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  1. Amid Controversy, ORT Millage Put on Ballot

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    March 26, 2012 by Jamie Smith

    WASHINGTON COUNTY – Washington County voters will be given the option to vote on a quarter-cent sales tax this May after the Washington County Quorum Court voted 7-4 to send it to the ballot. The vote came during the Court’s March 8 meeting. Justices of the Peace (JPs) Lance Eads, Butch Pond, Tom Lundstrom and Rick Cochran voted against placing the measure on the ballot. If passed, the quarter-cent sales tax will provide $7.5 million annually for Ozark Regional Transit (ORT) to expand its Washington County services. A similar measure was sought in Benton County but the Benton County Quorum Court voted against placing it on the ballot. This was the third time the Washington County JPs faced the issue because the law requires that the measure be read three times before being finalized. The JPs and County Judge Marilyn Edwards issued a statement to the standing-room only crowd that read: “The role of the Quorum Court in this matter is to determine whether or not the proposed tax should be referred to the electorate, not whether or not they are for or against the tax. The County Judge presides over the Quorum Court without a vote and does not …

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  2. Winslow Becomes A City

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    March 15, 2012 by Beverly Simpson

    During the 1904 fall session of the Washington County Court, a petition requesting incorporation was submitted by the town of Winslow. The request was granted in the spring session of 1905. The little city of Winslow has seen many changes in the past 100 plus years.

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  3. Trailblazing: Progress with Area Routes Connecting Many, If Not All, Residents

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    March 15, 2012 by Jack Suntrup

    WASHINGTON COUNTY – Progress is being made on the 36-mile long Razorback Greenway trail system, officials said. The trail system is meant to act as a “spine” to existing trails, connecting Bentonville, Rogers, Lowell, Spring- dale, Johnson and Fayetteville, said John McLarty, Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Committee Chairman. When all is said and done, various entities will have spent around $38 million on the project, with $15 million coming from federal stimulus funds. The Walton Family Foundation matched $3.75 million initially and will provide an additional $1.25 million for additional expenses, McLarty said. The initial $20 million will cover a 16-mile stretch of the trail from Lake Fayetteville to the New Hope Road in Rogers. Tentatively, $10 million more will come from the Walton Foundation and municipal funds. Local officials plan to launch a fundraising operation to collect the final $8 million. A 14-mile stretch near Crystal Bridges in Bentonville has already been completed. The project was put into jeopardy last year when congressional Republicans tried to strip out funding. This year, congressional leaders may try again, but the funds are expected to come in in June. The bidding process will start this month, McLarty said. Regardless, local business owners anticipate …

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  4. Democrat JPs To Square Off in Primary

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    March 15, 2012 by wcobserver

    WASHINGTON COUNTY – Local Democratic candidates are going to be busy this election season. Candidates for county, state and national positions were required to file their intent to run by March 1 and Justice of the Peace races will see several Democrats go head-to- head in the primaries.

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  5. Water Commission Vacancy Lingers

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    March 15, 2012 by Steve Winkler

    The commission added two new members, Andy Baughman and Joe Toher in July. One volunteer, Joe DeSoto was rejected as a potential commissioner because he is related to the chairman. Another, Tony Alvarado was rejected because he is a member of the Police Commission, according to Michael “Butch” Bartholomew, Utility Superintendent. Former City Clerk Susan Cooney whose name appears on the June 29 list said she submitted her name to Mayor Hime who gave it to the Water Commission. “I never heard anything back from them even though they said they would contact people,” wrote Cooney in an email reply to an Observer inquiry. West Fork resident Wes Eckles, who wrote a letter saying he was willing to serve on the Water Commission and whose name appears on the original list told the Observer, “They never did anything. Never called, I never talked to Virgil Blackmon. They didn’t take any action. I never heard from this commission.” Eckles has since volunteered to be considered for a vacancy on the Planning Commission. West Fork property owner Caroline Smith’s name appears on the list of individuals interested is being considered for appointment to the commission. She told the Observer that she made …

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  6. A Little Place Called ‘Heronton’

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    March 15, 2012 by Joseph C. Neal

    Great Blue Herons are standing on nests in the Illinois River bottomlands rookery west of Tontitown, on the road to Siloam Springs. Number of nests, about 35. Number of adults perched improbably atop mature trees, about 39. Nests are in tall white sycamores, forming picturesque contrast with winter grays of Wedington Ridge in the Ozark National Forest. I call the place Heronton. It’s one of the oldest “towns” in Northwest Arkansas. It’s the place where Great Blue Herons come to nest. You narrowly catch the festivities even at 65mph on Highway 412 as you cross the Illinois. Narrowly, because we’re dashing across that efficient bridge — with one eye on busy herons, another on that thunderous onrush of our times — 18-wheelers, pick-ups, my Toyota  — and with that active third eye, the mind, simultaneously sorting affairs of family and business — and probably on the phone  — our destiny . There seems no place to stop and take in the whole, including Heronton. I am reminded of how fast we travel, how restricted our space, like we’re astronauts in a capsule, cowboys and cowgirls blasting through 14 billion years of matter. A Great Blue flies toward the sycamores, providing us …

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  7. Man’s best friend in War and Peace

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    March 15, 2012 by Linda Ford

    I’m borrowing this information from a piece by Maria Goodavage in the Feb. 25 Wall Street Journal. Horses and dogs have long been used in battle with soldiers. It is reported that during the Vietnam War, the military sent recruiters to bases to buy dogs from neighboring communities. In all, about 3,800 dogs served in Vietnam. When they returned to the U.S., many of them went to Fort Chaffee near Fort Smith. And although they were de-ticked before returning, many of these dogs were carrying a tick-borne disease called Ehrlichia. I just found out the other day that the Ehrlichia we have in our area is called Ehrlichia chaffeensie in honor of Fort Chaffee. Of all the dogs I test in my clinic, 80 percent of dogs over six years of age are positive for this disease. And I’m now finding it in larger percentages in much younger dogs as well. Dogs have been used in battle for attack, protection and as sentries. Many have served as trackers, messengers, sled dogs and deliverers of first aid and medicine. They are often a comfort to the wounded and stressed soldiers. There was a pit bull dog in WW1 known as Sgt. Stubby who …

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