee meeting on Wednesday, July 16 at 11:30 a.m. at the Chamber. For more information, contact Emily Sutliff at esutliff@bransonchamber.com or call 334-4084.


July 8, 2014

Swimmer Nearly Drowns at Eagle Rock Swim Beach
The Missouri Water Patrol reported that a swimmer from Cassville nearly drowned at about 6:45 Monday evening at Eagle Rock Swim Beach on Table Rock Lake. Carlos Mateo was holding to the swimming area boom line when he let go and went under the water. Another swimmer pulled Mateo to shore where family members performed CPR until first responders arrived. He was transported to Cox South Hospital in Springfield for treatment.

Teen Seriously Injured in Water Tubing Accident
A teenager from Castle Rock, Colorado was injured in a water tubing accident at about 5:30 Monday evening south of Indian Point on Table Rock Lake. Thirteen year old Dakota Davis was riding a tube when the boat made a turn and Davis was thrown from the tube into the water. He suffered serious injuries and was taken to Cox Branson for treatment.

Reeds Spring Water System on Preliminary DNR Funding List
The City of Reeds Spring has received word that it is on the top of the preliminary DNR funding list for the proposed replacement of the City’s water system infrastructure. The Missouri Department of Conservation will now post the preliminary list for 30 days for public comment, and at the end of that period will make the notifications of official funding. If approved, the DNR would fund 75% of the Reeds Spring water system project.

Fodor’s Names White Water to "10 Best Water Parks in the US"
Fodor’s Travel has named White Water in Branson to its list of “10 Best Water Parks in the US.” Fodor’s noted that while smaller than other parks on the list, White Water ranks in the top because it is a “well-organized, family-centered park” with attractions ranging from the new thrill slide KaPau Plummet to the kid-friendly Splashaway Cay. In another ranking, KaPau Plummet has been named to the LA Times’ list of “Top 14 New Water Slides for 2014.”

Chamber Accepting Nominations for Small Business Awards Dinner
The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for its annual Small Business Awards Dinner to be held on September 25 at the Chateau on the Lake Resort. In addition to the "Small Business of the Year" and "Charity of the Year," the Small Business Council has voted to add a third award this year, the "Ozark Mountain Hospitality Award." Nominations for each of these categories are due by August 25. The nominations can only be made by an active member of the Branson Chamber, however the nominee does not have to be a member, but must be located in Taney or Stone counties. For a nomination form or more information, contact the Chamber at 334-4084. A downloadable nomination form is available at BransonChamber.com/about/events-small-business.

Community Tech Center to Host Computer Basics Class
The Caring People’s Community Technology Center is hosting a Computer Basics class this Thursday. Computer Basics will be taught by Lloyd Fitchett and will review how a computer works, what are the major components, how the parts function together, understanding computer terms and more. The Community Technology Center is located at 611 Sixth Street in downtown Branson. To register for the class, email Sheila@thecaringpeople.org or call 417-334-0131.


July 7, 2014

Suspect Arrested for Murder of Shop Owner
A suspect is in custody for an alleged murder at Ozark Emporium in Bear Creek Springs just north of Harrison. Officers found the body of the shop’s owner, 75 year old Adah Lorraine Carte, at approximately 7 p.m. last Thursday evening. Investigators were able to get photos of the suspect and his vehicle through surveillance video and he was taken into custody during a traffic stop on Friday at about 4 p.m. in Bergman. 60-year-old Donald Biles was being held without bond in the Boone County Jail. Carte's body has been sent to the state Crime Lab for autopsy to determine the exact cause of death.



Republic Teen Drowns in Table Rock Lake
A teenager from Republic drowned in Table Rock Lake shortly after 10:00 last Friday morning near Point 12 west of Kimberling City. The Missouri Water Patrol reported that 18 year old Joshua Washington attempted to assist other people in the water, went under and did not resurface. He was pronounced dead at the scene at about noon and taken to Stumpff Funeral Home in Kimberling City.

Springfield Woman Injured While Knee Boarding on Table Rock Lake
A woman from Springfield was injured in a waterskiing incident shortly before 5:30 Saturday evening on Table Rock Lake south of Cape Fair. The Water Patrol reported that 37 year old Kimberly Madsen was knee boarding when she struck something under the water. She was transported to Mercy Hospital in Springfield for treatment of moderate injuries.

Five Injured in Three Vehicle Accident in Branson West
Five people were injured in a three vehicle accident shortly after 11:00 Sunday night on Highway 76, one mile east of Branson west. A car driven by 34 year old Amy Mendoza of Branson crossed the center line and struck two oncoming vehicles. Mendoza suffered serious injuries and four people from Oak Park, California sustained minor to moderate injuries. They were all taken to Mercy Hospital in Springfield for treatment.

Saturday Night Fire Displaces Family in Powersite
Firefighters from Western Taney County and Forsyth assisted the Central Taney County Fire District with a residential structure fire Saturday night on Hwy VV in Powersite. Firefighters put up a tough battle against the fire and were able to save a few of the homeowners’ belongings. A family with three small children was displaced as a result of the fire. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is unknown.

Alzheimer's Association to Host Free Workshop in Branson
The Alzheimer's Association Greater Missouri Chapter is offering a free workshop at the Taneyhills Community Library in downtown Branson this Thursday from 10 a.m. – Noon. The workshop, entitled "Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters," will provide attendees with a better understanding between age-related memory loss and Alzheimer's disease. The workshop is free but reservations are required. Call 417-886-2199.


July 4, 2014

Crane Man Injured in Motorcycle Accident
A man from Crane was injured in a motorcycle accident shortly before 9:00 Thursday evening on Swinging Bridge Road, a mile southeast of Crane. The Highway Patrol reported that a motorcycle operated by 46 year old Bryan Barrett ran off the side of the roadway and overturned. Barrett was transported to Cox South Hospital in Springfield for treatment of minor injuries.

Child Passenger Seat Technicians Complete Training
The Taney County Health Department now has five staff members who are trained as Child Passenger Safety Technicians (CPST). Amy Blair and Delesa Johnson recently completed the CPST training, and join previously certified staff Kara Miller, Karen Moody and JoAnn Sanchez. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 7 of 10 child car seats are installed incorrectly, although 96% of parents believe they have installed the car seat correctly. The Health Department’s trained staff can provide free information about car seat guidelines, installation and education. To make an appointment, call the Branson office at 334-4544 or the Forsyth office at 546-4725. Photo: Child Passenger Safety Technician Kara Miller installs a car seat

Senator Sater Speaks Out on Nixon's Veto of Pro-Life Legislation
Missouri Senator David Sater of Cassville is speaking out against Governor Nixon’s veto of pro-life legislation that extends the waiting period before an abortion can be performed from 24 hours to 72 hours. Sater said that taking the time to think about the consequences of an abortion is not unreasonable or a burden. The legislation passed with overwhelming majorities in both the Senate and the House. The General Assembly will convene for the annual veto session on Sept. 10, 2014, at which time they can attempt to override the governor’s vetoes.

Table Rock State Park Earns National Recognition
Table Rock State Park has been recognized among the Top 100 Family Friendly Places to Boat and Fish in the U.S., according to Take Me Fishing. Table Rock State Park earned the ninth spot on the Top 100 list. The Take Me Fishing campaign was initiated by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation as a nationwide vote in order to create a list for families and outdoor enthusiasts with the best family-friendly places to boat and fish.

Branson Salvation Army Launches Christmas in July
The Salvation Army of Branson is launching a special Christmas in July campaign, a month-long series of fund raising events to help bridge the gap between a continued increase in demand for assistance and a shortfall in funding. Christmas in July will include the The Salvation Army’s iconic Red Kettles. Volunteers are needed to help ring the bells every Friday & Saturday in July at a number of Branson locations. To sign up, call 417-339-4434.

Mickey Gilley Creates DVD to Help Assist Kelly Riley
Mickey Gilley recently created a DVD of some of his funniest moments with the late Joey Riley. Portions of the proceeds are going to Kelly Riley to assist with expenses incurred during Joey’s battle with cancer. For more information or to purchase a DVD, call Janice at 800-334-1936 or visit Mickey Gilley's Facebook page.


July 3, 2014

Taney County Receives "Poor" Rating from State Audit
The results of the state audit of Taney County finances for the year 2012 were presented this week during a public meeting in Forsyth. The objective was to evaluate the county’s internal controls over significant management and financial functions and practices and to evaluate the county’s compliance with legal provisions. The county was given a "poor" rating. The 50-plus page report gave details on problems such as numerous cases of inadequate accounting procedures, improper bidding procedures, money earmarked that was not used as intended and overpaying a road contractor. The complete report is available online at http://auditor.mo.gov/Press/2014047207934.pdf.

Two Arrested on Drug Charges in Stone County
Stone County Sheriff’s deputies along with the COMET Drug Task Force executed a search warrant Wednesday on a cabin in a resort on Table Rock Lake near Shell Knob. They found methamphetamine, over 500 oxycontin pills, marijuana and $7,500 cash. Officers arrested 31 year old Christina Zacker from Kansas City who has an active warrant for a probation violation in Taney County. They also arrested 37 year old Christopher Homan from Overland Park, Kansas. The investigation is continuing.

Small Plane Crashes in Field at Harrison Airport
A small plane crashed Wednesday in the field at the west end of the Boone County Regional Airport in Harrison. The pilot, 66 year old George Atiyeh from Lyons, Oregon was the only person on board. He was airlifted to Mercy Hospital in Springfield with serious injuries. The 1964 Piper Twin Comanche crashed on airport property during takeoff. The National Transportation and Safety Board will investigate the accident.

Gainesville Woman Injured in Head-on Collision
A woman from Gainesville was injured Wednesday morning in a two vehicle head-on crash in Ozark County. 86 year old Opal Smith received moderate injuries when the car she was driving was hit by a pickup that crossed the road centerline. The truck was driven by 33 year old Jonathan Whisnant of Brixey who did not require treatment. Smith was treated at Baxter Medical Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas. The accident occurred on County Road 513, just east of Gainesville.

Branson Violinist Janice Martin Releases Childrens Book
Concert violinist Janice Martin from the Showboat has released a true-life inspirational book for children. "How I Learned to Fly" depicts the commitment and focus necessary to overcome fears and successfully make dreams come true. The book, available in hard cover or on Kindle, also celebrates the importance of service to country. The book includes pictures of Janice as a child and inspirational drawings. It’s available for purchase after her shows on the Showboat or at her website, JaniceMartin.com.

MoDOT to Suspend Most Construction for Holiday Weekend
The Missouri Department of Transportation is suspending most highway construction and maintenance work throughout the state this weekend. Work will resume July 7th after morning drive-time. Some lane and bridge closures will remain due to more permanent closures. Last year, 19 people died and 83 were seriously injured in Missouri highway accidents. Thirteen of the fatalities and eleven of the injured involved a person driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.


July 2, 2014

Two Injured in Head-on Collision South of Forsyth
Two people received minor injuries during a head-on car collision Tuesday morning. A vehicle driven by 48 year old Carol Edwards of Cedar Creek was hit by a car driven by 36 year old Melissa Baugher of Taneyville, as she failed to negotiate a curve in the road. Edwards refused transportation to the hospital but her passenger, 66 year old Velva Cort was taken to Cox Health Branson. The 10 a.m. accident occurred on Strawberry Road, three miles south of Forsyth.

Comfort Inn and Suites Branson Meadows Named Comfort Inn Hotel of the Year
Comfort Inn and Suites Branson Meadows has earned the Comfort Inn Hotel of the Year award for the fourth time. The honor was presented during Choice Hotel’s 60th annual convention. The Choice Hotels Owners Council presents the annual award to properties that set the industry standard for hospitality and overall lodging experience for guests. The hotel is one of six Branson area hotels owned by the local Myer family. Collectively, the company has received numerous national hospitality awards.

CoxHealth Fitness Center to Host Series of Aquathon Races
The CoxHealth Fitness Center is hosting an Aquathon this summer. The event will be held each Wednesday evening this month, starting July 9th. The Aquathon, to be held at the RecPlex, will combine swimming and running into one race. The race will have a different format each week with the first week featuring a one mile run followed by a 200 yard swim. The event is designed to be a family activity for ages 8 and up. The cost is $25 per race or $75 for all three events. Participants can register by phone at 417-348-0060.

Branson Bank Cookbook Proceeds Donated to Forsyth FFA
Proceeds from the sale of a cookbook produced by Branson Bank were donated to the Forsyth High School FFA program. Bank employees, plus family and friends provided recipes for the cookbook that was created to honor former bank employee Joanne Smith. Sales of the cookbook generated over $3,600 for the FFA. The book was so well received that a second printing had to be ordered. Joanne was one of the first employees at the bank’s Forsyth location. She passed away last year. Branson Bank is locally owned with two locations in Branson and one in Forsyth.

MO Net General Revenue Collections Down 1% for Fiscal Year
Net general revenue collections for Missouri’s 2014 Fiscal Year decreased 1% compared to the same period last year. The state’s general revenue collection for June decreased 12.3% compared to June of last year. Individual income tax collections decreased 0.2% for the year but increased 4.5% for June. Sales and Use Tax collections increased 3.8% for the year and increased 23.9% for the month. Refunds increased 8.4% for the year and increased 288.8% for the month.

Humane Society Says Fireworks and Pets Don’t Mix Well
The Humane Society of Missouri reminds residents that fireworks and pets don’t mix well. The loud noises can frighten animals and cause even the best behaved pets to act out of character. Pet owners are advised to keep the pet on a short leash if you can’t avoid taking it to the festivities. Leave the pet at home if possible. Close windows and turn on a radio or TV to mask sounds. Give your pet a quiet, cool place to retreat to inside where sounds are less intense. Don’t punish pets for behavior related to the loud noises. It could make them more afraid.


July 1, 2014

Variety of Fireworks Displays and Special Events Planned
A variety of fireworks displays and special events are planned for the Branson area to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day. Branson Landing’s 7th annual Liberty Light Up will be held Thursday night featuring a live concert at 8 p.m. followed by fireworks over Lake Taneycomo. The 61st annual Hollister 4th of July Celebration on Friday will include the Little Miss Firecracker Pageant at 6 p.m., New Premier Dance Academy at 8 p.m. and fireworks at dark. Spirit of 76, presented by Branson Veterans Task Force, will feature fireworks at four Branson parks Friday night, including: Alexander, Cantwell, Murphy and Stockstill. Other fireworks on Friday night include Rockaway Beach, Chateau on the Lake and Big Cedar Lodge. Kimberling City will hold its fireworks display on Saturday night.

Taney County Economic Development Organization Launches New Branding Image
The Taney County Business Development Partnership has announced its new branding image as the Taney County Partnership. Along with the new name and branding come new logos and a website redesign of TaneyCountyPartnership.com. The Partnership encourages all business prospects in Taney County to check out the new website to find what resources are available to them.

17 Area Firefighters Complete State Practical Testing
This past Saturday, 17 Firefighters from Western Taney County, Southern Stone County, Point Lookout, Forsyth, Branson and Central Crossing fire departments completed their State Practical Testing for becoming certified firefighters. This testing is the culmination of 6 months of training totaling over 270 hours of total time. These firefighters have one last step in their testing process which is a 200 question written test which they will complete on July 16th in Springfield.
Back Row from Left: Coden Tennison, Mike Collins, Ryan Gdovin, Allen Ryan, Daniel Eighmy, Taylor Evans, Blake Fox, Dustin Besperate, Brian Rees and Mathew Dilley. Front Row from Left: Casper Hopkins, Paul Winking, Dawn Brose, Tristan Wilkes, Garrett Olsen, Shelby Phifer and Britten House.

Cox Branson Employees Donate Hygiene Items to Single Moms
Cox Medical Center Branson employees donated more than 350 bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash and other personal care items to help single mothers in the area. The items will be distributed through Jesus Was Homeless’ weekly meal delivery. Ashley Lauer with Jesus Was Homeless said the personal hygiene items will be a huge benefit to single mothers who are struggling to make ends meet each month.
Ashley Lauer, left, of Jesus Was Homeless, joins Cox Medical Center Branson employee Karen Oswald in showing off some of the 367 items Cox Branson employees gave during a recent donation drive that benefited Jesus Was Homeless.

Outlaw Run Wins Travel Channel’s Insane Coaster Wars
Silver Dollar City’s wood coaster Outlaw Run was named the winner of the Travel Channel’s most recent episode of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination. The program featuring Outlaw Run aired this past Sunday on the Travel Channel. In the episode, Outlaw Run outscored Guatemala’s Avalancha, Pennsylvania’s Phantom’s Revenge and Taiwan’s Insane Speed based on rider “thrill factor” votes during filming at the parks. Outlaw Run was recently named one of the 12 biggest game-changers in the history of theme park attractions by CNN.com.

VanBurch Moves to Smaller Theatre, Retires Big Cats
Branson illusionist Kirby VanBurch is achieving his goal of presenting up close and personal magic by moving his show to the theatre inside Lodge of the Ozarks. Kirby says he enjoys having more interaction with the audience and the challenge of up close illusions. With the move, Kirby has retired his five big cats to the National Tiger Sanctuary, located north of Branson on Highway BB in Saddlebrooke.


June 30, 2014

Branson Opposes Summit Natural Gas Rate Hike
Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley has sent a letter to the Missouri Public Service Commission opposing the proposed rate hike requested by Summit Natural Gas. The mayor cited current economic hardships experienced by many residents and the fact that the community was not given adequate notification that the cost of constructing the pipeline infrastructure was not built in to the current rate structure. As a regulated utility, Summit is required to seek approval for any rate increase. A hearing on the request will be held in Jefferson City on August 18th.

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Hobby Lobby
Christian business owners have received a favorable ruling from the United States Supreme Court. The 5-4 decision finds that Hobby Lobby, and by extension, other owners of closely held corporations with deeply held religious convictions, do not have to comply with the birth control mandate in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. In its ruling, the Supreme Court sent the message that the Constitution still protects religious convictions and freedoms. Some observers believe this landmark case will have historical significance for decades.

Boat Burns Sunday Afternoon Near Kimberling Inn
Crews from the Southern Stone County Fire Protection District responded to a boat fire Sunday afternoon. The boat sitting near the Kimberling Inn boat ramp in Kimberling City was well involved with fire when crews arrived but they had the fire knocked down within 20 minutes. They drafted water from the lake to extinguish the flames. There were no injuries.

Metropolitan National Bank Buys Jim Stafford Theatre
Metropolitan National Bank now owns the Jim Stafford Theatre. The Branson Tri-Lakes News reported that theatre was placed for sale on the Taney County Courthouse steps May 30th and the bank outbid other potential buyers. The theatre sits empty with no shows scheduled for the first time in over 20 years. Stafford has been performing shows in Florida and California. An announcement was made in March that the theatre would open under new management with a new lineup of shows but that failed to occur. The building and land is valued at $1.4 million.

Lampe Woman Seriously Injured in Two Car Crash
A Lampe woman received serious injuries early Saturday afternoon in a two car crash in Stone County. 32 year old Antoinette Martin drove her car across the road centerline and hit a car driven by a man from Georgia. She was taken to Cox South Hospital in Springfield for treatment. The 12:15 p.m. accident occurred on Route H west of Lampe. In a separate accident, just minor injuries for 32 year old Breanna Farmer of Forsyth. The car she was driving ran off the road and hit a utility pole. She was treated at Cox Health Branson. The 9:50 accident Sunday morning occurred on Highway 76 in Kirbyville.

Branson’s Annual Water Quality Report Released
Branson’s annual water quality report for 2013 has been released and is available for public viewing. The report is required of all water systems, both municipal and private, by the Environmental Protection Agency. The report must include any violations of water quality standards that occurred during the year. The city had no violations. Copies of the report will be mailed to Branson’s water customers along with their June water bills. The report can also be viewed at bransonmo.gov/406/water-quality.


June 27, 2014

Branson's Liquor Compliance Continues Good Results
The city of Branson recently conducted random liquor compliance checks. The checks are to determine if retail clerks are verifying that the purchasers of alcoholic beverages are of legal age. Branson police worked with the assistance of minors to conduct the spot checks. Over the past few days, 97 businesses were checked for compliance. 89 of those businesses were in compliance, that’s a 92% compliance rate. The compliance rate was 72% three years ago. Officials say the improvement is due to consistent enforcement and the training required by the city of cashiers, servers and bartenders.

Officer Casey Fish Named Branson's Employee of the Month
Branson police officer Casey Fish is the city’s employee of the month for June. He recently had the opportunity to help an elderly local woman who was mobility impaired and had accidently severed the power cord on her scooter. Casey was able to arrange for alternate transportation, arrange for repair of the scooter by a local electrician and he worked with the woman’s insurance provider to obtain replacement parts for the scooter. He was thanked by the city for being an example of service, courtesy and excellence.

Branson Chamber Introduces ‘Golden Key’ Award
The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce has established a new ‘Golden Key’ Award. The weekly award will recognize people in the community who have exhibited exceptional, friendly customer service. The first winner of the award is Sergei, an employee of Florentina’s Italian Restaurant in Branson. A 2 ½ year employee of the restaurant, Sergei was observed by Julie Bolton of the chamber, providing friendly and welcoming service during a busy dinner period.

Branson Aldermen Approve Renewal of Insurance Coverage
Branson Aldermen have approved the first and final reading of a bill to renew the city’s workers compensation and property/liability insurance coverage. Tim Connell of Connell Insurance told aldermen that there was an increase to the premiums. This was not due to the workers compensation coverage where the city’s rating has been good, but due to increased property insurance claims in many regional communities on the same system.

Reeds Spring Seeks Funds to Refurbish Community Center
Reeds Spring is seeking funding to remodel and refurbish their community center, the old Works Progress Administration building, purchased three years ago from the Reeds Spring School District. The Branson Tri-Lakes News reported that the city is working on several grant proposals for funding including the Skaggs Foundation for Community Initiative Grant. Major changes to the center could be done in three phases starting with refurbishing the existing structure, then building additions and improving the grounds.

Bridge Work to Begin on Highway 65 between Ozark and Springfield
Drivers can expect traffic shifts and narrowed driving lanes on northbound Highway 65 between Ozark and Springfield beginning July 7th. The traffic shift is needed as work progresses on the replacement of the northbound Farmer’s Branch Bridge. If driving lanes must be closed, crews will work between 7:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. One lane in each direction will remain open at all times. Completion of the wider bridge is scheduled for October at a cost of $3 million.


June 26, 2014

Taney County Audit Results to be Presented at Public Meeting
The state audit of the Taney County government will be presented during a public meeting next Tuesday evening. County commissioners voted for the special audit in February 2012 and officially requested it two months later. It took two years to complete because of the scope of the audit. A routine state audit is not required because Taney County is a first-class county with its own elected auditor. This public meeting by the State Auditor is open to all residents. It will be held at 6 p.m. in the Forsyth High School Gym.

Old Branson High School Could Become Arts Center
The Southern Missouri Arts Connection is interested in transforming the old Branson High School building into a cultural and performing arts center. The Branson Daily Independent reported that the Lucia Ridge not-for-profit arts center could be used by Tri-Lakes Community Theatre and other local groups for culinary arts, special events and business incubators. The Branson Board of Aldermen gave initial approval to the idea but the city is not in a position to invest money in the project. The property is in need of $1.5 million in repairs before interior remodeling could be started.

Aldermen Adopt Manual for Economic Development Incentives
Branson Aldermen adopted a policy manual outlining economic development incentives. The manual describes many of the programs commonly available to Missouri cities as they seek companies to invest in their area. It also sets forth the city’s guidelines and policies for the use of each of those programs. The Board of Aldermen will still use discretion for each proposed development project.

Branson Annonces 2014 Green Initiatives Awards
Branson’s Planning Department has announced three winners of the 2014 Green Initiatives Awards. Chuck Zehnder was honored for his work at the Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area. He has performed repairs on the 300 hand-lain stone steps going to Lake Taneycomo and established a new connector trail. Branson United Methodist Church has performed volunteer work at the Wilderness Area and is a host site for recycling trailers. Hansen’s Tree Service was honored for their long support of city parks and forestry programs. Hansen’s has also recycled collected trees into mulch which was donated to schools and community facilities.

Cox Branson to Host Tobacco Cessation Class
Cox Medical Center Branson will start another Tobacco Cessation Class July 2nd. Mayo Clinic Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist Jim Brawner will provide information and tools to help tobacco users quit the habit permanently. Over the past year, Brawner has had over 100 people participate in the program with a 68% success rate. The eight sessions are conducted over a six-week period. The class is $80 per person which includes a workbook and nicotine replacement therapy. To register, call 417-348-4898.

Kansas City will not Host Republican National Convention
Kansas City, Missouri is no longer a potential site for the 2016 Republican National Convention. The list of sites had been reduced to four a month ago, then further reduced to two sites. The finalists are Cleveland, Ohio and Dallas, Texas. The state budget had earmarked $5 million to help obtain the convention. Governor Nixon announced that he will now remove that item from the budget. 1976 was the last year Kansas City hosted a national political party convention.


June 25, 2014

Branson's Building Inspectors 100% Certified
One hundred percent of the inspection staff in Branson’s Building and Code Enforcement Division of the Planning and Development Department has earned professional certifications from the International Code Council. International Codes are a complete set of guidelines used for the design and building of safe, sustainable and affordable structures. Branson will host three open house forums in July to answer questions about the city’s transition to the 2012 codes and proposed amendments. The forums will be held at Branson City Hall 1-3 p.m. on July 7th, and 10 a.m. until noon on July 8th and 9th.

Ozark Mountain Legacy Universiy Completes Training Courses
Ozark Mountain Legacy’s University recently completed its last training course for the 2014 season. About 175 business leaders and front-line employees from 27 area businesses completed either the ‘PARAGON Leadership Training’ or ‘FACETS Frontline Training’ courses, led by Terri Tucker of Tucker Resources. Legacy University is an initiative of Ozark Mountain Legacy, which seeks to empower area residents to preserve and pass on the core values of Family, Faith, Friends, Flag and a preferred Future. Attendees are taught how to provide an excellent guest experience for visitors to the area.

Cox Branson to Offer Infant Safety and CPR Class
Cox Medical Center Branson will offer an Infant Safety and CPR class on July 1st. The class is designed for anyone who anticipates caring for a child less than one year old, including parents, grandparents, siblings, babysitters and workers in church nurseries. It will cover choking issues and infant CPR which is administered differently than normal CPR. The class will be offered at no charge. Registration is requested by calling 417-348-8313.

Deadline Approaching for Gospel Sing-Off Entries
Gospel singers have less than a month to submit their entries for the 6th annual Gospel Sing-Off, an event that supports Christian Action Ministries. Ten finalists will be selected to compete before a panel of celebrity judges and a live audience. Contestants will perform for $3,000 in cash prizes and trophies. Entries must be received by July 11th. Details and an entry forms are available under Gospel Sing-Off at ChristianActionMinistries.org. There is no entry fee. The event will be held at the Sight & Sound Theatre on August 31st. Guest star Christy Sutherland of Nashville will open the show.

Over 1,200 Fireworks Stands Now Open In Missouri
Over 1,200 fireworks stands are now open In Missouri, selling products for the Independence Day holiday. Thirty state inspectors are responsible to maintain the legality and safety of those stands. Consumers are cautioned to not purchase fireworks that are not clearly marked or are marked as display fireworks. Those are not legal. Each year, some grass and structure fires are caused by the improper use of fireworks. Injuries are few but hand and foot injuries are the most common. Fireworks stands sell their products until July 10th.


June 24, 2014

June 22-28 is Missouri Summer Weather Safety Week
This is Missouri Summer Weather Safety Week, which highlights the risks and dangers associated with excessive heat. In 2013, the Department of Health and Senior Services reported 14 heat-related deaths in Missouri. Some basic tips to follow during severe heat include: Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning; Never leave children or pets in closed vehicles; Drink plenty of water; Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes; Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day; and If you do not have air conditioning, seek a public place to cool down such as libraries, shopping malls and other community facilities. Missourians can find a public cooling center near them by visiting the online cooling center directory at MO.gov.

Love INC Accepting Applications for School Readiness Fair
Love INC is now accepting applications for the 11th Annual Stone County School Readiness Fair to be held on Friday, August 8, at the Reeds Spring High School. Qualifying children who attend any Stone County school will be able to receive backpacks, school supplies, shoes and dental screenings as well as many other services. In 2013, more than 35 organizations and churches came together to assist over 400 children. Applications are being accepted through July 18 either online at OMCLoveInc.com or by calling 417-336-7056.

Joint Commission Honors Cox Branson for Stroke and Diabetes Care
Cox Medical Center Branson was recently recognized by The Joint Commission for both its inpatient diabetes care as well as its high level of care for stroke patients. Cox Branson earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ for its inpatient diabetes care program and received Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers, both of which are voluntary efforts. The certifications came after a rigorous on-site review in March.

Five MO Constitutional Amendments to Appear on August 5 Ballot
Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander announced that five questions will appear before voters statewide at the primary election on August 5. The proposed constitutional amendments include: The right of citizens to engage in agricultural production and ranching practices without infringement; The right to keep and bear arms as an unalienable right that the state government is obligated to uphold; A temporary sales tax of three-quarters of one percent to be used solely for transportation projects for ten years; The creation of a “Veterans Lottery Ticket” to fund veteran related projects and services; and Protection of citizens’ electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures. The amendments will take effect if a majority of voters approve.

Taney County Youth Fair and Livestock Show Set for this Weekend
The Taney County 4-H Leaders Council will hold the Second Annual Taney County Youth Fair and Livestock Show this Saturday and Sunday at Shadow Rock Park in Forsyth. The youth fair includes events for the entire family including livestock shows and judging, craft demonstrations, talent show, games, live music, vendors and more. For more information, visit 4HAchievers.com.


June 23, 2014

Nebraska Woman Drowns While Diving in Table Rock Lake
A woman from Lincoln, Nebraska drowned in Table Rock Lake this past Friday evening. Thirty year old Sara Deines was scuba diving with a group off the north side of Point 7 in Stone County when she became separated from her dive partner, which was reported to be her husband, and never resurfaced. The dive team from Western Taney County Fire Protection District made two dives Friday evening but called off the search as night fell and thunderstorms moved in. Deines’ body was eventually recovered on Sunday.

Lampe Woman Injured in One Vehicle Rollover
A woman from Lampe was injured in a one vehicle rollover at about 2:30 Saturday afternoon on Highway 13, one mile north of Lampe. A minivan driven by 36 year old Nicole Turnbo ran off the left side of the roadway, struck a ditch and overturned. Turnbo was suspended upside down by her seatbelt and was extricated by Southern Stone County firefighters. She was taken to Cox Branson with minor injuries. Two other occupants of the vehicle refused treatment at the scene.




Two from Arkansas Injured in One Vehicle Accident
Two people were injured in a one vehicle crash at about 9:00 Saturday night on Long Creek Road, five miles south of Hollister. The Highway Patrol reported that an SUV driven by 43 year old Chandala Mathis of Green Forest ran off the roadway and struck a tree. Mathis and 39 year old passenger Joseph Shields of Harrison were both treated for minor injuries.

Reeds Spring Man Seriously Injured in One Car Crash
Twenty-six year old Kendall Michel of Reeds Spring was injured in a one car crash just before 8:00 Sunday morning on Route V, three miles west of Spokane. The incident occurred when the westbound car driven by Michel traveled off the roadway and struck a tree. He was transported to Cox South Hospital in Springfield for treatment of serious injuries.

Harrison Woman Gets Four Years for Stealing and Possession of Meth
Forty-four year old Melissa Elliot of Harrison has been sentenced to four years in prison for the felonies of stealing and possession of methamphetamine. Elliot was charged with stealing from the Walmart on Branson Hills Parkway in January this year after stealing a pair of pants and exchanging them for a store gift card. About a week after stealing from Walmart, Elliot was pulled-over by a Taney County Deputy for driving a truck bearing license plates from another vehicle. She lied to the deputy about her identity before eventually surrendering a small baggie of meth and confessing her true identity.

Branson Segway & Adventure Center Receives TripAdvisor Award
Branson Segway & Adventure Center has received TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence award. The certificate, which honors exceptional guest care, is given to businesses that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor.com. To be eligible for the Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall TripAdvisor rating of at least four out of five stars. Now in it’s second season of business, Branson Segway & Adventure Center has maintained an overall five out of five rating.


June 20, 2014

Fire Destroys Vacant Building on Hollister School Property
The Western Taney County Fire District responded to a structure fire near the Hollister High School off BB Highway at approximately 2:30 a.m. Thursday morning. When firefighters arrived the building was fully engulfed with fire and crews worked for approximately 2 hours to extinguish the flames. The building which burned was on property owned by the Hollister School District and was slated for demolition. The structure had been vacant for some time and there was nothing of value inside the building. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Golden Man Seriously Injured in Motorcycle Accident
A man from Golden was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident at about 4:00 Thursday afternoon on Highway F, east of Route 112 in Barry County. A motorcycle operated by 64 year old James Huffman was passing a line of cars when it struck an SUV that was making a left turn. Huffman was airlifted to Cox South Hospital in Springfield for treatment.

Koster Files Lawsuit Against Tyson Foods for Unlawful Dumping
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit against Tyson Foods for the unlawful dumping of untreated industrial wastewater into a Southwest Missouri stream that led to the killing of at least 100,000 fish. According to Koster, beginning on May 16, the Tyson Foods facility at Monett discharged wastewater containing a highly acidic animal feed supplement into the city of Monett's sewer system. The discharge caused the city's biological wastewater treatment system to fail, and contaminated water containing a high level of ammonia flowed into Clear Creek, leading to the fish kill. Koster's lawsuit is seeking penalties against Tyson, compensation for the damage to the stream, and reimbursement for the state's costs in investigating the incident.

Traffic Signal Repairs Scheduled for Monday
Traffic signal repairs are scheduled for this Monday at the intersection of The Shepherd of the Hills Expressway and Roark Valley Road in Branson. To facilitate the repairs, the signals will be turned off and stop signs will be temporarily erected to allow the intersection to function as a 4-way stop. Traffic cones and barricades will be used to help control traffic and limit any confusion. Once the work is completed, the traffic signals will have a new efficient controller which will reduce congestion and improve safety at the intersection. The work is scheduled to be completed by 2 p.m. and is dependent on weather.

U of M Extension Invites Laid-off Workers to Free Sessions
Workers who have been laid off from their jobs and are seeking assistance with finding new employment are invited to a free, two-day session presented by University of Missouri Extension. The two-day event will be held at OTC in Hollister this Monday and Tuesday. Attendees may attend some or all of the sessions, with topics on career options, taking control of your finances and tackling tough skills. Breakfast and lunch are provided. There is no cost for displaced workers to attend, but reservations are required by calling 573-882-4321.

Christian County Sheriff Warns of Phone Scam
The Christian County Sheriff’s Office is warning area residents of a telephone money scam. Numerous citizens have reported that they have received a phone call from an individual claiming to be a member of the Christian County Sheriff’s Office and stating that the citizen has an outstanding warrant for failure to appear for jury duty. The caller then advises the citizen to purchase a MoneyPak Green Dot card for up to $1,000 and then provide the MoneyPak information to the caller. Sheriff Joey Kyle said his office does not solicit money or advise citizens of outstanding warrants over the phone. Anyone receiving such a call should report the details to law enforcement.


June 19, 2014

Top of the Rock Open to the Public
The golfers for the recent Legends of Golf Tournament have come and gone and now the Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve is open to the public. Seven and a half years in the making, this new landmark south of Branson features world-class golf, a Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail, restaurants and a chapel overlooking Table Rock Lake. Top of the Rock includes a Jack Nicklaus Signature Par-3 Course, an Arnold Palmer designed practice facility and Tom Watson’s 70,000 Square-foot putting course. An ancient Ozarks natural history museum is still being developed. With these changes, the Worman House has been closed for daily service but is still available for private parties.

1,000 Branson Students in Summer School
Over 1,000 students are attending Branson’s three week long summer school session. Students are receiving additional instruction in core areas and receiving credits for the upcoming school year. Breakfast and lunch are provided for all enrolled students. The meals are also available for any children 18 and younger and eligible disable adults. Meals are served Monday through Thursday through June 26th at Branson High School and Branson primary.

June is Adopt a Cat Month
June is Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month. The Taney County Animal Care and Control Shelter is celebrating by offering a reduced adoption fee for kittens and adult cats. The reduced fee is $25 which includes spay or neutering, vaccinations, micro-chipping and complimentary first month insurance. This special promotion ends June 30th. The shelter is open for adoptions Monday through Saturday from 10am to 2pm. For details call 417-332-0172.

Descendant of a Titanic Musician to Visit Branson
A descendant of a musician, who played on the Titanic as the ship sank, will visit the Titanic Museum in Branson this Friday and Saturday. Yvonne Hume is the great niece of Titanic’s 1st violinist, John Law Hume, who at the age of 21, played with Wallace Hartley and his band as the ship went down. Yvonne has done extensive research about the ship, has published 5 books about the Titanic and is now working on her autobiography. She will meet and greet guests and share about her relation to John Law Hume.

Stay Safe Around Electricity this Summer
The Empire District Electric Company encourages residents to stay safe around electricity as they enjoy the outdoors this summer. Keep ladders at least 10 feet from power lines. Never trim trees near power lines. If you must trim near your home’s service line, Empire will disconnect that line at no charge. Call Empire at least 48 hours in advance. Never operate electrical equipment on a wet service or in the rain. If your outdoor project involves digging, call 811 to have your underground utilities located. More safety information is available at empiredistrict.com.

Missouri Hiking Trails Receive Awards
Hiking trails in Missouri have received three awards and designations. A book detailing information about trails and historic sites in the state received the 2014 Annual Achievement Award from the Coalition for Recreational Trails. The book, Trails of Missouri State Parks, also was honored with the 2013 Project Excellence Award from the Society of Outdoor recreation Professionals. Missouri was also named a ‘Best Trails State’ by the American Trails non-profit organization. The award is made every two years to the state that has made significant contributions to their trails system.


June 18, 2014

MoDOT Held Transportation Sales Tax Meeting
MoDOT held its first transportation related sales tax informational open house this past Monday at Branson City Hall. The state is seeking a temporary ¾ of a cent sales tax, money to be used for roads, bridges and other transportation projects. Residents had the opportunity to look at exhibits and have their questions answered. It is estimated that 65% of Missouri roads and bridges are rated to be in fair or poor condition. Voters will vote on the measure, Amendment 7, when they go to the polls in August. The Branson meeting was one of 21 similar events planned for different regions of Missouri.

World's Largest Swimming Lesson This Friday
The world’s largest swimming lesson will take place at Branson’s White Water this Friday. It’s part of an international effort to teach kids to swim while trying to set a new Guinness World Record for the number of participants worldwide. Last year, over 32,000 kids and adults in 13 countries participated. The event will include water safety instruction along with swimming lessons. Registration for the event starts at 9am and lessons start at 10, in White Water’s Surf’s Up wave pool.

Buzz Airlines Now Serving Branson
Buzz Airways first flight into Branson took place last Thursday. The new commercial airline was organized under Corporate Flight Management to help provide service to this area which was lost when Southwest discontinued their flights to Branson. Buzz provides six day a week service between Branson, Chicago and Houston. The airline uses turboprop powered planes, outfitted with leather seats that carry 30 passengers. Ticket prices start at $99.

25th Annual Honor America Celebration Coming June 29
College of the Ozarks will present its annual Honor America Celebration Sunday, June 29th. This will be the 25th year the college has hosted the event. Residents are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs to sit on and start arriving in late afternoon. Music entertainment will start about 6pm, and will include the Linger Family, Red Hot and Blue and Voices of Glory. The college concert band will be featured during a patriotic segment, starting near 8:30pm. No alcohol, tobacco products, personal fireworks or pets are allowed on campus.

Forsyth Woman Injured in McDonald County
A Forsyth woman was injured Tuesday afternoon in a two vehicle accident in McDonald County. 22 year old Heather Hodges failed to yield the car she was driving while making a left turn. Her vehicle hit a truck driven by 40 year old Christopher Dunham of Carthage. Hodges was treated for minor injuries at Mercy Hospital in Rogers, Arkansas. The 2:20pm accident occurred on US Highway 71.

Missouri's Nonfarm Employment Numbers Improve
The Missouri Department of Economic Development reported that the state’s nonfarm payroll employment grew by about 8,000 jobs in May. Employment in leisure and hospitality grew by 2,500. Administrative, support and waste management services gained 3,300 jobs. Durable goods manufacturing added 2,100 jobs. The state’s unemployment rate for May held steady at April’s rate of 6.6%.


June 17, 2014

Cox Medical Branson, Employer of Choice
Cox Medical Center Branson has received the Employer of Choice designation. The two-year award designation from Employer of Choice International was given to Cox after a rigorous evaluation process which revealed a 90% employee satisfaction score. Another factor in the choice was the fact that Cox Branson holds four mandatory leadership development institutes each year for its leaders. Cox Branson is the only health care organization in Missouri to achieve this award. The award was announced Monday during a press conference at the hospital.

Love, Inc has New Executive Director
Jennifer Maupin has been promoted to Executive Director at Love in The Name of Christ. She has served as Office Administrator for Love, Inc for the past two years. Jennifer and her husband Patrick live in Hollister and attend First Baptist Branson. She replaces Anita Pugh who has been with the ministry since its inception in 2000. Anita will be joining her husband Matt who has been working in Texas for the past year. An open house for departing Anita will be held from 11am to 1pm June 26th at the Love, Inc office, located at Legendary U on Highway 76, west of Branson.

Branson Fire and Rescue Open House
Branson Fire and Rescue will hold a ‘Community Risk Reduction’ open house at all three fire stations this Thursday. Residents are invited to stop by between 6-8pm to learn more about reducing the risk of fire in the home and business. Safety topics include the three top causes of fire: electrical, heating and cooking. Visitors will be able to try on fire gear, learn about the equipment on fire trucks, learn basic first aid skills and get their blood pressure checked, all at no charge. The fire stations are located at 1103 West Highway 76, 251 Branson Meadows Drive and 3500 Keeter Street.

One-stop Registration Event at OTC
Ozarks Technical College’s Table Rock Campus will offer a one-stop registration event this Thursday. Staff will help prospective students navigate through the admissions and registration process and provide tours of the facility. Attendees can also talk with an academic advisor about programs of study, receive information about payment plans and take the free COMPASS test, used to determine which math, English and reading classes may be required. The all day event starts at 11am at the college, located just off Highway 65 in Hollister.

Senator Blunt's Staff Will Meet With Residents
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt’s office will provide another opportunity for residents to meet with staff to address topics of concern or interest. A member of Blunt’s office staff will visit Hollister City Hall this Friday from 2-3pm. The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers. This ‘mobile office’ enables residents to address issues they have with the federal government without having to travel to Blunt’s home office in Columbia, Missouri.

Proposed Internet Security Amendment
State Representative Paul Curtman, one of the sponsors of the proposed internet security amendment to Missouri’s Constitution says the nation will be watching to see how residents vote on the measure. Constitutional Amendment 9 was passed out of the state legislature and would extend the protections of the 4th Amendment against unwanted searches and seizures of electronic communications, such as e-mail, social media posts, texts and cell phone call logs. Curtman says it represents the first opportunity for the public to express its feelings about electronic surveillance.


June 16, 2014

Two People Arrested and Stolen Property Recovered
This past Saturday the Stone County Sheriff’s Department, along with the Comet Drug Task Force and the Nixa Police Department, executed a search warrant at a residence on August Drive in Crane. A large amount of stolen property and drugs plus drug paraphernalia were seized. The items were stolen from several counties in Missouri and from other states. Arrested on two counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance were 43 year old Tammy Ray Gettle and 46 year old Robbie Chambers, both of Galena. They are being held in the Stone County Jail on a $50,000 cash bond.

Branson Woman Injured in Scooter Accident
21 year old Erica Brooks of Branson received minor injuries in a one-vehicle accident just after 10:30 Saturday night. She was operating a Honda Metropolitan scooter on Fall Creek Road just south of Branson when she lost control on a curve in the road. The scooter ran off the road and hit a guard rail. Brooks was taken to Cox Health Branson for treatment.

Woman from Hurley Injured in One-Vehicle Accident
An accident in Stone County Saturday evening sent a passenger in the car to Mercy Hospital in Springfield. 27 year old Jessica Hawkins of Hurley was treated for moderate injuries after the car she was riding in ran off the road and hit a ditch. The car was driven by 31 year old Charles Hawkins, also of Hurley. The 7pm accident occurred on Route A, a mile east of Hurley.

Ten Taney County Sewer Projects Approved
The Taney County Regional Sewer District has received approval for 10 projects in Taney County. The Taney County Times reported that the County Commission approved the projects totaling over $8 million. The 10 sewer projects are located in Ridgedale, Powersite, Venice on the Lake, Meadow Ridge, Lakeway Village, Mildred, a lift station flooding remediation project and a National Enzyme Company project. Non project-specific capital improvements totaled just over $1.5 million. Each of the sewer projects has a series of criteria that has to be met for funding through the sewer sales tax.

New Service Helps Taney County Residents Avoid Fraud
A new service is available to help Taney County residents avoid property fraud. Residents may sign up to receive Property Fraud Alerts, free of charge. The automated database monitors land records filed in the county’s Recorder of Deeds office. The Alert service does not prevent fraud but provides an early warning so property owners can take action if needed to intercept the fraud. Residents can sign up online at taneycounty.org, Recorder of Deeds Department and clicking the ‘Property Fraud Alert’ tab.

Taney County Fair Planned for Next Week
The Taney County Fair is scheduled for next week, Tuesday through Saturday. This is the 75th anniversary for the fair and to celebrate, attendees will be able to enter the fairgrounds at no charge. There will be a charge for the rides and featured arena entertainment. The ticket price will vary for the entertainment, depending on the show. A new carnival company has been contracted, which will bring new rides to the midway. Rides are available from 6pm to 11pm Tuesday through Thursday and until midnight ion Friday and Saturday. Typically about 1,000 people attend the fair during the week and up to 3,000 on the weekend.


June 13, 2014

Taney County Soliciting Bids for Radio System
The Taney County Sheriff’s Department plans to start soliciting bids to purchase new radio equipment. A new radio system could cost over $360,000. It would be compatible with new radio frequencies used by federal law enforcement and the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Equipment would include control stations, mobile radios and hand-held units. The Taney County Commission gave approval to start the bidding process.

Schedule For Law Enforcement Week
The schedule has been announced for activities celebrating Law Enforcement Week, taking place now through June 21. A concert and BBQ will be held at 5pm Saturday at Area 57 on Highway 76. Church services and an ice cream social will be held Sunday at 10am at the Sanctuary of Hope on Bee Creek Road. A Law Enforcement Expo will be held Monday from 10am to 5pm at the Chateau on the Lake. A golf tournament will be held Tuesday at the Pointe Royale Golf Course. A motorcycle Rodeo will be held Thursday in the shopping center parking lot at 2050 West Highway 76. A shooting competition will be held Friday at Ozark Shooters in Walnut Shade. Also on Friday a Mark Chapman Band Concert will be held at Branson Landing at 8pm. A 5K Fun Run will be held Saturday at the Chad Fuqua Park in Hollister.

Board of Equalization to Meet with Taxpayers
The Taney County Board of Equalization will meet with taxpayers who are appealing the assessed value of their properties. The board plans to schedule meetings July 1-3 and July 7-9. The deadline for taxpayers to file an application to plead their case has been extended to 5pm on June 30th. The Board can issue decisions during the hearing and a written decision will be mailed to the taxpayer. Residents then can appeal to the State Tax Commission if they feel the decision is unsatisfactory.

Funeral Announced for Gary Hughes
74 year old Gary Hughes, father of the Hughes family of entertainers died June 8th after an extended bout with cancer. The family started performing in the Branson area in the 1990’s at Silver Dollar City. They then performed at various locations in Branson before opening their own theatre. Over the past two decades, the show has grown from 5 brothers to over 50 family members performing a variety of music genres. The funeral for Gary Hughes will be held at 11am June 17th at the Church of Latter Day Saints in Branson West.

Legal Challenge for Sales Tax Initiative
The official words have not been finalized for the Missouri transportation tax ballot initiative, but the first legal challenge has already been filed. The Missouri Association for Social Welfare opposes the ¾ of a percent increase in the sales tax that Governor Nixon has placed on the August ballot. Association Director Jeanette Mott says the temporary ballot language is inadequate, unfair and prejudicial and has filed the lawsuit to make sure the ballot language is accurate. If voters pass the measure, the expected $480 million annually would be used only for transportation projects with priority given to unsafe roads and bridges.

Taneycomo Festival Orchestra Announces Concerts
The Taneycomo Festival Orchestra will offer its 2014 season concerts June 16-28 at various venues around Branson and Hollister. This summer’s season features two symphony orchestra concerts, seven chamber music concerts, one pops concert, one family concert and one collaborative show/concert with the White river Art Alliance. The orchestra’s mission is to provide concerts and educational programs in a casual setting, free of charge. Details and schedule can be found at taneycomofestivalorchestra.org.


June 12, 2014

Govenor Nixon Vetoes 10 Tax Bills
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has vetoed ten tax cut bills. Nixon believes the bills could have reduced state and local revenues by over $776 million. Republicans say Nixon is wrong, that the bills would have a positive net impact on the state’s economy. Nixon will make adjustments to the budget if the legislature overturns his vetoes. He also said city and county governments may lose money if the bills become law and should adjust their budgets accordingly. Lawmakers return to the Capitol in September to consider trying to overturn the vetoes.

Possible Arson at Zinc Fire Department
The Boone County, Arkansas Sheriff’s Department continues their investigation of a possible arson last Sunday. The two buildings used as fire stations for the Zinc Volunteer Fire Department both had their roofs on fire. Firefighters extinguished the fires and were able to save most of the equipment, but both roofs were a complete loss. The Boone County Rural Fire Association is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the fires.

Public Meeting Regarding State Park
Park representatives will provide information on future plans for Table Rock Lake State Park during a meeting next Tuesday. Attendees are invited to share comments and suggestions about park services and operations and there will be an opportunity for questions. The meeting is part of an ongoing effort by Missouri State Parks to ensure citizens have input regarding facilities and services offered at parks and historic sites. The meeting will be held at 7pm in the shelter house. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

9,535 Taney County Residents Received SS Benefits in 2012
Dailyyonder.com, a website that covers news relating to small cities and rural America, reports that 9,535 Taney County residents received Social Security benefits in 2012. The average recipient received $1,140 monthly, bringing $130,452,000 in income to the area that year. That’s 8.8% of all personal income in the county. Only about 25% of eligible recipients waited until full retirement age to start receiving Social Security benefits. For those who can wait, payments increase by 5 to 7% for each year of delay between the ages of 62 and 66, and by 8% for each year of delay between 66 and 70. More information is available at the Social Security Administration website, ssa.gov.

Hollister Students Encouraged to Read This Summer
Students at Hollister Elementary School are being encouraged to maintain their reading skills through the summer. The Branson Tri-Lakes News reported that a large number of books were donated to the school for students to bring one, take one. The school has set four dates, starting June 18th, when students and their families may pick up books. Students will keep track of their reading time and can win prizes for reading. Donations of gently used children’s books may be dropped off at Hollister Elementary or at Ozarks Technical Community College in Hollister.

Caring People Fundraiser This Saturday
The 6th annual Dash to the Splash 5K Run/Walk will be held this Saturday at White Water on Highway 76 in Branson. The first 500 registered runners will receive a one-day pass to White Water. Income from the registration fee will benefit Caring People, a ministry to single mothers. 15 care groups are meeting locally and 60 groups have been formed in other states and countries. The race starts at 7:30am Saturday with registration starting at 7am. Details are available at dashtothesplash.com.


June 11, 2014

Head-on Car Crash Injures Two
Both drivers were injured in a two car head on crash Tuesday morning. A car driven by 23 year old Micah Williams of Berryville crossed the road centerline and hit a Dodge Durango driven by 30 year old Jennifer Dickerson of Branson. Williams received serious injuries and was taken to Cox South Hospital in Springfield. Dickerson received minor injuries and was taken by private vehicle to Cox Health Branson. The 6:45am accident occurred on Highway 76, two miles east of Branson.

Law Enforcement Recognition Week Starts Friday
Branson will be the first city in America to honor and thank the men and women who place themselves in harms way to protect citizens. The first ever Law Enforcement Recognition Week will start this Friday. Hundreds of law enforcement professionals from across the country are expected to attend. Activities planned for the week include an opening ceremony at Branson Landing, a golf tournament, a motorcycle rodeo and a shooting competition. Volunteers are needed to help with the events. A list of activities and more information can be viewed at bransonsalutes.com.

Market Forces Cause High Propane Prices
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office reported that price gouging was not the cause of high propane prices last winter. The report said that low propane supplies from November through the winter along with high demand caused the price hike. Propane exports also set records and cut into domestic supplies. Attorney General Chris Koster’s office interviewed industry representatives, government officials and consumers and reviewed pricing and profit data from propane retailers. The report said market forces which caused high propane prices could continue in future winters.

CAM Seeking Sponsors for Gospel Sing-off
Christian Action Ministries is seeking businesses and organizations to become sponsors for its 6th annual Gospel Sing-Off planned for August 31st. The event is CAM’s operational fundraiser to help cover the costs of running and maintaining two food pantries in Taney County plus a mobile food outreach. The goal this year is to raise $20,000. Levels of sponsorship range from $250 to $2,500. Sponsors receive advertising space in the program booklet plus tickets. Information and sponsor forms are available online at christianactionministries.org.

Papapalooza Car Show This Friday
The Papapalooza car show this Friday is an event for the whole family, designed especially to honor dads. Tri-Lakes Christian Church is holding the event at the Branson Junior High School off Bee Creek Road from Noon to 8pm. In addition to the car show, the event will include live music, food, prizes, bounce houses and a free gift for the first 100 dads attending. Admission is $1 per person and kids receive unlimited bounces in the bounce houses. Proceeds will benefit Peterson Outdoor Ministries and the Tri-Lakes Christian Youth Program.

Ribbon Cutting Friday at New Clinic in Eureka Springs
A ribbon cutting is planned for this Friday for Mercy Hospital’s new Convenient Care Clinic in Eureka Springs, the first to be open seven days a week in that city. The hybrid clinic will treat chronic conditions in addition to primary care concerns. Patients can also receive minor surgical procedures, quick lab testing, EKG’s, sports physicals and well child checkups. The ribbon cutting will take place Friday at 2pm outside the facility, located at 121 East Van Buren Street.


June 10, 2014

Table Rock Lake Community Foundation Giving Grants
Table Rock Lake Community Foundation is accepting applications for financial grants. The organization is accepting applications from not-for-profit 501c3 groups, schools and government agencies in Stone and Barry Counties. This is the foundation’s ninth season of awarding grants and awards range from $500 to $3,000. In the past, grant money has been used to expand dental services and libraries, support educational programs, fund fire and life-saving equipment and other needs. Applications are located on the website, tablerocklakecommunityfoundation.org.

MoDOT Holding Meetings to Explain Need for Tax
The Missouri Department of Transportation has scheduled three meetings in southwest Missouri to explain transportation priorities that are in need of funding through a proposed sales tax increase. Missouri voters will decide Constitutional Amendment 7 when they go to the polls August 5th. The ballot measure would temporarily raise Missouri’s sales tax by ¾ of a cent to fund transportation improvements across the state. In addition to meetings in Joplin and Springfield, MoDOT will meet with residents at Branson City Hall, from 4-7pm on June 16th.

Phoenix Home Care Receives Accreditation
Phoenix Home Care of Branson has received its Community Health Care Accreditation Program (CHAP) Accreditation for Medicare Home Health Services. The purpose of CHAP is to define and advance high quality community based health care. Phoenix Home Care was founded in 2011 and has 11 office locations in Missouri, Kansas and Colorado. Services include skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and state-funded in-home services such as homemaker chores, errands and shopping, personal care and medication reminders.

Researchers at UM studying 'Grandfamilies'
In Missouri nearly 121,000 children are being cared for by their grandparents, other relatives or loved ones. Researchers at the University of Missouri are analyzing how the state’s grandfamilies are coping with pressures created by this family arrangement. They are seeking volunteers, grandparents caring for children ages 3-17 to participate in this study. After completing a brief survey, participants will receive a ‘Kinship Care Resource Guide’ and will be entered in drawings for gift cards. Signup information can be found at www.education.missouri.edu/orgs/parentlink/grandfamiles/.

Legacy Youth Institute Seeking Volunteers
The Legacy Youth Institute is preparing for its third year of training young people to be the Ozark’s future leaders. The Institute is holding a planning meeting Wednesday afternoon and seeking the attendance of local residents who want to help pass on the area’s legacy to future generations. They are looking for coordinators for one of six training days, chair people for each training day, coordinators for the graduation banquet and people to help gather donations to cover the Institute’s operational expenses. The meeting will be held from 3:30-4:30pm at the LOVE, Inc offices on Highway 76, just west of the Shepherd of the Hills Homestead.

2014 is the Year of the Trail in Missouri
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has signed a proclamation making 2014 the ‘Year of the Trail’ in Missouri State parks. The Proclamation includes trail-related special events and a new GeoChalllenge on the Missouri State Parks mobile app. Missouri has 1,000 miles of award winning trails. Last March the governor and his wife launched the second year of the 100 Missouri Miles Challenge. The challenge encourages residents to complete 100 miles of physical activity by walking, running, biking, rolling, paddling or hiking throughout the state. Details at 100missourimiles.com.


June 9, 2014

Jeff Sluman and Fred Funk Win Legends of Golf
After several rain delays over 3 days, the Bass Pro Shops Big Cedar Legends of Golf Champions Tour was completed Sunday. Jeff Sluman and partner Fred Funk won the top spot, each winning $230,000. They overtook Jay Haas and Peter Jacobsen by one stroke. The event started June 4th with the Mercury Marine Pro-Am and included rounds of golf at the new par-3 course at Top of the Rock, and the newly designed Buffalo Ridge course, formerly Branson Creek. The Pro-Am also featured a shooting event at the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Academy, and fishing events on Table Rock Lake and at Dogwood Canyon. Over 50 golf professionals and 220 amateurs participated in this inaugural event for the tournament.

Two Injured in Separate PWC Accidents on Table Rock Lake
Two out of state visitors to Table Rock Lake were injured in separate personal watercraft accidents last Friday. 33 year old Robert Obadiah from Lansing, Michigan was hurt when he operated his PWC close to an island and struck standing timber. 34 year old Edward Nieto of Las Cruces, New Mexico was hurt when he was pulling his PWC up to a rock bluff and hit the bluff. Both accidents occurred near Point 3 of Table Rock Lake. Injury information was not available for the two men. Both personal water crafts received minor damage and were returned to the renal company.

Summit Natural Gas Seeking Rate Hike
Summit Natural Gas is seeking a 26.5% rate hike. The Missouri Public Service Commission will hold a local public hearing regarding the request. The company reports that the rate change is to cover costs of infrastructure investments and improvements since 2008, the year of the last rate increase. The public hearing will include a question and answer session and will be held at noon June 18th at Branson City Hall. Summit Natural Gas serves 14,000 Missouri customers.

Clean Water Conference Part of Water Watch Week
In addition to the two guided hikes on Tuesday and Thursday, previously reported, there will be a Celebration of Clean Water Conference on Wednesday at the Branson Convention Center. The day-long event will feature speakers addressing several topics including ‘No Child Left Inside, Reconnecting Children with the Natural World’, Developing the Next Generation of Community Conservationist Leaders, From Flammable to Fishable and Exploring Branson’s Trail System. A watershed hike and special music will also be included. Registration for the event starts at 8:15am and is open to the public. A $10 admission fee includes lunch.

Electric Customers to be on the Alert for Scams
The Empire District Electric Company reminds customers to be on the alert for possible utility scams. There are very limited occasions when Empire employees must enter the home of a customer. If an employee should need access, he or she will provide their Empire photo ID. Customers should then call Empire’s Contact Center to verify the employee. The number is 1-800-206-2300.

State Legislature Considering Updating Sales Tax Code
Some leaders in the Missouri Legislature are suggesting its time to update the state’s sales tax code. For example, a tractor used to plant corn is sales tax exempt but a tractor that mows the grass is not exempt. Big equipment that prevents water contamination is tax exempt but the water filters on kitchen faucets are subject to tax. Buyers of fencing for agriculture purposes do not pay sales tax but buyers of fencing to keep the dog in the backyard do pay the tax. But there is concern that updating the sales tax could get snarled in differing partisan philosophies.
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