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Columns

  • Just who was Uncle Sam?

    Everybody’s heard of Uncle Sam, right? But who was he? And why is our government today called “Uncle Sam?”  Why do members of the Armed Forces tell you that they “belong to Uncle Sam?” And why should honors due to Uncle Sam be especially noteworthy during 2012?

    During October l8l2, in Troy, N.Y., workers packed pork and beef into large white oak barrels. Their boss, Samuel Wilson, had contracted with Elbert Anderson of the government to supply the military with 3,000 barrels of prime beef and 2,000 of pork.

  • First-class message about a local treasure

    Occasionally, our Sunday conversations in the form of this column are interrupted. Something else appears in this space for a myriad of reasons.

    Sometimes, we devote the space to something of particular importance such as the recent full-page of tributes to the late Jim Collier. More often, it’s a hectic work schedule or some other interruption that robbed the time reserved for writing. Over the summer, one absence was vacation related.

  • ‘Bang for the buck’ in public schools

    There is an upside to Kentucky’s budget crunch: It forces everyone from legislators to agency heads to school superintendents to get the most out of every taxpayer buck.

    Lean budget times also can produce shining – and refreshing – examples of how some public servants refuse to make excuses and simply succeed with the resources available.

  • One issue, two views: Weighing agricultural and education needs

    Farmland a precious commodity — J. David Miller

    Many of us have fond memories of Howevalley School. I attended the school from 1956-57 as a first grader and again in 1963-64 as a seventh and eighth grader. Bill Goodman was the principal and his stern looks sometimes were all that was needed to straighten up mischief. The whole community from Cecilia all the way to the Grayson County line would show up for fall festivals and ballgames. It was like a community social.

  • Wondering about death and living well

    Watching a TV show tonight, one character has a terminal illness and is speaking with a friend, who doesn’t yet know whether or not she herself is equally ill.

    She asks her friend, “What is it like?”

    The reply: “No one has ever asked me that before.”

  • Collecting ideas along the parade route

    It’s a compulsion.

    When a light is on in an empty room, I feel compelled to step inside and flip the switch.

    It can be annoying to others. Folks here at work think so and sometimes actually say as much.

    I know it’s annoying because it was annoying when my father did it. When I reach for the switch, I sometimes hear the echo of his forcible voice asking once again, “When you pay the light bill, maybe you’ll learn to flip this switch?”

    So you see, it’s one of those family-imposed compulsions.

  • Who decides what is fair?

    “Fairness” is a term getting thrown around during the current campaign season more than a football at a Cards vs. Cats game. 

    President Obama has even made it the centerpiece of his reelection campaign, using rhetoric filled with talk of “fairness” but nothing about “freedom.”

    One of his standard lines pines for “an economy where everyone gets a fair shot” and “everyone does their fair share.”

    But the question I have is: Just what is it that makes a government edict fair or unfair?

  • Teaching the tormented to trust

    We go through life being touched daily by our church, our family, our co-workers and we try to support and encourage others. We live by the Golden Rule and work hard in doing the right things.

    Then out of the blue there comes an experience that humbles us. It makes us stop and refocus. It makes us think about our impact and influence on our community. It makes us question our efforts. We wonder if we could and should do more.

    Such an experience has touched my life during the past few months.

  • Is God invited to the party?

    Does God have a place in the platform of a political party? It depends upon whom you ask.

  • Mary Ellen’s story and the history of child protection

    My 10-year-old cat, Hobbes, has a great life. His bowl is always filled with dry food that, according to package copy, is especially blended for a cat his age. Between 5 and 6 p.m. each day, he gets a touch of gourmet canned food. He gets well-kitty vet care and immediate medical attention if he’s not feeling well. He has cat beds near my workstation and my husband’s, yet prefers lounging in our laps or on our paper stacks.