Top Stories at Lake of the Ozarks in 2017: New judge position, new judges and new courts in the 26th circuit as well as major construction on Bagnell Dam begin.

1. Major changes in the 26th Judicial Circuit

After a law passed in 2016 finally gave the 26th Judicial Circuit of Missouri its third judge, the five-county district that encompasses the Lake of the Ozarks region saw plenty of new faces in the judicial system. Judge Peggy Richardson was appointed to the circuit to address the heavy case load, joining Judge Kenneth Hayden and Judge Matt Hamner who replaced Judge Stan Moore after he retired in September of 2017. At the associate level, Judge Stephen Grantham was appointed to replace retired Judge Kevin Schehr of Morgan County while former Camden County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Gilley was appointed to the vacant associate court position in Camden County after Hamner was promoted to the circuit level. Taking the place of Gilley is assistant prosecutor Heather Miller. Judge Hayden also announced the intention to develop drug courts in the circuit, and Camden County opened a DWI Court on December 22.

2. Bagnell Dam Update

A major, $52-million construction project to stabilize Bagnell Dam for decades to come kicked off in 2017 nearly 30 years after the last major structural update was undertaken. The approximately 18-month project consists of three phases that includes 68 new post-tension anchors connected to the underlying bed rock, 66,217,500 pounds of new concrete poured between the highway piers to add weight, and new overlay to replace cracked sections on the east and west sides of the dam. “This project is about keeping this vital asset providing clean energy in the long term, using the best possible engineering available today,” said Warren Witt, director of hydro operations at the Bagnell Plant.