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Opinion

  •  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.

  • The woman’s phone message was clear and strong and, as is the case with many of its ilk, absent of name, number or even e-mail address:

    “Your paper put an endorsement of Barack Obama on the front page. You should have put an endorsement of John McCain on the front page.”

    She didn’t elaborate. Her point and reasoning were understandable, and there was no problem with her vitriol.

    But her perceptions were more than a little hazy.

  • Sometime during the last couple of decades, the exact moment seems to have gone unrecorded, a witch toiling over a boiling caldron somehow threw in the right mix of eye of newt, cats whiskers and the dander of Cousin It to conjure up a spell that suddenly made Halloween very important.

    What always had seemed to be a fun little candyfest that captured the attention of small children, their parents and their dentists for, oh, maybe two weeks now has become some sort of monthslong homage to all things scary and saccharine.

  • I've followed the All-America Selections for as long as I can remember. It was always a designation that my father trusted, and we often trialed the plants in our own family garden the year before their introduction.

    Some of the more memorable plants include "Purple Wave" petunia, "Magestic Giants" pansy mix, and the "Profusion" zinnias.

    Sure, there were memorable vegetables in the past, but it seems as though the AAS is responding to the increase in vegetable gardening interest by including more vegetables then ever each year.

  • When you were in school, for some of you the eight most frightening words of your day were, "OK, students, it is time for English class."

    In fact, just reading that sentence caused some of you to shiver. Others, however few and far between, actually enjoyed English class. You thrived on learning vocabulary words, and loved to diagram sentences. You labored over every paper to make sure each phrase was as sharp as the pencil that wrote it.

    This article is for those weird folks in the second category. But we'll allow the rest of you to look over our shoulders.

  • Sometime during the last couple of decades, the exact moment seems to have gone unrecorded, a witch toiling over a boiling caldron somehow threw in the right mix of eye of newt, cats whiskers and the dander of Cousin It to conjure up a spell that suddenly made Halloween very important.

    What always had seemed to be a fun little candyfest that captured the attention of small children, their parents and their dentists for, oh, maybe two weeks now has become some sort of monthslong homage to all things scary and saccharine.

  • With the mess this country is in under a Republican president and the mess our ex-Republican governor left the state in, why would we want to turn the country over to more Republicans? President Bush led us into a war in Iraq, which has bled this country dry. Would we be in as bad of shape with the Wall Street meltdown if we had not spent all our money on an un-winnable war? In the last eight years I have watched my retirement fund melt down to less than half what it was when Bush took office. I know the rest of you are hurting also. Had Bush, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen.