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Posts Tagged ‘West Fork’

  1. Editorial: Get Out of the Shade

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    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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  2. 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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  3. Try Something Different

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    March 15, 2012 by wcobserver

    On Tuesday, March 13, the elected representatives of the citizens of West Fork will gather to discuss an issue that, on its surface, concerns a couple of acres of real estate in an upscale neighborhood on a picturesque avenue in the south part of town. Without trying to sound too dramatic here, the discussion will reflect a question that currently arises in a national debate about the role of government in balancing individual rights with collective well-being. Several months ago, a property owner began the process of changing his home’s designation from a residential to commercial in order to legally engage in several types of commercial activity. The Planning Commission, the job of which is to insure that land use is consistent with established zoning districts and long range plans, determined that a conditional use for his businesses was fine but his request to rezone the entire parcel was inconsistent with the character of the neighborhood and his application was denied. The property owner appealed to the City Council who overturned the decision of the Planning Commission. They were swayed by the argument that he “had a right” to do what he pleased on his property, as well as reaping …

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  4. Grocery Chain Plans West Fork Store

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    March 9, 2012 by wcobserver

    WEST FORK — The whispers are true. Plans are indeed underway for the construction of a 32,000-sq.ft. Harps Food Store in the city of West Fork. “We are planning a store in West Fork,” Harps’ Vice President of Store Planning, J. Max Van Hoose, told the Observer. “[Right now] we’re just evaluating if we can build a store on that site. So in the coming months we’ll work with the city of West Fork, go through the proper channels and do some other due-diligence.” The proposed 26-acre wooded hillside site is located east of I540 near Phillips Street. The land which was purchased in 2004 by John David Lindsey, a regional developer, was then sold to Three Dog Development LLC in 2005. They developed water and sewer taps and built ingress to the property from Phillips St. The area was annexed to West Fork in 2006. Consideration of an application for a lot split is on the March 15 Planning Commission agenda. Bob Cantrell of Cantrell and Associates, the broker for the property told the Observer that “a five acre parcel on the east end, on the corner next to the school has been sold.”  A “big box retailer” is …

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  5. Can I be Your Boss?

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    February 19, 2012 by Steve Winkler

    If you’ve lived in West Fork long enough to have had any dealings with city hall, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the long-standing GAB Policy (Go Ask “Butch”). For decades, Mr. Bartholomew has been the go-to-guy for permission, advice and favors covering the full range of city services. A few months after the citizens elected the reform-minded Frances Hime as mayor, she removed his Business Manager title. But Mr. “B” is the darling of the council and they have gradually been restoring his domain. His influence in the lot split process was returned a few months ago. Then at the January council meeting, during a discussion of a school groups request to use the city’s marquee in front of city hall (aka hillbilly website), the council designated Mr. B to be the guardian of the marquee message. OK, it’s a small thing. Then while trying to understand the process for recruiting and selecting volunteer citizens to fill the four vacant positions on city commissions I became aware that there is no application form to be filled out. So, how does one apply for one of the openings on the Planning or Water Commission? You guessed it Go Ask Butch. Keep in …

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  6. ZONED-OUT: City Reverses Planning Commission Rezoning Decision

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    February 15, 2012 by wcobserver

    WEST FORK — Long-time residential and agricultural zones in West Fork are now open to spot commercial zoning thanks to a unanimous, but spiritedly debated, decision from the city council on Tuesday, Feb. 14. The issue is the result of anl appeal made by Mike Landa, whose request to rezone his residential property to commercial was denied by the West Fork Planning Commission during its January meeting. “Why do I want to rezone?” asked Landa rhetorically, during his lengthy and animated presentation. “Because it’s my right.” Landa, near the conclusion of council’s discussion, said the “big thing is, I want a bigger deduction, too, on my taxes.” There were other reasons Landa, who is chairman of the planning commission, appealed the commission’s decision. Those reaons were presented by his Bentonville lawyer, Darrell Gibby. Gibby said the planning commission process was “tainted” because of the votes from married commissioners Bob  Staats and Robyn Wilson. Gibby called it “undo influence” and reported that Mayor Frances Hime, a neighbor of Landa’s, contacted members of the planning commission to “influence the decision.” None of this speculative evidence was corroborated by counsel at the meeting, although Hime and Landa are currently in litigation over a …

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  7. Celebrating Life in Song

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    February 13, 2012 by wcobserver

    WEST FORK – Sugar on the Floor is a four woman musical group that can cheer you up, make you cry and soothe your spirit with their harmony. Begun four years ago when Mim Heinrichs, Joanie Green, Julie Minkel and Marya McKee attended a workshop at Ozark Folk Center, the group sang all the way home and are still singing. Now they have their first CD out, Gimme A Little Sugar. Many of the tunes on the album are traditional folk songs from America and Ireland. Not that the group doesn’t love to cover all sorts of music — anything from Blues, Doo-wop, Spirituals, even a Bob Dylan tune. And apparently they sing all the time, as someone told Joanie, “I hear you moving around in your office and there’s this little song following you.” Julie and Joanie are play therapists who met when Joanie moved here from Oklahoma. As part of her consulting, Julie spends time going from place to place and will “sing my heart out in the car, and when I arrive at the next place I am refreshed and all ready to look into a new situation.” They knew each other outside of singing; Mim taught …

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