Daddy Warbucks

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Grains now bucking record pricing trend

Hold on to the shopping basket folks! If you thought the price at the pump gave you pause, just watch the old grocery bill skyrocket. Last week corn, that staple of the American heartland, jumped to a near record high of $6 a bushel. That’s right, $6 a bushel for corn, almost double in price. Just watch, next it will be wheat, followed by a meteoric rise in soybeans. Already the price of cotton (which you can’t eat, but you certainly wear) is following the trend of going up, up, up.

The basic farm commodities rising only means that not only the shelf price of these staples like flour, bread, and prepared foods will rise, but also meat, poultry and even fish will also rise and might stay there.

The ripple effect of higher fuel costs – now over $100 a barrel for oil – is sparking these increases. And basic services can’t keep up without passing these mounting increases on to consumers. So watch for the $1 menu at local fast-food stores to quietly fade away. And will that mega three-for-$5 pizza deal also go the way of the endangered species? Rising corn and wheat prices, while good for the American farmer, may come too late as they are already out of business thanks to the price of oil.

XNA PINCH
High fuel prices have caused some of the major airlines to cut back on direct flights from XNA to spots like Charlotte, N.C., Salt Lake and a few others. Fewer people are booking these flights than expected and a less than full plane costs the airlines.

UNSQUARED
While the work on the Fayetteville Square was not finished as promised, local folks still flocked there for the opening of the Farmer’s Market this past weekend. As always, rain or shine, folks love to walk around the Square and visit with the farmers. Let’s hope this construction project gets finished up soon.

NEW SCHOOL
Daddy W. has come to the conclusion that the only way that Fayetteville High will not move to a new location is the say of taxpayers. A millage must be passed for construction even if there’s a generous buyout by the UA for the current FHS site, should FHS board decided to abandon the current site.  And right now it not a
good time to go to the taxpayers.

NEW NAME
That long-suffering waterin’ hole out on Hwy 62 near Farmington – Club West – is sporting a new name these days – Destiny. Some old carpeting and fixtures have been ripped out and new ones put in. Same building. We shall watch and see if success is in the music out this way.

DOWN, NO MO
While some elected officials and economic development folks are prodding prospective homebuyers to buy now, now may be a good time to buy a house in NWA. But the days of zero down are gone. The old days of no money down and paid closing costs have indeed evaporated in this stressful economy. Will zero down be back? One lender, under promise of anonymity, said “doubt it.”

YEA UCA
Kudos all around for UCA President Lu Hardin and the University of Central Arkansas (no April fooling this time) for bailing out (again) the beleaguered Oxford American magazine. This wonderful literary work has been on the financial ropes for some time, and UCA has stepped up and infused some more cash into the publication. Hooray. And by the way, it’s the very best magazine on southern writing to invest in by subscribing to it.

LAYOFFS
Here is a bad sign of economic times, Regions Bank, that big multi-state baking conglomerate from Birmingham, Alabama, is laying off, yep, laying folks off. In Arkansas some 33 will be given a pink slip. The closing of RB’s home loan office in Little Rock will take the biggest hit, but some of the remaining lost jobs could be up here. Yikes. Regions is the state’s second largest bank.

PAYDAY SURVIVORS
Watch and see if this doesn’t come true. Some of the payday lender folks, scared of the latest warning by the Arkansas Attorney General, will offer 0 percent loans. What? The trick is: watch for the fees. That’s where you will pay. There is no state law against charging fees out the wazoo for loaning money as long as the interest is within state guidelines.

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