Taney County Commissioner Hot Topic in Springfield

A brief follow up on the report delivered by Mayor Raeanne Presley that the city purchased land near the Branson Covention Center from Presiding Taney County Commissioner Chuck Pennel.

On Monday night, Presley couldn't confirm the amount of a previous offer but said she believed the city had previously offered $800,000 for Pennel's property in Branson.

Mayor Presley actively campaigned for Pennel in a heated five way race for the county's top leadership position last year.

Correction: Presley stated she supported Pennel's opponent Ron Houseman during the County Commissioner's race last year.

Two other distinctly different stories graced the pages of area publications regarding the Taney County Commissioner in relation to Monday's meeting in Forsyth. Cliff Sain, formerly of the Branson Daily News, published dialogue in the Springfield News-Leader Tuesday regarding accusations of nepotism. The accusation was delivered by Bob Shanz who accused Pennel's wife of using a county vehicle - an accusation Pennel denies.

The original release of information came from a sunshine request issued by the Springfield News-Leader according to Editorial Columnist Tony Messenger.

Messenger noted the brief in the Springfield News-Leader lacked details considering the importance of the story. (Follow up later this week)

In other news, a proposal to limit solicitation at the Taney County Courthouse was rejected by the Commissioners. The policy was initiated by Pennel and rejected after some discussion. Last friday, during an interview, Pennel said the proposal was in response to the recent shooting killing five at Kirkwood, a St. Louis suburb, city hall.

The rejected ordinance would have given the Sheriff more leverage to remove public speakers from city hall. Citizen reports confirm the commission meeting was packed with citizens concerned freedom of speech would be limited during public meetings if the ordinance was passed.

We've been putting pressure on regional news publications to focus more energy and resources towards the Branson market. Three local editors have confirmed the lack of coverage in Branson has been noted and promise to consider covering the region more thoroughly.
The Springfield market fields an excellent pool of talent which could greatly benefit the citizens of the Branson area. We commend the efforts and hope more focus on Branson ensues.