Southwest Arrives to Amazing Welcome from the Branson Community
Southwest officials were overwhelmed with the welcoming “committee” awaiting the first Southwest flights to arrive at the Branson Airport on March 9. Many Branson entertainers were on hand to perform for the crowd at the Ultimate Tailgate Party. Numerous media outlets were represented and interviewed entertainers and business leaders about what the arrival of Southwest means to the Branson/Lakes Area. An emotional highlight of the day was having the crowd sing happy birthday to Mickey Gilley, who is thrilled to now be able to fly directly home to Houston. Book your direct flight to Chicago, Dallas, or Houston now; or better yet, tell your friends and loved ones to book their Southwest flights to Branson! Visit www.flybranson.com, or call 888-359-2541.
Hollister Welcomes OTC, Set to Open in August!
A $9.4 million construction plan has been approved for the new campus, located in Hollister, which is more than two million more than the original construction estimate!
OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon says the new Table Rock campus will be a comprehensive campus similar to Richwood Valley…"So, it'll have the full gamut of academic, general education courses. It'll also have a nursing program that is being moved from our current Reeds Spring facility, and then over the course of time we will add more technical and allied health, so it'll be a full-service campus."
Construction has already begun, and Higdon says the OTC branch campus in Hollister is expected to open in August 2013. He says it will replace a campus in Branson that OTC has outgrown. The campus is close to College of the Ozarks. Higdon says they’ve signed several articulation agreements with the college so OTC students can have a seamless Two Plus Two with C of O.
Congratulations to our very own Booker Cox III, 2012 REALOR OF THE YEAR!
Booker was named Realtor of the Year at the annual Tri-Lakes Board of Realtor's annual banquet. The announcement of the coveted award was made by 2011 winner Doug Lay who said Booker deserved the award in part becasue of the "lots and lots of hours (Cox) put in during this transition time for the Tri-Lakes Board of Realtors." Congratulations Booker!!
COLE CURRIER JOINS FOGGY RIVER REALTY
Foggy River Realty is excited to welcome Cole Currier, who joins Anne Symington, Booker Cox II, and Booker Cox III as a co-owner/broker. After 15 years in Branson's entertainment industry as a singer and manager, Cole built a successful independent real estate company from scratch. Cole is now building on that momentum with the help of the reputation that Foggy River Realty has built over the years in the community. For more information, check out Cole's Branson real estate website featuring tools to find homes for sale in Branson and the Table Rock Lake area.
BALLOONS OVER BRANSON OCT. 19, 2012
It is going to be a beautiful weekend for the annual Balloons over Branson at Branson Creek, Sat. Oct. 19th. There are several events planned. A VIP party that includes dinner, entertainment and an opportunity to enjoy a tethered hot air balloon ride. Tickets are available at the YMCA on Industrial Park Dr. in Hollister. Saturday's many activities start early and are free. The event starts at 6am with a balloon launch. The event benefits Ozark Mountain YMCA.
DOWNTOWN BRANSON REVITALIZATION MOVES FORWARD!
The City of Branson is continuing to move forward on a project to improve the infrastructure in downtown Branson. Design firm Crawford, Murphy & Tilly inc., has been selected by the City's capital improvements committee. The idea behind the downtown streetcape project is to update the area to be more visitor friendly.
SKAGGS LANDS FINANCIAL BACKER WITH COX MERGER!
Pending approval from Federal Regulators, the deal will add 1,100 employees to Cox Health's staff. Skaggs Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees voted 98-0 in favor of establishing a strategic partnership with Cox Health on Sept. 20, 2012. Cox is prepared to make a $25million + gift to the Skaggs Foundation upon approval that should be expected by the end of the year and invest upwards to $100 million, including debt assumptions, during the next five to seven years. This move is designed to give a rise in capital improvements to the Branson Health Systems that employees 1,100 workers, is the result of requests for proposal Skaggs issued in January and was answered by more than a dozen qualified candidates. Under the deal, Skaggs would keep its name, board of directors, current employees, management and medical staff.
NEW STORES COMING TO BRANSON HILLS!
Construction is under way for two new stores at the Shoppes at Branson Hills! They are scheduled to open sometime after the first of the year! Pier 1 Imports, a furniture store and Ultra Beauty, a cosmetics stores will be opening next to Michaels, at the end of the current strip of stores. According to the building permit application log at the City of Branson, the estimated value of the two stores combined is about $1.96 million. Branson is seeing more retail development because there are so many successful businesses here, according to Joel Hornickel, City Senior Planner.
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES ANNOUNCES FLIGHTS TO BRANSON!
Southwest Airlines, one of the most honored airlines in the world, has announced that they will add a 79th destination to its route map with service to Branson, MO! Beginning March 9, 2013 with daily flights offering nonstop service to Dallas, Houston Hobby, and Chicago Midway, and with Saturday-only service to Orlando! To view a route map of the new service go to www.swamedia.com.
"Southwest Airlines is proud to bring low fares, great customer service, and our red-bellied 737's to Branson," said Bob Montgomery, Southwest Airlines' Vice President of Airport Affairs. "We look forward to serving the community and offering more new destinations to Branson Customers."
FORMER FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH TO SPEAK AT COLLEGE OF THE OZARKS
Former First Lady Laura Bush will speak November 8th at a community convocation at College of the Ozarks. A limited number of tickets are available for the convocation. They are free of charge, on a first come – first serve basis, and may be reserved by calling the college at 417.690.2240
GAS PRICES STARTING TO DROP!
Good news for motorists filling up at the pump – the price of gasoline continues to fall across the country, with local pricing still way below the national average. The price tracking website gasbuddy.com indicates the national average for a gallon of unleaded is 3-dollars-45 cents, that’s down 22 cents from a month ago.
Branson on the Bridge Celebration July 7th!
Branson on the Bridge will be held on the new Lake Taneycomo Bridge and will result in the closing of Branson Landing Boulevard, between the bridge and Long Street from 6 a.m. July 7th, until 3 a.m. the next morning. The Missouri Department of Transportation has already approved closing the bridge, with aldermen agreeing to the street closure during its meeting at City Hall.
NEW DEWEY SHORT VISITOR CENTER OPENS IN BRANSON!
The $10.8million Visitor Center opened with 200-300 people in attendance. The 16,500 sq. ft. center is located near Table Rock Dam on Hwy 165, in clear view from the road. The center's main focus is to educate visitors on the lake and Missouri's environment around the lake. In addition to exhibits, there are conference rooms, a video viewing area, gift shop and scientific experiments lab area for children. The building is Gold Leadership in energy and the most environmentally friendly buildings that can be built. For more information visit tablerockdamtours.com.
Tri-Lakes Housing Market Rebounds!
Things are starting to run around for home sellers and real estate firms!
The latest housing market report shows the strongest numbers the Tri-lakes area has seen since prior to the recession.
According to Doug Lay, Interim Director of the Tri-Lakes Board of Realtors, the report is the best the local market has generated since 2007. He stated that factors aiding in the rebound include an improving economy and rising consumer confidence in most areas not related to fuel costs. Also, historically low mortgage interest rates are also a contributing factor.
The report lists192 sold listings through the first quarter of 2012, which is a 25% improvement over the previous year. Pending listings are up more that 36% year to date.
Stone County's Boosting Economy
Record Decembers were one of the topics at a recent Stone County Commission meeting. Silver Dollar City and the Branson West Walmart were mentioned as large businesses that had reported increased earnings.
Last years January revenue of $160,324 was the highest it's been in that month since 2007.
Commissioners were concerned about the high gas prices having an effect on the tourism but in the unofficial December sales report is what they think it is, Stone County's tax revenues could be closer to what they were in 2007.
2012 is Yakov Smirnoff’s last season in Branson
Yakov Smirnoff’s last full season to perform in Branson will be next year (In 2013 Yakov will be touring and performing his Happily Ever Laughter one man show.