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  1. Contesting Worldviews

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    April 19, 2011 by Steven Worden

    Although in the middle of the last century, many observers seemed convinced that religion was fast fading from the scene, few social scientists hold that view today.  Instead of religion becoming less important, we listen to the furious sounds coming from the clashing of intense religious convictions. According to the noted sociologist, Peter Berger, the significant change that has taken place is not so much secularization—or the disappearance of religion—as pluralization or the rise of a diversity of competing and contesting religious worldviews spurred by a virtually instantaneously communicating, world-spanning media apparatus. Just consider this past week:  22 people in Afghanistan have been killed in protests over the burning of the Koran that occurred in Florida some 8,000 miles away.  Of course, the President of Afghanistan did not help matters by drawing attention to the acts of a couple of Florida preachers at a staged event, an event that was actually attended by fewer than thirty onlookers.  Nevertheless, the contrived media event triggered an enraged response worldwide when disseminated to the Muslim community. Such seemingly irrational acts usually occur as threatened supporters of traditions race to shore up the boundaries of communities of belief they perceive to be under attack.  …

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  2. West Fork Girl Heads to Yale

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    April 19, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Renee Reed A West Fork girl got the Christmas present of her dreams ten days early when she learned she would get a chance to attend Yale University Dec. 15. Casey McCarthy, who attends Fayetteville High School, will be off to New Haven, Connecticut this fall.  Only five seniors from Arkansas have received this prestigious honor.  She is also the recipient of a scholarship awarded in the early action acceptance program.  McCarthy is the daughter of Razorback alumni, Susan and Michael McCarthy.  They are almost as proud of their daughter as her grandparents, Dorothy and John Carney also of West Fork and Judy McCarthy of Amelia Island, Florida. McCarthy said she first became interested in Yale University while hearing a recruiter lecture at Arkansas Governor’s School last summer at Hendrix College.  Her mom, Susan McCarthy recalls thinking it would be nearly impossible to get in and nearly impossible to afford it if her daughter did get in, but encouraged her to apply. McCarthy began working on her application early last fall, enlisting the help of her grandmother, Dorothy Carney, a retired West Fork Elementary and Middle School teacher as well as several teachers and her school counselor. “Susan is …

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  3. Treats of the Trade, Day in the Life of an Ice Cream Man

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    April 19, 2011 by wcobserver

    They may not know the lyrics or even the song’s name, but boy oh boy, when they hear it; they drop what they’re doing, run to their front yards and begin to bounce on their toes. These are kids waiting for the ice cream truck.

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  4. Sticky Business Saves the Day

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    April 10, 2011 by wcobserver

    Middle School Entrepreneurs Raise $700 By Susan McCarthy WEST FORK- Middle School Principal Becky Ramsey was caught a little off-guard when six middle school girls brought her a business plan and asked her permission to launch their own company at school.  But Ramsey quickly agreed once she saw that these girls planned to donate all of their proceeds to help fund an educational overnight trip for fifth graders. “They came up with the idea and came to me and asked if they could sell,” said Ramsey who told them they couldn’t sell for personal profit and brainstormed with the girls to come up with the idea of helping fund the science trip. Since January, these girls have proven to be successful entrepreneurs, cranking out nearly 1,000 products from duct tape.  Last week Ducts and Bows presented a $700 surprise check to Matt Pledger, a fifth grade science teacher, to help fund the fifth grade’s annual overnight trip to Ozark Natural Science Center. “They gave me a check for $700, which is a monster check for selling quarter bows, things that cost a quarter to $3,” said Pledger from a mountaintop on Tuesday as he hiked with fifth graders during the …

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  5. Science Camp Donation

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    April 8, 2011 by wcobserver

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  6. Hazel’s Café, A Travelers Haven on Old ‘71

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    April 8, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Velda Brotherton After World War II Americans took to the highways and by the 1950s tourists traveled the width and breadth of our nation. In Arkansas, Highway 71 provided the only north/south connection between Kansas City and the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. Trucks took the two-lane road to deliver everything from southern produce to northern products. It wasn’t long before tourists from all 48 states discovered Highway 71 and the scenic, though somewhat treacherous, Boston Mountain route. From Fayetteville south small service stations, motor inns, gift shops and cafes became popular spots with tourists. There were no or Sonics or McDonalds.  In those days most businesses were owned and run by individuals. The small cafes often times offered no more than a few booths or tables and a counter with a stool or two, but mostly they offered good food. Cooks were kept busy preparing every meal to order. Many remained open 24 hours a day. Come 4 a.m. someone arose to bake fragrant pies to top off those scrumptious meals. Let’s begin our tour of old Highway 71 by returning to the 50s  and heading south out of Fayetteville on an early spring morning. We’ll pass the R …

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  7. Southern Gospel Group is a Revival in Song

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    April 6, 2011 by wcobserver

    By Susan McCarthy A retired Salvation Army receptionist, a drummer in a 1980’s rock band, an owner of a cleaning business and a pastor might not seem like they have a lot in common.  But they and three others share two passions. .. love of music and a love for serving the Lord.   They express both through good old fashioned southern gospel music. It’s a Saturday evening and The Gospel Sonlighters are about two hours away from performing at a benefit in a church on Crossover Road in Fayetteville.   They’ve never met the man they’re there to help; neither have the dozen or so people who are already seated in the church’s pews and have turned out to hear them play. For 25 years, The Gospel Sonlighters have gone to prisons and churches; revivals and benefits… most of the time with little or no pay.  The members of the group have changed over the years, but Marsha and James Cooley and Sunny Twombley, all residents of Winslow, have been part of the band since its beginning.  The group doesn’t perform as often as it used to, but these days they do it mostly for benefits. “We never ask …

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