Branson Police Identify Murder Suspect - Branson Police Chief Report

A 45 year-old man from Stockton, Missouri is in custody in connection to the death of Stacy A. (Hopkins) Birmingham, age 42, of Omaha, Arkansas.  The victim was discovered deceased at the Country Bunkhouse Motel, located at 3125 W. State Highway 76 on Thursday.Following leads developed during the investigation of the incident, the suspect was located in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was taken into custody shortly after 11 p.m. last night by the fugitive division of the Tulsa Police Department.Paperwork is being forwarded to the Taney County Prosecutor’s Office for the determination of charges.  The suspect, who remains in custody in Oklahoma at this time, is expected to waive extradition, at which time he will be transported back to Taney County.

City of Branson Budget Ammendments Reflect Mistatements of Branson Landing Debt, Increased Litigation and Transfer of Landscaping Fund

Three budget amendments will go before Branson City Alderman and will be passed with a unanimous vote.

The Branson Landing debt which many believe was intentionally misstated for political reasons will receive an accounting correction Tuesday night. The Branson Landing currently receives 72% of Branson visitors making it the largest attraction within city limits.

The Branson Landing debt service will reflect a $450,000 revenue increase due to a lease payment made annually by developer HCW. The current budget reflects the income as part of the General Fund.

The second of three budget amendments proposed by Finance and Personnel Director Lori Helle reflects a purchase of land cit5ed as the "Owen Property". Assessed at $9,000 by the county a whopping $231,141.43 was paid to purchase the landlocked acerage. The citizens of Branson purchased the property from the General Fund as opposed to the Landscape fund, commonly known as the tree tax. The city of Branson charges a fee every-time a private citizen chooses to cut down a tree on their private property. The transfer is noted to have no effect on the overall budget.

The third and final budget amendment outlined in the Oct. 20, 2010 memo transfers $125,000 from income derived from the "Municipal Court". The city of Branson under Mayor's Presley's watch has been extremely litigious exceeding legal budgets of every prior mayor. An increase in arrests and tickets are providing an increase in revenue for the municipal court which is helping finance litigation against several private individuals and political enemies of the mayor. As a member of the board of directors for the Springfield/Branson Airport Presley was adamantly opposed to the city's efforts to support the new Branson Airport and is likely to continue a legal battle which will undoubtedly financially harm both the city and the new airport alike.

Prior to becoming mayor Presley was involved in legal action against the city with support from the League of Theaters, a local trade group and lobbying organization that has been at odds with the city over reseller margins and tax collection methods.

Branson Patriarch Lloyd Presley Passes

KY3, a financial partner of the Presley family, produced the video and published memorial information posted below:

Branson Tea Party Coverage by Springfield News-Leader's Roseann Moring

he main organizer of this weekend's tea party rally in Branson said the event is a chance to bring like-minded people together.

"It validates the fact that you've got those concerns," Eric Farris said.
The group is centered around the principles of fiscal responsibility, limited government and free-market policies, he said. The Branson Tea Party website says the rally also aims to generate excitement for the Nov. 2 election.
Milton Wolf, President Barack Obama's second cousin, and country singer Ray Stevens are the main attractions. Also speaking are Eddy Justice, a tea party organizer from Poplar Bluff and Gina Loudon, who hosts a St. Louis radio show.
Faris said the event, like the coalition members, is nonpartisan. He said no elected official or even local candidate has spoken at a coalition rally.
"We don't want to be co-opted," he said. "We don't want to be cheaply imitated."
The Branson Tea Party Coalition got its start at about the same time as many around the country, by rallying on tax day in April 2009. Since then, the movement has gained momentum, with two more rallies from the Branson coalition in November 2009 and this April.
A southwest Missouri sometime tea party organizer who plans to attend this rally, Paul Beaird, said the purpose of the tea party is to ensure that "pro-freedom" candidates win their respective primaries.
"Pro-freedom," to Beaird, means a candidate who will commit to repealing every law that expands the federal government's power that was passed in the last 120 years.
Though the rally comes days after the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People released a report detailing what it says is racism on the fringe of the tea party, Beaird bristles at the suggestion that any members are racist.
"If you are a member of the human race, we are the champions of your freedom," he said.
He says he's seen no indication of racism in the almost two years the tea party has been around.
Statewide, St. Louis seems to be the area of Missouri where the tea party movement has taken the most hold, said George Connor, a professor at Missouri State University's political science department.
In many ways, the modern tea party is a mirror image of the populist movement of the late 1800s, he said.
That movement was a grass-roots operation that was to the left of the Democrats of the day, he said.
The tea party movement is primarily "to the right of the right, statistically speaking," he said. And though it has members from both major political parties, the movement has primarily had influence on the Republican Party.
He said he sees the movement having an effect on the 2012 election. But after that, he said, it's hard to guess. Historically speaking, such movements either get absorbed into a major party or dissipate.
"I'm going to wait and see," he said.

Branson Budget 2011 Overview

(Draft) Branson City Leaders will engage a deficit budget for three years running, a trend that started when Mayor Raeanne Presley took the reigns at city hall.  Since taking office record revenues have been matched by increased spending measures depleting the majority of savings previous administrations worked diligently to build. As part of a nighttime budget discussion which occurred at city hall, city leaders debated lowering the current available savings to 20% of the current annual operating budget. City code forces Branson alderman to maintain cash reserves at the 20% level but remains at 30% after deficit spending drained  7 million of savings accrued before Presley's new spending policies were enacted.

All department heads were present for last Thursday's evening meeting joined by Branson's Board of Alderman and a five member team from the Taney County Health Department.

During a meeting where fee increases were discussed last month, it was revealed that Mayor Raeanne Presley unilaterally promised $800,000 to the Taney County Health Department without Board of Alderman nor city officials approval. After a brief correction from the city administrator and city finance department correcting Presley on false statements made regarding the expense, a debate ensued. While Branson's alderman generally agreed that the Health Department needed to be fully funded through a verbal consensus there were protests and prompting to the department that action needed to be taken towards economic independence.Alderman Sandra Williams was the most outspoken on the issue eventually ceding to her personal belief that maintaining a strong health department was vital to the community.

Citizen surveys designed to create "buy in" for increased spending were met with mild protest as well. An estimated $250,000 in political survey contracts were penned in 2010 and an additional $27,000 expense was challenged by Alderman Cris Bohinc (see video above).

everal line item expenses have been creatively altered from 2007-2009 descriptions requiring further investigation into what some line items are actually describing.  

The trend of a litigious administration appears to be continuing as alderman estimated between $400,000 and $500,000 will be used to battle citizens and business partners in court. The number will likely rise if Mayor Presley continues to violate the premises of the Sunshine Law.

A contract based on consideration, a capped $8.24 per visitor fee to the Branson Airport will not be funded in the initial budget. There were hints that the obligation might be funded later and the maneuver of not allocating the funds are tied to a continuing court battle. When the contract was inked Presley was a member of a competing airport's board of directors and some speculate the action is designed to intentionally cause bankruptcy to the Branson airport who agreed to build an international airport based on the city of Branson initiating a pay per customer deal.  Presley's inconsistency on the issue  is demonstrated by National Public Radio's (NPR) story on the Airport  . Presley's statements about the Branson Airport are posted below:

"Branson Mayor Raeanne Presley says she considers it to be a win-win for the city.
Mayor RAEANNE PRESLEY (Branson, Missouri): It wasn't as though we said we'd write them a check and see how it all worked out. If they bring passengers here, then we pay for those"

While Presley hasn't revealed how much of nearly $1.7 in legal counsel is being 'allocated to battle the written agreement, legal entanglements against private entities are at an all time high.

While a 20 year plan is being developed to defray administrative liberty for a future generation Presley claims it is unfair for a part administration to bind the financial activity of a future administration.

Presley's activities are not without virtue or economic development; pro-environmental policies, funding for aesthetic improvements and a business venture (possible aquarium) which will pull people closer to her private theater are also being discussed.

Branson's 2011 Budget

Branson's budget will be ushered through this evening. A full report will be posted later this evening. For those citizens interested in attending this open meeting; dinner will be served at 5:30 at city hall. The meeting will begin at 6:00

Accompanying documentation for a  2008 line item allocating 4,000,000 to Mayor Presley and the Board of Alderman was requested Tuesday night and a response is due shortly. It is also my personal belief that the citizens deserve to know why and where $1.2 million dollars in legal expenses are being spent.

It is understood that the Mayor has requested city's legal counsel to refrain from distributing this vital financial information to the public. Please pray for our leaders that they may receive increased moral fortitude and for my personal protection and safety as I engage public inquiry to serve you.

Editor Darin P. Codon
(417) 243-0668

KRZK Radiothon Live Today to Help Christian Associates

Basic American values dictate that we assist the most needy among us. It's what separates us from the animals and less civilized. Today, KRZK is hosting a "radiothon" to assist Christian Associates a para-religious group that assists the least among us. Supporting organizations that do this type of work lowers tax levies because the government's hands are not forced due to the fact we do this through our own conscience voluntarily.

It's also important that we support responsible media and reward good deeds to encourage positive behavior from the rascals that distribute local press.

Missouri District 62 State Representative Nita Jane Ayres - Capital Report Oct. 12

Working to Create a Smaller, More Efficient Government

As we continue to struggle in this economy, it’s hard to see any positive that comes from a period of economic downturn such as this one. The legislature has worked to implement policies that will create jobs and help turn things around. But even as we do that, it bears mentioning that there is something positive that has resulted from the economic struggles of our state. As we have had extremely lean budget years because of declining revenues, we’ve had to take a close, hard look at where taxpayer dollars are going and to use those dollars in the most efficient way possible. Ideally, that’s what government should be doing at all times regardless of our economic situation, but a sluggish economy like we have now makes that practice an absolute necessity. In the face of economic adversity, one positive that emerges is a government that is focused on trimming the fat so that it evolves into a smaller, more efficient system that makes optimal use of taxpayer dollars. To me, that’s a very good thing and it’s what should be done to protect your pocketbook.

In an earlier Capitol Comments I mentioned a runaway bill (HB 1868) that started out as a good bill but evolved into a bad one over time. That bill had a host of amendments added to it that I found troublesome. However, amidst some of the worrisome amendments, we had a few positives as well. One of those was the consolidation of the State Water Patrol into the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Originally it was part of a plan to also eliminate the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. Fortunately, that part of the bill was scrapped as it moved through the process – something I supported as I firmly believe eliminating an important division warrants careful consideration and study. The water patrol change did go through and it is believed it will save the state as much as $3.7 million each year. It serves as an example of government tightening its belt effectively because those services still exist within our State Highway Patrol.

We do need to look at other changes similar to the water patrol merger but such changes should not be made without careful deliberations. Another thing that HB 1868 did to help in that regard is to create the Joint Committee on Reduction and Reorganization of Programs within State Government. This 13-member committee is charged with looking at these kinds of mergers and consolidations as well as other ways to reduce the overall size of state government without negatively impacting the services that Missourians need. The committee is similar to another that was formed by a piece of legislation that came out of the Senate (SCR 54). That resolution creates the Joint Interim Committee on Reducing the Size of State Government. Obviously, both committees will work toward a similar goal. I said in my previous Capitol Comments on HB 1868 that I prefer the committee created by the senate resolution simply because it provides a better method for selecting its members. However, I am a big supporter of the intent behind the creation of both committees. We can never have too many microscopes turned on state government and how it operates.

In the next few months these committees should examine each state department and agency within each department to determine programs or bureaucracies that should be eliminated or reduced.  I expect the committees will work toward a final recommendation to legislative leadership that will hopefully result in legislation that is filed for the 2011 legislative session. My hope is that with careful scrutiny they will find additional ways to streamline government services so that taxpayer dollars are safeguarded in the way Missourians expect and deserve.

Taneycobama Bridge to Open Fall 2010 (Update City Leaders Plan Forum Oct 18th

Taneycobama Bridge and Taneycomo bridge by Darin Codon
In 1931 dedication of a bridge which carries an estimated 18,000 cars daily across Lake Taneycomo changed the face of Branson.
After years of negotiation between the city of Branson, Hollister and Taney County officials a funding pact was established to build a new bridge.
A massive spending spree by Branson's city leaders in 2008 which is continuing to this day would have caused the commitment to deplete Branson's entire savings.
Obama's stimulus package funded the bridge as the project was shovel ready at the time the Federal funding bill was enacted. Two years later the bridge is near completion. The Taneycobama bridge is seen to the left of the photo above and to the right sits bridge built in 1931.
The old bridge will be retrofitted to maintain engineering integrity which will take place once the original bridge is open for traffic and will continue for one year.
Two major problems are being addressed by Branson city leaders. The highly congested route will not connect to Business 65 and the light that connects 76 to the Branson Landing will be closed to not increase congestion.
The second problem is the Taneycobama bridge won't have an adequate lane for foot traffic. A four inch line will be painted for the few pedestrians that travel by foot from Hollister to Branson.
On Oct 18th @ 6:00 PM Branson's Engineer David Miller will present the plan and open up for questions

Hollister Grape Festival (Videos)

Politicians dress in togas and contestants issue bribes to the judges before individual teams stomp grapes adorned in comedic uniforms to the music of their choosing. The winner gets the honor of holding the silly monkey trophy for a year. Good times.
At  one time Hollister MO was known for its wine.

Branson Seniors Dictate Future of Branson - 20 year Plan Will Implement Political Agenda

A group of highly talented, very expensive political strategists met with a small group of mostly senior citizens at Branson's High School yesterday to discuss a new code of laws that will determine Branson's development for the next two decades. The end-game is a new charter as Branson's Mayor envisioned several years ago and has recently come to the general public's attention. The charter will allow longer political terms and un-bind city leaders from laws that protect a free market.

Three results are imminent:

1. New taxes
2. Reduction of property rights, increased regulation
3. Implementation of Development Agreements which haven't come to light yet.
Electronic votes were tallied after a sales pitch was delivered. Some of the answers irritated the podium speaker as citizens didn't answer in the way organizers pitched. The carefully crafted questions were formed to produce results promised to the mayor to help implement a pre-determined agenda. While political polling is generally reserved for elections. This poll was conducted on the tax-payer dime. Some estimate the cost is $130,000 others $250,000.

Without a press willing to rock the boat, millions flow without question or consequence.

At times the podium speaker became frustrated when information being fed didn't result in the vote they were supposed to bring the mayor. County wide transportation was one of these issues in the first session.

The group will hold a second meeting on the 18th where an A/B vote will be given. The political activist firm will then come back to help the Mayor move the "plan" through an election.

More on Monday....

Mario Lopez to Host Branson Holiday Promenade of Stars

Mario Lopez will be coming to Branson to host the Holiday Promenade of Stars. The 4th annual event is being produced by Gary Bartlett and will occur Saturday November 13th.
Lopez has a new reality show launching Nov. 1st 2010 titled, "Saved by the Baby" co-stars Courtney Mazza and baby Gia Francesca Lopez will also be present in Branson for the live event.
   Audio Press Release:

Audio Transcript
 Just want to let you know that the 4th Annual  ”Holiday Promenade of Stars” will take place on Saturday November 13th down the promenade of Branson Landing.  We’ll have some pre show festivities starting at 10 o’clock am, with the parade starting at 10:30 am.  We are honored to have.  Mario Lopez, hosting, along with CarrieTillis and John  Daly  from  Real TV. Our Grand  Marshal. once  again,  this  your  will  be  Mr. Andy Williams.  We’re  utilizing  this  parade  to  benefit  three  local  charities.  The  Boys  and  Girls  Clubs  of  the  Ozarks , The Skaggs Foundation  and  Love Inc..  10% of all the gross funds that come in will go directly to the charities and also with 100% of the application fee going to their charities.  Once again,  we’re  excited,  it's  going to  be  nationally  televised  on  Thanksgiving  Day  with  the  rebroadcast  on  Christmas  day  on  our  RFD  TV,  RETRO television network,  KSFX  in  Springfield  KOLR 10 on Christmas day  & the Vacation Channel, We do still have some spots available if you would like to   participate in the parade and you can  & if you’re interested in being a sponsor you can contact Debby Gossett (417) 527 5416 or Pamela McCord (417)  263 0308

 Press Release Uncut

4th Annual Holiday Promenade of Stars ™ Parade

4th Annual Holiday Promenade of Stars
Saturday November 13, 2010
Branson Landing (right down the center of the landing_
10:00 am pre show festivities
10:30 am Parade Stars

Host: Mario Lopez, Carrie Tillis, John Daly (Real TV)
Grand Marshal: Mr. Andy Williams

The Holiday Promenade of Stars was designed to showcase our shows,
theaters, attractions, hotels, and businesses during the holiday season. While
serving many purposes, we also choose to use this event to benefit local
charities. All chosen charities are family based organizations providing medical
services, meals and basic necessities.

10% of all the sponsorship money will be donated to the follow charities. Also
100% of the parade application fee will be donated.

The 2010 selected charities:

• The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Ozarks - is a non-profit youth development
organization that is dedicated to fostering a sense of belonging, positive self-
esteem, and accomplishment in all kids. No child is ever turned away for financial

• The Skaggs Foundation - mission is to develop relationships and financial
resources to support the healthcare programs, projects and services of Skaggs
Regional Medical Center.

• Love Inc - imagine the difference churches can make by joining with other
churches in their community to help those in need. When the Body of Christ
works together, the results can be miraculous.

10% of all the sponsorship money will be donated to the follow charities. Also
100% of the parade application fee will be donated.

Television Networks Confirmed:
Nov 25 -12:00 pm est noon airs
Dec 25, 2010 2:00 pm est

Nov 25 -3:00 pm est noon airs
Dec 25, 2010 3:00 pm est

Nov 25 -9:00 am CST airs
Dec 25, 2010 11:00 pm CST

KOLR 10-
Dec 25, 2010 3:00 pm CST

***Media Outlets Can Use Source Data Posted

City of Branson Sunshine Law Violations Will Result in Temporary Halt - Will Resume reporting shortly

Due to an effort by Mayor Raeanne Presley to persistently violate open government and civil rights laws a brief break is being taken and a multitude of next steps are being considered.

It's unfortunate that some politicians show little respect for the constitution of the United States, the state of Missouri and openly violate open government laws. This is generally the result of corruption and malfeasance of the highest degree. Open government laws are the enemy of corruption, halt money laundering and force self-serving interests to decline due to accountability.

It is clear the government body of which I am reporting on has no interest in demonstrating integrity with finances, municipal activity nor willing to submit to the law which protects us from the very worst of politicos.

This is our government, not the financier of one B-Entertainment venue with tremendous disrespect for the people who fought and died for liberty.

I believe in peace and the power of the pen to overcome the most sinister and self-serving bureaucrats who believe public funds and information are their private domain.

It's my intention to work and serve you - the citizens - and protect you from the overreaching power of those who are actively working to drain the budgets, misinform the citizens and cause harm to the community for their own selfish gain. National, state and local reporters routinely call when they need information about local public bodies. It is through dedicated study, courage, love of truth and the hope that freedom's ring can be heard for another generation that I write. Call me selfish, but I love my family and want them to remain free.

I am only a scorekeeper. I do not believe in violence as a means to solve problems. I believe in the power of citizen government and maintain the right to keep ourselves free and self-governed is an imperative to liberty not to mention constitutionally protected.

To be free and self governed we need vital information.  We have a right and deserve to know what "our" government is doing. The job of journalism is to keep us free and self-governed.

In Branson, our budget is not a personal pocketbook for the Presley Theater. It is not a capitalistic venture for a handful of media business partners of the Presley theater to whore. It is not a force to prevent minorities from performing in public. It is not an entity to be used for the purpose of denying personal property rights. It belongs to all of us collectively.

Our police force is not a personal army to terrorize those at political odds with irresponsible spending or to falsely detain citizens who chose to actively engage civic issues.

This is our government. This is our budget. This is our nation, state and community.

Due to the g-rated nature of this news source I will not go into the details of what has happened at the request of our politicians. I do not wish this treatment upon my allies, competitors or any being who could be called a child of God.

I will say this, To date I have experienced extreme acts of intimidation and have seen the devastation fruits of corruption birth. My physical body is routinely violated. I am regularly detained without cause, sometimes for hours. Access to public meetings is routinely blocked and excessive fees are levied to prevent me from reporting.

I realize that I am at political odds with a government entity that has proved fiscal responsibility is of little concern. But I am an American, I am a journalist and I strive to be fair. It would be unfair to my readers to allow application of terror to prevent me from reporting truth or cause undue bias.

I thank God I live in this country where we are still protected by the constitution and citizens have peaceful means of recourse to undo the damage caused by Godless leaders.

I want to thank my readers and those who provide leads; I could not do this without you. Most importantly I want to thank those who ask me questions. I have worked vigorously for you, so that you may not have to endure terror, harm to your private businesses or family due to the fact you want basic information about the government body charged with serving you.

It is time to review my options and for the next couple of days I will be posting information about the state of journalism throughout the world. Many developments have occurred over the last few weeks. Nations who have chosen to defy the will of God, who wants us to be free, have imprisoned my brethren of the pen.

Personal experience has led me to believe that true liberty comes from within as we submit ourselves to the creator and our higher purpose.

Rouseau said, "man is born free but everywhere he is in chains". This bondage is amplified when government chooses to negate the liberty we are born with. The implications of government action are vast and span most every aspect of our lives. Generally, it's not until the personal encroachment is blatant that we realize the importance of keeping tyranny at bay. By the time most citizens recognize this reality and begin to value their freedom it is too late.

The City of Branson will have every opportunity to correct their mistakes, violations of civil rights and re-commit themselves to abide by the law. They will also have the opportunity to be arrogant, disrespect the constitution and disregard the almighty. It is not my belief that this should continue without accountability. Unfortunately, when our leaders misbehave, we all pay the price.

I ask for your prayer. Pray for me and pray for our leaders that our father-in-heaven will bestow wisdom upon them.

Branson Edge Editor,
Darin Patrick Codon