• The average life span in the United States is around 80 years (depending on your information source).

    That doesn’t mean you should plan for the inevitable as you approach the 8-decade mark nor does it imply that you should fret if you’ve surpassed your 80th birthday.

    Life isn’t years. Life, in a sense, is about living.

    But even that statement deserves further explanation and expansion.

    Now please hang on tight for some adolescent irony. Life is certainly about living. But life isn’t at all about living.

  • Many readers have been wondering about the changing face and character of their local newspaper.

    Earlier this year, we decided to change from a tabloid-size paper to a narrow-broad sheet, a format similar in size to most newspapers today. This allows us to streamline production costs and create an opportunity to provide more creative designs.

    We apologize for the inconvenience the broader sheet may create for reading, but we are confident you will get accustomed to the new size.

  • By Russ Olmos

    For many generations the National Rifle Association was a highly respected public service organization dedicated to promoting safe ownership and usage of firearms. It conducted wonderful programs for youngsters who were interested in firearms, and supported laws for making sure firearms didn’t get into the wrong hands.

  • Paper Too Big

    Hate the new size format. Go back to the old. Who came up with this idea?

    Myra McDonough


    Celebrate Mothers

    The traditions observed during the myriad of holidays on our calendars are as diverse and personal as the individuals who observe them.

  • By Bill Koch

    I received a text message early Monday morning asking whether I had purchased $50 in lottery tickets in Cleveland on Sunday.

    The message requested I text back yes or no. I texted no.

    I’ve never been to Cleveland nor do I have a desire to go to there. Chicago? Definitely. But Cleveland. Not a chance.

    Nor do I play the lottery. Which I believe is about the most asinine investment strategy in the world. You’d be better off buying lamas.

  • By Ross Olmos

    The Bronx, circa the early 1950's

    Anyone who grew up in New York City probably knows about the brown mailboxes located on certain street corners in various neighborhoods throughout the city. For those not familiar with brown mailboxes let me explain.

  • By Bill Koch

    “President Donald Trump.” There. I wrote those three words.

    How about this one? “Gulf.” “A wide gap, as in understanding, or a deep, wide chasm, an abyss.”

    Do I dare express my opinion on the 45th president of the United States in a mixed readership pool?

  • By Bill Koch, editor

    She lay their screaming, uttering highly uncomfortable and very unlady-like phrases, threatening the destruction of all mankind if she survived your arrival.

    She sweated. She growled. She spat. And she wept – and not for your little darlingness.

    You were the pain. You were the problem. You were the cause of it all – you and that dang father of yours!

  • By Bill Koch

    We’ve never met. Well, we’ve probably never met. I only know a handful of people in the communities our two newspapers serve in Marion County.

    We reach a lot of eyeballs: 40,000-60,000. (That’s assuming most of our readers have two eyes.) Many, many minds are currently pondering the deeper meaning of the content – and the ads – we regularly deliver to our readers.

  • By Bill Koch

    Personality may never change, but proclivity and perspective certainly do. And from those ever-evolving human attributes come opinion.

    Everyone has one, an opinion. And a few of the less creative among us may revel in repeating the cliché that “everyone has one” (and its endless variants). It’s a convenient way of devaluing others by expressing opinions about people who express opinions. And on and on we go.

  • By Bill Koch

    Ah, may we now breathe a collective sigh of relief? With the passing Monday of tax day 2019, can we rest easy?

    Alas, we are no longer compelled to fret over making tax preparations. It’s done – for most of us.

    Many of us may have filed our taxes long before the April 15 deadline. Nearly a quarter of taxpayers wait until the last two weeks to file their taxes, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

    What would motivate those late, high-adventure filers? Two words maybe: procrastination or loathing (of the IRS).

  • By Bill Koch

    How do you write a column as a newspaper editor about a sacred holiday that is uniquely Christian?

    With profundity and boldness, some of you may declare.

    But the real world of secular journalism sternly averts our gaze to other priorities, to matters of civility and respect for other views. We must consider and honor other perspectives, conventional wisdom asserts. We must not offend.

  • Florida lawmakers are onto something.

    It’s called the “taxation transparency” bill. And it’s something English teachers, wordsmiths and political junkies may love.

    House Bill 7053 would, essentially, call a tax a tax, no more playing with words.

    Here’s how it works: Lawmakers want to boost revenue by raising taxes. But “taxes” is a bad word among the electorate who would prefer to keep as much of its money as possible.

  • Ask your hospital to provide you with a detailed price list of services so that you can do some shopping before you decide to get treatment. After all, you may want to know how much those midnight aspirin pills are going to cost.

    Your question may elicit some strange looks from hospital officials who may signal for security to have you removed from the premises.

    A bill moving through the state House may allow Florida health insurance policy holders to do some comparison shopping for medical treatments and procedures.

  • By Bill Koch

    You can thank your legs for today.

    With each step you take, you’re falling, over and over and over again. And with each step, your other leg catches you, lifts you up an inch or so, and repeats the action.

    Simply put, walking is repetitive falling. As bipedal creatures, we’ve grown accustomed to the unconscious demands of gravity in its brutal attempts to pull us ever down.

    Even our very own government sanctions this outrage.

  • By Bill Koch

    Did you never notice how the favorite subject of many columnists is themselves?

    After all, what better subject for the forlorn writer than to delve into the archives of personal experience and observation and opine on the meaning – or meaningless – of life?

     What makes better fodder to fill the white spaces of news print and web sites than the lonely meanderings of introspective scribes?

  • By Delphine Herbert

  • By Bill Koch


    Blame it on Ben.  

    That would be Benjamin Franklin. 

    He first proposed the bright idea in a 1784 essay in Journal de Paris. 

    Looking back to Sunday, clocks were turned ahead an hour; that means the sleepy heads among us are still lamenting their lost hour of bedtime slumber. 

  • By John Schaefer

    President, Marion County Audubon Society

     Marion County Comprehensive Plan No. 2045 proposed removal of the portion of Marion County extending south and west from the Farmland Preservation Area to the Marion County boundary

  • My wife posted something on Facebook the other day that I thought was sweet. I wish I’d thought of it, but she is more spiritual than me. I try to be sympathetic but often stumble and stutter. My wife really is compassionate and relieves the suffering of others through an empathetic ear. She instinctually knows what to do and say or give to others. I believe all of us have a gift from God and I believe compassion is her gift.