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Music, ice cream and birthdays at the Senior Center (By Ann Ashcraft)

July 24, 2014

Margaret SEZ’S. “We want every senior in Hot Spring County to be able to enjoy their senior years and you can do this by eating a balanced meal each day and staying active. We want to encourage you to come into the Senior Center if you are not already doing so and socialize with others your age. We provide transportation to anyone who needs a ride. All you need to do is call 332-5374.

Tetanus pain in my arm (By Gretchen Ritchey)

July 24, 2014

Ever wonder why your arm hurts after receiving a tetanus shot?
Apparently there is not a definite answer as to what makes my arm hurt.
Sunday, July 20, I stepped on a nail. It had been nearly nine years since my last tetanus shot, so of course, I needed one.
When I was in seventh grade, a classmate passed away from tetanus. Since then, I have always had concerns of tetanus. Something I do not want. Always been told it was a serious disease that affects your nervous system that usually leads to serious pain of lock-jaw, which is what it is commonly known to be called.
There is no cure for tetanus at this time. That’s scary.
Because of tetanus vaccines, the number of cases in the United States are rare. According to the Mayo Clinic there are about 1 million cases reported yearly worldwide.
Since I have all sorts of critters running about in my backyard, I figured getting up-to-date on my vaccine was a good idea.
I was, however, surprised when I called my doctor’s office to make an appointment and they informed me that they did not give those shots in the office. They told me I would need to get that shot from the Health Department.
At the Health Department I asked the nurse if my arm would feel sore the next day like it did the last time. She said, “it shouldn’t.”
She was so very wrong. Yes, my arm has been hurting for a good 24 hours. While I am sure that the pain will go away as my body accepts the vaccine, it can’t happen soon enough for me.
I remember previous tetanus shots making my arm sore but I can’t remember them causing this much pain. But, this year the nurse suggested that I get the Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis) shot because it included a vaccine for whopping cough.
Some of you may wish not to get certain vaccines but for me tetanus is a must. Growing up I was always told that horses carried tetanus, so I was routinely given a vaccine. My doctor told me during my visit that she did not believe it to be true that horses carry it; she said tetanus is in the ground and I should be worried given the amount and variety of critters I have.
I told her that I vaccinate my horses and goats each year for tetanus. She laughed and said, “you vaccinate your goats better then you do yourself.” I guess that is one way to look at it.
Tetanus is caused by a bacteria called Clostridium tetani. A rod-shaped organism that hangs out in the soil that thrives in warm weather and well cultivated soil, according to If you have horses you’re soil is probably well cultivated from their hooves.
According to tetanus bacteria can be ingested by horses and can be found in a horse’s gut and/or their droppings, but the spores themselves are not toxic to the animal.
According to the Mayo Clinic, when the Clostridium tetani bacteria enters a wound spores release a powerful toxin, called tetanospasmin, which actively impairs your motor neurons, nerves that control your muscles. The most common symptoms of tetanus are spasms and stiffness in your jaw muscles, stiffness of your neck muscles, difficulty swallowing, stiffness of your abdominal muscles, painful body spasms lasting for several minutes, typically triggered by minor occurrences, such as a draft, loud noise, physical touch or light. Some people may also suffer from fever, sweating, elevated blood pressure and rapid heart rate.
For your safety if you have not received a tetanus vaccine within the last 10 years you should consider one, especially if you have had a deep wound.

A week of random thoughts upon my return

July 22, 2014

By Eric Moore — As some of you may have known, I took the opportunity last week to go on vacation.
I secluded myself to an area with little-to-no television and purposely kept myself out of the loop when it came to all things sports... in a way.
I still went out to the local creeks and rivers and enjoyed my time off, but being the sports junkie that I am, the thoughts of competitive events will forever permeate my brain.
Even while I was spending time “relaxing” at a creek with my closest friends and their kids, I managed to turn skipping stones into a contest.

Outdoor concerts and child do not mix well

July 22, 2014

By Ronna Pennington —

I learned something new this weekend: my daughter and outdoor concerts don’t quite mix.
I thought if anything, it would be the gnats or other flying creatures that would bother her most about sitting outdoors for a few hours. As it turns out, I was at least partly right. We went to Magic Springs Saturday night to hear one of her favorite Disney performers in concert.

63 chromosomes and full of sass

July 17, 2014

By Gretchen Ritchey

I remember as a child my grandfather, Myrtic Ashley, plowing his garden using a mule.

Grandson of slave becomes magazine publisher, makes the Forbes 400, receives freedom medal

June 14, 2014

By Dr. Ken Bridges
“Failure is a word I simply don’t accept,” said John Harold Johnson in an interview once. He faced obstacles and controversy his entire life, but the Arkansas native rose from deep poverty to becoming one of the most successful businessmen in the world, and in the process, giving a voice to a community eager to be heard.

Inspired by Angelou

May 30, 2014

I’ll never be a Maya Angelou. I believe if you talk to most people who become journalists or writers, they will say they realized their serious love for writing in about fifth or sixth grade. At Smith Elementary, it was sixth grade for me — when we read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” in Mr. Brook’s literature class.
It was too deep for me to grasp at the time, but I was most impressed with the fact that I was studying something in school that a woman from Arkansas had written. I couldn’t understand her struggle or her pain, so her triumphs were lost on me.

Hi-Ho Silver! Away!

July 18, 2013

By Gretchen Ritchey, staff writer —

“The Lone Ranger” fell to “Despicable Me 2” in its opening weekend, although I’m not sure why.

A big pup named Izzy

May 24, 2013

Welcoming a new puppy onto the farm can sometimes be difficult.
I acquired a Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd mix female puppy a few weeks back. Yes, she’s going to be a very large dog if her size at nine weeks is any indication.
I gave her the name Izzy. Not sure why I decided on Izzy, but it sounded good and was easy to speak. I call her “Iz” for short when she’s being a cute and cuddly puppy.

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