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Opinion

  • I've said it again and again, I love the people of Anderson County.

    That in itself is one of the reasons I work here.

    As with any place, we still have a few people who would rather take time out of their day to send crude, unnecessary e-mails to "airheads" like me who write nothing but "mindless dribble" rather than actually put forth some positive energy, but for the most part Anderson County is full of loving, caring and accepting people.

    Here are two cases in point:

  • I've now been on the Appalachian Trail for nine days and have covered 100 miles, including all of the trails that meander through Connecticut and about half of Massachusetts.

    As my old bones, especially the knees, needed some rest, I've taken a zero day, which in trail parlance simply means staying in a motel instead of hiking.

    Hiking through New England has a very different feel than doing the same in the high mountains of Maine or North Carolina.

  • The "American Idol" auditions are coming to Louisville. I've heard about it - and keep hearing about it - from family and friends, all of which followed the news with the same question: Are you going to go?

    My mom asked. My cousin asked. My friends asked.

    My fianc was out of the loop, but once I told him about the auditions, even he asked.

    I told each of them the same thing: I don't know.

    I've never been a diehard fan of the show, only watching occasionally, but up until my junior year of high school, I seriously thought I would make a career out of singing.

  • Last week I got the opportunity to see some Anderson County residents do some inspiring service work. These people were very enthusiastic about a cause, creative in their idea and took time from their busy summer schedules to raise money for a charitable donation. Oh, and they were 10-year-olds.

    When I was informed there was a group of children selling Popsicles and lemonade to help the Anderson Humane Society, I didn't think much of it until I got there.

  • As I sit here to type, I've got to tell you that I'm having a strong urge to go have "puppy time." At 6 weeks old, they are nothing but adorable. These are healthy puppies and each has its own personality. While spending time outside with the pack tonight, I was reminded that it is the season for chiggers.

    I've been pretty good about using my chamomile tea spray, before working outside. It's when I just come home from work and spend an hour or so taking stock of the day. Duh - that's prime time for chigger and mosquito bites.

  • I've been stumbling for days trying to find some ideas to write a column about. I'm getting married in 17 days, so you'd think I would have plenty.

    I could easily ramble on for inches about how my wedding dress doesn't fit any more, how frustrated I am with all that comes with ordering a wedding cake or how frustrated I am with myself for forgetting to take the wedding invitations home with me the last time I went.

  • Column as I see 'em ...

    While pouring over the county budget to prepare an article for this week's paper, it was amazing to see just how much proposed spending was eliminated when compared to the year before.

    Even with about $80,000 in pay increases for county employees, the fiscal court was able to create a balanced budget.

    Helping the court along were significant reductions in debt and employee fringe benefits, along with nearly $100,000 in cuts from money set aside last year for economic development and the swimming pool fund.

  • My latest walk in the woods began just outside Kent, a small town in Connecticut.

    After about 15 minutes on the Appalachian Trail an unpleasant reality set in. I had either underestimated the degree of difficulty the mountains of the Nutmeg state would present, or had overestimated my degree of fitness.

    The answer probably lies somewhere between the two possibilities.

  • Kudos to the Lawrenceburg City Council for listening to business owners and tabling the idea of requiring them to submit a federal tax return to purchase an occupational license.

  • Well, we're on our way to getting our average 3 1/2 inches of rain in June. I only hope the rest of it comes without the wind damage. The rain did save my crops and I know I wasn't alone. The long, dry spells do have their benefits. We can plant more.

    Now is the time to start seeds for the fall garden. Pumpkins, cabbage and cale crops can be planted from seed to give you more food for the pantry this winter. It's also time to pinch back mums, coleus and impatiens. If that's not enough to keep you off the streets, I've got more.

  • I don't think I've ever wanted a group of living things to die so much in my life.

    OK, so that's a little harsh, but I can't stand those darn cicadas.

    I don't like bugs at all, really. Bees and wasps are my biggest fear and I'm not even allergic to them. I'm trying to make sure we take special precautions (even if it means paying extra) to make sure no guests of the insect variety show up at my outdoor wedding. I know it's outside so it will be pretty impossible to keep them all away, but I tell myself they won't show up because they're not invited.

  • I think I recently contracted a case of acute text message syndrome. My fingers ache, I ignore my surroundings to finish a message and I will have whole conversations without actually speaking.

    Alright, you probably know this isn't a real disease. But it might as well be an epidemic sweeping America. People complain about teenagers texting all the time, but I actually received a text from my mother the other day.

  • I occasionally receive books or articles about hiking, backpacking and river rafting from friends and relatives who are aware of my passion for those activities.

    My brother, who is the very antithesis of an outdoorsman (he believes the great outdoors is the space between the car door and the house door,) recently forwarded a story about Dan Neil's solo sojourn in a desert park west of Los Angeles.

    Neil, a Los Angeles Times staff writer, recently embarked on what was intended to be a 75-mile springtime hike through Joshua Tree National Park.

  • The loss of Harold Ritchey and now W.J. Smith leaves a void in Anderson County that will likely never be filled.

    Ritchey, the longtime county clerk, and Smith, a walking encyclopedia of local history and former postmaster, were two shining examples of what life in a small town is about.

    Simply put, they cared about their hometown and the people who live there.

    Ritchey, the affable clerk seen jogging or walking around town morning, noon and night, passed away last Monday after collapsing while jogging on Broadway.

  • I will never forget the first time I watched Sen. Hillary Clinton in a debate. When a comment was made about politics being a "boys club," Clinton spoke up and said something to the extent of, "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. And I am very comfortable in the kitchen."

  • He'd been sitting under that desk for hours - basically since he got home ... well, to his new home.

    He was scared and in an unfamiliar place, so he felt safest curled up in that corner. But he couldn't stay there forever.

    So I did what any loving mother would do. I got under there with him. I smiled, rubbed his arm and told him everything was fine.

    And then, the most amazing thing happened.

    He started to purr and put his little paw on top of my hand. Izzy Sebastian Canterbury Mason had finally come home.

    OK, now that you think I'm crazy, I'll explain.

  • When God stirred the dust and created Adam back in the day, life was the result.

    With life comes countless miracles and miseries, apparently all part of God's grand design and that which keeps us all - believers and non-believers alike - searching for its meaning.

    My limited linear brain until recently tended to separate miracles and miseries into distinct categories. When my kids were born: miracles. When a loved one dies or suffers: tragedies.

  • My one sibling, Jeff, and I seldom agree about anything. It has always been that way between the two of us.

    I'm three years older and have always been larger and stronger than him. As many big brothers are wont to do, I'm embarrassed to admit that I bullied him a time or two or more.

  • Friday was the last day of school in the Anderson County school system, and as it was such, my esteemed comrade, Katie, and I were given the task of talking to some elementary students to find out their summer plans.

    We headed off to Saffell and Turner, because I knew I'd be at Ward later in the day. At both schools we of course stopped by the office to sign in and let it be known what our plans were while we were there.

    At each school we were greeted with the same response: a warm, welcoming hello, a let-me-check-with-the-principal and a sure, go right ahead.

  • I don't remember exactly when I first visited an army surplus store, but I do remember where it was located and what I purchased. It was an old knapsack, the ones that were prevalent in the first couple of decades after WWII and the Korean War ended.