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Features

  • United Way of Marion County announced that it has reached 88 percent or $2.2 million dollars of the goal set in August 2008. The goal set by the United Way board of directors was $2.5 million, a milestone set in 2006 and raised again in 2007.

  • Today is the day for those still working to have some fun. According to the Internet site, Bizarre, Crazy, Silly Unknown Holidays, today is National Fun at Work Day.

    I have fond memories of fun at work as my coworkers fed straight lines to me and I found ways to hurl puns back at them. In retrospect I suspect they weren’t having as much fun as I was aiming – as there was a lot of groaning, head-slapping and maybe those grins were grimaces.

  • Is your yard brand new? Or perhaps it is old and overgrown? Are you tired of maintaining a lawn? Any of the above can give you the incentive to get going with back yard improvements.

    Unless your kids spend a lot of time in the back yard playing, you might be thinking, “What can I do to get some enjoyment out of this yard?” You might be thinking a few citrus trees would be nice. Sitting under a shade tree would be relaxing, perhaps a meandering path, a bench, or a little pond.

  • All are welcome: Democrats, Republicans, all church denominations and garden variety citizens to get involved in the recently-formed Marion Mavericks Community Victory Garden to feed the unfortunate in Marion County. Support us anyway you can. We are all non-paid volunteers to help feed the unfortunate for a better America.

  • “This was worth getting up for,” Cheryl Gier said to her friends as they headed back to their vehicles. She was referring to the ultra-light-led cranes fly-over of the Dunnellon Airport.

    Thursday morning, Gier was one in a crowd of about 200 people who flocked to the Dunnellon Airport in hopes to catch a glimpse of the seven whooping cranes as they moved closer to their final destination. Earlier in the week, Jan. 17, the other seven cranes were left at St. Mark’s Wildlife Refuge.

  • Normally, I’m a rather calm, cool and collected person. Actually, my creditors trying to collect things from me, mostly money, are responsible for this and I have been officially collected. If I could only just collect my thoughts – but the pieces are too small and too few.

    Anybody who knows me knows I am not easily rattled by anything. I let the chips fall where they may because I know from whence they came. I am not susceptible to the various rumors that make their way around on a regular basis.

  • No matter what political party is in power, the inauguration of a new president never ceases to move me. The inauguration of Barack Obama was no exception. As I watched the historic moment I couldn’t help but feel proud that as a country we have come so far, and yes, I felt inspired by the pervasive mood of hope and optimism. We do not have to agree with one another ideologically to be united in our desire for a better future.

  • In Chapter 1 of The Last Lecture, author Randy Pausch tells us that for years at Carnegie Mellon, where he was a professor, faculty were asked to consider their demise and “to ruminate on what matters most to them.” These became what were called a “Last Lecture Series.”

    Pausch was given a 2007 September slot for his own last lecture at a time when he had already been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. But he was optimistic. Perhaps he would be one of the lucky survivors. He was not. 

  • Driving home from Apalachicola we passed through Sopchoppy. Now there’s a funny name for a town. And on our way to and from Jacksonville we go right by the Scrambletown general store on C.R. 314. That’s an even funnier name, eh?

  • Birding is sometimes a matter of luck and mood. I found both in a Days Inn parking lot in Ocala while driving from New York to Longboat Key. This was the fourth year my wife and I were staying at the motel. The date was the same at least three of those times, Dec. 30. We were going to have dinner at a small family-owned Italian restaurant called Lorenzo’s, for the third time.

  • In north central Florida, our winters are mild but we can have weeks of killing frosts. The fierce, relentless wind can wreck even the stoutest misplaced shrub.

    January can be a crazy quilt of weather: warm, cold, windy, rainy. Usually it’s cold in the morning and warms up nicely during the day. Some days it doesn’t warm up at all.

    All the tender green has virtually disappeared and the garden is all sticks. Other plants, especially the tropicals, have perhaps “burned” with the frost and wind. Succulents and cacti have turned to mush.

  • The Hospice fashion show at the Friends of Freedom Public Library meeting Jan. 17, featured attractive casual wear selected from the Thrift Store in Jasmine Plaza.

    Jan Hathaway, Hospice of Marion County marketing manager, gave a brief talk and Margarethe Nachbar did some modeling as well as introducing the models: Jeannie Dooley, Linda Glick, Marie Ostrov, and Margarethe’s husband, Milton Nachbar, all of whom sported their “wears” as well as any pro.

  • Hollywood Squares was a television comedy and game show in which two contestants played tic-tac-toe to win prizes. The board for the game was a 3- by 3-ft. vertical stack of open-faced cubes, each occupied by an entertainer seated at a desk and facing the contestants. The stars were asked questions and the contestants judged the authenticity of their answers in order to win the game.

  • Yield is a flexible term. One of the most important things to know when you’re considering a bond investment is its yield. However, there are several ways to measure a bond’s yield, and some are more useful than others for understanding a bond’s true value.

    When someone tells you a bond yields, say 5 percent, you should make sure you know exactly what they’re referring to.

  • Some people might call me a skeptic. Maybe I am but I am in agreement with good old Benjamin Franklin, who reputedly said, “Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.” This philosophy was probably a result of inventing bifocals.

    My personal history has shown that every time I get my hopes up they are soundly dashed to the ground in disappointment. I often refer to myself as an optimistic-pessimist; I know for sure things are going to go wrong. And, I am rarely disappointed.

  • Most people know that hospitals, universities, and schools are accredited. In fact accredited organizations are usually sought out for enrollment and services. But did you know that law enforcement agencies are also accredited?

    I reported and some of you were involved in our recent journey to achieve the Sterling Award. We are the first stand-alone police agency to achieve this award in the state of Florida and we are very proud.

  • They are characterized by their distinct mode of dress and ultra-conservative approach to Judaism. They are often the brunt of prejudice and scorn but their influence extends even to pop culture. They are the Hasidim and their story is a fascinating one.

    Hasidism (from the Hebrew word meaning “pious ones”) was born in the late 1700s. It was founded in Poland by Israel ben Eliezar, more commonly known as the Baal Shem Tov or Master of the Good Name.

  • Paul Harvey, the radio icon, is quoted as saying, “In times like these, it’s helpful to remember that there have always been times like these.”

    Who doesn’t want to forget 2008? By all measures, it was a really rotten year for the economy, credit markets and the stock market.

  • On this day in 1920, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages, went into effect. During Prohibition the manufacture, transportation, import, export, and sale of alcoholic beverages were restricted or illegal.

  • An incident happened this past week in which I am still scratching my head. Have you ever known you had something but for the life of you could not find it? I will accede to the fact that occasionally, I do have a streak of absentmindedness running through me. At times, I wish it would just walk.

    I was fairly certain I had an extra $20 in one of my pants’ pockets. It was what I affectionately refer to as my "mad money." My wife would be mad if she knew I had it. I do not remember where it came from but my real problem was, I could not find those pants.