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  1. Everybody Likes a Quitter

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    April 26, 2012 by Annie McCormick

    Seriously, I’ve been wanting to quit smoking.  For years now.  I’ve been one of those off-and-on smokers since I was a teenager.  I would quit when I was pregnant and stay quit for years at a time.  Once I had such a bad Tequila hangover that I quit cold turkey with no problem because the thought of cigarettes made me puke.  My main problem is that I get psychotic when I try to quit.  One of my daughters actually told me to have a cigarette when I was losing it. So, why do I keep smoking even though I hate it?  Because I’m addicted to nicotine.  Cigarettes are the only thing I know of that are horrible for your health, stink, are highly addictive and completely legal.  They are sold using fraudulent marketing practices and target a young audience hoping for lifelong customers.  Cigarette companies make billions of dollars yearly, minus the kickbacks to legislators. I would like to see cigarette tax dollars go towards nicotine recovery centers, much like the recovery centers available for heroin, crack and meth users.  A legal addiction is still an addiction so why not?  Well, because the industry would go broke if nobody smoked …

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  2. Fatal Tick Diseases of Dogs and Cats in NW Arkansas

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    April 26, 2012 by Linda Ford

    I’m sure it’s obvious by now to everyone who ventures outdoors that the ticks are already bad this year. And every year about this time I write about the fatal tick diseases we have to deal with in our neck of the woods-literally. People think the ticks are so bad because the winter was short. The real reason they seem to get worse every year is the fact that the practice of burning the under brush every spring has fallen by the wayside. Sure, they do a few controlled burns here and there every year but nothing like was done in the past-the way past. I’m afraid if we get into real drought conditions like hit Texas, this whole countyside is going to go up in flames. That might be good for lowering the tick populations but I doubt if losing houses to forest fire is worth the trade off. By far, the worst tick disease we have here is the cat one that has a parasitic relationship with bobcats but is fatal to domestic cats. It is caused by the protozoon called  Cytauxzoon felis. The organism is related to another Cytauxzoon organism found in ungulates in Africa. It was …

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  3. For Bobwhites and Buses

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    April 23, 2012 by Joseph C. Neal

    Everywhere I go in northwest Arkansas giving bird programs people ask me about birds they used to see here, but don’t see now very often. Lots of the old-timers remember bobwhite quail, that pleasant, whistled BOB WHITE! So do I. My answer to such questions is usually the same: it’s about habitat. Like people, birds have specific needs. If the habitat needs aren’t met, it’s . . . well . . . bye bye birdie. Washington County voters have an opportunity on May 22 that speaks to part of this issue. Birds won’t be on the ballot, but the question considered can help. The ballot involves one penny tax on each four dollars spent, with pennies and dollars set aside to support and expand local transportation for all the people — I’ll just say buses for short. More buses and more ways and places to ride them ultimately translates into fewer cars and less habitat destruction. During the past 40 odd years I’ve had chances to vote on vexing issues involving sales taxes. I have usually favored lower taxes and so I’ve voted against many taxes. But expanding towns and cities have reduced quality habitat for all kinds of plants …

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  4. LTC Health Chassis

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    April 23, 2012 by Milton Jones

    Okay, so you’ve become aware that your life’s savings is at risk in the game of Long Term Care.  You know about the “spend-down” rules before getting public financing. So how do you plan?  You could buy LTC insurance. In the landscape for Private Long Term Care Insurance, there are two major alternatives: •    The Health Insurance Chassis, and •    The Life Insurance Chassis. We will first explore the Health model.  Let’s say you’ve looked around and determined that $150 per day is about the realistic starting point for cost of Custodial Nursing Home care. Furthermore, assume you are a couple age 60 and 58 respectively. So what would you expect to pay for such coverage? It depends on a lot of variables. Some people will buy a two-year maximum benefit plan, while others insist on a lifetime benefit. The average nursing home stay is 30 months, but who’s average? Then there’s the matter of Inflation.  The government insists that everyone buying LTC insurance be offered Inflation Guard as an option. For example, 5 percent compound increase in benefits. I can tell you from experience that costs of care have more than doubled in the past 15 years. Mutual of …

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  5. Problems of An Aging Society

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    April 10, 2012 by Milton Jones

    In my childhood, I recall people speaking fondly of living “to a ripe old age.” My own father lived to celebrate his 100th birthday. But old-age is not always a blessing. Longevity creates its own expensive problems, and many more of us are living much longer than in the past.

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  6. Three Teal Species, Plus Golden Plovers

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    April 10, 2012 by Joseph C. Neal

    Down around Fort Smith old cut-off Arkansas River meanders refilled after heavy rain in late March. Meanders are the big bends in the natural river as it winds its way toward the Mississippi.

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  7. Problems of An Aging Society

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    April 10, 2012 by Milton Jones

    In my childhood, I recall people speaking fondly of living “to a ripe old age.” My own father lived to celebrate his 100th birthday.  But old-age is not always a blessing.  Longevity creates its own expensive problems, and many more of us are living much longer than in the past. In times past, the elderly lived with their children. Today, we live in a society where most of us can look forward to years of custodial care in a nursing home.  Some of these places can be quite attractive, while others are places of squalor.  All are expensive. Long-Term Care is one of our most expensive problems. Many people incorrectly assume that Medicare covers most of this expense.  In fact, Medicare coverage usually provides only a limited number of days in Rehab or Skilled Nursing, and does not reach the more massive problem of “Custodial” care. The bulk of these expenses are borne by Medicaid grants, matched by funds at the State level. Private Long-Term Care insurance is a relatively new thing, having become a significant market segment only within the past 30 years or so. When people asked me about who buys this coverage, I would give the wry …

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