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Opinion

  • This summer many Kentuckians will receive a check from the federal government as part of an effort to stimulate the national economy.

    Before these checks arrive, think about what will be the best use of this money for you and your family. Spending the money on vacations or new items for your family may not be the best choice.

    If you have credit card or other debt, paying down that would be a better use of the income for your own economic future.

  • As I read about the natural disasters that occurred recently in the Far East, I'm once again reminded of how fortunate I am to be an American.

    Living in the safety of a country that does a pretty good job of protecting most of its citizens most of the time, it's almost impossible to fathom the amount of death and destruction visited upon China two weeks ago and upon Myanmar a week earlier.

  • The e-mail included information about "Mad Stones," so I naturally thought someone wanted to let me know that Mick Jagger and his aging bandmates were in some sort of a snit.

    Thankfully, the message was remarkably more interesting than that.

    Mad stones, it turns out, have ties back to the days of Cleopatra as a means of curing bites from poisonous spiders and snakes. In America, they have a rich Southern history as a remedy for people bitten by rabid dogs.

  • Friday after work, I was really hungry.

    I had a fairly early lunch and couldn't wait to meet up with my mother for dinner. I don't think I'd ever been so excited about hospital food in my life.

    Yep, I said hospital food and excited in the same sentence.

    You see, my dad had a partial knee replacement surgery last week in Danville, so I was on my way to the hospital to check on him and provide a little company to my mom.

  • I can't report that we have solved the mysterious noise behind the car wash, but we are getting closer.

    To recap, I used last week's column to ask readers to help figure out what's keeping awake at night a woman who lives in the subdivision behind The Soap Factory, located off the southbound lane of U.S. 127 Bypass.

    She called a couple weeks ago asking for my help to determine what is making the loud steel-on-steel slamming sound which begins around 3:30 a.m. several times each week.

  • Several months ago, I made one of those promises that sound good at the time, but sound less promising when called upon to follow through. Saturday, I was called upon and had to follow through.

    The promise was made to my only grandchild and absolute favorite person, Anna Cason, after we watched "Dumbo," the Disney classic about a baby elephant with huge ears. As the movie concluded, Anna said, "I've never been to a circus. I hope I get to go sometime."

  • So, I moved last week.

    If you noticed there aren't any exclamation marks after that, you're sensing the right tone.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm ecstatic to be living in my new apartment, which in two months or so will be come our apartment. But let's just say moving day didn't go all that smoothly.

    I took the whole day off from work, and Josh and I brought the first load of stuff over around 11 a.m. We got our keys, did the "we're-excited-to-have-our-own-apartment" dance and started putting that first load in place.

  • Upon returning from a week spent lazing on Jamaica's beaches, basking in the sun and surf and trying to be discreet while ogling the ladies from behind the safety of dark sunglasses, I discovered an unused $20 American Express check in my wallet. Never one to allow money to remain in my possession longer than necessary, I headed to a bank here in town to cash in.

  • Do you ever hear things that go bump in the night?

    Aside from the never-ending parade of freight trains that seems to squawk, squeal and blow their incessant horns, I rarely hear a thing.

    That's not the case for one woman who lives in the community behind The Soap Factory car wash.

    The woman, who does not want her name used, called me last week, wondering if I could put on my investigative reporter's hat and figure out what the heck is making such a racket four nights a week near her home.

  • While our public officials try to figure out how to spin a sucker punch at restaurant owners and their customers into a pile of money to waste on tourism, our neighbors just keep adding pelts to their economic development belts.

    This time it was Springfield's turn. You know, that smaller-than-Lawrenceburg city located in a county smaller than Anderson?

    Seems folks there aren't buying into the notion espoused here recently that bringing in a factory and 100 jobs just isn't going to happen anytime soon.

  • 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.