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Features

  • Help international

    students learn English

  • It was 68 years ago this month that the Tuskegee Airmen were formed. And, 88-year-old Ocala resident Robert Walker was one of them.

    Walker was the guest speaker recently at the Cherrywood Estates Veterans Club monthly meeting. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black aviators in history when they began their training in March 1941.

  • Community Legal Service of Mid-Florida (CLSMF) is issuing a warning to those facing a foreclosure to be aware of offers to modify their mortgages for a fee. Be aware that some of the services offered by some companies are already available for free– by visiting a nonprofit counselor or by talking to your lender. Some companies may charge the homeowner a fee but fail to deliver services.

  • It’s an overstatement to say that none of Antonya Nelson’s quirky characters have anything going right for them – but something is clearly wrong with them all. In “Or Else,” for instance, one of the short stories in this collection, the narrator’s favorite bar pick-up line is “My family owns a house in Telluride.” The problem is that the house does not belong to David but to old, out-of-touch friends and that it’s more of a shack than a house.

  • Criminals never cease to amaze me. Now comes word from the Attorney General’s Office about another scam, this one targeting those applying for unemployment.

    Attorney General Bill McCollum issued a warning to Floridians to be wary of companies offering to file unemployment compensation claims for a fee.

    Recent reports from other states indicate consumers have signed up for such services, only to later discover unemployment claims were never filed on their behalf.

  • A worried mind lives in the future. An unhappy mind lives in the past. A peaceful mind lives in the present. Or, to add a little lighthearted wisdom from the Jewish Buddhist: “Be here now. Be someplace else later. Is that so hard?”

    Spring signifies rebirth and rejuvenation. What better time to follow Jesus’ injunction: “Do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

  • What a winter season we have had this year in our part of Florida! Sweaters have been de rigueur and scarves a necessary accessory. I actually had to wear my Florida “winter coat” more than twice and many a day I toyed with the idea of wearing — you should pardon the expression — gloves.

    This all, of course, leads me to thinking about spring. I know the warmer season is not far off just by looking at my garden and the lessons it teaches me.

    Right now, nothing seems to be alive. The predominant color is brown with hardly a green sprout in sight.

  • If you have been reluctant to open your 401-K statements lately you are not alone. Very few have been unscathed by the continued decline in the financial markets this past year. Retirees who are dependent on their security holdings in their IRAs and other brokerage accounts to meet monthly expenses have been particularly hard hit.

    Can the news get any worse? Stock prices are at 12-year lows, the GDP growth was negative last quarter, unemployment has climbed north of 8 percent and every day we are bombarded with stories of foreclosures and bank failures.

  • The Friends spring book sale is finally here. Come and load up for your summer supply. The sale will be in progress Thursday and Friday, March 26 and 27, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Be sure to attend. I predict some nifty unadvertised specials.

  • Every year about this time, a friend of mine always says, “If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb.”

    I would not mind it so much if I knew what in the world he was talking about.

    That is the thing about friendship. We allow people to go on and on about something without the slightest notion of what they are talking about and yet, we most heartily agree with their opinion. I suppose that is why we are still friends. We put up with their eccentricities in hopes that they will reciprocate.

  • Not everybody realizes how important it is to follow protocol. Many Philistines in our society do things so haphazardly that it is a real affront to those of us who know better. There should be a law forbidding such perfunctory behavior. We have a law for everything else, why not this? Plus, it would better serve our country and help maintain civilized behavior among our citizens.

  • Irish immigrants brought the observance of St. Patrick’s Day to the United States in 1737. Today’s most well-known celebration is the parade in New York City where the route is painted with a green line to guide the marchers.

    Elsewhere almost everyone celebrates by wearing green, being honorary Irish, drinking green beer, and eating corned beef and cabbage. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day on this coming Tuesday, Pun Alley is decked out in green and some colorful Irish stories.

    Real Green

  • When seniors get together at club meetings, in the pool or casually meeting at the mall there are two favorite subjects for discussion. The first is always where to eat and the second what doctors have they visited lately.

    Last week’s Pun Alley covered restaurants and food. So, today, our trip down Pun Alley stops at the nearest doctor’s office for some stories that may whack your funny bone.

    Quick Letdown

  • It’s a common dilemma: If you’re busy, it’s tempting to go for the quick fix at mealtime. But before you cook up some macaroni and cheese or grab a cheeseburger with bacon, realize this: Experts are increasingly finding that as your nutrition goes, so goes your health.

  • Top of the mornin’ to ye! Sure and ‘tis the season for the wearing o’ the green and the sportin’ of the shamrock, and I have it on good authority from the wee folk themselves, that many Irish will be enjoying a cup of brew and maybe a green bagel or two.

    Green bagel? Now, that has to be an oxymoron. If there are green bagels, there must be Irish Jews – and indeed, there are.

  • When the clocks spring ahead an hour Sunday, March 8, Marion County Fire Rescue (MCFR) encourages residents to also change the batteries in their smoke alarms.

    Most people die in house fires not because of the flames but because of the deadly carbon monoxide smoke. People inhale the toxins, go to sleep and often never wake up.

    But if people have working smoke alarms, they are more than 70 percent more likely to escape a fire unharmed. Sadly, most smoke alarms don’t work because of missing, dead or disconnected batteries or poor maintenance.

  • Many of us transplanted from the North tend to dismiss Florida history, thinking it refers to a few Seminole raids, Henry Flagler’s railroad, and the creation of Disneyland. But in Patrick Smith’s A Land Remembered we are given a rich history predating trendy beaches and cheap souvenirs.

  • Some things I absolutely refuse to do. However, when I am coerced into doing one of those things I remember why I usually refuse to do them and swear a solemn oath never to do them again.

    It is not things that I hate to do, necessarily, but things that get me into trouble.

    For example; I positively refuse to sing in public. I love singing but my respect for human dignity, not to mention the delicate nature of human ears, restrains me from this kind of public display. It is perfectly all right for me to sing in the shower.

  • The Freedom Quilters group consists of 30-plus members. Over the course of six months and unimagined hours, they created a work of art in the chicken scratch quilt which they donated to the library as a fundraiser.

    On behalf of the library, The Friends and Quilters Group working together will have tickets available at the library for a minimum donation of $2 per ticket or three for $5. Stop in and get your tickets from Monday, March 16, to Saturday morning, March 28.

  • When you lend money to someone you want some assurance from the borrower that the debt will be repaid. You get that assurance by knowing whether and how a bond is secured, or backed.

    In some cases bonds are backed by a legal claim on specific assets that can be forfeited to the lender if the debt is not repaid. One of the most common examples of s secured bond is a mortgage.

    Your mortgage is secured by a lien against your house. If you don’t make your mortgage payments, the lender has the legal right to the house. The house serves as collateral for the mortgage.