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WEBER, CFO. John Q. Hammons Hotels Inc. April 7 announced Kenneth J. Weber as its new executive vice president and chief financial officer. Weber joins the local company from Chartwell Leisure, a New York hotel management and ownership company, where he held a similar position. "Ken is a seasoned corporate executive with demonstrated experience in managing the financial operations of large public companies," John Q. Hammons said. He will be responsible for Hammons' controllership, treasury and investment banking, investor relations, regulatory reporting and internal audits. In other JQH news, filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed James Clark and Susanna Porter purchased 122,300 shares of the Springfield company to raise their stake to 6.38 percent. The husband and wife now own 385,350 shares of JQH class A common shares after the mid-March purchases.

UP, UP AND AWAY. Greene County Recorder of Deeds Linda Montgomery reports sharply increased real estate recordings in the first quarter of 1998 and record fee collections during March. The recorder took in $202,821 in fees in March, up from the previous one-month record of $142,451, set in December 1997. The collections come as a result of a 14.7 percent increase in warranty-deed recordings and a 36.9 percent increase in deeds of trust recordings. In addition, assignments of mortgages are up. In the first quarter there were 2,738 assignments, vs. 4,374 for all of 1997. Montgomery attributed the increases to low interest rates and the resulting high number of home-mortgage refinancings. She said assignments were affected by changes in ownership of financial institutions in Greene County.

ON THE BALLOT. If you haven't filed to run for public office in 1998, it's too late. Candidate filing closed March 31 and Missouri's Secretary of State Bekki Cook said 502 folks signed up to run. That's down from 1996, when 545 candidates filed for inclusion on the ballot. In Springfield, the most contested race is for the state representative seat for the 137th District now held by Chuck Wooten, who is retiring. Six folks are vying for the post, including four Democrats and two Republicans who will face off in primaries. Running for the 137th District seat are: Democrats Francis M. Kunkler, Hal Agler, Charlie Johnson and Dudley Martin; and Republicans Mark Wright and Steven Smith. In other races, incumbent U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt will face Democrat Marc Perkel and one of two Libertarians Mike Harman of Dunnegan or Doug Burlison of Springfield. Republican State Sen. Roseann Bentley will run against Democrat Kaye Parker and Libertarian Phillip W. Horras in the race for the 30th District seat. All of Springfield's state house campaigns are contested, with four candidates trying to fill Philip Wannenmacher's shoes in the 139th District: Democrats Albert Erb and Michael Borich will face off in the primary for the right to go up against Republican Matt Blunt and Libertarian Dennis C. Bentley in the general election. The primary election date

is Aug. 4 and the main event is

Nov. 3.

MORE POLITICS. If the idea of a campaign for office makes you shiver (and it should), why not just apply for a public post? City Council is accepting applications through May 1 to fill a vacancy in its number. Charlie Denison is leaving his council seat to run against Dave Coonrod for Greene County presiding commissioner. To qualify you must be a qualified voter and two-year resident of Springfield. And you must not hold any other paying public office or be a city employee, nor have any financial interest in contracts to sell land, materials or services to the city. Oh, and if you serve on City Utilities' Board of Public Utilities, your application for the council seat will be your immediate resignation notice for that board.

HOLD THE ELEPHANT DUNG. Jim Thomas April 8 announced he will open Cirque du Monde at his Remington Theatre in Branson. The theme restaurant will seat 350 people and feature costumed wait staff and chefs. A release from Thomas said the Pellham, Phillips, Hagerman-designed project will cost "multi-millions." "The restaurant will have the flavor and flair of France with the atmosphere of a European circus ... without the animals. It will be like entering a beautifully colored dream world," Thomas said.

SLICE OF NICE. The 45th Binnie Clements Guild Homes Tour will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 6. Proceeds from the tour will benefit children's charities throughout the Ozarks. Last year, the guild raised $19,380 for children's charities. For more information, please call Rita Preston, tour chairperson, at 881-2882.

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