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Opinion

  • Welcoming another New Year means different things to different people.  Some are just glad to put the month-long season of gluttony behind them and still fit into their wardrobe (the clothes, not the furniture).

    Although I do agree with the wise-guy who said, “People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas.” 

  • January 1 is a day for agenda-setting, if only because the calendar says so.

    Our leaders from Washington to Frankfort to Shelbyville will be putting into motion their ideas for the coming year.

    They will project how best to deal with the staggering difficulties from our economic picture, the need for better healthcare for all and myriad other problems.

    Privately, the kings of industry will be developing plans to restore and grow their businesses.

  •  

    During the holidays, it’s always wonderful to see our citizens and organizations coming together to help those who have fallen on hard times.

    Yes, it happens every year, but also the demand seems to keep growing and expanding.

    Civic clubs and individuals find their causes – whether they provide winter coats, toys, meals or simply comfort – and they handle as many people as possible.

  • Is it just me, or does it seem like at this time of year that city street lights--and even stoplights-- flash a bright red and green, and in the air there’s a feeling of Christmas?

    Another song (and popular consensus) says that Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year.”  And what’s not to like?

  •  There are many arguments to be had and several votes to be taken, but we like the ideas for budget adjustments that Gov. Steve Beshear put on the table last week.

    Cutting expenses these days can be too quick and to the quick, but Beshear seems to have a reasoned and surgical approach to what is likely the hardest decision he will face in 2009.

    The economy of Kentucky is sagging along with the nation’s and operating under even greater threat of the possible failure by the automakers, which employ so many and contribute so much to the state’s coffers.

  • Skylar Cannon accomplished a feat that is difficult to do on two legs, much less wheels.

    She traversed one of the paths to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in her wheelchair, and she became the first person to do it.

    Skylar, 13, is a student at East Middle School who suffers from the terminal disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy, but she lives a fuller life than most.

    She has grown into the kind of person who relishes and attacks challenges rather than complaining and sitting back to see what might happen to her.

  •  If you read the list of ideas the community put forth recently in its vision for the future of Shelby County, one should have stuck out like Rudolph's nose:

    Let's build a civic center.

    Shelbyville - and Shelby County - is ready to have its own entertainment/meeting/civic venue as functional focal point for all residents and visitors.

    Yes, there are many steps to be taken and many ideas to be reviewed before such a facility could be built, but let's not delay.

  • I was recently reminded of the story of the rescue workers from the Red Cross who, after a particularly severe snowstorm, went to check on a widow who lived in an extremely remote area in the mountains.  After being airlifted in by helicopter and then trudging the final half-mile through 3-foot drifts, they finally made it to the nearly snow-covered house and knocked on the door.

    The widow cautiously opened the door and wondered aloud about why anyone would be out in such bad weather.  When the workers announced that they were from the Red Cross assistance team, the

  •  More than three weeks have passed since James Duckett was found brutally murdered in his home on Rockbridge Road.

    Whoever killed him remains at large, and both state and local authorities have asked for the public's help in finding this person.

    But the public has been given woefully inadequate information to be of any help at all.

  •  The recommendations about how to improve public education in Kentucky has one immediately commendable point: Let's make our elementary arts programs meaningful.

    The Task Force on Assessment and Accountability was created to look at the viability of the controversial standardized state test, the CATS test. As is the case in many states, the testing has not proved students are being educated adequately or on par with other states.

  •  Scott Stumbo, the man that should never have been hired, again is battling his former employer, the Shelby County School District.

    At question is whether Stumbo, who was fired this year after he was charged with making inappropriate sexual comments to a student, should remain barred from school grounds and functions  involving his two daughters, who attend Shelby County High School and Simpsonville Elementary.

  • On Nov. 7 Loran Bennett Mitchell was laid to rest in a small cemetery in rural Washington County, Ind.  He had died on Nov. 3.  You probably didn't notice.  It wasn't in the news, except for the small blurbs in the Salem Leader and Scott County Journal.

    You probably didn't notice, but I did.

  • Positive relationships.

    High expectations.

    Please become familiar with those two phrases, because they are the key ingredients to the perfect recipe for a high-achieving school.

    I do not claim to be a great cook. However, I can claim experience as a student who saw those traits in action - traits that as a student I didn't know what to call them other than I did know who exhibited them.

    Max Cox.

  •  The civil lawsuit filed last week by a former student against former Shelby County High School teacher Scott Stumbo is the latest and most repulsive chapter in what has been an extremely ugly process for our local school district.

    Stumbo’s firing earlier this year after his prosecution on charges of sexual harassment of a student and distributing obscene material was distasteful enough.

  •  You probably watched Barack Obama win the presidential election last Tuesday night with thoughts of tearful admiration, disgusting disdain or just simple, palpable amazement.

    I was thinking of a guy named Delbert O’Bannon.

    For some of us, he was a long-ago agent of change who in a small and anonymous  way helped evolve a world in which Obama could be elected.

  •  Barack Obama’s significant policy statement Sunday on 60 Minutes is one that deserves our applause.

    He very firmly and directly let the public know that during this presidency, there needed to be significant movement on an issue that has stagnated many Americans.

    And, no, this had nothing to do with his focus on the economy, healthcare, education or leaving Iraq and disarming Iran.

  • I am delighted that Steve Doyle has returned to Shelby County to take the reins of our hometown paper.  It's always good for a community when one of its own assumes a prominent position from which to influence its future.  When you grow up in a place that you love, you want it to always remain just as good as you remembered, and if you have the inclination and the position you'll do what it takes to assure it.

  • At long last we're are the end of an election season that compares to nothing in our lifetimes, an immersion as thorough and overpowering as technology would allow.

    Millions of us decided to tune in this presidential year - heck, almost all of us even voted - and we were engaged by a debate that historically has been overly formal, too esoteric, vague and, well, just boring. Who believed half of what they heard? Maybe we still don't, but we've certainly listened more closely.

  • I don't normally fret about writing columns, but this one has been tough. How, after all, do you adequately muster the words to pay fitting tribute to someone who has spent much of her life taking care of our most vulnerable children and their families?

    For more than a decade, Mary Simmons directed the Dorman Center, a special day care for at-risk children. If you had to make a list of some of life's toughest assignments, that job would be right near the top.

  • Today we should thank Cary Vowels for his service to the City of Simpsonville.

    Vowels has been part of the Simpsonville City Commission for six years, and his contributions have been outstanding. His has been a voice both  reasonable and resonant, and his impact serious. For that he deserves thanks.

    But he also deserves congratulations for being a man of dignity and honor in perhaps his last contribution to the city.