Word for Life

                        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.

December 19, 2014

Galena Man Seriously Injured in One Vehicle Accident
A man from Galena was injured in a one vehicle accident shortly before 4:30 Thursday afternoon on route M, two miles west of Hurley. A pickup truck driven by 25 year old Nathan Lambert of Galena traveled off the roadway and struck a tree and a rock embankment. Twenty year old passenger Kevin Oliver sustained serious injuries and was transported to Mercy Hospital in Springfield for treatment.

Reeds Spring Church Property Sold for $10,000
Reeds Spring Aldermen have approved the transfer of ownership of the church property at 76 Joe Dwyer Blvd to David Gilmore and his associates for the bid they submitted for $10,000. The Board elected to set aside the $10,000 into the account they have with the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and to earmark the money for the Community Center Project. In other Reeds Spring news, the City has received a letter from the Missouri Department of Economic Development approving its application for a $500,000 grant for water system improvements.

CORE Takes Stand for Beliefs, Loses Government Funds
Cary McKee, Executive Director of CORE in Branson, announced that in the past few months CORE has lost $70,000 in federal grant funds and $140,000 in state grant funds. McKee said that to continue taking these funds required that CORE not speak about God to their clients, which is contrary to everything they believe about recovery. Despite this loss of funds, CORE continues to provide a one-year recovery program for over 250 men and women. In the past three years, 218 individuals have completed the one-year program and 131 clients have been baptized in Bull Creek.

104 Local Educators Awarded Power Up Grants from Co-op
White River Valley Electric Cooperative’s Operation Round Up program awarded more than $52,000 in grants to 104 educators from Douglas, Stone, Taney, Christian and Ozark Counties. The Power Up Grants provide funding for innovative classroom-based education projects that are outside the scope of what the school can provide. This year, grant requests ranged from books for reading classes to iPads and new technology for classrooms, enhancing the students’ learning experiences. Since the program was implemented 10 years ago, Operation Round Up has been able to deliver more than $350,000 in educational grants to local educators.

Branson Students Collect 3,000 Pounds of Food for CAM
Nearly 3,000 pounds of food have been delivered to the food pantry at Christian Action Ministries thanks to the students in the Branson School District. As part of a community service project, students were asked to bring in at least one food item during the collection period. Branson students brought in 2,949 pounds of food that will benefit needy individuals in the community through the CAM food pantry.

Branson Encourages Public to Recycle Holiday Waste
The City of Branson encourages the public to recycle holiday waste this season. Americans typically generate 25% more waste during the holidays, and most of that is recyclable. Branson’s Recycle Center on Compton Drive will not be staffed December 25-28 however recycling can still be dropped off at the recycle trailers at the facility during that time. There is also a 24/7 recycle trailer in the United Methodist Church parking lot on Highway 76. For more information about recycling call 337-8559.

December 18, 2014

Woman Found Dead Behind Branson Walmart Supercenter Identified
A woman found dead behind the Walmart Supercenter in Branson this past weekend has been identified as 47 year old Jamie Lee Armstrong. A person driving on the service road behind the store saw the body lying in the grass and notified police. Lab work could take up to 2 months to determine why the woman became unconscious and apparently died when exposed overnight to the cold temperatures. No trauma was evident but alcohol may have been a factor.

Liquor Compliance in Branson Continues to be Good
This past weekend Branson police conducted random compliance checks on businesses selling alcoholic beverages. Minors working with officers were able to purchase packaged liquor in only one out of 23 stores and 6 out of 53 restaurants selling liquor by the drink. In 2011, 73% of businesses were in compliance. That improved to 82% in 2012, 89% in 2013 and is running at 93% compliance this year. The city credits the improvement to the commitment of business owners to train their employees regarding responsible liquor selling.

Branson High 'Cents of Pride' Store Receives Slusher Grant
The Branson High School 'Cents of Pride' store received a $1,500 grant from the Slusher Foundation. The grant, received last week, will be used to fund the startup for the store which will provide students with clothing and personal items. Students are awarded 'pride bucks' by teachers for having positive attitudes, good attendance and turning in assignments on time. The 'pride bucks' may then be used to purchase items in the 'Cents of Pride' store.

Photo: On hand to accept the donation at the annual Slusher Foundation reception were (L to R): Marla Sheil, Debbie Corbin, Michelle Brenner and Chip Arnette

Galena Mayor Dustin Bray Resigns
Galena's Mayor, Dustin Bray, resigned just before Tuesday night's council meeting. The Springfield News-Leader reported that Bray took some heat after trying to pressure a police officer to not issue a traffic ticket to Bray's mother. His mother was stopped Monday afternoon for speeding and was not able to provide proof of insurance. The officer told the mayor he would give a warning for speeding but would have to write a ticket for no proof of insurance. The officer reported that this was the second time Bray approached him on a traffic stop and asked him to not write a ticket. Bray had been Galena's mayor for less than nine months.

Cox Branson Employees Donate Clothes to Help Branson Students
Cox Medical Center Branson employees recently donated hundreds of clothing items to help school students in need. During recent employee forums and a leadership development meeting, employees were invited to donate coats, hats, gloves, scarves, socks and underwear. The items collected were given to Branson Public Schools and will be distributed through the District's clothing bank. The clothing bank addresses the needs of students who are not dressed appropriately for the day's weather conditions.

Photo: Members of Cox Branson's Leadership Development Institute and Communication Team delivered the donated items to district offices

Public Invited to Retirement Reception for Justus and Neal
A special retirement reception will be held Friday for Taney County Associate Circuit Judge James Justus and Circuit Clerk Brenda Neal. It will be held in Forsyth from 1-3 p.m. at the Taney County Judicial Center in Courtroom number one. The public is invited and refreshments will be served. Justus and Neal are both retiring after years of service to the county.

The Tabernacle in Branson to Host Hanukkah Services
A Hanukkah service will be held at The Tabernacle in Branson Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 11 a.m. Traditional Jewish food will follow the Saturday service. The Tabernacle is Branson's Messianic Jewish Congregation, meeting at 256 Church Road.

December 17, 2014

Two Drivers Killed in Three Vehicle Accident Near Merriam Woods
Two of the drivers died in a three vehicle accident on F Highway north of Branson late Tuesday afternoon. A car driven by 17 year old Troy Wilson of Rockaway Beach crossed the road centerline and hit a minivan which then ran off the road and overturned. Wilson's car then hit a suburban driven by 42 year old Tonya Luna of Merriam Woods. Wilson and Luna were pronounced deceased at the scene. Two passengers in the suburban received moderate injuries and were taken to Cox South Hospital in Springfield. They are 19 year old Martha Benitez and 12 year old Manira Contreras, both of Merriam Woods. 42 year old Anthony Mullen of Kirbyville, the driver of the minivan, did not require treatment. The accident occurred a half mile west of Merriam Woods.

Taney County Commission to Vote on 911 Surcharge Increase
The Taney County Commission plans to vote next week on increasing the landline telephone surcharge used to finance 911 operations, from 10% to 15%. The Branson Tri-Lakes News reported that the operating funds are decreasing with the prevalence of cell phones. Missouri is the only state in the nation that does not allow a surcharge on cell phones to support 911 services. The county has been supplementing 911 from general operating revenues. Some Missouri counties have passed special sales taxes to finance 911. 85% of 911 calls in the county are made from cell phones.

New SOTH Nature Center Prompted by Growing Attendance
We reported last week that the Missouri Conservation Commission has approved money to design a new Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery Nature Center. 308,000 people visited the present 2,500 square foot visitor center during a recent 12-month period, and the center is no longer able to handle the large number of tourists and local residents. The total cost for the center is estimated to be up to $7 million and include more live fish and animal exhibits, education components and auditorium space. The project will be financed by a 1/8 cent conservation sales tax and revenue from fishing and hunting licenses.

Health Department Reports Increase in Flu Cases in Taney County
The Taney County Health Department reports an increase in flu cases in the county. In the past week there have been ten lab-confirmed cases of influenza in children and adults. There is usually an increase in flu cases in December, often peaking in January or February. The department encouraged residents to take precautions. These include getting a flu shot, limiting contact with others when sick, washing hands often, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.

Hollister Aldermen to Meet in Regular Session Thursday Evening
Hollister Aldermen plan to meet in regular session Thursday evening. The agenda includes the first reading of six bills to adopt or amend ordinances relating to the 2009 food code, food code section 400.180, C-R retail and C-2 and C-3 commercial uses, and Chapter 500 building permits and fees. Aldermen will also discuss the need for people to serve on the Board of Adjustment and Park Board. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. and be held at Hollister City Hall on Esplanade Street. It is open to the public.

FCA Earns 4-Star Designation from Charity Navigator
For the 8th year in a row, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes ministry has earned a four out of a possible four star rating from Charity Navigator. The organization evaluates the financial health, accountability and transparency of charities. Only 1% of charities evaluated have received the 8 consecutive 4-star designation, indicating that Fellowship of Christian Athletes outperforms most other charities in America. FCA has a strong presence in Taney and Stone counties.

December 16, 2014

Rockaway Beach Man Injured after Vehicle Steering Fails
A man from Rockaway Beach was injured in a one-vehicle accident shortly before noon Monday on Highway 76, a half mile west of Kirbyville. The Highway Patrol reported that a van driven by 58 year old John Catt was traveling south when the steering mechanism broke. The van ran off the right side of the roadway and struck a tree. Catt sustained minor injuries and was taken to Cox Branson for treatment.

Cox Branson Recognized for Overall Excellence in Outcomes
Cox Medical Center Branson has been recognized by iVantage Health Analytics for overall excellence in outcomes. The award reflects top quartile performance among all acute care hospitals in the nation. iVantage senior vice president Michael Topchik said the top quartile performers should be viewed as true market leaders who have established a blueprint for sustainability which other rural hospitals can follow.

Health Department Urges Hand Washing to Prevent Sickness
Taney County Health Department Clinical Manager Pam Priest says that washing your hands often is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others during the cold and flu season. Some key times to wash your hands are BEFORE: Preparing food; Eating; Treating wounds; Giving medicine, feeding or caring for another person; and Inserting or removing contact lenses. Always wash your hands AFTER: Preparing raw meat or poultry; Using the toilet; Changing a diaper; Touching or cleaning up after an animal; Blowing your nose, or coughing or sneezing into your hands; Caring for someone who is sick or injured; Handling garbage; and Anytime your hands look dirty. For more information, visit the Health Department’s website at TaneyCoHealth.org.

Corps Announces Winter Hours for Dewey Short Visitor Center
The Army Corps of Engineers Table Rock Project Office is adjusting the hours of operation for the Dewey Short Visitor Center. The Visitor Center will be closed Monday December 22 through Friday, January 2, 2015. It will reopen January 3 under its winter hours of 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays except during inclement weather. The visitor center is located six miles west of Highway 65 on Highway 165 at the south end of Table Rock Dam. The visitor center hosts exhibits about the White River Watershed, local habitats, Table Rock Dam, and the Army Corps of Engineers as well as several interactive exhibits including maps, power generation and water safety. It also features an overlook which allows visitors to view Table Rock Lake, the dam, and Lake Taneycomo from one viewing deck.

WRVEC Raises $2,000 to Buy Gifts for Taneyville Students
Employees at White River Valley Electric Cooperative raised more than $2,000 to purchase Christmas gifts for 17 students at Taneyville schools. WRVEC also purchased extra clothing, hats and gloves for the school’s emergency clothing box, which provides warm clothing for students who come to school without winter attire. This is the 10th year WRVEC has adopted students from schools in the community.

Photo: White River Valley Electric Cooperative employees delivered the Christmas gifts to Taneyville schools. Pictured from left: Claude Koenig, WRVEC lineman; Garnet Bills, Taneyville principal; Mike Wheatly, WRVEC employee; Pricilla Halbrook, Taneyville teacher; and Doug Hunter, WRVEC employee

Grand Opening Set for New Community Center in Galena
A new Community Center as been completed in Galena. A grand opening and Christmas Tree lighting ceremony will be held at Galena's new Y Bridge Community Center this Thursday, December 18 from 4-6 p.m. The event will feature tours of the facility, apple cider, hot chocolate and cookies, and a Tree Lighting at 5:30. The Community Center is located at 100 Y Bridge Blvd, across from the park in Galena.

Gift Wrapping Table at Tanger to Benefit Taney County OACAC
Volunteers from the Taney County OACAC board of directors will have a Gift Wrapping Table at the Tanger Outlet Mall this Friday, December 19 from noon until 8:00 p.m. Gifts will be wrapped in exchange for a donation to the Taney County OACAC Emergency Fund. All donations benefit needy residents of Taney County. The Gift Wrapping Table will be located in the northeast corner of Tanger, next to the A & W restaurant.

December 15, 2014

Three Injured in Three-Vehicle Accident North of Branson
Three people were injured in a three-vehicle accident just after 8:30 Sunday morning on Route F, two miles north of Branson. A car driven by 82 year old Roberta Oaks of Bull Creek turned into the path of an oncoming car driven by 44 year old Denise Womack of Springfield. Womack’s car struck a third vehicle driven by 51 year old Valentina Purvis of Merriam Woods. Oaks Suffered serious injuries and was transported to Cox South Hospital in Springfield. Womack and 10 year old passenger Zachary Womack were taken to Cox Branson with minor to moderate injuries.

Lampe Girl Injured in One-Vehicle Accident Near Ridgedale
A girl from Lampe was injured in a one-vehicle accident at about 7:30 Saturday night at the intersection of McMeen Drive and Hillcrest Drive near Ridgedale. A pickup truck driven by 16 year old Jacilyn Kaster of Branson ran off the side of the roadway and struck a ditch. Ten year old passenger Maleiya Collins suffered minor injuries and was taken to Cox Branson for treatment.

Two People Injured in One-Car Crash South of Branson West
Two people were injured in a one-car crash at 1:30 early Saturday morning on Castle Rock Road, two miles south of Branson West. A car driven by 40 year old Richard McVay of Reeds Spring ran off the roadway and struck a tree. McVay suffered serious injuries and 42 year old passenger Sarah Torres of Noel sustained moderate injuries.

Plans Proceed for New Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Nature Center
The Missouri Conservation Commission is moving forward with plans to build a new Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Nature Center in Branson. At its December meeting this past Thursday and Friday, the Conservation Commission approved an agreement with Dake-Wells Architecture of Springfield for the development of construction documents and associated services for the new Nature Center. The total estimated cost is $1,162,454.

Grant to Provide Student Career Assistance in Taney/Stone Counties
The Taney County Partnership reported that a JP Morgan Chase Foundation grant will provide career readiness training to students in underserved rural communities, with Taney and Stone counties targeted for the initial pilot rollout. The funds will deploy a Mobile Career Center to reach the students, assist with their career exploration, and teach them about work readiness. Additionally, the funds will enable upgrades to the Mobile Career Center, expand marketing and outreach efforts, and provide the career service to all seniors at no cost.

ADAPT to Hold Presentation on Rx Drug Abuse and Monitoring
The Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention Team, or ADAPT, will hold a presentation about prescription drug abuse and monitoring tomorrow evening in the Branson High School Auditorium. The event will begin with a reception at 6:00 p.m., and the program will start at 6:30 p.m. Robert Stutman, former Special Agent with the DEA and former Head of the New York City DEA office will be the featured speaker. The program is free and open to the public.

Branson Fire Department Purchases New Equipment with $1,000 Donation
The Branson Fire Department announced that it was able to purchase a new piece of equipment called a SKEDCO Tri-pod thanks to a $1,000 donation from Dr. Joy Watson and the Lazarus Foundation. The Tri-pod is used to provide a stable point to insert rescue personnel into various types of technical rescue operations. The equipment will allow rescue crews to more safely and effectively reach victims who are in confined spaces, down rocky slopes, or within a trench.

Photo: Branson Firefighters practice going down a shaft with the new SKEDCO Tri-pod

December 12, 2014

Suspect Charged in Woman's Murder at Branson Motel
The Branson Police Department has released more information in connection with the death of a woman this past Wednesday afternoon at Westwood Inn on Shepherd of the Hills Expressway. The victim was 46 year old Melissa Sheridan who sustained a fatal laceration to the neck in addition to wounds to the back and arms. A suspect, 33 year old Jerry Norton, was taken into custody at the scene. It has been confirmed that Norton had been residing with Sheridan for the previous five days, and had been in a relationship with her for the past month. Officers also determined that Norton had been involved in another assault with a female employee of the Motel, who sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Norton has been charged with 2nd degree murder, 1st degree assault, two counts of armed criminal action, tampering with a motor vehicle and resisting arrest.

Stone County Sheriff's Office Raises $1,200 for Fallen Deputy's Family
The Stone County Sheriff's Office raised $1,200 during a No-Shave-November challenge to benefit Cedar County Deputy Matthew Chism's family. Deputy Chism was shot and killed following a vehicle pursuit and foot chase in El Dorado Springs on November 2. Chism was 25 years old and had served with the Cedar County Sheriff's Office for just under two years. He is survived by his wife and one small child.

Bass Pro Signs Deal to Acquire Arkansas Boat Manufacturer
Springfield Business Journal reported that Bass Pro has signed a deal to acquire boat manufacturer Fishing Holdings based in Flippin, Arkansas. The deal is expected to close for undisclosed terms after meeting closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Fishing Holdings manufactures Ranger Boats, as well as the Stratos and Triton brands from Platinum Equity. The company joins Bass Pro’s Tracker Marine Group line of boats. After the transaction closes, Fishing Holdings will continue to operate independently with its existing management in Arkansas.

Branson School District Board Filings Open December 16
The filing period for a position on the Branson School District's board of education begins this Tuesday at 8 a.m. Two, three-ear terms are open for the April 7 election. Terms will expire for Dan Boone and Peter Marcellus. Filings must be made in the district offices located at 1756 Bee Creek Road. The deadline for filing is January 20, 2015. Office hours are 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. each school day. The district offices will close for Christmas vacation beginning at 4 p.m. December 19 and reopen Monday, January 5, 2015 at 8 a.m.

Cox Branson Employees Help ‘Pack the Pantries’
Employees at Cox Medical Center Branson participated in the Pack the Pantries food drive last month, and donated 250 pounds of food to help fill the shelves of area food pantries. Food collected in Branson was dispersed between Christian Action Ministries in Taney County and Christian Associates of Table Rock Lake in Stone County. Cox Branson employees have also been busy making wreaths for the Skaggs Foundation’s annual Wreath Auction. Bidding begins this Monday and closes at 4 p.m. on Friday, December 19. Funds raised will support Cox Branson’s Employee Assistance Fund.

Duggar Family Supporters Mount Petition Drive to Save Show
The Missouri Family Policy Council announced that pro-family supporters have mounted a petition drive to support the Duggar Family in efforts to save the "19 Kids and Counting" program on the TLC cable television network. TLC has been the target of another petition drive mounted by liberal activists demanding that TLC cancel the program. Anti-life and homosexual rights activists are angry over the family's shared beliefs in the right to life and the traditional family. The petition calling on TLC to cancel the program has reportedly garnered more than 130,000 signatures, while the petition supporting the program has now secured over 208,000 signatures. Those wishing to support the Duggars can visit www.lifesitenews.com/petitions.

Roy W. Slusher Foundation Provides Food to 700 Area Students
The Roy W. Slusher Foundation presented a check to Convoy of Hope at a press conference on Thursday, to help provide food for students at Bradleyville, Taneyville, Plainville and Mark Twain school districts. Following the press conference which was held at the Bradleyville Public School, more than 700 students received groceries, new shoes and refreshments. Since its inception, the Roy W. Slusher Foundation has distributed nearly $6 million, primarily to nonprofit organizations in Taney and Stone Counties.

December 11, 2014

Branson Police Investigating Death of Woman at Westwood Inn
Branson Police are investigating the death of a woman found in a room at Westwood Inn on Shepherd of the Hills Expressway. Police responded to a call at the hotel at about 3:15 Wednesday afternoon. The woman's name has not been released pending notification of relatives. A suspect has been taken into custody and further arrests are not expected at this time. The manner and cause of death is still under investigation.

Smoke Alarm Helps Family Escape from Burning Home in Ridgedale
A smoke alarm has been credited as helping a family escape a burning house in Ridgedale early Wednesday morning. The family living at 241 Bridgeview Drive was awakened just after 3 a.m. Crews from Western Taney County Fire and Southern Stone County Fire found fire coming from all three floors and through the roof when they arrived. The family and their dog were sitting in their car. Crews pumped water from Table Rock Lake to fight the fire. 21 firefighters were on the scene for five hours. The family escaped with only their sleep clothes and the Red Cross responded to assist them.

Reeds Spring Man Injured in Crash into Swimming Pool
Thirty-nine year old Nicholas Gaines of Reeds Spring was injured when the Toyota Tundra he was a passenger in ran off the road, hit a number of embankments and vaulted into a swimming pool. The driver was not identified by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The accident at about 1:30 early this morning occurred on Highway 265, three miles west of Branson. Gaines was taken to CoxHealth Branson for treatment of moderate injuries. He was not wearing a seatbelt.

Frontier Ends Service Between Branson Airport and Denver
Frontier Airlines has ended its service between Branson Airport and Denver. Seasonal flights had ended this past October 25th and airport officials had expected the flights to resume next year. But the airline has adjusted its business model and has decided to not resume the flights in the spring. Frontier has serviced Branson for four years and at one time had direct flights to Denver, Milwaukee, Phoenix and Austin.

Aldermen Approve Bids for Internet, Marketing, Audting Services
Branson Aldermen approved the first reading of three bid awards when they met in regular session this week. They approved a contract with Suddenlink to upgrade the internet connection at the RV sites in the City-owned campground from 20 to 150 megabits per second. They renewed the Tourism Marketing contract with the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce to use tourism tax funds to market Branson. And Aldermen accepted the proposal of Allen, Gibbs and Houlik for auditing services.

DBBA Announces Bohinc Departure, New Trolley Stops
After serving six years as Executive Director of the Downtown Branson Betterment Association, Cris Bohinc is leaving that position next month to concentrate on her work as the City's CID Administrator. Current DBBA Events Coordinator, Jessica Luthardt, will be promoted to Executive Director. And the DBBA has announced that the last two trolley stops, numbers 2 and 9, have been finished and the free trolley is now stopping at all 12 stops. This provides service to the west end of Atlantic Street and the City campground.

December 10, 2014

Just Minor Injuries in a Fiery Crash Involving Two Semis
Just minor injuries for one of the drivers of two semis which collided on Highway 65 south of Hollister at about 8:20 Tuesday morning. The semis were both southbound when the driver of one of the trucks attempted to make a u-turn at Branson Creek Blvd and his truck was hit by the other semi. The tractor of one of the rigs caught fire which was extinguished by 10 firefighters from Western Taney County Fire. Both trucks were carrying food products and no hazardous materials were involved. Both drivers were from out-of-state.

City of Branson to Reimburse The Track for Water Damage
During their regular meeting Tuesday evening, Branson Aldermen approved the first reading of a bill authorizing compensation for property damage due to a water main break on Highway 76 near The Track #3 go-cart attraction. The break in a 12-inch water main on August 15th caused damage to the road and parking lot of Track #3. The damage amounted to $20,000. The reimbursement comes from budgeted water and sewer funds.

Aldermen Approve Permit for Diva's Half Marathon/5K
Branson Aldermen have approved the first reading of a bill approving a Special Use Permit Application for the Diva's Half Marathon and 5K Series to be held May 17, 2015. This is the second year that the race will be held in Branson, beginning and ending at Branson Landing. Over 1,600 runners participated in the run this past spring. With this permit, the board approved road closures for the race on Branson Landing Boulevard, Highway 248, Gretna Road and Roark Valley Road.

Oak Grove Fire Department Purchases Thermal Imaging Camera
The Oak Grove, Arkansas volunteer fire department has purchased a thermal imaging camera. The camera allows firefighters to see heat sources in a building during a fire call and helps in the quick rescue of people inside. It can also help locate missing persons at night. KY3 news reported that the cameras have become more affordable but Oak Grove is the only department on the eastern side of Carroll County to own one. The $3,200 device was purchased from state funds in the department's budget.

Senator Blunt's Staff to Host Mobile Office in Branson
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt's staff will host a Mobile Office this Thursday afternoon at Branson City Hall. It's another opportunity for residents to discuss their questions and concerns with the federal government one-on-one with members of the Senator's staff. The Mobile Office will be held from 2-3 p.m. in the Municipal Courtroom at Branson City Hall. Senator Blunt's Columbia, Missouri office also extends service to all residents who have an issue with a federal agency.

New Beginnings Sets Grand Opening for Thrift Store
The Grand Opening for the New Beginnings Thrift Store will be held this Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The thrift store is one aspect of the New Beginnings church ministry of serving the community and spreading the gospel of Christ. Refreshments will be available and a light lunch will be served at 11:30 while supplies last. Grab bags and door prizes will be given away during the day. The store is located on Evergreen Street in Hollister. Normal hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays. Donations of gently used clothing and household items are accepted during normal operating hours.

December 9, 2014

Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley To Seek Re-Election
Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley announced that she will seek re-election as Mayor during the April 7, 2015 municipal election. First elected in 2007, Presley said she’s proud of the work she and the Board of Aldermen have done over the past years. She considers herself an ardent supporter of tourism, and a strong proponent of economic development, open government and fiscal responsibility. Mayor Presley and her husband of 38 years, Steve, are co-owners of Presleys' Country Jubilee and Branson Visitor TV.

Doug Hayter Among Five Finialists for Missouri Commissioner of Education
Branson School District Superintendent Doug Hayter is one of five finalists invited by the State Board of Education to interview for Missouri Commissioner of Education. The State Board will meet next week to interview the five candidates in Jefferson City. Board President Peter Herschend said the State Board members are looking for the person who can make Missouri a top 10 state for education by 2020. More than 40 names were submitted in November as nominees for the job. Current Commissioner of Education, Chris Nicastro, is retiring effective December 31, 2014.

Tennessee Man Sentenced to 5 Years for Tampering
Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell announced that 61 year old Garry Spain of Jackson, Tennessee, pled guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison for first degree tampering. On October 9, 2014, Branson Police were patrolling the parking lot of Walmart on Highway 76, when Spain was observed sleeping in a Chevrolet pickup truck with Louisiana license plates and a missing window. Police ran the plates and discovered that the truck was reported stolen from the State of Louisiana. Upon questioning, Spain claimed that he had borrowed the truck several days before.

Annual Red Kettle Community Challenge Day Raises $8,000
Every year area businesses, service groups, churches, and government employees join together for a friendly competition to raise funds for The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. Eleven community groups staffed twelve Branson Salvation Army Red Kettles for the annual Community Challenge Day this past Saturday. The eleven groups collected $7,982.03 bringing this year’s Red Kettle total to $53,057.91, just over half of the $100,000 goal. Lt. Shawn DeBaar said they started the weekend being behind about $12,000 and are now about $4,000 behind compared to this time last year. The Community Challenge Day winning group, raising a total of $1,327, was the Branson-Hollister Rotary Club.

C of O to Hold Groundbreaking for Vietnam Veterans Memorial
College of the Ozarks will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the Missouri Vietnam Veterans Memorial at noon on Thursday, December 18, on the Alumni Center Lawn. Missouri Legislators made this future memorial at C of O the official Vietnam War Memorial for the state with the adoption of a resolution this past May. The memorial is based on an architectural rendering created by C of O Alumnus Austin Meyer. The memorial will bear the names of over 1,400 Missourians who served and died in the Vietnam War. C of O students and staff will build the structure, which is projected to be completed by April 2015.

Loaves & Fishes Sign-Up Meeting Rescheduled for December 15
The Loaves & Fishes sign-up meeting, originally scheduled for December 1st, was postponed due to weather and has been rescheduled for Monday, December 15th. Many of the teams that participated last year have already committed to serving meals on 47 of the 72 nights on the 2015 Loaves & Fishes calendar. Organizers are looking for other teams to pitch in to fill the 25 remaining evenings. Interested groups should send at least one team member to the sign-up meeting next Monday, at 7 p.m. at Our Lady of the Lake Parish Center in Branson. For more information, call Jim Lawson at 501-837-4938.

December 8, 2014

Kimberling City Man Charged in Connection with Bank Robberies
The man who was taken into custody last Thursday in connection with two local bank robberies has been officially charged by Stone County Prosecutor Matt Selby. Forty-two year old Gerald Helcher of Kimberling City has been charged with 1st degree robbery, making a terrorist threat and resisting arrest. Bond for Helcher was set at $150,000 and he remains in custody at the Stone County Jail. Helcher allegedly attempted a robbery at Liberty Bank in Crane on November 24 and at Anstaff Bank in Berryville, Arkansas on December 3. In both cases the banks received a bomb threat with instructions to leave money beside a vehicle outside. Detectives said the same phone and vehicle were used in the respective incidents.

Branson Fire Division Chief Randy Fogle Named Employee of the Year
Branson Fire Department Division Chief Randy Fogle was named Employee of the Year at the City of Branson’s Christmas dinner last Friday evening. After an early morning fire on July 26 at the ticket office of Branson Frontier Adventure, a local go-cart track, Chief Fogle worked quickly to complete the fire investigation and certify the property for occupancy and electric power. Because of Fogle’s efforts, the attraction was able to open for business on a busy weekend, just 12 hours after the fire.

Taney County Health Department Renews WIC Contract for 2015
The Taney County Health Department announced that its contract to continue providing Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) services for the fiscal year of 2015 has been renewed with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Taney County provided services to approximately 1,717 participants in 2014. WIC is a supplemental nutrition program that provides services and benefits to pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children up to the age of five. Services include nutrition education, breastfeeding support, checks to purchase nutritious supplemental foods, and referrals to health and social services. For more information about the WIC program, call 334-4544 or visit TaneyCoHealth.org.

Laura Weber Named Lakes Area Teacher of the Year
Laura Weber, an Instructional Technology Specialist for Grades K-6 at Reeds Spring, has been selected as the Lakes Area Teacher of the Year for 2014 by the Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce. Weber supports teachers in technology integration such as the utilization of iPads as learning tools in their classrooms. She has also taken the lead in guiding the three K-6 building principals in developing technology integration plans for the coming years that will lead to increased student engagement and learning.

Photo: Weber (left) was presented with her plaque by Sheila Thomas, Executive Director of the Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce (center) and Jennifer Brazeale of the Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction (right).

Dr. Timothy Paul Jones to Speak at C of O
College of the Ozarks will host Dr. Timothy Paul Jones this Thursday at 7 p.m. in Jones Auditorium. Dr. Jones serves as a professor and associate vice president at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of the largest seminaries in the world. He has led churches in Missouri and Oklahoma as a pastor and associate pastor. He will speak to the students about the reliability of scripture and reasons to have confidence that the Bible is trustworthy, authoritative and that it comes from God. The convocation is free and open to the public.

Branson Escape Artist to Attempt Guinness World Record
Branson escape artist and illusionist Jackson Rayne hopes to break the Guinness World Record for most escapes from a straight jacket in one hour during a show at The Music City Center this Saturday at 2 p.m. The record to beat is 49. Jackson says he’s been training for this world record for 6 months now. Jackson has been performing in Branson with The Revollusionists since June 1st, 2014.

December 5, 2014

Kimberling City Man in Custody in Connection with Bank Robberies
The Stone County Sheriff’s Office reported that a Kimberling City man is in custody in connection with two area bank robberies. On November 24, Liberty Bank in Crane received a bomb threat with instructions to leave money beside a vehicle outside. Investigators did not find a bomb and no money was taken in that case. On December 3, the Anstaff Bank in Berryville, Arkansas, was the target of a similar robbery. Working together with Berryville, Stone County Detectives identified a person of interest who resided in Kimberling City. The individual was detained Thursday afternoon and taken to the Stone County Jail. Search Warrants were served at the residence in Kimberling City and a vehicle was seized. The investigation is still ongoing.

Fire Destroys Home on Duke Lane Near Reeds Spring
Southern Stone County firefighters were called to a house fire just before 8:00 Thursday night on Duke Lane off Highway 248 near Reeds Spring. Crews found a single story home about 40% involved with flames through the roof. Reports indicate that a woman got out of the house without injury but may have lost her three dogs in the fire. Crews extinguished the fire just after 10 p.m.

Three from Branson Injured in Two-Vehicle Accident
Three people from Branson were injured in a two vehicle accident at about 7:00 Thursday night on Highway 65, five miles north of Branson. The Highway Patrol reported that a minivan driven by 61 year old Cynthia Oliver was struck from behind by a car driven by 17 year old Levi Bailey. Both drivers and a passenger in the minivan, 77 year old Marie Wilkens, were all transported to Cox Branson for treatment of moderate injuries.

Jonathan Thomason Named City of Branson Employee of the Month
The City of Branson has named Jonathan Thomason of the Public Works Department as the Employee of the Month for December. Jonathan, who works in the building maintenance division, was recognized for helping the garage division which has been short staffed while a member of their team has been undergoing cancer treatments. Without being asked, Jonathan helped the garage staff with tasks that needed to be done in the short amount of time available between his own duties and projects. He was recognized for displaying the City values of teamwork, cooperation, excellence, integrity, service and courtesy.

CoxHealth Names Community Wellness Coordinator
In an effort to play a proactive role in the health and wellness of the Branson Tri-Lakes Area community, CoxHealth recently created the position of Community Wellness Coordinator. Danielle Dingman, who has served as a certified application counselor in CoxHealth’s Business Connections office for the past year, will fill the new role. Dingman will be focused on evaluating the needs of the community and managing programs that support the health and wellness of area residents. She will use a data-driven approach to create sustainable health improvement programs for the community.

Westgate Branson Resorts to Host 1st Annual “We Care Week”
Westgate Branson Resorts will be hosting its 1st Annual “We Care Week” December 10-12. The event will feature 27 truckloads of furniture and appliances for sale to the public with all proceeds going to local non-profits through the Westgate Resorts Foundation. Members of the public are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to receive a discount off any purchases made. Additionally, Westgate will be accepting donations of coats, blankets, and clothing for those in need. The public sale begins on December 10 at 9 a.m. at the Branson Garden Inn, located at 1420 West 76 Country Boulevard. For more information, call 332-3557.

SOTH Fish Hatchery to Host Nature Ornaments Workshop
Reservations are now being accepted for the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery’s Nature Ornaments workshop to be held Saturday, December 13, from 10-11:30 a.m. Families with children ages 5 and up will have a chance to make unique ornaments for windows, Christmas trees or decorations. They will also be making art with tree cookies and creating animal tracks from plaster of Paris. Reservations are required. Call 334-4865 ext 0.

December 4, 2014

Branson Accepting Liquor License Applications
The Branson Finance Department is accepting applications for a full package liquor license. There are a limited number of these licenses and this is the first time in several years that one has become available. With this license the business will be able to sell hard liquor, wine and beer. The City expects to receive applications from several businesses and a drawing will be held in January from the eligible applicants. The rules governing these liquor licenses were recently reviewed by City staff and several changes were approved by Aldermen.

Branson Aldermen Approve Various Contracts
During their meeting last week, Branson Aldermen approved renewing a contract with Mercy Occupational Health to provide annual physicals for Branson firefighters. They also approved two bills renewing agreements with Missouri American Water. Many of their customers receive sewer service from the City. The agreements allow Branson access to usage data for billing purposes and allow for termination of water for unpaid sewer bills. And the board approved proposals from Bill's Electric and DeLong Plumbing for electrical and plumbing maintenance and repair for City buildings and facilities in 2015.

CoxHealth Incentive Encourages Employees to Quit Smoking
Thirteen employees throughout the CoxHealth system are eligible to receive $1,000 for remaining tobacco-free in 2014. A year ago, CoxHealth became the first health system in the Ozarks to stop hiring tobacco users. Employees hired before the change were grandfathered in but were encouraged to 'kick the habit'. Employees were offered free tobacco cessation classes and the co-pay was waived for prescription medications that help people stop smoking. CoxHealth offers three different programs to help residents break the tobacco habit. For details call 417-348-8498.

Branson High Speech & Chess Teams Earn First Place Awards
The Branson High School Speech Team earned the first place Sweepstakes Trophy at a tournament held November 23rd in Buffalo, Missouri. The win is the second consecutive first place trophy of the season. There were over 500 entries representing 25 area schools competing for the top honors. The Branson High Chess Team earned first place in a tournament held in Willow Springs November 22nd. Three of the undefeated players competing in the final round were from the Branson team. Photo: BHS Chess Champs Kyle Deppe, Zack Louviere, Zack Caruthers and Justin Kennedy

C of O's Christmas Card to the Community Set for December 14
College of the Ozark's popular 'Christmas Card to the Community' worship service will be held twice on Sunday, December 14th. It will be held in Williams Memorial Chapel at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. For many years the event was held just in the evening but the college added the afternoon service to accommodate the large number of residents desiring to attend. The traditional Christmas service features choirs, chamber orchestra, scripture readings, student solos and candlelight singing of Silent Night. A fruitcake and cookie reception will be held after each service in the lower level of the chapel.

Public Invited to Fundraiser for Taneyhills Library
Residents are invited to a fundraiser for the Taneyhills Library this Saturday. It will be held from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the clubhouse at the Payne Stewart Golf Club. There will be activities for children and opportunity to purchase unique gifts for the holidays. The Library Club will hold a bake sale and the annual pecan sale. Entertainment will include the Branson Intermediate Honor Choir.

December 3, 2014

Construction Begins on Roundabout at Hwy 86/Ridgedale Rd
Drivers can expect one-lane traffic on Highway 86 just west of Highway 65 at times between now and next April. The Missouri Department of Transportation has started working on a highway roundabout at the intersection of Highway 86 and Ridgedale Road which is also the new entrance to Top of the Rock and Big Cedar Lodge. The entrance to Ridgedale Road from Highway 86 will be shifted slightly to the east temporarily as crews build the roundabout. The cost of the project is being paid for by Bass Pro Shops and Big Cedar Lodge.

Corps to Temporarily Suspend Table Rock Shoreline Requests
The Army Corps of Engineers Table Rock Lake Project Office will temporarily suspend shoreline activity requests starting February 1st. This will enable the Corps to establish a baseline number of permits and docks on the lake for officials to use while revising its 19-year-old shoreline management plan. Shoreline activity requests will not be accepted during the revision process and all zoning and shoreline regulations will remain in effect until the revision is completed in the spring of 2017. A series of public workshops will be held in the spring to receive input from residents regarding the best use of the lake's shoreline.

Forsyth Library Hosting Rose O'Neill Exhibit
The Forsyth Library is celebrating local history with an exhibit about the life and work of Rose O'Neill. She was an active resident of Taney County, a nationally known commercial artist and the creator of the Kewpie cartoon characters and dolls. The exhibit will be displayed at the library through December 30th and includes examples of her drawings, paintings, writings and sculptures from 1887 through 1944. The Forsyth Library is located at 162 Main Street and is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon. There is no admission fee to view the exhibit.

Aldermen Approve Various Bids, Health Dept Contract
During their meeting last week, Branson Aldermen approved eleven bids for products and services. These related to building maintenance, motor fuel for city vehicles, asphalt products for street repairs, lab testing of water and wastewater samples, managed print services, equipment for the Meadows Water Treatment Plant, concession supplies for parks and recreation programs, maintenance of the city's hybrid digital telephone system, and laundry equipment at the city-operated Lakeside RV Park. Aldermen also renewed the contract with the Taney County Health Department for public health services provided for the businesses and residents of Branson.

Branson-Hollister Senior Center Seeking Volunteers
The Branson-Hollister Senior Center needs volunteers. The Center is in need of hostesses, cashiers, dining room table set up and clean up, people to answer the phone and do some filing and drivers to deliver meals. Residents can volunteer as little or as often as desired, even just an hour a week. People who are interested and have questions may contact Cindy Byrd at 417-335-4801.

Missouri Fiscal YTD Net General Revenue Up 3.7%
Missouri State Budget Director Linda Luebbering reported that fiscal year-to-date net general revenue collections increased 3.7% compared to the same period last year. Revenue collections for November increased 1.3% compared to last November. Individual income tax collections increased 5.5% and sales and use tax collections increased 2.6% for the year, compared to last year.

December 2, 2014

Forsyth Man Wanted for 2008 Cold Case Murder in Louisiana
The Taney County Sheriff’s Office reported that a Forsyth man is wanted for a 2008 cold case murder in New Iberia, Louisiana. On Nov. 20, a Forsyth Police officer arrested 60 year old Keith Leleux at 238 Chisholm Trail for 2nd degree domestic assault. On Nov. 29, information on the 2008 homicide of Judy Landry was received by the Sheriff’s Office and an investigator from Louisiana came to the Taney County Jail and interviewed Leleux. On Monday, a warrant was issued for Leleux to be held without bond for first degree murder. In July of 2008, the body of 61 year old Judy Landry was discovered in her residence in New Iberia. Landry died as a result of strangulation. Leleux will be held in the Taney County Jail until he is extradited to Louisiana.

Fire Damages Branson West Home, Donations Sought for Family
Southern Stone County Firefighters responded to a house fire shortly after 8:00 Monday morning on Roark Lane in Branson West. First arriving units found light smoke showing with flames coming from the rear of the home. The fire was determined to have started from a wood burning stove or flue which was the only heat source for the home. The home was occupied by a husband and wife with six daughters, four of which have special needs. Everyone made it out of the home safely however the contents of the home suffered heat and smoke damage. The family had only been renting the home for a month and did not have insurance. Donations of clothes and other items can be dropped off at Lifesong Church located at 360 Emerson Rd in Reeds Spring.

Branson Airport Announces Extended Service to Houston
Branson Airport has announced the continuation of nonstop, low fare service to Houston. The new flight schedule for Houston has been extended now through April 15, 2015. The service will be provided by Branson AirExpress operated by Elite Airways. Elite Airways did not plan on operating in Branson during the off season, but based on passenger response this fall in Houston, has decided to continue service year round. One way tickets can be purchased to both Houston (Hobby) and Chicago (Midway) starting at $99 each way including taxes. The seasonal Chicago service runs through January 4, 2015.

Aldermen Approve Amendments to HR Manual, 2014 Budget
At the last Branson City Council meeting, Aldermen approved the first reading of a bill amending the City’s Human Resources Manual. Clarification and updates dealt with care leave, distracted driving, employee retirement, calculation of compensation for temporary employees, overtime and holiday pay, and leave of absence. The Board also approved the first reading of several bills amending the adopted 2014 Budget in regard to the Debt Service Fund. This change is due to a recent change in banks that hold bond accounts for the City. Other internal transfers were approved to balance the Sewer Fund, Red Roof Mall Account, Dog Park Capital Account, and to account for grant funds under the FEMA Flood Buyout Grant.

Missouri's November Deer Harvest Up 6% from Last Year
Missouri hunters harvested a total of 167,205 deer during firearms deer season Nov. 15 through 25. The Missouri Department of Conservation reports the top harvest counties were Howell, Franklin and Texas. This year’s harvest is 6% larger than last year’s figure but still 10% below the previous 5-year average. The white-tailed deer is Missouri’s most popular game species. Missouri has nearly 520,000 deer hunters and almost two million wildlife watchers who enjoy deer. Activities related to deer hunting and watching annually contribute $1 billion in economic activity to state and local economies, and support more than 12,000 Missouri jobs.

Branson Chamber Seeking Nominations for Community Awards
The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for its annual community awards. The awards honor individuals and businesses that have shown outstanding service to the area. The awards will be presented at the Chamber's Annual Black Tie Gala to be held Saturday, February 28, 2015 at the Branson Convention Center. All award nominations must be received at the Chamber office by January 12, 2015. For more information, call 334-4084. For the nomination form, click here.

C of O Handbell Choir and Concert Band to Present Winter Concert
The College of the Ozarks Handbell Choir and Concert Band will present a Winter Concert this Friday at 7 p.m. in The Royal Oak Forum of The Keeter Center. The concert is free and open to the public. The Choir and Band will perform numerous Christmas carols and selections. Marilyn Droke conducts the Handbell Choir and Dr. Kevin Powers conducts the Concert Band.

December 1, 2014

Walnut Shade Man Killed in Tractor Trailer Accident
A man from Walnut Shade died in a tractor trailer accident shortly after 10:00 Saturday night on Highway MM in Republic. The Highway Patrol reported that a tractor trailer driven by 52 year old Darrell Kirkland ran off the right side of the roadway and overturned. Kirkland was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two from Ozark Injured in Crash North of Forsyth
Two people from Ozark suffered moderate injuries in a one-car crash just after 7:00 Saturday evening on Route H, seven miles north of Forsyth. A car driven by 24 year old Joshua Leffler crossed the center line, was overcorrected, ran off the right side of the roadway and struck a tree. Leffler and 18 year old passenger Robin Turner were taken to Cox South Hospital in Springfield for treatment.

Washington Man Seriously Injured in ATV Accident
Fifty-six year old James White of Maple Valley, Washington was injured in an ATV accident at about 4:00 Saturday afternoon on private property off Joe Bald Road near Kimberling City. The incident occurred as White was traveling down hill and his hand slipped from the ATV throttle causing him to lose control. The ATV struck a tree and White was ejected from the vehicle. White sustained serious injuries and was transported to Cox Branson for treatment.

Harrison Woman Fatally Injured in Pickup Rollover
A woman from Harrison, Arkansas was fatally injured when a pickup truck overturned at about 2:30 Saturday afternoon on Highway 65, four miles north of Branson. A pickup driven by 55 year old Ronald Stierwalt of Harrison ran off the left side of the road, was overcorrected and overturned. Fifty-three year old passenger Patricia Stierwalt died from her injuries just before 2 a.m. Sunday morning at Cox South Hospital in Springfield. Ronald Stierwalt and a 6 year old female passenger were treated for moderate injuries.

Brush Fire Burns 350 Acres Near Blue Eye
Firefighters from Southern Stone County, Oak Grove and Green Forrest battled a large brush fire last Friday afternoon on Avery Ridge Road near Blue Eye. The winds gusted up to 30mph at times, fueling the fire. Crews were on the scene for just over five hours and an estimated 350 acres were burned. There were no injuries or property damage. It's suspected that the fire originated near the shoreline of Table Rock Lake but authorities are not sure if it was intentional or accidental.

Branson Moving Forward with Phase 2 of Streetscape Project
At the last Branson City Council meeting, Aldermen approved the first reading of a $440,000 contract with Crawford, Murphy & Tilly for the design of Phase 2 of the Downtown Streetscape project. Phase 2 will focus on Liberty Plaza near the old City Hall, and will include a new trolley stop and public restroom building, improved parking lot, walkways and seating areas for public gatherings, and extensive landscaping. The goal is to complete the design by summer 2015 and start construction in fall 2015.

Iraq Veteran to Speak at College of the Ozarks
Iraq Veteran Corporal Josh Bleill will share his message, “One Step at a Time,” this Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Jones Auditorium at College of the Ozarks. Cpl. Bleill was injured while serving a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006, which led to the loss of both legs. He is now employed as the Indianapolis Colts Company spokesperson. This convocation is free and open to the public.

November 26, 2014

Branson Aldermen Approve 2015 Budget, Airport Payment
Branson Aldermen met in regular session Tuesday night and approved the final reading of a bill adopting the 2015 budget. The budget has been balanced with a 22% Operating Reserve and includes $619,000 in General Fund Capital items, all of which have been identified in the 5 Year Capital Program Summary. In addition, $242,289 in one-time expenditures is included in the budget. The Board also approved the first reading of a bill amending the adopted 2014 Budget to allow for a payment under the Pay for Performance agreement with the Branson Airport. The current bill is $211,487. To date, $2,600,000 has been paid to the Branson Airport under this agreement.

Firefighters Extract Trapped Driver from Overturned Vehicle
Southern Stone County Firefighters responded to a report of a trapped driver in a one-vehicle rollover at about noon Tuesday on DD Highway at Matthew Road south of Branson West. Crews found the vehicle on its top and extricated a male driver who was conscious and alert. Mercy EMS evaluated the patient on scene and the man, whose name was not released, declined transport to a hospital.

Volunteers Invited to Loaves & Fishes Kickoff December 1
Since 2008, over 7600 volunteers have served their neighbors in need through the Branson Loaves & Fishes program and have provided 50,000 warm nutritious meals during the winter each year. Volunteers are needed for the 2015 Loaves & Fishes season. If you have a team of 9-12 volunteers who can provide a meal to neighbors in need on one night this winter, please have at least one team member attend the Loaves & Fishes sign-up meeting on Monday, December 1 at 7 p.m. at Our Lady of the Lake Parish Center, located at 203 Vaughan Drive in Branson. Teams will have an opportunity to sign up for a night or multiple nights on the Loaves & Fishes calendar between January 3rd and March 15th, 2015. For more information, call Jim Lawson at 501-837-4938.

Branson Salvation Army Red Kettles Off to a Threatening Start
The Salvation Army of Branson is currently experiencing several difficulties related to their annual red kettle campaign this year. The local Salvation Army started out with having lost three business locations that have hosted the red kettles in years past. Those three locations did reconsider and are allowing the red kettles to be at their locations, but the number of days will be cut back dramatically. In addition to this setback, other red kettle locations are not doing as well as they did last year. The Salvation Army is currently about $10,000 behind as compared to last year’s numbers. To make a donation or to volunteer at one of the red kettles, call 339-4434.

LuLu Roman of “Hee Haw” to Perform at Lakewood Church
LuLu Roman of the television show “Hee Haw” will be performing a Christmas concert this Sunday at 10 a.m. at Lakewood Church in Branson West. LuLu was born with a thyroid dysfunction and struggled with weight issues and eventually a drug addiction that nearly destroyed her life and career in the early 70’s. In 1973 she put her faith in the Lord and discovered she had a hidden talent in her voice. LuLu then began singing Gospel music, and eventually introduced it to the "Hee Haw" show. To date, LuLu has recorded 21 albums including her latest project entitled "At Last." Admission to Sunday’s concert is free. Lakewood Church is located at 19585 Hwy 413 in Branson West.

Keeter Center to Host Annual Chocolate Lovers’ Tea
The Keeter Center at College of the Ozarks will host its Annual Chocolate Lovers’ Tea, Saturday, December 6, from 1-3 p.m., in front of the Grand Fireplace at The Keeter Center. The afternoon will begin with a selection of sandwiches and desserts served with tea or hot chocolate. Guests will enjoy music performed by a College of the Ozarks student from the Music Department. And guests are encouraged to bring an ornament for a Christmas ornament exchange. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Visit KeeterCenter.edu/events or call 417-690-2120.

1,500 Luminaries to Light Titanic Museum Entrance
The Titanic Museum Attraction in Branson will light its entrance with more than 1,500 luminaries this coming Friday evening. Titanic Museum co-owner, Mary Kellogg-Joslyn, said that the holiday tradition of luminaries is meant to remind us of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging in Bethlehem. The public is invited to take holiday photos with the luminaries outside the museum located at the corner of 76 Country Blvd and Gretna Road.

November 25, 2014

MoDOT Taking Steps to Relieve Holiday Traffic Delays
As Missourians prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday shopping season, the Missouri Department of Transportation is taking steps to help keep traffic moving during these busy travel times. Most of the work zones on state routes will not be in place from noon Wednesday until mid-morning Monday, December 1. However, some long-term construction projects may remain in place. Drivers can visit MoDOT’s Traveler Information Map at MoDOT.org to get the latest information on traffic congestion and road conditions including any lane closings. The Traveler Information Map is also available on MoDOT’s smartphone app.

Missouri Leaders Urge Koster to Seek Stay on Marriage Decision
Missouri Senate Leader Tom Dempsey and House Speaker Tim Jones have sent a letter to Attorney General Chris Koster urging him to seek a stay on a recent circuit court decision. In the case, a local judge in St. Louis ruled that Missouri’s constitutional provision, passed overwhelmingly by voters in 2004 affirming that marriage exists between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional. Dempsey said allowing this controversial ruling to take immediate effect will cause confusion while the case is appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court. So far, Koster has refused to ask for a stay. Dempsey said while local judges serve an important role, they are merely ministers, not masters of the law, and allowing this decision to take immediate effect undermines our core system of three co-equal branches that is essential to protecting our citizens’ liberties.

McDonald’s Cans for Coffee Food Drive Sets New Record
Sixty-three area McDonald’s restaurants collected 45,010 pounds of food for Ozarks Food Harvest and its partners during the seventh annual McDonald’s Cans for Coffee food drive. The collection exceeded this year’s goal of 30,000 pounds — and set a new record, surpassing the collection of 36,650 pounds in 2011. The 40,010 pounds will provide 37,508 meals to food pantries and programs in southwest Missouri.

Branson School District History Project Interviews Available
To coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Branson School District, two elementary classrooms recently joined forces to collect, investigate and chronicle the history of school district. The students conducted extensive research and interviews with area residents to learn more about education in Branson. The students were under the instruction of Sara Pardeck and Vicki Pock. You can access all the History Project interviews from the History Project link at Branson.K12.MO.us

Silver Dollar City Wins Two Brass Ring Awards, Makes USA Today Holiday List
Silver Dollar City won two awards as part of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ 2014 Brass Ring Awards. Silver Dollar City’s new Flavored Kettle Corn was awarded "Best New Menu Item" and Silver Dollar City’s White Water attraction was awarded “Best Public Relations Program” in the Class 1 division. Silver Dollar City was also mentioned by USA Today this past Friday. The park’s Old Time Christmas was ranked 9th in an article entitled “Top spots to see bright holiday lights.”

3rd Annual Branson Turkey Trot Set for Thanksgiving Morning
The Ozarks Running Club will hold the 3rd annual Branson Turkey Trot 5K Run & Walk on Thanksgiving morning starting at 8 a.m. The Turkey Trot will be held on a mostly flat course at Branson Landing. New this year is the Gobbler Cup, a team competition for groups of 5 or more participants. The winner of the Gobbler Cup gets to keep the cup for a year and gets to decide the local charity for next year’s Turkey Trot. For more information or to register, visit OzarksRunningClub.com/Branson-Turkey-Trot.

November 24, 2014

Waynesville Woman Injured in Accident North of Branson
A woman from Waynesville, Missouri was injured in a one-vehicle accident at about 7:00 Sunday night on Highway 65, three and a half miles north of Branson. The Highway Patrol reported that 50 year old Esteban Seda of Waynesville lost control of his northbound pickup and struck a concrete median wall. 48 year old passenger Pamela Seda was taken to Mercy Hospital in Springfield for treatment of moderate injuries.

Springfield Teen Injured in Two-Car Accident Near Forsyth
A teenager from Springfield was injured in a two-car accident shortly before 11:30 Sunday morning on Highway 160, five miles northwest of Forsyth. A car driven by 18 year old Thomas Massengael of Willard was slowing to make a right turn into a driveway when it was struck from behind by a car driven by 25 year old Misty Long of Forsyth. A passenger in Massengael’s car, 17 year old Tara Lea, suffered minor injuries and was transported to Mercy Hospital in Springfield for treatment.

Car Runs into Guard Shack at Stonebridge Village
The Southern Stone County Fire Protection District was called to a one vehicle accident just after 2:00 early Sunday morning at Stonebridge Village in Branson West. A car driven by an unidentified driver ran over a curb and edge of a large landscape rock and vaulted into the East Guard Shack at Stonebridge Village. The East gate is reportedly unmanned and is a private entrance for residents. No one was injured in the incident.

Dates Set for Branson City Election, Filing Period
The City of Branson announced that the Missouri Secretary of State has set the spring local election day as April 7, 2015. Registered voters in Branson will be able to vote for Mayor and for one Alderman representing their Ward. The Branson Board of Aldermen consists of six aldermen, two from each Ward, and the Mayor. Each of these is elected for two-year terms. The Aldermen currently holding the seats to be considered in this election are: Ward 1 – Bob Simmons, Ward 2 – Patrick Parnell, and Ward 3 – Rick Todd. Raeanne Presley is the current Mayor of Branson. Declarations of Candidacy will be accepted at the Branson City Clerk’s office beginning on December 16 at 8 a.m. The filing period will close on January 20, 2015 at 5 p.m.

Cathy Hubert to Serve as Interim President/CEO for Branson Chamber
The Human Resources Committee of The Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce has named Cathy Hubert as Interim President/CEO following the retirement of Ross Summers last month. Hubert serves as the Chamber’s Chief Financial Officer and has been with the organization for 12 years. The Chamber’s Search Committee is working with Mike Gamble and SearchWide to find a permanent replacement for Summers. SearchWide is a full-service executive search firm primarily for companies in the travel and tourism industry.

Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf Wins Outstanding Achievement Award
The Champions Tour recently announced the best golf tournaments of the 2014 Champions Tour season. The Outstanding Achievement Award was won by the Big Cedar Lodge Legends of Golf presented by Bass Pro Shops. The tournament excelled with the historic team-event being partly contested on the nine-hole Top of the Rock Par-3 course in Ridgedale. The venue was officially announced in January and played in June – the shortest lead time for any PGA TOUR-sanctioned event. The community embraced the event with more than 1,000 volunteers contributing to its success. Fred Funk and Jeff Sluman won the tournament while Jim Colbert and Jim Thorpe claimed the unofficial Legends Division.

Andy Williams Christmas Show to Benefit Junior Auxiliary
Proceeds from this Wednesday’s Andy Williams Christmas Show starring The Osmond Brothers and The Lennon Sisters will benefit the Junior Auxiliary of Taney County. Patrons who tell the Moon River Theatre Box Office they are supporters of Junior Auxiliary will be able to purchase a ticket for $15 and proceeds from each ticket will help raise funds to benefit children and families in Taney County. Tickets may be purchased in advance or the night of the show and there is no limit to the number of tickets that can be purchased at the special $15 price. Children 12 and under get in for free. To purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 800-666-6094.

November 21, 2014

Branson Aldermen to Hear Final Reading of 2015 Budget
Branson Aldermen will hold their next regular meeting this Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Some of the items on the agenda include the final reading of a bill adopting the 2015 budget, the first reading of an amendment for the Historic Downtown Streetscape Project, the first reading of a bill approving the renewal of the contract with the Taney County Health Department for public health services, and multiple bid awards for various services and maintenance. The complete agenda can be viewed online at BransonMO.gov. The Board meeting can also be heard live on the City’s website.

Mercy Expert to Discuss Sleep Disorders
Mercy Hospital Berryville is hosting two presentations to help patients understand sleep disorders. Tossing and turning at night may not be from stress or anxiety, but from sleep apnea, a common disorder that often goes undiagnosed. Vickie Ginn, registered sleep technologist, will discuss how sleep apnea is the leading cause of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, and is closely related to diabetes. However, it is preventable and curable in most cases. The two free seminars will be held on Nov. 25 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Dec. 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Berryville Community Center. To RSVP for either course, call 870-423-5236.

Taney County Ambulance District Hosts GIS Day
The Taney County Ambulance District hosted a GIS Day this past Wednesday at its training room in Hollister. Groups of 5th grade students from several schools attended the event designed to educate the public on how GIS and mapping is used by various local entities. GIS is an Acronym for Geographic Information Systems. GIS technology is used in many applications, from vehicle GPS navigation to Internet mapping, and is used in all types of commercial and government fields, such as military, healthcare, insurance, and real estate.

Branson Sophomores Selected as HOBY Ambassadors
Branson sophomores Ivie Walker and Victoria Welch have been named Hugh O'Brien Youth (HOBY) Leadership Seminar Ambassadors. They will represent Branson High School at the leadership retreat scheduled June 5-7 on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University. Rachel Slings has been selected as an alternate. Founded in 1958, HOBY's mission is to inspire and develop the global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation. The summer program allows sophomore students the opportunity to network with adults who are experts in their career fields.

Deadline Extended to Submit Family Stories for Taney County Book
The White River Valley Historical Society announced that the deadline for submitting family histories and community stories for the Taney County, Missouri History & Families book has been extended to January 30, 2015. The Historical Society has been collecting articles and photographs for several months and currently has nearly 300 family histories, with another 100 or so in process. Anyone who lives in Taney County, regardless of where their ancestors are from, is encouraged to submit their family information. The limited-edition hardback book will also contain Taney County history and pictures in addition to the family stories. For more information or to submit a family story or photo, call 417-546-2210 or email info@wrvhs.org.

14th Annual Christmas Tour of Homes Set for December 5 & 6
The 14th Annual Christmas Tour of Homes presented by Neighbors and Friends of Table Rock Lake will take place Friday and Saturday, Dec. 5 and 6. The tour gives visitors the opportunity to look inside four unique Table Rock Lake private residences decorated for the holidays. The homes will be available for touring between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day. Tickets are $15 and proceeds will be donated to various local charities and community outreach programs. For more information, visit Neighbors and Friends of Table Rock Lake online at NFTRL.org.

Photo: One of the four homes that will be featured on the 14th Annual Christmas Tour of Homes

November 20, 2014

Taney County Commission Considering Walkway on New Bridge
A new bridge is in the planning stages to be built in the future over Bull Shoals Lake near Forsyth. The Taney County Commission is considering whether to pay for a pedestrian walkway to be included on the new bridge or to use the old bridge for a walkway. A walkway on the new bridge would cost up to $700,000 and the county would have to provide the funds if the project goes beyond MoDOT's budget for the bridge. Maintenance on the old bridge could be much higher and just painting the old bridge could cost up to $1 million dollars.

Taney County Commission Approves $60,000 Transfer to 911 Fund
The Taney County Commission approved a $60,000 transfer to the 911 Administration Department. The Branson Tri-Lakes News reported that 911 will run out of money by the end of the year. The county set aside the money in the current budget for the transfer but 911 will need more than $60,000. Revenues from the 10% tax on telephone land lines are decreasing at a more rapid rate than anticipated. The 911 department expects to be $50,000 in the red by year's end. A year ago, voters said no to a 911 sales tax by a margin of 15%.

Taneyville School District Seeks Donations for Gym Improvements
The Taneyville School District continues to seek donations for improvements to their gymnasium. The district needs $133,000 and has received over $14,000 thus far. Improvements include replacing the tile floor with wood which is the largest expense, replacing the protective mats under the baskets, replacing one scoreboard and purchasing a second one, and purchasing a scorers table. School officials would also like to purchase a digital marquee and a canopy for outside the entrance to the gym. Businesses are encouraged to consider a corporate sponsorship to help provide the necessary funds.

C of O to Present "Railway to Heaven: A True Story of an Ozarks POW"
"Railway to Heaven," a true story of an Ozarks Prisoner of War, will be presented twice in early December at College of the Ozarks. The stage production, produced by the Jones Theatre Company was presented during a WWII mini-reunion on campus November 7th. It's based on the true story of Roy Hopper who was an honor roll student at School of the Ozarks at the beginning of WWII. He was drafted, served in the army, and eventually captured by the German army. He escaped after 9 months. The play will be presented in Jones Auditorium December 6th at 7:30 p.m. and December 7th at 2:30 p.m. The play is open to the public with no admission charged.

Hollister High School to Present "Cheaper by the Dozen"
The Hollister High School Drama Department will present the popular play "Cheaper by the Dozen" this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The stage production is based on the real life experiences of the 12 children in the Gilbreth family. The production is directed by the school's Speech and Theatre instructor, Carlie Dillinger. Show times are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 with no charge for children four and under. Tickets are available at the door.

Volunteers Needed to Provide Income Tax Assistance
Volunteers are needed to help prepare free tax counseling and basic tax return preparation for low to moderate income families. University of Missouri Extension and Healthy Families Taskforce of Taney and Stone Counties sponsors the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. This past tax season, volunteers prepared over 2,100 federal and state tax returns for families in the two counties. Volunteers are asked to serve at least 6 hours weekly during the filing period, January 26 to April 15. Prospective volunteers are asked to fill out an application. For details call 1-888-504-0443.

November 19, 2014

Grant Increases Patient Visits at Faith Community Health
A Skaggs Legacy Grant, awarded a year ago to Faith Community Health Center in Branson, has enabled the center to receive 801 more patient visits. A Legacy Grant progress report indicated that the grant provided finances to add a full-time provider, expand the hours of operation and accommodate walk-in patients. Patient visits increased 103% from 773 during January to September 2013 to 1,574 during the same nine months this year. Faith Community Health Center provides affordable health care and wellness education to the area's working, uninsured families.

Entrepreneur Rebekah Batson to Speak at C of O
Entrepreneur Rebekah Batson, founder of Mrs. B's Accessories, will speak about her personal experiences as a woman in business Thursday evening at College of the Ozarks. After she learned that women in Nicaragua were forced into sex slavery to pay off even small debts, she traveled with Project H.O.P.E. to that region to teach sewing skills to the women. Rebekah, a C of O alumna, also left four sewing machines so the women could work off their debts with dignity. The convocation in Jones Auditorium at 7 p.m. is free and open to the public. Students have priority seating.

Work Continues on Fireman's Landing at Silver Dollar City
As visitors to Silver Dollar City enjoy this year's Old Time Christmas Festival, work continues in one section of the park called Fireman's Landing. 10 family oriented adventures are being constructed, set to open next spring. Included are six family rides and four interactive play zones. Fireman's Landing will feature Fire Spotter with soaring balloons, Fire Wagon Frenzy-a bouncing ride, FireFall-an 8-story free fall drop ride, Roundabout-a bouncy ride of Dalmatians, Up the Ladder-a smaller drop ride and Fireman's Flyers-a low flying swing ride. The development brings to 40 the number of rides and attractions at SDC and increases the park's ride capacity to over 21,000 per hour.

Branson High School to Host Basketball Jamboree
A Branson High School Basketball Jamboree is planned for this Friday at the high school. The preseason games will feature Branson, West Plains and Central. Both boys and girls teams will participate. Admission to the Jamboree is two canned food items per person or $3 per adult and $1 per student. All food items and cash donations will be given to Christian Action Ministries. The Booster Club will be selling vintage jerseys, warm-ups and clothing once worn by Pirate basketball players and those proceeds will benefit the Booster Club.

Jesus Was Homeless to Hold 7th Annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner
The Jesus Was Homeless ministry in Branson will hold their 7th Annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner November 27th at Our Lady of the Lake Parish Center. Guests will be served a candlelight dinner by hosts wearing tuxedo shirts. A free thrift store will be available, offering coats, hats, gloves, socks and toiletry items made possible through donations. The event is open to anyone who will be alone on Thanksgiving, but is especially prepared for the homeless and those staying in weekly or extended stay motels. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served from 6-8 p.m. Transportation will be provided from and to area motels. Those needing a ride may call 335-9915 on November 27th.

November 18, 2014

Rockaway Beach Man Found Guilty on Drug Charges
A man from Rockaway Beach has been found guilty of two counts of distribution of a controlled substance. The Taney County Prosecutor’s Office charged that on March 6 and March 13, 2013, 54 year old Ronald Stoddard gave Xanax pills to a confidential informant and a narcotics investigator with the C.O.M.E.T. drug task force. The crimes were committed during a time when Stoddard was working as a bail bondsman in Taney County, and one of the illegal transactions occurred in the parking lot of the Taney County Judicial Center. Stoddard faces up to 15 years in prison at his sentencing on January 20, 2015.

Firearms Opening-Weekend Deer Harvest Tops 91,000
The Missouri Department of Conservation reported that hunters checked 91,460 deer during the opening weekend of the 2014 November Portion of Firearms Deer Season this past weekend. That tops last year's firearms opening weekend by over 30,000 deer and is the highest opening weekend since 2010. The MDC also reported that there were three deer-hunting incidents over the weekend with two being fatal. One fatality was in Ste. Genevieve County where a heater in a hunting blind exploded, killing the hunter. The second involved a fall from a tree stand in Crawford County. A third non-fatal incident involved a hunter in Phelps County shooting himself in the leg while loading his rifle.

Reeds Spring to Open Bids for Church, Conduct Budget Workshop
The City of Reeds Spring will hold a special council meeting this Thursday at 5 p.m. to open sealed bids for the purchase of the city-owned church building located at 76 Joe Dwyer Blvd. overlooking the downtown area. The City held two meetings over the past month to gather input from citizens about the future of the building and decided the best option was to sell it. The building is currently occupied by Vessels of Light Ministries, overseen by Max and Cindy Hembree. City Administrator Bill Bell said that the Hembrees recently notified the City that they have been offered another facility and their last service in the church building will be November 30. The City will also be holding a workshop next Monday at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the 2015 Budget and review proposed water and sewer rates. The meeting will be open to the public.

Crews Begin Maintenance Work on Several Branson Streets
The Branson Public Works Department is working with Vance Brothers Construction to perform maintenance on city streets throughout the remainder of November and possibly into December depending on the weather. Work crews will be filling cracks in city streets including some key intersections in Branson. Slight delays may be experienced by drivers through these construction zones. Affected streets include: Shepherd of the Hills Expressway from Roark Valley Road to Brookside Mini-Golf, Gretna Road from the Roark Valley Road Bridge to Highway 76, Wildwood Loop north of Gretna by the White House Theatre and Adventure Zipline, and Roark Valley Road from Highway 76 to Truman Drive.

Big Cedar Lodge Announces Opening of Cedar Creek Spa
Big Cedar Lodge announced that its new 18,000 square foot Cedar Creek Spa is now open. Cedar Creek Spa features eleven treatment rooms with fireplaces, saunas, hot spas, steam rooms, indoor grotto pool, cold therapy ice room, private bridal suite and more. Open houses to tour the new facility will be held this Thursday and Friday from 5-8 p.m.

C of O Students and Graduates Medal in Culinary Competition
College of the Ozarks culinary art students, Hadassah Hirscher and Rebecca Harris, and C of O graduates, Lindsey Whitener and Joy Hunt, competed at the John Joyce Culinary Challenge in Kansas last weekend. Hirscher and Harris competed as individuals in the “Hot Food” student category, and were required to prepare one entrée in 90 minutes. They both received student Silver Medals and received high marks for their professionalism and work habits. Whitener and Hunt received a Professional Bronze Medal in the two-person team “Mystery Basket” event, during which they had four hours to produce a four-course meal from the basket’s ingredients. Pictured from left: Rebecca Harris and Hadassah Hirscher; Lindsey Whitener and Joy Hunt

November 17, 2014

Three Branson Teens Injured in Utility Vehicle Accident
Three Branson teenagers were injured in a one-vehicle accident at about 12:30 Saturday afternoon on Taneycomo Road, three miles east of Branson. The incident occurred when a John Deere Gator utility vehicle driven by 18 year old Sara Whitehead traveled off the roadway and struck a ditch. Whitehead suffered moderate injuries and two passengers, 17 year old Sydney Oliphant and 16 year old Mackenzi Hall, sustained minor injuries. They were all transported by private vehicle to Cox Branson for treatment.

Lampe Woman Injured in One-Car Rollover
A woman from Lampe was injured in a one-car rollover just before 5:30 Saturday evening on Highway 13, a mile and a half south of Kimberling City. The Highway Patrol reported that a car driven by 86 year old Clarice Curl ran off the right side of the roadway at a curve and overturned. Curl was taken to Cox South Hospital in Springfield for treatment of minor injuries.

Kimberling City Woman Injured in One-Car Crash
Forty-seven year old Staci Tharp of Kimberling City was injured in a one-car crash shortly before 9:30 Saturday night on Highway 465, seven miles east of Branson West. Tharp reportedly lost control of her car on an ice-covered bridge and struck a concrete bridge rail. She suffered minor injuries and was transported to Cox Branson for treatment.

Shed Fire in Kirbyville Ignited by Fireplace Ash Pile
Western Taney County Firefighters were dispatched to a shed fire on East Highway 76 in Kirbyville at about 11 a.m. last Friday. Upon arrival, crews found smoke coming from a 400-square-foot shed. Firefighters extinguished the bulk of the fire in about 15 minutes and remained on the scene for a little over an hour. The fire started when a neighbor’s fireplace ash pile ignited some leaves which spread to the shed. The fire was reported by passersby as they saw smoke coming from the shed. There were no injuries in the incident.

NWS Sets November 19 as Winter Weather Awareness Day
The National Weather Service has set this Wednesday, November 19, as Winter Weather Awareness Day. Ron Walker, director of the State Emergency Management Agency, says Missourians should always be mindful of the dangers associated with severe winter weather and be prepared for driving on snow and ice-covered roads, losing power and heat at home, and understanding frostbite and hypothermia. Some winter storm preparation tips include: creating a family emergency plan and an emergency kit, assembling a separate vehicle winter emergency kit, making sure alternate heat and power sources function properly, are safely operated and that adequate fuel is on hand; avoiding driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain, snow or dense fog; and protecting against frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers.

Chick-fil-A® VP to Attend S of O Lower School Dedication
College of the Ozarks and School of the Ozarks will hold a private dedication this Wednesday of the S. Truett Cathy Lower School, named in honor of the late Chick-fil-A® founder and longtime friend of the College. His son, Senior Vice President of Chick-fil-A® Bubba Cathy will be present on behalf of the Cathy family for the Dedication. Following the Dedication, 139 Lower School students will enjoy Chick-fil-A® sandwiches, and each student will receive a plush Chick-fil-A® cow. The Chick-fil-A ® cow mascot also will make an appearance. The Lower School, which opened this fall, mirrors the same mission and values of the School of the Ozarks High School and the College. Families do not pay a tuition fee, but students have an age-appropriate chore assignment as part of the unique Work Education Program which has earned the school the nickname Hard Work U. Photo: Front desk area of the new School of the Ozarks S. Truett Cathy Lower School

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