Daddy Warbucks

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Bumpy start for 2008
Hang on for more swings

The stock markets here and abroad are still jittery and reeling from the swings of the first days of 2008. Hang on small businessman. Cling tightly small investor. More swings both up and down are coming. The price of oil has somewhat stabilized at around $90 a barrel. Ye old price of gold has set new records. And it looks like we have not seen the record price for gold yet. Last week the Bush administration said some relief in the form of checks for every tax paying man, woman and child are coming in June. Not quickly enough. But like all things in Washington D.C., the news of this tax rebate, break, what ever you call it, has traveled a lighting speed.

Locally, a shudder went out last week when it was rumored that Wal-Mart corporate of all places might cut back and relocate some of its soft goods folks to of all places New York City to be nearer the fashion center of the U.S. This rumor, while still a rumor, did warrant a collective pause by all of us in Northwest Arkansas. When Wal-Mart cuts back… well what is next? But hang on. An upswing of the economy is bound to happen, but when? Well that’s what keeps the financial experts up at night.

PUPPETS AND…
Looks like the First Night Puppets will be a victim of the city’s eyes being bigger than their wallet. The city bought the old Tyson plant out on Huntsville Road saying they wanted it to move the police department out there. That fell through, so the city allowed some nonprofit organizations storage space in the building. Now that’s ended. Can anyone house these 12-foot puppets?

The puppets weren’t the only casualties of the recent eviction notice. Seems the Walton Arts Center was in the process of destroying several thousand dollars worth of equipment that had been stored there, before some locals got wind of it and salvaged some of the equipment before it hit the dumpster.

But that’s not all. Whoever was in charge of running the show when the space was used as an item donation center for Katrina victims, has left the building. And, left a mess. Apparently old mattresses, clothing and who knows what all has sat molding and stinking down there for years now. City stewardship at its best.

TV RATINGS
Watch out gentle TV viewer, the ads touting the most watched news programs are about to heat up. Channel 5, KFSM  is still the leader, but there is a slug fest going on for the No. 2 spots for the news at 6 and 10 p.m. KHOG/KHBS 40/29 usually in the No. 2 spot, but is now getting accustomed to third place. The numbers are close at 6 p.m., but at 10 p.m. there’s more of a battle. KNWA’s Neile Jones along with a cavalcade of fresh faces (some who don’t stay long) seem to have a following. Stay turned for more in the weeks ahead.

MESA MISSING
The regional airline which hops from small cities to the big cities in the region, Mesa Air, is dropping its service in Harrison (as well as Jonesboro, El Dorado and Hot Springs) in the next few months, so watch for more boardings at XNA from out-of-countians (those outside Benton and Washington Counties).

BIOFUEL SELLOFF
The Tulsa-based Snytoleum Corp.,which has partnered with Tyson to develop new energy sources, is making some unusual moves to sell buildings and divest some of its partner’s of stock and facilities. The joint fuel venture with Tyson called Dynamic Fuels LLC that aims to convert animal fat into fuel, seems to have an odd effect on the business.

LAWYERS ALL AROUND
Once that “we’ve got more lawyers than you do” title went to Davis, Wright, Clark, Butt and Carithers of Fayetteville, but not any more. The firm with the most warm bodies, is Kutak Rock. Fayetteville’s well-heeled Bassett Firm, once No. 2 is now No. 3 in the number of attorneys. In Rogers the Matthews, Campbell, Rhodes, McClure, Thompson and Fryauf group is Benton County’s largest legal team (Wal-Mart excluded). The biggest, of course, doesn’t always mean the best.

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