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, www.sema.dps.mo.gov.

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, www.redcrossblood.org

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.
1-800-520-0852 BransonEdge@Gmail.com http://www.bransonedge.com

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."