2001 Newsletter Produced By Black Oak Resort
P.O. Box 100 - Oakland, AR 72661 - (870) 431-8363
www.blackoakresort.com - e-mail: vacation@blackoakresort.com

Greetings and Happy New Year
To All Of Our 2000 Guests

Table of Contents:

 

Subscribe to our electronic newsletter and receive this by e-mail!

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Our Holiday Hello

Welcome to Black Oak Resort!To all our guests of last year and years past, we hope you all had a great holiday! We want to say thank-you to you all for coming to stay with us, and for giving us the chance to live out our dream. We always are amazed at how much we enjoy getting to know our guests, and the amount of satisfaction it has provided us over the 16 years we have been here at Black Oak Resort. We're looking forward to this coming year to see you all and catch up with your lives.

This newsletter will give you some of the highlights of our year in review, and keep you up to date with what's new and what next year might bring. We hope you enjoy it, and we look forward to seeing you again.

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New E-Newsletter for 2001

Progress has caught up with us here in Arkansas. So, beginning this year, our newsletter will now be an electronic newsletter that you can subscribe to.

If we already have your e-mail address, we have already signed you up and you will have received this via your e-mail. If not, you will be notified by postcard to visit our Web site to subscribe to this e-newsletter. The newsletter, as well as our current rates, will be posted on our Web site for you to view or print out.

Or, if you don't have access to the Internet, let us know if you'd like it mailed to you.

We also plan to allow you to print the newsletter with or without graphics. Don't know how this works, but we'll work on it. We also plan to send the newsletter quarterly in the future, so you don't have so much catching up to do at one time.

Not that you'd want to, but you can also un-subscribe if you wish, from our Web site.

This is actually the second newsletter we have sent electronically. If we had your e-mail address you would have received it around the beginning of September. If you didn't receive it you can find it on our Web site, dated August 16, 2000.

We're making this change for the simple reason that once we start mailing electronically, no time or money needs to be spent on layout and design, printing, envelopes, labels, stamps, ink, affixing labels, stuffing envelopes, and applying stamps.

Of course, we want to stay in touch regardless of whether or not you have e-mail. So, we'll still have some mailing to do, but hopefully a lot less. The print newsletter will not have any graphics or pictures, just text (the most important part).

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Chicago Sports Show

We will not be attending the Chicagoland Sports Show at the O'Hare Expo Center in Rosemont, Illinois in January. We will miss visiting with all our Chicagoland guests that come to visit us faithfully each year, braving the cold and usually snow, the crowds, and the expense (especially the parking). It's also very expensive for us to attend, and getting harder on us too. So we're taking down our tent and staying home instead. We'll be looking forward to seeing most of you when you come to see us this year.

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Come see us in 2001!Reservations for 2001

If you have an unconfirmed reservation for 2001, please confirm your reservation with a deposit by January 15. All tentative reservations need to be confirmed by January 15 so that we know what openings we have when people contact us for reservations.

We can confirm your reservation with a charge card, please call us -- 1-870-431-8363.

VERY IMPORTANT: If we haven't heard from you by January 15 regarding your reservation, we can not hold the reservation beyond this date.

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Our Year in Review: Trials and Tribulations

Another year is over, and what a year it was!

The year 2000 gave us the presidential election without end, the 2000 Summer Olympics, and the TV shows "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and "Survivor." With all the hours we spent in front of the TV this year, productivity at home and at work had to be down. There goes the economy!

Some words will be added to our vocabulary: Y2K, Hanging (or Pregnant, or Dimpled) Chad, 24/7, and Lockbox.

Weather Woes. When you own a resort or are in the farming industry, the weather is always the first thing you check. You worry about the rain making your guests miserable, but you want the rainfall to help the lake and your water supply and your grounds and trees! So, you have mixed emotions. The same goes if it's too hot or too cold. Then besides worrying if your guests are having a good time, you worry about your utility bills!

Our biggest headache this year was the lack of rainfall, which kept the lake level below normal all year. The drought wasn't so severe to cause any major damage to trees or established shrubs, and on the plus side, it did save us from lots of mowing! Early summer temperatures were probably slightly cooler, but when it did get hot (not really until August), it stayed hot right through September and October. But now, we're experiencing an early winter. We've had sleet and snow already, and it's only mid-December. Normally we don't get any real winter weather until around Christmas.

As of today, the lake level is coming up, but it's still not at normal levels. The good thing was that land that normally would be underwater was covered with lots of plants growing this year. This will make good cover for the spawn next year, and hopefully more fish will survive and grow up for you to catch!

Kala

Dogs. We are sorry to report that we lost our old girl, Kala, on December 8. She would have turned 16 in January. She was senile and could hardly stand, and we probably waited too long. But, our wonderful vet, Dr. Bill Presley, came out to the resort and we put her down here in her own home. We didn't have to make her take that final stressful trip to the vet's office, and for that we're very grateful!

In her prime, Kala was a beautiful, affectionate, though shy Siberian Husky. She was devoted to Michael, but towards the end, she became very dependent on us both. She liked to drink beer and wine, so you had to be very careful where you set your glass down, or she'd bite right through it trying to get every last drop. She loved to run, and Betty would take her on her runs on Ozark Isle up until she started having trouble keeping up. One thing you couldn't do with Kala was let her run off-leash. You could see her struggling to make up her mind whether she would come back to you, or just keep on going!

Betty and Mike with AbigailWe buried Kala right next to Herbie and Grant on the resort. The statue of St Francis, a gift from Joanne and Jerry Logan, watches over them.

Of course, we now have Abigail, our miniature lab, who is providing us much comfort in our sorrow. Abby will celebrate her first birthday on December 26. She's now up to 50 pounds, and we are so in love with her already. We're glad she came into our life when she did.

 

Jitterbug

Cats. Our cat population has stabilized at 15 (Bat Ears, Little-Little, Jitterbug, Fluffy, Cutie Pie, Little Cutie, Whiny Cat, Handsome, Igor, Pinky, Scaredy Cat, Little Bit, Baby Cakes, Miss Lily and Blackie). We got rid of our Cat Car (Betty's Mercury wagon) - sold it to Mary. Four of our cats live inside, the rest outside and find shelter either in the dog house or pool shed or garage, or even in our boats! Betty would like to let them all in, but Michael says no way!

Cats at Black Oak ResortJitterbug continues to be our trophy cat, who everyone seems taken with. He is a big, black and white tuxedo cat, who is very beautiful, wily, and loveable. He frequently takes up residence with my cat-loving guests. He spent a whole week with Ron Bielke this year, and dined on shrimp and steak. He hates it this time of year when he's just one of the bunch with nobody fussing over him. We did have a terribly close call this year with Jitterbug.

Jitterbug's Great Adventure. It was the Saturday of the Fourth of July weekend. Just about everybody checks out on Saturday, and we didn't have time to notice that Jitterbug was missing. Later in the day, we got a phone call from one of our guests that had checked out that morning. It was Lois and Dave Ficke from Belleville, Illinois. Lois told Betty that she had Jitterbug. Evidently, Jitterbug had taken a nap in their boat, and they didn't notice him, probably because he'd crawled in after they had put their boat cover on. He made the entire trip (around 260 miles) without trying to jump out of the boat. So when Lois and Dave got home, they uncovered the boat and there was Jitterbug! They took him inside and called us right away.

Needless to say, we were very upset. Michael was ready to go and get him immediately. Betty asked Lois to try and find a boarding facility to put Jitterbug in until she and Michael could figure out what to do. They checked to see if any of their guests would be coming down on Sunday, but everyone was already checked in for the week. Then they remembered Tasha Forrester and Carol Vinson, who frequently have guests join them later in their stay. They asked Tasha if anyone was expected in the next day, or even later on Saturday. Tasha said that yes, her friend D.D. Plab would be coming in the next day, and she lived really close to the Ficke's in Belleville. So, Tasha called D.D., and she agreed to bring the cat back. Betty called the Ficke's to have them talk to D.D. directly to work it out. Meanwhile, the Ficke's had not been able to find a boarding facility that was open (or taking calls over the holiday). They did have a cat carrier, and brought Jitterbug to D.D. that same evening. We had Jitterbug back with us the next day.

Tasha and Carol on the lakeWhen you think about it, so much could have gone wrong, right from the start. Jitterbug might have jumped out of the boat somewhere along the way, and we'd never have gotten him back, or he could have been killed. Or, the Ficke's might have not noticed Jitterbug in the boat, and he could have gotten out without them ever knowing he was there, or he could have been trapped inside some storage building. Or they might not have even bothered to let us know, thinking we'd be upset. Or Jitterbug could have torn up their house if they tried to confine him. (He is not one to be kept inside when he wants out. He'll tear up anything!) Or, we might have had to make the trip to get him, which would have been difficult, but we would have done it.

We can't thank everybody enough! We got Jitterbug back against all odds. That cat must have 9 lives. Thank you, Dave and Lois for being such animal lovers, and good friends to us. And thank you Tasha and Carol for everything you do for us, and for being there at this time. And thank you, D.D., for going out of your way for us. All is well, and we feel enriched by knowing you all!

Our First Vacation. Never having taken a vacation in the 16 years since we bought Black Oak Resort, we did decide that it was time to have some fun, so we took one trip to Chicago after Thanksgiving, mainly to see family. Since we won't be coming up to Chicago for the sports show, we thought it would be good to just go and have fun instead. To all our guests from the Chicago area, we're sorry we didn't get a chance to see you all. But with both our families living in the Chicagoland area, we didn't even get to see them all!

But we did get to see almost everyone, plus a side trip to Indiana near Turkey Run State Park to see Betty's sister Carol and her husband, Rich, and see their new retirement home for the first time. A special thanks to Betty's nephew Scott for letting us stay with him. We visited with our son Nick and our granddaughter, Justine. Betty visited Justine's gymnastics class. Justine is verry goood! Very athletic, fearless, way ahead of her class. (Takes after her grandmother.) We also had dinner with our son Michael.

Michael Gelsomino
Michael Gelsomino, our grand nephew. He caught this stringer while visiting Black Oak for his annual 2-week stay with us.

We met our grand-nephew Michael Gelsomino and his mom, our niece Romaine, and spent the evening at Navy Pier together. We had such a great time, and a special thank you to Michael for the Arkansas state flag he gave us. We will display it proudly, Michael.

We also visited Michael's sister Helen's home (and turkey farm) for the first time. Helen has turned into some kind of animal lover. We sat around with the family after dinner with four lab dogs. We felt right at home! Helen also introduced us to her four cats.

We also visited Michael's brother Bob for the first time at his home in Bartlett. What a lovely home, and to his wife Judy, I think you have beaten out Michael's sister Lorraine for the most Christmas stuff!

Of course, we spent a lot of time with Michael's sister and brother-in-law LORRAINE and DICK LA GONGLE. Betty and Lorraine go back a long way. They worked together at Amoco Oil, and were friends for almost 5 years before Lorraine introduced Betty to Michael. The rest is history!

Growing Older

Betty's High School Reunion. One indication that we're growing older was Betty receiving an invitation to her 40th High School Reunion. Betty attended Oak Lawn High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois, and graduated in 1960. So this puts her way up in years (you do the math)! Never having attended one of her reunions, Betty made the trip up to Oak Lawn in October.

She stayed with her old high school friend Pat Camalliere, who still lives in the area (Lemont). Her other high school friend, Mary Bayne from West Palm Beach, Florida, also joined them. Betty was struck at how great everyone still looked. (The women faring far better than the men.) About one-fourth of those from her class attended, and they did some very "neat and cool" (to coin a 1960s phrase) things, like getting each grammar school class together for a picture, and displaying lots of memorabilia and old photos. Many of her classmates traveled from far away to come back for the reunion. Of course there were the disappointments. Some of her class had passed away, and some of her friends that she really wanted to see didn't show up. Betty will try to contact them sometime this winter now that she has a list of phone numbers and addresses.

Although the reunion was really nice, Betty enjoyed visiting with her really close friends Pat and Mary and Dorothy Bogan the best. She and Pat and Mary met Dorothy for lunch, even though Dorothy was unable to attend the reunion. Betty's other regret was that Michael couldn't be with her. He had other commitments (like the resort)!

Health Update. As far as our health goes, there's really nothing new to report, which is good news. The only really bad news is that Michael's brother Len (Bobby) was diagnosed with bile duct cancer. We did take that trip up to Chicago to see him, and we're hoping for the best.

Oh, and one other health-related gripe. Our medical insurance is now up to $8,000 a year, with the last increase just last month at close to 50%. And we've not even had a claim. It's just that we have each gotten a year older, and they are trying to shake us loose. What can we do, we have to have health insurance! We are reaching a point where it is probably better to invest that money and go without any insurance until we qualify for medicare. But there's the rub. It's those really serious illnesses that none of us can afford that are the problem. So that's the Catch-22. Too expensive to afford, but not having any insurance is too expensive a risk to take. There, we feel better already!

Betty's News

Chicago Marathon. Betty is ashamed to report that, though she started out running the Chicago Marathon this October 22, she quit and dropped out at 12 miles. The reason: The humidity was very high, and it was warmer than in previous marathons (although it must have seemed cool to the spectators). Because of being overweight, Betty doesn't run very well in the heat, and she was experiencing difficulty breathing early on. So she decided to call it a day, and wait until next year. The really bad part of it was, Betty was anticipating that it would get a lot hotter before she would finish, and it clouded up and never got any hotter at all! So she was really kicking herself. She has vowed never to quit again, and will be back next year. Also, the funny part is that she was probably better trained this year than in any other year. But she thoroughly enjoyed watching the suffering finishers for the rest of the race. Only a marathoner could relate to this!

Betty, Herbie and Tub
Betty, her beloved dog Herbie and cat Tub enjoying a good book together!

Book Reviews, Etc. This winter, Betty is catching up on mounds of paperwork and doing lots of reading, which is something she never has enough time for. She just finished one of the best books she's ever read. If you haven't had a chance to read it, do it now. Then we'll dish about it, and how it came along at just the right moment in Betty's life. The title: "A Man in Full", by Tom Wolfe. She also loved "A Pack of Two", by Caroline Knapp. If you've ever loved a dog, you'll surely enjoy this book!

Betty is getting Abby used to long walks and runs on Ozark Isle, and it's a wonder to see a young dog enjoy running free, especially after losing the last of our three old dogs. Of course, this only will last while the island is closed to traffic, usually through April. Then, it's back on the leash for Abby til next October.

Mike's News

Michael is still Fire Chief of the Oakland/Promise Land Fire Department, and he finally accomplished almost everything he set out to do. Our department was tested by the Insurance Service Organization (ISO), which is a national testing service for fire insurance ratings. We had been a Class 9 for as long as we lived here. (Class 10 being the worst, almost uninsurable, down to a Class 1, being the unattainable). This rating determines how much your fire insurance costs.

After years of hard work, our test results put our department at a Class 6, with a potential to be a Class 5, which is unheard of for a rural department (no hydrants, and a 100 square mile coverage area, and no mutual aid from neighboring fire departments due to the distance). Most home-owners saw a reduction in their rates of up to 50%. Michael is very proud of what he's been able to accomplish. Of course that's with the entire community supporting and helping him! But he's not one to rest on his laurels - he's going for the Class 5 now, and knowing Michael and his perseverance, he'll do it.

Betty has long been after Michael to eat healthier and take his vitamins. Well, he's finally coming around, and recently was even sighted eating wheat bread!

Around The Resort

We couldn't do without our helpers. The biggest job is that done by our staff of housekeepers. Gerry is still with us, and Lorraine started this past year. We will soon be adding Lucy too. Al is still Michael's right-hand man, who we couldn't do without. Betty still calls upon Mary and Linda to help out when things are really hopping around the resort, although both now have full-time jobs and are doing great! John is still a big help with all our maintenance.

Thank you all again for a very good year. We're looking forward to the coming year and seeing you all again in '01!

Signature - Mike and Betty Scrima

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2000 Fishing Contest Results

Last year the best month for fishing turned out to be May, with winning fish in five categories. July came in second, with two winners. See, you can catch fish in hot weather here, you just have to get down to the cooler water.

We had a "Resort Record" walleye, with the huge 11.6 pound, 32 inch walleye caught by J R Nesbit of Trevor, Wisconsin. He just beat out Michael's record 11.4 pound walleye, caught in July, 1993. We also had an amazing year for walleye, especially in May, June and July. The fact that a million walleye are stocked in the lake each year is probably the reason. Also, so few of our fisherman have been fishing for them. To be sure, they're starting to now!

Illinois is the big winner again with 6 winners hailing from our home state. We did manage to have one winner from Arkansas this year, thanks to 12 year old Travis Bewley from Atkins, Arkansas. He was also our only child winner. We also had two women winners: Jayme Zeman, of Roanoke, Illinois, for her 4.5 pound hybrid striper; and Sharon Streske, of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, for her 3.1 pound white bass. Nice work, ladies!

Also, downrigger fishing still is producing a great number of fish for our guests. The hybrid striper, rainbow trout, and record walleye were all caught downrigging. Be sure to talk to Michael about this fishing technique, and bring your downrigging equipment along. Michael will help you get started.

We also had two of our winners "catch and release" their fish. Mike Philipps successfully released his 3.4 pound Kentucky to live to fight another day. Travis Bewley, our 12-year old wanted to release his 4.6 pound largemouth. But because it was caught in the heat of the summer, it is very difficult to practice this technique if you have to bring the fish in to the dock to be weighed for the contest. He did try very hard, and we're sure he did release some of his other nice fish. We are always heartened when our guests practice "catch and release" fishing.

All our winners will receive a 10% discount off their cabin this year. Congratulations, winners!

Walleye
JR Nesbit of Trevor, WI caught the season's largest Walleye

JR Nesbit and wife Olga of Trevor, WI caught the season's largest Walleye
11.6 pounds, 32 inches
J R Nesbit, Trevor WI
May 30, 7 p.m.
Clear, Sunny, Warm, Light Breeze
41 Ft., Downrigger, Point 8
Blue & Silver Pro King Spoon
Water Temperature: 78

White Bass
3.1 pounds, 19 inches
Sharon Streske, Buffalo Grove, IL
May 22, 9 a.m.
Sunny, Warm, Calm
Trolling, 19 Feet
Chartreuse with Black Back Hot-n-Tot

Crappie
Dave O'Donnell of Park Forest, Ill. caught the season's largest crappie
2.3 pounds, 16 inches
Dave O'Donnell, Park Forest, IL
May 2, 7 p.m.
Rain, Calm, Mild
Smoke Grub
10 Feet

Rainbow Trout
3 pounds
Dan Wilczak, Lake-In-The-Hills, IL
July 13, 7:30 a.m.
Clear, Calm
55 Feet, Downrigging
Blue & Silver Pro King

Hybrid Striper
4.5 pounds, 23 inches
Jayme Zeman, Roanoke, IL
August 3, 7 p.m.
Hot, Sunny, Calm
58 Feet, Downrigging
Blue & Chrome Pro King

Largemouth Bass
Travis Bewley of Atkins, Arkansas caught the season's largest largemouth bass
4.6 pounds
Travis Bewley, Atkins, AR
12 Years Old
July 6, 10 a.m.
Sunny, Calm, Hot
Purple & White Bill Norman DD14
Trolling 75 Feet
Attempt Catch and Release

Smallmouth
3.1 pounds
Rich Priller, Schaumburg, IL
May 15, 8 p.m.
Nighttime, Windy, Cool
15 Feet
Floating Smithwick, Black & Orange & Silver

Kentucky Bass
Michael Philipps of Davis Junction, Illinois caught the season's biggest kentucky bass
3.4 pounds
Michael Philipps, Davis Junction, IL
May 12, (Morning)
Windy, Overcast
Smoke Grub on a Rocky Point
Catch and Release

In Memory

Dave O'Donnell, Greg Marrin and Rich Jacobucci
Dave O'Donnell, Greg Marrin and Rich Jacobucci fishing at Black Oak Resort in May.

In Memory. Greg Marrin came to fish with his buddies Dave O'Donnell and Rich Jacobucci this past May. They had a great time fishing, and caught a lot of fish (Dave caught the big crappie in our contest). Shortly after their stay with us, we got a call from Rich that Greg had died suddenly of an apparent heart attack in his home. He was 51 years old. We are so saddened that Greg was taken so soon. He loved fishing, and was always ready to try new things. The three of them got along so well. We know Dave and Rich miss him. Our sympathy to his family and friends.


"Best" Area Restaurants

New Restaurants:

  • Bodo's Italian and Seafood Restaurant, Mountain Home (beer & wine)
  • Eclectic Eggplant, Mountain Home (lunch only -- beer & wine)
  • Ryan's Ribs, (Old Raintree Restaurant, on College in Mountain Home)
  • Topper's College Restaurant, Mountain Home (lunch only)

Betty's Restaurant Review - Eclectic Eggplant
Corner Hwy 201 North & Coley Drive, Mountain Home
870-425-7379
Hours: 11-2 Monday-Friday

At last, a lunch place that impresses. Betty has known Dana Rush, owner (with her daughter Aubra) of Eclectic Eggplant, for many years, having worked with her on various boards and committees of the local chambers and tourism organizations. Dana previously owned Sportsman's Resort on the White River, and a joint restaurant venture, "Out to Lunch," in Harrison. She did all the cooking at both places, and has a wealth of experience, and a history of successes. She's also a champion bridge player. It's been her dream to own a restaurant of this sort, where you can come in and enjoy the food, and have fun at the same time. The restaurant only serves lunch, although she has just started a breakfast menu of muffins and coffee (drive-thru window only between 7-9).

The Eclectic Eggplant features a purple plate special every day that constantly changes. The only two days that are sort of fixed is that every Monday the special is an eggplant entree, and on Wednesday, this is the day that Dana goes all-out with her Gourmet Lunch Special. All specials include drink and dessert, and are priced at $6.50 to $7 (sales tax included). The Wednesday Gourmet Lunch is priced only slightly higher. There is also a Sunday Brunch on the first Sunday of the month 11-1:30. The restaurant also serves beer and wine.

I particularly like the eggplant specials (I've tried two), the salads (with 13 kinds of lettuce, and homemade dressings), the bread (a hearty sourdough, specially ordered from Serenity Farm Bread of Leslie, Arkansas), the spiced teas, hot or cold, and for dessert, the homemade bread pudding, made with Serenity Farm's Walnut-Raisin bread, topped with a rich brandy sauce.

There are homemade soups each day, and a great sandwich selection, plus homemade quiche (flavors change each day), and premium coffee.

A drive-thru window is also available for lunch on the go!

The place is really catching on as the "in" place for lunch. It's also fun. The waitresses are friendly, there's upbeat music playing in the background, and there are games on every table, and a warm, inviting atmosphere that's conducive to having a good time. Also, most of the decor is for sale, so you may go home with more than just a great dining experience.

We highly recommend this place. Maybe we'll go to lunch when you come stay with us. The food is healthy and fresh (nothing is fried). The salads are spectacular!

"Best" List of Area Restaurants

PLEASE CHECK WITH US BEFORE YOU GO OUT TO ANY OF THESE RESTAURANTS. Find out in advance if we still stand behind these recommendations, and be sure to find out the days and times the restaurants are open, and whether or not reservations are recommended. Also, find out if they serve liquor and if a membership is required. Things could be mighty different than what you're used to.

Best Entertainment: Hopper's Dinner Club, Mountain Home

Best Appetizer: 178 Club (Potato Skins), Bull Shoals

Best View: Gastons, overlooking the White River, Lakeview

Best Steaks: 178 Club and Hopper's Dinner Club

Best Ribs: Hopper's Dinner Club

Best Buffet: The Front Porch (Daily), Yellville
Bamboo Garden (Daily), Mountain Home

Best Seafood: 178 Club
Fred's Fish House, Mountain Home

Best Hamburger: The Top Kat, Stateline, Missouri
The Back Forty, Mountain Home

Best Atmosphere: Chelsea's, Mountain Home

Best Italian: Dino's, Mountain Home

Best Value: European House, Mountain Home
Th'Barn Café, Oakland

Best Breakfast: Th'Barn Café (by far!)

Best Salad: Eclectic Eggplant
Dino's

Best Prime Rib: 178 Club (Saturdays)

Best Lunch: Eclectic Eggplant
Sodie's, Flippin

If You're Considering Retiring or Relocating

Bass boatWe know that many of you love this area so much, you move in! We just had one of our best customers, Doug and Heidi Potts, buy about six acres on the lake this year. They were helped by our friends Jim and Vicki Jensen, both realtors with Larry Black & Associates, Inc. in Mountain Home. Jim and Vicki live in Oakland, so they know all there is to know about the area, and would be glad to talk to you. They can be reached at the office (877) 425-9898, or at home (870) 431-8355. Or you can visit their Web site: www.larryblackandassoc.com.

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Business For Sale

We're sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Th'Barn Café is up for sale. Ron and Dotty are very ambivalent about selling the place. They put so much into building up the place, and we are going to miss them. They made the place a fun place to visit, and many of our guests go there just about every day. I know my guests will miss Dotty and Ron, and the food, and the pies, and the friendliness. We only hope someone will keep the place as warm and as friendly as it is today. We won't really lose Ron and Dotty, because they still live here in Oakland, and everyone deserves to retire and enjoy life some time! We wish them well.

If any of you might be interested in relocating, but not retiring, you might consider buying the place yourself. Call Vicki Jensen, who is the listing agent, at Larry Black & Associates, Inc. (877) 425-9898, or call Vicki at home (870) 431-8355 for details.

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The Lodge In Progress

Lodge in ProgressFor years, it seems, we've been saying that next year you'll see the new lodge. By now, most of you are skeptical that it will ever get started. Well, here's the latest. There have been some changes...

We originally were planning a two-story massive structure that was going to cost us big bucks. It was to have rooms upstairs, a first floor with reception area, restrooms, dining/conference room, and kitchen/serving area. It was also going to have our living quarters on the main level. It would also have a full basement with workout facility, laundry, pool table, and a tornado shelter, plus storage. The original square footage was around 9,500. Well, when you figure out the cost, we would have to live at least twice as long as we already have to pay it off. After much contemplation, and with talking to our friends, including many of our guests, we have decided that we are crazy! First of all, we wouldn't live that long, and just as importantly, we don't want to work harder. We're already working hard enough! As a matter of fact, every year, our goal is to simplify our life just a little bit more.

So now, we are still going ahead with the project, but we've cut it down: No upstairs. Smaller conference/dining/kitchen area, smaller restrooms. Keep our living quarters the same. Keep the basement pretty much the same. So now, our square footage is down to around 7,000 square feet, which is still pretty big, but a lot is basement.

As for when we'll be finished, we have the plans already redone and expect to be putting it out for bid and talking to our financial lender in January. We are committed to getting this done this year because it's the final piece of the cake in our plan for our resort. We are grateful for all your input on this. It really helped us see clearly what we really wanted and needed.

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Improvements in 2000

Living roomBlack Oak Resort. Where does the money go? Well, besides maintenance, supplies, laundry, insurance, advertising, salaries, utilities, TAXES, memberships, accounting fees, postage, FOOD, clothing, cars, gas, health costs, etc., etc. (the same ones you have), we did make some improvements to the place.

  • One of our main expenses was architectural fees on the new lodge.
  • New Air Conditioner/Heat Pump for Cabin 6
  • New 75 HP Motor for Our Pontoon Boat
  • Patio Furniture for Cabins 6, 7 and 8
  • Swing Set for Cabin 1 and 2

We spent a little on us this year (no new cars, though).

We got a new Amana Refrigerator for our cabin. Our old one quit.

Michael had the engine rebuilt on his Ranger Bass Boat, and he had the boat completely refurbished with new instrumentation, carpeting, steering cables, and a general clean-up. For an old boat (1978), it looks pretty good.

Black Oak Inn. It was a big year for improvements at Black Oak Inn.

  • We replaced the roof with a new rubber roof.
  • The exterior was completely repainted, including porch swings.
  • New exterior lights.
  • We replaced one double bed with a new extra-long double bed in each unit.
  • We installed a new heat pump in unit 3.
  • We replaced two televisions (19-inch with remote).
  • We replaced our sign with a brand-new one.

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New Rave Products

This is Betty's "show-and-tell" spot, where she clues you in on some great products that she was introduced to this year (usually by her guests). Ok, here's this year's "best" list:

BIORE PORE PERFECT DEEP CLEANSING STRIPS.
Fascinating!

NATURAL OVENS OF MANITOWOC WISCONSIN 100% WHOLE GRAIN BREAD.
Betty found this first at the Chicago Marathon Sports Expo, but never actually got to taste it, she just picked up the literature on it. They have a phone number where you can order it and have it delivered by UPS: (800) 772-0730, or visit their Web site: www.naturalovens.com

It's made with ground flaxseed, which is high in omega-3, has no preservatives or trans-fats. Betty found the bread at Jewel Foods while on her Chicago vacation. It is the most amazing tasting bread you'll find. It makes regular whole grain wheat bread taste like nothing (or cotton, or styrofoam). The bread contains 100% whole wheat, flaxseed, oats, wheat germ, wheat bran, and a lot more. They have many different kinds of bread, but this was the one we tried. Do yourself a big favor for the new year and buy some. Let us know what you think. We don't think we can ever go back to regular store bread. A hint: It's not cheap (over $3 a loaf).

SWANSON HOMESTYLE CHICKEN BREAST WITH MUSHROOM GRAVY AND BROCCOLI AND RICE CASSEROLE. This is an individual serving frozen TV dinner that has only 360 calories, a really great, fresh taste, and is filling and satisfying. Just serve it with a salad. You'll never know you're eating a TV dinner. It's a cut above the rest. Some of the other Swanson dinners are probably just as good, we just haven't tried them.

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New On Our Web Site

Our Web site has been completely redesigned, so if you haven't checked it out lately, you might want to take a look at it.

It has every fishing contest result going back to 1991, and shows the biggest fish ever caught at Black Oak in each category. It also has all the recipes published in past years' newsletters, as well as the complete newsletter from every year. So it's loaded with information.

It has been completely reformatted for ease of navigation. It has a section on subscribing to our e-newsletter, which will be going out quarterly. It also has a section for inquiring about available dates for reservations.

Also, please visit our Favorite Links page, where you'll find restaurants and things to do in our area, as well as informative Web sites such as the Arkansas Web site. You may also set up a reciprocal link with our Web site.

We also encourage you to send us your photos for inclusion in our e-newsletters. Please provide caption information in detail!

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Click to visit www.arkansas.com

Black Oak Resort
P.O. Box 100
Oakland, Arkansas 72661
(870) 431-8363
E-mail: vacation@blackoakresort.com

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02/14/2008 blor358dw6.1