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Daddy Warbucks

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It’s no surprise. With this summer’s high fuel prices and the steadily rising cost of food, the cost of the annual Thanksgiving dinner — the turkey, stuffing, yams, green beans, rolls, and of course, pumpkin pie — is up again. This year a family of four can be fed, farm groups say, for just under $46 to $49. That’s up a whopping 6 percent over last year’s $41 to $46 feast. And there’s no relief in sight, with projections for next year’s dinner already topping $50 and possibly hitting as high as $55!
The sad part is, as we all know, the dirt farmer out in rural America is not seeing any extra profit, but he is feeling the impact of the fuel costs and the failed farm subsidiary programs, which are pinching family-owned operations.
Even the big boys, like Pilgrim’s Pride, Tyson, Honeysuckle and others that come to mind when thinking about oven-roasted turkey, are hurting in this economic mess.
Just days ago, in a White House Rose Garden ceremony, President George W. Bush, one of the lamest lame-duck presidents in history, will have pardoned the annual White House turkey to some petting zoo instead of the dinner table. All the while, the duck has done little to ease the inflation and recession to help out the family farms and families struggling to place food on the tables in this country. Gobble, gobble folks. Enjoy the holiday.

Big Question
What percentage of Americans earning more than $100,000 a year say they live paycheck to paycheck? Answer at the end of the column.

Call Boom
Malvern, down in Central Arkansas, is the latest city crowing about getting a call center. Some 500 jobs are projected, the city proudly proclaims. Call centers, as Fayetteville remembers, come and they go. Anyone remember West coming to town and leaving?

Wal-Mart’s Army
The U.S. Army Reserve is now in a partnership with the world’s largest retailer. The one-of-a-kind agreement allows both organizations to recruit, train and employ individuals interested in both serving the nation and pursuing a career in the retail industry. Can you say “Salute” and by the way, “Welcome to Walmart!”

New Name
The old Billiard Palace out along U.S. 62 has been renamed. It’s now The 62 Event Center and the adjacent venue, The 62 Lounge. This is a Catropa enterprise.

Danny Ford
The name of this former Razorback football coach has come up for various big-time head coaching jobs around the South. So what is the former national champion coach of Clemson doing these days? Well, he’s helping the missus and a daughter run a framing operation in South Carolina while overseeing his small ranch of beef cattle. It don’t take a rocket scientist to guess that he won’t coach again.

Big $$ Gifts
If you are reading this, you are probably too late to run to Sam’s Club and get the best big dollar gifts this holiday season. You see, those who can spend the big bucks are already spending. For the holidays, Sam’s offered such “gems” as a speaking role on “As the World Turns,” at $13,500, a front row seat at the Critic’s Choice Awards in LA, again at $13,500, or how about four tickets to a Kenny Chesney concert in Dallas, only $9,900. Who said Neiman Marcus has anything on the Walmartians?

Legacy Sold
On the courthouse steps a big sale. The big, new, mostly unoccupied Legacy Building in foreclosure was sold to Legacy National Bank for $11.25 million, much less than the $18.72 million mortgage held by the bank. The bank, of course, bought the property to recoup its investment. This was one of the many projects of Brandon Barber and the Barber Group.

Big Answer
Almost one-fourth of Americans making more than $100,000 a year, actually 21 percent, say they live paycheck to paycheck.
Got a tip? E-mail to Daddy W. at daddyw@freeweekly.com.

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