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Columns

  • Another earth, another year: Why not another you?

    Scientists have discovered another earth. Well, sort of.

    Earlier this month, NASA’s Kepler space telescope team announced the discovery of Kepler-22b located in what is called a “habitable zone,” meaning an environment that’s not too hot or too cold for the possibility of life. And just last week, the team unveiled two other earth-sized planets, Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, although they are not in the habitable zone.

  • Surviving Christmas in a blended family

    Christmas can be tough, especially for blended families. And apparently there are plenty of them. It’s been estimated that more than half of Americans live in some form of a blended family. Stepfamily therapist Steven Straub believes that the blended family will become, if it’s not already, the predominate family structure in the United States.

  • Military answered the call: How will we respond?

    As thoughts for this time of the year turn to counting our blessings, may I suggest that chief among them is the willingness of our fellow Americans to defend our freedom generation after generation.

    Since Pearl Harbor some 70 years ago, three generations of Americans have answered our nation’s call to duty in her defense. Today, we are in the 11th consecutive year of the Global War on Terror.

  • Hoping to share 'good tidings of great joy'

    The Christmas season is a time of joy. Great joy, in fact, if you read the King James Version of Luke’s account of the Messiah’s birth.

    If that’s so, why are so many people miserable?

    Crowded parking lots and shopping frenzies put many of us on edge. Then there’s the extra hussle and hassle to fit in work celebrations, family gatherings and extra decorating, extra cooking and extra cleaning necessary to stage the perfect holiday.

    Holidays can be a burden, leaving some folks feeling more pooped than pumped.

  • All I want for Christmas is my nip and tuck

    Back in 1944, while teaching music in public school, Donald Gardner asked his second-grade class what they wanted for Christmas. Noticing how almost all his students answered him with a lisp because they had at least one front tooth missing, Gardner sat down and wrote the song, “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.”

    Unfortunately, at least for many youth, it takes much more than two new front teeth to fit into the norm physically; it takes a nip here and a tuck there.

  • Getting reacquainted with Grandpa on his 100th birthday

    Dec. 10, 1911, a century ago, my grandfather was born.

    A powerful figure in my childhood, the image of my grandfather remains fully formed more than two decades after his death.

    He awoke before dawn daily to milk cows and tend to farm chores before putting in a day’s work at Fort Knox. He had big features that probably seemed bigger because of his bald head. A strong man with huge, powerful hands and a forceful personality to match, he enjoyed a rowdy argument about as much as he enjoyed a good laugh.

  • Stressed by holiday frenzy? Calm, common ground is possible

    “What part of Christmas do you find most stressful?” I asked my secretary the other day.

    “The shopping,” she said, without hesitating. 

    The traffic --t rying to find a parking place, struggling to drive from one store to the next -- and the crowds, rushing to get in line, scurrying by other shoppers -- all come with the shopping. It’s an all inclusive non-bargain.

  • Rules about openness should not be drafted by closed minds

    You don’t let wrongdoers write the law.

    Think about that. You wouldn’t let a persistent speeder set the speed limit, a drunken driver determine the legal alcohol level is and you should not let an open-record violator say what should and should not be made public.

    Yet that’s what some in state government would prefer.

  • Judge-executive answers: Whose government is it?

    Many residents incorrectly view county government as just “the government for the unincorporated areas” of the county. In reality, county government provides virtually the same services to every person – city and rural residents alike. In contrast, city governments provide additional services, or increased levels of service, to residents living within their city limits.

    Services provided by county government include:

  • Complicated family communication

    Getting a telephone call from by sister during the work day prompts an immediate emotional reaction. Seeing her name on the cellphone’s display screen brings a quick surge of tension and the beginnings of a knot in my stomach.

    It’s not that she always calls with bad news. It’s usually no big deal. But if she’s calling, it’s probably urgent, particularly if the call comes during the work day.

    We don’t call each other often.