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E-Coli Contamination at the Lake of the Ozarks may Affect Tourism

By Walt Crocker     Jul 23, 2009 in Health
Officials at the Lake of the Ozarks are worried that recent E-Coli contamionation of the lake may have affected tourism levels even though it has returned to a safe level.
Taking a vacation down at the Lake of the Ozarks used to be like going back in time. I'm not sure that it's that way anymore as the whole area down there has boomed into the Midwestern Las Vegas with Branson and all.
Before, even driving there had a tranquil effect. The gently sloping Ozark mountains made for some roller coaster-like highways that could easily lull you to sleep. At the time Silver Dollar City wasn't some big country and western tourist attraction, but rather like a sleepy little town from the 1800's.
Yeah, there were a few rides, (I remember Grandpa's house, a place where when you went in the floors were at an impossible angle and it was hard to keep your balance), but the main attraction was the home cooking and the little church in the hills. I remember the goulash and honest-to-goodness sassafras tea.
And the people that lived down there were still "hillbillies" not connected with the tourist trade. Now they all stage the old lifestyle and work somewhere in Branson. Branson is filled with traffic and little theaters that are owned by country western stars. At the time I went there it was only a couple. Now it seems like there are dozens.
I guess that's all good for the local economy, but even that area suffered with the recent depression. Normally in a recession/depression, the entertainment industry is one of the few that don't lose sales. Sometimes they even do a little better because people want to get away and enjoy them selves and forget about things for a while. But this time around it seems to have affected that industry too.
But things recently started looking up. That was until the big scare about the lake being contaminated with E-Coli bacteria. E-Coli can cause bloody diarrhea and even death in young people.
According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources waited four weeks before announcing that the lake was contaminated. They cited reasons that it may hurt the already sagging tourist industry down there. The matter is under investigation.
According to the department, the levels of E-Coli are back to a safe level.
Source: www.stltoday.com/news
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