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  1. About That Donut Hole

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    February 12, 2011 by wcobserver

    The Medicare Prescription Drug program (Medicare Part D) has now been on the road for 5 years and, in the view of some, needs fixing.  Since some folks in government are really good at “fixin’ what’s not broke,” the new Health Care Reform undertakes to deal with the most controversial part of it; namely, the notorious “doughnut hole.” Most of you senior citizens know what I’m talking about, especially if you have been blessed with a Part D Rx card.   And I definitely consider the Part D benefit as a blessing.   I could show you people in West Fork who couldn’t afford their prescriptions before the program.  Now they can.  However, the design is somewhat confusing (to put it mildly).   It looks like a Zebra designed by a committee. The original idea was for a catastrophic plan with high deductible so that people spending more than, say $300 monthly would get some help with the high cost of their medicines.  But some in Congress thought that unfair.  In their view, the program should have a more immediate benefit for a larger number of people.  Think of that as “sugar-coating” the pill.   So, a low threshold benefit …

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  2. Free Tax Prep Offered

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    February 12, 2011 by wcobserver

    Staff Report WEST FORK- Free tax preparation will be offered to seniors and low and middle income residents of south Washington County through April 12 at the West Fork Fire Station. The program which is now in its third year in West Fork is part of the national AARP Tax-Aide Program.  This year four AARP Certified Tax Counselors will be available every Tuesday beginning Feb. 8 from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.   No appointments are necessary. “We’re happy to have Winslow or Greenland or people from anywhere,” said Marilyn McLaughlin, one of the Certified Tax Counselors that has volunteered with the AARP program for seven years.  “We like to stay busy while we’re down there.” All of the tax counselors are volunteers, according to McLaughlin, but had to complete and pass an IRS certification course to become an AARP certified tax counselor. “We can do most returns for people,” said McLaughlin, who listed the 1040 return with schedules A,B, D, 1040 ES, 2241, 1099, and schedules K-1 and EIC among the forms that could be prepared. “We can’t do a return if a person has rental property or has business expenses over $10,000.” McLaughlin said they also could not …

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  3. Cafe Customer Crash Creates a Stir

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    February 12, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Steve Winkler West Fork- What should have been a routine trip to pick up Friday’s supper at a local restaurant didn’t go as expected for Leroy P. Sherrid, 73, of West Fork. As he pulled into the parking lot and neared the southwest corner of the building “his foot slipped off the brake pedal and onto the accelerator.  The sudden acceleration caused him to crash into the building,” stated the report of the incident by Patrolman Ken Ingalls who arrived on the scene at Jakes’ Pizza at 74 Main Street at 4:45 p.m. There were no customers in the restaurant at the time and no one was injured.  “There was a bang and a picture fell off the wall,” said waitress Melissa Smith. “Then I saw him backing out.” “The whole town was down here taking pictures,” said cashier Nancy Jones adding that, “We were swamped, a lot of people got stuff to go.” The building sustained extensive damage to the window, electrical wiring, wood framing and brick exterior reportedly estimated at $20,000. The 2005 Dodge Ram pickup had minor scrapes on the front bumper with repairs estimated at $200 according to the police report. Mr. Sherrid had no …

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  4. Clarks Motor Clinic Reopens

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    February 10, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Susan McCarthy WINSLOW- Clarks Motor Clinic reopened in mid December after it had been closed seven months following the death of its owner, Don Clark. Brecken Clark, 29, one of Clark’s sons reopened the shop that he says has been a large part of his life. “Our childhood was this place right here.  It’s pretty neat to do something that came from your childhood.  Not many people get to do that,” said Clark who has worked with his Dad throughout his life. “I’ve done nothing but vehicles.” Clark said the garage will still offer most of the same mechanic services it did when his father ran the shop.  He joked that the list of “not offered” services is easier to name; that list includes air conditioning, front-end alignments and computer diagnostics.  Clark said that his “old man’s” shop offered computer diagnostics, but the machinery was sold after his death. “This place…it was all him.  He took charge and ran everything.  When he passed, it all stopped,” he said. Clark said his brother Kimberlon Clark, a teacher in Mountainburg, has spent a lot of time at the garage helping his brother reopen the business.  He said they have found solace …

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  5. The Mexican Mennonites

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    February 10, 2011 by Steven Worden

    Without a doubt, the Plaza Hotel in Cuahtemoc, Mexico, has everything you need:  on the main drag, a cathedral around the corner, cheap rooms (less than $18 US a night), good lumpy beds, central heat, and hot water.  Ok, so you can hear the people next door as distinctly as if they were speaking right into your ear.  No place is perfect. After dark, as you pull into the walled parking lot behind the hotel you may notice another less conspicuous amenity:  in the dark, a man sits quietly in a ‘70s model Ford pickup and eyes you closely as you unload your gear.  Not to worry—he works for the hotel and his job is to sit in his old pickup all night long and keep watch over guests’ vehicles.  He also is in charge of the heavy metal door in the wall that lets cars in and out after dark. Actually, one of the nicer benefits of the Plaza is the café next door.  After a restful night of tossing on your lumpy bed and overhearing and weighing the merits of disputes in neighboring rooms, nothing beats lingering over a $4 breakfast of eggs, toast, coffee, and orange juice, …

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  6. A Bridge Into The Past

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    February 10, 2011 by wcobserver

    Tim V Scott Yes it is cold, but spring will be here soon.   During these brief three months, Devil’s Den prepares for the next nine.  With Spring Break, the tourist season kicks off, and it really does not end until Thanksgiving.  Since trails are one of our most popular facilities.  It is very important to get them in a presentable condition by March.  This year we had two trail projects. Whenever possible we like our trail projects to match the existing works of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).  From 1933 to 1942, the CCC built Devil’s Den State Park.  In fact, without the CCC we would not have the Arkansas State Park system we have today.   While the conditions in the country at that time were not ideal, the end results are places like Devil’s Den State Park, Petit Jean Mountain State Park and Crowley Ridge State Park. The first project was on the Devil’s Den Trail.  Rock steps replaced work that was completed in the 1970’s. Rock is more in style with the works of the 1930’s.  The sandstone steps blends in with the environment which makes them appear as if they occurred naturally.    Actually, having …

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  7. Greenland Company Turns Trash to Treasure

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    February 10, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Susan McCarthy You don’t have to look further than Greenland to see how one entrepreneurial company is turning plastic and wood waste into gardening products. Just off I-540 in a non-descript building that you probably drive by most every day, about 75 temporary and full time employees transform waste that was once destined for a landfill into gardening boxes and gardening stones for a variety of retailers including Wal-mart and Sam’s Club, which is no small feat even for someone with the right kind of connections. Greenland Composites is owned by Burt Hannah, who is more widely known for his candles than for turning plastic shopping bags, discarded shrink wrap and wood waste into a composite material. “For the most part, the major materials are all recycled,” said Tim Moore who smiles with a boyish grin when asked what his title is.  “We don’t go much on titles.  You could probably call me plant manager…I’ve been called a lot of things,” he says with a laugh. Moore says the company purchases its plastic from a number of sources including West Fork’s Renewable Resource Center, but that the majority of it is purchased from Walmart who encourages its customers to …

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