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Opinion

  •  It's been a rough three weeks in Levy County.

    First School Board member Billy Morrison was charged with a misdemeanor.

    This week we learned Chiefland community leader Mary Marshall was under investigation for embezzlement.

    Then comes the news late Wednesday that Commissioners Sammy Yearty and Tony Parker were suspended from office by Gov. Charlie Crist, following federal indictments.

  • What it really comes down to is osmosis. You remember osmosis, don't you? In high school science, you learned that's the process that lets stuff pass through the membrane that surrounds your cells. Osmosis lets the good stuff in and the bad stuff out, trading spent fuel for new fuel. It keeps you alive.

    The funny thing about osmosis (other than the name) is that it's automatic. There's no conscious thought involved. That's why if you get stranded at sea, like Tom Hanks in Castaway, you mustn't drink seawater, even if you're dying of thirst.

  • 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."

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • As voters across Levy County mark absentee ballots, drive to Bronson for early voting or prepare to go to the polls Tuesday, one of the biggest questions they should ask is "Who will do the best job for me?"

    Elected officials are often called public servants because their chief role is to serve the people who elect them into office.

    And because your tax dollars pay the salaries of these men and women, you should make your voting decision just as if you were the owner of a business hiring a new employee.

  • Serving 53 consumers from its location in Otter Creek, the Levy Association for Retarded Citizens (LARC) provides much needed training for people who are searching for a way to adapt in a world that is not always kind to them.

    Since July 2003, adult daycare funding has been cut 24 percent in the state of Florida and on July 1, 2008 the most recent cuts went into effect. Already LARC's executive director Betty Walker has cut staff hours and rearranged other staff members to serve the needs of their clients.

  • Banks are failing. Homeowners are being foreclosed upon. People are sacrificing simply to fill their gas tanks. In short, things are tough all over.

    With dollars in demand and expenses on the rise, government agencies across the land have been asked to cut their budgets, trim the fat and work with what they have.

    In Chiefland, two of those government offshoots have found cost-reducing ways to save the city, and ultimately the taxpayer, money.

  • It is said that the death of a child is the most difficult pain to bear: far-more soul wrenching than losing a parent, a sibling or a life partner.

    It is also said that it takes a village to raise a child.

    And so last September, when Army Specialist Brandon Tyler Thorsen was killed in the line of duty while voluntarily serving his country in Iraq, the villages of Trenton, Chiefland and the surrounding area joined his parents as we mourned our child.

  • My grandparents tuned in regularly to a radio segment called "The Swap Shop". For 15 minutes every day, people called in to offer something they had -for free or less than $20 or they called in to ask for items they needed.

    It was the old-fashioned bartering system upgraded to the modern 20th century. With little or no money, you could get the products or services you needed in exchange for something you could offer up.

  • What's the deal with Brett Favre, anyway?

    Has he taken too many blows to the noggin? Is senility or early signs of Alzheimer's settling in?

    Back in March, he said he was retiring. Then a month later, he said he wants to still play. The Packers are ready to welcome him back, then he says he doesn't want to play.

    Now, he wants his release from the Packers.

    The Pack say no way. The last thing they need to see is Favre in an opposing NFC North team's uniform.

    They reason the least he can do is hold a clipboard and mentor Aaron Rodgers.

  • While I have great respect for Gov. Crist and his continued commitment to preserving the environment, I feel that his intent to veto HB 7059 has been made without fully understanding the wide-reaching scope of this good environmental legislation. This legislation has many valuable components that seek to improve and strengthen the protection of our state's precious natural resources.

  • My life is good. I have a job that supplies my needs. Children who love me. Friends who support me. A man who understands real partnership.

    Yes, indeed, my life is good and it takes a lot to get me riled.

    I've mellowed a lot in my old age.

    I once stressed about everything and now seldom stress about anything-though perhaps there are some things I should worry about.

    When considering relationships, I weigh the good they do/are against the bad and if there are more positive things, I cling.

    If they're negative, I cut my losses and move on.

  • This is a big weekend for many young people in Levy County, as they leave high school and move on to the next phase of their lives.

    Graduation ceremonies are scheduled for most Levy County schools this weekend, a landmark day for a few hundred young adults who are ready to venture out into the world.

    This graduating class has been through a little more than many of us.

  • Over the last decades, scores of men and women have fought and died in wars to preserve the ideals and beliefs we hold most dear. Many of the ones who paid the ultimate price for those ideals were youths barely in the bloom of adulthood. The crowded cemeteries bedecked with white crosses bear mute witness to their supreme sacrifice.

  • "All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his."

    -Oscar Wilde

    "Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother."

    -Lin Yutang

    All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."

    -Abraham Lincoln

    "A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."

    -Tenneva Jordan

  • Congratulations are in order for the men and women who make up the Levy County Sheriff's Office Drug Task Force.

    In the past month the task force has been able to bring about the arrests of dozens of alleged drug dealers. Many of those arrests came on the heels of investigations that lasted months and required countless man hours and dedication.

    We also tip our hats to the Chiefland City Commission for having the foresight to set aside money in its budget that allows the city to be a member of the task force.

  • Take a look around you. Count three people. Stand back. Think. Statistically one of these three people will contract cancer. One of those three could be you.

    And scarier still is that some 1,500 people die from cancer each day.

    This Friday night at Chiefland High School, people dedicated to eliminating cancer and finding cures will come together to celebrate a year of fund-raising.

    But the work doesn't stop there.

  • Kay and Luther Drummond were more than surprised Tuesday night when the Greater Chiefland Chamber of Commerce named them its Citizens of the Year.

    They shouldn't have been.

    For decades the Drummond name has been synonymous with giving back.

    The couple has been on the frontline of helping build a better community through their civic leadership and generous financial giving.

    The Drummonds have been instrumental in raising money for Haven Hospice through their Fall at the Farm event, last year securing more than $30,000 in contributions for the agency.