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Today's Opinions

  • You deserve to have all the news

    Let's see, it was late July and I was still new on the job.

    I asked a Sheriff's Office spokesperson about air conditioner burglaries in the county and I also noted my street alone had an AC stolen that was almost turned into a home burglary. And the same road also had a home invasion that resulted in the suspect's death and an armed robbery.

    Like a mantra he said crime was down and pointed to 2007 figures showing crime went down in Levy County.

  • Claude, you brought joy to my life

    Goofy. Giving. Wonderful. Funny. Guileless. Childlike.

    Words. Only words.

    But words that define the personality of a man who was so complex, yet so simple in his nature.

    When word reached me Friday evening that my star sports editor–and dear friend–Claude Lewis had died, I, like everyone else, was stunned.

    Two hours before, he and I had a wonderful conversation, laughed about pushy people and poor biographers and threatened each other with "You have to do THAT story."

  • Destroyer is out of service

    Being a Mets fan, it's awfully hard to make friends with a Phillies fan. After all, that's the team that knocked the Mets out of the playoffs last year, and they're about to do it again.

    However, there was one man in Levy County that I could call and joke with about baseball, and sports in general. As late as a week ago Tuesday, we were on the phone to each other talking about the pennant race, among other things in local sports. He was my favorite Phillies fan.

    His name was Claude Lewis, and he was a writer and sports editor for our sister paper, the Chiefland Citizen.

  • Thank you, Claude

    I came looking for a job and I found a friend and serendipity.

    Serendipity is something every journalist needs.

    The tough, but garrulous journalism scholar John Bremner of the University of Kansas told journalists in his seminars they needed to find serendipity.

    Serendipity occurs when you are on your way to one thing and you discover another thing. It brings magic and the joy of the unexpected.

    You could have canned and sold serendipity.

    You lived it very day.

    You shared it every day.

  • Conversation yes; small talk no

    I enjoy lively, spirited conversation. And in order to enjoy that, I have to like being around people.

    No doubt in anyone's mind, I am a people-person. I come by it naturally, because everyone-and I mean everyone-on my father's side of the family was blessed with the gift of gab.

    At family gatherings, it was difficult at the end of the day to figure out just what you may have gleaned from each other because topics were broad, loud and scattered.

    In high school, I put that gift to good use by being in the Speech Club and arguing on the debate team.

  • Be prepared for your end-of-days

    No one is prepared when the doctor walks into the room and explains that you or a loved one has an illness that cannot be cured. Both family and patient often receive this news at a time when they are already at wit's end - emotionally, spiritually and physically. But what if the illness is there yet the conversation about end-of-life options never happens?

  • One of these days

    One of these days, I'm going to write something nice about football officials.

    Sorry, this isn't that day.

    Watching the NFL game between the Jaguars and Titans on Sunday, I clearly saw Maurice Jones-Drew scamper into the end zone on a run.

    Incredibly, the refs on the field wanted to spot the ball on the 1.

    The replay clearly showed the score, so Jags coach Jack DelRio challenged.

    Even more incredibly, the call on the field was upheld.

    Which brings me to another point.

    Why does the NFL employ replay officials in every stadium, anyway?

  • Small things make it all worthwhile

    I enjoy my job about 80 percent of the time. For the most part, coming into the office is not work. It's about the challenges I will face as I watch the puzzle you call a newspaper come together from all over the building into one tight little package.

    The last week of June I received a call from Francis Akins to tell me one of his staff was retiring. It was too close to deadline to do anything for that week's paper, but I pledged I'd be in Bronson Friday afternoon.

    "He doesn't say much," Akins warned before hanging up.