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  1. Starting Out


    January 30, 2012 by Annie McCormick

    Blogging is something new to me.  I don’t usually resist learning new technology, but this is something I never thought I’d use.  Thanks WCO for the opportunity to venture another step into the 21st century. Lately, I’ve been watching Winslow grow and getting involved in a bunch of activities.  I’m involved with the 2nd annual Winslow Run and the Winslow Historical Preservation Group.  I’m real excited about both endeavors.


  2. Warm Weather Fun


    January 27, 2012 by wcobserver

    Kids at Play3

    Global warming isn’t all bad. The unseasonably warm weather the past couple of weeks meant folks could go outside for a little fresh air. The kids at the Prairie Grove Elementary after-school program took advantage of the pleasant tempratures to burn off that last little bit of school-day energy. The Prairie Grove High School softball team also made use of the weather, practicing for the upcoming season in shorts and t-shirts. Photos by Jeff Winkler


  3. Responding to Growing God’s Kingdom Complaints, State Proposes Clarifying Rules


    January 25, 2012 by wcobserver


    WEST FORK –Rep. Justine Harris may have to consider altering some of his preschool’s practices if recently proposed rules are approved by the State Board of Education. Following complaints filed by the D.C.-based Americans United that Harris and his wife’s partially state-funded preschool, Growing God’s Kingdom, violates state and federal laws, the Arkansas Department of Human Services proposed new rules that would clarify what actions constitute an illegal use of tax-payer dollars for religious instruction. Religious instruction includes songs and prayer. And as noted by the ADHS’ evaluator back in Novemeber, Growing God’s Kingdom had featured religious-themed posters on the wall, as well as Bible Study held after regular school hours. As Harris did when the story first broke on Nov. 1, the West Fork resident defended the school’s practices, saying that religious instruction does not coincide with classroom time and that the proposed oversight runs against his freedom of religion. Harris, who recently announced his intent to run for the redistricted seat covering both Washington and Madison County,  raised concerns of his own when interviewed by the Northwest Arkansas Times: [Harris] objects to being unable to pray with parents or others who come to the school needing counseling, sometimes …


  4. A LEGION OF PLEASANT GAMBLERS: Prairie Grove Groups Hosts popular Bingo hall


    January 21, 2012 by Lillian Winkler


    Playing Bingo in church basements, le-gion huts and union halls has been around a long time, but in years past, the legality of the pastime was somewhat fuzzy. After all, it is a type of gambling. The Arkansas legislature granted legal status to the games in 2007 with the pass- ing of the “Charitable Bingo and Raffles Enabling Act.” It ensured that non-profit, tax-exempt organizations could be licensed to operate bingo games. Things got even better two years later when Governor Mike Beebe signed a law lowering the penny-per-card tax on charitable bingo to three- tenths of a cent. The Prairie Grove American Legion has done a great job of taking advantage of these new laws. Every Thursday, people from all around south Washington County gather to play Bingo at local Post 146. Fortunately, with this kind of gambling, no one frowns upon bringing your children. People of all ages can enjoy the fun and the food, even the babies and in-laws. And anyone 18 or older can play, and make some money. The game has provided numerous funds for other people and organizations in need. “I have to keep track of every penny that comes in and out of …


  5. Senior Skip Day


    January 20, 2012 by Alison Grisham


    “She was just trying to help.” I’m sure that’s what most people will say. But if you had been the one on the other side of the counter, you may not have felt that way. It was a simple transaction. I was trying to buy a couple of pillow inserts at a local fabric store. No big deal. But I hate when I forget to print a coupon. It’s just maddening because fabric stores typically honor com- petitor coupons, which means you can pret- ty much get 50 percent off any one item, on any given day, even if the store you’re shop- ping in isn’t running that special. It takes so little effort, yet, it’s so gratifying to walk out knowing you saved a buck — or in this case a sawbuck, which is almost enough for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. So I started skimming through the store flyer hopefully. Notions. Fabric. Scissors. “Nope,” I said to no one in particular, “no pillows,” and I walked the last few steps to the register. The saleswoman, perhaps thinking I was speaking to her, offered her best jab “assistance.” “Are you old enough for the Senior Citizen discount?” she …


  6. The Snowy Owl’s Occasional Southern Trip


    January 20, 2012 by Joseph C. Neal

    snowy owl

    This is a winter when Snowy Owls that nest in the far, far north, come south for at least part of the winter. It’s not every winter, either. There are Snowy Owls in northern Missouri and north-central Oklahoma. For the past few weeks, I have included the Snowy Owl pursuit as part of my routine around Northwest Arkansas. These are big owls, mostly white with dark accents. At a distance, lots of com- mon things can make this impression: Walmart bags in brush, bleached cow bones in a pasture, white Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission boundary signs around Chesney Prairie Natural Area, a white five-gallon bucket in weeds next to a pond, a light-colored ball of baling string hung up on a fence, a big white stump, Walmart bags in trees, even a very pale, young Red-tailed Hawk with its head tucked. I’ve never seen a Snowy Owl except for an injured bird in the Portland zoo. Back there someplace in my mind that I don’t know well — the expansive terra incognita from which wells the magma of so many hard-to-describe feelings and desires – from that place, I feel the swells and exploratory energies of desire. Then comes the …


  7. Recipes for the Cabin Fever Soul


    January 20, 2012 by Terry Ropp


    Snow days are a joy to kids and some- times an annoyance to parents, especially if the containment lasts more than a day. One solution to bored, restless kids is cooking together. In today’s world, where both parents or the single parent works long hours with home responsibilities being squeezed in wherever possible, the joy of cooking and sharing home-cooked foods often becomes lost in the bustle to survive. Snow days can provide a refuge from the bustle and a chance to reconnect as a family. Cooking projects need not be detailed and compli- cated. Many children know only heat-and- eat dishes from the microwave, so some- thing as simple as making a hot chocolate mix can be fun and rewarding, especially if some homemade cookies accompany the steamy beverage. The trick to a successful cooking ven- ture with children is to plan ahead so you know what to pick up at the store before the much-awaited winter storm occurs. Obviously, kid-favorite foods make sense. The kids, and perhaps, you will be amazed at how simple and fast some homemade foods can be. Here are three starters. Hot chocolate mix: Simply blend togeth- er 4 cups Nestle Quick, 5 1/3 …