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Opinion

  • The 109 Board in Shelby County is doing one thing we heartily applaud: It scheduled five public-input sessions at various locations across the county to gather your thoughts on its plans for a new garbage/recycling center and its idea of charging you to drop your trash there.

    The first of those sessions was Tuesday night in Simpsonville, and another will be held tonight at the Shelby County Health Department in Shelbyville. There are also sessions Thursday in Finchville, next Monday in Bagdad and Tuesday in Waddy.

  • Fundraising season is upon us, that time of year when we launch into an annual parade of events that raise much-needed revenue to support a variety of philanthropic efforts in Shelby County.

    This past weekend featured the cultural gamut of Ducks Unlimited – with its Duck Dynasty theme this year – to one of Shelby County’s glitziest gatherings, Tres Chic.

  • Some Shelby County High School graduates returned home the weekend of Jan. 25 for basketball Homecoming activities. Two graduates returned home permanently last August, when they started teaching positions at East Middle: Casey Page and Marcie Wright.

    They join countless others who received their educations in Shelby County and have returned to work alongside former teachers in classrooms where they once could have sat.

  • On Jan. 29, the state announced an $86 million cut in child-care assistance for low-income working parents. Also included in the cuts are subsidies to relatives raising abused or neglected children. 

    That’s quite a statement for a governor who hung his hat on a platform of the importance of early childhood education, created a statewide Early Childhood Advisory Council and a Governor’s Office of Early Childhood, none of which have made any comment on the impending collapse of the system that houses most of our children under the age of 5 on any given day.

  • Now that I own acreage, I am renewing my relationship with something I’ve detested since youth: mud, the gooey stuff that just doesn’t vanish in a climate where temperatures might be 19 one day and 69 the next. The ground is muddy, then frozen, then muddy. You don’t have to be Darwin to understand that evolution.

  • If you own property in Shelby County, you pay 3.5 percent of that property’s taxable value for what you might consider to be garbage service. This is what you receive for that payment: A “convenience center” in Waddy that is maintained and emptied, a recycling center that is staffed and an opportunity to transport your garbage or recyclables to those facilities.

    What you don’t get is garbage service.

  • It was in the late 1950s, while having lunch with Martha Donovan, part-owner in the Smith-McKenney Drugstore on Main Street, she said they had good people working for them, but none of the women wanted to work at night or on weekends.

  • What I have to say about President Barack Obama’s “gun grab” is lengthy but necessary in order to give a proper historical approach and clear up the most recent root cause or the origin of his mindset.

    This is not a new idea or effort that has just occurred to Mr. Obama, he and others of his persuasion have labored from time to time toward this end. The horrible event at Newtown, Conn., was not the trigger, but it is just the opportunity to make inroads toward the goal to remove guns and repeal (in some form) the Second Amendment to our Constitution.

  • We now have a clearer picture of how many of our tax dollars this year will be going to the 16 separate taxing districts around our county. At least the property tax payments recorded by Sheriff Mike Armstrong have showed us how our hard-earned $30 million is being divvied up.

    Yet, although we have this dollar amount and a thread of an idea about the tax distribution, we truly don’t know how that ball of yarn unwinds.

    And we owe you an apology.

    We simply should have been watching more closely and offering you more information along the way.

  • Brenda Jackson has served Shelby County Public Schools long and well and, as she has sworn to do, she has put the kids ahead of herself. Her methods can be questioned, as they were last fall when she fought off a challenger to win her seventh term representing District 5 on the Shelby County School Board, but you can’t debate what is in her heart, for she lives from that heart every time she takes her seat on the platform for a board meeting.

    Ms. Jackson is all about the kids and making sure they get the best education this county can provide.

  • I have some questions for those who are reading this letter to consider now that the New Year has begun.:

  • A recent post on Facebook displays a series of photos detailing the serial deconstruction of a landmark building in Shelbyville, a building that was once considered among the finest in the state. Soon those shattered bricks will fade into memory and be forgotten,  just the same as the grand cupola that once adorned its rooftop.

  • I heard the news today, oh boy. An elementary student in Maryland is suspended from school because he cocked and fired his finger at a classmate during a playground game. He committed a crime against school policy and got the maximum sentence. He will return to his reading, writing and ‘rithmetic as reformed and remorseful, his future hopefully snapped away from the edge of awful by an act of tough love.

  • Jack Swindler is a fifth-grader at Southside Elementary but he is already a leader, working with school administrators to start a recycling program among the students and staff. He wrote a letter to the teachers that explained, “I’m part of the TAG [Talented And Gifted] program, and I qualified for leadership. As a leader, I want to help this school recycle.”

    Southside Principal Suzanne Burkhardt said the students are familiar with ways to help the environment since the school has an Energy Team, made up of students, including Jack.

  • The scene has no great artistic value, other than to galvanize one fictional man’s words with a living man’s conviction.

    Humphrey Bogart. Ed Hutcheson in the film Deadline USA. Crusading editor for The Day. He’s taking down a mobster, seeking the truth against a cunning corruptor looking to control his city. Hutcheson is winning. He is telling the truth. He is gloating.

  • The topics of greatest collision these days in our national discourse are the centrifugal – if not central – debates about the oversight of our economy and of our right to bear arms.

    Almost every person in leadership at every level of our governments – and many of us lowly taxpayers – is debating one side or the other of one topic or the other, some wanting to choke the reins of control while others want at least to maintain the freedom of movement now in place. Oddly the chokers and the relaxers are not consistent along the political spectrum.

  • We like what we are hearing from our schools about an increased focus on security. A month after the devastating horror that occurred in Newtown, Conn., we are seeing and hearing that those 26 deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary are having some bit of a positive legacy in school systems cross the country.

    We like that we hear and see that Shelby County Public Schools is working systematically with law enforcement for lockdown drills and process reviews that are intrinsic in providing confidence to parents and imperative to ensuring that first responders are practiced as well.

  • Written in the voice of a kennel dog:

    Hi, my name is Max. I was picked up a few months ago. My owner dropped me on the road. At least I wasn’t thrown from a moving car. I’ve heard of that happening.

    This big nice guy put me in a truck and took me in. He gave me a shot and some yucky yellow medicine. I was put back in a place with a bunch of barking dogs. It sure seemed loud. Gee, so many other dogs here, some sad. Some look mad. Here comes a lady with some food. And water. She talked nice to me.

  • If 100 people were drowning and you had the ability to save 99, would you? Of course you would. We didn’t do anything nearly as heroic in Congress last week, but the question of saving as many as we can from a potentially devastating consequence was relevant. The question was: Do you stand aside and let taxes increase for everyone or do you try to save as many taxpayers as possible before they do?

    I chose to try to do something.

  • The Shelbyville City Council is working on a really good concept that appears to be at a crossroads as to whether it deserves a green light.

    We speak of the newly beefed up solicitation ordinance the council introduced and passed on first reading last Thursday night. The idea is to get more teeth into the requirements for those who would solicit money, for gain or for good cause, on your doorstep, your sidewalk or your street corner.