• 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.

  • My family is having a gas crisis, and it’s becoming a very serious matter in the household. No, not that kind of gas. It’s all about gasoline and what kind we’re going to put into our vehicles.
    For years, we have had a BP Visa card, the rewards type that gives you a break on future gasoline purchases. No matter what you use the card for, you get credit toward gas, which shows up at the pump where you get an option of whether you want to use it or let it accumulate.

  • This is a yearly column, updated with latest information.
    Next week is big 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 public high schools, a landmark day for a few hundred young adults who are ready to venture out into the world.

  • By Jim Clark

  • When they read about places in the country that have battles over immigration status and behavior of foreigners, people tend to think, as they live in their quiet Marion County world, that it’s nice that it doesn’t happen here.

    When they go to meetings such as the County Commission zoning hearings last week, they realize that such conflicts are not far away.

  • Two weeks ago we talked about Richie Incognito of the Miami Dolphins and his apparent hazing of a rookie teammate, hazing that had racial overtones.
    There has been much debate over the past few months about those activities, but last week it was discovered that Incognito was being treated for mental issues at an undisclosed facility.
    If only it were that easy to get bullies out of the way.
    The Dolphins’ issue raised the bar in discussions of bullying as people everywhere discussed what could be done about it.

  • Has it really been 50 years? I guess so, at least that’s what my television told me on Sunday night.

    CBS televised a tribute to the Beatles, exactly 50 years to the minute that the Ed Sullivan show aired on Feb. 9, 1964.

    It was the early days of television, and younger people don’t realize the influence that Ed Sullivan had. If you were invited to appear on his show, you had it made. The only other TV personality who had that much influence on the entertainment industry was Dick Clark with his American Bandstand from Philadelphia.

  • For quite a while, I’ve been pretty much identified as a “no new taxes” person. I think that government bodies ought to operate within their means, just like many families in America have to do.
    But there’s a proposal for a property tax to help the schools floating around, one that would help fund things like art, music, etc., and I find myself leaning toward supporting it.

  • For Christmas this year, our household grew by one. No, not that way. This one has soft fur and four legs, and is gray and white.

    His name is Snuggles, the name given to him by the rescue personnel.

    When our cat of 13 years, Mitch, died a little over three years ago, we decided, actually I decided, that we shouldn’t try to break in a new kitten while both of us were away working so much.

    But now that I’m home a lot more, I said OK, and gave my wife the Christmas present of Snuggles.

  • When I was a young lad growing up in northern New Jersey, my dad took the train to work every day. He’d ride to Weehawken, then catch the ferry for the city.
    Using the reverse route every late afternoon, he always wanted something to do than just sit there on the return trip. Therefore, he bought a couple of newspapers.
    He would get home and plop the New York Daily News and New York Journal-American on the table. Also, by that time, the Bergen Evening Record out of Hackensack, N.J., would have arrived.

  • If you didn’t take advantage of the town hall meetings held recently at Fire Station 20 near U.S. 27 and this past Tuesday at the Freedom Public Library, then you missed a chance to see grassroots government in action.
    County commissioners gathered to give reports on government and to hear the concerns of the public, and took notes as people talked about perceived problems they have encountered.
    Except for one person’s rant against Hispanics, the meeting was civil and, at times, featured some humor.

  • When I was a kid, and I wanted to make a telephone call, I would pick up the receiver and immediately hear a voice say, “Number please.”
    She (it was always a she) took the number and made the call for you.
    Then eventually we progressed to a phone with a circular dial on it, and you could dial the number directly without speaking to anyone.
    I do know that New Jersey, where I lived, was the first location to be assigned an area code. Area codes, and subsequently dialing 1, virtually eliminated the operator.

  • When you drive west (or south) on State Road 200, after you cross County Road 484 and you head toward Hernando, you pass Florida Highlands and Spruce Creek Preserve in Marion County before you get to the river.

    So ask yourself the question: What town am I in?

    You might think you’re still in Ocala, but according to the U.S. Postal Service, you’re in Dunnellon.

    That’s right. The city that is 12 miles west of SR 200 along CR 484 sprawls all the way down 200 … or at least that’s what the post office says.

  • Once again those big yellow buses are ready to travel the highways and byways of Marion County, taking children to and from school.
    Classes for public school students begin on Monday, Aug. 19. Some private schools have already started.
    Therefore, it’s time to review some of the most misunderstood traffic rules on the books in Florida.

  • The voters of Florida made it a little harder, several years ago, to amend the state’s Constitution. To be sure, there are still amendments constantly being proposed and being put on the ballot, but now it takes a 60 percent approval vote to get them passed.
    This all came about after an amendment was passed to protect pregnant pigs. What’s that, you ask? Yes, pregnant pigs. If you weren’t here then, we’re not going to even attempt to explain it to you.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.