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  1. Express Yourself

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    February 24, 2012 by Alison Grisham

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    I’m not much of a sports enthusiast. I mean, sure, I enjoy events like March Madness as much as the next girl. But that’s re- ally more about gambling than it is about sports. I can’t resist a bracket. If someone started running brackets for, say, on-deck shuffleboard, I’d probably be on a retiree’s cruise to St. Kitts right now, just to get a piece of the action. In terms of regular sports though, I’m just not that interested. I don’t know who won the World Series last year, or when the next Olympics is starting. I’m not sure if Pete Sampras still plays tennis and I’d be hard pressed to tell you which team Peyton Manning plays for … although my son just screamed, “the Colts, dummy.” So color me enlightened. Here’s what I can tell you. I know that Chris Evert and Greg Norman were married for about 18 months, that Wade Boggs is a sex addict, and that Tonya Harding was responsible for an assault on skater Nancy Kerrigan more than a decade ago. I know that Pete Rose was banned from baseball, that Tiger Woods cheated on his wife (a lot), and that beloved golfer, Payne …

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  2. What Winter?

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    February 24, 2012 by Annie McCormick

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    We’re having a mild winter, and every time I hear that I listen for the other snowshoe to drop and the blizzard to start. Yes, I’m superstitious. The ones I practice or the ones that have proven to be true. Sometimes there are scientific reasons for them. Whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow, it will still be winter until the Vernal equinox on March 20. The groundhog, or woodchuck, is a media personality one day a year. What kind of a shadow can Punxsutawney Phil see anyway with all the camera flashes going off in his face? This is not science, rocket or other. There is a lot of folklore and superstition addressing seasons and weather. Thicker than usual fur on raccoons and skunks indicates a severe winter. Folks in the Ozarks check out the color of the breastbone of a wild goose that was killed in Autumn. We slice persimmons open for a Winter forecast. Since I know not to approach a member of the weasel or any other of the small carnivore families, and I don’t have a dead goose, I go with the persimmons. The time-tested “Farmers’ Almanac” says we’re going to have a mild …

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  3. Ondaatje’s Mildy Enjoyable Cruise

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    February 24, 2012 by Kelly Gass

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    “The Cat’s Table” by Michael Ondaatje This book describes a sea voyage by an 11-year-old boy. He is traveling from Sri Lanka to London in the early 1950s on a ship titled Oronsay. The boy’s name is Michael and he is to meet his mother in Lon- don. Michael has very little supervision on the voyage, even though a non-vigilant chaperone has promised to look after him. He has a couple of close friends on the voy- age who are roughly his age. His friends’ names are Cassius and Ramadhin. The three boys have their meals at the “Cat’s Table” – meaning it is the table farthest separated from the Captain’s table in proximity and in social station. Michael and his two pals share the table with a few mostly misfit adults, who make for interesting camaraderie. Having little supervision, Michael and his pals naturally get into their share of trouble. They also learn a lot about adults and the “games” older people play. The three boys find the adults intriguing and this keeps them guessing about what they may be hiding. Some of the adults have secretive lives and the boys go on clandestine missions each day in order …

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  4. Are You Ready for Some Softball?

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    February 24, 2012 by wcobserver

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    Despite the unusually warm temperatures this winter, spring doesn’t really begin until softball players begin stretching their limbs and tossing the ball around the infield. And indeed, that time is near, with teams from West Fork, Prairie Grove and Greenland practicing for the upcoming season. For the Greenland High School girls softball team, that practice will make perfect. Coach David Stout said he’s scheduled the maximum amount of games allowed, 22, and is looking forward to a great performance from his team, just as soon as they get done with the basketball season, that is. Many of the players on the softball team also play basketball, and the more successful the girls are on the court, the less time they’ll have on the field before game time. The Lady Pirates first game, in fact, is March 5, against Gentry. “I didn’t lose any starters so everyone except for one girl will come back out this year, so we should be fairly decent,” Stout said. “Right now, we won’t truly see how we’re going to be until basketball’s over. I wish the basketball girls all the luck in the world, but we’ll get started when they get done there. I want …

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  5. Loon Fever

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    February 24, 2012 by Joseph C. Neal

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    Loons migrate through Northwest Arkansas during spring and fall. But Common Loons, scientific name Gavia immer, are never common. A productive November day is 10, and in winter, a single bird or two. It was a big deal when a single loon wintered on Lake Fayetteville last year. I’ve seen zero on Beaver Lake this winter. Tenkiller Ferry Lake, Okla., is in the Ozarks, an impoundment of the Illinois River that rises near Fayetteville. It does not have this problem. Common Loons are common at Tenkiller. I expect to see 100 a day without special effort. Common Loons are joined by much lower numbers of Pacific Loons, Red-throated Loons, and the occasional Yellow-billed Loon. Distance wise, it’s like a run up to Beaver dam. Tenkiller’s winter birding fun-o-meter is activated in big open spots like Snake Creek Park. Fifty Common Loons parade on Feb. 1, but a single bird far away on the other side swims with its neck extended and bill sometimes pointed up, rather than on the level. It could be a Red-throated or even a Yellow-billed Loon. It is almost a half-mile away. My operational rule of thumb is that the further away the bird, the more …

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  6. What They Ate in 2011

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    February 24, 2012 by Linda Ford

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    Last year about this time I wrote an article about all the non food type items found in dog and cat GI tracts. Every year Veterinary Practice News holds a contest called “ They Ate What?” In Vet Medicine we refer to it as dietary indiscretion. Here is a sampling of what they ate in 2011. A dog came in to a clinic with the signs of lameness. On radiographic image they found nine handballs in the dog’s stomach. Another dog’s radio-graphs showed a hodgepodge of stuff and the surgeon re- moved shoelaces, mulch, a knee high stocking, a plastic plant, plastic twist ties, and the bristles of a car snow cleaning brush. A six month old bulldog ate a metal slip collar and became ill and was taken to the vet. At surgery the doctor found 2 slip collars. Ten baby bottle nipples were found in the stomach of a four month old golden retriever puppy. One dog owner was feeding his dog pea- nut butter from a spoon and the dog grabbed spoon and all and swallowed it. Upon surgical removal they also discovered a piece of a collar and a toy. One dog was taken to the …

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  7. Scouting Out the Girl-Wide World

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    February 24, 2012 by wcobserver

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    WASHINGTON COUNTY – Local Girl Scouts have been coming out in full force lately, and not just because they’re selling delicious cookies. On March 8, the Girl Scouts of America celebrates its 100th anniversary and area troops have been keeping busy marking the occasion with events in Washington County. At Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, Troop 5251 celebrated the scouts’ birthday with a room full of period displays of the past 100 years, along with a Chili supper for the public on Saturday, Feb. 18. There are about 12 troops comprised of over more than 100 girls in Lincoln, Farmington and Prairie Grove, said Troop leader Beth Swearingen at the chili supper. Cherokee Cole is another area leader, and like Swearingen, has been involved in Girl Scouts since she was a Brownie herself, in 1967. She’s seen plenty of changes in the 45 years she’s been involved. “One thing I do know is we wore our uniforms to school on meeting days and our leaders wore their uniforms to all the meetings,” Cole said. “I can still remember my leaders with their green, and their hats and their clothes and the whole nine yards. This is me now in my …

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