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Opinion

  • Back when I was in a college prep high school, my classes were pretty well set. The few choices I had involved which language to take (I took Spanish), or whether I would take Latin 3 or chemistry (either way, I was in trouble).
    Don’t get me wrong. I had to take two years of Latin, and I think everyone should take at least one year. It is the language upon which much of our vocabulary is built, and people need to understand the background of words to become a more effective speaker of English.

  • Accountability. It’s a word we’ve heard a lot this campaign season and, although it’s a bit late, it’s starting to creep in to the discussion about the local option sales tax.
    Next Tuesday, March 15, the presidential primary will take place in Florida. Here in Marion County, there’s an additional item on the ballot – an initiative to raise the amount of the local sales tax one percent.

  • It may be a promise that’s hard to keep, but I’m going to do my darndest never to complain again about traffic in Ocala and Marion County, particularly on State Road 200.
    You see, I just spent a weekend in Lakeland.
    I moved out of Lakeland just under 35 years ago. I was the news editor of The Ledger and was named editor at another paper in the same group in Palatka.

  • After staggering through the many debates on both the Republican and Democratic side, I think I’ve got it analyzed pretty well.
    The candidates are giving us name calling, finger pointing, constant insults, making disparaging remarks, etc. Each time the audience likes what the candidate says, they cheer wildly. If they disagree, you hear a lot of hissing and booing.
    These reactions bog down the debates, causing candidates and moderators alike to pause until they can be heard.

  • If you see a dozen or so drummers wandering the streets, you might want to see if you can lend them a hand. After all, recent events have left them trying to figure out whether the beat goes on.

    It’s very simple … the large retail stores, particularly the chains, have determined that the 12 days of Christmas no longer exist. They are now pretty much just the weeks before Christmas, and that’s it.

  • There’s a move afoot to help rectify significant traffic issues on Interstate 75. A group dubbed the I-75 Relief Task Force recently formed for the purpose of helping the state in addressing transportation needs.
    One of the considerations involves a road that many in Marion County don’t even know exists. It’s called the Suncoast Parkway, and connects the highway maze in Tampa to U.S. 98 in Hernando County.

  • The other day, I was walking down the aisle of a bustling department store here in Ocala, generally minding my own business, heading for the area that had my interest.
    Approaching me in the opposite direction was a woman who had a boy with her. He looked to be about 8 years old.
    As we got close to one another, the boy looked up at me, smiled, and said “Merry Christmas.” I responded with a “thank you, Merry Christmas to you.”
    We both continued on our separate paths, never to see each other again.

  • Some time ago, Dr. Lee Niblock announced his resignation as the Marion County administrator. He was accepting a similar job in Alachua County.
    That set the wheels in motion to replace him in the county’s top job.
    A lot of money was spent in a nationwide search, and the delays were many. Finally, commission members settled on some finalists, and from that group one man was chosen as the top candidate.

  • Years ago, the federal and state governments established what is commonly called “Do Not Call” lists. You can add your phone number to a list, and telemarketers, etc., are not supposed to call you.
    Like so many other government programs, these are a complete joke.
    I get so many calls on both my home phone and our office newsroom phone, both of which have been on the list for quite some time.

  • What kind of parents would let their kid bring a suitcase with batteries and wires to school? And why would they be shocked when the kid is arrested?
    Personally, I don’t care if the boy’s name is Ahmed or Joe Lunchbucket … he’s supposed to be smart, but he brings a suitcase as described above to his school. His teacher turned him in, and authorities were called and handcuffed him.
    Good for them.

  • Social media is a phenomenon sweeping the country, and has done so for several years. In many ways, it has had a negative effect on people in this country, especially the young.
    Some teen-agers would rather text or tweet their friends, although they may be sitting about 10 feet away. The art of conversation has been lost by many.
    But a more dangerous aspect of social media is that many things on there are posted without verification. That can cause unsubstantiated rumors to take on an air of credibility, even when they are not true.

  • One of the songs in “My Fair Lady” goes, “Every duke and earl and peer is here; everyone who should be here is here.” During the just completed run of the Broadway show, with local talent, we hope that everyone who should have been there was there.
    My wife and I certainly were, our second trip to the Ocala Civic Theatre in a matter of a couple of months.

  • The Florida House of Representatives is like the little child who doesn’t get his way on the playground and decides to go home, walking off in a huff.
    The House adjourned with little warning on Tuesday, three days before the scheduled end of the regular March-April session. House leaders criticized the State Senate, saying that leaders there refused to negotiate when it came to the budget, the only thing the Legislature is required to do each year.
    The major stumbling block is the expansion of Medicaid.

  • Last weekend, I did something I don’t usually get the chance to do … take the entire weekend off. But trust me, I had a good reason.
    It was 50 years ago that I stood at the front of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Tenafly, New Jersey, and watched as my bride Pat, looking great as always, walked up the long aisle in her beautiful white dress, beaming as she and her dad approached.
    And now here we were, asking, “Where have the years gone?”

  • Note: This column originally ran in 2012. It has been updated with information from last week.

  • For about 30 of my adult years, I have been a youth baseball coach, in various parts of Florida and the country. I have also been a league officials and district official in a couple of different programs. I coached a few all-star teams in that time.
    I gained an awful lot of experience and insight into 9-12-year-old baseball players during those years.

  • Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I was working as a sports editor near Port St. Lucie, which at that time was about 200 homes and a golf course.
    There was a women’s golf tournament there, and one of the young ladies didn’t have a place to stay, so one of my writers, who was considerably older than I was, and his wife took her in for the weekend.
    The LPGA has come a long way.

  • Several years ago, the Marion County School Board met with veterans officials, and decided that having children in school on Veterans Day, but concentrating on the celebration instead of a regular curriculum, was more beneficial to the students.
    There was even a decision to bus a couple thousand students to Veterans Park for the annual celebration.
    Maybe it’s time to look at that decision as it concerns the Martin Luther King holiday.

  • Our veterans served their country with dedication and heroism, most of them leaving their families for a long period of time to be stationed in various places around the world, protecting our freedom.

    Now they are supposed to be served by the federal Veterans Administration. I got a glimpse into how things work, or don’t work, earlier this week, and it wasn’t pretty.

    With much hoopla, at least in some places, the VA held one of a series of town meetings in Ocala on Monday.

  • Quick now, who are Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Annette Taddeo? Don’t know? Doesn’t surprise me.
    They are candidates who are part of possibly the most contentious political race in the country, and yet a large percentage of people have never heard of them.
    Carlos Lopez-Cantera is the running mate for Gov. Rick Scott.
    Annette Taddeo is Charlie Crist’s running mate.
    Lopez-Cantera is already the lieutenant governor of Florida. He was appointed earlier this year by Scott.