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  1. Mayor Trained for Potential Disaster

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    August 22, 2010 by wcobserver

    By Delcie Kincaid West Fork Mayor Jan Throgmorton completed a week’s worth of emergency preparedness classes in late July, making her eligible to manage a command center should a local disaster strike. Although Throgmorton said this accomplishment is a valuable commodity for any city official, it adds to her list of growing skills. “My husband, Mike, and I are fire fighters, first responders and chaplains for the fire department,” she said. “When you care about people, you need to be well-prepared to help out.” Throgmorton took a series of six classes, earned two certificates and amassed almost 40 hours of training the week of July 26. She attended with firefighters and police officers from around the county, and another mayor, Doug Sprouse, of Springdale. “We were handed different scenarios and had to figure out the best way to prioritize,” she said. “First and foremost is life-preservation.” Michael “Butch” Bartholomew, city business manager, has also taken the classes. He said after 9/11, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Government focused on potential threats to communities, especially water supplies. Throgmorton credits Bartholomew’s training with being able to get through the ice storm in 2009. “That storm was trial by fire,” she …

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  2. Get Out and Ride

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    August 20, 2010 by wcobserver

    “Moderately Difficult” Bike Ride August 17 Staff Report Winslow— If you’d like to squeeze in a little more summer fun (and admittedly exercise) before the school year kicks off, consider hitting the road with your bicycle for this summer’s third community bike ride in Winslow. Sponsored by Broke Dog Custom Boot Shop and Sky-Vue Lodge, the next ride is scheduled Tuesday, August 17, and will tackle a more difficult route than the previous two rides.  Bikers will meet at 5:45 p.m.at the Community Ball Park in Winslow and ride to the top of scenic Mount Gaylor and back; the ride begins at 6:15 p.m. The ride is open to all ages and the past two rides have seen 16-19 riders participate. Bikers will travel along Hwy 71, then along main Street and Valley View through Winslow and then up to Mount Gaylor on Hwy 71 South, according to Glenn Jorgenson, who owns Sky-Vue Lodge.  The trip back will be on Hwy 71 North and cold drinks and snacks will be served at the ball park upon return. Jorgenson says this month’s route would be considered “moderately difficult.” There will be SAG support and experienced riders will accompany the group. If …

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  3. Save Your Pennies, Wish Upon A Star!

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    August 20, 2010 by wcobserver

    By Rebekah Spurlock, Tonight offers one of the best celestial displays of the year –the Perseid meteor shower, and Devil’s Den State Park will be celebrating with a special out-of-this world viewing! The Perseid meteor shower is named after the constellation Perseus, which is the direction from which the meteors appear to “shoot”. However, debris from the Swift –Tuttle comet is the source of the Perseid meteors. Each year, the earth passes through the meteor stream left by the Swift-Tuttle comet. Meteor streams like this are thought to result from small parts of the comet that have become detached, or melted away, from the main body of the comet as it approached near the sun. Small pieces of the comet, some as tiny as grains of sand, become scattered along the length of the comet’s orbit around the sun. When the Earth’s orbit intersects with the resultant stream of particles, they burn up in the atmosphere creating “shooting stars.” Conditions this year are optimal for viewing the meteor shower, which is expected to peak tonight. Many of the meteoroids are the size of a speck of dust, but as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere at speeds of 133,000 miles per …

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  4. There’s a hole in the bucket

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    August 20, 2010 by wcobserver

    “There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza There’s a hole in the bucket dear Liza, there’s a hole” It’s interesting how a little newspaper article about a relatively insignificant event at city hall can reveal so much about how local government works.  The August 5 article by Reporter Nick DeMoss, “Vacancy on Water Commission,” reported on the resignation of the Water Commission Chairman Doyle Baker and shed light on the workings of the West Fork Water and Wastewater Commission. The Mayor, in her State of the City address back in January referred to that department as a “special entity.” How true. The Water Commission was born along with the water district which was formed in the early seventies. In their wisdom the commission designed their organizational structure so it would be protected from the whims of electoral politics.  Water and sewer were too important to be left to elected officials. We all know that it is quite possible for total idiots to be elected to public office. The law allowed for a three to five member commission. They chose a three- member commission with eight-year terms which pretty much insulated it from broad public oversight. They did …

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  5. Iron Man Hard to Label

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    August 20, 2010 by wcobserver

    He’s reinvented himself a number of times and most would not even know his company exists along Hwy. 71 in West Fork. But people quietly seek him out; his reputation brings customers to his door for high-end custom iron work.

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  6. Bypass Opens Around DrakeField

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    August 18, 2010 by wcobserver

    By Delcie Kincaid Construction crews were able to open up a new section of highway near Drake Field last week, after creating a safety area for planes that might overshoot the runway. Although the jog in the road might seem to have little use or meaning, the space it has created brings the airport up to Federal Aviation Administration safety standards. Despite speculation, financial coordinator James Nicholson, said the runway isn’t being extended. Nicholson said after a series of planes went off of runways around the nation in the 90s, the FAA stepped up its safety guidelines for end of runway safety measures but officials at Drake Field have had to wait for several years to be able to do improvements. “We couldn’t do much until we had the money and the heavy traffic moved from Hwy. 71 to I-540,” Nicholson said. The runway safety area project, which cost $3.2 million, was 95 percent funded by a grant from the Airport Improvement Program and the remaining 5 percent portion will funded by a grant from the Arkansas State Department of Aeronautics, which support all the Arkansas airports. This program identifies airports that need safety upgrades and collects money from taxes …

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  7. “Let the Shout of Victory Be Heard in the Camp!”

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    August 18, 2010 by wcobserver

    By Steven Worden One of the real joys in studying sociology lies in the opportunity to carry out field research.  Field research, as its name suggests, involves leaving the sheltered academic environment and actually going out into the real world to watch, ask, listen, and learn about ordinary people as they carry out their daily lives. For example, over this past weekend the Arkansas Charismatic Catholics held their annual conference in North Little Rock.  Few things are more striking than watching almost 600 Roman Catholics caught up in a real “Bible-thumping, devil-chasing, pew-jumping, tongue-speaking revival.” Well, maybe not quite. But for almost three days, Charismatic Catholics from all over Arkansas did pack a large hotel banquet room with their colorful cloth banners, a full electric guitar and drum-kit band, and a variety of speakers– all to renew their commitment in a type of worship that has become more mainstream in the Roman Catholic Church. People of all ages, social classes, and races joyously sang, swayed, and held up their arms to the strains of old Holiness standbys such as “Victory in Jesus” and “Amazing Grace.”  Unusual for Catholics, they toted their Bibles with them and referred to them frequently as …

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