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Tag Archives: Branson

Styron & Shilling’s new home in Ozark


After ten years at 301 West Pacific in Branson, Styron & Shilling has relocated its Branson office to a lovely old building at 302 East Church Street, in Ozark, Missouri, a half block east of the northeast corner of the Christian County courthouse square.

With this move, Styron & Shilling’s Branson and Ozark offices are consolidated to a new location that fits the nature of our firm’s evolving Read the rest of this entry

Branson lakefront deal goes from good to bad. Not what you’re thinking, though.


You know the story. The City of Branson gives a great deal to a private business to create an attraction on the Taneycomo lakefront. A few years later, the City doesn’t think the deal is working well for the City. The political winds have changed. Now there’s a lawsuit. Here’s how it went down, more than a half-century ago.

Jim Owen–not to be confused with the singer–played a major role in putting Branson on the tourism map. A consummate promoter of float fishing on the James and White rivers and tourism and commerce in the Branson area, he was unstoppable. Born in Webster County, Missouri (east of Springfield), he came to Branson in 1933, already experienced with public relations.

Soon Jim had built a movie theatre and started a float fishing business that got national attention and was also a banker and farmer. Some fine person posted this promotional silent film of one of his trips (11 minutes long) Read the rest of this entry

Table Rock Lake and the cost of economic activity

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Kathleen O’Dell’s article about the economic impact of Table Rock Lake in today’s Springfield News-Leader, entitled “Table Rock Dam Gives Much Back to Area,” covers a lot of ground in describing the various kinds of economic activities that are related to the construction and continued existence of Table Rock Lake.

In an economic sense, is the Table Rock Lake area fit (efficient and nimble) or obese (expensive to maintain and subject to falls)? As pointed out below, the two counties most affected by Table Rock Lake have experienced the area’s lowest growth in Read the rest of this entry

Whole lotta nestling going on in the Ozarks


Did they all go to school together? I’m talking about those writers who love the word “nestled.”

Branson and its attractions are frequently nestled. Here’s a sampling: Read the rest of this entry

Branson Landing and FEMA


Several people have asked me about my take on the allegations that FEMA was given incomplete or inaccurate information about the flood-plain status of buildings in Branson Landing.

My firm represents several tenants and condo unit owners in Brans0n Landing and also represents another party in an appeal of an administrative determination made by Branson’s Department of Planning and Development.

I am withholding comment about the Branson Landing-FEMA controversy for two reasons:

  • I don’t know anything
  • I don’t want to inadvertently make a statement that would affect my firm’s ability to represent its clients.

Film production injects dollars into Ozarks


The filming of Daniel Woodrell‘s novel “Winter’s Bone” at various locations in the Forsyth area will conclude next week. The story of the novel and movie concerns an Ozarks family affected by meth and violence. The silver lining to this depiction is that the process of making a movie puts cash from elsewhere into the local economy. This time of year, especially, that seems to be a good thing, since local unemployment is in double digits.

Jerry, Raeanne and Andrea at Cantina Laredo

Jerry, Raeanne and Andrea

I was invited to lunch yesterday by Jerry Jones, director of the Missouri Film Commission, who was making a visit to the set. I dined at Cantina Laredo with Jerry, his wife Pam (who is my friend from college days), Branson mayor Raeanne Presley, Steve Olson of Springfield, Bill Lennon of Branson, and Andrea Sporcic, assistant director of the Film Commission.

When Mayor Presley was on the Missouri Tourism Commission, she became acquainted with the work of the Missouri Film Commission, whose effectiveness in recruiting film productions to Missouri depends on Missouri’s film tax credit program, which provides an incentive for filmmakers to come to Missouri in the form of state tax credits for those film productions that spend a substantial amount of money in the state.

The production company has been lodged at Branson Landing, with a production office at the Branson Landing Convention Center. The company has hired extras locally and at least one local has a speaking part. Read the rest of this entry

Styron & Shilling’s HOA database project


Suppose you are buying a home in a subdivision. You don’t see many occupied houses in the subdivision, which is not in a city or town. But you see a water wellhouse and storage tank and maybe an odd looking structure that must be a sewer treatment plant or pumping station. You don’t see any signs indicating that these belong to a local government entity. You wonder who maintains the streets, the water system and the sewer system. The answer is that a homeowners’ association (HOA) is responsible for maintenance and operation of these essential facilities.

But where is the HOA?  You can’t find it in the phone book or on the internet. The public records are sketchy. Read the rest of this entry

Maybe being married is okay, even with debts


Capital Bank asked the Taney County Sheriff to sell Rocky’s, a popular Italian restaurant in Branson, to satisfy a judgment awarded by an Arkansas court against the owner of the restaurant. Judge Orr stopped the sheriff’s sale, because the restaurant land and building were owned by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Barnes, while the Arkansas court’s judgment was against only Mr. Barnes. The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Orr’s ruling in an opinion dated February 2, 2009.

I had a great lunch at Rocky’s on February 3, so I’m glad that a bank didn’t take over the restaurant.

In Missouri and several other states, a married couple can own property as though they were one person, in a form of ownership called “tenancy by the entirety.” In Missouri, a tenancy by the entirety is presumed to have been created when a deed to a married couple uses the words “husband and wife” after their names, if they are in fact married.  A deed is a written document, signed by the grantor(s), which is evidence of the intent of the grantor to convey property to the grantee(s).

The holding of the Barnes case does not break new ground, but it explains why careful lenders usually insist that a personal guaranty and deed of trust (mortgage) be signed by each spouse, otherwise the collateral may not be reachable. Generally, the tenancy by the entirety form of ownership will stop even the IRS from seizing the property of a married couple for taxes owed only by one spouse.

From the borrower’s point of view, holding real estate as tenants by the entirety can be a good idea. A limited liability company (LLC) or corporation is created as an operating entity for a small business,which leases real estate from the husband and wife. The husband and wife are protected from personal liability for business debts that they have not personally guaranteed. The lease income is not subject to self-employment tax.

An additional question is whether the LLC membership interests or corporate shares should be held by both husband and wife, as tenants by the entireties or whether each should own half or whether some other form of ownership is desirable. Answering this question requires careful analysis by a lawyer, estate planner and tax advisor working together.

Calico Sunrise: watch what happens


Residents of the Calico Rock area, on the White River in north central Arkansas, are attempting to plan their future. They have created a blog called Calico Sunrise to serve as a newsletter and forum for their endeavor, which is intended to involve the input of all segments of the community.

The Calico Rock area is lovely, and it looks like a great place to live and to visit. It is similar to the Branson area in a purely physical sense–it is in the Ozarks on the White River with a railroad running alongside, there are lakes nearby, and there are wonderful bluffs and vistas and smaller streams in deep, quiet valleys. While there is some tourism there and a lot of retirees, the tourism lacks the industrial-strength tourism of Branson. In some ways, Calico Rock is what Branson might have been without Silver Dollar City and the music show industry.

I wish the people of Calico Rock well. I hope they will focus on health rather than growth, so that they can have the community they want and stay off the economic roller-coaster. To do this, they will need to look at giving their children great educations and building an economy with an export sector, rather than too heavily based on tourism.

Is tourism impoverishing?


Many community leaders are jealous of the sales tax revenue and economic activity generated by tourism. They wish that their own communities had some of what Branson and other tourist towns have (the municipal revenue, the perceived business opportunities, and options for shopping, dining, entertainment and outdoor activities), but not the other stuff (the seasonal economy, the high percentage of residents who move in and move out, the number of business failures, the constant need to expand schools, the high sales taxes, the traffic snarls, the disorder of constant construction projects, etc.). Read the rest of this entry

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