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Columns

  • Warmer temps give gardeners jump start

    Welcome to the new normal of warm winters and even warmer summers.
    Hey, most of us would winter in Florida or Arizona if we could. Now we can just stay home.
    The NOAA announced 2012 was the warmest on record, since it started keeping records. Wow. At this rate we’ll be moving the USDA zone map lines for planting. Maybe and maybe not.

  • What’s on my mind: kids and their cell phones

    I was walking through the Rotunda of our state’s capital right before Christmas and heard a young boy ask his father if Abe Lincoln had a cell phone — true story.
    “You see, in the old days people didn’t have mobile phones,” he began to explain.
    I could not pause to hear the rest. I was too struck that my past had already become someone else’s history. The young boy had the same look on his face as I did when my parents had told me about how they grew up with no television. OMG, was all I could say.

  • Hoarding is more than sad TV show

    Compulsive hoarding is a health condition that has received much attention from the media in recent years. However, hoarding is not always easy to detect and may be more widespread than many believe.
    Compulsive hoarding can be secretive. An individual can discreetly accumulate items over many years. Sometimes hoarding is discovered only when the individual is no longer able to live in their own home or the family cleans the home following the loved one’s death.

  • Remedies to keep your vehicle free of ice

    Well we’ve made it to the season of “ahh.” The holidays are over and we start to settle back in to some kind of routine. Our days and nights are calmer. The decorations are back in their boxes and all the trash has finally been picked up. Now, we just have to get through winter.  

  • Treasury is place to look for owed money

    With holiday bills mounting, many of us wish we could find money we lost, forgot about or didn’t know we had. Finding lost valuables, such as insurance policies and unclaimed money or property, is easier than you might think.

  • Question the logic of so-called fiscal cliff

    Americans are told that they face a “fiscal cliff” if automatic federal spending cuts and tax increases occur at the end of 2012. I’m not in favor of jumping off a cliff, but the logic of the supposed threat needs to be questioned.
    The fiscal-cliff narrative assumes that spending cuts are bad for the economy. It follows, then, that more spending (and therefore more government debt) are good for the economy.

  • New year brings new list of chores

    Well, next up is New Year’s. As in the ancient holiday, we should celebrate the old year’s successes, and plan our new hopes for the new year. Write them down and place the list someplace you’ll see every day. Work toward those goals.
    The list doesn’t have to be big or logical. It’s your list. Just motivate yourself to get it done. Now, with that in mind, doing something with the Christmas tree may be on your list. If you decorated with a real tree, you get to choose what to do with it. later.

  • Send your Christmas photos to the News

    Perhaps the morning begins with the soft shuffling of socks tip-toeing down the stairs, drawn like pajama-clad moths to the Christmas tree glow.
    Your Christmas morning may erupt with a bang, not a whimper, with excited screams and noisy rustle of wrapping paper torn and hastily set aside.
    The holidays in the Downs family are more sedate these days, what with all of the formerly excitable children now grown-up and mature.  
    We resign ourselves to making silly faces during our annual dreaded photo shoot in front of the Christmas tree.

  • A sure-fire way to get kids to eat spinach

    The children at Head Start were eating spinach and enjoying it this week.
    At least most of them tried it and most of those who tried it, liked it.
    I prepared spinach salad with fruit. The recipe is below. The secret to getting them to eat the spinach is the strawberries. The surprise taste is the orange juice.
    Here are some tips for handling your child who is a choosy eater.  
    Don’t be a short order cook. Instead offer the same food for the entire family. Offer nutritious foods. Serve at least one food that your child will eat.

  • Finding lasting peace when asking “Why?”

    Heinous. Vicious. Atrocious.
    None of those adjectives come close to describing the murder of 20 defenseless first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
    Incomprehensible.
    We simply can’t fathom how someone could be so sick, so deranged to force his way into an elementary school, the home of bright eyes, toothless smiles and looks of wonder.
    Just why?
    How could anyone methodically aim a gun at such innocence and pull a trigger? Not just once, but, according to reports, multiple times.