Lincoln Days Photos

A few photos from last year's Lincoln Days including Missouri's House Speaker with Kit Bond, AP Missouri's David Lieb, and Steve Walsh getting served ice cream by a former state Senator.

Last year's Lincoln Days in Kansas City reflected the depressing state of the Republican Party refueled by new hope, well publicized uprising in conservative activism and a few post-presidential election victories.

I'm personally skipping this years festivities in St. Charles but it promises to be a good one - especiallyd since Walsh will be back on the scene.....

Taney County Election Filings 2010 Primary

A record 417 individuals flied for political office yesterday in Jefferson City. Thirteen filed for County offices in Taney County.

Associate Circuit Judge, division I

- Tony Williams
- Bob Paulson

Presiding Commissioner

- Ron Houseman
- Chuck Pennell
- Ron Herschend

County Clerk

- Donna Neeley
- Scott Starrett

County Auditor

- Bradley Gore
- Rick Findley

Associate Circuit Judge, Division II

- James Justus

Circuit Clerk

- Brenda Kay Neal

Prosecuting Attorney

- Jeff Merrell


- Sheila Wyatt

Political Journal Hunting Season Opens Today in Missouri via Missouri Secretary of State's Elections Division

Candidate Filing started at 8:00 AM this morning. Candidates have until March 30th at 5:00 PM but they'll be put down on the list.

Up for grabs:

Missouri State Auditor

U.S Senator

All 9 U.S. House of Representative Seats

The 17 even numbered state Senate districts.

All 163 House Seats

Judges (Not sure of count)

County Offices

Reports throughout the day...

Branson Airport to Announce New Destination in Hours (Announced Cities Below)

The Branson Airport will announce new flight destinations later this morning. The new cities are Austin, Houston, Texas, Des Moines, Shreveport and Terre Haute Indiana.

Titanic Branson to Host Humane Society Fundraiser

PR Titanic The Branson Titanic will be hosting a fundraiser for the benefit of the Humane Society of Taney County and Tri-Lakes Humane Society. The fundraiser includes a private tour of the museum while enjoying a progressive dinner served at dining stations that will be placed thorughout the museum. Along with dinner and a show, the Titanic will be introducing its newest mascots, Molly and Carter, two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The price of everything is $75.00. Every penny will go straight to the non-for-profit organizations. Each shelter is striving for a 100% adoption rate and to fulfill their goals, they need the money to build better facilities and provide food for the animals of the Stone and Taney county areas. Please come to help out the animals and have a night to remember.

TaneyCobama Bridge Construction Underway




As political races heat up in Missouri the Obama stimulus plan is coming under scrutiny.
The Taneycobama bridge currently being contructed highlights the controversy in congressman Roy Blunt's district.
Taney County and municipal governments agreed to finance the bridge prior to the economic recovery act. The shovel ready projects federal funding negated the fiscal commitment Branson, Hollister and the Taney County Commission agreed to.
On one hand, Roy Blunt along with every other Republican member of congress voted against the bill. On the other hand, when free money was being handed out by the federal government; Blunt, Bond and every other member of the congress fought to get a piece of the action.
Branson's fiscally liberal city council found new ways to create debt even with the major subsidy. Three years of record increases in tax revenue while the rest of the country experienced major declines didn't steer Branson's leadership in a financially conservative direction.
In essence, this is the problem nationwide. The increase in federal subsidies didn't necessarily result in responsible government. Instead, it allowed bloated government bureaucrats to delay trimming the "fiscal fat".
Did it create jobs? Thirteen employees from the Taney County Road and Bridge Department were fired while 13 new jobs were created for the company in Iowa who won the bid for the project.
Republican Congressman have to defend their spending allotment while criticizing the plan as a whole.

Taney County Assessor James Strahan Asks Missouri Legislature For Answers

The photo above is from an actual press release submitted by Taney County Tax Collector James Strahan who cited "too many offers for Viagra" as a reason not to use e-mail.

Branson Landing Bomb Disarmed by Robot

An explosive device was detonated via robotic assist last night at the Branson Landing.

Branson Public Relation spokesman Jerry Adams attributed a Branson Landing security guard's initiative to the quick capture of two individuals, soon to be indicted, responsible for the bombs presence at the TIF funded facility.

The expense of the private security force is partly financed under an agreement with the City of Branson.

The first suspect has been identified as a Florida resident who fled from an ATM machine after being approached by the Branson Landing security guard.

After being contacted, the Branson Police Department alerted federal agents from the  Alcohol Tabacco and Firearms (ATF). The ATF contacted the Springfield Fire Department who used robotic equipment to disarm a homemade pipe bomb.

The Branson Landing security guard tracked down the suspect using surveillance footage from the Promade Hilton, situated 100 yards from where the bomb was found.

Two guests of the Branson Hilton Promenade Hotel  were arrested in their rooms. The man, a Florida resident, identified by Branson Landing security was accompanied by a woman from Missouri whose pleas to recover a silver vehicle led Branson Police to the parking garage.

Commercial and Main Street near the Branson Landing parking structure were shut down from 5:30 to 10:00 this morning while the vehicle was inspected. An arsenal of fireworks was found in a silver vehicle which is currently impounded..

Retail shops at the Branson Landing opened on time. (Updating throughout day)

Branson Civic Leaders Advising Business to Disregard Supreme Court Ruling on Ticket Sales

City leaders believe they've paid off enough members of the Missouri Legislature, contributed enough money to the campaigns of sitting Senators, used enough tax dollars to ensure their personal business objectives are met, convinced enough of the Missouri Legislature using public tax dollars to overturn a recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling regarding ticket sales. Some area business owners have been told they can disregard mandates handed down through Missouri's Department of Revenue six months after the Supreme Court ruled Branson theaters were to distinguish wholesale from retail sales.

Taxation of ticket sales has been on the forefront with Branson leaders for years. Under a past administration, former Branson City Manager Terry Dody, attempted to collect city tourism levies on retail sales.

Until the Supreme Court ruling last year, Branson theaters paid tourism taxes in a Value Added Tax (VAT) method. Taxes for Branson venues were paid on wholesale prices which meant the city of Branson loses millions on the retail sale of tickets. The loophole has led many Branson companies to create corporations in Hollister creating a loophole where Branson theater and hotel owners to escape levies.

One real world example allows a business to setup shop 100 yards from city limits, sale tickets to a company under a corporate umbrella and reduce hotel and theater booking taxws 50%.

Supply, demand and actual cost of tickets eludes many tourists to our friendly city, so here's the rundown.

Most theaters offer wholesale tickets to vendors. Under contract, a theater ticket with a list price of $50.00 could be sold for $5.00 a ticket wholesale. Theaters have been collecting on the $5.00 ticket price and absorbing the tax on the wholesale amount. These tickets are often given away in exhange for timeshare tours or repackaged and sold embedded with Hotel and dining vouchers. Hybrids of the two aforementioned models are common as well and were addressed in the Missouri Supreme Court Decision viewable from the link posted above.

A political and lobbying organization, known as the League of Theaters, now subsidized through public funds, initiated a lawsuit claiming theaters shouldn't have to collect the tax due to the fact the tickets are being wholesaled. One of the initiators of the suit was Branson's Mayor. Before seated as Mayor,the Presley Theater dripped the suit but Music City Center pushed forward. Missouri's Supreme Court agreed with Music City Center and in their opinion addressed retail sales tax collection methods.

For Presley and friends the fruits of victory were sour. Six months afer the ruling, A meeting with Missouri's Department of Revenue enraged travel agencies. The ruling also backfired on the Theaters themselves as the Department of Reveune promised to audit theaters to chase down state taxes on retail sales.

The debacle forced three tax collecting entities to cough up tax dollars to fight the mess our city leaders private legal endeavors forced upon companies selling travel services.

Businesses in the area are being told to disregard Missouri's Supreme court decision and are pushing several measures to put a bill on Missouri's Assembly floor. Section two of House Bill 2040 reads:

" Because immediate action is necessary to prevent the imposition of sales and use taxes on items that are intended to be exempted or excluded from sales and use taxes, section A of this act is deemed necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health, welfare, peace, and safety, and is hereby declared to be an emergency act within the meaning of the constitution, and section A of this act shall be in full force and effect upon its passage and approval.;"
(Full House Bill 2040 Text as Introduced)

Missouri Distrcit 7 Political Debate Heats Up

The Springfield Editorial board ran video of an interview with Robin Caranahan with this week with the above well timed counter attack from 7th District Congressional Republican Committee.

Missouri House of Representatives Tourism Committee

A quick review of the Missouri Tourism Committee schedule elaborates greatly on how frivolous government can be.

Next Thursday taxpayers will fund a special session concluding the future of bills naming a state dog and Girl Scout day.

No other items are on the agenda.

(Full Missouri House of Representatives Tourism Committee Schedule 2010)

Missouri Supreme Court Justice William Ray Price Jr. - Notes on the State of Missouri's Judiciary

William Ray Price Jr. addressed the state of the Missouri Judiciary to
the Missouri General Assembly yesterday. To view the speech or hear the
audio see Missouri Netizen State of the Missouri Judiciary transcript.

Key Quotes::

Our programs to keep Missouri judges
educated and up-to-date on the law are vitally important to the quality
of our judiciary. Judges shouldn’t be the lowest paid and the least
educated lawyers in the courtroom. But we have cut $443,000 from that

There is not a single factor that
more adversely impacts our ability to attract and retain quality judges
as the relatively low level of judicial pay. Today we have four former
Supreme Court judges, in the prime of their careers, enjoying the
greener pastures of private practice and two enjoying the higher pay of
the federal courts.

Missouri currently ranks 39th
in the nation in pay levels for our trial court judges, who are paid
approximately $120,000 per year. We have lower pay than all the states
that surround us: Iowa ($137,000); Illinois ($174,000); Tennessee
($148,000); Arkansas ($136,000); Oklahoma ($124,000); and Nebraska
($128,000) … excepting only Kansas, whose trial court pay approximately
equals ours ($120,000). (I don’t know if it is worse to be below
Arkansas or tied with Kansas?)

The solution to this problem is
relatively simple: either increase the public defender’s funding or
tell the public defender who to defend and who not to defend within the
limits of their funding. At present, you only allow the public defender
to determine eligibility by indigency. That means only the poorest
offenders will qualify, regardless of the severity of the crime. I
would suggest that the most serious charges be targeted, and that the
least serious charges be those for which jail time cannot be sought, if
we cannot adequately fund the public defender’s office. This is simple
common sense. Spend our money where it counts. But your statutes don’t
read that way now.

Listen to these numbers. In 1994,
shortly after I came to the Court, the number of nonviolent offenders
in Missouri prisons was 7,461. Today it’s 14,204. That’s almost double.
In 1994, the number of new commitments for nonviolent offenses was
4,857. Last year, it was 7,220 -- again, almost double. At a rate of
$16,432 per offender, we currently are spending $233.4 million a year
to incarcerate nonviolent offenders … not counting the investment in
the 10 prisons it takes to hold these individuals at $100 million per
prison. In 1994, appropriations to the Department of Corrections
totaled $216,753,472. Today, it’s $670,079,452. The amount has tripled.
And the recidivism rate for these individuals, who are returned to
prison within just two years, is 41.6 percent.

Do you just want to punish offenders,
or do you want to make our streets and highways safer places to drive?
Long jail sentences and 10 year license revocations certainly punish
people. We have those already, and look at the number of repeat
offenders – more than 4,500 a year. The proof of the misfocus of our
anger is in the numbers.

Remember Avery v. State Farm,
the case from Illinois in which an Illinois Supreme Court justice cast
the deciding vote in a $450 million case in favor of an insurance

No One Like A Dirty Beaver - Bradleyville Citizens Deficate in Beaver Creek $100,000 Study Conducted to see how bad it stinks

Information about the $100,000 study conducted with private funds which found varying levels of bacteria, (How much e-coli?). Please send me a note so I can work on the story.

Thank You....

Missouri Organic Produce Sales $9,32 Million says USDA

Organic Production Sales Valued at $9.32 million in Missouri in 2008 (USDA PR)

(COLUMBIA, Mo.)  - Sales of organically produced commodities in Missouri in 2008 were valued at $9.33 million according to the USDA’s Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service.  “Missouri had 185 farms with sales of organically produced commodities.” says Gene Danekas, Director.  “There were 163 farms that sold $6.22 million of organically produced crops, 43 farms that sold $1.21 million of organically produced livestock and poultry and 27 farms sold $1.90 million of organically produced livestock and poultry products.”  There were 197 Missouri farms that were either USDA certified organic or were exempt from certification because their sales totaled less than $5,000.

Branson Hookers Get Arrested - Branson Police Chief Reports

Acting upon information recently received concerning prostitution occurring at various locations within the city, the Branson Police Department coordinated a sting operation with the COMET Drug Taskforce to investigate the reports of illegal activity.   As a result of this operation, three females were taken into custody for prostitution on Tuesday evening.  The females ranged in age from 19 to 28 years of age.  One of the females was from Springfield, Missouri; one was from Strafford, Missouri, and one had an address in Branson.   The females are currently in custody.  Paperwork concerning the arrests will be forwarded to the Taney County Prosecuting Attorney for the filing of charges. 

                                                                                                     Caroll W. McCullough 


Missouri House of Representatives District 62 Special Election Results Feb 2, 2010

Total Votes Missouri House 62nd Legislative District

Total Votes 1,703

Ayres, Nita Jane -  Republican      1,325 Votes  77.8%
 Tweedle, Patty - Libertarian           378 Votes   22.3%

**Voter Turnout Under 6%

 +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_Stone and Taney County Results As Published

 Stone County 12 of 12 Precincts Reporting
 Registered Voters 14653 - Cards Cast 1281 8.74%
Number of Precincts 12
Precincts Reporting 12 100.0 %
Times Counted 1281/14653 8.7 %
Total Votes 1280
Write-in Votes 4 0.31%

Taney County Election Results 7 of 7 Precincts Reporting


Number of Precincts
Precincts Reporting
8 100.0 %
Times Counted
Total Votes
430 99.8 %

Write-in Votes
3 0.70%


Number of Precincts
Precincts Reporting
2 100.0 %
Times Counted
Total Votes
151 100.0 %

121 80.13%
30 19.87%

Election Day Result Notes
**Stone County All Precincts Recording
Mike Cooper Reports Live From Stone County Courthouse - 

**800 PM Stone County Absentee

**7:47 PM
(First Taney County Precincts are expected in 10 minutes)

Absentee Ballots are in and counted:
Missouri House District 62
Absentee Vote Count
Tweedle 20  Ayres 54

Mark Twain School District Tax Increase
7 Yes
0 No

Stone County Absentee Voter Count
Tweedle 21   Ayers 64

Missouri House District 62 Special Election

Dismal voter turnout is expected today as Western Taney County and Eastern Stone County. Results will be posted here as the stats trickle in.

The vacancy left by Rep. Dennis Wood will send a new representative to Jefferson City for three months before the title of being the 62nd district representatives to Missouri's House will have to be defended.

Democrats are a no show. James Rynard was promoted as Stone County Democrats sacrificial cow but moved farms before the election. Unfortunately, 62nd District Dems weren't notified leaving no Democratic challenger for the seat.

Former Rep. Dennis Wood got a payraise before being ousted by term limits and appointed to the Stone County Commission leaving an unusual amount to power to the behind-the-scenes Stone County Republican players.

The 62nd Republican Primary gave some foreshadowing to what could be a heated contest come August.

New media played a substantial role in coverage as "Rumble with the Rabbi" Dr. Eukel hosted competitors for the seat - sustained by the party membership as opposed to an election.

Republican victor Nita Jane Ayres battles L:ibertarian Patty Tweedle.  Tweedle and Ayres participated in a political discussion prior to today's election hosted by Brad Belote.

Tweedle calls herself a Reagan Republican swayed to the Libertarian party by Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul.

During the debate Tweedle called for area voters to look for new tourism and industry segments that Branson could attract and called for less legislative restraints on business.

Ayres will likely be crowned for the state seat within hours.

Voter turnout will paint another story. It's expected to be at record lows. The dangerous trend seems to passing virally as Branson's City Elections are all but canceled as Presley appointees will walk into another session of Branson's Board of Alderman without challenge.


Branson Landing - Taney County Trial Ruling Favoring Coverdell Could Have Implications on Utility Rates

According to court documents (inserted below) Doug Coverdell owns much of what is now called the Branson Landing.

The implications of a jury verdict delivered this month are far reaching. The estimated value of the land awarded to Coverdellafter a six year legal battle brings Empire District Electric's assets into question in addition to calculations of valuation submitted to to the Missouri Public Service Commission.

In fiscal 2008, Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley approved $2 million dollars for the purchase of land connected to Taney County Presiding Commissioner Chuck Pennel. The small plot of land sits 100 yards from Coverdell's  more valuable land sitting on the Lake Taneycomo waterfront.

If Presley's allotment of Branson Taxpayer funds nears the real value of the property purchased between public officials as opossed to a taxpayer funded bribe, Coverdell's favorable court ruling could be estimated in the $100 million dollar range.

According to the records posted above, Empire District Electric is paying more to fight for ownership of land than they claim the land is actually worth. Book value of Empire Electric holdings could sway the PSC from allowing Empire District to raise rates. On jan 25th 2010, Empire filed to increase rates in Southwest Missouri. Missouri's regulatory agency has yet to release a ruling on the plea.

Perhaps a more interesting question is, "What will Doug Coverdell do with the land?" Coverdell has been unusually quiet on the subject but did mention the prior owner attempted to give the land to the City of Branson under the condition they'd keep the land as a park.
Coverdell claims he attempted to give the City of Branson rights to the park in exchange for another piece of property valued at $150,000 but Branson Alderman refused the offer. Coverdell said,
"I'm open to suggestions from the public on what should be done with the land and hope any issues relating to the court's ruling including impact on the TIF disctrict are quickly resolved."
Branson Landing Property Granted to Doug Coverdell