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Opinion

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • I have a friend who keeps her watches and clocks set an hour ahead at all times. By doing so, this perpetually late creature of habit has convinced herself that she is always tardy, and when she does show up for appointments, she's on time or early.

    Now of course, somewhere deep within her psyche she knows that her clocks and watches are wrong and that could give her incentive to dally more and being really, really late.

    But she's used her imagination enough over the years that the con works, thereby saving her from embarrassment and reprimand from family and employer alike.

  • Chiefland's sewer plant personnel have listened to a salesman and come up with a way to cut their energy use, cut fuel use, and cut the amount of sludge the City Water Reclamation Plant produces.

    If you read the story in another part of this newspaper, you thought it was a story about money and saving energy.

    Really, the story is about building relationships and trust.

    Randy Wilkerson said it was his working relationship with a sales rep from TSC-Jacobs Group, the company that supplies the city with much of its wastewater equipment, that led to the savings.

  • 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.

  • As I have interviewed interns and reporter candidates over the last few weeks, one resounding theme kept coming up when I tell them what I think is the best part of working for a small town paper: the interesting people you meet.

    Of course there are the obligatory meetings that must be covered, the birth announcements and wedding news that need to be shared, but by far, the best thing for any reporter is getting out and meeting people who have done things that you only dream or have been places you've only read about.

  • I never thought my father and I had much in common despite my mother's ever-constant lament, "You're just like your daddy."

    Back then I scoffed at the idea.

    But then in 1993, my father died suddenly one week after his 62nd birthday and in the 15 years since, not a week has gone by that I don't somehow recall him, his words and his actions.

    He wasn't an affectionate man. He grew up in an era and place where children were begat to work. He didn't know much about tenderness or bonding. His way of showing love was through providing and sacrificing so his family was secure.

  • 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.

  • Judging from the amount of traffic on I-75 this past weekend, motorists are oblivious to the fact that gasoline isthisclose to being $4 a gallon.

    Or perhaps those motorists are like me.

    They know that we are a nation that moves on four wheels-or 18-and to get from Point A to Point B, you have to get in a motorized vehicle and drive, whether you want to pay the price at the pump or not.

  • I am not at all the maternal type. I'm too selfish, too distant, too "suck it up and move on"-like to be called a nurturing pillar of motherhood.

    And yet I have three children.

    Like many of you, I grew up watching Donna Reed, Harriet Nelson and June Cleaver (in reruns, mind you) as they set the example for future generations what a woman's role was in the home.