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Today's Opinions

  • Sheriff lists accomplishments since he took office

    This item was submitted by Capt. James Pogue of the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

    Since the inauguration of Sheriff Chris Blair, the Sheriff's Office has undergone extensive scrutiny and regeneration began. It started with the hiring of an experienced command staff which included Chief Deputy Fred LaTorre, Major Tommy Bibb and Major Don Maines: returning 134 years of law enforcement experience to the agency while eliminating the need to promote 16 current employees, resulting in a saving of approximately $148,000.

  • Message to the graduates

    This is a yearly column, updated with latest information.
    This is a big month for many young people in Marion County, as they leave high school and move on to the next phase of their lives.
    Graduation ceremonies are scheduled for local high schools, a landmark day for a few hundred young adults who are ready to venture out into the world.

  • New texting ban is another farce

    Years ago, when the Florida Legislature, under pressure from the Feds, adopted a mandatory seat belt use law, they made it a secondary offense. In other words, police couldn’t stop you for not using a seat belt.
    They had to stop you for something else before you could receive a seat belt citation.
    Eventually, someone realized how silly this was, so they made it a primary violation. Now if you drive down the road without your seat belt hooked up, you can be pulled over.

  • Mom's sacrifice: Learning to drive

    The year was … well, it was in the late 1940s, I’m not sure exactly what year it was.
    I was just a little kid then, but I remember going out in the car with my dad and mom. We went to a vacant parking lot and, shock of shocks, my folks switched positions and mom got behind the wheel.
    She was learning to drive.

  • More medicine dropoff points needed

    One of the services that law enforcement agencies provide a couple of times per year is the “pill take-back day” that was held last Saturday.
    On that day, people can drop medication, usually unwanted or outdated, off at any of the sites and it will be disposed of properly. Nationally, the Drug Enforcement Administration pushes the event, and local law enforcement agencies cooperate.

  • Appreciate your teachers

    They are among the most dedicated workers anywhere. They are extremely important to the community and the families within.
    They take your children, some at a young age, and try to mold them into productive citizens, making sure they learn the basics.
    They are, of course, the teachers in our schools.
    Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week in the Marion County Schools.
    Most teachers are hard-working people. Some of the problems they have to endure are not of their own making.

  • A procession of steps toward social democracy

    When asked if he had any political affiliation, humorist Will Rogers used to quip: “I am not a member of any organized party. I’m a Democrat.” If he were alive today, Rogers could claim membership in either of two disorganized parties.
    Republicans didn’t learn much from their disorganized politics under presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, which led to the Great Depression (1929-1939). During those three presidencies, Republicans controlled both houses of Congress (1921 to 1933).

  • wanted for prosecution: one groundhog

    When I was a kid, living up north, I always wondered how, on Feb. 2, some silly little animal in Pennsylvania could predict the weather.
    It was Groundhog Day, and supposedly if the groundhog saw his shadow and scurried back into his hole, there would be six more weeks of winter. If he didn’t see his shadow, there would be an early spring.
    The biggest celebration is in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. In fact, a cult movie starring Bill Murray was made in 1993 featuring this festival and, indeed, a festival has built up around this holiday.