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Opinion

  • “Teddy Roosevelt is my favorite president,” I said to the soon-to-be college graduate sitting across from me.  “I visited his house once.”
    Teddy Roosevelt’s home on Long Island, NY, is stuffed with books as well as a frightening grizzly bear looming in frozen growl over small elementary student visitors.
    The museum was both terrifying and fascinating to a fourth grader with career aspirations of becoming a pioneer and creating her own head cheese.    

  • Column as I see ’em …
    I’ve never been happier to be wrong in my life.
    I screwed up royally several weeks go when I wrote an article about potential health department tax increases.
    I wasn’t alone in thinking health department taxes are governed under the convoluted “compensating rate” system; even the county attorney wasn’t aware of an old statute that actually covers health taxes.
    She is now, and I’m absolutely thrilled.

  • Today I’m going to use print to talk about social media.
    Counterproductive?
    Perhaps, especially since you cannot hover your computer cursor on the phrase “click here,” taking you straight to online coverage of last Friday’s industrial park fire in Lawrenceburg.  
    Don’t worry. The technology is coming. I can feel it.
    You probably snapped a photo — taken from your porch, from your driver’s seat or from your backyard — of the smoke plume over Lawrenceburg as it twisted lazily into the air.

  • When the Commons 4 Kids charity delivers its second million baseball cards this year, Jerry Milburn knows exactly which baseball card he’ll choose to mark the occasion.
    A 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey, Jr., rookie card.
    The baseball card that sparked decades of collecting.
    The good-luck charm Milburn’s mother brought to Bingo nights.
    The card that inspired the beginnings of Milburn’s trading card charity, Commons 4 Kids.

  • Column as I see ’em …
    Just when I start to think the city council is ready to bury the hatchet with county government, it steps up and reaffirms just how wide the chasm between the two really is.
    The city’s decision to move forward with a splash park is the latest indicator of how unwilling it is to join forces with county government for the benefit of this community.

  • Stepping off the plane in Haiti, David Montgomery first smelled the trash.
    “I’d been through some poor countries before, but when I hit Haiti, just the smell, the trash was everywhere, just like a tour of the landfill out here,” Montgomery said.
    The Anderson County magistrate’s memories of all he’s done, seen and heard on the Caribbean island run together.
    After 12 trips to Haiti in 14 years, it can be difficult to keep his timeline straight.

  • Bending paperclips calms me.
    Fragile metal contorted into shepherd’s hooks or misshapen cranes lay inert beneath computer paper shrouds.
    Their broken limbs of snapped, twisted metal litter my desk.
    They are the leftovers of trying to wield control in an uncontrollable world.
    Destroying something that can’t ever be made whole again relieves stress.  
    It always has.
    When I was a child, usually sitting in the left outfield wearing my baseball mitt as a hat, my fingers happily found grass to destroy.  

  • The Anderson Public library’s board of trustees will apparently wait until a court orders it to comply with the statute that governs how it’s supposed to set tax rates before doing so on its own.
    And that’s a shame because by doing so the board is missing out on a great chance to reinvent its image and survive what will otherwise be a devastating financial blow.
    The order to lower its tax rate has already come for a library in northern Kentucky and, trust me on this, a similar order will eventually be issued here.

  • Dustin Burley is gay.
    Dustin Burley is also against gay marriage.
    So don’t expect him to change his Facebook profile photo to a red equal sign
    Originally designed by the Human Rights Campaign, the equal sign has become a virtual and viral banner of one’s social media support for marriage equality.
    Burley says he’s definitely for equal rights, just not gay marriage.
    And if you ask him why, Burley won’t hesitate.

  • Column as I see ’em …
    It’s fairly surprising that the health department director is pushing for a 33 percent revenue increase in the agency’s next budget. (See A1 for details).
    I get why he’s doing it; the department took a major revenue blow this year thanks to a Medicaid insurer that is refusing to pay its bills, and he’s right that those who work there should not have to endure another year of furlough days.

  • Column as I see ’em …
    Remember the column I wrote a couple of weeks ago about my trip to the dentist? The one that began with my dentist jokingly calling the newspaper “goofy?”
    Well, a coward chastised me with an unsigned letter this week, claiming that my dentist was actually trying to tell me that I’m a “dumb***.”
    Language, madam, please!

  • In a German town about 4,000 miles away, Chelsea Schedler analyzes Lawrenceburg cul-de-sacs.
    Researches the county’s curved roads (iconic design unique to subdivisions, Chelsea says) that double back to marked entrances.
    Studies American suburban home floor plans essentially worshiping, in Chelsea’s words, “the sanctity of the automobile.”
    They say write what you know.
    Chelsea, an architecture student and intern living in Germany, dissected what she knew — Lawrenceburg.

  • Poop washes off.
    My dad’s use of that phrase is always a bit more colorful, but the word poop instead of the less family-friendly version doesn’t alter its meaning.
    In short, it means never be afraid to get your hands dirty, be it from shoveling manure or any other task that might result in greasy hands or dirty fingernails.

  • I probably ask more questions than I get answers.
    Because I’m sympathetic to those who want answers, I’m fairly good at answering questions.
    Except for one.
    “Do you like being a newspaper reporter?”
    Pause.
    Sometimes I really need to think about that one.
    Not that I dislike my job. I definitely don’t.
    But it feels wrong to talk about my job in a manner of liking.
    Liking is something you do on Facebook photos.
    I like eggplant lasagna.

  • Someone could have knocked me over with birdshot from 190 yards away last week when I learned that the trial is off for the man charged with hunting drunk and shooting Rex Burkhead.
    Just days before the trial against David Gaines was to begin, misdemeanor charges were ratcheted up to felonies after the case was presented to the grand jury.

  • Harlem Shake.
    Reading these two words may have just produced the following thoughts:
    What in the world is the Harlem Shake?
    Is that a new beverage?
    Wow, you’re writing about the Harlem Shake videos? That was like, so Feb. 2.
    Yes, I am writing about the Harlem Shake meme.
    Not because I want to appear cool (which I am certainly not), or in step with contemporary youth culture (which I am certainly not).

  • Stoned on laughing gas and thick-tongued from Novocain, I said “Lawren-th-burg” when the dentist asked where I’m from.
     “Oh, I have friends from Lawrenceburg,” she said, the cruel whirl of the drill screaming in my ears as she leaned in to fix a troublesome tooth. “They’re always sending me that goofy newspaper with all the weird stuff in it.”

  • No one likes liars.
    Particularly when your food is lying.
    Not laying on your plate, but masquerading as something it’s not supposed to be.
    Horse meat in beef’s clothing, for example.
    Imitation may be the finest form of flattery, but except when we’re not aware of the cuisine mimicry.  
    In earth-shattering headlines, media outlets pick up on the latest click-bait “you won’t believe what thing you won’t want to eat next!” and reveal another food isn’t what it said it was.

  • Column as I see ’em …
    It was disappointing to learn that the fiscal court won’t do away with its ridiculous business license requirement simply because it includes an equally ridiculous insurance premium fee.
    Frankly, magistrates should get rid of both.
    The first is an inexplicable tax on local businesses put in place, apparently, because some people have the audacity to open a business in our fair town. The second is equally inexplicable and in place simply because people own things they either want or are required to insure.

  • Hemp production in Kentucky may soon become more than a pipe dream.
    Back in November 2011, I wrote a column about industrial hemp as a source of biofuel.
    Now in 2013, industrial hemp is fueling conversations from the state senate to FFA debates at Anderson County High School.
    Last Monday the state senate passed Senate Bill 50 to allow the licensing and of hemp growers, should the state eventually receive a waiver from the federal government to produce industrial hemp.