• World War II veterans can now apply for a free trip to Washington D.C. to see the World War II Memorial completed in 2004. A local group, “Honor Flight Marion,” has been given official “hub” status by the national organization headquartered in Springfield, Ohio (www.honorflight.org). They are now ready to set a date for the flight, tentatively this spring, and are ready to kick off a fundraising campaign to raise the necessary funds.

  • “If you need it, insure it.” This was the recurring theme during a continuing education class that I recently attended. The laundry list of risks that we all face would include market risk, inflation risk, longevity risk, being held liable, dying too soon, and one that often gets overlooked; becoming disabled during your working years.

  • I used to love to watch Touched by An Angel when it ran in primetime a few years ago. (Catch the reruns on Hallmark channel.) This feel-good schmaltzy drama starred Roma Downey with her lovely Irish-lilt voice and big gospel mama Della Reece, as two angels who went around helping people in trouble and assuring them that God loves them.

    Sometimes things didn’t work out as the main characters planned but always God’s plan worked out for the best.

  • Our travel down Pun Alley last week took us to Lovers’ Lane for Valentine’s Day. Our heart was racing so fast we completely missed annual Speed Week at Daytona, where racecars went round and round for a whole week, ending on Feb. 15 with a 500-mile race.

    We may be late but we’ll make a pit stop in Pun Alley to see if we can find a racy story or two.

  • A mystery has developed within the halls of our once peaceful domicile. At first I did not think too seriously about it. Some things, if left alone usually take care of themselves. Of course, there always are other things, like my socks, that never take care of themselves no matter how hard I wish.

  • It’s always fun to meet new people and talk about all the different things the Friends do for Freedom Public Library. Lots of folks stopped in to the Friends Valentine Tea on Saturday, Feb. 14, just to sit a while and talk, and enjoy being served some home baked goodies.

    Kermit and Cindy Clark provided soothing background ambience with songs of love on guitar and keyboard.

    We were pleased to gain several new members and welcome others who might decide to join at a later date. Thanks to all who attended for making our first tea a successful event.

  • You may have missed it, but not long ago the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) released some startling news about America’s health. A new analysis shows that high blood pressure rates have increased substantially over the last 10 years.

    According to this study, about 65 million adults in this country, or about a third of U.S. adults age 18 and older, suffer from hypertension.

    Taking Control

  • Did you go skydiving for the first time in your 60s? Or did you get married at age 61 for the first time? Did you change careers after age 60, or discover a helpful health or financial tip? Did you start a new hobby, or find a great recipe geared toward seniors?

    If so we want to hear from you.

    We are looking for first-time accomplishments after age 60 for an upcoming special section called “Savvy After 60” and a special page, “You’re never too old.” Share your information with our readers.

  • You probably already know you need to monitor your investment portfolio and update it periodically. Even if you’ve chosen an asset allocation, market forces may quickly begin to tweak it.

    For example, if stock prices go up, you may eventually find your self with a greater percentage of stocks in your portfolio than you want. If stock prices go down, you might worry that you won’t be able to reach your financial goals.

  • “Faith, hope and love …” said St. Paul. Accordingly, I believe we can. I have great hope for the future and above all else, I am love. (Remember, as we think, so we become.) It’s a bright new day and people are seeing the world with new eyes, choosing to see beauty and harmony.

  • I spent a few very profitable hours searching for a special box of Valentine chocolates. After all, that special person in my life deserves all the time I can spare in choosing the right box of chocolate.

    I’m not sure who came up with the idea of giving your "sweetheart" a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day, but I would like to shake his hand sometime. Of all the gizmos, doodads and gimmicks in the wide world, this one tops them all.

  • How wonderful, we had approximately two inches of rain last month, after a long dry spell. Have you serviced your irrigation system? Have you gone out and watched how the water is moving in the landscape? Have you seen the smile on your plants?

    The winter vegetables; kale, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, and onions, that are close to harvest, are beautiful. And, our daffodils are in bloom.

  • There are three things you need to keep in mind before you begin walking your dog. First is that all dogs (large or small) need to walk.

    Wild canines are walker/travelers. Running around the yard, house, or even the dog park does not satisfy their instinctive need to walk.

    Second you must recognize that a dog is not human and does not have human feelings. The proper walking techniques that I mention below are not mean; they actually make the dog more secure and stable.

  • “Mister we can use a man like Herbert Hoover again,” shrieks Edith Bunker as she sings about the good old days on the television show All in the Family. Of course, historians will know that Herbert Hoover presided over this country during the early days of the Great Depression. His strong belief that government aid would breed a sense of dependence among the poor made him appear uncaring and ultimately led to his defeat in the 1932 election. Thus, the era of the “New Deal” began with Franklin D.

  • In ancient Rome, Feb. 14 was a pagan holiday in honor of Juno, the goddess of women and marriage, and the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses. Later it became a holiday named after a priest.

    According to church tradition, St. Valentine was a priest near Rome about the year 270 A.D.

    While historical details of Valentine’s Day are unclear, we do know that across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of Saint Valentine.

  • In his latest novel, John Grisham seems intent upon reincarnating Mitch McDeere from his breakout legal thriller The Firm. In fact, there are so many similarities between the two thrillers we might sniff plagiarism if both works weren’t by the same writer.

    Like Mitch, Kyle McAvoy is idealistic, bright, and a luminary of his law school (Yale here instead of Harvard.) And like Mitch he falls into a trap set by some baddies who this time are tied to defense contractors, not the Mob.

  • When Legacy House volunteer Jennie Halvorsen heard that quilts were needed at the home she knew just where to go. She went back to her church, Joy Lutheran, and asked the women of the Joyful Hands quilting group if they would be interested in donating quilts to people here at home before they make their annual worldwide contribution. Her request was met with an enthusiastic response for the opportunity to share their works of love with a local group in need. As a result, 16 quilts for 16 beds were donated.

  • The On Top of the World Lions are getting ready to have their annual dinner dance, “Dine and Dance with the Lions,” on Saturday Feb. 28, at the Holiday Inn and Suites, behind the Cracker Barrel off I-75 and S.R. 200. Cost is $25 per person.

    Dress to impress, the Sugarbear band will provide  great dance music. For tickets and dinner selections, call 352-489-1051, credit cards will be accepted.

    All proceeds from this benefit will go to the On Top of the World charities. So put on your dancing shoes and have a great evening.

  • In the wake of turbulence in the financial markets, many people are reviewing the legal protections available for assets held by banks, credit unions, and securities dealers. Here are some of the protections available.

    Bank deposit accounts: Generally, deposit accounts at banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) are insured up to $100,000 per depositor per bank. FDIC covers checking, NOW, and savings accounts; money market deposit accounts; and time deposits, such as certificates of deposit (CDs).

  • I was told these stories that I want to share with you all about the remote keyless entry buttons common on most new cars. They broadcast a signal that can be intercepted and captured by today’s geeky criminals.

    As the first story goes, the man says he locked his car with the remote. As he walked away he heard his door unlock. He went back and locked the car three different times; then he looked around and saw two guys sitting in a nearby car. When he looked directly at the men the car did not unlock again.