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Opinion articles for Screven County and surrounding areas.

Alvin York, Tennessee hero of WWI, believed killing was wrong

Alvin C. York didn’t want to go to war.
That’s essentially what he put on his draft card. To the question, “Do you claim exemption from draft (specify grounds)?” he wrote simply, “Yes, Don’t Want to Fight.” His faith said killing was wrong, and he believed it.
His conscientious objector status was denied, however, and York retreated to a mountain in Pall Mall, Tenn., his home all of his 30 years. There he prayed fervently before reporting to Camp Gordon, Georgia, in November of 1917. World War I was in its fourth year.

Providing a dose of reality for our Georgia Bulldog fans

I try to keep my comments – at least in print – to a minimum when it comes to college football predictions. Sticking with a “ball” theme, rubbing a crystal ball or shaking a Magic 8 ball is just about as effective as pulling a name out of a hat blindfolded.
The reality is prediction columns of which team will finish where at the conclusion of the season are written only to get people hot and bothered in an effort to sell newspapers. I hope I’m spoiling it for all the metro dailies around the country on this one, but the reality is what it is.

Be ready for the storm ... just in case

As the staff of the Sylvania Telephone produced this week’s edition of your newspaper, Hurricane Irene, according to meteorologist prognostications, was headed toward the Carolinas, not the Georgia coast.
While this assessment was accurate Wednesday, hurricanes -- especially ones of the magnitude of Irene -- have a mind of their own. Changes in the course of a storm can happen.
So it is advisable for people to be prepared in case of bad weather for this hurricane or any other possible storm in the future.

These pedals can make Screven boom

Whether you deem yourself an exercise enthusiast or not, there are thousands of spokes in an upcoming wheel of Screven County fortune that should generate a healthy dose of excitement.
On the first day of October, the first-ever “Between Two Rivers” Bike Ride will pedal through our scenic county. The distances will be 12, 30, 50 and 100 miles.
While some residents are already in training for the longer journeys, we would expect that many of our locals probably would rather opt for the shorter bicycle treks.

White author scores a winner writing about black maids in ‘The Help’

What would a white guy who grew up in the South of pre-civil rights days know about how black people felt as they watched “The Help,” a movie just out this month? I grew up in those days, attended white public schools until college, and watched black people endure the indignities of the “separate but equal” era. But I couldn’t get inside their heads, and I wondered how lily-white Kathryn Stockett could.
But she came close in her first novel. And so did the movie.
At least that’s what Myrtle Figueras thinks.

Autry: The ‘bad’ & ‘ugly’ are over ... we hope

Sometimes it isn’t what you say, but rather what you did not say. Politicians nationwide are famous for such a tactic.
However high school football coaches – in a far-less slimey way -- also can adhere to the same creed when they want to put the last season behind them.
Greg Manior, Screven County’s head coach, chose the more positive route when he spoke with the parents of this year’s Gamecock squad just prior to SCHS’s football camp last week.

Don’t toss Old Glory into the trash

Last week a trash bin on Millen Highway contained the expected items.
There were boxes and bags of old and discarded items. There were items that seemed as though they recently were part of a much larger collection of things in a garage or shed.
Really nothing out of the ordinary for a dumpster -- except for one visible item.
An American flag that within a glance you knew it had served well as a symbol of our nation.
But it was tossed into the trash. That is not how one should dispose of Old Glory.

The Florida Keys: Christ of the Deep, Hemingway and sunset weddings

It was one of those rare vacations that just happened, one we hadn’t expected. Our older daughter, Michele, and her family invited us to Key Largo, Fla., where they had rented a place with a pontoon boat on a canal that connects with the bay. We gratefully accepted her invitation.
We saw Jesus on Tuesday. His statue, “Christ of the Deep,” stands in about 25 feet of water in the Atlantic Ocean, about six miles from the Key Largo shore. It weighs about 400 pounds, but the concrete base to which it is attached weighs close to 20,000 pounds.

‘Research’ at mall finds big problem

You don’t have to be a Ph.D. or a statistical wizard to conduct research. All you need is a mall bench to watch what walks by. Within less than an hour, you’ll see two of America’s biggest issues.
What I’m about to report from my “research” is going to make some of you mad. I’m not trying to be mean-spirited or judgmental. This is just what I see every day. And I conclude that we have a serious problem with overeating and overpopulation.

Read with sadness or glee, depending on what you think of me

I honestly never expected to write this column. Years ago I had made arrangements to make sure I would be unavailable.
However, you can’t trust others – especially others from your ole college days.
On Tuesday, you see, I turned 40. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way, or any way for that matter.
Follow along for a story of someone else’s non-compliance that has allowed me to continue. You can read this either with sadness or with glee. That really depends on what you think of me.

A front-row seat to space shuttle history

Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five Four. Three. Two. One. Liftoff!
With those 10 seconds, and about 15 more before Atlantis disappeared into the clouds, the 16-hour round trip became a priceless “Kodak moment” to witness history. NASA’s 30-year shuttle program came to an end, and I had a front-row seat.
Who could have imagined, 56 years ago, that my boyhood buddy from Jesup would be a key player in the space program?

Yes Deer, your belching & backfiring makes me sweat

Camels will kill ya.
Suck in enough of their stuff and your health will go into a downward spiral.
Oh you thought I was talking about Camel cigarettes? While yes, those and other such sticks do lead to potential illness, I actually am referring to camels, those mammals with either the one or two majestic humps.
About 9,000 miles away from our community in Australia, wild camels have become a mega-menace – so much so that the government down under proposed killing camels officially be registered as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Enjoy the ride with us on Facebook

When people think of Screven County, Georgia, we want them to think of the Sylvania Telephone. We want citizens to know they can always rely on the Telephone to obtain information about their friends and family.
A great way to do that is to link up through social media and we urge you to make the Telephone one of your chosen destinations on Facebook.

Double-talk is funny political tradition

When it comes to double-talk, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Edwards and Anthony Weiner are amateurs compared to the late Noah S. “Soggy” Sweat Jr. The former Mississippi legislator, lawyer and judge would have been a “star” on broadcast talk shows and the Internet, but he died before those media venues were born. When the Mississippi legislature was debating legalizing liquor in 1952, here’s what Soggy had to say:

We’ve been fortunate thus far, but we must be prepared

While other parts of the nation have been hard-struck by violent storms, Screven County has remained quite safe from the serious storms of the spring and early summer.
However, with the escalating temperatures serious weather can erupt quickly as the earth attempts to cool itself.
Those sudden storms can and have brought strong winds, thunder and lightning along with some much desired raindrops.

Dunking basketball goes off ‘bucket list’

Back when my skinny behind was wedged in a school desk, teachers tried to keep me from squirming.
I couldn’t.
My mind didn’t wander. It took field trips. I made laps around the globe without ever leaving the room.
Nanelle Bacon diagnosed my condition. She didn’t know what Attention Deficit Disorder was. She just declared, “Son, you’ve got ants in your pants.”
A half-century later, those ants still are stinging. That’s why I make lists. A daily to-do list keeps me on task.

Positives are there for the taking if you look for them

Positives exist in our community. Sadly though, it can be rather difficult to pick them out when the “negatives” seem to fuel the discussion fire.
AMIkids continues to reduce itself in the wake of its bid appeal to the state in an attempt to make the bid apples and apples, not apples and oranges. AMIkids made its bid as a transitional facility, while the Telfair location instead bidded as a youth prison. If AMIkids closes, that is 150 jobs.

14-year-old writes letters seeking help, gets one surprising answer

Fourteen-year-old Amanda Crawford is a good student. She makes good grades; she doesn’t cause trouble; she’s respectful of other people. But this past year, life at school in upstate South Carolina has been almost unbearable at times.
So she told her mother, Vickie Crawford, she wanted to ask for help. She wrote four letters: to the president, to a U.S. senator, to a congressman and to a governor.
On Friday, June 3, her mother got a phone call.
“This is Nikki Haley,” the caller said.
Nikki Haley is the governor of South Carolina.


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