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. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Looking for some good leather? Go no further than Leatherworks Unlimited!

Then look no further than Leatherworks Unlimited located at 2815 West Hwy 76 in Branson Mo! A location that has been owned and operated by Tracy Davis for over 37 years! This venue is definitely the place for all your high quality leather needs.

Owner Tracy Davis
After stopping in to purchase a leather vest recently, I had a chance to talk with Tracy about his store. He offers a wide variety of leather goods, many of which are custom made by locals situated right here in Missouri. Some of his offerings include leather purses, jackets, wallets belts, belt buckles and even awesome looking hats all made from the finish leathers money can buy! But, what really surprised me was the great savings he is able to offer his customers!

Tracy is an avid supporter of organizations like FORR which stands for Freedom of Road Riders! He was able to supply me with the classic eagle patch that adorns the backs of many member’s jackets! Wow!

This location opens at 11AM and I’m not sure what time it closes, so you might want to call them at (417) 334-0775 before heading out! Make sure you tell Tracy that DanO sent ya!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Country Mart Breakfast Nook!

Prices effective Mar 6, 2013
While shopping at a local grocery store located in Forsyth MO on a chilly morning in early March, I stopped to talk with a friend named Shelia who works in the Deli section of the store. While we chatted, I noticed a section of the display case that contained containers of scrambled eggs, sausage patties, biscuits and gravy. I inquired as to what they were for and was told that this Country Mart serves breakfast there every morning! Wow! What a novel idea! And, I thought, maybe I should try this out! Especially, considering the fact that the prices on their menu were much less expensive than what I had been paying at the other fast food and regular eating venues!

So, a few day later, I drove over there to see what was what. After perusing their menu for a moment, I ordered the scrambled eggs, hash browns and sausage with coffee. My total cost a very modest $2.94! Wow! (When I dine at the more fancy venues, I generally will pay six or seven dollars for the same meal after the tip is figured in). At this venue, there is fast service, no tipping and great entertainment as you watch the early shoppers wander around. In other words, just my kind of place!

So, how was the food? Well, I can tell you that the scrambled eggs were near perfect, the sausage was a little dry and the hash browns definitely benefited from the addition of a packet of salsa from their well-stocked condiment section. Still, all in all, not too shabby.

The breakfast hours for the Country Mart are currently from 7AM to 10:30 each day. (For more information the store can be reached by calling (417) 546-2101). I highly recommend this rather unique venue for anyone who is looking for a good breakfast at hard to beat prices!

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