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Opinion

  • To the editor:

    Another Veterans Day has passed, the parades and cook-outs are but another memory. I wonder how you spent your day on Nov.11.

    Each year at this time, I personally dread the duty of accompanying my husband on his hectic schedule of events, through the week of Veterans Day. Not because it is hectic - because I must witness the pain that these veterans feel over the disrespect that they encounter along the way, from a citizenry that purports to love their county and the veterans that keep them safe and free.

  • It’s  no secret–the recent economic decline has affected not only banks and automakers, but the newspaper industry as well.

    With a decrease in revenues across the country, newspapers, especially daily newspapers, have been hit hard.

    Thankfully, it hasn’t severely impacted us on the local level–yet.

    But we’re taking precautions before it impacts us.

  • It’s Tuesday night as I write this and meteorologists have threatened that this will be a night that sees temperatures plummeting below freezing.

    I am not concerned.

    Growing up in abject poverty in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, I know what cold weather is.

    It is not Levy County, Florida at its coldest.

    My childhood home was a sprawling old house that had one coal heater in the middle of the living room to heat the entire house.

    It failed miserably.

  • To the editor:

        I have a number of concerns about Regional Water plans.

    I don’t know how a regional water system ever can be more cost effective. Many more miles of water lines will be needed to support this compared to an individual city system (plus booster stations, etc.) At this time I don’t believe any of our planners, including city users, have any idea what their future water needs will be – 5 years, 10 years, etc.

  • To the editor:

        I wish to express my deepest sorrow and dismay over the recent allegations involving our two county commissioners. In addition, I wish to convey my sincere appreciation and gratitude for the successes and accomplishments, past and present, of all our county commissioners.

        Many of us are experiencing difficult and laborious times of social and economic transformations and reconstruction, especially, during this time of the the holiday period.

  •  To the editor:

     Two hundred thirty three years ago at Tun Tavern, Pa. The Corps was born and they've been around ever since, answering our country's call and fighting for what they believed in.

    They were in the Revolution, picking off boarders from the fighting tops. They were with Old Hickory at New Orleans. They fought in the malaria ridden Florida swamps.

  •  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.

  • My father and I were constantly at odds. I can't remember how or when it started, but I do remember thinking that he was the meanest, most unfair man alive.

    That changed right after I left high school as I started learning more about him as a man, and not just my daddy.

    By the time I moved to Georgia, we had a solid relationship-an unspoken one of mutual respect and trust.

    He wasn't into sentiment, and I wasn't about to broach my feelings of admiration for him. I thought I had years to tell him how much he meant to me, and how I finally understood the man he was.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • Fred and Ethel are dead. And so are the Clampetts. The entire clan.

    For two days I have mourned the loss of my neighbors-not the sitcom stars of 50 years ago but an entire convocation of spiders, presumably banana spiders, that have resided at my back door all summer and most recently decided to expand their lodging to the front door.

    For the last three summers, I have watched their homes develop over days, weeks and months- lacework webs that bear intricate patterns and designs.

    Visitors often dodged them and admonished me to tear them down.

  • 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.