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Opinion articles for Screven County and surrounding areas.

Main Street rattler evicted from Sylvania

This is a story about a snake in the grass.
No, it isn’t about a politician or your former significant other. It is about a real snake in real grass – well, at least it used to be in the grass.
Mere inches from the aforementioned grass we – I and associates – recently found a living and slithering 4-foot rattlesnake with 17 rattles on it in the roadway in front of my house. Oh yeah, did I mention that my residence is on Main Street and just a minimal shout out to downtown Sylvania.

Associate with better individuals; I’m very glad I did

There’s nothing special about me.
I do not deem myself wise. I will never be confused with Confucius.
I do not consider myself handsome. Better chance I will be labeled pitiful instead of Brad Pitt.
And I am not smooth on the dance floor. I would have people stare at me for the complete opposite reasons they would watch Fred Astaire.
With that said, I, however, have been smart enough in my lifetime to associate myself with some amazing people. I hope their ability to amaze counteracts some of my inadequacies.

Why I love community newspapers

I don’t know what I would do on Sunday mornings without my morning ritual of walking to the end of my driveway, picking up my copy of the Marietta Daily Journal and taking it inside to my favorite chair to read it front to back with my cup of coffee.
The newspaper has been part of my life for almost 50 years. I rely on my community newspaper because it has its finger on the pulse. For anyone who is in public life, community newspapers are absolutely essential.

‘It’s ordinary people who are the hope of this country’

Charles Kuralt had one of the greatest jobs in the world. You remember Kuralt. He roamed the nation in his CBS motor home, looking for stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Bob Dotson, with NBC, does pretty much the same thing, and he’s written a new book, appropriately titled: “American Story: A Lifetime Search for Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things.”

Let’s be proud of our 2012

With 2011 nearing its end, we not only want to reflect on the year past but also on the great possibilities for 2012.
While a boost in the job market for our county is an undetermined variable until businesses have signed on the dotted line, local officials have prospects. Having some prospects certainly is better than no prospects at all. The year 2012 has the potential to be a big one for Screven County in the business realm.

The gift that keeps on giving

Christmas has come and gone, leaving behind its residual glee.
Children were bouncing around and popping from toy to toy with the effervescence of kernels in a microwaveable bag of popcorn.
Parents and grandparents had beaming smiles on their faces that could not be removed, even with pliers.
Happiness abounded Dec. 25. It was just a hap, hap, happy day had by all.
Or was it?

New livestock and poultry rule a step in right direction

Whether it was on my Rural Tour or at workshops with the Department of Justice to discuss competition in agriculture, time and again livestock and poultry producers emphasized the need for a fair and competitive industry and workable, commonsense rules to address bad actors.  USDA recently finalized a rule to implement the 2008 Farm Bill to help remedy some of these concerns.

I have a bone to pick with ‘Dino Dan’

Before I rip into Dino Dan, a show on Nick Jr. about an elementary- aged paleontologist with a terrific imagination, some disclaimers are in order.
First, my five year old loves the show and I enjoy watching it with him. The dinosaurs that come to life through Dan’s imagination are life-like and impressive. Second, my son has learned a lot about dinosaurs by watching the show, including the names of dozens of dinosaurs that I can’t begin to pronounce.

Sometimes writers need extra protection

Some days, I’m lucky not to be shot.
But the potential shooters aren’t angry readers or criminal types.
No, no.
They’re loyal, inner-circle associates who endure my impulses. The problem is my brain, or the lack of brains. Either way, what gray matter I have rarely shifts into neutral.
I pack my days tightly, so strategic planning is crucial. I believe in a prioritized to-do list, but I don’t want to live as if I’m wearing a corset with the strings pulled too tight. Give me some room to wiggle and wake up with a “Hey, let’s try this.”

Autry: 'If I were (blank), I would be thankful for ...'

“The turkeys are coming. The turkeys are coming. The turkeys are coming.”
Isn’t that what Sarah Palin said earlier this year when she commented on Paul Revere warning the colonists AND the British militia?
This writing will not be completely overshadowed by turkeys – the feathered type or the elected politician version – but offers you a side order of food for thought to mix in with your dressing, sweet potatoes and homemade rolls.

Corporal punishment is too extreme for some parents to handle

My brother, Kenneth, says his last whipping from Mother came when he was just shy of 16. He had scolded our innocent, little rat terrier, Whitey, and Mother didn’t like his tone of voice.
“Go get the razor strap,” she told him. (Our dad, by the way, called it a razor “strop,” and for years I thought he was mispronouncing the word “strap.” But I didn’t have the nerve to correct him. Turned out, he was right. The razor strop, a flexible strip of leather barbers used to sharpen their straight razors, was an unfortunate gift from an uncle who owned a barber shop.)

Jumpstarting our economy

There’s pretty much universal agreement throughout the country that our government has too many regulations on the books.  It’s never been more difficult or time consuming to try and start a small business or expand an existing company.  According to the Federal Register, the 2009 Code of Federal Regulations contains 163,333 pages in 226 books.  Imagine trying to start a business and having to navigate through all those regulations.  It’s absurd, wasteful, and an enormous obstacle to our economy.

Autry: We treated our visitors like home folk

The rest of the world certainly had to be envious of our community on Saturday, Oct. 1. As for me, I was as pleased as a wide-eyed, little 3-year-old birthday boy who just received a lovable 6-week-old puppy as a gift.
Citizens tall and under-tall; young and of more maturity; and those with a distinct purpose for the day and others who were care-free all went outside that Saturday. Those 24 hours were the kind of day that makes chamber of commerce officials salivate.

Homecoming 2011: Inspiration in shoulder pads

Terry Markovcic is in some rare company. So rare, it may never happen again in the history of Screven County athletics.
As a high school student, Markovcic played quarterback in the 1980s for the Gamecocks. During his senior year in 1984, despite of run-oriented offense, Markovcic passed for 1,001 yards.
In his residence on his mantel, Markovcic has an autographed pigskin with the documented numbers from his prep playing days imprinted on it.

New friend has surprising old statue

Curiosity killed the cat, or at least that’s what old-timers claim.
Curiosity made me drive to Atlanta, and a month later, I’m still shaking my head.
The commissioner of the Georgia Department of Veterans Service is a good reason to navigate maddening traffic and scavenge for a parking spot near the state Capitol. Gen. Pete Wheeler, 89, still suits up and goes to his office in the east tower of the Floyd Veterans Memorial Building, across from the Capitol.

A chicken in every pot is just fine, but not in every yard

Joseph Pond’s chickens will have to go.
That’s what the Cobb County, Ga., board of zoning appeals says: You have 45 days, Joe Pond, to get those 11 pet chickens off your half-acre lot. If you had at least two acres, we’d let you keep the chickens.
Joe Pond’s 10-year-old daughter, Madeline, burst into tears when she heard the verdict.
What’s the world coming to?

Display your American flags on 9/11

On every patriotic day, the City of Sylvania displays a collection of American flags on the West Ogeechee Street bridge.
It creates an incredible visual experience for motorists. It also helps in putting people’s minds on the upcoming holiday.
Sunday, Sept. 11, marks the 10th anniversary terrorists attack our nation’s values. A ceremony will be held from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. in the downtown city park to pay remembrance to the tragedy that happened on that morning in 2001.
But we ask that you do more as citizens. Please display your flags Sunday in honor of the day.


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