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story.lead_photo.caption Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista Flytyers listen to a video presentation by Susan Young of the Shiloh Museum about the old Butterfield Stage Coach route.

Some Bella Vista groups couldn't wait for the rest of the covid-19 restrictions to be lifted. Although their usual meeting spot in Riordan Hall is still unavailable, they have found a way to gather.

The Bella Vista Fly Tyers probably won't offer their annual fly tying course this fall, President Ed Limehouse said. But regular meetings resumed last month in the Kingsdale Pavilion. The pavilion offers plenty of space for social distancing. About 20 members wearing masks were there on a recent Thursday.

The club has 150 members but was drawing about 50 when meetings were suspended in March.

Most meetings have a program, and last week the program was a video presentation about the Butterfield Overland Mail Co., the stagecoach that traveled through Northwest Arkansas, made by Susan Young, outreach coordinator for the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale. Limehouse said they enjoy programs on a variety of topics.

He also plans to recruit among the membership to help with the POA's annual Kids Fishing Derby.

The Fly Tyers have donated funds for projects at the POA lakes, but their main fundraiser, hauling cardboard for the Bella Vista Recycling Center, is no longer available. Limehouse said they're looking for a way to replace those funds.

The club also takes a couple of trips a year to fis,h and he expects those to take place this fall.

Fellowship is important, member Steve Troup said.

"It's good to get out of the house," he added. He also takes advantage of the wealth of knowledge about fishing the members share. Before each meeting, there is a social hour, and sometimes members bring food.

At first, the Bella Vista Wood Carvers used the same pavilion after the Fly Tyers were finished, but meeting outside in the middle of the day was just too hot, President Jean Visnich explained. She found a place in the gymnasium of the Bella Vista Assembly of God Church. There's enough room for the group to spread out to an appropriate social distance.

The club, which has about 45 members, sponsors a wood carving show every other year, but luckily 2020 wasn't the year, Visnich said. They will begin to work toward the 2021 show soon.

Don Lang stopped by the meeting to report on a totem pole project. The pole was mostly done by another member, Don Hunt, who passed away before it was complete. Lang took it over and plans to donate it in Hunt's name when it's completely finished. He's not sure where the totem pole will end up.

Jim Reitz said the shutdown gave him one more day to work in his shop. He spends five to six hours a day working with wood in his shop, he said. There was no problem getting supplies during the shutdown. Some wood is ordered online, and some comes from a local lumber yard that remained open.

Woodcarvers usually bring their projects with them to the meetings, and often advice is shared, member Bob Stewart said, but the fellowship is also important. They used to meet for breakfast before the covid-19 restrictions, he said.

Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista Bob Stewart used a recent Wood Carvers meeting to work on his ball and chain. When it's finished, each link will move and the ball will roll aound inside a box.
Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista Betty Chermak shows off her latest work. She uses a wood burner to create the picure.
Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista J.D. Jutte says the cowboy sculpture is a self portrait although many people are surprised to hear that.
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To find out more about the Fly Tyers, visit the website at or search for the group on Facebook.

To find out more about the Bella Vista Wood Carvers, visit their website or email [email protected]

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