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Opinion

  • 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.

  • Supporting America's troops has become something of a cottage industry.

    From T-shirts to hats to those magnetized ribbons that adorn trunks - and the particularly cool camouflage ones on tailgates - plenty of folks have scarfed up plenty of dough by selling us stuff to let everyone know how patriotic we are.

    Not that there's anything wrong with that. A display of support for our troops is a good thing and, if someone makes a little cash helping us do so, why that's the American way, right?

  • The political prowess and calculation with which Gov. Beshear is making his case for building casinos in Kentucky is both brilliant and detestable.

    Beshear was crying the financial blues to anyone who would listen seemingly before his inauguration speech was over.

    In the blink of an eye, the perception of the commonwealth went from a prosperous, growing state - "Unbridled Spirit!" - to one mired in red ink and teetering on the brink of financial ruin.

  • What a difference a few months can make.

    Late last year we used this space to repeatedly take to task the Anderson County Fiscal Court for even considering the idea of implementing a payroll tax to solve what we were being told was a pending fiscal crisis.

    Fast-forward to the past few weeks and we now have a fiscal court eager to find every spare penny in the county's budget and unafraid of tweaking a few noses in the process.

  • I tried several times to apologize to Lisa Winfrey, who only chucked each time and said don't worry about it.

    Although I've heard the high school dance team mentioned a time or two in passing and we've had an occasional bit of information about it in the paper, I felt horrible that I was so ignorant of the team's accomplishments, including consecutive national titles.

    As I typically do on Mondays, I was tossing story ideas around the office (aka bothering everyone), trying to gauge staff, and by proxy, reader reaction to what's going on around town.

  • No money. No aquatic center. Not even a skate park.

    The list of what Anderson County doesn't have often appears to dwarf the list of things it does.

    As a result, residents gripe and politicians grip over our perceived shortcomings and look to each other for solutions.

    "Think outside of the box" we often hear and say, but when was the last time any of us actually did so?

    The folks in Casey County, however, have what appears to be a whiz-bang group of thinkers who are so far outside the box it's a wonder if they can even see the box.

  • To the editor:

    Being in a career that moves me around state to state every few years, we recently settled here in Anderson County.

    It's plain to see that the people are friendly and show a lot of manners when you run into them at church or in the stores around town.

  • As soon as I learned Donald McCaig's sequel to "Gone With the Wind" was due out in November, it was quickly added to my Christmas wish list.

    I must have been a pretty good boy, as the 498-page "Rhett Butler's People" was under our tree Christmas Day. I devoured it in two days.

    Set in the Old South in the years immediately before the Civil War and continuing through the war and into early Reconstruction, both books tell of Southern plantation life and how the war changed that way of life forever.