Thursday, October 31, 2013

Empire Electric and a two hour plus outage!

At least the outage was in the wee hours of the morning!
I just have to give it up for Empire Electric. They win the outage race hands down! I've lived for decades in other locations and could count the power outages on one half of one hand. Living here, in Forsyth Missouri, it's like living in the Wild West! 'You just never know when that pesky old sub station will up and quite on you'! Dag nab-bit!

And so it was during the morning hours of October 31, 2013 that the power went out yet again... this time for over two hours! Was it a sub station problem? I don't know. Empire doesn't make it a point to let its customer base know what's going on, unless there is another rate hike in the offing, that is...

Well, perhaps this state of affairs won't last much longer. I'm sure that Obama and Hilliary are even now looking at a National Power Bureau that will allow for our government not only to be a single payer entity for healthcare, but which will also allow them to become your only source for power. What a wonderful world we are living in....

Friday, October 18, 2013

Empire Electric rates up 7% for 2013-14 winter season!

Along with rising food prices, you can now figure in a 7% rate increase to about 149K customers by Empire Electric partially due the fact that they did not bother to get full insurance for that twister that hit Branson in May of 2011, and courtesy of the EPA who raised the mercury standard for coal fired plants (more of these increases yet to come on the heels of Obama's pending carbon tax). But wait! there's more! Look for another rate increase in October of 2014.

Here's the nitty gritty of figuring your bill for the winter season (Nov thru Jun):

Old rate: 0.1070 cents for the first 600 kWh and then a rate of 0.0871 cents for anything above that. 
New Rate: 0.1149 and 0.0934 cents respectively.

They also levy a surcharge of $12.52 per month on top of that! Oh, and White Rive has also....

"White River Valley Electric Cooperative, which also provides service to Tri-Lakes Area customers, increased its rates effective March 1. That increase of approximately 9 percent totaled an average of $10 per month for residential customers. It last increased its rates 8 percent in April 2009, a year after a 17 percent hike." [Source: Branson TriLakes News]

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Only a penny more tax at McDonald's? So, why am I gripping?

Click on this picture to enlarge

Just recently, I had occasion to stop at a local McDonald's for lunch where I ordered a cheeseburger and a medium fry. I'd stopped there and ordered the same thing back in mid September, but what to my surprise, the cost was a penny in tax more! Now, I know that in a world of trillion dollar deficits, where no one cares about a single penny, this might not mean much! But, maybe that's exactly the problem with those who rule over us – maybe it no longer cares about the pennies or the dollars or the billions of dollars of tax payer money that is unaccounted for each day! So, I wondered what gives? Was this a mistake? Was it a rounding error. Was a new tax being applied, and if so, by whom?

I contacted McDonald's Corporate to ask them for clarification, but have not heard back yet. If I do, I post their response, if I don't I'll post that too.

Update: A friend named Josh Smith informed me that the 1 cent tax was one the citizens approved in a ballot to help support the fire departments. Well, that actually good to hear. No maybe they won't have to stand around at street intersections begging for money....

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Don't go to that park - its been closed by your government!

Imagine my surprise when I left home to go shopping and found that my street had been closed! True it went through a small park called River Run , but on reflection I've become suspicious none the less....

 You see, this barricade is really state of the art including a recessed locking system that makes breaking the lock next to impossible.  The Corp of Engineers installed these at both entrances over a year ago and it makes me wonder why....

In the old days a simple wooden barricade would have sufficed and would have allowed for emergency personnel access in case of a problem. Now this public access road is closed and I'd be willing to wager a bet that none of the emergency services have been notified of this fact - something that could prove costly to someone in desperate need of an ambulance.

FYI, I understand that the Corp runs this park at a loss. That's why it and thousands of others were apparently closed. The government can't afford to keep them open. Now, if the State or a local city were to run them, I'm sure that a profit could be made. Just look at River Run (closed) and the Shadowrock Park just across the river which is run by the City of Forsyth Mo - it's open for business and thriving!

[Obama! I pledge to make it my life's goal to help bring you and your party down. You and those egg sucking Democrats are a disgrace to the Republic you were elected to serve]!

Update: On October the 17, the River Run park near Forsyth MO was re-opened, but things have now changed for me. No longer will I consider the park to be part mine to share with all the other citizens. It has been clearly demonstrated that it is wholly owned and controlled by the government and that it can be taken away at a moments notice. This time, it was taken away on some pretense that the government needed to in order to fix major problems we face as a nation. In the end, however, nothing got done at all. Everything is just the way it was as that battered old can was kicked down the street once again...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Critique: The Chinese Mexican Burrito Cafe in Forsyth Mo.

I had an opportunity to eat lunch at the Chinese Mexican Burrito Cafe that is located off Hwy 160 next to the Great Southern Bank on a lazy Wednesday in August and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The occasion was the fact that a friend of mine, Daniel Danielson, owed me a lunch and finally came through by inviting me to haul my ass over to this food emporium that serves up both a Mexican and Chinese bill of fare. (I also discovered that they have an American menu for those who like burgers
and fries and such). As you can see, the portions are rather healthy in size even as the pricing is very fair. I was also surprised to find that the establishment offers a premium selection of beer along with a regular assortment of other beverages.

I found the service to be prompt and the interior clean and airy with the large plate glass windows next to most of the seats. The venue is also open from 11 AM to 8PM Monday through Saturday.

The bottom line – a great place to eat at and to get away from the other run of the mill food served in other venues around the area. I hope to make this eatery a frequent destination in the futre.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

River Run is open in August – sort of!

After many days of rainfall early in August, River Run Park (located near the town of
Forsyth Missouri) has be partially closed with only 10 campsites now remaining open on higher ground.

I had a chance to talk to one of the two Park Attendants and was told that they were unsure of what would happen to the park other than the fact that they would be history by the end of September when the park would close for the season. I didn't get the impression that they planned to man the office there as they had sold their firth wheel a few weeks back and were now living about two mile away from the park area proper.

On a positive note, there was a man cutting the knee high grass and I understand water and power is still being applied to the ten sites, but other than that the place is relatively devoid of campers.

Monday, August 5, 2013

River Run attendants gone! Will the park flood soon?

Park Attendants location is empty
It's only just the beginning of August, 2013 and it seems the trailer that held the two Park Attendant's has gone missing! This happening right after back to back heavy rains fuels some speculation of possible flooding concerns by the Corps of Engineers. Of course it could be something else and perhaps the attendants will return.

I noticed that it was business as usual on the Shadow Rock Park side of the Bull Shoals river.

Update: August 17, 2013 - After over a week of rainfall, portions of the park are now flooded. However, the rate of rise of the waters has slowed considerably, so in all likelihood, portions of the park may remain open to campers.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A recycleing center or just another dump?

Just recently it was announced in the local Taney Times paper that the City of Forsyth was going to streamline the recycling operation by installing a single collection container instead of the numerous ones that used to dot the landscape. At the time, I thought this sounded like a good idea, but now I wonder.

Pictured is the lone container that contains portals with signs that indicate the type of recycled items that should go into that section. But there are a few problems that I could see. One was the lack of dividers inside the container to keep items separate. An other was the vague term 'plastic types' that is used to indicate what types of plastic bottles are allowed. If I remember correctly, there are at least six to eight classes of plastic, some of which can be recycled and some of which cannot. finally, there is no sign to indicate where paper items should go.

The end result can be plainly seen. People end up dumping a hodge-podge of materials into whatever portal they think is appropriate. My question. Is this stuff really even being recycled?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rockaway Beach hosts a biker event!

White River Grille
I stopped down at the White River Grille in Rockaway Beach recently, to check out the Bikers & Babes at the Beach event that was scheduled for Friday, July the 19th and Saturday the 20th. (That was according to an article in a publication called the 'Branson Connection'). What the article did not mention was that fact that the event actually didn't start until 5PM on that Friday and then would be going on all day Saturday! Nonplussed by this, I enjoyed a nice breakfast called 'The Town Favorite' that was served to me by a great lady named Toni. It consisted of eggs, home fries, toast, bacon and coffee; all of which was had for under $6! The White River Grille is a good eats place for two reasons; one, they have a great selection of food and two, the prices are really quite affordable! Bill Kitchin, the owner, also made it a point to visit with me for a few moments before I left.

After I finished eating, I wandered around a bit and noticed that a few of the vendors were already
busy at work. I had to give kudos to them for intelligence as they were getting the hard work of setting up done while the temperatures were still this side of bearable (76F). (Anyone who would be setting up later in the day would have to tolerate readings in the mid 90's)!
Fast forward to the next day (Saturday) at 12:00 noon and things were very much in full swing, at least as far as the vendors were concerned. And there were lots of bikes parked along one side of the street, but few if any people wandering around. The time was about two in the afternoon and I realized pretty quickly why most of the crowd was holed up in the Civic Center or one of the bars. It was the oppressive heat combined with the high humidity that made standing around outside too much to bear for most! After making a circuit up the street (which was blocked to car traffic) and then back down, I was ready to vacate the premises. I'll make a guess that things got more interesting late in the day after the sun went down, but at my age, I really didn't have the desire to wait around. Maybe if they were to hold this event either in the spring or late fall I might give it a try again. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

A steak and egg throw down!

While I would never be confused with Bobby Flay as a chef, I can still hold my own as a judge of good food. (Mainly because I eat so much of it)!

Two local establishments in Forsyth Missouri offer up a classic steak and egg menu item that contains; a 6 oz steak, two eggs, hash browns and your choice of bread. Both Fat Daddy's and Charlie's Ribs Steak and Ale are popular hangouts for both locals as well as visitors who come to the area. Both are well established and each is unique in its own way. I think Fat Daddy's specializes in smoked meat dishes while Charlie's has a fine bar that offers up home brewed ales. But, today I wanted to compare a single menu item that is ordered quite often at both locales, the ubiquitous Steak and Eggs platter.

Fat Daddy's

Of the two locations, I feel that Fat Daddy's is the more down home of the two. Everything about this venue smacks of a small town eatery experience. Something that's getting harder for me to find every year. I've eaten there fairly often in the past and have never had a bad eating experience. Their food is consistently of a very high quality and the service is impeccable.

Charlie's Rib Steak & Ale

By contrast, I've always felt Charlie's is the more 'modern' of the two. In size, it appears much larger in terms of seating capacity although if you were to count Fat Daddy's lower level I think they'd turn out about the same. Charlie's also supports a full bar, so if you want to have something like a glass of wine with your meal, then it's the place to go.

So, all in all, I think both establishments are complimentary to each other. Now, what about the food? Well, in a head to head comparison, here's how I scored the dishes:

  1. The Eggs – I ordered up my eggs sunny side up at both establishments as you can see in the picture. Fat Daddy's was done to perfection, while Charlie's was a little bit brown on the bottom side. My point for the eggs goes to Fat Daddy's.
  2. The Toast – Both were done perfectly and were offered with jelly. No points to either side.
  3. The Hash Browns – This was a very close deal as both were awesome in terms of taste. However, for some reason I liked Fat Daddy's ab it more. A point to Fat Daddy's.
  4. The Steak – In both cases I ordered my steak to be cook rare and that's pretty much what I got. While both venues offer a 6 ounce steak, Charlie's comes off looking more like a true steak than does the flatter offering from Fat Daddy's. While both were tasty to eat, I give the one served at Charlie's the edge. Point awarded to Charlie's.

So, the score was Fat Daddy's = 2 Charlie's = 1. But, there's one more criteria I wish to bring up; the price and it's worth 2 bonus points!

Fat Daddy's offering cost $11.59 while Charlie's was only $7.99. That's a 31% cost difference in my book and so I'm awarding 2 points to Charlie's for a final score of 3 to 2. The bottom line; both establishments are worth your while to check out and frequent. Sure, Fat Daddy's may cost a little more for some items, but on the whole, I feel they offer a bit more depth of selection than does Charlie's. I'd urge my readers to make up their own minds by going out and visiting both!

From Fat Daddy's online menu
Update: June 2014 - There's yet another sit down eatery now in Forsyth MO that offers  a steak and eggs platter and that would be the Longhorn Family Dining restaurant located at 16093 US Hwy 160 (or right across from Fat Daddy's). They serve a 5 oz sirloin, hash browns, 2 eggs, toast or biscuits and gravy for $7.89. I plan to do a write up on this meal soon and will post a link here! Note that as breakfast selections Charlie's and Fat Daddy's prices remained the same!

Update: February 2016 -  After some slight delay (ahem), I've decided to make my way over to the Long Horn to sample their Steak and Eggs offering. I've noted that the price advertised online for Fat Daddy's has remained the same while a similar 5 oz steak meal (aka Cattle Rustler) had increased to $8.39.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A new store to open in Forsyth! Doc Holiday's!

A new store appears to be getting ready to open called Doc Holiday's. It's located just to the north of the National Enzyme Company on Hwy 160 on what used to be the outskirts of Forsyth Missouri. I drove by the place but could not find anyone there with any information other than what is posted on the front of the building. So, is this going to be a fancy pawn shop or will be be a combination pawn shop and general store. It'll be interesting to see. I'm guessing that they will put up some information on one of the store windows at some point to let curious folks like myself know what to expect. Also, from the looks of things inside, I'd hazard a guess that they'll open sometime in June!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

River Run Park now open for the 2013 season!

The 2013 season for River Run Park located close to Forsyth Missouri, at 138 River Run Road
Forsyth MO 65653, opened this morning as work crews finished work on the on-site bathrooms and showers so they would be ready for use by park customers.Everything else looks good to go!

The two park attendants, Sue and Harold, can be reached at 417-546-3646 during regular hours. I stopped by to see them earlier on the day of this post to try and clear up some questions I had concerning the 'Day Use Facility Fees' sign that is located adjacent to the Park Attendant office itself.

As you can see, this sign covers the boat ramp and swimming access but does not say what a camper or people with an RV are supposed to do should they arrive when neither attendant is on site. I was told, by Sue, that in the event that the office was closed (Tuesdays and Wednesdays), campers should take an envelope out of the small box located beneath the sign and place their check into it. The fee is $20 per site per day (max of 14 days). If they happen to have a Golden Pass, then they would pay half that cost (just enter your Golden Pass number on the envelope). Also note the campsite you selected to stay in somewhere on the envelope Just separate the two haves, seal the payment section and hang the other half in the front window of your vehicle.  What a deal!

Monday, April 29, 2013

The trashing of a local park area! Where are the Police?

Ain't this pretty?
I'm not sure whose in charge of the Shadow Rock Park area, but whoever it is they should be ashamed! I'm guessing that would be the City of Forsyth and their seemingly callous neglect of an area just across from Swan Creek that is being progressively trashed by a group of what I consider to be inbred morons! Individuals who I'll bet aren't smart enough to realize that they look like complete idiots as they mindlessly run their vehicles through muddy area in a field adjacent to Shadow Rock Park. Duh!

The end result is a piece of utterly destroyed ground that will probably never recover as the soil has become so compacted that nothing will grow (reminds me of a scene out of some Third World country). And, for what reason? So that a few retards can pretend they're somebody cool? Give me a break! (I'll wager that the collective futures of these dimwits is not very good and that the words 'welfare' and 'prison' are or will soon be significant words to them).

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bloomers – A great garden resource to visit!

Located at 12900 US Hwy 160 in Forsyth MO (right across from the Elks Club), is a well established garden center known as Bloomers! It’s run by Todd and Lori Roberts and features garden vegetable starts, herbs and all manner of flowering plants. Those are displayed in the greenhouse and they’re all priced to sell!

Inside the adjacent building I found a wealth of garden related items including, bags of garden soil,
Miracle Gro potting mix, weed mats, squirrel resistant bird feeders and assorted lawn ornaments just to name a few. Seriously, rather than drive all the way into Branson and burn all that gas, you might just want to duck into this venue first! You can also call ahead at 417-546-2880 to find out if they have what you need!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wouldn't it be nice if area parks had a plan for severe weather?

Even a simple beacon with posted instructions could help!
After checking at a couple of the three parks that grace the Forsyth Mo area, I came to the conclusion that in the event of a rapidly developing storm system, most campers and RV'ers are pretty left to their own devices. I don't have the impression that anyone has thought out what would happen in the event (someone please correct me if I'm wrong) that a tornado touched down and caused damage in a crowded park full of families on a spring day! Sure, I'll be willing to bet that some of the more savvy types might have a weather radio in their RV, or perhaps some kind relative who would call a loved one they knew was in a dangerous area. But I wonder if that would cover all the folks that might be suddenly placed in harms way in a given locale? Does the local Emergency Management personnel have a plan for our parks? And if so, how would it be executed? Where would they be instructed to go and would they even get those instructions in time? All good questions, I feel.

This is an issue I hope gets addressed before someone does get hurt. I'd hate to think that the lack of infrastructure (such as written instructions and a warning beacon for watches and warnings) would be treated the way highway officials seem to treat a dangerous drop off next to some road. All too often, a guardrail goes up only after someone got hurt or killed!

River Run Update for April 17, 2010!

I had a chance to visit with one of the two Park Attendants who are now at River Run Park located just to the east of the town of Forsyth MO and was told that the park would be opening on May the first! I was also informed that the price for a camp and/or RV site would be at $22 per night. This would be increase of $2 from the previous year if it holds true.

While I was walking around the park, I noticed that work was still be performed in regards to the water or power systems, both of which had been re-innovated this past fall and winter.

Additional information about River Run (and to make sure as to the opening date), can be obtained with this link!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What if a tornado were to hit Shadow Rock Park?

It's Memorial Weekend and both River Run and Shadow Rock Parks are filled to capacity with families out enjoying what had been a picture perfect and hot late spring outing. RV's of all shapes and sizes fill most of the camping sites with just a few tents scattered about here and there. The smell of barbeque fills the air as do the shouts of children who are having the time of their young lives.

'Suddenly, and seemingly without warning, the sky to the southwest turns an ominous dark as rain laden clouds race towards the Forsyth area in southwest Missouri. All day long, the National Weather Service had been advising listeners to be prepared to take precautions as a line of super cell thunderstorms had formed just across the Arkansas-Kansas border and which were now racing to the northeast at 60 mph!

In no time at all, shortly after 4PM, the first of a series of F1-F2 class tornadoes dips down and so begins a swath of destruction that will continue for miles and miles. A path that pointed straight like an arrow, to Shadow Rock park and families who only became aware that they were in jeopardy when the sirens began to go off...'


Fortunately, that dialog is just a story and hopefully that theoretical storm passes by with everyone only a little wet for the experience. But, it did bring to my mind a question and that is what services are in place in the event of such a potential disaster? Are there safe havens for people to run to if a storm brews up with little warning? If so, where are they and how would information about them get disseminated?

Yes, I'm playing the devil advocate here, but like a lot of people I spend quite a bit of my time in either or both of these parks and confess to never having seen anything in writing that advises of what I could do in such a situation. Perhaps someone could enlighten me?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Want something tasty to eat? Visit the White River Grill!

Tucked away in the small, but scenic town of Rockaway Beach Missouri, is perhaps one of the most creative eateries I've encountered in many a year. Run by owner/cook Bill Kitchin, the White River Grill has to be experienced rather than merely described. That's because the food that's served up from a wide and varied menu is done to perfection each and every time. Testament to that fact is the picture (see below) I took of a breakfast I had there recently. It's called the 'Town Favorite' and it looked so good, I'd taken a bite out of one of the sausages before remembering to snap the shot! And speaking of food, Mr. Kitchin regularly posts some of his creations on his Face Book page for all to see (and hunger for). Make sure to 'friend' him so you too can keep abreast of his special offerings as they come up!

Located at 2683 State Highway 176 in Rockaway Beach, about halfway down the main drag, the restaurant is easy to find. And, I've always been treated well as this establishment which is not really surprising when you have servers like Rene giving some of the most courteous and prompt service to be found anywhere!

The establishment is open Tuesday through Sunday, the last time I checked. To be sure, you can call them at 417-561-1313 during regular business hours. The White River Grill has free Wifi, is kid friendly, does private parties and even has an outside deck for dining out on the nice days of the year. Make plans to stop there today! You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Library Tax and why it did not pass!

Rather than go and try and point out all the reason’s that the proposed library tax to improve the library system in Taney County was a bad idea, I think I’ll focus on what I think the voters were feeling when they defeated it on the April the 2nd General Municipal Election ballot that was recently tallied.

First off, I would agree with Josh Smith when he has stated that he is a big supporter of the library system (I believe him), but that he felt that any monies that were raised via a tax should come from within the city limits of Branson and Forsyth Missouri where the two libraries are located. He felt (and still feels, I think) that the large majority of people who regularly use these facilities also live within the two city limits. And that citizens, who live in the far eastern parts of the county, probably may have much less occasion to use either facility. Yet, if this levy was passed, they would be paying the same tax on a yearly basis  to support something that city dwellers would be getting more benefit from. That just doesn't sound right to my ears and perhaps that was the same feelings other voters had this time around.

For my part, I was also against a library tax being levied as part of my property tax bill. I felt it should be part of a more openly declared city sales tax should those living in either Branson or Forsyth so decide that’s how they want to spend their money. I want my property taxes only to be spent on vital infrastructural interests. I also object to what has been a constant stream of new tax bills with no cutting of any costs that I’m aware of! I’m fully aware that the manner in which monies that are collected, end up being spent in such convoluted and complex fashion, that even a the taxing authority can be hard pressed to say what is spent where. Where is the leadership that would begin the process of simplification? Will there ever come a day when Taney County will announce a savings of any kind? I’m not so sure that will happen in my lifetime.

In brief then, it was probably preordained that this particular issue would fail. It’s also likely that any future efforts will need to pass close muster before having much of a chance at passage. Clearly, the politicians relying on ‘state statistics’, as was done in this case did not cut the mustard. Real and honest effort needs to be expended, in the future, to back up any desire to levy more taxes.  The public needs and deserves easy to understand research and opinion polls that demonstrate to all involved that the ‘T’s’ were crossed and the ‘I’s’ dotted before another penny of hard-earned money is spent.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My take on the library tax levy vote!

Taney County is the only first-class county in Missouri without a countywide library district.

My response to the above statement is, ‘So what’? And, just how will additional funds, aimed at two private libraries in Forsyth and Branson (sorry Rockaway – you got lost somehow in the shuffle), create a ‘countywide’ impact. Will they be used to purchase bookmobiles? I’m confused on that point.

Yet, apparently, this is pretty much the sole reason that voters will be asked whether they want to shell out 15 cents for every $100 in accessed property valuation when the so-call ‘library tax levy’ comes up for vote on April the 2nd.

Would someone be so kind as to point me in the direction of where I can find a study done by the Taney County Commissioners that shows something a little more substantive than the apparent opinions of two of its members, notably Danny Strahan and Ron Houseman? Was there even a simple poll done, early on, to see how us resident voters felt about the issue? (I never saw one, but perhaps I overslept the day it came out).

While I am a big fan of libraries in general and want to support them, I’m not such a big fan of the current government that surrounds and funds them. And, I’m definitely not in favor of supplying the funds using the property tax assessments as the sole carrying vehicle. If this issue is important enough to a majority of the residents, let’s propose it is as a separate tax altogether. Or, would that be too tough?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Taney County Library tax vote on April 2!

As my readers may or may not know, on April 2nd 2013 as part of the General Municipal Election, voter’s will be asked to vote yea or nay on a new tax that would allow for the upgrade of two private libraries located in Branson and Forsyth. The tax would be a levy added to property tax assessments and would amount to 15 cents for every $100 of assessed valuation.

As you might guess, some citizens are not particularly happy with what they feel is yet another tax hike with no visible cuts to act as a counterweight. Others, like this individual, bring up the question of trust of the political process overall:

‘Tax & Spend = Failed Promises Most taxpayer’s in Taney County have never taken the time to check up on the political subdivisions that collect taxes in this county. What really goes on at their board meetings? What happens when you request public records? How much do they spend on employee’s salaries? Do the boards actually follow the state law they were formed under?

Unfortunately, most citizens can’t answer these simple questions. On the other hand, there is a small group of citizen’s working hard to keep watch over how tax dollars are spent by the ever-growing list of political subdivisions in Taney County. How much is enough? Will the citizens of Taney County on April 2nd accept more of the same old rhetoric and live with more taxes, resulting in more failed promises from yet another political board? I believe there are some facts that taxpayers deserve to know about the individuals managing their tax dollars. These facts just start to tell the story of waste, and over taxation that the citizens of Taney County have experienced for years. The health department is funded through a 14¢ per $100 of assessed evaluation on property tax. They currently spend 1.5 million dollars a year on just the top 15 highest paid employees. The developmentally disabled board collects 8.9¢ per $100 of assessed evaluation on property tax. However, they recently spent $650,000 on a church building that is over 15 years old. The senior board receives their money through 5¢ per $100 of assessed evaluation on property tax; in spite of this the board has yet to provide meals on wheels to all seniors in need, even with a surplus of tax money. The Branson School district collects $4.02/$100 of assessed evaluation on property tax. They spend over 1.2 million dollars a year on the top 15 highest paid employees. The board also doesn’t allow public comment at their monthly board meetings, and they attempt to restrict access to public records. The Taney County Ambulance District is funded from a sales tax collected in Taney County.

Approximately 70% of their yearly budget consists of payroll and benefits. According to the director there isn’t an ambulance station East of the Kissee Mills junction because quote, “It just isn’t profitable”, yet those living in Eastern Taney County have paid the tax for years. The proposed Library District and its board continue to promise countless things to the voters, like a book delivery service, a coffee shop, public meeting space and computer access. These promises are part of the same similar rhetoric used by other groups who have proposed taxes in the past. I encourage more citizens to ask tough questions, attend board meetings, and request public records. Ask yourself one important question on April 2nd: Can the people of Taney County bare the burden of more taxes and failed promises?’

While I have been a long time supporter of the library in Forsyth and would like to see it prosper, I also feel this individual brings up some valid points. I would also encourage every citizen to get involved in this debate. After all it is your money they’re talking about.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Taney Services Weather Page

I’ve recently launched a web site ( that has weather as a primary focus. While it’s intended to cover the Taney County Missouri area, there are elements that might be of interest for people living in other parts of the US.

Poker Run scheduled for April 7 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Business Briefs

So, what’s with the Frote Mu?

Aka, the Frosted Mug, which has served the Forsyth area for many decades seems to be losing its name as the letters over the main entrance have begun to disappear. Suspecting that they might be closing, I inquired and was told, no that there were no plans at the current time by one of their long term employees. Perhaps the City could take up a collection…..Oh, and did I mention they have a Wifi site that actually works?

Charlie’s Wifi went away! Perhaps to return some other day.

For years, Charlie’s Ribs Steak and Ale located off Hwy 160 in Forsyth Mo, offered Wifi for any customers who needed a computer connection while they visited this popular eatery. I often enjoyed wandering around the internet figuratively while dining there. Then, one day, I noticed that their wireless connection was no more. A sign of toughening economic conditions? I don’t know.

The Junction is no more!

Another up and coming venue known as the Junction Bar and Grill located across from Scooters in Kissee Mills has closed recently. The last day was Saturday, March 16th when a popular band ‘No Sweat’ played to a ‘packed house’ according to Tony Clements, one of the band members. Rumor had it that the reason the owner closed the establishment was due to health concerns. If true, that would be a shame as it served up good food and cold drinks to a biker friendly crowd. It’s unknown as to whether the business has plans to re-open in the future.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Powersite Sewer Project update for March 2013!

I thought it a good time to write about the Powersite North Sanitary Sewer Improvements Project as it's been a couple of years since my last post on this riveting topic. First off, it turns out that getting all those easements done may have taken the Great River Associates a bit longer than they anticipated.  An excerpt taken from their webpage provided me with a clue:

  1. When will construction start?
“The construction of the project will be bid once the design is complete, a Missouri Department of Natural Resources Permit is obtained, and necessary easements and property have been acquired.  At this time, it is expected that the project will be bid in late 2011.  The biggest variable in determining this time is the easement and property acquisition phase of the project.  Construction is expected to commence within 60 to 90 days after bidding.”

  Uh, that was like two years ago! In addition, a recent newspaper article which was published on February 1, 2013 in the Branson TriLakes News indicated they were only ‘roughly 30% through the easement process’! (At that rate, one has to wonder if this project, which started in 2008, will see completion prior to the end of the current decade). Out of curiosity, I did try checking the calendar they used to maintain on their site, but that too has been removed!

So, when I recently received paperwork in the mail asking me to sign over my land rights to the GRA so they could establish both a temporary construction and permanent easements, I already had a few questions. For one thing, after inspecting a aerial map they sent me, I took note of the fact that the placement of the property lines appear to lie over and occlude the same land easements that the Corps of Engineers maintain. Did they get an easement signed that covered this Federal easement? I don’t know.

Another question that arose in my mind concerns the sewer line branch that enters my property. After looking at the aerial map they sent, it appears to be 20 feet off to the west of where it should be to put it in line with the sewer connection to the house! Now, while I’m certainly no engineer - that just seems wrong somehow.

Finally, and justifiably so, other residents that live on the same street as myself are wondering what will happen when this group begins trenching. To my uneducated eye, it appears as though they plan to dig somewhere along the road that goes in front of my house. On one side exists a water utility easement and on the other are power lines. So, where is that trench going to go? (As a side note, it would be great if they could replace the aging water delivery infrastructure while they're doing all this).

Like I said, I have a lot of questions as do most of the neighbors I’ve talked with. To that end, I called Shawn Berry the Project Manager at (417) 886-7171 to take them up on their promise to come out an meet me to help answer all my questions. I did note that they would prefer to meet with each homeowner on an ‘individual’ basis. I'm looking forward to a re-post after this meeting takes place!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Junction Bar and Grill is closing!

It was a very sad moment when I learned that Saturday, March the 16th was to be the last day for a venue that had become very popular with locals living in and around the Kissee Mills Missouri area.

Located at 20333 State Highway 160, the Junction Bar and Grill was a biker friendly watering hole that had been in business for just under a year. I discovered this bar and eatery shortly after it opened back in April of 2012. Their hamburger and fries were one of the best in the area. Popular also, was Taco Tuesday where Taco’s at under a buck were favorites to eat by people like myself.

But, what made the 'Junction experience' visit so great was the owner and proprietor, Mike Osterday. His easy smile, fast service and friendly attitude made going there a true Ozarkian experience. Sadly, with its closing, the area will now be short one good place to eat, drink and socialize.

Mid March River Run Park Update!

Back to back 80F and 74F degree days on March 15th and 16th motivated me enough to get outside and to check out the state of affairs in River Run Park located just to southeast of the town of Forsyth Missouri. During the late fall and over the winter, much was done by contractors to get the park back into tiptop shape. Included was the replacement of all of the RV power stations that had become rusted to floods from previous years. Also replaced for many of the sites were the water supply lines and outlets to help insure that every campsite has fresh water available to it.
And, even though the park doesn’t open until May the 1st, there were already a few RV’s and one tent camper there to enjoy the early and unseasonably warm weather. I walked around a bit and noticed that the tress that had been planted the previous fall looked good to go. It’ll be interesting watching them bud out once we get into the warmer months.

You can check out the official site for this park at here!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Looking for a good friend?

 Pat Betz is a good friend, and inspiring others to greatness is what he does the best! Thanks man, for everything!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Don't miss Taco Tuesday at the Junction Bar and Grill in Kissee Mills!

A little bit ugly - but oh so good!

Most every Tuesday, the Junction Bar and Grill in Kissee Mills serves up tacos as part of their Taco Tuesday luncheon menu. And, while I think the tacos are a little on the small side, at just .99 cents each they are certainly affordable.

It's a fact, that ever since the KFC located in Forsyth MO decided to let go of their Taco Bell franchise earlier last year, there’s been a 'taco vacuum' that the Junction now seems to ably fill.

Pictured above is a completely un-retouched photo I took last week. A minute later they were history! You know - call them small, call them not all a taco can be; just don’t call me late to get my weekly taco fix! Three tacos and a cold beer make everything seem just alright!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The No Sleep Band will appear at the Junction March 16!

It’s hard to believe that there's a band that’s managed to hang together as long as this one has! Yet, after 21 years, the No Sleep band is still hammering out classic Rock N Roll tunes that many of us older folks grew up to know and love.

The group of three performers, (known by many as the “Ozarks Most Dangerous Band”), is comprised of Chuck Casey, Tony Clements and Stosh Kostuch. Each are very talented in their own right and have honed there skills over the decades.

You can catch them at the Junction Bar and Grill on Saturday, March 16th which also happens to be St. Patrick’s Day weekend. They’ll be cranking out the tunes from 8PM to Midnight and are sure to draw a crowd!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Home Depot Garden Center still bare of plants in early March!

If anyone was wondering if the Home Depot Garden Center had much in the way of early plants, they do not. I stopped there on March the 7th to see if they had any 'earl' plants out yet and was disappointed to note that there was really nothing other than a display of bushes and young trees at this time.

I did find a few display racks of seeds and there were also some root crops on one side of the same isle. Still, they have not really begun to ratchet up yet this early on in the month. By the 20th or so, which happens to be the first day of spring, I'm sure this will all be changed.