A "Baldknobber" State of Mind


As Eminem says, "There's a little bit of Slim Shady in all of us". So, I suspect, it is so for we locals who know well the Shepherd of the Hills Legend.  It has been some time since I last had an "Old Matt's Story" fix, but here in '09, some would say that again times are so tough here in the Ozark Mountains that it's time we start following in the shoes of "dad" and bury all of our Baldknobber Ways.  If shouldn't take much discovery to see the burden that many in our community are now carrying.  Tonight "60 Minutes" did a segment on the closing of the only indigent chemotherapy program in Las Vegas and the resulting human devastation resulting from the Hospital's dwindling "tax based" funding. Next on CBS was the CMA awards, an extravaganza affair offering gowns, glitter and gaming, in, you guessed it, Las Vegas.  No, Branson is not Las Vegas, and Andy's Little Place is not the Bellagio, but, I for one hope the hell that the hypocrisy evident in Vegas stays in Vegas.  I futher hope that the deep moral strength of our communities Shepherd of the Hills Heritage rises to the occasion and builds a "Cultural Bridge" linking our town's equally conspicuous "haves" and "have nots".  What's in Your Wallet?     


Intro to "Faith Based Health"

"Faith Based" is a popular phrase in the Ozarks.  What is means is, of course, as subjective as is the meaning of faith itself.  My sense is, and I think most will agree, it references "motive".  This week, I spent a little free time discovering what "Health Care Resources" are available to the relatively large and growing number of adults in Branson who have no financial/lifestyle means of maintaining a relationship with a Primary Care Doctor, much less enjoy the benefits of any Hospitalization Insurance.  I have previously written about personal experiences with friends and acquaintances that evidence this profile, and was just looking for a standard answer that I might offer up as the inevitable next time comes when I hear, "I'm injured/sick but don't have any money". General awareness lead me to four sources for a better understanding of how, in the future, I might reply to such expressions.  The first was, of course, Branson City Government.  I had a minimal exposure to the Branson City Health Department.  They reviewed some building plans I had offered up for a permit and decided that I needed one more sink in the kitchen.  They easily affirmed that neither primary/urgent/critical care was on their agenda.  They pointed me to option two, which was the Taney County Health Department.  I visited their offices out on Bee Road and had a pleasant conversation with Jean Miller, the Office Manager.  She explained that at least in the past and present the County offered no resources for injured/sick indigent adults.  She did confirm that some resources such as child immunizations and infant care are available through their offices.  She did confirm that these offered services, including the at least 6 employees working in the Branson office, were funded by County Taxes and funds received from one or more Missouri State Agencies.  Jean did reveal that recently a "Faith Based Free Clinic" had opened in Branson and suggested that I give those in need a copy of a  08' article in the Branson newspaper indicating that the clinic would open in November 08'.  She further advised that another "Faith Based Clinic" with a larger and more comprehensive agenda was to open sometime in late 09'.  Next, I contacted Skaggs Hospital, the non-profit hospital serving our community.  I had an extended conversation with Cheryl Fortenberry, Social Services Director.  She spoke to the Hospital's policy to screen all emergency care requests ( its  regulatory mandated for non-profit hospitals).  She confirmed that their screening/stabilization services was not a substitute for ongoing treatment and referred me to the same two "Faith Based Clinics" pointed to by Jean at Taney County Health. Last on my list was the Missouri State Medicaid program, now renamed Missouri HealthNet.  For those who are 65 and older and indigent or less than 18 and the child of indigent parents, this is I suspect a resource.  Again since this was not my objective, I left many questions unanswered and went directly to "the only game in town", namely the existing and proposed "Faith Based Clinics"  I will offer up my findings in a subsequent post.   


Much ado about nothing!

This week at a "Special City Council" meeting, myself and a couple of hundred other bored Branson residents listened while Claudia and Hero impersonators read their lengthy "digital evidence packets" hoping to joust one another out of the Branson Planning Department.  Unfortunately, as Shakespeare had already comedically concluded, it was indeed, much ado about nothing.  Had they squared off about whether Adam Lambert should be chosen as the American Idol. or whether Newt Gingrich should be down here in the Ozarks "dissing the pres", it would have been worth the uncomfortably hot chambers, but........"the ramifications of waterproofing a basement wall".  Give me a break!  All the FEMA compliance stuff withstanding, the fraud/corruption/coverup stuff was just silly.  FEMA would be lucky to find Branson, much less uncover and magnify a "form over substance" mixup dating to before they became famous in New Orleans.  So what was the point?  Was it a clandestine plot to "create a plausible basis for frightened Landing Lessees to "walk their leases"?  Not likely! Was it to save our city from being destroyed by FEMA and the "Washington Bureaucracy" Not likely! Was it to "right some unrightable wrong" in tribute to our morally superior city self image?  I doubt it!  Was it just mean office politics spilling out into the parking lot and beyond?  It looked that way to me, but as Dennis Miller says, "I could be wrong"   


I just can't tell you how badly we need that Road!

     Most days during the last couple of years, I have daily crossed the Interstate on Country Music Blvd.  and proceeded  up "the strip".  Most of the local traffic with destinations north of "the strip" have exited the Interstate at Highway #248.  Those still on Country Music Blvd. West of Interstate 65 seeing the "strip going West" backup find the fast moving right lane and cut off on Roark.  Only those who know the "routes" and are going to destinations on the "strip" or to destinations south of the strip, continue past Roark.  All of those headed to destinations South of the "strip" cut off at Fall Creek by the Dick Clark theater.  (thanks for finishing the Fall Creek intersection)  So what is the point?  The point is that if someone cuts a passable road from the "strip" down the side of the mountain to intersect Roark they will have saved time only for those locals fighting the "strip" only so far as Fall Creek South.  Many of these locals come from the South and won't go north past the "strip" to avoid the backup.  Only the locals coming from the North and who are headed south of the "strip" will benefit.  With the new North/South connector on up the "strip" by Walmart those going to the Condo 
Corridor around Thousand Hills Golf Course will do just as well going on down Roark to the Walmart cutoff.  So who is left to use the Fall Creek Extension.  My guess is damn few.  I further guess that the construction cost per car mile will set a new Missouri record.


Doctors vs. Angie's List 

Angie did not overlook Branson in her quest to mobilize every housewife in America to the worthy cause of creating a 21st century "Better Business Bureau".  Branson has been saturated with invitations to contribute to the Springfield Market cell.  I mention this because, this week, there was an interesting  national story confirming that "Main Street" everywhere kinda likes Angie's emerging power.  The story involves the formation, by a group of Doctors, of a new self protection organization to seek legal remedies against Angie, contending that member evaluations of physician services has the potential to ruin the professional practices of doctors throughout the land.  Gee, well we wouldn't want to know what Susie down the street thinks about Dr. Smith, when we can make up our minds about Dr. Generic by watching 300 pharmaceutical commercial a week, all of which extol the caring and wise qualities of  "you doctor".  Of course, I am sure that the Doctor Coalition is just engaged in preventive medicine to make sure that no one goes untreated as a result of anxiety over their doctor's competence.