Sunday, October 30, 2011

American's need to make a decision soon!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

River Run or River Ruin? You make the call!


October 23, 2011 – Forsyth Mo. - As I sat at a campsite whose shelter had endured serious damage, my eyes inspected a crude and soil covered supporting pillar with some interest. As the flood that inundated River Run Park over the summer fades now in my memory, the scars it left are still fresh here wherever you happen to look. It's just too bad, as this location just east of the town of Forsyth Missouri has always been a popular destination for many people from all walks of life. Now, as I look around, increasingly I feel like I've fallen into the middle of some Stephen King novel. What had been a place of sunlight and safety now has begun to take on a darker and more sinister light.

Has this placed been abandoned? I wondered as I watched a solitary man on a bike being trailed by his two dogs. Getting up, I started walking on the circular trail that circles the park area proper. The damage I had observed over a month ago is exactly as it was then. The public shower and rest rooms are locked and more than likely unusable as they do not look like anyone has attended to them. The same went for what used to be the Park Attendant area itself where a tree collapsed some time ago and still lies where it fell. Park signs are caked with mud and debris to the point where you can barely read them.

Well, I thought to myself, at least we have Shadow Rock Park left. It’s run by the local government and is working just fine.

Followup: On or about November the 18th a crew showed up to 'fix' the gate that looked to me pretty much 'unbroken'. Ahem. Also, I noticed a two man crew who appeared to be cleaning the campsite shelters with high pressure sprayers. Will wonders ever cease. It would still be nice if the Corps made an effort to keep interested parties in the loop.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Underground Concrete in Kirbyville!


At a recent auto show near Forsyth, I met a nice businessman by the name of Jim Sisk. We talked some and then he told me a little about his company called Underground Concrete.  They’re located just down the road at 429 Central Avenue in Kirbyville and can be reached at 417-331-1875. Their Email address is undergroundconcrete@yahoo.com.

Underground concrete makes a number of innovative concrete products that don’t look like concrete. These include items like utility boxes, bollards, retaining wall blocks and even parking stops. Jim has been making these since 1996 and today his concrete creations reflect those years of effort. If, you’re looking for someone that easy to work with and who puts out quality concrete work, then I think Jim might just be your man!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

White River Grill Rockaway Beach!


Even though the sky was overcast and a little drizzle was falling as I made my way to Rockaway Beach, Missouri I was pretty sure I'd find a warm and friendly reception at the White River Grill located in the center of town at 2683 State Hwy 176, Rockaway Beach, MO. I was right about that and was a little surprised to find a good lunch crowd still there even though it was after two in the afternoon. Still, there was plenty of seating and I found myself a good booth towards the back of the restaurant. Right after getting my seat I snapped a picture of the place as you can see above.

My server was a very nice woman by the name of Georgia. She made me feel at home and was a joy to talk with. I ordered a hotdog and fries from a multi-page menu that is one of the best I've seen in the entire area. If you ordered something different each time you came here, it would be about forever before you'd have to repeat something twice!

While I was there, I got a chance to speak with one of the owners, a man named Bill Kitchin who is a well known businessman in Taney County and who seems to know an awful lot while never coming off as a pretentious individual. He told me that the grill was doing well and that Rockaway seemed to be picking up a bit as two new shops had recently opened in town. Good for them!

If you find yourself in the area, please stop in and say hi to these nice folks!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Why I care about River Run Park in Forsyth Missouri!


I have been asked by more than one person, why I post so much information about River Run Park. At the same time, I write very little about either Empire Park or Shadow Rock Park both of which are located in the same general area to the east and south of Forsyth, Missouri.

That answer is really quite simple. Some time ago, I made a decision to try and adopt a park in a fashion that is similar to, but not quite the same as adopting a stretch of road. I did this because I thought it might be informative for those who drive great distances to this location to camp and find recreation. They deserve to be kept informed as it is their park in every sense of the word. So why River Run? Well, off the three parks I mentioned, River Run is the most problematic as it is run solely by the Army Corps of Engineers. A government body not well known, in my opinion, for their ability to communicate freely with a public they are supposed to be serving.

As a case in point, if you were to go to this government web page for River Run, you would find information pertaining to park rates, the park location and even a number to call for more information. Problem is, there is no attendant, the bulletin board listing the rates is gone missing and the phone number rings but is never answered. (Note: this site is listed as 'www.recreation.gov' and is not the official Corps page). Both the other parks are open and serving the needs of the public as usual.

Now as to the current conditions at the park as of October the 8th, 2001 here is what I have observed:

  • The access roads have been scraped off and are clear of river muck from the summer flood.
  • The back access otherwise known as Baker Street remains gated.
  • The access road to the Powersite dam remains blocked by fallen trees.
  • Trees that have fallen as a result of the flood lie where they fell.
  • There is damage to numerous park structures, including shelters, lantern poles and campsite tables.
  • The grass has not been cut and is currently weed infested.
  • There is no posted notice to inform visitors of the current park status. Actually, as I pointed out earlier, there is no bulletin board per sae! Just a sign that lists the rates to camp.
  • There is no power, bathroom facilities, water or garbage collection at this time. (This is a guess on my part). So too, is my guess that they don't want anyone camping there. As I was writing this post while at the park, I noticed a large RV pull in and then turn around and pull out. Bye!

That summarizes what I have observed to date, and to be honest, conditions could change at any time. In the past, a contractor might show up out of thin air and put things to right. If I see anything like that, I’ll report it on this blog. This park has suffered a devastating flood that was really no ones fault. In particular the beautiful trees have really suffered the long term submersion of their roots.  So, if you are in the area, I'd encourage you to stop at this park and hug a tree!

As a side note: The Corps does have a Facebook page where you can feel free to leave comments! Please consider 'liking' them and leaving comments that let them know what you think! Remember that the government and the people should work closely together, as we are one and the same!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The mystery of the 'broken' River Run gate...which remains closed!

click on picture to enlarge

'When the people you elect to positions of authority fail to perform in small ways, then how much confidence can you have in them in larger arenas?'

A gate that blocks the back entrance to River Run on Baker street remains locked even while the park has (apparently) re-opened. Adding insult is the fact that this gate is not signed properly and is therefore hard to see. Another example of blatant and callous disregard for civilians safety by the Army Corps of Engineers? You be the judge...

Interestingly, a neighbor of mine ran across what he thought appeared to be one of the Corps of Engineer people while walking earlier today. He inquired about the gate and the fact it was locked, while the other gate off Hwy 76 was now open. The man responded, by saying that the ‘gate is broken’ and cannot be opened.

Being a curious man, I decided to drive over to that location and do a look see on my own. After a few minutes, I could detect no damage such that it could not be opened completely. (See pictures). I also had another individual inspect the very same gate and they arrived at the same conclusion. So, what gives? Are we being jacked around around here or what?

If the gate is, in fact damaged, then why hasn't it been fixed or simply removed for repair elsewhere? Also, why is there no reflective material on either side of the gate to allow motorists a chance to clearly see the obstruction. It’s currently painted a nice dark shade of brown which renders it hard to see. Anyone who enters the park from Hwy 76 and then attempts to come up that back way into Valley View Village could be in for an unpleasant surprise! The picture on top uses a simulated sun but in a few weeks with enough leaves off the trees, it may even be brighter. Add that to a dirty windshield and an accident could be the result.

In my opinion, this represents an accident waiting to happen. Cutting through the park area to get to the housing development is common practice and is used by a lot of citizens. What if some elderly person with marginalized eyesight were to plow into it? Couldn't the Corps at least put up a day-glow orange sign to warn motorists?

If you're wondering why I haven't attempted to do anything  about this, well I have. I've made numerous calls to the City of Forsyth and to the Corps of Engineers office at 870-425-2700. That's about all I can do at this point other than to post this on my blog. In the mean time, if you use Baker Street or know anyone who does, please advise them of this situation and we'll all wait for a resolution.

As a final note, I'm not trying to pick on the Corps in this post. I know they are just as affected by the chaotic social and economic times as anyone else. Rather, I am hoping that by publicizing this matter, I might help to avert an accident!

More on this to come.....

Followup: As of October the 20th, there's has been no news from any of the sources I have contacted, including Senator Claire McCaskill's office which sent me a 'complaint form' that asked for my soc sec and other personal information. Give me a break Claire! I was only trying to point out something I consider to be an issue of motorist safety. That's it! I'm done. I'll now just sit back and wait for someone to run into that gate! Hope it's nobody I know.

Followup: On or about May the 26th (2012), signs were finally attached to this gate! I, myself, observed a ranger doing so.What struck me as strange was the overall timing. Here is was late spring when little to no rain had fallen for two months and just now the Corps decides to finally erect signs that should have been there all along! Well, I guess that it's better late than never!

By the end of the summer of 2012, both gates also now sport reflective tape that should make them very visible at night!


Disclaimer: All the opinions expressed here are those of the author of this post and were made with honest intent.

River Run is recovering quickly! Fishermen return!



As of the 6th of October, the River Run Park is beginning to look a little like it’s former self. I had a chance to walk there this morning and was pleased to see that some fishing trailers were parked by the boat ramp. There was also a couple walking around like I was.

It amazes me how fast the grasses have recovered from being submerged for most of the summer. As you can see by this picture of the log that stuck in a tree, the water level was considerable.

As I walked around, I noticed that a few of the trees had died during this period and will need to be removed, but also surprisingly, the area was relatively free of flotsam. A few good rains should take cared of the layer of dust that covers much of the campsites, although they will be useable once the Corps restores power and water to the area. Something I conjecture will not happen until next spring at the earliest.

The entrance to River Run needs widening! Don't ya think?

 Before and after

If you’ve ever had a large RV or boat that you’ve tried to maneuver into the entrance of the River Run Park in Forsyth Missouri, then you know what a challenge it can be. On busy days when people are coming and going, this intersection can become logged piled up resulting in traffic congestion at the least and an accident at the worst.

By widening the entrance as shown here, vehicles towing other vehicles would be able to enter and exit without infringing the other lane. This would promote a smoother and safer flow of traffic.

I am promoting this with the thought that attention to details like this are what separates a mediocre government from an excellent one.And yes, I know...there's no money for this!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Audit of Forsyth Missouri begins Wednesday: Could take a year!

The Missouri State Auditor’s Office has announced an audit of the city books in Forsyth will begin Wednesday, October the 3rd. A process they have indicated could take up to a year to complete. I wondered why such a thing would take so long and came up with this:

Many factors, including the size and complexity of the audit, agency schedules, staffing resources, and data accessibility, affect audit time-lines. However, one factor--compiling and verifying source evidence--consistently impacts the speed with which audits are completed.”

Unlike some other sources of information, audits are based on evidence that must be sufficient, competent, and relevant. As such, the State Auditor cannot accept information on face value and must independently verify its accuracy and reliability. Often, this requires audit staff to obtain, compile, and analyze source documents, such as file records.

When data are unreliable or cannot be verified, the data cannot be used as the sole basis of an audit finding. Rather, the finding must be supported by other audit evidence, such as auditor observation, interviews, surveys, comparative data from other states, or other analytical reviews.


Whether that's the way it's done in Missouri is not known to me, but the explanation makes some sense.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Forsyth Car and Craft Show!


I had a great time at the Forsyth Car & Craft show that was held at the Shoals Bend Park this date. The weather was picture perfect and everyone I talked to seemed to be enjoying themselves. In the picture, a Chamber of Commerce Board member named Craig (hope I got that right) did a great job greeting folks who attended!

I put a very short short video on YouTube for anyone with an interest. There's no music as the selection I originally choose (a fragment of America by Neil Diamond) was silenced by the Warner Music Group. A mega conglomerate whose corporate motto is to ' suck every dollar we can from our customer base '. Sorry about that, but when I see a group of people I think of as crooks, I make it a point to point it out.