Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Pumpkin bread surprise!

One of the nice things about having neighbors like Jan and Larry Ray is the surprise of a holiday delicious loaf of pumpkin bread that Mrs. Ray brought over to my house one afternoon.They are truly nice folks.

It’s people like these that give one pause to say what a wonderful nation it is we live in. Jan is an excellent cook and her pumpkin bread had to be the best I’ve had in a long time. There’s just something about homemade that beats anything you can buy at a store no matter what the cost.

Thanks so much. Your gift of food was most generous!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A weather roller coaster ride so far!

With an opening shot of snow on Thanksgiving Day followed by a succession of cold incursions from the north, you’d think Mother Nature might be acting a bit snarly and you'd be right. With still more than a week to go before the official start of winter, I’ve already had enough of the cold stuff thank you very much. Unfortunately, no one listens to me.

This coming weekend will keep the downhill trend going as it will warm up slightly by Friday, Dec the 10th, only to be followed by a very rapid plunge into the arctic locker before the end of the weekend. In between, on Saturday, we might just also get a snowflake or two thrown our way. The National Weather Service, while still holding its cards close to its vest, is hinting at a snow event if the storm, which will sweep through the region on Saturday, digs far enough to the south. Any winter precipitation and the form it takes will be a timing event. Unlike some states like Kansas where the geology allows for fairly predictable weather patterns, our climatological location here in SWMO makes weather prediction more an art than science. What is for sure is that by Sunday, it will feel more like January than mid December, as it will struggle to get to the upper twenties with the overnight temperatures in the single digits! Brrr.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

At Mobil One Express Auto in Forsyth Missouri, the customer's are happy.

From a quiet start, when Mobil One Express Auto only did oil changes to today when it has evolved into a full-sized auto service center, has been fun to experience. The customer service I’ve received there has always been top notch. This included short waits for oil changes, a staff that is keyed to making the customer happy and an aggressive, get it done management that will find you smiling as you motor down the road.

Any business that works directly with the public is lucky to get even a few letters of appreciation a year. Mobil One has a wall with many, many such letters like the one pictured here. For a discerning customer like me, this inspires confidence that I can expect exceptional service at a fair price. In my experience, that’s just what you get. (Note that I have removed the names from this letter for the sake of privacy concerns, but can attest that there are other like it on display by the counter).

Please give these folks your business next time you need an oil change or other automotive service. In difficult economic times such as these, we need to band together as a community and support our local businesses. This holds true especially for venues like this who strive so hard to earn your repeat business.

You can visit Mobil One Express Auto at 194 Coy Blvd in Forsyth Missouri or call them at 417 546-4224 or visit their web page.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Brr. It's cold out there. A sign of more to come? Snow on the 11th?

Early December and already there is an abundance of snow on the ground in many of the northern tier of states. Almost no part of the United States has been cold temperatures either as freeze warnings are even now being issued as far south as Florida. And it’s only the first week of December!

While cold weather is to be expected in southwest Missouri, it still arrived a bit early by my reckoning. With so many out of work or under-employed, the last thing we need is a harsh winter! Last December was colder than normal and I’m sure many remember the very cold first couple of weeks in January 2009 that saw minus readings on their outdoor thermometers. That cold spell seemed to last forever to me.

My gut feeling this year, which is shared by some of my friends, is for a rough go this time around. The arctic air machine seems to be set up for business and now all we need is some moisture to make for a white (and frigid) Christmas. Our next chance for snow will come on Saturday, December the 11th overnight.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A lesson to be relearned.

At the age of only 14, a local resident by the name of Johnny Jones then living in Texas, ran away from home to pursue a dream. His aspiration, back in 1957 was to meet Roy Rogers and Dale Evans who were big time stars living in California.

Hitch hiking across the United States with just a few dollars in his pocket he was unsuccessful. On his second and third attempts, both times traveling a distance of thousands of miles he was also sent home, unsigned photo in hand.

Then, on his fourth attempt, he got to meet both Roy and Dale in person. So, what’s the moral of this story? That anyone with enough desire in their hearts can make a dream come true. Something that is too often forgotten in a world where many of us increasingly feel like bricks in some wall.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Forsyth Christmas Parade

A parade is scheduled for 2PM along Highway 160 and will begin at Coy Blvd and Hwy 160. This event is normally a lot of fun for everyone, especially the kids who look forward to the candy this is thrown from the floats as they pass by.

Weather wise, it will be overcast and cool with blustery winds out of the northwest, so dress appropriately.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Country Mart access is congested in Forsyth Missouri

As times get a little bit hectic the closer we get to the Thanksgiving Holidays and then Christmas, it pays to remember to be considerate to others. This point was driven home to me one afternoon when I found myself inadvertently blocking the parking access of a truck that was trying to unload in front of the Country Mart store in Forsyth, Missouri.

I was parked in a no parking zone while waiting for a relative to finish her shopping. She is disabled and has a hard time walking very far as a result of a hip replacement surgery some years ago. The thing is that there is evidently no loading dock for trucks to unload. They must park in front of the building. A process made that much more difficult when people like me are blocking the way. This is even more exacerbated considering the increased need to stock the stores during the holiday rush.

The fact that Country Mart has apparently made little effort to accommodate both needs is a subject for a later blog. Right now, the trucks should be given the right of access and I will make an effort in the future to make an allowance for them.

Sorry, Tracy, my bad.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Free speech in Europe

River Run November 2010 Update

Thanks to a 240K federally funded program, River Run Park located just east of the town of Forsyth Missouri, will look better than ever in spite of damage done by flooding over the last few seasons.

According to Brent VanOrder, superintendent of the Redstone Construction Group out of Little Rock Arkansas, over 1,160 tons of asphalt was laid to improve the roads that service campsites throughout the park. In addition, some 60 yards of concrete was poured to renovate the over pass that crosses Silver Creek. A site that was riddled with potholes and other flood related damage. They also leveled and eliminated potholes that encumbered access to the Powersite dam.

As I walked to park on this date, I was impressed. Even during difficult economic times, efforts are still being made to preserve and protect our park system.

December 2009 was actually a bitch!

I erroneously posted a graph that showed what a great and warm month December 2009 was. Actually last December was a real bitch, it you'll pardon my French.The correct graph is at right. The mean temperature for the month was 33F against a historical average of 35F. As you know, even a small shift in mean temperatures for a whole month mean big shifts in how warm or cold you feel.

According to my sources which include an aging psychic, an out of work meteorologist and a tarot card reader, this winter season should be on the mild side with lots of moisture and an occasional blizzard thrown in for some excitement.

Note: All data represented here was from readings taken in the Forsyth, Missouri area.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Local e-cigarette vendor thinks he can help!

If you are looking to quit cigarette smoking or even if you are trying to cut back, then e-cigarettes may be worth a look. When a user “smokes” one of these, there are white puffs coming out of their nostrils just like the real thing, but there is no second-hand smoke: just flavored water vapor. When the user draws a breath, a colored light glows on the end of the device. When the user stops drawing in a breath, there is no second-hand smoke: the device just stops. Nobody close at hand even smells anything. But best of all, these cigarettes don’t contain any tobacco. They do contain measured dosages of nicotine, however to help people quit the real thing. Nicotine doses in the cartridges are rated as low, medium, high, and zero nicotine. The high strength cartridge has the nicotine equivalent of a regular cigarette. The idea is to start there and then back off gradually until you are smoking nothing but water vapor.

I’ve personally seen these devices in action and, while there are some risks, they seem definitely better than the real thing. This is true especially in terms of second hand smoke, of which there is none when using these devices. Hurrah!

If you live in the Branson-Forsyth area, call Johnny Jones for a free demonstration. He’s got C.OP.D., has smoked for 54 years and has tried everything under the sun to quit. Nothing worked until he discovered e-cigarettes. Johnny can be reached at 417-849-4278 or emailed at if you need additional information or would like to schedule an appointment.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chico Vega’s World Famous Drifters

Will be appearing at a dinner and dance sponsored by the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce this coming November the 20th. Advance sales only are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

The dinner will be served from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM and includes Turkey Tetrazzini, a Caesar Salad, biscuits, dessert and a beverage. The dance portion of the evening will begin at the end of the dining period at 7PM.

Call 417-561-4280 for information. Note: Pricing, date and time can be subject to change.

Coldest morning of the season, so far!

Forsyth Missouri - Shiver me timbers! Our first shot of really cold air of the fall season occurred on the morning of Friday, October the 29th when temperatures dropped to the mid twenties (27F) in some parts of southwest Missouri! A combination of high pressure, clear skies and calm winds all created a situation where radiational cooling could have maximum effect. Think about it. Temperatures in the twenties and it’s not even November yet. Wow!

The temperature fall overnight was an impressive one. All the way from the mid fifties in the late afternoon to a chilly 34F just after midnight. By 3AM, the mercury had fallen to thirty degrees and then after that things really got seriously cold with a 6AM reading in the mid twenties. Brrr! I can tell you that when it gets this cold, the old electric meter is really spinning that little metal disk! I’ve got my furnace turned on and set to 71F. I even have a couple of space heaters deployed in keys areas to supplement it.(See my article on heat conservation due later this winter). With some electric customers having suffered a recent 14% hike in their rates, a cold and long winter season could have a measurable impact. Just how cold can it get? Well, in 1905 in Warsaw Missouri on February the 13th the temperature plummeted to 40 below zero! If that wasn't bad enough, it can also get cold for a long time. The current record for our state was the winter of 1978-79 that posted an average temperature of only 24.1 degrees. I'd hate to see the electric bill from back then!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

As election times nears...

I'm hoping that everyone will make an effort to get out on November the 2nd and place a vote for the candidates of their choice. Red or Blue, it's up to you. There are many important issues facing the citizens both nationally and here in Missouri. Please check out the sample ballot here!

There are three constitutional amendments to consider along with two Propositions. I have to express ignorance as to the meaning of the first amendment proposal. The other two are pretty straightforward and everyone will have to vote their conscience. Proposition A has to do with the ability of the sate to levy additional real estate taxes and B has to do with the regulation of state dog breeding operations. A measure that if passed will have an impact on where our tax dollars will go. Once again please vote your conscience. Note: There seems to be a movement afoot at the state level to impose more strict penalties on anyone who mistreats pets of all kinds.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wagon Wheel Family Dining

I have eaten at the Wagon Wheel Family Dining restaurant a number of times now. I first discovered this eatery about two months ago while going on a sightseeing tour with my sister who recently moved here from California. They’re located at 20262 US Hwy 160 near the three way junction of Highways 160-76 or about 3 miles east of Forsyth Missouri on Highway 160. They currently have ‘winter hours’ which are W-S 7:30AM to 7 PM and Sundays 7:30AM to 2 PM. (These hours are subject to change, so call ahead to make sure).

What I like best about the Wagon Wheel restaurant is how similar it is to eateries I can remember as a youth (that was a long time ago, trust me). Just down home American cuisine at affordable prices. There’s nothing very fancy or overdone at the Wagon Wheel but you get a good feeling eating there all the same. The hamburgers are good and juicy. Just the way I like them. (My sister mentioned that she especially liked the toasted buns). Other menu items include sandwiches like Pattie melts and grilled chicken. The dinner offerings also included chicken fried steak, ham and pork tenderloin to mention just a few. The establishment is owned and operated locally by Judy Alstatt, whom I have had the pleasure of talking with on numerous occasions.

The bottom line is I feel this is a good place with good food at fair prices. Please give them a try and let me know what you think! Note: This establishment is typically closed during the winter months, so call before you go there. The number is (417)-546-4219.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Please vote on November the 2nd!

“All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible.”
T.E. Lawrence

By his own admission, President Obama has now realized 70% of the legislation he envisioned to change America. His next two years in office will be an effort to make sure these changes stay, whether Americans like it or not.

If you like what this man and what his congress has wrought then please vote on November the 2nd. If you do not like the direction our country has taken, then make damn sure you vote on November the 2nd.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hairwaves in Forsyth Missouri

15796 US Highway 160
Forsyth, MO 65653
Phone: (417) 546-4420

Salons like Hair Waves by Becky offer services that often include haircuts, nails services, waxing, manicures and pedicures.

My sister likes this saloon for both its competitive pricing and the ambiance. The business is centrally located in a small strip mall right down from the Hometown Appliance Store.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Please, Taney County, get out and vote!

No matter what your political leanings are, please do this yourself and this nation a favor and find a way to vote in the November 2nd elections. If you can’t for some good reason, OK, I’ll live with that, but for those of us who do, it’s really important that we all take a stand. Left, center or right.

Our country is now standing at a crossroads and the outcome of this election will determine some very major directions that will affect citizens in both the short term and long term. We have a choice to make on November 2nd and on succeeding elections which will determine whether we stay a Republic that follows the Doctrine of the Constitution or whether we go down the path of a Democratic Socialist State. It’s just that simple and just that imperative!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Empire Electric Demands More Money!

Well, it seems Empire Electric is strapped for cash once again. Gosh darn it all. After grabbing a whopping 13.4 percent increase in September, the company is looking for another 9.2 percent. This rate increase would not become effective until mid 2011 if approved. The overall yearly increase would represent a hike of 22.6%. According to Empire officials, the increase is needed to cover the cost of the construction costs of a new plant in Platte County.

They also want to continue the use of a fuel adjustment clause that would allow them to increase the rates they can charge twice a year on June 1st and December 1st. These increases would be tied to increases in the cost of fuel used to run the generators.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Future of Missouri Water

Like many Americans, I have become increasingly concerned with my water supply. Questions concerning the source of drinking water and how often it is tested are just a couple of things I would like to know about. So, here is what I have found out concerning my neck of the woods.

It’s my understanding is that the Taney County Water District Number 2 supplies most of Forsyth Missouri with drinking water. Their office is located at 1865 State Highway VV in Powersite. The telephone number is 417-334-8010.Office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. They do have emergency numbers on the answering machine in case you have a water main emergency after business hours. Their office observes most legal holidays.

The Public Water Supply District #2 of Taney County states that they are in compliance with the newest rules and regulations established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) pertaining to the Safe Drinking Water Act and lead content in water. They send two samples per month to the DNR laboratory in Springfield for testing. These samples are taken at random locations throughout the District.

The District office also prepares a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) annually. This report is mailed to all their customers to notify the public of all constituents found in out drinking water and what levels of each constituent is allowable by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Anyone interested in obtaining a copy of CCR report can call their office and they will gladly mail one to you.

I plan on requesting this report and will followup with a blog on my findings in the near future.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Forsyth Missouri Harvest Moon Festival Oct 2, 2010

Live it up with two days full of fun, food, music, and more at the Harvest Moon Festival in Forsyth, Missouri, located just 20 minutes northeast of Branson.
During this festival, you can shop around at booths of local vendors for one-of-a-kind arts and crafts, and have the opportunity to find a hidden treasure. There will also be a classic car show, so bring the camera. Your kids will love these cars they may never have seen up-close, before, and adults can wallow in nostalgia. Don't worry about leaving for lunch, either. There will be concession stands set up, along with a bake sale, where you can find all kinds of treats and goodies. For information, call (417)546-2741.

Here's a link to the 2011 Harvest!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Forsyth Area Fall Cleanup October 29 thru 30th!

Now’s your chance to get rid of all the junk you’ve accumulated over time, and free of charge too! The Taney County Commission has designated two days in October as fall cleanup days. Specifically, on October the 29th  and 30th, the Taney County Recycling Center located on Highway 160 about three miles east of Forsyth will be accepting furniture, appliances, automotive batteries and almost anything else metal that you want to get rid of.

Excluded are tires and commercial dealers, just home folks please. Proof of residence will be required, so be sure to have some form of photo ID on you in the form of a driver’s license or other form of acceptable ID such as an electric bill or tax statement.

No household hazardous waste will be accepted. Collection times will from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM each day. For additional information, please call (417) 546-7268.

T-Como Motel in Forsyth Missouri

The T-Como motel is located at 15881 US Highway 160 in Forsyth Missouri. Their phone is (417) 546-3431 in case you need to make a reservation.

This motel has only one review that I could find. It was made in 2007 and was not very kind. One my visit to the establishment, I was shown a room that looked OK to me. But, I admit I did not get a chance to really inspect all the nooks and crannies. The rate I was quoted was $150 per week. I was also told they have cable TV.

I would appreciate comments from anyone who has stayed there.

Twin Lakes Motel in Forsyth

As I have some friends who are planning to visit from out of state, I told them I would try and check out lodging here in Forsyth, Missouri. One of the more established (since 1985) is the Twin Lakes Motel. It’s located at 15965 US Hwy 160 and their phone number is (417) 546-3481. The owner’s are Kathy Owen, Ken and Frank Carr. Frank was kind enough to show me one of the units. I was impressed with how clean everything was. They offer one Queen bed units starting at $49 per night all the way up to a unit that has separate bedrooms with living room area for $99 per night as of this writing. While they will not take checks, they do accept credit cards and cash. Smoking and pets are not allowed inside any of the units. Note: Prices are subject to change without notice.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hollister Grape and Fall Festival

Ten must do’s when dining out!

If you’re a ‘germaphobe’ like myself, dining out can pose a very real conundrum of possibilities for getting oneself into germy trouble. Restaurants, like people homes, can run the gauntlet from so clean you could safely like the floor to bastions of infectious cesspools. A place from which a budding pathologist could derive their post doctorate degree. Fortunately, with most establishments, things are on the cleaner side of the spectrum. This doesn’t mean you can let your guard down however. When someone said that ‘vigilance is the price of eternal freedom’ I’m sure they were talking about freedom from diarrhea or some such illness.

So what does the ‘vigilance germaphobe’ do when they eat outside of the sterile enclave of their homes? Thought you’d never ask! Following is my list of ten things I try and do when eating out:

1)      Never, ever go to an eatery on the spur of the moment. Check the place out well in advance. Talk to friends. The grapevine is a great source to find out if the place is safe. Also look up their most recent visit by the Health Department.
2)      Try and frequent only established eateries. Let any new establishments mature a bit (months) to see how well they fare. It’s much better if you hear about someone getting sick than being that person who got sick.
3)      When arriving at a restaurant that is new to you, go immediately to the bathroom and check for overall condition including the presence of soap, clean towels and hot running water. While there, wash your hands thoroughly.
4)      After being seated check out the person who will be serving you carefully. If they appear sick, then ask for a change of location or server. Men and women in this line of work are not paid very well and rarely are given time off for illness.
5)      In a similar vein, scan the people sitting closest to you. If someone has red eyes and is coughing up a lung it might be wise to relocate or even evacuate.
6)      Make sure you have a handy wipe to clean off the surface of the table yourself. Lacking this, watch the people cleaning table to see if they are using paper towels versus cloth or sponges. The later two can be loaded with germs from previous diners.
7)      When the menu comes, have a paper towel in your hand to grasp it with. Menus are notorious vectors for germs. When you are done ordering, discard the paper towel.
8)      If the place you’re eating at is say a Fish House, don’t order a hamburger. Stick with items that move off the menu quickly. The longer a food is in inventory the better the chance for problems to arise.
9)      Keep the food you eat simple, stupid. Shy away from the fancy dishes with drizzled sauces and such. For instance stick with grilled items that are medium well done. Take a pass on the creamy pasta salad until you get home.
10)   When you’ve finished eating make sure you pay with a credit card. This is one of the few times I use them. Credit cards are infinitely cleaner than exchanging currency at the checkout counter. If you must pay in cash, make sure you beeline it to the bathroom for a good washing.

There, that about covers it I think. None of these activities are all that difficult and shouldn’t keep you and yours from having a great time. Bon appetite!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Area pantry needs your help!

On a recent Sunday morning I was taking my sister to the Country Mart grocery in Forsyth Missouri when I had a chance to meet a trio of very nice ladies who were collecting for the Branson Hills Ministry Center Food Pantry.

In times that are proving ever more difficult for everyone, it is good to see people like Brenda, Darlene and Marietta out there donating their time so graciously.  In difficult times, it is community charities like this one that can make the difference for so many.

If you would like to support this effort then click on the Branson Hills link for additional information.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

White Swan Fish House

This week I had the pleasure of eating at the White Swan Fish House located at 15709 US Highway 160 in Forsyth Missouri. This building used to be a laundromat for many years before being converted to an eatery. It’s owned and operated the by the same folks who run the very popular Danna’s BBQ in Hollister and Branson.

When you first walk in, there is a service counter on your left where you can place an order. A very nice person by the name of Bridget made me feel welcome as she clearly explained the menu items including the specials they were running at that time. I was told that the most popular meal is currently the Fried Catfish Quesadillas, although the Po-Boys sandwiches may give them a run for their money. Other menu items include the Grilled Seafood Tacos (sounds interesting) and their basket meals which can include shrimp, catfish, chicken, oysters or even craw fish. A special youngster meal is also offered.

In case you’re not familiar with this eatery, it’s located at 15709 Us Highway 160 just across from Comb’s Furniture. So, it’s conveniently located and there's plenty of parking for all. Current store hours are Monday through Thursday 11 AM to 2:30 PM and Friday and Saturday from 11 to 8PM. It’s always a good idea to call them at 417 546-2231, however just to make sure.

John is the manager and chef of a well run and clean establishment. I counted seating for about fifty plus not including a group section that would seat 16 and more. The background music was very pleasant and all around you are reminders of the fact that you are in a fish house. Following is my ranking on a scale of 1= awful to 10 = awesome!

Cost to eat: 7
Cleanliness: 9
Food: 9
Service: 9

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Name that Park Contest

Forsyth Missouri will be getting a new park that is situated on Birmingham Road just off Hwy 76. When complete it will have two baseball fields, a walking path and playground equipment. The most important thing, however, it is won’t flood in the manner the Shadowrock has in the past.

The park is scheduled for completion by mid 2011 and folks can help out by giving it a name as part of a contest that runs until September 7th. It asks local residents to submit names (no person’s, service organization or business allowed) at City Hall or on the City’s Web site. You can save postage or gas by emailing your entry to the mayor (link is provided on entry page). The winning entry will receive a $50 saving bond after the announcement should be made sometime around September 17th. The winning entry will be based on how well it describes the distinctiveness, creativity, marketing and branding potential of the park itself.

I drove by this area but was unable to find any evidence of construction.

Empire Electric Rate Increase in September!

A rate hike of 13.35% was announced recently by Bill Gipson, president and CEO of Empire Electric Company. Apparently the Missouri Public Service Commission approved the increase after it was announced that he Plum Point generating station in Osceola, Arkansas was completed ahead of schedule. Accord to Mr. Gipson, “The new rates will allow us to begin recovery of the costs associated with the environmental upgrades at Iatan I and the new Plum Point generating station.”

What this means to the average customer of Empire will be and increase of about $13 a month per thousand kilowatts of use.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

River Run Park – A sign of rough financial times?

Living close to the River Run Park in Forsyth Missouri affords me a chance to keep an eye on the goings on in this popular vacation spot. This summer I’ve tried to make it a point to drive through the park every so often just to check things out. In years past, it has been crowded (when it wasn’t flooded) this time of year. I’m sad, however to report that this season, attendance seems to be off a bit. Actually, a lot!

Now it’s true, we’ve had a very hot summer with most of August sporting temperatures in the mid nineties. I’m sure that may have kept some away, even though many of the people who come here do so in state of the art RV’s complete with air conditioning and satellite TV’s. Also, the park has not been maintained as well as in past years and that may have been a turnoff. I’ve noticed that the grass has been allowed to get high enough to go to seed before it’s cut with other areas have been let go all together. To me high grass means lots of bugs. Not sure if that is true though.

To the parks credit, when I was out taking pictures, a company called Loftis Mowing was cutting the grass in selected areas. Even so, there was only a camper or two in the entire park!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hang in there. The Wx in SW Mo is about to get a little cooler! I Hope!

Starting on Sunday, August the 15th, the weather here in southwest Missouri should start a process of moderation that will result in ‘cooler than normal’ temperatures starting as early as Monday and continuing on through the balance of the week. The yellow arrows point to two cooler fronts that should swing through our neck of the woods. Praise God.

Meteor Shower - You missed it!

Tonight (Aug 12th) and tomorrow night marks peak viewing for one of the most prolific and awe-inspiring annual meteor showers visible in North America, the Perseids, which will rise from the northeast beginning around 11 p.m. At times as many as 60 shooting stars are visible during the shower.
Named because they come from the direction of the constellation Perseus, the meteors are actually the stream of debris cascading from the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years.Because there's a waxing crescent moon just now, the Perseids should be visible in most of the country where skies are clear.

Astronomers suggest driving away from city lights and finding a dark spot with good vantage of the entire sky, preferably at an angle so you're looking up at the sky without craning your neck.While the eye adapts to the dark within 10 minutes, a full switch to night vision can take up to 45 minutes, so the falling stars will become brighter and more visible as the night wears on. Be careful not to place yourself where you see oncoming car headlights, which can 'reset' the eyes for light, meaning it will take another 45 minutes to get full night vision back.

NASA astronomer Bill Cooke will hold a Web chat from 11:00 p.m. tonight to 5 a.m. EDT about the Perseids and how best to view them from the Marshall Space Flight Center. Most of the meteors in the shower Americans will see tonight and tomorrow night are from a filament of dust from the comet that streamed off in 1862.

Humans have been seeing the Perseids for at least 2,000 years and are associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 133 years. The Earth passes through the tiny debris cloud that trails the comet every August. The particles of ice and dust burn up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere, creating a beautiful shower of meteors.

NASA will also be running a live feed of the shower beginning as darkness falls on the East coast.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thanks Empire Electric, I think…

In the mail this afternoon was a box of Lumacoil energy saving compact fluorescent lamps. Four in all. They were really neat and I appreciate my Electric Company for sending them to me. Maybe this is some government program trickle down thingy that has finally made its way to my humble door!

Enclosed with the lamps were two pages from Empire with a bunch of information showing how there are various rebates and incentives for both home owners and building contractors. Nowhere does Empire actually address in these papers why they sent me these nifty lamps in the first place. (Must be a gift horse kind of deal. Just don’t look too far into its mouth…).

Could this be some kind of government benefit thing? And if so, who's paying for it? I’m only asking because the lamps actually came from China! What?

The Fire Department in Forsyth Missouri

Located in City Hall at 15405 US Hwy 160 across from the National Enzyme Company, the Forsyth Missouri Fire Department performs a critical role in safe guarding homes and businesses from the ravages of fire and other threats to both structures and human life. I had the pleasure, recently of meeting Nathan Bower, the Fire Chief. He told me that the Fire Department is currently looking for able-bodied volunteers. Interested parties or anyone who would like additional information can call 417-546-3074.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Library in Forsyth Missouri

A great resource, even in the age of computers can be found at the Library in Forsyth. It was established in 1969 as a small enterprise begun by a group of women and has grown ever since. It’s located at 162 Main Street or across the street from the County building. Their phone number is 417-546-5257.

I’ve been going there for well over a decade and still have yet to make a dent in reading all the books they have on the shelves. In addition to books, they also have videos, books on cassettes and even a thrift shop. In addition, I’ve recently discovered that their resource and genealogy area is available for those interested in researching the history of folks who have called this area home in the past.

If you have not in the past, please stop in and say hi. You’ll find some extremely nice people inside.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Taney County's Senior Tax Levy

Tomorrow, on August the 3rd, Taney County Missouri residents will be voting on a number of important issues. One of these is a levy that seeks to add five cents per one hundred dollars assessed valuation. The money thus collected would then be administered by a seven member panel as aid to senior citizens that live in that county.
I would bet that similar such levies exist in one form or another all over the country. In seventeen counties that neighbor Taney in southwest Missouri, nine have passed similar measures.

While at first glance, this might seem a noble gesture by county leadership, I do have a few reservations. My first is that this action, should it pass, will collect about $450,000 in funds the first year. Is that even enough?  No one knows because at the time of passage there is no plan or budget in place on how to spend it. As of this writing, one day before the vote will be cast, there is not even a board with which to pose questions concerning the who, what, where and why of this action. To me this is a little too much like the recent passage of the financial reform bill. A two thousand plus page document that voter’s were advised to, “just pass the thing, so we can see what’s in it.” A concept that leaves any thinking man or woman a little concerned.

Well, here’s my thought. Let’s get the board in place, have them come up with a plan, access the probable costs versus the benefits and present that to the citizens of Taney County. Then give them a little time to digest it prior to actually asking them to vote yea or nay. Does that sound like a bad plan? At least I have one. :)

My feeling will be on this go around is to vote no. Let the County get its act together, form a cohesive plan and then present it properly to the people who will ultimately pay for it. Most importantly, let's have our leadership stop acting like they are working in Washington.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Missouri's Proposition C is not about Health Care Choices!

Proposition C is more accurately about state sovereignty and it’s about time in my opinion. (Strange that a state like Missouri would choose to take on the Federal government in this manner, but more power to them). So, how is this measure actually a challenge to Federal oversight?

Proposition C proposes the following:

Shall the Missouri Statutes be amended to:

Deny the government authority to penalize citizens for refusing to purchase private health insurance or infringe upon the right to offer or accept direct payment for lawful healthcare services?

Modify laws regarding the liquidation of certain domestic insurance companies?”

There it is in essence anyway. It basically tells the government to go shove it in terms of forcing citizens to buy something against their will. Nowhere in the Constitution does it state you must purchase a 'product' in order to be a citizen. 

This measure is expected to be heartily endorsed statewide on August the third. And, as its passage will come into direct conflict with existing Federal law. It will immediately be challenged in the higher courts… which is exactly what the State of Missouri desires. (a moment for applause)

I only hope that the other states jump in on this issue. The fight will no doubt go on and on until the people of this country finally get tired of the loss of states rights and declare what has always been in their power to declare...the repeal of Amendment 17.


Amendment XVII (the Seventeenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution was passed by the Senate on June 12, 1911 and by the House on May 13, 1912. It was ratified on April 8, 1913 and was first put into effect for the election of 1914. It amends Article 1 Section 3 of the Constitution to provide for the direct election of Senators by the people of a state rather than their election or appointment by a state legislature, thus effectively eliminating state representation in Congress. It was passed and ratified during the Progressive Era.

This masterful stroke of the pen enabled anyone (individual, corporation or others) with enough money to support a chosen candidate and then buy the election. Prior to this, the individual state legislatures picked and then watched like a hawk Representatives and Senators that went to Capitol Hill. If these folks did not act in the best interest of the state from which they came, they were given the boot after their term was up. As things are today, most of Congress is in the back pockets of Special Interest groups not the people.

CV-22 Osprey warplane overhead in Forsyth Missouri

The Libertarian and Constitution Party Ballots

While it may seem that come the Primary elections being held on August the 3rd are concerned with only two parties that is not quite the whole story. There are two other groups running as well; the Libertarians and the Constitution Party. Each of these has a position that may or may not better represent a voter’s point of view. I would ask however, that in the interest of fairness, the voting public also please check out the following fine individuals:

Libertarian Party Ballot

For US Senator

For State Auditor

For U.S. Representative District 7

For U.S. Representative District 8

For State Representative District 142

Constitution Party Ballot

For U.S. Senator

Nine Republican Candidates running for the U.S. Senate Primary

We seem to have a large number of Republican candidates running for the U.S. Senate down here in District  29 which includes the counties of Lawrence, McDonald, Barry, Stone, Taney and Ozark. I thought it might be instructional to post a short recap on each. Please advise me of any errors or omissions. Just please remember to vote August 3rd.

Bob Praprotnik is a Reagan conservative from St. Louis who owns a small business and has over 20 years experience in the architecture industry. He is running because he believes "that freedom is being destroyed and the Constitution is being ignored completely by the Obama administration." Praprotnik thinks that taxes should be reduced to ensure job growth and business development and is opposed to the current spending by Congress. Government rules and regulations should be revised to allow for less taxation and more money to the people. For health care, he would like to allow insurance companies to cross state lines and to revise malpractice costs. On immigration, Praprotnik would like to enable illegal immigrants to become legal through the proper paperwork and processes.

Hector Maldonado left active duty in order to run for senate. He has 15 years experience in the United States Army and has been deployed to Iraq. He became a U.S citizen in 1995. Originally born in Mexico and now residing in Sullivan, Mo., Maldonado is against swift amnesty as a solution to immigration. He believes that we need to first, secure the borders and then, work with illegal’s who are already in the country. He also thinks that government needs to be more careful about work visas in order to ensure that jobs aren't given away to immigrants that should be given to American citizens. Maldonado is also against government mandated health insurance and is also for allowing insurance companies to cross state lines. He is for small business and cutting taxes.

Kristi Nichols is from Lee's Summit, Mo., but currently resides in Kansas City, Mo. Nichols has worked in the airline industry for over 20 years and served on a special assignment in Operation Iraqi Freedom. She is a Tea Party organizer and a strong conservative, supportive of lower taxes and cutting spending on congressional "earmark" projects. Nichols also wants to increase choice and competitiveness in the health care industry and also supports expansion of the Health Savings Accounts, which allows people to save money for medical expenses tax-free. She is a member of the National Rifle Association and for second amendment rights. She is also against granting amnesty to illegal immigrants and wants to ensure that current immigration laws are upheld before making improvements on the current system.

Deborah Solomon is from Independence, Mo. and is running as an Abraham Lincoln center right Republican. She has a home-based marketing business and has been a substitute teacher in several school districts. For health care reform, Solomon wants to encourage community health centers to provide the primary services necessary. She also wants to put in a balanced budget amendment in order to avoid future federal deficits and wasteful spending. On immigration reform, Solomon wants to secure our borders and to create a fair process so illegal immigrants can become legalized. She's also pro-life and a supporter of the citizen's right to own a gun. She is a graduate of Central Bible College in Springfield, Mo., and Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan.
Davis Conway was born in St. Louis and currently resides in St. Peters, Mo. He is president of Affinity Electrical Contracting and got a degree from Rankin Technical School. Conway wants smaller government and thinks the government is currently too large and uncontrollable. He thinks that "it is full of needless jobs, agencies, and policy solely for the benefit of gaining votes, employing friends and family, hiding money and paybacks." He would like the government out of the education system and out of our pockets. He also thinks that we ought to do more to enforce current immigration laws. Conway is also against unions, as they have too much power and are taking away money, jobs and resources away from small business. He is also a member of the National Rifle Association and a life member of Mensa.

Roy Blunt was born in Niangua, Mo. and currently resides in Springfield, Mo. He became Missouri's Secretary of State in 1984 and was president of Southwest Baptist University for four years. Blunt has also been a U.S representative since 1996. He has several solutions in mind for health care reform, including enhancing health information technology, allowing insurance companies to cross state lines, and expanding health coverage for small businesses. On the economy, Blunt wants to control government spending and also supports a balanced budget amendment. He also wants to restore checks and balances and to give education funding and control back to the states. Blunt also has a 100 percent rating from National Right to Life and the National Rifle Association.  He has received the highest award from the Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business.

Mike Vontz is from Lake St. Louis, Mo. and sees our deficit spending as our nation's greatest problem. To cut spending, Vontz wants to reduce the salaries and benefits for legislators. He is also against the bipartisan commission set up to investigate what needs to be cut from the budget and want to lower taxes. Vontz also thinks that we need to do everything possible to stop illegal immigration and to come up with an identification system for potential alien workers into the country. He is against term limits for legislators. Though pro-life, Vontz is against outlawing abortion entirely, as it doesn't seem feasible to imprison doctors and young women for murder if an abortion were to take place. He is supportive of legislating an informed decision for the mother and for outlawing abortions up to a certain point in pregnancy.

Chuck Purgason represents the 33rd District in the Missouri Senate, which includes Camden, Howell, Laclede, Oregon, Shannon, Texas and Wright counties. Elected to the Missouri Senate in 2004 and re-elected in 2008, Sen. Purgason previously served in the Missouri House of Representatives from 1996 through 2004. He is against the goernment mandating the purchase of health insurance and was instrumental in getting Proposition C on the August ballot. Purgason is in support of building a fence along the border and securing that border. He also believes in eliminating the Department of Education and returning the role of education back to the states. Purgason is also the founder and owner of Ozark Wings Hatchery and Hunting Preserve.

Tony Laszacs currently resides in Waynesville, Mo. and spent over 20 years in the U.S Army. He currently works at a nonprofit research and development organization that predominantly provides technical expertise for the U.S government. Laszacs thinks that educators need to be the ones designing curriculum and evaluating instruction practices and that government standardization methods have done more harm than good. He also thinks that taxes need to be reduced in order to balance the federal budget and to cut spending. This would also help create jobs because lower taxes help small businesses and investors. He also thinks that we need to cut wasteful programs and fraudulent spending. Laszacs has a bachelor's degree in law enforcement and has experience preparing communities against terrorism.

Taney County sewer district changes policy!

The Taney Regional Sewer District announced changes in the amounts that customers will have to put down for security deposits. As of July 2010, residential customers will be required to now pay a $100 deposit while commercial accounts will be raised to $200.

The reason cited for this change was due, in part, to a significant number of customers who have become delinquent on the bills. In June, 225 late notices went out from a billing base of 2, 018. (That works out to just over 11 percent). Right now residential customers must pay $32.88 per month.

According to John Soutee, the Sewer District Administrator, they will be pursuing a water shutoff agreement with local water companies in the event a customer refuses to pay for the sewer service.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park in Forsyth

What was called Shoals Bend RV Resort has changed its name. The family owned and operated park is located at 11020 St. Hwy 76 in Forsyth Missouri. The entrance is about two miles to the south of the bridge that crosses Bull Shoals. They offer full RV hookups, rental cottages, wireless internet and a nice swimming pool. For information, they can be reached at 417-546-3000 or you can email them at Their web site is at

Mailbox-it in Forsyth Missouri

Mailbox-it is a full service parcel and print center located in a strip mall at 15796 US Hwy 160, right across from Peoples Bank in Forsyth Missouri. It represents a one stop location for FedEx and US mail with everything you might need in the way packaging containers big and small. Owned and operated by Donald and Bette Helm since 2001, Mailbox-it is also a US Cellular phone center, has office supplies and even does graphic design. For information, they can be reached at 417 546-7706 or via email at

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Tire Crew in Forsyth Missouri

The Tire Crew located at 13159 US Hwy 160 (just past H Hwy on 160) in Forsyth Missouri recently opened for business. Yes, they have tires and lots of them. I stopped there after seeing a cluster of three buildings that seemed to spring up from nowhere! The full service tire center is modern and busy!

From the signs I could see on the other buildings, there will also be a used car (Shelby's Auto) and motorcycle (Thunder Road) dealership located close by. Wow! (There are also rumors of yet a fourth business, but I haven’t confirmed anything yet). Please stop in and say hi to these folks and make them feel welcome!

The Tire Crew is managed by a gentleman named Steve Minard and their hours are currently Monday thru Friday 8AM to 6PM and Saturdays 8AM to 12PM. They are closed on Sundays. You can call  for information or to make an appointment at 417-546-7433.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Post Office in Forsyth has a passport service!

It was with some surprise that I learned that the Post Office in Forsyth Missouri also is the place to go and get a passport book or card. I went in there with my sister in July to apply for a book as opposed to a card. It seems a passport card is only good for countries you can drive to. The book is for countries that you want to go to by air. That’s how it was explained to me anyway. The cost for the book was $150 and you will need to bring the following two ID’s; a birth certificate with raised lettering and a drivers license or state ID card.

The paperwork consists of filling out a DS-11 form which asks basic questions including information pertaining to your parent place of birth and date of birth. So, make sure you have this with you. The office is also able to take your picture or you may bring your own if you follow the instructions found in the DS-11 form.

The whole process takes no more than ten minutes or so. One thing that did surprise me is that your birth certificate is sent with the paperwork to the State Department. I was told it would come back, under separate cover, about the same time they send your passport. This process generally takes five to six weeks.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

June 2010 was a record hot and dry month in SW Missouri!

June felt more like July or August in most of Missouri, rainfall was also on the very low side with my rain gauge measuring only about 1.69 inches.
Pat Guinan, a climatologist with the Missouri University Agriculture Program stated that June temperatures throughout the state were four to six degrees above average, making it the hottest June on record since 1957. Here in Forsyth, I measured a mean temperature of 78F. which was four degrees hotter than average.

On addition, the lack of good rainfall for many parts of southern Missouri boded ill for many crops including potatoes, rice and cotton. Some farmers are reporting that they are losing crops due to extreme heat with no rain. Only those with good irrigation systems are making do. Some areas have gone more than a month without a drop of rain. Here in Forsyth, I measured 1.69 inches of rain against an average of 4.3 inches (average rainfall  for West Plains).