The Ole Seagull

Attorney Ima Robublind strips for Branson board and $8.24 per Branson bus passenger

Posted in Branson,Government,Opinion by The Ole Seagull on the February 28th, 2010

It was a bad night last night and the Ole Seagull must have had one of his “dreams.” In the dream it’s a quiet night at the Branson Board of Alderman’s meeting as a middle aged professional woman, dressed in a business suit, approached the podium to address them during the “Public Comment” portion of the meeting. (more…)

We who get to call Branson “Home” are blessed

Posted in Branson,Opinion by The Ole Seagull on the February 21st, 2010

Millions of visitors come to Branson each year. Last night [Feb 19] the Ole Seagull was reminded of the reason why. Simply put, it’s because a lot of people have invested their lives and resources in making Branson not only the wonderful place it is to visit, but to live, work, play and raise a family.

The Ole Seagull took a lot of ribbing from some of his buddies when he said he was going to his very first “Branson/Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Black Tie Celebration,” and honestly, he went with some trepidation. His wife actually dug his “wake suit” out of the closet for him to wear and she said he “cleaned up nice.”

Although he realizes that there is a great social organization to the universe and knows his place there was a common bond at the event, “A love for Branson, appreciation of its past and a confident hope for its future.” Branson just didn’t happen. many people have invested much of their lives to make it the wonderful place that those of us who live here enjoy and, probably take too much for granted.

The Ole Seagull was not there as a reporter so he was not taking notes. At his age that means the best that is going to happen is a recollection of high lights and not many at that. The four that come to mind are the humbleness of the honorees who received well deserved recognition for their contribution to our community or kids, their sincerity in giving the credit for their awards to someone else, a sense of their love of God and their appreciation for Branson and all that it represents.

Particularly meaningful to an Ole Seagull, was the recognition of Jack and Peter Herschend, who were presented with special recognition awards for not only their involvement with Silver Dollar City, celebrating its 50th birthday this year, but for over 50 years of committed service to Branson. From trees to education, charities benefiting the families and children of this area and so much more, Jack and Peter Herschend and the Herschend family have been involved with making Branson not only the wonderful place it is for the millions of visitors who visit each year, but for the thousands of us who work and live here.

Branson is the place where, about 24 years ago, the Ole Seagull picked to call home and moved to with his family. It is the place he loves and from which he will go to be with the Lord when it is his time although perhaps not soon enough for some. He has never regretted that decision and last night he was reminded of why that was a great decision for him 24 years ago and why it would be great decision for anyone today.

If there is a better place to live, with finer people, better educational systems, more to do or a better community than Branson an Ole Seagull isn’t aware of it. It was a wonderful experience to share an evening with people of like heart and be reminded just how wonderful Branson is and how blessed we who live here are to be able to call it “Home.”

Ok Branson, enough fluff, “Where’s the Beef”

Posted in General by The Ole Seagull on the February 14th, 2010

Ever since the words “Where’s the beef” were first spoken by actress Clara Peller, in a Wendy’s commercial in 1984 to point out that a hamburger should be more beef than bun, they have taken on almost iconic status. An Ole Seagull would ask “Where’s the beef” for the following questions or statements that he has heard recently.  His opinion, follows each.

“Branson shows and attractions shoot themselves in the foot when they ‘dumb’ down their ticket prices.” “The beef” for this one is prevalent. It breaks an Ole Seagull’s heart when he sees tickets representing the personal cash investment, sweat, blood, anguish and talent of some of the greatest entertainers and talent he has ever seen being sold at places other than their theatres at prices far lower than the theatre providing the entertainment is selling the same tickets. It’s one thing to offer a couple of bucks off a ticket, but where’s “the beef” in terms of getting anywhere near the full ticket price if your show is advertised somewhere else on a list of shows with up to 50 percent off?

“With our airport now being serviced by Frontier and AirTran Airways over 100 cities can access this great destination [Branson] from around the country.” The Ole Seagull has lived in Branson for about 24 years now and one of the reasons he moved here initially was because Branson had air access to 100s of destinations. Whoops, bad Seagull, that access doesn’t count anymore because it was through the airport that he believes, with the blessing of the Branson community, was renamed the “Springfield Branson National Airport (SGF).” On April 20 there will be how many United flights to SFG and how many Frontier flights to the Branson Airport (BKG)?

“The taxpayers of the city of Branson are not legally responsible for the TIF indebtedness of Branson Landing.” It’s interesting how many people still believe that even though, as soon as a former Branson City Administrator said words to that effect in a public meeting, the city’s own bond attorney immediately and publicly pointed out the practical fallacy of the statement. An Ole Seagull believes that the lack of “beef” in that regard will soon become apparent to all.

“Would we have the increase in tourists after 2005 without the Landing?” A rhetorical question posed to the Ole Seagull. The Ole Seagulls answer would be “Such as it has been in these challenging economic times absolutely!” The Ole Seagull knows someone else asked first, but let’s rephrase the question, “Would we have the increase in tourists after 2005 if the voters had not approved the 1% retail sales tax for marketing in Nov. of 2005? As neat a place as Branson Landing is, how many people would get to Branson Landing or many of the Branson’s other great shows, attractions, and activities if they were not aware of and sold on “Branson” first?

Silver Dollar City and the other properties owned by the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation (HFE), White Water and the Showboat Branson Belle and their superb marketing cause more people to chose Branson as their travel/vacation destination than Branson Landing, the Branson Convention Center and the new Branson Airport combined.” This is a compilation of comments of things that different people have said and the only “beef” the Ole Seagull has to back that up is his opinion and belief that the statement is true.

That’s sad. With the tens of millions that have been spent on market and research why isn’t there the “beef” showing more specific data about specific shows, attractions, and other things that cause people to decide to visit Branson? One thing for certain, Silver Dollar City, the Herschend family and organization have been doing it right for 50 years. Happy Birthday and thank you!

How “reasonably safe” is Branson Landing, downtown Branson and the surrounding community from flooding?

Posted in General by The Ole Seagull on the February 7th, 2010

Let’s go with the good news first, the city of Branson got a clean bill of health on its handling of the Branson Landing flood plain issues from FEMA. Among other things FEMA said that Buildings 1 through 6 in Branson Landing “are reasonably safe from flooding.”

What then could the bad news be? Those are the building on the west side of Branson Landing. In fact there was some flooding to the lower levels of the building on the east side during the Spring 2008 Floods. It was the type of flooding that was anticipated when the Landing was built and it was basically handled as anticipated.

“Well, that’s not bad news that’s good news.” Absolutely, but the thing to keep in mind is that in terms of the water that could be released from Table Rock Dam’s 10 gates, only the equivalent of less than one of its ten gates was released during the 2008 Spring Floods. There is a capability of releasing 515,000 cubic feet of water per second (cfs) with all 10 gates and four generators. During the 2008 event less than 50,000 cfs was released yet, it flooded homes and the lower levels of the eastern side of Branson Landing.

Here we are two years and a “FEMA Scrutiny later” with buildings that “are reasonably safe from flooding” at Branson Landing, but a downtown Branson area and areas in the surrounding community that have no such assurances. What is “reasonably safe?”

Who really knows? One thing that could be done however, is have maps of Branson Landing, down town Branson including the Convention Center and the areas along Lake Taneycomo and its tributaries that clearly and simply show the areas that would be covered by water released from the dam at 50k cfs, 100k cfs, 150k cfs, 200k cfs, 250k cfs, 300k cfs, 350k cfs, 400k cfs 450k cfs, 500k cfs levels.

Will the water ever get that high? Who knows. Until April of 2008 the water had never been as high as it got since the dam was built, but it got there. There is a reason there are 10 gates and eight auxiliary gates at the dam. It would be interesting to see just how high the water would be in Branson Landing and other areas with a 300,000 cfs release.

Oh, and speaking of interesting, does anyone know what formal action the Branson Board of Aldermen, Hollister Board of Aldermen or Taney County Commission have taken to look into what, if anything, they can do to mitigate the consequences of future flooding like the 2008 event? Were an Ole Seagull a betting bird he would say that the answer would be pretty close to zero.

On the other hand, why be proactive when most people will settle for reactive? In the unlikely event of another flood like 2008, or worse, they’ll give us the same platitudes they did in 2008 and we’ll soon forget until the next time.

However, it would be interesting to know just how high the water would get in Branson Landing, Hollister, downtown Branson and other areas along Lake Taneycomo if 300,000 cfs were released from Table Rock Dam. On second thought, do we really want to know? Isn’t ignorance bliss?