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Opinion articles for Screven County and surrounding areas.

Kelly Memorial Stadium rededication an honor for all those involved

A special thanks to everyone who made the rededication of Maj. Charles Kelly Memorial Stadium such a great success!  
The success came about because of the dedication of the committee given the opportunity to honor Maj. Kelly on the 50th anniversary of his death, coupled with the outpouring of support from our community.   

Time for a Southern ‘Top 10’ questionnaire

On a January morning, tip over a five-gallon can of molasses and watch how slowly it drips. Don’t get impatient. It’ll give you enough time to bake a pan of buttermilk biscuits. And it’ll be worth the wait.
No one teases my friend Larry Walker more about his slow, molasses-like drawl than Larry himself. Unhurried speech is one of his signatures, but don’t be fooled by the way he gets his words out. That’d be a mistake. There’s a racehorse mind beneath his shock of silver hair.

Talking about religion causes ‘discomfort’ to others, column reader says

Every coin has two sides, and so does every story. Today, from reactions to my column published a couple of weeks ago, I will present the other side.
My side was that public school officials in Brawley, Calif., went too far in telling a high school salutatorian, Brooks Hamby, that he could not mention God in his graduation speech. They said references to his religion were “inappropriate.”
I maintained — and still do — that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment allows a student speaker, or a student writer of an assignment, to talk about his or her religion.

We have the ‘X’ factor

“The X Factor” on Fox TV afforded individuals the opportunity to showcase their talents for a corps of judges and an in-studio and national broadcast audience. The “X” in the “X Factor” title referred to a profound “something” that makes the person or collective group a singing star.

Living in a world within a world

Friday we celebrated our freedoms on the 238th anniversary of our nation’s declaration of its independence from the British.
July 4 is special. Our forefathers risked their lives to stand up for their beliefs in defense of their families and their neighbors’ families. Those principles still hold true today as brave men and women stateside and around the world fight to keep our country’s freedoms accessible for me and you.
Those precious liberties allow me the First Amendment right to write this column for your eyes to peruse and brain to retain.

Graduation speaker finally gets his say — and he did mention God

Well, they’ve done it again.
They are public school officials, this time top dogs of the Brawley Union School District in Brawley, Calif. What they did was tell a young man — three times, no less — that he couldn’t mention God or Jesus in his high school graduation speech. They said that references to his religion were “inappropriate.”
“I didn’t want to compromise my faith,” 18-year-old Brooks Hamby said. He just wanted to say something that would be meaningful and would leave a lasting positive impact.

To me, Paul has all the right traits

Paul, at least to me, seemed to know everybody and everybody knew him.
Whether it was going to a restaurant; picking up groceries at the supermarket; or just taking trash off to the local dump, Paul would always run into a person he recognized. That individual could be one from Paul’s childhood; a past or present fellow coworker; or maybe a friend of a friend. No matter the circumstance, Paul was acquainted with many – and not just by face, but by name.

Chickens: Arise and scratch out cockamamie excuses for discrimination

Pity the poor chicken. Like Rodney Dangerfield, he or she gets no respect.
At Fernandina Beach, Fla., city fathers and mothers voted down an ordinance that would have allowed backyard chickens on private property, even though the county may let folks take their dogs out to dinner. Of course, the pooches must stay outside with their owners, who’ll be eating on one of those patios or porches designed for diners who enjoy the company of mosquitoes and love bugs.
But can someone take his pet chicken to dinner? Not even mentioned.

More advice for our graduates and this advice is crucial for all

Nolan Ryan, who recorded 5,714 strikeouts in his 20-year Major League Baseball career, was asked how hard it was for him to pitch seven no-hitters.
His response: “I also have 12 one-hitters, so I know what disappointment is. I’ve taken no-hitters into the ninth and lost them. Until you get all 27 outs, you haven’t accomplished anything.”
As I read Ryan’s comment over the Memorial Day weekend, I immediately saw how the statement could be representative of much more than only baseball. It certainly can be conveyed for life.

Cookies, lemonade and a lesson in giving from a 5-year-old ‘people person’

Eli Penland was paging through a newspaper when he saw a photograph that disturbed him. He’s only 5 years old; he can’t read yet. But he knew something was wrong with the woman in the photo. He went running upstairs to his mother, Traci Penland.
“What happened to her?” he wanted to know, his chinquapin eyes filled with concern.
“Well, Eli,” his mother said, reading the story, “this lady’s house burned down, and she doesn’t have insurance.”
“Maybe we could give her some money,” Eli said.
“We don’t have that much money,” Traci said.

Rep. Burns refutes he attacked newspaper editor with cane; calls showmanship contest 'rigged'

In movie fanfare, it is rare that flicks advance into a trilogy. Most are ones-and-dones.
While the cinema world is unaccustomed to seeing movies evolve into a trio, the reading nation is far less familiar in witnessing a back-to-back-to-back in column writing.
Well, here is my written version trend breaker.
Two weeks ago I provided you a glimpse via a column into my training mode as I was selected as one of the celebrities for the Screven County Livestock Festival Showmanship Showdown on the opening night of the livestock shows. It was an evening with pigs.

This celebrity has a story of pig intrigue to tell

Last week in the illustrious publication, your Sylvania Telephone, I anointed myself “The Pig Whisperer” as I was decreed as a entrant in the first-ever Screven County Livestock Festival Celebrity Showmanship Competition.
I come to you in this edition to back up my claim. I was the Pig Whisperer Tuesday at the opening night of the livestock shows.
Whispering to that pig many a time, I said, “Please come on. Look I know you are tired, but you can go around this ring one more time, right?”

My evolution process to the Pig Whisperer

For months and months, our county’s youth have been readying themselves for the competition -- all along the way learning incredibly valuable lessons about life and who they are as a person.
The 63rd annual Screven County Livestock Festival is upon us. Our new queen was crowned Saturday night. This Saturday is the parade, Chicken-Q and Western Wear competition.
Then the youth will show their well-trained and fully fed animals April 8, 9 and 10 at the agricultural center on Rocky Ford Road.

If you want to know how to take life one day at a time, ask Gene Klein

Jill Gabrielle Klein hears it all the time from business executives: “How can we get through this down economy and come out strong at the end?”
Klein has good answers. She’s a professor of marketing at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and she leads seminars for executives all over the world. But when she wants to drive home her point about resilience, she calls on her 86-year-old father, Gene Klein.
Gene Klein is a Holocaust survivor.

Medicinal marijuana bill arrives in State House for consideration

Monday, March 3 marked the 30th legislative day of the 2014 session.  Any bill that has not been passed by either the House or Senate by the end of this crossover day has little chance of becoming law this year.  We worked into Monday night to ensure that over 60 pieces of legislation would be considered by the Georgia House.

Combining all the pieces

I have pecked away at this keyboard this proclamation previously and I still hold it to be self-evident. I admittedly am an NFL Drafnik.
With this decree of my own personal convictions out in the forefront, I pen this column to say that I will not be writing my highly anticipated first-round mock of the NFL Draft this year in April. Nope, it won’t happen. That’s because the annual extravaganza in New York City will be May this year. Thus, you will have to wait a few additional weeks for my selections.

Look in my heart and let love keep us together

A fact about Winter Storm Pax is although it put our Screven County on ice it did not cool down everyone’s temperament about their power being out. Some people spun the temperature dial around to the boiling point.
The wake of the storm has been extremely difficult on many. As this edition of the Sylvania Telephone graces your hands to read, it was projected that all our Screven County residents have their electricity restored. We hope for the same in our also hard-hit neighboring counties.

Logging bits into the brain

You’ve heard it and maybe you have said it yourself.
The phrase “You never stop learning” is very wise-sounding.
It is of the logic that once you quit learning, then you cease to exist as a person.
Of course if you delve closer into the combination of those four words, “learning” can be rather skewed.
Please allow me to explain -- If you learn how to create the next realm of technology in the world of smart phones, that has a higher wisdom achievement that learning how to twerk dance.
But we should be proud to learn -- no matter what it may be.

Beyond the call of duty

SYLVANIA, Ga. — I submit that there are certain things in life that you can teach and thereby learn, and certain things that you can’t. You either have it or you don’t.
Now let me tell you a true story. It happened to me this past week.
So I was sitting on an airplane at the Charlotte airport, awaiting take off. It was about 5:30 pm on Sunday, Jan. 5, when the pilot announced over the intercom that our U.S. Airways flight to Savannah, Ga., was cancelled due to heavy fog there in Charlotte.

Stop blurring the lines between media & politics

Welcome to 2014. I hope it is full of blessings for you personally and our community as a whole.
The stage is set for this year to be a sturdy foundation for our future as business industries continue to develop.
However, before we entrench ourselves in a new round of 365 days, I want to step back to the recent year to which we waved “bye.”
During 2013, there were news items that were primarily local, while others stretched statewide, nationwide, and even a few across international waters that intrigued, dumbfounded and, in some cases, irked the fire out of me.


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