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Columns

  • Hero status of illegal immigrant points to ironies

    “And isn’t it ironic. Don’t you think?” — Alanis Morissette, from the song, “Ironic”

    It’s been a month of bad news: Standard and Poor’s lowered the U.S. sterling credit rating, 30 U.S. service members including 22 Navy SEALs were killed in the single deadliest loss for U.S. troops since the Afghan war began, 3.2 million people in Somalia need food and aid immediately, and the stock market plunges again and again and again

    It’s refreshing to hear a good story: one of heroism, courage and irony.

  • Military pensions: Drawing a line in the sand

    By JIMMIE L. FOSTER, guest columnist

    For the past year, I have traveled through every state and several foreign countries meeting with veterans, service members and military families. This experience has given me the opportunity to listen and learn from the heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow. While meeting our young warriors of today, I saw the same dedication, resolve and honor that was apparent when I served in uniform. It made me happy to be a veteran, national commander of The American Legion and, most importantly, an American.

  • Eight decades of memories pack Howevalley School

    It’s official. The long goodbye has begun for families with deep attachments to Howevalley Elementary School.
    In a way, it will be a goodbye to a way of life. Just as its establishment some eight decades ago closed the era of one-room schoolhouses in that western corner of Hardin County, there’s nothing quite like Howevalley left.

  • Addressing the tragedy of drunken driving

    I have been a prosecutor for the past 14 years, yet I’ve never become accustomed to the sorrow I feel when I’m involved in a case where someone has died because of alcohol-impaired driving.

    These crashes happen far too often: In 2009, alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities accounted for 32 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States. That means an average of one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality happened every 48 minutes.

  • In search of Grandma's misplaced soul

    The words surprised me, especially since they came from Grandma.

    “She says she can’t find her soul and she’s ready for God to take her home,” my mother-in-law told me on the phone, her voice cracking as she spoke through her tears, trying her best to quote Grandma.

    By “home,” Grandma meant heaven. That made sense. Grandma had not been feeling well for days, and after all, she is one month shy of being 102 years old.

  • Statistics may be important but humor counts too

    Let’s begin with a quiz.

    Based on the 2010 Census, what incorporated Hardin County community had the largest percentage increase in population?

    While you think about your answer, I’ll take a minute to point out a special four-week contest based on your knowledge of Hardin County history and trivia.

    Coming off the extraordinary response to the newspaper’s Bingo Fever contest in June, the circulation staff was looking to try another fun, engaging way to interact with readers.

  • Walking in another's skin

    In the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Atticus Finch tells his daughter: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

    In the past several weeks, I had a chance to do a little walking around in another’s skin. A co-worker and I have been working on a series of stories about poverty in Hardin County.

    I talked to homeless people, others living in low-income housing and just trying to keep their heads above water.

  • Looking for personal magic thanks to a movie moment

    It’s been quite a summer for movies: I was hijacked to Bangkok by "Hangover II," thankful for the bad bosses I haven’t had in "Horrible Bosses," reminded that women can be just as flat-out stupid-crazy as men in "Bridesmaids" and glad I’m not anyone but me in "The Changeup."

    But my favorite film of the summer is one that catapulted me back in time to another era, a golden age. 

  • Shared experiences define us

    We all are a product of experiences. I was reminded of that this week on Facebook.

    Message after message have been posted describing kindly school janitors, inspiring teachers, shopping experiences and cruising parking lots as teenagers. The sharing continues today as folks fondly recall bygone days.

    Between Tuesday night and the completion of this column Saturday afternoon, 8,340 posts have been filed under a heading called “You’re so Hardin County if...”

  • Smokin' hot is in eye of beholder

    “Lord, I want to thank you for my smoking’ hot wife…”

    No, I didn’t say it! (My wife warned me if I prayed that publicly it might be my last prayer.)

    Those are the words of the Rev. Joe Nelms, pastor of First Baptist Church of Lebanon, Tenn., praying at NASCAR’s Federated 300 Nationwide Series Race in Nashville recently. Pastor Nelms became an instant star on the internet with comments about his prayer ranging from “the greatest prayer ever” to “blasphemous.” 

    It is neither.