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Opinion

  • The world of journalism is a strange one. You have busy weeks that produce a lot of column ideas, and you have slow weeks that produce zero ideas. But, you also have busy weeks that produce zero ideas (hence the TV column that ran last week), and you have slow weeks that produce a lot of ideas.

    For the most part, last week fell into the latter category.

  • It sure sounds good, that whole restaurant tax idea, especially when its promoters and the city council continue to ignore or at least refuse to question the reality of the situation.

    The sales pitch presented Monday by tourism officials giddily ignored the proposal's economic feasibility, and did so with an enabling assist from council members who asked only a couple of benign questions, including if the money could be used to build a pool. (More on that in a moment.)

  • Reason and common sense dictate that farmers should be forced to purchase a business license, just like any other business in Anderson County.

    Trouble is, reason and common sense are often not attributes ascribed to the way government at any level treats farmers when it comes to taxes - be they property or otherwise.

    Nor should they be.

    Farmers for centuries have occupied a pedestal in America reserved for few others - only members of the armed forces come immediately to mind.

  • What I write rarely makes me feel foolish.

    Oh, I've made my share of blunders in print, some colossal, some not so much but embarrassing nevertheless.

    But when I finished the short story I promised to read during last Thursday's Stimulating, Ink [a high school writing club] coffeehouse reading at the public library, I summoned all my courage to get up in front of the 40 or so folks there and read it aloud.

  • While interviewing Tammy Caldwell last week for a story about Humphrey, the camel she recently acquired, I was reminded of my own association with and interest in camels.

    I've never been inclined to own a camel, but have always been intrigued by them.

    There are two true camels, the one humper or dromedary that inhabits the Sahara and surrounding environs of North Africa, and the Asian or Bactrian camel which has two humps.

  • No matter how hard I try to escape it, I can't - I'm pretty much officially a grown up.

    I'm a college graduate with a "big girl" job. (Even though calling it a big girl job makes it sound just the opposite.) But not only that, I'm getting married. And what's more grown up than getting married? Don't you dare say having a child. I'm not ready to do, nor hear, that yet.

  • The first time I appeared in a newspaper, I was pictured with my best friend, Katie, standing by my side. At ages 7 and 8, respectively, we were part of a "man on the street" type section in The Pineville Sun, the weekly paper from my hometown.

    Below our picture were our answers to the question of the week for that issue, which was "What do you think about going to the new Lone Jack Elementary School?"

  • Revenue neutral are two words Anderson Countians are not accustomed to hearing these days from their city and county governments.

    At nearly every turn, one or the other seems intent on squeezing from residents every penny they can, be it through a county payroll tax or a 3 percent tax for those who patronize city restaurants.

    But those are the words that came out of the city's finance committee meeting Monday afternoon while discussing revisions to its unwieldy business license tax.

  • I was back on the Appalachian Trail last week hiking a 50-mile portion that meanders through Northern Virginia into West Virginia near Harpers Ferry.

    After a six-month layoff, I expected the hike to be tough on this old out-of-shape body. It was, and was made even more so by crummy weather. The first two days were unseasonably cold, followed by two days of constant rain and fog. The fifth day out was beautiful, but unfortunately was followed by yet another cold rainy one.

  • "You'd be good at that." It was a spring day almost 30 years ago that Sharon Messer turned to me and spoke those five little words.

    We were in a small group of women when one asked about her recent decision to stop writing a community column for the newspaper. She explained her creative juices had just stopped flowing, then unexpectedly turned to me and spoke those fateful words.

  • Anderson County's tourism commission is doing what a good tourism commission does: finding ways to raise money to promote tourism.

  • Like millions of Americans spread from coast to coast, I was glued to the tube watching basketball much of last week.

    But during a lull in the action, I chanced upon a PBS broadcast of the "Crossroads Guitar Festival," a music festival and benefit concert hosted by Eric Clapton in 2004 and again in 2007.

  • On March 15, I participated in the second annual Shamrock Shuffle, a 3K race through the streets of downtown Lexington. Moving at my normal turtle-like pace, I had my best race ever.

    As a youngster, I wasn't into distance running. I got into jogging later in life in an attempt to keep my weight down and stay physically fit. But I've never been a serious runner.

  • Now that spring has sprung (Easter's snow flurries not withstanding), it won't be long before children are released from school bondage and freed to roam Anderson County in search of fun.

    Some, whose parents fork over 50-plus bucks, will wile away their summer hitting and throwing baseballs and softballs in the county park. Others will give soccer moms another season to exist.

  • We're sticking with our original opinion that the best move the Anderson County Board of Education could have made to balance population at the elementary schools would have been to turn Saffell into a fifth and sixth grade campus.

    Instead, the board opted to expand the middle school and appeared to knuckle under to pressure from Saffell parents and teachers who screamed bloody murder.

    Rather than spend millions, the board could have used its existing facilities to teach children and saved the spending for when it's really needed.

  • Some days I just want to scream, and it's my best possible guess that every day until July 12 will be one of those days.

    For those of you who didn't tune in last week, I'm getting married this summer (!), and July 12 is my wedding date. This weekend it kind of hit me that I will be busy every day until that very day is over.

    Friday was fine. I only had to work half a day, and my cousin, who will be my maid of honor, came into town. She and I went to dinner with my fianc, then the world turned upside down. OK, so not really, but I got pretty stressed.

  • Did Eliot Spitzer, the democratic governor of New York who resigned last week, really think he could continue to fool around with a high priced "escort" service forever and not eventually get caught? Given his penchant for going after both billionaire white collar criminals and mafia bosses like the Gambino crime family, there was no way he was going to continue getting away with spending thousands of dollars on call girls. His many enemies are just too powerful.

  • "Someone from the chamber's on line one," one of the front office folks here at the paper said over the intercom in my office. "She wants to talk to you."

    No stranger to getting an earful following harsh editorials, I picked up the phone figuring my latest anti-payroll tax diatribe in which I chastised the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce for its lack of an opinion on the issue had resulted in the paper being booted from the chamber.

    Instead of an angry voice, I heard a rather pleasant one telling me I was nominated to be on the group's board of directors.

  • Due to my wife's recent surgery, I've been sleeping all by my lonesome for the past 10 days.

    It's a new experience - the first time in 39 years of marriage I've been able to occupy the master bed by myself for an extended period.

    When I first realized that such a unique opportunity was at hand, I planned to make the most of it.

    Let me explain.

    My wife is the best person I know. She's kind to everybody, even those few she doesn't especially like. And those few have no idea she doesn't care for them.

  • I've been back in Anderson County for a little over three weeks now, and a few things have happened that don't necessarily warrant a column on their own, but still deserve to be mentioned in a combined effort. So here goes...

    Last week's column

    OK, so my "shoe" column last week wasn't exactly well received by some of you. You either didn't understand it, or once you did understand it, you thought you'd wasted too much of your life trying to figure it out. I apologize for the turmoil my metaphor must have caused you.