Missing doctor, wastewater residuals application top year in news


Missing Cassville doctor found dead in Arkansas

The body of Dr. John Forsyth, missing Cassville ER physician, was located deceased with an apparent gunshot wound in Beaver Lake in Arkansas, 10 days after his disappearance from the Mercy Hospital on May 21.

Forsyth was seen on video at the Cassville Aquatic Center, and local law enforcement staged a search of the area on May 23, to no avail.

Forsyth’s death remains a mystery, as the Benton County (Ark.) Sheriff’s Office has yet to release an autopsy, citing an ongoing investigation into the doctor’s death.


Something smells in Barry County

Rural Barry County residents, especially in Wheaton, have dealt with a noxious smell throughout the year, a product of land-applied wastewater residuals and a lagoon in Fairview. Companies such as Denali and Synagro spread the residuals on farm land for free, claiming a benefit to the soil for farmers. However, their permits were not renewed by the Fertilizer control Board this year, and the industry has faced multiple violations of the Clean Water Act and lawsuits from citizen groups working to end the practice.


Cassville turns to faith in wake of tragedies

Residents of the city of Cassville turned to their faith in early June after a number of tragedies struck the community. The string of incidents began with the disappearance and death of Dr. John Forsyth, and in the following two weeks, two teenagers died in a motorcycle wreck on Highway 248, the Cassville postmaster died, a man was stabbed to death and seven inmates escaped the Barry County jail. In response, more than 100 residents gathered at the courthouse to sing hymns and join hands around the building to uplift one another and pray for the community.


County breaks ground on new facilities

In February, Barry County broke ground on a new set of county facilities, including a new jail, Sheriff’s Office and Health Department. The complex, located on Old Exeter Road behind Baywash Carwash, is funded by a $17 million loan and is expected to be fully completed on July 29, 2024. The health department is a $5 million facility paid entirely by American Rescue Plan Act funding. The jail will be abut 30,000 square feet, and the health department will be about 12,000, doubling the size of both from their current locations.


Outdoor Days brings The Isaacs to town

The city of Cassville launched a new festival this year, a collaboration with the Rotary Club, YMCA and Roaring River State Park, among others, that began with a concert at Cassville South Park. About 500 people attended a concert by The Isaacs on the first day of the festival June 1-3, and the city paid about $30,000 for the entire event, expected to see a return on that investment via local sales tax revenues. The entire event included the concert, free fishing at Roaring River, the Rotary Rodeo, a pickleball tournament and a disc golf tournament.


Man stabbed to death in Cassville

On June 3, Richard Randolph, 30, of Cassville, as charged with second- degree murder and armed criminal action in connection to the alleged stabbing death of Andey Hunter, 40, of Exeter. A juvenile male called police and reported one person had been stabbed at Miller Storage on Old Highway 37, and the suspect had chased him from the scene with a knife. The juvenile said a passerby picked him up and drove him to the Sheriff’s Office. The case has been given a change of venue to Polk County, and a pre-trial conference is set for Feb. 7, 2024.


Citizens for Justice hope to stem crime

A group of residents former Citizens for Justice — Barry County, which aims to find solutions to local crime issues, specifically burglaries.

The group held a public meeting in September, with more than 100 in attendance, and Donnie Stumpff, Brian Stehlik, Donald Craig and Phil Hutchens followed up on the meeting by addressing the Barry County Commission. A second group meeting was held on Nov. 3, with multiple county and state officials attending and addressing the crowd gathered at the Stumpff Family Event Center pavilion.


New businesses open doors in Cassville

Multiple new businesses opened their doors in Cassville in 2023, including a mini golf course, coffee shop and a restaurant. Zone 4 Mini Golf and More opened March 1 on Highway 112, offering a mini golf course with the longest hole in the world at 522 feet, as well as batting cages, axe throwing and a general store. Sunshine Coffeehouse renovated the building at 1313 Main St., offering coffee, Italian soda and pastries, with plans in the works for wood-fired pizza. Finally, Weezer’s Sweet Chicken & Waffles opened in December off Highway 37.


Ground broken for Cassville Performing Arts Center

The first stage at the site of the new Performing Arts Center (PAC) at Cassville High School was built on Sept. 7, a mound of dirt turned by school officials, administrators, students, teachers and community members at the building’s official groundbreaking. Approximately 50 people attended the event, celebrating the initiation of a one-year project to built a PAC with a guaranteed maximum price of $9,865,987, funded mostly by the passing of a $9.5 million bond issue in April this year with 63 percent of voters in favor.


Something’s a’foot

Is there a Bigfoot lurking in the Mark Twain National Forest in Barry County? Rick Dyer, master tracker and longtime Bigfoot hunter, said he believes there is, and he intends to find it. Dyer and Jeremy Ware, fellow master tracker, are started working in November with a film production company to produce a documentary for the Discovery Channel, a five-part series filmed primarily in Butler Hollow near Seligman and the forest.

Dyer, who has previously perpetrated two Bigfoot hoaxes, said he plans to kill or capture a Bigfoot in Barry County.