Something has "shifted." Do you sense it? Yea team!!!

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In honor of this (ever increasing) victory, we're going to address a "business as usual" topic today and hopefully, at the same time, respond to a lot of folks who keep asking me the same question over and over again.

The current example of this comes from a dear friend of 30 years. (Egad, Bob. Has it really been that long?) He and his son just recently built a website and I've been offering a few hints. Our most recent exchange on this subject went like this...

Chris: My website is not doing as well as expected. Actually every Michigan driver needs to visit it at least once, don't they? So anything short of a million visits is just so much partial victory. Over the past coupla weeks, my visitors average went from 30 to 20 to 15. I alerted a Freep columnist, 2 masonry union officials, my fellow trial lawyer listserv members, relatives and friends. Spen put metatags into a search engine. I added the names of the coverages to my mission page (for search engines to find). You linked to me. So far nothing has really caught on. ~Bob

To which I responded...

Well Bob, you are simply finding out what (almost) everyone else who ever posted a website has learned: A website is simply a "virtual storefront" on a very busy highway. Building it and getting it listed in various directories -- whether the local phone book or a global search engine -- is the easy part. Getting folks to "come through the door" takes a bit of skill and finesse!!!

A couple of things you could/should do to boost visitors to your site:

#1 -- Send out a news release, for example:

(today's date)

LAW CHANGES, LEAVES MOTORISTS HOLDING THE BAG: A new website on the Internet offers useful information about automobile insurance. Developed by attorney Robert Ponte with the help of his (what age?) son, the site explains the so-called "underinsured motorist" and "uncoordinated personal injury protection" coverage.

"What we don't know about this hurts us," said Ponte. "Especially when we buy insurance. What the companies and agents don't tell us can easily cost us tens of thousands of dollars in the event of an injury claim."

Ponte said his consumer advocacy was spurred by "seeing this kind of tragedy unfold too many times" in his office, and that his website is the first phase of his campaign to educate consumers about recent changes in the law that have caused Michigan drivers to lose very valuable insurance benefits.

"This remarkable new legal interpretation can easily wipe out any bodily injury coverage payable to us," said Ponte. "And our insurance agent has no legal duty to tell us anything about it."

For more information, visit Ponte's website at, or phone (877) 475-9191. And note, Ponte does NOT sell insurance.

Of course printing and mailing news releases in the traditional way is costly. However, nearly all major publications accept news releases by email. To find publications to distribute to in this manner, have a look at and browse through their Media Links which, with a couple of clicks, will take you to the websites of a huge variety of media outlets. Of course you'll have to visit each of these various websites to harvest an editor's email address, and this is a time consuming process. But still, there is no out-of-pocket cost.

#2 -- Advertise your website by placing some small ads in the classifieds of various publications. Trade journals and specialty magazines with targeted audiences (ie: senior citizens, sports, education) are very good for this. The ads are usually pretty cheap if you stay within the minimum number of (usually around 20) words, for example:

CONSUMER ADVOCACY WEBSITE,, explains changes to law that can cost you thousands. Learn what you need to know, (877) 475-9191.

And finally, since I needed to write a new editorial for Gozarks front page, I've decided that I'm going to post this note to you. I get a lot of questions about "How do I promote my website?" So I'm sure a number of people will find it useful.

And, since Gozarks now averages OVER 400 VISITORS PER DAY (and yes, even I am impressed), you may get some side effect benefit from this. And if you do, please let me know so I can boost my advertising rates and up my Website development and Internet marketing fees <<tee-hee>>!!!

Anyway, hope some of this helps. Keep smiling!!!


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"Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood." ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

We did this yesterday, January 18, 2003, right here in Van Buren County. That is, we assembled in a somewhat random yet intrinsically purposeful manner, exchanged interesting ideas, shared useful information, and got something of value done, thus scribing a new verse to the poem of community.

Click here to read my pictorial editorial about this outstanding event!!!

Talk about chutzpah...
As war with Iraq seems to edge ever closer, former US Marine Kenneth Nichols O'Keefe - who fought in the Gulf War - plans to lead a group of Westerners to be human shields. [Click for full BBC News report.]

What do you think...???
There is a move a foot, calling for the impeachment of our President and other highly placed federal officials. Is this a show of patriotism by the citizens of a Constitutional Republic, or is it sedition? Click here to read more about it, then think about it and decide for yourself.

Bigger fist to fry...
It seems that several folks I know are having delays in receiving their email... but thankfully I do not seem to be one of these (at least not that I've become aware). However, some of my emails have been delayed in getting to others as a result of this and it ticks me off... Because "instantness" is the whole purpose of email and I think that it is awful that an email sent at 1:40pm did not get to its designated Inbox until after 5pm.

And this makes me wonder, has the Internet/system already started to degrade? Or is it just a "commercial" thing, with "suppliers" finding "new and better" ways to "cut corners" and increase profits (at our expense)??? Or, is it our government's new monitoring & filtering systems?

I dunno. And right at this moment I'm feeling like I don't want to find out. That is (and I'll forewarn you, I'm about to go on a decidedly sour rant) there is just so much of this kind of "stuff" going on that I'm feeling completely fed up!

For starters, I am exhausted with "reporters" who are getting paid to report the news not doing their jobs. I'm also perturbed with all these "public relations" specialists who couldn't graduate from "journalism 101" and should rightly be called "money grubbing butt-kissers." And I'm exasperated with "public officials" who don't have a clue about what their "real job" is supposed to be, let alone how to actually do the job well.

And all of this together is rapidly raising my ire because these and so many all-too-similar (yet superficially unrelated random events) are resulting in the grave degradation the precious, vital and God-given liberties that we Americans hold most dear.

With that said, I'll point you the truthout website and sincerely encourage you to read at least three articles there: Smallpox in America, 2003 Inauguration Address, and Huge Demonstrations set for DC and Frisco.

As quoted from the Smallpox article (above), I wholeheartedly concur:

"While in the short term, Bush might maintain 'order' (a term hauntingly reminiscent of the Nazi aphorism "Alles in Ordnung") by forcing his will and his way on the world, it will not last, and we Americans will be the ones to suffer for his mistakes."

Weiss Responds...
Re: Barbara Sullivan's Letter to the Sun-Times Editor, January 10, 2003 (see Community Water System index of articles for details):

I appreciate (Barbara's) response to my  McNeill keeps CWS seat (January 8, 2003, Sun-Times) article and confess to still sorting out many of these complexities. At the same time I sincerely believe that the points I made, about which Barbara is concerned, are accurate to the degree of communicating a "general understanding" (except for my assertion of a 7 member board which is obviously flawed and I assure you that this mistake shall not be repeated).

On other points, however, and looking specifically at some of the numbers I referenced on the Lonoke/White Project as an example: On the detailed map I received at the project meeting, the Lonoke/White Project (including phase 3) shows delivery points in 5 counties however the communities served by this delivery line are spread over 6 counties.

Admittedly, when doing any kind of condensed overview it is a challenge to simplify things sufficiently without "losing the thread," yet I continually
strive to accomplish this goal and 99.5% of the time I actually achieve it!

In addition, I have serious questions about the way CWS by-laws are being interpreted and applied to various matters of late and respectfully suggest that Barbara's assertion about the by-laws requiring "a vote of 10% (507) of the retail customers to remove (a director)" is in error.

In fact, Article IX, Section 6. of the CWS by-laws says (in part): "Officers and directors may be removed from the next regular or special meeting of the members...if approved by a vote of the majority of those voting if a quorum is present."

Note that it says "officers AND directors." Also that the voting must be done by the "members," and that there must be a quorum (defined as "at least 50 members entitled to vote") present (in person or by legal proxy), and that a majority of these 50+ members must vote for the removal.

In addition, be aware that this is the same section of the by-laws that the board referenced at the January 6 meeting which they said was the reason for their inability to remove McNeill from his directorship. However, again noting the "officers and directors" stipulation of the by-laws, I would like very much to understand how the board removed him from his presidency.

Especially considering that this same by-laws section includes the stipulation that the director or officer called into question must be notified in writing of the charges brought against him/her at least 20 days prior to this (properly noticed) membership meeting and "shall have the opportunity at such meeting to be heard in person or by counsel and to present witnesses."

With all this considered, and duly noting the fact that I am NOT a by-laws attorney, I sincerely apologize for any confusion created by me about any of this and pledge to continue questing for factual accuracy in everything I write.



Serious business...
A lot is happening on this Ozark homefront that all of us *should* be paying attention to. Events are unfolding that will either effect us directly or that may be doppelgangers to happenings in your neck of the woods.

For starters, there is this totally uncomfortable situation brewing at Community Water System (CWS) and this is of awesome importance to all of us locals whose tap water is pumped from Greers Ferry Lake and purified by this local utility for delivery to thousands and thousands of homes throughout north central Arkansas.

The outcome of these matters will, in one way or another, have a direct bearing on our water rates and, if we look to recent California scenarios (see: Water Policy and Water Shortage Plan) and Nevada concerns (see: Limit Growth), factor in similar circumstances here (see: "Water is prize in search by utilities," Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 12/26/02) which put Greers Ferry Lake at the top of a list for "new water sources" for central Arkansas (aka: Little Rock et al), what's brewing at CWS right now could be a precursor to a lot more games and fun.

The surly CWS circumstance churned to the surface (no pun intended) shortly before Christmas with the unexpected firing of Greg Smith, longtime general manager of the utility. In a nutshell, Smith was canned amidst a torrent of accusations such as illegal contributions to political candidates, falsification of records, intimidation of CWS employees, and dereliction of his general manager responsibilities.

Smith, though his attorney, proclaims innocence and is rumored to be filing some type of wrongful dismissal suit.

Next on the chopping block, the CWS board targeted fellow member Jim McNeill, removing him from the office of board president -- an action which McNeill is vehemently contesting -- and the CWS board reportedly now has plans to put the axe to McNeill's membership on this governing body at a public meeting to be held the evening of January 6. (For exact info on time and place, contact CWS offices at 1-800-234-2971.)

At the same time, a cyclone of accusations allege nefarious plots so dark that if touched by the light of day they would crumble the bedrock upon which the CWS Public Water Authority is built. To get a glimmer of what's going on, have a look at this series of articles published in the Heber Springs Sun-Times. (And whilst your reading, please note that one of these was written by me!)

Now, who said things are dull in the Ozarks?

Anyway, stay tuned for updates as they come.

Also on this new year's agenda, I feel I must continue to comment on the exponentially growing mass, rapidly approaching cosmic proportions, surrounding our nation's promulgated policies on Iraq and Korea. Yet all I can bring myself to say with any clarity about this is, wow.

I am dumbfounded by the contradictory approaches our administration has taken in response to these two very different yet all so much the same national security concerns... and I am heartened that the mainstream media (did you watch CNN Crossfire last night?) are giving this double standard an astonished look.

But still, what it all comes down to in my book is the civic apathy we Americans have been guilty of for the last far too many years. It's self-defeating, socially detrimental, personally embarrassing and, with due respect folks, it's got to stop.

Which brings me to talking about another event that's in play for January 18... Have you heard about it? Well, probably not if all your news comes from network TV. But if you're a Webwatcher and you've been paying attention, you gotta be thinking by now that January 18 is going to be a day to behold. And if you don't have a clue what I'm talking about, just have a look right here.

After you peruse the link above and get a sense of what this is all about, if you have a desire to show support for this cause but would rather participate at a local venue, just give a click here.

So that's the long and the short of it at this moment in time, except to say that I wish all and each of you a happy, nurturing, comfortable, sweet and peaceful 2003. Fact of the matter is, though, if this is ever gonna happen we've all gotta make it so.

Wishing all of us the future we prefer, desire and deserve to enjoy...

Christine Weiss

Hey! Come visit us at SassafrasWilds!!!


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In the Spotlight

Sun-Times & Gozarks reports on
Community Water System


Van Buren County Green Party debuts website!

Click here to cast your vote now in the national referendum to stop the war in Iraq.

New Book!

Entirely Online!!!


Holley Mountain Airpark

Clean-up Rally
Van Buren County
Saturday, Jan. 18
Click for details


Rants of an Agitator

A Special "Reality Check" Report by Gozarks

Cancer cure research buried and ignored.

In the interest of fanning the most valiant flame and adding fuel to a vibrant fire, Gozarks is pleased to debut our brand new Liberty, Justice & Democracy section... which we hope will become a personal treasure for you!!!

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Looking for a great source of "NOT the same-old, same-old" news?
Click Here!!!

and then also
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Be proactive...

Great Family Project!!!  Learn how to build a model of a geodesic dome with instructions provided by:





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