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  1. Parks Meets New Mayor

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    January 16, 2011 by wcobserver

    Reviews Ball Season Plans By Steve Winkler West Fork- Three hours after new West Fork Mayor Frances Hime was sworn in at the court house she was standing before the Parks Commission at their regular noon meeting Monday. “I’m here for education,” the mayor informed the seven members of the commission. She shared with members information she had gathered regarding the commission and solicited information she said she was unable to locate, among which was the ordinance that established the commission.  Other questions arose about the park bond, details of the sales tax ordinance that helps support the parks and the uncertainty of the number of commissioners and their terms as required by law. Hime emphasized the need for the city to establish clear policies that comply with Municipal Code and State Law. She said she will be working with all department heads to establish policy and create performance evaluations. “All cities should have policies for how the commissions and committees function,” she said. The city will be working closely with the Arkansas Municipal League on the codification of ordinances and resolutions.  She informed the commission that they will be expected to submit a quarterly report to the mayor and …

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  2. New Year’s Thoughts About Redbirds

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    January 16, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Joe Neal I receive regular mailings from private organizations and government agencies with lists of rare birds, rare mammals, rare butterflies, rare snails, etc. They are long, fine print columns with common names, Latin binomials, places where the few remaining creatures are still found. These lists contain hundreds and sometimes thousands of names of wild creatures who did nothing to deserve their fate. Since we are at the start of a new year, let me share an example: the prized redbirds in your yard. As rare and endangered, it could appear on a future list as Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis); small local population remains in West Fork, Washington County, Arkansas. If you are of a Christian mind, you operate on the assumption that God put redbirds on the earth for good cause – even if we can’t always discern the reason – and that we still have redbirds because Noah saw fit to bring them two-by-two into his ark, prior to the great flood. On the other hand, if you are more of a scientific turn of mind with or without religion, you might assume that as creatures on the earth evolved one of them, our prized redbird, took …

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  3. Winter Garden Offers Taste of Summertime

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    January 11, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Susan McCarthy     When Darin McDonald married his wife, Debra Elam about two and a half years ago, he married more than an energetic woman with bright eyes; he also married a gardening business that landed him in West Fork.And while January is traditionally a month many farmers get their only rest, it is high season for Wren Thicket Gardens who grow a wide range of gourmet greens you’re unlikely to find at most grocery stores. Much of what is grown will end up in Elam’s special salad mix and because of the wide variety of greens grown; it’s likely to be somewhat different every time you buy it. Under a winter blue sky full of sunshine, their 3500 SF greenhouse feels almost balmy; a full 30 degrees warmer than the outside air even though it is unheated. Over 30 raised beds line both walls as far as the eye can see. Each boasts bountiful rows of greens in various stages of growth. On tables at the front of the greenhouse, trays full of perky baby plants are ready to be put into the ground…in the middle of winter. “I wanted something that was a bit of a …

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  4. Report From Ireland

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    January 7, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Dr. Steve Worden It all starts with waiting for the Bus Éireann, standing on the wrong side of the road, shoes sliding on the melting ice.  You hand the driver a handful of Euros and stumble to a seat in the back. The bus rumbles along on the left side of the Dublin Road and you try not to flinch as trucks suddenly appear and roar past you on your right, careening in apparently the wrong direction.  You survey your fellow passengers, weary commuters and yawning college students, and settle back to study the passing fields and shops as you head into Dublin on a wintry, gloomy morning in Ireland. If, when someone mentions Ireland, images come to mind of sprightly Irish Spring soap commercials, an insanely grinning derby-wearing, cereal-hawking leprechaun dancing about in a bright forest, or the sun-dappled pastures of Darby O’Gill and The Little People, you might be surprised to learn that Ireland is roughly as far north on the globe as is Edmonton, Alberta. It’s probably the long, depressing, damp winters, only slightly moderated by ocean air currents, that drive its inhabitants to huddle around small coal fireplaces or to retreat to local pubs to …

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  5. Polish Poker and Camel Rides

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    January 6, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Ruby Sullivan Just one more day to wait to open all those packages under the tree. I’ll bet some of you already know what is in some of them. I would tell you what I used to do, but I don’t want to give anyone ideas, anyway, Hallis got wise to me, so I had to quit. Have you been to see The Lights of The Ozarks? You should go. I went last Friday evening with my friends, Norma and Billie Burns. We drove around the square, finally found a parking space, and got out of the car. The temperature was just right. Then we walked, and I rode the camel, the white one. I didn’t have to hang on as tightly as I did the first time I rode. I tried to talk the man into going all way around the square, He wouldn’t, but he did give me a little longer ride. If you haven’t, go ride the camel under the lights; be adventurous. When we got back to West Fork, we drove all around town looking at the decorations. Some of the homes are out of this world. It was a perfect evening. It was also …

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  6. Groom Sets Sights on Growth for Greenland

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    January 6, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Susan McCarthy Greenland- Infrastructure improvements and increasing a sense of community are top priorities for Greenland’s incoming Mayor, Bill Groom who will be sworn in on Jan. 3 at the Washington County Courthouse. Groom, who has served as a city council member for the past four years is anxious to begin working on plans to sell his city to businesses and development and feels a number of infrastructure issues need to be addressed to do that. “We’ve got the location.  We just got to refine it where we can throw out the welcome mat,” said Groom. Topping Groom’s list is getting Greenland residents to renew a one percent sales tax in a special election the city will hold on March 7, 2011.  He said the tax will help fund much needed street and sewer repairs.  Groom maintains that much of that tax will be paid by people who do not live in Greenland since much of the city’s tax revenue is generated from businesses located near I-540. Groom said many improvements have been on the “back burner” since the economy’s downturn. “I want to put it back on the front burner.” He specifically says he’d like to see the …

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  7. Council Disappointed With Mayor’s Decision

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    January 5, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Delcie Kincaid West Fork- There was something new at the city council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 14. Although it was not brought up during the meeting or any meeting prior, it was clearly visible. The nation’s motto, “In God We Trust,” was painted on the meeting chamber wall Nov. 16, one week after November’s city council meeting. The artist, Jason Jones, was hired at the request of Mayor Jan Throgmorton. Jones painted the motto in five-inch black block letters and charged the city $200 for the work, which took four hours, according to his invoice. Business Manager Michael “Butch” Bartholomew approved the payment. City Clerk Susan Cooney said she noticed documents pertaining to the sign had been placed on the table in front of the council members’ seats when she arrived 30 minutes prior to the meeting. Cooney said the document was not at her table and had not been included in the packets she gives to the city council members and the media prior to a meeting. “I was surprised,” Cooney said, “because I know other towns are passing a resolution.” Cooney said she was shocked and disappointed that it didn’t come up in the council meeting. “I know …

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