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  1. Council Passes Smoking Ban in Parks

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    April 30, 2010 by wcobserver

      WEST FORK — The West Fork city council passed an ordinance 6-1 banning smoking in city parks at the April 20 meeting. The ban, which doesn’t include parking lots, is effective immediately.  It will initially be enforced by parks director Stephen Sprick. “You’re gonna really have to try to get a fine,” Sprick said. According to Sprick, he will first verbally warn a violator by asking them to put the cigarette out. If, after several warnings the violator doesn’t cooperate, Sprick said he will call an officer on duty to come issue a ticket. The fine for the violation is $25 and is issued like any ticket, complete with a court date. West Fork has three city parks, Riverside, Carter, the Community Center, but the ban will affect other areas where children play — the community center playground and all the ball fields, Sprick said. The city already has a ban on smoking in city buildings that includes pavilions and concession stands at the parks. During the meeting, council member Misty Caudle asked Sprick why the ban didn’t cover the parking lot. “It’s a give and take type thing,” Sprick said. “We’ll see how it goes for a year …

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  2. Wright Appointed to City Council

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    April 30, 2010 by wcobserver

    Staff Report West Fork-Joan Wright was appointed to fill a city council vacancy in Ward 4 during the West Fork City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 20. Wright was recommended by Mayor Jan Throgmorton to fill the seat vacated by Jamie Coker’s resignation.  The council unanimously approved Wright and she was sworn in by Mayor Throgmorton.  She will serve until her position comes up for re-election in 2012. “I believe Ms. Wright will bring a great deal of knowledge and another level of maturity that comes from life experiences. She is a very intelligent lady and I have great respect for her,” said Mayor Thorgmorton. Wright has lived in West Fork since 1990; she lived previously in Winslow for seven years.  She is a retired Spanish and social studies teacher, teaching in both Winslow and West Fork School Districts until West Fork’s Spanish program was expanded.  She was employed solely by West Fork School District from 1994 until her retirement in 2007, but provided 22 years of service to the district. She currently serves as the President of the Washington County Retired Teachers Association and volunteers as a proofreader for the Washington County Observer.  Wright has one grown daughter, Laura …

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  3. Ropp Ramblin’s March 25

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    April 30, 2010 by wcobserver

    Ropp Ramblin’s By Terry Ropp Have you ever heard of one of those situations where something bad happened but everything else that could go right did? That is just what happened to Larry and me on March 1. Larry was driving north on 265 about half a mile south of the Hogeye Mall, gawking at a new house being built on the hill and wondering which Ogden was building it. Sure enough, his tire went off the edge of the road and caught in deep mud. He slammed into a ditch culvert head on. Instead of becoming his coffin, the old Escalade became his armor. It jumped four feet into the air and landed on top of the culvert. The air bag inflated and Larry was knocked unconscious. The first thing he saw when he awoke was the landmark outhouse on the other side of the road with the sign “Home of the Office of the Mayor.” He knew he wasn’t in heaven. The next thing he knew a man asking him if he was okay. Larry said, “Sure,” and opened the door to get out. The stranger said, “I think you better wait. Your ankle looks pretty bad.” The …

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  4. Observing History: Robert Winn

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    April 18, 2010 by wcobserver

    Observing History We put a new title on “The History Project “column.  The word “project” sounds too much like work. “Observing” brings to mind sitting back and watching it all roll by, which is more in keeping with our attraction to history; watching now become then.  The intent is the same, however.  We invite readers to send recollections, memoirs and comments about things past in “Observer Land.”   As promised, we are reprinting an excerpt from one of the late Robert Winn’s columns in the original Observer. Recollections, Thursday May 28, 1981 Doubtless all local readers of the Observer are familiar with Highway 170 between West Fork and the Devil’s Den State Park some 20 miles to the southwest.  There is a possibility that some readers at a distance have never been over the road, and may in fact, know both places merely by name without being aware of their relative proximity.  Those who take this drive and observe the passing panorama will be richly rewarded at any season.  Springtime provides a show of early redbud, dogwood, service trees in bloom and a ground surface splotched with bright wild flowers.  Summer provides vistas of green hills reaching to distant horizons.  Some …

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  5. Parks Comm. Meeting 4/10/10

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    April 18, 2010 by wcobserver

    The West Fork Parks Commission met at 5:30 p.m. Mar. 10. Present were Mayor Jan Throgmorton, Parks Director Stephen Sprick, Chair John Sleph, Commissioners Brian Bowerman,  Russell Ogle, Vicky Mesplay, and David Roebke.  Bobbi Henington was absent.  Tracey Risley resigned shortly before his term expired. After approving the financial report, the commission heard a presentation by Joe Desoto who heads a parent led organization, Youth Football. The organization participates in a league with 10 county teams serving about 65-80 kids in grades 4, 5 and 6. They play nine games a year. The young athletes pay a $50 registration fee and are provided with about $150 worth of equipment. The league uses school fields, provides referees and other services.  Parents are responsible for their own insurance. Desoto stated he has enjoyed involvement with Youth Football but his kids are older and he wants to move to other things. He noted that several other cities’ parks operate the youth football program. Commissioners Roebke and Bowerman both asked if the organization made a “profit” and whether it was “in the black.” Desoto said it generates about $6,500 a year.  Chair Selph asked if the money left over at the end of the …

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  6. Sunshine Week

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    April 18, 2010 by wcobserver

    It’s not just spring – it’s Sunshine Week. This “sunshine” refers to a national initiative by the American Society of News Editors to educate the public about the importance of open, transparent and accountable government at all levels. Sunshine Week began in Florida in 2002 as a reaction to efforts by some Florida legislators to create exemptions to the state’s public records law. Efforts to protect freedom of information laws and maintain open access to government records succeeded. A grant from the Knight Foundation helped launch Sunshine Week which coincides with National FOI (Freedom of Information) Day and James Madison’s birthday on March 16. This year the event is recognized March 14 – 20. Arkansas’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was born as Act 93 of 1967. The Legislative intent is stated: “It is vital in a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner so that the electors shall be advised of the performance of public officials and of decisions that are reached in public activity and in making public policy. Toward this end, this chapter is adopted, making it possible for them or their representatives to learn and to report fully the activities …

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  7. Duct Tape Fashions Emerge in Fourth Grade

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    April 18, 2010 by wcobserver

    Duct Tape Fashions Emerge in Fourth Grade There is a new fashion trend budding in West Fork’s fourth grade.  Not only are all of the fashionable creations made by kids, they’re also made of duct tape!   You may be imagining the gray roll in your kitchen “junk” drawer, but these creations are made from duct tape in dozens of colors and patterns including tied-dye and plaid.  “Natalia brought all the duct tape stuff up,” says Autumn Stewart, referring to her classmate Natalia Franco. Natalia first strolled into her fourth grade class in February sporting a colorful mini skirt made completely from duct tape in a myriad of colors. “I thought it was a joke.  That was my first reaction,” says Natalia’s teacher, Mr. Bob Chism.  He adds, “The kids noticed right off the interesting use of duct tape.” Not only did other kids notice, they began experimenting with duct tape, too.  Colorful and very creative creations have shown up in three fourth-grade classrooms, that not only include mini-skirts, but shoes, flip-flops, hats, purses, rings, scarves, and full-sized messenger bags with straps and even a pillow.   At least seven girls are sporting duct tape shoes and no two are alike; the …

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