RSS Feed

  1. West Fork City Officials Charged

    5

    March 30, 2012 by Jeff Winkler

    DSC_9565

    WEST FORK — The Washington County prosecutor’s office has filed charges against two West Fork city officials for violating the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Kristie Drymon, City Treasurer, Water Department office manager and acting City Clerk, and Virgil Blackmon, the Water and Wasterwater Utilities Commission chair, face respective misdemeanor charges, said Deputy Prosecutor Denis Dean. The county investigation and charges stem from a complaint made by the Washington County Observer. The complaint claims that the media and the public were not informed of an official Water Commission meeting on Jan. 11, 2012. According to the Arkansas FOIA, “the time and place of each regular meeting shall be furnished to anyone who request the information.” Because the Water Commission meetings are not held on the same day of each month, the Observer has a standing request to be notified before each meeting, which it was not. In the course of its investigation, Washington County prosecutors determined Drymon to be the city official in violation of the FOIA law, said Dean. The county also filed charges against Blackmon, who had refused to disclose specific details of what happened at that Jan. 11 Water Commission meeting. At the meeting, there was …

    Read More...

  2. Same Thing, Just Different

    2

    March 26, 2012 by wcobserver

    front_page

    Reality has overcome optimism… again. Our two year effort to bring quality local journalism back to the small town communities of south Washington County has ended. We were struggling in a business climate where size matters and the economics of scale rules. “Too small to succeed” is no less true than “too big to fail.” Add to that the fact that the newspaper industry has been in a downward spiral for a decade. Experienced newspaper people have always been skeptical of our belief in creating a profitable publication in a sparsely populated rural part of the county. The south part of the county has a lot of good people but is bereft of any of the commercial enterprises whose advertising dollars could fuel our venture. Cost cutting efforts eventually resulted in a downsized product. Going from being a weekly publication to every-other-week along with an increased single copy, vending price resulted in decreased circulation which in turn means fewer papers need to be printed. Our printer in Berryville was recently absorbed by a larger company in Harrison. Small independent printing companies reflect the shrinking character of the newspaper industry as a whole. In the glory days of the Observer the …

    Read More...

  3. Editorial: Get Out of the Shade

    1

    March 26, 2012 by Steve Winkler

    editorial

    Political culture is a curious thing. It always begs the question, “why can’t everybody be like me.” What seems so clear, so obvious to one person can seem so incredibly wrong-headed to the other guy. Democracy breeds ideological diversity. But still, why do we need a law that insists government business take place out in the open, accessible to all. Why do we need Sunshine laws and Freedom of Information statues? Can’t everybody see the advantage of open government?

    Read More...

  4. Political Spectrum: A View from the Right — Talk radio’s ‘cooling effect’?

    0

    March 26, 2012 by Mike Landry

    red_arrow

    Question: The brouhaha over conservative talk radio star Rush Linbaugh’s incendiary remarks on contraception has intensified and more advertisers have withdrawn their support. Will this have a “cooling effect” on talk radio in general? Should conservatives be concerned? Rush Limbaugh made a statement that he admits was over the top. In the ongoing effort to do what Limbaugh calls “Hush Rush,” this was about as juicy as it gets. Limbaugh made what was termed a vicious, unwarranted attack on an innocent young woman, implying she was a prostitute for wanting funding of contraception, although his language was not so discreet. The resulting uproar caused some national advertisers to pull sponsorships. There were news reports that anywhere from two dozen to forty advertisers were bailing. Unlike probably most of the people offended by the Limbaugh statement, I heard it live on the radio. I thought it was silly. I had earlier seen the televised testimony of the woman in question, Sandra Fluke. I thought what she said was silly, too. Then Limbaugh apologized. As a more than two-decade listener to the Rush Limbaugh Show and being some- what familiar with the characteristics of its host, I thought the apology was sincere. …

    Read More...

  5. Political Spectrum: A View From the Left – Talk radio’s ‘cooling effect’?

    1

    March 26, 2012 by Richard Drake

    right_blue_arrow_clip_art_12226

    Question: The brouhaha over conservative talk radio star Rush Limbaugh’s incendiary remarks on contraception has intensified and more advertisers have withdrawn their support. Will this have a “cooling effect” on talk radio in general? Should conservatives be concerned? For years we have been hearing of the great liberal conspiracy to silence talk radio, to still the men and women who would speak truth-to-power (do you hate that cliché as much as I do?) and force Americans to live once more under the cruel tyranny of the “Fairness Doctrine.” The Fairness Doctrine, much like death panels and voter registration fraud, is trotted out every so often to scare the professionally frightened among us, those who don’t stop and say, “Oh, wait. What?” I refreshed my knowledge of the Doctrine at the website of the Museum of Broadcast Communications. I emphasize the word “Museum,” because this is where the Doctrine permanently resides, as a relic of the past. This rule, which once meant that opposing views must be represented on TV and radio stations is a thing of the past, is as dead as the Dodo bird. I mention this because professional hysterics are bringing it up again, as if the Rush …

    Read More...

  6. Same Thing, Just Different

    1

    March 26, 2012 by Steve Winkler

    editorial-300x300

    Reality has overcome optimism … again. Our two year effort to bring quality local journalism back to the small town communities of south Washington County has ended. We were struggling in a business climate where size matters and the economics of scale rules. “Too small to succeed” is no less true than “too big to fail.” Add to that the fact that the newspaper industry has been in a downward spiral for a decade. Experienced newspaper people have always been skeptical of our belief in creating a profitable publication in a sparsely populated rural part of the county. The south part of the county has a lot of good people but is bereft of any of the commercial enterprises whose advertising dollars could fuel our venture. Cost cutting efforts eventually resulted in a downsized product. Going from being a weekly publication to every-other-week along with an increased single copy, vending price resulted in decreased circulation which in turn means fewer papers need to be printed. Our printer in Berryville was recently absorbed by a larger company in Harrison. Small independent printing companies reflect the shrinking character of the newspaper industry as a whole. In the glory days of the Observer …

    Read More...

  7. Getting Out of the Shade

    0

    March 26, 2012 by wcobserver

    editorial-300x300

    Political culture is a curious thing. It always begs the question, “why can’t every- body be like me.” What seems so clear, so obvious to one person can seem so incredibly wrong-headed to the other guy. Democracy breeds ideological diversity. But still, why do we need a law that insists government business take place out in the open, accessible to all. Why do we need Sunshine laws and Freedom of Information statues? Can’t everybody see the advantage of open government? Last week was Sunshine Week. It was created by journalists but is also celebrated by civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know and open government. The idea of free access to information rests on the belief that people who are empowered will play a more active role in their government at all levels. And a democracy with more citizen participation leads to better lives and stronger communities for us all. For decades the leadership in West Fork has not made open, transparent government a high priority. The town has probably had more Freedom of Information Act com- plaints than Greenland, Farmington, Elkins, Prairie Grove, Lincoln and Winslow. There is a current investigation underway. …

    Read More...