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Board, chief laud donor for support of LOPD: The outpouring of support for the Lake Ozark Police Department continues. Two weeks after Dennis Reese and Springfield Armory donated new weapons and accessories for every LOPD officer including reserves, a Lake Ozark businessman has donated $7,500 strictly for use by the department for the benefit of its officers. Police Chief Gary Launderville reported at the regular Sept. 14 board of aldermen meeting that George Tucker, owner of Tucker’s Shuckers on The Strip, handed him a check recently. The board then adopted a resolution expressing the city’s appreciation. Chief Launderville told the board that he took a call from Tucker about a month ago asking what he could do for LOPD officers. Tucker said he wanted to make sure any donation would go to LOPD officers. The chief explained that because of budgetary restrictions, any donation couldn’t be put in the in the city’s general fund with guarantees it would be used for the LOPD. He said Tucker insisted the money be used for the LOPD and not for general city expenses such as filling potholes. “I want this for the betterment of the police officers,” he told the chief. The only way that could happen, Launderville explained, was for a donation be made to the Lake Ozark Police Benevolent Police Association. “I was expecting a $500 check,” Launderville said. “About a week and a half later, George walked through the door with a $7,500 check. For a local businessman to step up and do something like that, the same as Denny Reese, and then you look at the donations we’ve received the last 30 days it’s amazing. Our department truly appreciates it.” Launderville noted that the donation is not a donation to the City of Lake Ozark but to a totally separate, non-profit organization for the betterment of the officers or the department. When equipment is not in the LOPD budget, the Benevolent Association steps up and helps, he explained.  “It benefits the City of Lake Ozark, it benefits the community,” Launderville said. “We don’t do fund raisers because Lord knows we don’t have time. We rely on donations and the goodwill of the community.”   The resolution It says: George Tucker has been instrumental in the redevelopment of the Bagnell Dam Strip, having established Tucker’s Shuckers Oysters & Tap and Neon Taco. The city would like to recognize Mr. Tucker’s community leadership, support and generosity to the city including a substantial donation of $7,500 recently made to the Police Benevolent Fund. The board of aldermen publicly expresses its appreciation to Mr. Tucker for his generosity to the police Benevolent Fund and his other contributions to our community.    


Lake Ozark to close most of Strip for Bikefest

In an unprecedented move, the Lake Ozark Board of Aldermen has voted to close a large section of The Strip to vehicular traffic for 15 hours daily from Sept. 15-20 for Bikefest.

The unanimous decision was made during a special meeting Sept. 9 called by Mayor Dennis Newberry to address growing public pressure to take some type of action regarding parking of motorcycles on The Strip during the five-day Bikefest event. 

None of the previous Bikefest sponsors had stepped forward this year to request a permit from the city asking for the center lane of The Strip to be closed for motorcycle parking, leaving the lake-wide event with no real central location for gatherings. This year’s Bikefest sponsor, the Convention and Visitor Bureau, had not applied for a permit, either. Bike Week and Bikefest sponsor events all over the lake for motorcyclists, residents and visitors to enjoy, but most of the congregation of motorcycles is on The Strip.

As a result, social media erupted with mostly inaccurate claims and innuendoes about the city’s role in the process. City officials have noted several times that these types of events are not sponsored by the city, but the city allows use of its facilities so events can take place. It’s not the city’s role to seek out events, officials have said.

The move to bring the issue to the forefront was a combined effort of the CVB, two business owners, the Bagnell Dam Strip Association and Mayor Newberry and the Lake Ozark Police Department.

The city has authorized closure of The Strip for several hours during one-day events but has never closed The Strip for multiple days.


The plan

The ordinance approved by the board, crafted by City Attorney Christopher Rhorer and Police Chief Gary Launderville at the request of Mayor Dennis Newberry, authorizes the following:

•Bagnell Dam Blvd. will be closed from Ballenger Road east to the city limits which is just west of Bagnell Dam to vehicular traffic from 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Sept. 15 at 11 a.m. and ending at 2 a.m. Sept. 20.

•Vehicles that will be allowed within the area include motorcycles, three-wheel vehicles, emergency and delivery vehicles and other such vehicles as the Lake Ozark Police Department deems necessary.

•During the times and dates for closure, the center turn lane will be available for motorcycle parking at the risk of the owner of the motorcycle. The exception is areas clearly marked as necessary by the LOPD for the operation of emergency and delivery vehicles.

At the meeting, the Chief Launderville said:

“I have no issue with Bikefest. It brings some of the friendliest people that our police department has ever dealt with. But without an event application or any plans put in place, we have nowhere to go, and I have to do what I have to do as police chief to provide public safety for the entire city. We don’t allow center-lane parking without a special permit,” he said.

Heather Brown, executive director of the Convention and Visitor Bureau, told the board that she would have insurance, with the same level of protection as was provided for previous events, in place before the event; the local Boy Scout troop agreed to help with clean-up on Sunday, and the BDSA, which sponsors Hot Summer Nights, promised to leave the porta-potties and trash cans in place after their Friday night cruise-in. 

Launderville said he arranged for a private security company to assist law enforcement with traffic control.