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Daddy Warbucks

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Daddy Warbucks
BIG QUESTION: The United Nations says each square mile of ocean contains bits of floating plastic. How many bits?
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Bottled water backlash
First the city, now the UA
It looks like the sustainability council at the University of Arkansas is meddling in a bottler’s business that would contribute to making his business unsustainable.
Breck Speed, the CEO of Mountain Valley Spring Water, the well-known bottled-water company based in Hot Springs, is complaining about his alma mater. The UA’s new sustainability douncil recently announced that its first project will be reducing and ultimately eliminating, the use of bottled water on campus.
Shades of Mayor Coody, is what’s going on. But, in case you haven’t heard, bottled water and other plastic bottled products are still for sale in city’s vending machines, despite the mayor’s new conference and attempt to curb the appetite for bottled water.
Speed’s complaining that the UA was going after his business and an Arkansas company. After lodging a complaint with UA officials, the sustainability council issued a more tactfully worded “correction” saying the project to limit bottled water would be voluntary and that bottled water would not be removed from the shelves of campus vendors. It didn’t satisfy Speed, though. A show down is expected next month when there’s a kick off event for the sustainability.
Speed, who holds a law degree from the UA, is further annoyed that the sustainability council won’t meet with him. He has already crossed swords with Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody.

PURPLE STORES
Walmart unveiled a new store format in Arizona by opening four small grocery stores in the Phoenix area. Each of the new stores has a plum-purple color format. From big blue to plum purple? Go figure. The stores are less than a tenth of the size of Supercenters and the new 15,000 sq ft stores are under the Marketside logo, rather than the Wal-Mart name. They mark the retailer’s test of a small neighborhood store format that has been the focus of Tesco’s U.S. expansion with its new 10,000 sq ft Fresh & Easy stores.

LESS SHOTS
There may be a change in state law that will allow pet owners to vaccinate their dogs and cats against rabies every three years instead of every year. This would be a part of the state Health Department’s legislative package next year. Most rabies vaccines now provide immunity for three years, and one vaccine on the market is effective for up to four years. Arkansas has required once-a-year rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats since 1945, when vaccines were licensed for one year.
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DEER HITS
Arkansas still ranks in the top five states for automobile vs. deer hits on Arkansas roadways. West Virginia is in the infamous No. 1 sport for deer strikes. Get this: One out of 45 West Virginians will hit a deer. Next are Michigan, Pennsylvania and Iowa. The least likely place to run into a deer while driving? Hawaii.
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COTTON DOWN
There is an old saying in the Delta, that when gold is up, cotton is down.. Well gold is trading at a 20 year high and cotton yields and prices are expected to be down in the South. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
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GAS DOWN
With gas under $3 a gallon, folks are acting like the price at the pump is a bargain. Well, it is at today’s historic prices. Yet oil is under $80 a barrel. For how long? About as long as gasoline is $2.99 a gallon. In the meantime, those food prices still seems to be rising.

STILL 55
It looks like a recent study by the Arkansas Highway Department will, for now, keep the speed limit at 55 in the state. The study investigated raising the speed limit to 65. Why did they stick with the low number? The state’s roads, ill designed for speed, would began claiming more lives at increased speeds.
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MORE BARBER WOES
The foreclosures and judgments continue to fall against former developer Brandon Barber. Foreclosure notices has been filed on the Barber office building.
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MORE LAYOFFS
Another 41 workers, this time in the outpatient therapy section of Mercy Medical Center, are being laid-off and a portion of the hospital closed. Bad news from Mercy Health System of Northwest Arkansas. In addition to the full-time workers who will lose their jobs, the hospital is also eliminating 20 part-time positions. The hospital will transfer its outpatient therapy patients to other programs in the area.
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NEW LOWS
The wild swings of the stock market has forced some Arkansas firms to reach 52 week lows for the year, Tyson Foods, Murphy Corp., J.B. Hunt just to mention a few that Daddy W.’ has his eye on.

WRMC NWA’s LARGEST
Fayetteville’s Washington Regional Medical Center is the sixth largest hospital in state according to recent ranking. This didn’t surprise Daddy W. Little Rock’s Baptist Medical Center is No. 1 followed by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, at a close No.2. Others in the three through five spots are: St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Little Rock (the late newspaper columnist Richard Allin always called it St. Vincent’s Infirmary); St. Joseph’s in Jonesboro and Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.

BIG ANSWER: Some 46,000 bits of plastic are said to be floating in every square mile of ocean.

Talk Back. Post your comments to Daddy Warbucks at www.freeweekly.com.

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