Is Branson Suffering From a Lack of Debauchery?

Detail's magazine posted an interesting article in the December issue. It provided a unique and interesting look into Branson MO. All the details on the Details article are posted in this months feature in the Branson EDGE.....

Branson MO - Last Week of 2005 - Last Week of the tourist Season

A record 17 theaters will be open on the off season this year.

Silver Dollar City and the Dixie Stampede will be open through the Weekend and the last signs of significant traffic on the strip make way for long unemployment lines.

Branson's tourist season extends every year. Tourists hoping to beat the crowds trickle in for some hot winter fun.

A large number of people have arrived at this post looking for work in the Branson area. If you need employment you can visit the site below.

If you're coming to Branson or if you live in Branson and are looking for work check:

The Devil's in the DETAILS (Magazine)

If it weren't for agent technology I might've missed this one. A custom "Branson Awareness API" helped me grab this one off radar. Details magazine wrote an article about Branson - and wow - the article is so fascinating I'm dedicating an ariticle in the January 2006 issue of the Branson EDGE to explore it....Currently, the Branson EDGE is being redesigned for what looks like a promising year.

Alright, so Branson came up on radar but the website shared with GQ had no mention of the aritle. I searched hi and lo - near and far - the details of the Detail's article couldn't be found anywhere. After searching through dozens of stores I finally found a copy.

The 6 page article "Will Branson ever be Cool?", sits in the back of the December 2005 issue.

The juicy Details article backs up some of the statements made early this year in the Branson EDGE article "What is Branson?"

Is Forsyth, Missouri about to put poison in the water?

Alderwoman Cheryl Altis stood as the sole voice against putting fluoride into the city water system.

Concerns voiced by citizens were not loud enough to justify a ballot item over the issue - so says the Forsyth city council.

At one point the city purchased a bucket of fluoride and debated over which council member was going to dump the bucket of fluoride into the city's water system. Apparently, concerns over putting fluoride into the water system were not enough to stop support of adding fluoride but too much to bank a political career on supporting it.

Several cities and Western countries have banned the use of fluoride over health concerns claiming fluoride is a toxic industrial byproduct.

The city has decided not to put the issue on the ballot.

When it comes to toxins one rule should apply.

"If in doubt, keep it out."

Springfield Branson Regional Airport - Dead - Springfield - Branson National Airport -Born-

It's official the Springfield-Branson Regional Airport is no longer. Offering nearly a dozen major US destinations our airport is now officially national.

Photo Credit

Table Rock Lake - A new face for Marketing the Branson Area

Earlier this month, a new logo and tagline for Table Rock lake was unvieled. The design and logo was created with help by "The Team" in Ozark. The design was created to express the welcoming nature of the community.

Branson Christmas Lights - Branson Area Festival of Lights

I just wanted to post this map from the chamber. It's a map to the area Christmas Lights!

Branson MIssouri - God and Mammon

I've been thinking a lot about the sign above. It's from a small cafe called Mary's in Groom,Texas.

The owner is on a mission for God. His restaurant served some of the best food I had on my months long excursion across the US. Perhaps, best of all, the meal is free. "It's on God."

Before I was given the chance to properly chronicle this adventure I came across a post by "The Old Seagull".

Post Summary.
The article continues to point out that most of Wal-Mart's shopper's are Christian. Seagull, wasn't happy about taking Christ out of Christmas. In the article he even comes up with a solution - slip "Merry Christmas" cards to the Walmart employees in Branson - to remind them the "reason for the season".

Personally, I'm not sure I want the official "religion" of Wal-Mart to be Christianity. I'd bet they sell a lot more Santa Claus than manger wrapper. They use to sell American made products. Remember when that was their motto? Today, it's almost seems difficult to find American made products among the rows of garments made from overseas sweatshops and Chinese made electronics. Not to mention - supporting a family on a Wal Mart employee wage falls far short of the glamorous life and not too far from poverty.

Let me give this to Wal-Mart - they make an effort to give back to the community = allocating a percentage of locally gained revenue to local charities. During the aftermath of the hurricane, they sent massive amounts of resources - including some local soldiers to fight the madness that ensued in the storm's wake.

Still, the employees, stockholders and success, measured in mammon, far outweighs loyalty to any religion when it comes to business decisions.

I think readers in other parts of the country may find the ideas of the Ole Seagull radical. For where you live - they probably are. They aren't here and that's one of the things that makes this place special.

The parade in Branson focused on bringing Christ back into Christmas is something very unique. The fact that it was corporate advertiser free is an example Branson has set - not our nation's cultural norm.

The largest corporate interest in Branson is Silver Dollar City. The family that owns the Theme park also owns two of the top ten charities in the region. They are a faith focused organization and their charitable contributions reflect this. Again - far from the corporate norm.

The free burger from God cooked through proxy in Groom Texas is one of the best I've every eaten. The 12 apostle themed tables - the sermon over lunch and the stones throw to the largest cross in the Western Hemisphere - gives heed to the owner's claim that he's sponsored by God.

I can say with certainty that the Fortune 1000 are all companies focused on financial prosperity = mammon. I'm not sure I want or need them to boast official affiliation with my God.

Merry Christmas!

65 Highway Extends to Arkansas Border - Branson-Hollister Project Details

Work Beginning in 2006
Will Complete Corridor

The widening to four lanes of U.S. 65 south of Hollister, starting in 2006, will conclude a long but steady effort to add lanes along the increasingly busy corridor between Springfield and the Missouri-Arkansas line.

Currently, U.S. 65 is being four-laned through Hollister, with an interchange and overpass also being built. This $19 million project was made possible through a partnership involving MoDOT, Hollister and Taney County. This project is scheduled for completion in fall 2006.

Next up, in late 2005, work will begin on a $10-million project to four-lane U.S. 65 between Branson and Hollister. A second bridge carrying the two new lanes will be built over Lake Taneycomo.

The Hollister-to-Arkansas project, estimated to cost $36 million, involves four-laning eight miles of U.S. 65.
Amendment 3 funds have accelerated the Branson-to-Hollister project.

Amendment 3 also enabled MoDOT to add the Hollister-to-Arkansas project to the 5-Year Plan of construction work. The project in April 2005 was voted the highest-priority rural highway need in Missouri by a statewide Major Projects Task Force of city, county and state transportation officials.

Expected Traffic Impacts:
Minimal along U.S. 65; expect blocked access from side roads to U.S. 65 at various times


* 1970s – New lanes completed between I-44 in Springfield and Ozark

* 1980s – New lanes added at Branson and interchanges built at Routes 76 and 248

* 1990s – New lanes added between Ozark and a point north of Branson

* 2004 – Work begins to add new lanes, interchange and overpass at Hollister, with completion in 2006

* 2005-2007 – New lanes added and new bridge built over Lake Taney-como between Branson and Hollister

* 2006-2008 – New lanes to be added and outer roas built between Hollister and Missouri/Arkansas state line

For more information, contact our Springfield District Office at 417-895-7600 or 1-888-ASK-MoDOT (275-6636).

Branson Missouri - Are we in Branson yet ? Can you give me a sign?

An article this morning in the Baxter Review brings up a good question many travelers to Branson Missouri may ask. Are we there yet?

The article chronicles a common experience travelers may have on the way to America's most popular family destination.

We'd see the billboards with Andy Williams and Petula Clark and Glen Campbell and Yakov Smirnoff and Ray Stevens and get all het up about seeing these old faves.

Only suddenly, after the Arkansas-Missouri border, the billboards would vanish.

In their place would be the usual highway signs about how many more miles it was to Springfield, Mo., and its amenities.

But there wouldn't be another word about Branson.

For four years somehow we'd drive right past Branson, realize our mistake, and double back. Drive slowly and deliberately from the Missouri side. Keep our eyes on the billboards. ...

Unlike other cities in Missouri - well across the United States - Branson doesn't have a "Welcome To Branson Missouri" sign. Perhaps, something this simple would end the type of confusion apparently our neighbors feel. How much more confusion do our millions of tourists feel?

Branson Chamber of Commerce - Quit raising the price of marketing Branson

The tourist season in Branson is coming to a close. A large percentage of the population will be unemployed. This town vibrant and busy with tourists will become somewhat of a ghost town. Those lucky enough to find year round employment - or at least a great majority will be planning for the 2006 season.

As an interactive media buyer I spend a lot of time monitoring the media buys of competitors in the Branson Market.

Unlike the standard cost per impression charges in traditional media, most interactive media is purchased on a "cost per action" basis. Generally, business's in the area try to ride the interest of travelers seeking information about the area. This segment - those actively searching for travel information about Branson represents a small group of people. Through their behavior we can tell that they already have an interest in Branson.

National and local companies bid for the attention span of this small group of consumers. National and local competition can become fierce at peak times as they fight for the attention of consumers to the Branson market.

The Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Board in Branson are the same entity. Their goal is to increase tourism. They are supported by both our tax dollars and private membership fees. Though some see this as a conflict of interest - having a unified entity is important as our city's budget is relatively small compared to the spending capacity of competing cities.

The problem - last year the Chamber started some aggressive advertising online. Some of the budget was put into online bidding systems. Though this is an easy method of gaining traffic is does very little to bring in new customers. In fact, these customers are already coming. When the Branson Chamber of Commerce bids on the attention of people already coming to Branson they bid against the entrepreneurial efforts of active online advertisers.

This type of marketing drives the costs of Branson business's up and fails to bring in new visitors. I hope this year the Chamber has the courage and fortitude to aggressively seek new visitors to Branson instead of making local entities pay more for the advertising they're already buying.

There are a lot of ways to increase tourism to our city online. A lot of research has been conducted to understand the geodemographics of our customer base. Gaining new visitors means focusing on lucrative regions and keeping the frequency of contact with these markets in a timely manner - as we do with our traditional marketing.

Funds used to bid against Branson companies that are trying to gain sales through visitors already expressing interest in Branson comes at a cost of aquiring new ones.

Branson's 57th Adoration Parade - "The True Spirit of Christmas"

The 57th Adoration Parade is designed to celebrate the true spirit of Christmas. Unlike other "holiday" parades. The Adoration Parade celebrates Christmas with a commercial free format.
Thousands gathered the weekend to hear local talent celebrate the holidays by "Keeping "Christ in Christmas".

Kathryn Buckstaff's Adoration Day Report - Srpingfield News-Leader

Branson's Ghosts Rising - Branson Missouri

For the locals, this is a bitter sweet time of year. The Branson market is buzzing with busy shoppers, tour busses and crowds that will soon be gone leaving many unemployed. It only takes a couple years of living in Branson Missouri that you learn to make like a squirrel and save some nuts.

Jay Nixon's back in town letting an area business know that the travel industry must come closer to the communities level of ethics. Thank you Mr. Nixon. This is the second time this year a suit has been filed against an entity in the Travel Club/Timeshare industry.

The Branson Landing announced new leadership and Rockaway Beach is speaking out before what appears to be a cold winter.

The Christmas lights are just as bright and we'll all be having a little more time with family.

Branson's Most Visible Journalists (Top 3) Branson Missouri

1 Gary Groman - The Branson Courier

2. Cliff Sain - Branson Daily News

3. Kathryn Buckstaff - Springfield News-Leader

First Snow of the Year in Branson

Branson had it's first and earliest snow in years. The roads remained in good condition as little stuck with temperature near freezing throughout the day.

Driving to Branson - Beware the Speed Limits - Law Enforcement Is Out!

Kathryn Buckstaff, one of my favorite Branson resporters, published an interesting article in the Springfield Newsleader today. Apparently, the police will be wathing the 65 inlets to Branson carefully. Last week there was a fatal accident on the 65 freeway and it provides a temptation for drivers to speed as the highway's rural appearance makes it seem like a good place to speed. The article cites fines from 250 to 500 dollars being issued in construction zones on the way to and from Branson. Keep it safe and drive the speed limit this weekend as you come into Branson!

New Clothing Store in Branson

Proprietor Deborah Haskins recently opened a new store near Downtown Branson. The store is an unlikely sight following west coast urban fashion. Debbie travels throughout the country to find unique clothing lines for her boutique. Many of the lines she carries can’t be found anywhere in a hundred mile radius. Following trends in New York’s SoHo and off Melrose Hollywood boutiques, Tidepool Apparel boasts uniqueness in style. Tide Pool can be found on Pacific street – just a block away from where Business 65 and 76 Meet. The shop features trendy fashions with an emphasis on styles for the tastes of teens to twenty something’s. Debbie’s shop is intimate and features new inventory weekly through the Christmas season.

Cheap Flights to Branson Missouri Up Ahead

The House of representatives passed a measure guaranteeing 5 million in funds for the Springfield Branson regional airport.

Another measure supported by Kit Bond ensures cheaper flights to Missouri.

As Branson grows these measures will substantially help growth and an increase in tourism by providing access to the region.

Most people that visit Branson do so via car. Inexpensive air access to Branson will inevitably help Branson increase its market share and make trips to Branson much more convenient.

Silver Dollar City Announces Multi Million Dollar Expansion

The launch of Silver Dollar City's "Grand Exposition" will arrive 100 years after the St. Louis Worlds Fair. A press release was issued last week by Silver Dollar City announcing expansion to it's widely popular family owned theme park.

In the tradition of the magnificent expositions showcasing the technological wonders of the late 19th Century, Silver Dollar City presents an all-new development for 2006 – the Grand Exposition! An $8 million expansion in a new region of the theme park, the Grand Exposition recreates the pageantry of a triumphant American tour of discovery, including 10 new family rides that soar, whirl and fly.

As the traveling expositions of the 1880s drew people from hundreds of miles around to marvel at the latest mechanical innovations and American ingenuity, the Grand Exposition is a streetmosphere of excitement. The area will be a colorful destination where exposition-goers experience the collaboration of imagination, technology and entertainment. From elaborate gardens and dancing fountains to the grandiose calliope and the high-sailing ship Galleon, the Grand Exposition is a collection of attractions and technological wonders.

"The Grand Exposition opens a whole new region of the park encompassing two acres, where guests are transported back in time to experience the golden era of discovery and excitement of the World's Fairs and Expositions in the late 1800s," said Brad Thomas, Silver Dollar City General Manager. "In keeping with our hallmark of bringing the past to life, we've chosen the theme of a very grand and exciting era, one which evokes the elements of the St. Louis World's Fair and P.T. Barnum's Traveling Expositions, which came through Missouri in the late 1800s."

The new rides are being manufactured and styled in Italy specifically for Silver Dollar City, and will have a capacity of 5,000 passengers per hour. Rides include the five-story Wave Swinger for high-flying adventure; the ship-themed Galleon which sends riders nearly 60 feet in the air; the multi-dimensional Spinning Disk ride which travels 55 feet in the air as it spins, the twirling Tea Cups with a center control for interactive fun, the fast-paced Regetta, and a family roller coaster. Several rides with nature themes offer excitement for smaller kids.

Branson Home For Republican Fundraiser

Big Cedar Lodge will host a GOP fundraiser this weekend an aritle in the Columbia paper reported:

Gov. Matt Blunt, Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons and House Speaker Rod Jetton are scheduled to appear at a high-dollar fundraiser for the state Republican Party. The event will be held at the Big Cedar Lodge, located about 10 miles south of Branson.

Party spokesman John Hancock confirmed the cost to attend will be "within the range" of $25,000 and said it’s a unique event for the GOP because most fundraisers are centered around a single lunch or dinner. He said the upcoming gathering will be a weekendlong event attended by "executive-level" supporters.


Branson Courier Takes Shot At Mayor

Personally, I think the people that write the news in this town are some of the most interesting people in our city.

Gary Groman aka "The Ole Seagull", is no stranger to controversy. He has a long history of participating in the online community, writes an editorial for a Branson Newspaper. Recently he's taken up blogging which has evolved into a separate newspaper. As of the last few weeks it appears his endorsement of time-share has slowed (their aren't any ads for time share related companies as of recent)

Politically, the question in Branson is not what party you belong to but just how conservative are you. On this front "The Ole Seagull" is a staunch conservative - ole fashioned values kinda of fella'. Recently he's come out in support of the tourist tax and spread a diatribe on gambling far throughout the state. The statement was issued under a "creative commons" style distribution method.

Outside of fishing and family values you can find him fired up about democracy. This is when I find his newsfeed fun. From traffic issues to his dubbing of the City political structure as the Brumafia - he's holding little sacred outside his own spiritual and political beliefs.

Yesterday, he took a shot at the Mayor -

The Nov. 4 edition of this paper contained a letter to the editor signed by Mayor Louis E. Schaefer expressing concerns about the Ole Seagull’s Sunday Oct. 16 column entitled “A question for Branson’s elected and appointed officials, Would you like to be treated this way?” The style and tenor of the letter was strangely reminiscent of a similar letter on the same topic that was published in the Sep. 29, 2004 edition of this paper. That letter was signed by City Administrator Terry Dody. Oh, and by the way, evidently the answer was “Yes.”

From the “get go,” let’s be clear on what the issue is. It’s not about a tree being cut down, annexing land, what’s in the minutes of meetings, the city requiring the removal of a “breakfast special sign” from a downtown restaurant that had been in place for years, some one being able to speak at public meetings or how they do it, the manner and way in which the liberty tree was removed, etc. To an Ole Seagull it’s about treating people the right way, the way things are done, and, what he believes is yet another example of how Branson is changing under the leadership of the man who seemingly controls its government in a Caesar like grip.

As you can imagine, making controversial statements doesn't make you popular with everyone. We live in a small town and the media has a profound affect on how we're viewed. Still, showing that democracy is alive in Branson is good for our image and the more we open dialogue - the more we're able to find creative solutions towards positive change.

Full Story
“Hail Caesar!” the theme for the “new” Branson?

Dolly Parton Opens Branson East

ROANOKE RAPIDS, N.C was dubbed Branson East by a local North Carolina reporter. This story came accross the wire over the weekend as Roanoke Rapids announced the oppening of a multi-million dollar entertainment complex.

The mayor reiterated the statement in the aritcle by saying "We're going to be biggier then Branson".

The Associated Press reported:

The theater will be the cornerstone of the planned 750-acre Carolina Crossroads Music and Entertainment District, which seeks to rival Branson, Mo., and Gatlinburg, Tenn., as a hub of country, pop, beach and gospel music.

The $129 million project is expected to create more than 12,000 jobs over the next five years. The first phase of the project, which includes Randy Parton's 1,500-seat theater, is to open in April 2007.

Dolly attended the groundbreaking celebration for the opening of her brother Randy Parton's theatre which is named after Randy himself.

Related Articles
Parton Attends Groundbreaking of Theater - Yahoo/AP

Branson Show sued For Copyright Infringement

The Springfield Daily News reported a lawsuit filed against 50's At The Hop and a collection of damages suggested up to $30,000 dollars per song. The article also noted other lawsuits against Branson Theaters. Apparently, Country Tonight was sued for singing Jingle Bells without a license.
The copyrighted songs reportedly performed on July 31 at "50's At The Hop" were "Rock Around The Clock," "It's My Party," "Unchained Melody," "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," "Charlie Brown," "Witch Doctor" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

Editors Note: Be careful where you sing the "Happy Birthday" song. This is a copyrighted in addition to the songs posted above.

Signs for the recently passed tourist tax can be found littered accross the landscape of Branson.
Photo by Dad

Ozark Hellbender Says Water Quality in Southwest Missouri is declining

The Ozark Hellbender population is on a serious decline. Herpetologists fear the entire population will be wiped out before a solution can be found to slow down or if it's possible to slow down the culprit.

Scientists agree this unique species will be eliminated if the water quality in Southern Missouri continues to stay on the decline. The St. Louis Zoo is has spent substantial energy towards the preservation of the species and is currently breeding the unique salamander in hopes they can one day re-introduce the Amphibian black into the population.

The species has sparked interest from several scientific disciplines as the toxins affecting the salamander are also toxic to humans.

The St. Louis Zoo reports the population has experienced and 80% decline in the last couple of decades.

As our region grows, managing waste and natural resources fall into the growing concern of infrastructure.

It's nice we have a booming real estate market and it's good we have Tiff Funds to help along with development - but when it comes down to the larger issues of protecting our natural resources (the foundation of our tourist market) who's going to foot the bill?

Branson Passes Tourist Tax - No One Came to the Victory Party

The other night I was waiting for word to come over the wire about Branson, Missouri's tourist tax. I was flabbergasted when I found the lack of headlines from our local papers. I found this quite bothersome being it was the biggest story of the day. Hmmm…. A lot of effort went into grass-roots measures to get the bill passed, after, a ghost town of silence, until today.
Today the Tourism Board met to determine how the money should be spent. Apparently, the tax doesn’t kick in until April. In lieu of the anticipated party – they’re figuring out how to manage the new funds.
Good Job
Branson Daily News - Tourism Board Plans for Future Marketing

Branson Real Estate boom spilling out of Branson

The Branson real estate market is too hot for the surrounding areas not to feel the heat. A recent article from the Baxter paper shed light on this article.

The Branson's market prices may will most likely adjust over the next few years; but the real estate market surrounding areas will adjust in the other directiono - for those living in the surrounding areas there's only one way ...up

Quote of the Week - By Dennis Hop - Owner of the Bunny Ranch

Dennis Hop, owner of one of America's only legal brothels; made this comment to Motel Williams:

I made my money in real estate. I made my money building time share - then I decided to go legit

Branson's Unfullfilled Dreams

Kathryn Buckstaff of the Sprinfield News-Leader wrote an interesting article about Branson in the Springfield paper today. See Branson Plans that fell through.

Branson Development - Huffman at it again

Another development in Branson...

This just in from the Branson Daily News -
A $300 million development is getting under way soon in northern Branson.

At a Branson Planning & Zoning meeting Tuesday, the commission gave initial approval of a planned development in Branson Hills that will include 800 homes, senior housing, retails stores and a golf course. According to Rick Huffman, managing partner of Branson Hills Development Company, LLC, the development will respond to heavy demands from the community.

"We've had an enormous response, just from those who are already in the Branson community and Springfield," Huffman said.

The development, which will get under way as soon as December, will be developed in three phases and feature homes that range in price from $150,000 to $2 million.

"It's one-and-a-half miles from Branson Landing," Huffman said. "It's right by (U.S. 65) so it's an easy trip to Springfield; there's going to be new shopping close by at Target and Home Depot; it's close to schools and the new recreation center. It's a community place."

Branson Netizen

Anyone remember the Netizen? I do. There was a time when this was the symol of a rising culture which was quickly eaten up by traditional media. I see people getting excited about technology again.

I see XML and RSS applications changing the way people think about the possibilities of computing. After 10 years in the industry I see a few things coming one of which is a dot com boom. Anyone else smell this?

Branson, Missouri sits forty miles from Arkansas. One of its trademarks is a hillbilly culture - with an online advertising expenditure in the millions.

Rebuilding New Orleans - House Rebublican Study Commitee

* Automatically suspend Davis-Bacon prevailing wage laws in disaster areas. (Reps. Marilyn Musgrave, Colorado, Tom Feeney, Florida, Jeff Flake, Arizona)
* Make the entire affected area a flat-tax free-enterprise zone. (Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin)
* Make the entire region an economic competitiveness zone (comprehensive tax incentives and waiving of regulations). (Rep. Todd Tiahrt, Kansas)
* Immediate, first-year business expensing in lieu of depreciation for all assets, both personal property and structures (buildings) in the affected areas.
* Allow net operating loss carry-backs for affected residents and businesses going back as many years as is needed to actualize the NOL.
* For residents and businesses located or investing in the affected area, their 2005 and 2006 capital gains and dividends rate should be zero.
* Individuals in the affected area should have a Section 911 (overseas earned income) exclusion that is uncapped.
* Waive the death tax for any deaths in the affected area between August 20, 2005-December 31, 2005.
* Provide limited liability protection for construction contractors who voluntarily provide services or equipment before a government contract is finalized. (Rep. Gary Miller, California, Rep. Tom Cole, Oklahoma)
* Repeal or waive restrictive environmental regulations, such as NEPA, that hamper rebuilding. (Heritage Foundation)
* Waive penalties for early withdrawals from tax-advantaged savings (like IRAs and 401k accounts). (Heritage Foundation)
* Eliminate any regulatory barriers and other disincentives that block faith-based and other charitable organizations from engaging in the recovery and reconstruction process. (Orthodox Union, Heritage Foundation)
* Increase the amount of rehabilitation tax credits by 30 percent in census tracts where the greatest poverty exists, and for smaller projects where raising capital for reconstruction is the most difficult, and where there is the most critical need for housing and neighborhood reinvestment. (Rep. Phil English, Pennsylvania)
* Allow non-itemizers to deduct chartable contributions to disaster relief. (Rep. Ron Paul, Texas)
* Give school-choice vouchers for displaced children. (Rep. Ted Poe, Texas)
* Provide tax (and other such) incentives to lenders if they provide funding for school and other construction.
* Reduce, suspend, or eliminate tariffs on Canadian lumber, Mexican cement, and other materials used for new construction.
* Permit an additional advance refunding for all governmental bonds issued by or on the behalf of entities contained in the disaster area as declared by the president.
* Eliminate the volume cap for private-activity bonds in the disaster area and permit the use of private-activity bonds for all transportation-related infrastructure in the disaster area.
* Eliminate the income and home price limitation for mortgages funded by tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds for a five-year period.
* Allow a non-profit corporation to issue tax-credit bonds--which provide a return in the form of a federal tax credit--and allocate the proceeds for school rehabilitation and reconstruction.
* Streamline the environmental hurdles to building new oil refineries. (Rep. John Shadegg, Arizona)
* Make it easier for small refineries to increase capacity. (Kansas's Tiahrt)
* Allow more offshore oil drilling. (Texas's Poe)
* Pay the royalties for new offshore oil drilling to the local governments nearest to shore. (Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California)
* Allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
* Temporarily suspend the gas tax. (Arizona's John Shadegg)
* Permanently reduce the gas tax.
* Waive or repeal gas formulation (e.g. oxygenation) requirements under the Clean Air Act and related regulations. (Heritage Foundation)
* Encourage the production of renewable fuels (biodiesel, ethanol.)
* Encourage private-market projects to recover usable energy from oil shale.
* Strengthen the existing investment tax credit for Enhanced Oil Recovery (using modern technology improvements to extract oil from previously unavailable sources) in section 43 of the IRS Code.

Source: House Republican Study Committee

Branson - Research Newspaper Archives

Have you ever read an article in the local paper and want a copy of it? This morning I made my way down to the Branson Daily News to get a copy of an article printed a month ago.

Here's the scoop - The Branson Daily News keeps copies of all newspapers for a decade back. Copies of the original paper can be purchased for 50 cents a piece. Anything older than 10 years is available on microfilm at the College of the Ozarks Library.

Another note on College of the Ozarks - if you live in the community you can access some very powerful databased their as well. Personally, I find access to the legal tools a great resource that can save you thousands of dollars on data you might otherwise have to have an attorney to access.

Branson - Springfield - Ozark Soccer

A young athlete and former Branson Pirate made an inquiry to Branson High School about the possible starting of a soccer program. The response "Soccer is a Communist Sport". Hmmm.

Several other individual efforts to start a soccer program at the high school were met with same result. I've come to find out Soccer is alive and well in the Ozarks!

Growing up at the Dogpatch USA - Ernie Raney

I'm often asked by my peers on the West Coast what their is to do in Branson, Missouri. This article really hits home. Forget the shows - the theme parks - the kind people that live here. What it's really about is the beauty and lessons these hills have to share.

Ernie Ranie grew up in the theme park many of you remember from your youth. Though more of a ghost town now. The Linn County times wrote an article about the principle's youth and how it helps him as a scholar and educator.

Always more intrigued as a boy by what he could find off the beaten path than by what attracted tourists to the developed area of Dogpatch, the now-grown elementary school principal observes, "The whole art of teaching a child involves gaining access to the backroads of his heart and mind, allowing him to be what he is and waiting to help him take that next step when he is ready."

Full Story


Branson MIssouri - Tourism Tax

All major local publications voiced support for the Branson Tourism Tax over the weekend.

Branson Daily News - A Hundred Years And The Newspaper Will Be Dead

Ok, now think about it - a couple hundred years ago a "town crier" would, well - cry the news in the middle of the town square.

I know quite a bit about this custom having dated the daughter of one of the top "town criers" in the world. To be precise - #1 in Canada, having cried before the Queen herself!

It's not with pride that I say I almost wet myself when I saw the costume. You see, the English redcoat to me conjures pictures of Paul Revere screaming at the top of his lungs , screaming - they're coming to kill us. "The Red Coats are coming , The RED COATS ARE COMING!". I guess the town crier did have a place.

If you think about it, truly, the birth of America has everything to do with the birth of new media. Is it at all possible to understate the value of Thomas Paine's tiny pamphlet? Isn't it just Common Sense ? The town crier was made a legend and the newspaper reigned for over a hundred years.

I wonder, and am quite certain that there was a "Town Crier Union" which probably lost a great deal of power at the turn of the 19th Century.

As certain as video killed the radio star - the Internet will kill the news reporter.

Newsflash: The Branson Daily News is creating a new Content Management System. I expect good things and am looking forward to its release!

Branson Hospitality - contagious - Thank You Lebanon

40 Minnesota Senior Citizens on a bus from Missouri (imagine that) broke down on the way home. Apparently, Lebanon residents demonstrated generosity and warmth to the distraught tourists- . Jumbled reports made it halfway through the wire. Apparently, Lebanon residents shared Branson's tradition of hospitality by providing for these individuals. At this time no details have been issued regarding the extent and personal actions of Lebanon residents. Though the details haven't been distributed through the wire - Reports of Ozark's warmth have proven themselves contagious.

Branson - The next Generation

Branson has some great things coming through the pipeline. No, I'm not talking about the Landing or several multi-billion dollar development projects announced over the last few weeks. I'm not talking about a Mel Tillis comeback or who's who on the 70 + circuit.

We have a new generation coming and the reigns are slowly being handed over. This is something to be excited about. For instance, the Haygoods are growing up and getting national attention- Branson's own will make us proud. Branson launched it's first Rock n' Roll show featuring hits from the 1990's as opposed to 1919.

I'm excited today because the next generation is rising up - newbies being pruned for the top leadership spots. I'm excited becuase I see more integrity and an explosion of creative talent rising through the pores of Branson's foundation. I'm excited because a new promise for Branson is being delivered - with new leadership and new stars. But mostly, I'm excited because I get to watch it happen and even participate in the transformation this city will see in the next few years.

What Success is - From Branson - College of the Ozarks

Success is not measured by money, but, by attainment of high character and a right relationship with God

Dr. William Parker
1913 CofO Administrator

These words are written on the southern walkway to a gazebo.

Branson Veteran's Taskforce Schedule of Events

BVTF Tactical Operations Center (TOC), Veterans Reception & Vendor Village will be located at Celebration City Convention Hall: All American Lunch served Daily from 11;30 am(1130 hrs) to 1p.m (1300hrs) free to veterans and active personnel, courtesy of the Golden Corral and Branson Veterans Task Force. Vendor booths will be open from 9am (0900 hrs) to 6p.m.(1800hrs). The TOC will be open from November 7th through the 11th.

Veterans Registry is at the BVTF Tactical Operation center (TOC) and the Grand Country Square from 9 a.m. (0900 hrs) to 6p.m. (1800 hrs). Looking for friends from your unit or hoping someone might be trying to find you? Get your name in the Branson Veterans Task Force Registry. No charge for registration or searches.

Veterans Patch Wall, Grande Country Square - FREE - Hundreds of patches collected from all services hold special meaning for each branch, division and unit represented. See this collection in progress. Patch donations welcome. Open all year.

Mike Radford's Hall of Heroes, - FREE - A display honoring men and women of every era. Located inside the Radisson Hotel, lower level, next to the Veterans Cafe' where coffee is always free to veterans. This stirring tribute includes donated military memorabilia, uniforms and thousands of photographs from families across America. An additional Hall of Heroes is locate din the Imax Entertainment Complex.

Veterans History Project- Veterans Stories needed - free- The Branson Veterans Task Force Inc, as a partner with the Library of Congress American Folklore Center, is videotaping for future generations, the personal stories of veterans of all branches and all eras. During the Veterans Homecoming, these will be taped between 9:00 am and 5pm .

Vietnam Traveling Wall - FREE - The Official, half scaled replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the most visited memorial in Wash, DC, is open for viewing daily at the Welk Resort Theatre November 5 through the 11th from 8am to 10pm daily. As is customary, the list of names will be read continuously throughout the seven day period. Opening Ceremony is at 10am November 4th.

Veterans Rights Seminars - Free – daily workshop sessions regarding veterans rights/benefits will be conducted at Culpepper Place of Branson, 5351 Gretna Rd. Advance reservations required. Call 800-335-8566. Use reservation #211. You will receive a return call to confirm your reservation.

Daily Special Events by Day and Starting Hour*

Friday, November 4th 2005

10:00 a.m.(1000 hrs)- Dedication and Memorial Service for the Vietnam Traveling Wall, Welk Resort.

Saturday, November 5th 2005

6:30 a.m. (0600hrs)- The BVTF will host the POW/MIA Hot Air Balloon Static Display at Mansion America – open all day – weather permitting

10 a.m. (1000hrs)-Opening Ceremonies at Mansion America Theatre

7:30 p.m. (1930hrs)– Tatiana hosts a Veterans Salute to the Salvation Army, 7:30 p.m. Moe Bandy Theatre, A special tribute to the memory of the donut lassies who helped feed the troops in WWI – Veterans get into this show for a donation of $10. Proceeds go to the Salvation Army. Refreshments include donuts

Sunday, November 6th 2005

9:00 a.m. - Bike Rally Toys for Tots - sponsered by the Forsythe VFW post 5168 for more information contact the VFW @ 417-546-5869

10 a.m.(1000hrs) - Honoring Veterans Homecoming Church Service, Hamner Barber Theatre, Shepherd of the Hills Expressway

8 p.m. (2000hrs)- Braschler Music Show Salute to Veterans - free to veterans and active duty military - Hamner Barber Theatre, Shepherd of the Hills Expressway

Monday, November 7th 2005

11 a.m. (1100hrs)- Woman's Veterans Rose Petal Memorial, Mansion America Theatre - free

Followed by Woman's Veterans Luncheon, Majestic Steak House Click Here for More Information

11:30 a.m.(1130hrs) – 1 p.m. Free lunch to veterans and current serving military served at Vendor Village at Celebration City . Live entertainment. Others welcome to dine for a donation.

Noon – Women Veterans Luncheon, Majestic Steak House, Gretna Rd., $25 Reservations required. Call Mary Slivka 800-935-1199 ext. 817

2:30 – 3 p.m. (1430-1500hrs)– Presentations by military author, writers and artists on stage at (TOC) Tactical Operations Center located at Celebration City

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (150001530hrs)– Various presentations by the National Flag Foundation on stage at Vendor Village at Celebration City

3:30 – 4 p.m. (1530-1600hrs)– Various presentations by the Veterans History Project on stage at Vendor Village at Celebration City

Tuesday, November 8th 2005

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. (1130 - 1300hrs) Free lunch to veterans and current serving military served at Vendor Village at Celebration City . Live entertainment. Others welcome to dine for a donation.

2:30 – 3 p.m. (1430- 1500hrs)– Presentations by military author, writers and artists on stage at Vendor Village at Celebration City

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (1500`1530hrs)– Various presentations by the National Flag Foundation on stage at Vendor Village at Celebration City

3:30 – 4 p.m. (1530-1600hrs)– Various presentations by the Veterans History Project on stage at Vendor Village at Celebration City

7:30 p.m. (1930hrs)- Homecoming BIG SHOW, Musical Palace (#1 Hits of the ‘60s) – veterans free – Hwy. 248

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

9 a.m. (0900hrs)- Korean War Veterans Association Mini-Reunion, until noon at the Settle Inn hosted by the State of Missouri K.W.V.A and the Harry S. Truman Chapter K.W.V.A. 417- 338-2181

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. (1130-1300hrs) Free lunch to veterans and current serving military served at Vendor Village at Celebration City . Live entertainment. Others welcome to dine for a donation.

Noon - Honor and Integrity/ Luncheon honoring youth military groups at the VFW Post 5168 Forsyth , Mo.

2:30 – 3 p.m. (1430-1500hrs)– Presentations by military author, writers and artists on stage at Vendor Village at Celebration City

3p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (1500-1530hrs)– Various presentations by the National Flag Foundation on stage at Vendor Village at Celebration City

3:30 – 4 p.m. (1530-1600hrs)– Various presentations by the Veterans History Project on stage at Vendor Village at Celebration City

6 p.m. (1800hrs)– POW/MIA Skidmore, Missouri Gala, Chateau on the Lake

7 p.m. - 9 p.m. (1900-2000hrs)- Candlelight Military Memorial Service-all Military and guests invited, Skyline Baptist Church , Hwy. 165 and Fall Creek Rd.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

10 a.m. (1000hrs)- KWVA Benefit Show at the Dutton Family Theatre for the Harry S. Truman Chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association. Dutton Theatre is located at 3454 W. Hwy. 76 in Branson. Tickets are $10 for adults. Call for reservations 417-332-2772.

10 a.m 1000hrs)- Tom Brokaw - Coolege of the Ozarks Keeter Center for more information contact The Keeter Center @ 417-239-1900

10:30 a.m. (1030hrs)– Gold Star and Blue Star Mother's Breakfast, Golden Corral, Shepherd of the Hills Expressway

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. (1130-1300hrs) Free lunch to veterans and current serving military served at Vendor Village at Celebration City . Live entertainment. Others welcome to dine for a donation.

Noon - Honor and Integrity/ Luncheon honoring youth military groups at the VFW Post 5168 Forsyth , Mo.

2:30 – 3 p.m. (1430-1500hrs)– Presentations by military author, writers and artists on stage at Vendor Village at Celebration City

3 p.m.– 3:30 p.m. (1500-1530hrs)– Various presentations by the National Flag Foundation on stage at Vendor Village at Celebration City

3:30 – 4 p.m. (1530-1600hrs)– Various presentations by the Veterans History Project on stage at Vendor Village at Celebration City

5:30 p.m. (1730hrs)– Marine Corp Ball –American Legion Table Rock Post 637 host. Honoring the Ladies Auxiliary and the Marine Corp's Birthday. Call 417-739-4108 for reservations. Kimberling City

6 p.m (1800hrs)– American Presidential Museum USO Dinner, Dance and Party. Until 11 p.m. For more information call toll free 866-334-8683. Behind Starlite Theatre just off Hwy. 76

Friday November 11th 2005 (Veterans Day)

11 a.m. (1100hrs)-Veterans Day Parade sponsored by American Legion Post 220 through downtown Branson

11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. (1130-1300hrs) Free lunch to veterans and current serving military served at Vendor Village at Celebration City . Live entertainment. Others welcome to dine for a donation.

2:30 - 3 p.m. (1430-1500hrs)- Presentations by military author, writers and artists on stage at Vendor Village at Celebration City

5 p.m. (1700hrs)- Closing Ceremonies, The Follies Theatre BVTF ceremony/entertainment, Free - Tickets must be picked up by Noon on Friday, Nov. 11 (please be aware that the Follies theater is having other shows this day, so tickets must be picked up no later than noon). For reservations please call 417-335-2000

6:30 p.m. (1830hrs)– Open to the Public - Armed Forces Veterans Ball celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Branson Veterans Task Force at Chateau on the Lake, Price is $45 per person “A special tribute to Tony Orlando and Ed McMahon” Cocktail Hour (cash bar) 6:30 p.m., Dinner 7:30 p.m., Entertainment and Dancing Jim Hunter and the Mellotones 9 p.m. – midnight - Mess Dress, Tuxedo, or Business Suit (Black Tie optional). Call the Task Force for reservations 417-337-8387

It should be noted that all events, location, & times are at this time subject to change. For further information contact the Branson Veterans Task Force at 417-337-8387 or go to their web site. For information and schedules for shows and attraction or to purchase tickets on line click here or call 800-590-0155.

Branson's Building Boom - Springfield Newleader Report

Branson is booming! The leading local newspaper Springfield Daily News Reports:
It's happening again, only this time, the Branson boom of the 21st century will bring thousands of new residents.

Add it up:

# In the past two weeks, developers have announced projects worth more than $2.7 billion in Taney and Stone counties.

# More than 8,000 homes and condominiums are planned or under construction.

# The city of Branson expects to break the 1993 record of $119.5 million in new construction with $103.3 million logged through September. In addition to housing, national retailers and new entertainment attractions are in the mix.

"I really don't see it slowing down," said Mike Rankin, Branson's economic development director. "I'm getting calls from developers and investors around the country and across the water. And when they think of Branson, they think of a large area from Blue Eye to Kirbyville and the outlying area."

Rankin cites several reasons he's even getting calls from investors in Australia, China and Japan who have read about Branson's boom on the Internet.

"It's a safe haven in the central U.S. with a perception of family values, our development costs are less here than in other areas," and Branson is an easy drive from many population centers, Rankin says.

Branson Missouri - Real Estate

A site to help customers and Real Estate agents access available housing resources and information. The freshly launched website is located at Branson Real Estate. The real estate market in Branson is booming. The department of econmic development reports record growth as new proposals to build resorts along Bull Shoals continue to come in. This week Branson West will be discussing a 150 million dollar development proposed in the city.

Richard Branson Airline loses age discrimination suit

The Austrailian courts have ruled against a Richard Branson owned discount airlines failed to give women over the age of 35 a second interview.
Evening Times Summary

Branson Missouri Reports Building Boom

I really don't see it slowing down soon, as I continue to receive inquiries from developers and businessmen from throughout the country who want to be a part of Branson's tremendous growth momentum."

City officials announced this week that they finished the month of September having permitted $103.3 million in new construction for the year, the second highest total in city history, with three months remaining.

That puts Branson on track to break its single-year record of $119.5 million in 1993.

In fact, September alone saw an estimated value of $27.4 million in new permits, a new record for that month.

Much of the boom is directly attributable to Branson Landing, a $420 million retail and convention center development in the city's downtown area along Lake Taneycomo. The project is a joint venture between the city of Branson and HCW Development Company. It is scheduled to open in stages between April 2006 and April 2007.

Branson Chrismas Lights -

The city reports a 37,000 annual investment in preparing the city for Christmas guests. A display at a cost of 100,000 dollars to the city is in the process of being sold as the traditional spot for the annual Christmas Lights drive through exhibit is in the process of being developed.

Rest assured there will be Christmas Lights in Branson with the majority of funds already secured.

City of Branson - Maps For All

The city of Branson just announced that the layers of city maps are available for free through the city - the race for a better map is on!

Killer Web Site - Local Artist

Rumour is Kole will be moving to Los Angeles to pursue his career as an artist. If you want to see current works visit the "Rock Room"

Highway 65 - 4 Lanes from Arkansas to Branson - No Traffic Relief for the Strip in sight

It's no secret that the Midwest's top drive to destination is the home of many a traffic jam. Federal and local funds dedicated to building new roads have been spent before they ever had the chance to burn a hole through anyone's pocket.

Rapid expansion of Hwy 65 to a four lane highway is well underway. Next month plans to build a bridge on 65 South of Branson accross Lake TaneyComo will be begin as well.

Will all this road expansion relieve traffic in Branson? No. The city is in desperate need of transportation infrastructure.

Still, if you're headed north to Branson you can expect a smooth ride to the parking lot we know as the Branson strip.

Branson West Firefighters Strike Back

There are few small towns in America where behind the scenes discussions govern a great deal of political decisions. Here in Missouri it's against the law and for good reason. It's long been rumoured that one of our local law firms negotiates with public officials at friday night poker games. A timely loss could mean a client goes to jail...or get's set free. (More on this later).

This press release was generated a couple of days ago and is part of an ongoing battle with the powers that be in Branson West.

Press Release: SSCFPD
Southern Stone County Fire Protection District
10965 East State Highway 76
Branson West, MO 65737

Contact: Gordon Weathers, Press Secretary

Southern Stone County Fire Protection District’s Former Board of Directors found in violation of Sunshine Law

Branson West, Stone County, Missouri, September 22, 2005 – The Circuit Court of Stone County ruled judgment against former Board of Directors of The Southern Stone County Fire Protection District on September 21, 2005 in regards to Sunshine Act Violations. The ruling declared that the Board of Director meeting on April 6, 2005 was held with insufficient notice under the Sunshine Act.

The meeting of April 6, 2005 was held by, two former board members of the district who had been defeated for re-election on April 5, 2005. During this meeting employment contracts were entered into with all 6 of the Districts paid staff. These contracts were never subject to public input prior to the time that they were approved and executed by the former board of Directors even though the contracts were in direct violation to the Board’s By-Laws and the Board’s employee handbook. These contracts placed restraints on the newly elected board members in regard to discipline and discharge of employees, as well as placing a large financial liability on the District.
The court further declared that the previous board’s failure to give proper notice of the closed session in which the 6 contracts were approved and executed was directly in violation of provisions 610.020.1 and 610.022.2 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri and that any and all actions or contractual obligations undertaken during the April 6, 2005 meeting including all 6 contracts are declared to be void and nullified. This ruling returns the 6 paid employees to at will status as specified in the Board of Director’s by-laws and employee handbook. Releasing the Citizens of The Stone County Fire Protection District from further financial liability in regards to these contracts.

Blunt Fights Back as Governor from the north tries to steal state Brainpower

Biotechnology is a hot topic, it provides economic opportunity in the state and promises to increase crop values for farmers nationwide. Missiouri is a leader in Biotechnology and wants to keep it that way. The Illinois Governor wants the same and made attempts to pull top Missouri scientists by criticizing the states efforts.

The promise of Biofuel, a rising demand for a growing population and hefty federal grants put Missouri in the national spotlight as the Illinois Governor put on the heat. Missouri Governor Matt Blunt responded with this letter to state scientists.

Missouri Internet Law Repealed

he measure repealing the law had passed the House earlier. The Senate voted 32-0 in favor of it. Lawmakers later concluded the special session called by Gov. Matt Blunt to pass additional abortion restrictions and fix several new laws.
Earlier this year Sen. Rob Mayer, R-Dexter introduced a bill to protect politicians from danger. The original form and it's final copy went way beyond the intent of the Senator by his own admission.

In light of recent highly publicicized violence against public officials the bill's intent was to limit information about public officials over the Internet.

Specifially, the law stated no court or government agency could post online the home address, Social Security number or phone number of any elected or oppointed official without consent.

County Websites often contain property records and other information in violation of the law. County officials worried about how to enforce the restriction. Boone, Cass, Jackson an Platte counties sued the state stating among othe things that the law would impose a cost on counties without providing funding, in violation of state law.

"It was a piece of legislation that had good intentions," said Sen. Rob Mayer, R-Dexter. "Probably we should have given it more in-depth study and analysis."

Online LLC Filings

Today the State of Missouri announced that you can file as an LLC online.

Missouri Governor on Katrina

Blunt Lauds Missourians Compassionate Response, Willingness to Help Victims of Hurricane Katrina
Provides Information on Best Ways to Assist those in Need

ST. LOUIS—Gov. Matt Blunt lauded the overwhelming show of support people throughout Missouri have given or volunteered to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast Region.

At a news conference here, Blunt encouraged Missourians who are interested in donating their time or resources to contact the State Emergency Management Office in Jefferson City by phone at (888) 526-6664 or by visiting their Internet site,

Blunt also talked about two Executive Orders he issued today allowing physicians from Louisiana and Mississippi to treat patients that have been transported to St. Louis and other parts of the state, and a waiver he issued today temporarily lifting the state mandate on the sale of reformulated gas in Kansas City and St. Louis.

"The tremendous devastation along the Gulf Coast is shocking and disheartening," Blunt said. "Melanie and I join millions of Missourians who are keeping all those who have been displaced or have lost loved ones in our prayers. I have pledged any and all support to those states suffering the most from this devastating storm."

To date, Blunt has mobilized 1,000 members of the National Guard who will provide security, engineering and transportation support for rescue efforts in the Gulf Coast region. The governor also directed the Department of Transportation to waive regulatory permits for commercial motor carriers involved in relief efforts and has asked the attorney general to investigate potential price gouging on gasoline.

In addition to the governor’s actions, state and local governments, charities and the private sector are also offering assistance to those in need. St. Louis County is working with the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, local plumbers, electricians and businesses to open a former jail in Chesterfield as housing.

The Branson Chamber of Commerce is helping coordinate a community-wide effort to provide lodging, jobs and entertainment for hurricane victims. Hospitals throughout the state are caring for patients transported from impacted areas and several Missouri businesses have donated supplies and personnel to help with relief efforts.

Next week Blunt will donate blood at a Red Cross blood drive at the Missouri Governor’s mansion in Jefferson City on Wednesday, Sept. 7. The Red Cross is seeking blood, financial and time donations from citizens throughout the state. Those interested can obtain information at the Red Cross Internet site,

New Orleans Refugees - Public Service - Branson Missouri

The Branson EDGE reported an estimate of 160 families coming to Branson in the aftermath of Katrina.

Families are instructed to report to the Red Cross which has setup temporary facilities in the lower floor of the Salvation Army. The building iin midtown Branson off highway 76. located right off of Highway 76 The address is 1114 Stanely and can be found behind Garrs’ on the strip.

Families processed through the Red Cross are being processed and issued basic neccesities. The Salvation Army has noted a short supply and can use the following neccesitites.

1. Personal Hygene products
2. Diapers
3. Baby Food
4. Socks
5. Underwear

There are many places to donate directly to organizations in New Orleans, however, the local Salvation Army wants those who wish to help local families to note so in the memo section of donation checks.

After processing the Red Cross is placing names in the national database so those looking for family members can find the location of loved ones. After an initial assesment families are provided shelter through local resorts and hotels, food through restaurants in town and access to shows and attractions. The generiosity displayed through our local businesses is certainly in the tradition of Branson hospitality.

It's anticipated that several efforts throughout the city to help hurricans victims should become more streamlined over the week.

Please feel free to contact the Branson EDGE with any questions concerns or information regarding efforts, contributions and questions regarding local efforts.

Branson Mo Looks Bey

Branson, Mo., Looks Beyond RVs and Buffets
Prosperous Conservative Movement Has Blue-Collar Retreat Aiming to Go Upscale
By Lois Romano
Washington Post Staff WriterMonday, August 8, 2005; Page A03
BRANSON, Mo. -- Here in the lush foothills of the Ozarks it is barely 9 a.m., with temperatures inching toward 100, and already throngs are pushing into Silver Dollar City. It's an 1880s-era theme park that launches every day with the Pledge of Allegiance, hosts four packed Sunday Christian services and requires customers to dress in appropriate family attire.
This is the way visitors like it in Branson, where 7 million people a year come for live shows at about 45 theaters -- more seats than Broadway -- as well as camping, fishing and all-you-can-eat buffets. Offering wholesome entertainment, Branson is a popular Middle America summer destination for families, veterans, conservatives and others seeking affirmation of traditional values with a strong Christian influence. "The best way we can serve you is to offer prayer to Our Lord Jesus Christ for any need you may have," a bedside card at the Honeysuckle Inn offers.

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Now, city officials and business leaders are banking it is the right time for this small, homey town to reposition itself to attract a more sophisticated following among the prosperous conservative movement that has taken root in the country. Moving beyond its roots as a working-class resort, next year Branson will see a $400 million lakefront complex open with two Hiltons, a large convention center and upscale shops, such as Ann Taylor Loft and Brookstone. Branson Landing has leased 80 percent of its national retail space and sold $75 million worth of condos.
"Branson will always be a slice of America," said Ross Summers, president of the local chamber of commerce. "We never intend to alienate our base. . . . [But] we're aiming at a new market that might be more upscale -- people who have a preconceived notion that Branson is just country shows, traffic, buses and senior travelers."
Since the early 1900s, when people came by the trainloads to enjoy the town's 800 miles of lakeshore and leafy mountains, Branson has been a low-cost vacation spot. In the 1950s, Branson made its mark as a Christian community after a local artist built an enormous, lighted Nativity scene that grew to draw tens of thousands to see the Christmas lights.
In the past two decades, Branson has seen exponential growth, becoming famous when a country-music boom brought acts such as Willie Nelson and Loretta Lynn to town.
In addition to family, God and country, the past is also memorialized here, with retrospectives on entertainers such as Patsy Cline and Frank Sinatra's "Rat Pack." Shows are expected to offer the clean entertainment of another era -- no dirty jokes, no sexual innuendoes, no bad language.
There is a museum dedicated to war veterans, a highway "strip" lined with American flags, and Bobby Vinton, a regular live act, can still be heard crooning on the local radio station.
"Branson is a metaphor for red state America," said Robert Schmuhl, professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame, who has written extensively on the intersection of culture and politics.
"There are those on the coasts that might snicker in their sleeves, but the town represents what many conservative people in the Midwest see as America, the America they want, the America they hold in their heads from yesterday. Maybe it is part mythical -- but it's the America they want to cling to."
Andy Williams, who first arrived in 1991, remains one of the more popular shows in town. Williams said in an interview that he decided to build his Moon River Theatre here because he was "burned out" on traveling and on Las Vegas. Although Williams, 77, was a friend of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy's, he said he is a lifelong Republican who grew up in Iowa singing in church choirs and feels right at home in Branson.
"There's no doubt in my mind that people on the West Coast -- L.A. particularly -- and the East Coast have no clue at all about what's happening outside their own little bailiwick. And they think everybody is stupid because they are not sophisticated," he said. "People on the East Coast just look down their noses on Branson. But this is America."

Branson's Road Issues

City Responds to Traffic Jam Stereotype

BRANSON, Mo., Aug. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Community leaders today announced
the launching of an awareness campaign to dispel the perception that Branson,
Missouri has insufficient roads to handle its estimated 7 million annual
visitors. Spurred by a recent study released by AAA and several other agencies
that listed Branson as a top ten summer traffic "bottleneck" destination, the
Branson Chamber has developed the campaign to inform the public about
$240 million worth of new and improved roadways in and around Branson.
While acknowledging the hustle and bustle of Branson's famed Highway 76
(referred to in the study as the major traffic bottleneck) Mike Right, vice
president of AAA Missouri, said the study did not reflect everything that
Branson and the state of Missouri have done to build new roads that have
greatly improved traffic flow. "We had a major conference down there last
year and the ability to get around on some of the new alternate roads was
In the last decade, the City of Branson alone has spent over $40 million
dollars on more than 17 miles of alternate roads. The State of Missouri
Department of Transportation (MoDOT), with the assistance of local agencies,
has invested over $200 million in the construction of the scenic 18-mile Ozark
Mountain Highroad (Highway 465) and the widening to four lanes of 45 miles of
major north-south access corridor Highway 65 from Springfield, Missouri all
the way to the Arkansas state line.
Bob Edwards, public information manager for the MoDOT district office in
Springfield, said his agency has been working closely with local governments
since 1990 to address the increased traffic volume resulting from Branson's
popularity and continuing growth as a tourist destination. "Now, if you know
where you're going, you can get to and around the area very easily," Edwards
Therein lies the challenge. "We realize that while millions of dollars
have been spent on new roads, many visitors don't yet know about them," said
Ross Summers, president and CEO of the Branson Chamber.
To make sure visitors know about their driving options, the new community
awareness campaign includes the standardization of area maps and the
distribution of an updated Time-Saver map to hotels, restaurants and on the
Branson website ( ). Production is underway on a
video to be shown in Branson's live theatres, touting the red, blue and yellow
traffic relief routes designated by the City of Branson, as is the development
of a program to encourage area service employees to inform visitors about the
time-saving routes.
Many of the town's popular music theaters are located on The Strip, along
with dozens of attractions, retail stores, lodging properties and eateries,
making traffic congestion unavoidable at peak times.
"It's like having a restaurant with a waiting list," Summers said. "It's a
good problem to have because it means everybody wants to eat there."
"The Strip is the epicenter of Branson entertainment and a must-see during
any trip to the area," said Branson Mayor Lou Schaefer, "But it's certainly
not the only route across town."
That was not always the case. In fact, prior to the $240 million in
improvements, Branson gained a world-wide reputation not only for its live
shows, but also for its traffic.
In the early 1990s, Branson experienced tremendous increases in visitor
numbers, from around 2 million in 1990 to more than 5 million in 1994. "At
that time, traffic congestion was a big problem and that image of Branson
still plagues us," Summers said.
"I was down there during the congestion era, and today it's not like that
at all," AAA's Right said. "Branson has taken great strides in improving
traffic flow and everybody needs to be aware of what's happening." AAA has
agreed to distribute the Time-Saver map at all 29 of its offices throughout
the region, he added.
Today, driving on Hwy. 76 is a choice -- one many visitors actually
prefer. "I wouldn't dream of coming to Branson and not driving down The
Strip," said Linda Kesterson of Houston, Texas. "You've got to experience the
excitement, see the marquee lights at least once, and then you can take the
other streets if you're in a hurry."
Branson offers over 100 live shows, the award-winning Silver Dollar City
theme park, over 200 outlet shops, three pristine lakes and a wealth of
outdoor activities, all set in the breathtaking Ozark Mountains.

Daddy Hood - Family Law and Potty Training

Potty Training Boot Camp

This may not be the most exciting thing in the world today, however, it encompasses my world so completely that I feel compelled to write about it.

My daughter and I have been re-united. It's been a roller coaster that would make any parent's sotmach churn.

Daily, across the newswire I read reports regarding state issues with family law. As you dig deep into this topic and you have but half a heart, you may find it broken. Case law, no state excluded, contains the most tragic stories of our time.

These are stories of terroism, suicide, children having children and parentlessness. These are stories of poverty - scandle and fraud.

These are not the stories of happily ever after, of kindness, of virtue of love.

These are not the stories of a child's best interests.

These are not the stories of Disneyland Deadbets, as an industry would have you to believe.

These are the stories that brought me to tears and prayer on oh so many occasions. As I read these stories - the stories of children and the family law system, as I was forced to develop a strategy to become a father to my own child.

Fraud is so rampant in family law I can hardly blame those that choose this path. It is often reccomended by Attorney's. Sadly, in the courts of family law - the children always lose.

Success in court relies on precedents on the extremes, far away from the normal parent child relationships. An attorney's ability to cite or miscite case law relies on the clients ability to emulate these extremes. In my investigation of Taney County Attorneys I came to understand how this was achieved. Succesful court stragies often leave the child that walked in with two parents to walk out with one.

I rememver being on the stand, the judge tells me I have one my case. Actually, this wasn't really true - not in the terms he was stating.

My victory was different.

My victory was never reporting anything about my child's mother of ill report. My victory is that I can teach my child to honor her father without dishonoring her mother.

Psycologist report teenage pregnancy, drug use and suicide to have direct correlation to the presence of a biological father. Though there are many great step parents out there, the bilogical father's presence in the child's life is a key indicator in a child's success in life.

As fathers, we can contribute to our children's well being. All we really have to do is be there. And when we are - statistically we contribute more. When we're around our children are healthier and so are we.

My daughter is down for a nap and when she wakes up it's time for potty training boot camp. This excercise involved kool-aid, The Lion King, the elmo potty doll and patience. Yes, the most exciting thing I have to report today is that I can make a two year old "go pee in the potty".

Oh yes - I can bring home the bacon and I can cook it up too.

GIS Mapping Public - Must be released

GIS (Global Information Systems) is not protected data. The city of Branson has invested 100's of thousands of dollars to create electronic data.

City must release electronic GIS mapping data


Publicly releasing electronically formatted government maps has not been shown to pose a public safety risk or violate a trade secret, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

June 16, 2005 · Electronically formatted maps, which allow journalists to plot geographically referenced statistical data in studying the adequacy of government programs and performance, must be released in electronic form to open records requesters in Connecticut, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday.

The maps, created from Geographic Information System data and showing city landmarks, including the location of "security-sensitive'' sites such as schools, public utilities, and bridges, must be open because officials in Greenwich, Conn., did not show that their release will violate a trade secret or threaten public safety, the high court ruled.

Greenwich citizen Stephen Whitaker requested electronic access to the city's GIS maps in December 2001 under the state open records law.

The town refused to give Whitaker electronic access to its GIS system, arguing that the records qualified for public safety and trade secret exemptions to the state's public records law. Whitaker sued and obtained rulings in favor of release from the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission in 2002 and the Connecticut Superior Court in 2004. Greenwich appealed to the Connecticut Appellate Court, but the Supreme Court stepped in and transferred the case onto its own docket before the intermediate appellate court could rule.

Justice Christine S. Vertefeuille, writing for the court, rejected the argument that the trade secret exemption could apply to the electronic GIS maps. All of the information contained in the maps is available piecemeal from other town departments, so there is nothing secret about them, she wrote.

Vertefeuille found the town's asserted public safety exemption equally unconvincing. Although witnesses -- among them the Greenwich police chief -- had testified that public safety would be jeopardized if the GIS data were released, little concrete evidence of that was presented. "Generalized claims of a possible safety risk" are not enough to satisfy the government's burden of proof on an exemption claim, Vertefeuille wrote.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined by the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in November urging the high court to order the GIS data's release. In addition to its legal arguments, the brief highlighted the issue's relevance to the news media by compiling stories that would not have been written without electronic mapping.

Greenwich has 10 days to ask all seven supreme court justices to reconsider the decision, which was decided by a five-member panel.

(Director, Dep't of Information Technology of the Town of Greenwich v. Freedom of Information Comm'n; Access Counsel: Clifton A. Leonhardt, Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission; Hartford, Conn.) -- RL

Related stories:


Greenwich man wins first battle for access to town's mapping database (10/30/2002)

What is Branson?

It’s been said that Branson is a place entertainers go to die. Others that it’s a place for second chances. Perhaps it’s a place for people to be born again – socially, financially and spiritually.

Politically, Branson is the Republican destination of choice. A look into Branson’s political donations reveals little room for another political perspective. A closer look reveals a deep Libertarian vain. Many of our residents believe that “alcohol, tobacco and firearms should be a convenience store”. Missouri law affirms this notion and is one of the few states that permit concealed weapons. Outside of Branson, the conservative press treats us well while and the liberal press with distaste.

People are friendly here, relatively laid back. This Chicago Tribune awarded Branson the title “The Way America Should Be”, and was echoed across the front pages of American’s newspapers.

Life is relatively simple here and there’s little reason for most folks to be in too big of a hurry. “I’m not in a hurry and neither are you”, is a good description of the mindset. This is especially true when the fishing is good.

As Jim Stafford put it Branson is “families entertaining families”, and this is very much the truth. Branson has over 100 live theatrical presentations boasting more seats then Broadway. Most of these shows are filled with patrons attending a performance named after the family putting on the show. The tradition of Family entertainment is deep rooted in the history of our city - a ruminant of the old American family -1980’s old, maybe even 1880’s old .

Though\our demographic profile from the US Census states not one Arab can be found in the area, Branson is actually quite diverse. Entertaining 7 million visitors each year requires a lot of manpower and though our official population is 5,000, thousands more come here to work during the tourist season. The demand for labor during this time is so high that special permits are issued to meet industry needs. It’s not uncommon to find Russian, Eastern European and Jamaican residents during the summer months. Many of our theaters showcase talent from across the globe.

Swing, Folk, Bluegrass, Americana and blues can be heard regularly through daily shows starting early in the morning until 10 in the evening. Life after 10 is more abundant then the average tourist might realize. The marketing energy from Theatrical productions and Attractions overshadow a nightlife scene which provides a channel for creative energy the general “theme” of Branson’ marketing efforts. Theater competitiveness is apparent as one drives down Highway 65 and views the dozens of billboards littered beside spacious rolling hills many miles from Branson city limits.

Audience demand for fresh entertainment has pulled a massive pool of instrumental and local talent. Late in the evening is a time many of them can let loose and play a wider diversity of music then the town is known for. Officially, our Mayor is against Rock and Roll and had some harsh statements after a few eighties hair bands headlined in one of our major theatres. Still, Rock and Roll thrives in Branson most prevalently in the bourgeoning midtown district and new development projects promise to reinforce its presence.

The main strip, Highway 76 looks eerily like a G- Rated Vegas with bold neon signs advertising. family friendly, patriotic and religious entertainment. The majority of shows retain all three themes – in fact it’s proven to be a necessity of longevity. To date, venues that have strayed from this formula have been rewarded with only moderate success.

Conflicts of church and state, God and Mammon, will continue to determine it’s evolution. I’m not sure how unusual this is from your part of the country but our city council meetings are opened with prayer. A common story line among the natives is that the Theatres and Resorts are wired and ready for gambling. A nearby town with high levels of poverty enlisted a major developer to create a casino, leading to a state vote that denied the right to open such establishments on the waterway formerly known as the White river.

The most visible opposition to the gambling bill was the Hershiend family. The entrepreneurial family owns the largest private Theme Park in the country. A million dollar campaign was initiated to thwart the efforts “contradicting” family values. It’s rumoured that major plays from competing casino’s and “inside” developers have a multi year rollout plan for gamling on on the Taneycomo waterfront. Churches lined the streets to demonstrate and educate the local public on the “evils of gambling”, before the measure was defeated. The eventual defeat of the bill is also credited to other urban areas in Missouri that use gambling as a pull for tourist traffic.

The town that initiated the Gambling proposal vocalized animosity towards the Herchined family begging the question “A million dollars against us – what have you done for us?”. Support from a religious group and the Herchieds have pledged to build a massive skate park in the city. The project has yet to prove how it will end the epidemic of poverty the once thriving town of Rockaway Beach endures.

Timeshare, known as “Branson’s New Religion”, is another hot topic on the geo-political landscape. In contrast to the “family values” the time share/travel club industry has experienced a high volume of consumer complaints charged with fraud, disingenuous marketing efforts and increasing scrutiny from the Attorney General.

Proponents of time-share boast job growth, rising real estate valuation and injection of capital during the shoulder months when tourist traffic is scarce, the acceptance and growth of the time-share industry and positive economic growth.

Opponents of time-share speak of pressure on theatres to unreasonably lower ticket prices, deceitful business practices and a permanent black eye to the cities citizen.

The missionaries of “Time Share/Travel Clubs” are found throughout the city preaching the gospel to encourage 90 minute sells presentations that often end in complaints to a variety of agencies and rarely end in 90 minutes.

This industry has proved to be an irresistible force as high margins prove too lucrative for a large percentage of local vendors to avoid. A shop owner who solicits tours acknowledges a small booth resembling anversized cardboard box produces more income then his 1,600 sq ft of retail space.

Though bankruptcies, criminal charges and litigation have plagued the industry it continues to grow. The recent trend is to diversify time-share company offerings into other sectors including publishing, restaurants, retail and even theaters. One manager of a wholly owned subsidiary stated “It’s a necessary evil”, others beg to differ.

The incestial relationship of the time-share industry and city organizations make honest assessments hard to come by. Intertwined public and private development projects blur the line even further leaving regulation to the sole hands of the state legislature; which has yet to rule on travel issues relating to the Internet.

In contrast to the young families often seen in the spring and summer, the fall is a Mecca for a much older crowd. Fall is a time when Tour busses from around the country invade the city. Performers such as Andy Williams provide entertainment many senior citizens haven’t seen since their youth. For the blue hairs, Branson provides a rare chance to view America’s yesteryear.

From New Years to late March the town is relatively empty. Attempts to extend the season year round have been met with minimal success. Creative approaches have paid off well. Of note is Grand Country. Several years ago they built a large indoor water park and have managed to capture swelling crowds in the darkest months of winter.

Branson’s growth has created an imbalance in the counties economy. Taney County, both verbally and contractually depend on Branson’s successful growth. Infrastructure is needed to lure business and create wealth. TIFF funds have been distributed by the city at record rates to boost utility access Broadening the bulge in the bubble is the reclassification of Taney as a Class 1 county., which raises the building requirements and inspection demand. Up until this year no permits were required to build on Taney County land. New regulations promise to be an enforcement challenge. The surrounding counties have the lowest average incomes in Missouri. .

Three lakes surround Branson, world class fishing for a wide variety of species. A dam and fishery dividing Lake Taneycomo and Tablerock produce both electricity and record sized trophy trout. Wave running, Jet skiing and wakeboarding are the extreme sports of choice, though killer mountain biking trails are a lure to many outsiders.

A fascinating feature of the landscape are the unusual water tables that make way for many of Missouri’s 5,000 known caves. The highest grossing attraction, Silver Dollar City, was established to occupy crowds waiting to enter Marvel Cave. The caves entry room is large enough to fit the statue of liberty inside. Other commercial caves and endless miles of wild caving provide endless adventure for the explorer.

Branson is a community, performing well without the organization of the neighborhood watch. Crime is minimal and the educational system is second to none. It’s a great place to raise a family.

Branson’s rapid evolution will give birth to a new city, and the decisions made now as to what kind of community we want to live in will determine how the city is born again.

Snoop Dog - Starts Foolball League in the Suburbs

Snoop Dogg starts football team in Diamond Bar California.

Sponsors of Snoop's new league include a new cell phone company called Amp'd Mobile. A former youth football teammate of the rapper, pro linebacker Willie McGinest, has donated money and helped coach in Snoop's Long Beach chapter. He's sanguine about the inter-league controversy.

"This is a chance for us to save our community and to get our kids back," McGinest said.

One ten year old cried “I'm mad at Coach Snoop,"... He was so cool; he told me to play my heart out and to play everything I've got. But now I just want to ask him, why did he take all our players?"

From the Editor:
Listen kid, Snoop has to represent his hood. He lives in Diamond Bar and probably doesn't want his son to be humiliated. It's a tough lesson - I know. Though futile, like those of us before, you must play your heart out. Remember, no matter how bad it hurts - the pain probably won't last forever.

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Win the Lottery - Go to Jail

This is my favorite bait and switch scheme. No, I'm not talking about a free vacation to Branson. What I'm talking about is the prisoner roundup. In Cape Girardeau, the birthplace of Rush Limbaugh, a sting operation led the the succesful arrest of 22 people. Letters were sent to people with warrants saying they were entitled to a check worth up to $3,000 dollars in a settlement.
50 out of 150 contacted the hotline and were sent to a fictional government agency. The
agency "Missouri Division of Consumer Services" arrested 22 people that went to the office to claim a prize.

The Man Who Punched Saddam Hussein in the Mouth

The River Front Times in ST. Louis printed one of the most fascinating stories of the year. Apparently, an Iraqi native and St. Louis resident Omar (last name excluded) helped capture Saddam Hussein and taught him a lesson of his own

The Man Who Punched Saddam

Missouri River - Special Agenda

Lawmakers urge Missouri River to be added to special session


Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Some lawmakers are urging Gov. Matt Blunt to add the future of the Missouri River to the agenda for a September special session.

Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, said Tuesday that he worries the Army Corps of Engineers' plan to create a spring rise in the Missouri River next year could cause flooding to Missouri farms and communities.

The corps has been required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to enact a spring rise - under which water is released from upstream reservoirs into the river to provide a spawning place for the endangered pallid sturgeon. The fish's population has decreased since the corps dammed and straightened the river about 50 years ago.

Stouffer is calling for passage of a resolution that would encourage the governor and attorney general to try to block the action in federal court, and ask Missouri's congressional delegation to remember Fish and Wildlife's position when considering its budget.

Senate President pro tem Michael Gibbons said the special session should be limited to topics that urgently need to be dealt with, but that Stouffer persuaded him the Missouri River issue is pressing.

"It is urgent in the sense that whatever litigation may ensue, as well as appropriation questions, all that has to be under way way before March if it is to make a difference," said Gibbons, R-Kirkwood.

Gov. Matt Blunt has not issued the official call for the special session, but legislators expect it to begin Sept. 6. The annual veto session, during which lawmakers can attempt to override governors' vetoes, begins Sept. 14, though it is expected to be uneventful.

During the special session, lawmakers are expected to consider anti-abortion legislation; the repeal of a new law that bars government agencies from posting elected officials' addresses online; and technical fixes to drunken-driving laws and the state's workers' compensation system.

Stouffer said an intentional spring rise on the Missouri River could wreak havoc on Missouri farms, communities and roads if it occurs at the same time as heavy rains swell the river. He also said he has seen no proof that it will even help the fish it's trying to save.

"The river is risky enough on its own without having a man-made disaster," he said.