Daddy Warbucks

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Time to re-think, re-examine finances, banks, brokers

It’s good every two years, if not sooner, to examine not only how you are doing business, but with whom and why. In these belt-tightening times, many banks are quietly relaxing their customer fees. Some banks are actually adding on computer and deposit access features to keep your business. Other financial houses are openly are courting customers with cash incentives and higher interest rates and other inducements to bring in new accounts. Stockbrokers, as always, seem to pay a little more attention to your needs when the stock markets are lousy. Now is, indeed a good time to schedule a session with your broker to talk about long range goals when the market is up and down and down and down – the bond markets are flat – and suddenly the old government backed securities and zero coupon stuff look awfully good. Even at the corner store where the run-of-the-mill customer base of a rather lackluster business can get some new incentives to remain loyal when all the “excess business” or “busy business” of the business house starts drying up. The down side of tough economic times is exactly the CORRECT time to start re-evaluating where you bank, how well your broker is helping you do your job to plan your financial future and where you shop. Tired of those pesky fees and add on charges? Now is the time to voice your concerns. You might find it is indeed a market open to your voice.

PAYING ATTENTION
Give Gov. Mike Beebee and his economic development staff some credit. In these tough economic times local chambers of commerce and city leaders have not had to sit around and wait on a call from the governor’s office when bad economic news hits a community. More times than not, Gov. Beebee’s staff and his economic development people have been in on breaking news – and that’s a good thing.

COMB OVER
A hush, hush deal is going on as Daddy W writes this item. It seems, THE DONALD, yes, Donald Trump, will be in NW Arkansas in the near future. The Donald will be part of a fundraiser, sources say, at the Embassy Suites. Get your checkbook ready, it won’t be a cheap ticket to see the world’s worst men’s hairdo wearer.

THE BIG QUESTION
How many U.S. Presidential elections have pitted both parties with sitting U.S. Senators as leading candidates? (Answer at the end of this column).
STOCK SPLIT
Well it may be a little early, but longtime Wal-Martians are hoping, now that the stock has hit a 52-week high, that it might, split. Doubtful says all the stock gurus consulting Daddy W. these days. But heck, one can always hope.

FEEDING FRENZY
As the lien holders, lawyers, hangers on and cynics gather, the date for The Legacy condo project trial has been set for the hot, dog days of summer. Maybe the sizzling action in the courtroom – and Daddy W. hears there will be some tongues wagging – will make big headlines. A good look at pretrial documents will really make some bankers blush, Daddy W. has been told.

GAS REBATES
While folks like to make fun of quirky Eureka Springs, that eclectic city’s business people have the right idea. Come to Eureka Springs, stay in our B&B and we’ll give you a $20 to $35 gas card for making the trip. More hotels and inns are offering those these days and cash registers are ringing in the Carroll County hamlet.

CATHOLIC HIGH 2
With the appointment of a new Catholic Bishop for Arkansas (and this one with a Hispanic background from nearby Oklahoma) efforts are underway to gain approval for a Catholic high school in NWA. The local parishes (Fayettville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville and other areas) say there is a need. All they need is a nod from Bishop Anthony B. Taylor.

SHARED WHAT?
Washington County is spending $40,000 on a study to see if it can “share” parking with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and The Bassett Law Firm and others across the street from the courthouse. Daddy W. has a $40,000 answer for them. Nope. Won’t work. Any skybridge across College (which is also a state highway) will never be approved. What a waste of money. Even a shared lot with the church next door – Fayetteville First Christian Church – would be a stretch.

XNA STILL STRONG
The February boardings and pounds of mail and freight is still going up., even in these uncertain times at XNA. There were 42,952 boardings in February 2008 as compared to 39,309 a year ago. With an increase of 2,172 pounds of mail and freight in 2008 as compared to 1,478. Fort Smith boarded 6,494 folks in 2008 as compared to 5,953 a year ago.

The Big Answer: Zero. Never has both parties fielded sitting U.S. Senators in the U.S. Presidential race.

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