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  1. Wellness Weed, Curative Cannabis, Prescription Pot; Illegal

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    January 30, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Steve Winkler The swishing thumping sound of helicopter blades slicing through the air can often mean one of two things; either help has arrived or they’re coming to get you.  The two police and military helicopters weren’t hovering over the modest home on Devil’s Den Road five miles south of West Fork to rescue an injured person or deliver needed supplies after some natural castatrophe.  They were there because our country is at war. The war on drugs, in this case, had identified a target; a couple of dozen marijuana plants growing in someone’s back yard. Shortly after the helicopters dropped an armed agent and retreated, law enforcement officers arrived, handcuffed and took 48-year-old Paul Doke to jail. Four months later in mid December a jury in Washington County Circuit Court took ten minutes to find him guilty. Mr. Doke, a man with no criminal history and no evidence of drug trafficking was facing big fines and hard time.  War is hell. The real story begins to unfold at the sentencing phase of the trial which brought to light Dokes reason for growing marijuana.  He has a medical condition, Crohn’s disease which is an intestinal disorder that causes significant …

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  2. Winslow Brush Blaze Brings Four Departments

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    January 29, 2011 by wcobserver

    Staff Report WINSLOW- A fire last Friday on Carter Lane in Winslow burned 36 acres and threatened two houses before firefighters from three fire departments and the Arkansas Forestry Commission extinguished it. The cause of the fire is still under investigation according to Dennis Spear, County Ranger, for the Arkansas Forestry Commission.  Spear said the fire started on property owned by Bob Westphal. “It burned on two other owners’ [land] beside him,” said Spear who explained they used a GPS to determine how many acres had burned in the fire. “Boston Mountain, Sunset and Mountainburg fire departments were out there.  They couldn’t access a lot of it and called the Forestry Commission,” said Spear. Spear said the Forestry Commission brought two bulldozers and six personnel to the scene to assist. “It was a ground cover fire; it didn’t get into the canopy,” Spear said. Boston Mountain Fire Chief J.R. Wood said they responded to a 911 call on Friday, Jan. 7 about 12:30 p.m. and soon thereafter called for assistance. “We had quite a large fire.  It was horribly windy Friday.  There was lots of smoke and it was hard to find exactly where the fire was at,” said Fire …

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  3. In Huisuchi

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    January 28, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Steven Worden As the popular hymn goes:  “My life flows on in endless song above earth’s lamentation; I hear the sweet tho’ far off hymn that hails a new creation.”  The refrain continues, “How can I keep from singing?” Last Friday, two friends and I took off in a small blue and white four-seater Cessna from the dusty Sierra Madre town of Guohochi, Mexico.  We soared out across the sheer precipices of the Copper Canyon marveling at the morning sun lighting up sheer rock gorges deeper than the Grand Canyon.  Landing on the dirt runway in the tiny hamlet of Huisuchi, the pilot told us that he would pick us up the next morning at 7:30 to return to Guohochi. Huisuchi, a mountain top community of some thirty Tarahumara Indian families naturally had no overnight accommodations, so after spending the day exploring the place, that night I, myself, borrowed a small mattress, some heavy wool blankets, two candles, unlocked the local church, and went in to sleep on the concrete floor.  I dozed off listening to a few Tarahumara hooting loudly in the distance as they drank their “tesquino” (homemade corn beer) into the night. After an uneventful night, …

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  4. Industrious Day For RRC

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    January 28, 2011 by wcobserver

    Staff Report West Fork- Maybe it was because the center had been closed for the past two holiday weekends or possibly it was New Year’s resolutions by citizens that caused the constant stream of cars to flow into the entrance of the West Fork Renewable Resource Center. Either way, volunteers were kept hopping assisting patrons in unloading and sorting their recyclables.  The ten bin trailer quickly filled up and a few of the youngest volunteers got in the cardboard trailer to smash down the contents and make room for more. Paul Libor, who manages the center, said that he had never seen it so busy or seen so much recyclable material.  He vowed to never close for two Saturdays in a row again.  Soon the cardboard trailer and the plastics trailer filled up and volunteers were forced to fill any sturdy box or bin available and carry the boxes into the center’s pole barn.  Some patrons stayed and helped out for awhile and the mood at the center was festive and upbeat.  Our hard working volunteers were Warner Fields, Denver Squires, Sophia and Max Stephenson, Susan and Tyler Cooney, Pete Braker, Jane Bryant and Carolyn Griffith. The kids had an …

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  5. “STATE OF THE CITY”

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    January 18, 2011 by wcobserver

    WEST FORK, ARKANSAS BY MAYOR FRANCES HIME 18 JAN 2010 The “State of the City” is an annual report to the Council and the residents of our City.  The report is required to be presented between January 1 and March 1 of the current fiscal year.  It includes the Budget set for the current year beginning January 1, a summary of business for the prior year, and the business of and City-wide goals for the current year.   The business of the City includes the business of all departments, committees and commissions. Due to the circumstances regarding the City’s audit situation, the State of the City will be presented in two parts, with the second occurring at the February meeting where I will discuss the 2011 budget. Audits for the years 2004 and 2005 found unapproved expenditures. When an audit is sent to the Legislative Audit Committee for review, unapproved expenditures automatically trigger actions by the Legislative Audit Committee.  In the first week of January I received a letter from the Arkansas Legislative Audit Committee requesting we contact their personnel. I was told that two audits per year was not sufficient progress.  We would not be in compliance until 2014.  …

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  6. Devil’s Den Burglarized

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    January 17, 2011 by wcobserver

    One Arrested; More Arrests Expected Staff Report WEST FORK- One West Fork man has been arrested and several others have been identified as persons of interest in connection with a burglary that occurred at Devil’s Den State Park on Dec. 21. Zachary Priesmeyer, 21, of 192 Ann Street in West Fork was arrested on Dec. 28 on felony charges of theft by receiving after he reportedly tried to pawn a number of items that had been reported stolen by Devil’s Den State Park the week before. According to Priesmeyer’s arrest report, he admitted to knowing the items were stolen and said he purchased them from a friend for $30 on or about Dec. 23.  The report listed the items in Priesmeyer’s possession as four Garmin GPS units, a 35 mm Nikon camera with several lenses and two sets of binoculars valued at about $2000. “We just got lucky up here; a pawn shop called us,” said Sgt. Brett Hagen of the Washington County Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Unit. Hagen said that Priesmeyer has been very cooperative and they expect to make arrests connected to the actual burglary soon. “We will press charges and prosecute,” said Monte Fuller, Park Superintendent at Devil’s …

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  7. Counterclaim Filed Against Day Care Owners

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    January 16, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Susan McCarthy susan@wcobserver.com WEST FORK-  A former employee of Growing God’s Kingdom, Inc. has filed a counterclaim in Washington County Circuit Court against the daycare’s owners Justin Harris and his wife Marsha of West Fork.  Justin Harris is the Arkansas State Representative for Dist. 87. Kimberly Crabtree filed a counterclaim on Dec. 22, claiming she was falsely accused of theft and falsely arrested and prosecuted for theft.   Crabtree was arrested in July 2010 for theft of property, a Class C Felony, but criminal charges were dismissed Oct. 29, 2010 due to lack of evidence according to court documents. Also in July, Growing God’s Kingdom filed a civil lawsuit against Crabtree seeking restitution for monies they claim were stolen while she worked for them. “We have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt and had some proof problems and let them proceed on a civil basis,” said Dave Bercaw, Washington County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney.  “On a Nulle Pro, we have up to one year to re-file that if we get new evidence.” A “Nulle Pro” refers to Nulle Prosequi, a legal phrase that means criminal charges are discontinued before trial. Harris said he and Marsha met with Bercaw on Oct. …

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