A look back at the top stories at Lake of the Ozarks in 2017: In this story are our Honorable Mentions.

Top Stories of 2017: Honorable Mentions

Fix being planned for Ha Ha Tonka ruins

In June, orange wooden barriers were added to the historic castle ruins of Ha Ha State Park in Camdenton as the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Missouri State Parks plans to conduct a study to determine the best way to fix and preserve the landmark. A total of $150,000 in funding for the 2018 fiscal year has been appropriated with a total estimated cost of $500,000 in long-term repairs and an additional $165,000 in short-term repairs recommended.  


A huge event not only across the country and also at the Lake of the Ozarks, the August 2017 solar eclipse’s path of totality nearly crossed several towns including Eldon. The school district and civic organizations held several events leading up to and on the day of the eclipse, offering the community a once-in-a-lifetime viewing opportunity for the natural phenomena. Tourism revenue from surrounding states whose residents sought a better view was estimated to be in the millions, providing a late-summer boon to several Missouri cities.

Business busts

One established business and another potential major development succumbed to foreclosure sales in 2017. In September, Casa De Loco Winery was purchased with plans to reopen the winery in 2018 following several disputes with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Camden County Health Department, and Mid-County Fire Protection District over building code permits and waste water management. The same month, Ballpark of the Ozarks, located on 293-acres in Macks Creek, was sold in a foreclosure sale on the steps of the Camden County Courthouse. Original plans included a state-of-the-art baseball complex with concession stands, bleachers, several fields, bullpens, dugouts and other various amenities.  

New shocking crimes

The Lake area was introduced to three shocking crimes this year that involved the murders of four people. In September, John J. Powell of Mexico, Mo., was charged with multiple felonies for the alleged assault and eventual death of a Colorado man who died several days after the attack at a Lake Ozark campground below Bagnell Dam. In November, Darrell Dewayne Willis of Rocky Mount was charged with abandonment of a corpse and tampering with evidence after alleging admitting to helping dispose of the remains of Joanna L. Anderson, a Rocky Mount woman reported missing in 2016 and believed to have been killed by her common law husband. More disturbing news broke in November when Gary Sweet of Rolla was charged with murdering two caretakers at a separate Lake Ozark campground below the Osage River Bridge after being evicted several months prior.