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Governor honors tourism achievers

Several Branson individuals were honored for their tourism contributions March 11 at the Missouri Governor's Conference on Tourism in Kansas City. The Missouri Travel and Tourism Hall of Fame Award was presented to Gil Elmore, who has been in the tourism industry for nearly 40 years. A long-time employee at Shepherd of the Hills, Elmore owns The Best of Branson, which represents several businesses and attractions in the Branson area.

Shoji and Dorothy Tabuchi, of Branson, received the Emory Melton Service Award in recognition of their support of Missouri's travel industry by promoting Missouri through their Shoji Tabuchi Theater and their vast marketing efforts.

Branson's Mayor Lou Schaefer received the Spotlight Award, an award given to an individual, business or organization not usually considered part of the travel industry for noteworthy contributions in promoting Missouri tourism.

During the conference, the Downtown Branson Main Street Association accepted the Cooperative Marketing Award for its new four-color brochure, "Historic Downtown Branson, Experience Hometown USA The Way You Remember It." The total cost of the brochure was just under $10,000, and it was paid for on a 50-50 basis with a cost-share grant from the Missouri Division of Tourism, said Gayla Hagerty, DBMA executive director.

Area unemployment rate shrinking

Branson Job Service reports that the unemployment rate in January of this year for Taney County was 19.3 percent, and for Stone County it was 19.4 percent. These figures show a significant decrease in unemployment compared to January 1998, when the unemployment rate was at 30 percent in both counties.

Health department offers pool seminar

The Branson Health Department will offer a pool school beginning at 9 a.m. April 7 at City Hall. The seminar will provide owners and operators of public and private pools with information on care and maintenance of swimming pools and spas.

The seminar will include discussion on current regulations, safety, water quality, chemical analysis and preventive maintenance. For information, call 337-8551.

Tri-Lakes Building Show set for April 10

The third annual Tri-Lakes Building Show, sponsored by the city of Branson and the Tri-Lakes Building Safety Organization, will be held 10 a.m.-3 p.m. April 10 at the Lions Club building on East Highway 76 near Branson. The building show will be held in conjunction with International Building Safety Week.

Vendors for construction-related materials and services can apply for booth space by contacting the city of Branson Building Department by March 26. Admission to the show is free to the public.

Gooseberry Diner open near Hwy. 171

When it came time to name his new diner, Greg Eldred thought of his favorite pie: gooseberry. He and his wife, Tina, opened the Gooseberry Diner Feb. 24 in Carthage.

The building, which resembles a '50s-style diner, was assembled in Tulsa, Okla., and delivered ready-made to its new site near Highway 171 and Airport Drive.

The Eldreds are no strangers to the pie and diner business. Eldred's parents, Jim and Carol Eldred, own Cooky's Cafe in Golden City. Greg was a partner in Cooky's for 10 years before launching his own business. He sold his interest in Cooky's to his younger brother, Joe.

Leggett & Platt makes Forbes ranking

Leggett & Platt Inc., Carthage, was ranked in the top 5 percent of "America's Most Admired Companies" in the March 1 issue of Forbes Magazine.

Of the 469 companies listed, only 22 had higher composite scores than Leggett & Platt.

New water tower to house fire station

The new 2.5-million-gallon water tower for customers of the Carthage Water & Electric Plant will soon have occupants.

The enclosed base of the tower will house a two-story, 2,500-square-foot fire station. The Carthage City Council has budgeted $180,000 for station construction.

Fire Chief John Cooper said designing the building inside the tower has taken some extra planning and time because it involves work by structural engineers, as well as architects.

Water towers usually are supported by an open structure of four legs. This so-called "hydropillar" is enclosed to the bottom of the water tank so the interior can be used.

The station will house a two-man crew, a pumper, a grass-fire truck and a rescue vehicle. This will be Carthage's first satellite station. The water tower station is located on River Street near Fir Road.

MRA names Restaurateur of the Year

Heidi Howe, owner of The Great American Bagel, Joplin, has been named Restaurateur of the Year by the southwest Missouri chapter of the Missouri Restaurant Association.

Dan Williams, owner of The Sultan of Smoke, Joplin, was named president of the southwest Missouri chapter.

Commerce Bank announces promotion

Cheryl Holyfield has been promoted to regional credit analyst for Commerce Bank, Joplin.

She will be responsible for commercial credit procedures for Commerce locations in Joplin and in Independence, Columbus and Pittsburg, Kan.

Changes under way at Neosho Municipal

Change is in the air at the Neosho Municipal Airport. Greg Hughes took over March 1 as the fixed-base operator and Ed Allen as manager.

Hughes, owner of Hughes Aviation, has operated the maintenance facility at the Siloam Springs, Ark., airport since 1992. He added a paint shop and certified avionics and electronics repair station to that airport.

Hughes plans similar improvements to the maintenance facility at the Neosho airport. In addition, an airplane will be available for rental or pilot training.

Already under way at the airport is a $1.5 million upgrade project to add earth safety runoffs at the north and south ends of the runway.

The improvements are mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration under new safety regulations. The project is funded 90 percent by the federal government and 5 percent each by the state and city.

Noel plans Dogwood Business Expo

The Noel Area Chamber of Commerce will present the first-ever Dogwood Business Expo April 17 at the Noel Family Fun Park on Highway 59 North, directly across from the Tyson Foods Noel complex.

The purpose of the event is to highlight the growth of McDonald County and what businesses in the area have to offer, according to a release from the Noel chamber. Booth space is still available, and the expo is open to business from McDonald County, as well as from neighboring Missouri counties, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

For information on booth availability, contact Bruce Arnold, 475-6808, or Paul Brooks, 762-3218. For event information, contact the chamber at 475-6339.

Webb City seeks sidewalk repair funds

The Webb City City Council will apply for a maximum of $50,000 in state grants to fund sidewalk repairs and the second phase of a walking trail project in King Jack Park. At its March 1 meeting, the council heard a report from Kevin Urban, director of community development, who recommended applying for funds from the Missouri Department of Transportation, which would require a 20 percent match from the city.

Money would be used to repair dilapidated sidewalks and to build new ones. Also, funds would cover the cost to connect the park's walking trail to the Greenway Trail, west of the park, and other park improvements.

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