Barack Obama's State of the Union Transcript Jan 27, 2010

Barack Obama's State of the Union Transcript Jan 27, 2010

Branson Great Southern Bank Robbed - Police on Lookout For Suspect (Press Release)

The Branson Police Department is investigating a report of an armed robbery that occurred at the Great Southern Bank on West Highway 76.   Police were called to the bank just after 12:30 this afternoon, upon arrival officers were told by bank staff that a male entered the bank, indicated he was armed with a handgun and demanded money from a teller.  After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash, the suspect left the bank and was seen getting into a silver pickup with Arkansas plates.  The pickup was last seen leaving the area headed east on highway 76.  No one was injured during the incident. 
The suspect was described as a white male, early 30’s, approximately 5’8”-5’9”, 160 lbs. He was wearing a brown cap, sunglasses, light colored zip-up jacket, faded jeans and tan work boots. 
The investigation continues at this time.  Anyone having information to offer regarding this incident is asked to contact the Branson Police Department at 334-3300 or to offer information anonymously, the department’s CATCH line at 334-1085.

                                                     Caroll W. McCullough
                                                     Chief of Police

North Branson Landing belongs to Doug Coverdell Says Taney County Jury

Embargoed for the benefit of local press - will post the jury ruling unedited on facebook and refrain from editorial until local media outlets can process this behemoth of a story.

John Joslyn Honored by Springfield Press

(Video Produced by Darin Codon 2007)John Joslyn is a living museum of mass media. The era of with Joslyn's innovation and contribution to journalism marks behemoth production resources that will never be seen again.
The Springfield Business Journal recently honored Joslyn noting he's one of 12 people you need to know.
The video was one of three originally shot at Music City Center several years ago, a venue which will feature performances by the Osmond Family during Branson's 2010 tourist season.
Back in the day, journalists could dive into the deep pockets of media companies to accurately and thoroughly investigate stories.
Some of the investigative journalism projects Joslyn was involved in are epically noted in media history. The television penetration near the 1980's onset of cable into US houses enabled production budgets of a proportion not dreamed of today.
He was with Jeralso during the opening of Capone's vault and under the sea with the Titanic.
Less well known is Joslyn's investigation to the murder of a Kennedy....

China's Official Communist Press Brags - China has taken over the White House (Theater in Branson, MO)

The official Chinese government's communist press made an announcement last week boasting they've taken over the White House, "not in Washington D.C. but in Branson, Missouri."

According to the Chinese Press, the White House theater was purchased by a company titled China Heaven Creation International Preforming Arts Company. The release noted the White House Theater Deal was worth 3.54 million marking the first time a Chinese company has ever purchased a theater in the United States.

The parent company, China Travel International Investment Hong Kong Limited,, previously owned a $100 million theme park in Florida which flopped, eventually closing after a ten year run from 1993-2003.

The first show, "The Legend of KungFu" will open on May 1st at the theater whose design replicates the White House and prior to the purchase featured patriotic shows. The facade and photos of American Presidents will remain in the entryway of the theater.

The Chinese Communist Government's Official Portal featured the story on December 15th

Pete Newman, former Kanakuk Counselor, Faces New Charges In Colorado For inappropriate Relations with a Child

Former Kanakuk Counselor Pete Newman was arrested yesterday as he re-appeared in Taney County for a change of venue motion.

The Taney County change of venue motion will likely move the case to Christian County. Taney County Prosecutor Jeff Merrell said Newman's motion will most likely succeed due to the fact Taney County has less than 75,000 residents.
Newman was out on bail as new charges were filed in Durango, Colorado. Newman was arrested on four charges filed in Colorado, three for 2nd Degree Sexual Assault with a child and one as an out-of-state fugitive.
According to Taney County Jail records, Newman was detained at 10:00 A.M. yesterday, January 20th 2010.
Newman is scheduled to re-appear on the 4th of February in Taney County and it's unclear how the new charges filed in Colorado will affect the case or whether Newman will fight extradition.

Newman was initially arrested after files were charged by the Taney County Prosecutor's Ofiice in September of last year. After being re-arrested for failure to appear (Newman showed up a few minutes late for court which irritaed Judge Tony Williams) Newman was released on bail a second time after spending a few hours in jail.

Kanakuk Camps recently reorganized as a non-profit and succesfully recieved a tax waiver from Taney County last month. Some of the property is currently owned by founder Joe White.

Branson Believers 2010

In terms of his contribution to literature and and the modern American Christian Church Stephen Covey is the world's most famous Mormon.

His legacy is deeply integrated into the modern history of Branson, Missouri.

After the Missouri Supreme Court ruled Branson's tourism tax was unconstitutional, city leaders took action to combat divisive community rhetoric by refocusing on common values.

Each year, unsung heroes are honored with an award dinner for demonstrating positive character attributes. This years winners were:

Youth: Nathan Applegate

To Learn: Marilyn Fish

To Love: Amy Lewis

To Live: Christopher Welch

Legacy: Dr. Glenn Cameron

*Congratulations to the winners. What a great honor!

Branson Leaders have no Intention of Honoring Airport Contract

Branson Airport executive director Jeff Bourke should be nominated for sainthood for keeping the dialogue positive while Branson city administrators show they have no intention of honoring a 2006 agreement that enabled the region to build a first-class airport.

Presley has publicly criticized the agreement while personally capitalizing on the airport at every turn.

Regarding Branson city leader's public attempts to dishonor the agreement, Jeff Bourke told Ozark Mountain News,

"airport representatives continue to work with city officials to resolve the dispute. Bourke said the relationship with the two entities is good. We'll continue to talk with them and work through this, but at the end of the day, we have an agreement and we expect to get paid"
Branson's former mayor Lou Schaefer reforms now account for 30% of Branson's economy. Unfortunately, some of Branson's theaters haven't generated new revenue for Branson in over a decade.

Theaters, such as the Presley's, owned and managed by Branson's current mayor have received increasing subsidies over the past several years, but if new revenue is the goal, Presley Theater is a dismal failure.

In a 2007 interview Branson's new mayor criticized a pay-per-performance contract the former city leader signed to bring a new airport to the Branson area. Of course, when the airport opened, Presley took the stage and boasted what a great addition the new airport is to Branson. It was all smiles and waves as Presley was toted on a pull cart through the new property. She even took the center stage with an hour long speech during the airport's opening.

Politics aside, Presley had no intention of honoring the contract and has worked vigorously to undermine the integrity of Branson's agreement.

Under the auspices of the agreement, the city of Branson is required to pay $8.24 per passenger that cites Branson as their destination. The contract has a ceiling of $500,000 per quarter. Without the agreement, Branson's international airport would have never been built.

Since Presley took office economic development has been put on the back-burner. Higher end resorts have seen increased revenues while some of Branson's traditional theaters have seen steady natural decline. As one newspaper put it, "Branson's Country Music theaters have lost their charm."

An upper-scale audience has little interest in some of the traditional venues, good for Branson, bad for some private businesses - including the mayor's.

Luckily, due to the insight of Branson's former mayor Lou Schaefer, Branson has defied the economic downturn most cities in the United States have experienced over the past three years. Branson's last three years boast the highest sales tax revenue in the city of Branson's history. Most recently, November 2009 sales tax receipts are reporting 4.9% higher than 2008 - which was a former record.

But the new administration is in a jam. Presley's social reform programs have brought new debt to Branson. And Presley has clearly ignored 2007 recommendations that Branson put the yellow light on spending.

While the city is experiencing record revenue, Presley's spending spree has promised to drive Branson into bankruptcy.

Prior to becoming mayor, Presley had a habit of suing the city. Although Presley's attempts to pursue litigation were dismal failures, tax dollars now provide deep coffers for Presley's battle against a free market economy.To date, Presley has spent $67,000 in legal fees to fight fiscal responsibility for the City of Branson's end to the agreement.

Due to Presley's disregard for Missouri's application of the Freedom of Information Act (i.e. Missouri's Sunshine Law) some of the reports are just coming out.

Over the last three years of record sales, Presley has overspent city income by over $5,000,000 drasitcally reducing the $12,000,000 surplus at the mayor's disposal when she took office.

The overspending promises bankruptcy for Branson in three years if debt isn't restructured. Recommendations for infrastructure upgrades already exceed the City of Branson's available funds.

Shunning the agreement, 2010's budget doesn't include the expense. In an attempt to create a roadblock to payments Presley pushed a Branson Board of Alderman resolution to force an amendment to the contract before any payments are issued.

Kansas City Royals Visting Branson

Representing Missouri's "Westside", a few Kansas City Royals will stop in Branson for a meet and greet between 6:30 and 7:30 KOMC studios.

The caravan will include:
The Royals infielder Billy Butler, outfielder Mitch Maier, Royals Hall of Famers John Mayberry and Frank White and Royals broadcaster Steve Stewart. Prior to the Caravan tour, these participants will be involved in the Royals FanFest, January 15-16 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kan.

To see the full schedule and player bio visit the full Kansas City Royals Press Release

Mother Teresa of Branson

Jesus said, "no one is good - except God alone Luke 18:19', but it the last six years of reporting on Branson politics I'd be dumbfounded to find a person of greater report than Joan Orday Westfall.

In December, during her last month of service for Branson's Christian Action Ministries (CAM), Joan Ordway Westfall commented on the success of CAM's community outreach program boasting 691 needy Branson families served in December 2009 alone.

"There are a lot of people in Branson that love the Lord," credited Westfall for CAM's success.

Networking was a big part of Westfall's job at CAM and was always present with a sales pitch for CAM at Branson Chamber of Commerce mixers among other civic events. You might be asking what the sales pitch was. Westfall promised she could feed a family of five for a week on $25.

CAM's was created by 11 area churches in 1985 and currently recieves funding from local churches, government, businesses and individuals.

Away from the public view, Westfall notes that loving people and listening to members of the community in need bore the greatest fruits.

Outside of public appearances, fund-raising events and organizing campaigns there was a Westfall I witnessed that is worthy of sharing.

Everyday there are several hours of public meetings in Taney County. Often, I have been the sole member of the public for a legislative meeting. On one such night, I was attending a Hollister Alderman meeting. Except for myself, the meeting was void of both press and public attendees with the exception of those on the agenda.

Westfall was called to the podium by Hollister Mayor David Tate. Westfall's evening presence at the meeting wasn't to receive an over-sized cardboard check.

Hollister Alderman listened as Westfall told the story of one crippled woman in the city who needed equipment to gain mobility. Financially destitute the woman had no means of purchasing the equipment, Westfall pleaded the crippled woman's cause.

The city publicly negotiated with Westfall, who was successful in acquiring matching funds for the woman.

To date, I've seen countless individuals plead their cause to governmental bodies. I've watched people successfully reduce personal taxes and accrue money for their private businesses. But, I've never seen anyone take their evening to plead the case of one needy person.

Westfall recounts only the success of her public appearance.

The astounding success of CAM in providing resources to the needy is impressive, but ranks small with me compared to this one act of love from Joan Westfall - Branson's Mother Teresa.

Branson Calendar 2009 Sales Tax Income Second Highest in City's History

Branson reported sales tax on $989,573,200 in sales during calender 2009. The figure was topped only by 2008 sales of $10,177,952. Per capita, 2009 sales scored a $141,368 exchange.

The retail construction boom of the "Lou Shaefer" era sheltered Branson from the longest reported recession in history. Calendar years 2006-2009 recorded leaps in growth while some areas of Branson faced a rapid decline.

Some traditional theaters scored a steep decline as regional pull shifted to new offerings. Over twenty percent of sales tax revenue came from areas officially labeled blighted.

Families scored big for Branson and the Branson Convention Center brought international guests skewing numbers in a positive direction in the third quarter. Religous sector experienced growth as Branson proved they could sell out crowds with public theaer capacity.

Gaines from the Convention Center pushed growth in weeks some of our traditional theaters, who haven't produced revenue increases in a decade, provided a bump in theater ticket sales.

Branson Alderman all but ignored a yellow light issued by financial consultants in 2007 dwindling $5 million in savings despite federal subsidies from the Obama Administration (i.e. TaneyCobama bridge.

City spending wasn't without heart, 2009 proved the year of the "Giant Cardboard Check" as third-party organizations received "show-style" honors during public meetings.

The Branson Board of Alderman succeeded in pushing legislation against the Time-Share industry and failed dismally on tourism funding through Jefferson City.

A huge halt to new industry, the city of Branson administrators focused on environmental health which has halted by economic health. While the Taney County Health department recieved substantial subsidies as did Skaggs Hospital, whose board the mayor serves on, had substantial increases in public funding, the city recycling center decreased services.

City leaders gave themselves a big raise topping $150,000 for a line item, "Mayor and the Board of Alderman".

Though Branson had more money to spend than ever fiscal restraint isn't a trademark as new commitments fo subsidize private community services outpaced the city's ability to generate income.

Thirteen Taney County Road and Bridge Staffers Hit Unemployment Lines

Exceeding the sales tax levy allocated for Taney County's Road and Bridge department Western Taney County Commissioner Jim Strafuss held budget approval hostage until a solution was found to the deficit spending trend. Thirteen jobs were cut from the department.

Official Word from Taney County came today:

Taney County, Missouri, January 08, 2010: Budget concerns and a desire for more efficient operations led to the elimination of 13 positions at Taney County Road and Bridge today.

The positions eliminated were selected based upon a determination of what was in the best interests of the Taney County taxpayers and the efficient operation of Taney County Road and Bridge.

Branson Chamber of Commerce Tax In Effect - John Logan Cries "Shameful"

Mindy Honey of the Branson Daily News committed a break from usual format by reporting John Logan's concerns regarding the no-bid contract handed to the Branson Chamber of Commerce last month.

Press politics greatly dictates how stories are reported in and about Branson. Generally, In Branson tourism is subsidized through several sales taxes, funneled to a private business organization, the Branson Chamber of Commerce, and sub-contracted to out-of-state vendors. In turn, most of our media outlets are subsidized by the geo-political entity. (More on this later)

A pyramid of entities dictates how the funds are allocated and supervised. The Convention Visitors Bureau is one such entity managed by the Branson Chamber of Commerce with a five year budget estimated at $35 million in scheduled revenue from the TCED tax and additional $12 million from the city itself. The TCED district tax expands from Eastern Stone to Western Taney County.

In addition, the Branson Board of Alderman granted a 5 year contract to the Branson Chamber of Commerce to manage the City of Branson's tourism tax with an estimated value of $12 million.

*The Branson Board of Alderman have depleted 5 million in savings since Branson's Mayor Raeanne Presley was elected mayor. The deficit spending occurred during three years of record income for the city of Branson. 2009 was the second highest sales tax revenue producing year in the city's history.

Branson Alderman Election Roster 2010

Branson Ward I
Mike Booth is currently running unopposed.

Branson Ward II
Cris Bohinc was running unapposed until the 30th of December when Darrell J. Tomlinson Jr. registered as a contender for the 2 year seat

Branson Ward III
Rick Davis is running unopposed.
Rick Todd, recently appointed by Branson's Board of Alderman is running for one year term after filling a vacancy last month. Two members of the board resigned in the 4th quarter of 2009.