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‘Editorials’ Category

  1. West Forks All Volunteer Council…Again

    2

    April 17, 2012 by Steve Winkler

    [This editorial first appeared in the September 2, 2010 edition of the Observer. We are recycling it in light of the Resolution to compensate council members presented at the April Council Meeting. We thought compensating council members was a good idea then and we still do.] There are volunteers and then there are volunteers. Many people mistakenly understand the word as referring to someone who does something without being paid. But more accurately, a volunteer is someone who acts voluntarily, which means the action is done in accordance with one’s own free will. Soldiers in the volunteer army are paid. At your job, you may volunteer to work over the weekend to finish an important project. That doesn’t mean you’ve agreed to work for free. Volunteerism is more about free will than money. True, some volunteer positions in an organization may offer minimal or no compensation. Others are paid positions. There are as many reasons to become a volunteer as there are volunteers. Most obvious is the genuine unselfish desire that flows from a religious, humanitarian or other obligation to “giveback;” to help others. You’re single and volunteer to work Christmas day so your married co-workers can be with their …

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  2. Townies, Zippies and Politics

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    April 12, 2012 by Steve Winkler

    Centuries ago, a person’s identity was tied to the land on which they lived. The undifferentiated peasants of the medieval fiefdom system were known by their place, their location in the realm. Things haven’t changed much in 500 years. We still link our identity to geography. But now that link, rather than being determined by the lord of the manner is determined by the U.S. Postal Service in the form of a five-digit number known as the zip code. The zip code was the postal services’ answer to a “mail explosion” in the 1960s. They presented the code as “five trailblazing numbers that would launch every piece of mail with space age speed and precision.” It didn’t take long for marketers to capitalize on the “birds of a feather” adage and use zip codes as a tool for targeting their sales pitch to an identifiable demographic imbedded in zip codes. People with similar traits tend to cluster. There were reflections of characteristics of middle class, upper class, urban, rural, educated and what ever group the marketer was perusing. A person’s zip code could reveal which magazines they might read, their favorite toothpaste or TV shows and an array of clues …

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  3. Editorial: Breathe Deep

    2

    April 10, 2012 by Steve Winkler

    Many area residents are excited about the prospect of a large grocery chain complete with gas, fresh produce and what many welcome most, a pharmancy, coming to West Fork.

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  4. Op-Ed: Risk Pool Needs Expanding

    0

    April 3, 2012 by wcobserver

    Regarding the case presently before the Supreme Court adjudicating the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010, otherwise known as “Obamacare”, the crux is whether the federal government can require individual citizens to purchase medical insurance, i.e., the so-called “individual mandate.”

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  5. Same Thing, Just Different

    2

    March 26, 2012 by wcobserver

    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 …

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  6. Editorial: Get Out of the Shade

    1

    March 26, 2012 by Steve Winkler

    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?

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  7. Same Thing, Just Different

    1

    March 26, 2012 by Steve Winkler

    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...