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Columns

  • 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.

  • Recipes for healthier holiday breakfast

    Holiday breakfasts can be healthier. It is possible to eat well and feel satisfied with less fat and sodium.
    The recipes below are healthier versions of holiday favorites because they are lower in fat, sugar and sodium and higher in fiber.

    Breakfast Bake
    Serves 8            
    8 slices bread (white or whole wheat), crust trimmed, buttered with a low fat spread
    1/2 pound sausage, cooked thoroughly and crumbled, rinsing with hot water to remove more fat

  • Holiday traditions should put smile on face, song in heart

    Welcome to the fastest time of the year. I know the watches and clocks and smart phones still run on a 24-hour day, but those hours seem to get shorter, a lot shorter, around Christmas.
    The only way to fight this battle is good planning and creativity. Well, a song in your heart and a smile on your face helps, too.

  • Know these facts when buying, selling vehicle

    As we approach the end of the year, I chose topics that relate to that very subject.
    Buying, selling vehicle at end of year
    If you have sold or intend to sell a vehicle before the end of the year, be sure that the buyer transfers the vehicle at the county clerk’s office. Just signing the title and having it notarized will not remove the vehicle or the tax obligation from your name. Whomever’s name is in the AVIS System (state transportation system) on Jan. 1 of that year is responsible for the property tax on that vehicle for that entire year.

  • This week, let’s have fun with numbers

    It’s the 12th day of the 12th month, 12 years into the 21st century.
    Those who really like numbers, like these. Plus, they’re just fun to write. One-two, one-two, one-two. Flip the one and two around and you’ve got the first day of winter. Oh, I’ve got more.

  • For homebound, a visit can be best gift of all

    The holiday season is a time to not only give gifts that you can buy or make yourself but also to provide special service and visits to people you love.
    The homebound often appreciate a visit as much as having a gift. With limited access to the outside, a person’s world can shrink considerably and he may feel disconnected from people and the community.