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Opinion articles for Screven County and surrounding areas.

Ella’s love story: She has been blessed with nice people in her life

Ella Zamojski Tymchuk wasn’t born until 1946, but horrible stories about World War II are burned into her very soul. Fortunately, the salve of love is soothing.
Her whole life, in truth, is a love story that began in Raclawice Sl, Poland, where she grew up. It continues today in Suwanee, Ga., where on March 16, 2011, the day I telephoned her, she was celebrating her 47th year of marriage to Andrew.

Stop state senate bills that take away your right to know

Jeff Mullis does not like me. He may even loathe me.
Newspaper people are evil in Mullis’ eyes. We all are wolves just waiting for the most opportune moment to raid the chicken coop and then howl into the night against the backdrop of the light of the full moon.
Oh yeah, his unleashing of vengeance isn’t just on me and other journalists. Nope, it involves you, Screven County residents, too. It involves all of us.
Please allow me to explain Mullis’ distain.

Burns: Gov. Deal carefully weighing pre-k policy decisions

In the column this week, I want to bring you up to date on the recent recommendations for the Georgia Department of Early Care And Learning” (DECAL) and their program “Bright From the Start,” more commonly referred to as pre-k. There has been a great deal of talk about this proposal, and I wanted to let you know what information we have received since last week, and also, how carefully Governor Deal is weighing these policy decisions.

Vote ‘Yes’ Tuesday for BOE's SPLOST

The word “taxes” certainly is not one that people want to hear.
Admittedly, with some taxes you are required to pay it may take a GPS, a divining rod, and the insight of a mythological demigod to find out where those dollars and cents are going. If you were to ask your state or federal lawmaker exactly how your taxes fund various projects, be prepared for a verbal tap dance with snippets of the truth and a lot of vagueness in reality.

Mother’s Prevention magazines offer no magic, just memories

My mother’s hope for a fabulous figure arrived monthly, dispensed in a small magazine called Prevention that offered tips on how to get the flatter belly, firmer buttocks and stronger legs of a young woman.
Mother must’ve thought the magazine’s title alone was a guarantee — that Prevention would prevent old age from creeping in just by its very presence. Every month, she read the latest issue and then put it with all the others. But I seldom saw her succumb to any physical exercises.

Dark clouds spoil the sunshine

The Duke is dead and I’m not feeling too good either.
The weather outside certainly is worthy of being classified as a “Welcome to Screven County Chamber of Commerce Day.” With the conclusion of February and the start of March, people are tossing out a picnic basket worth of reasons why they need to be enjoying the 80-degree days instead of being ball-and-chained to their office desks.
As the birds chirp, prep student-athletes smash tennis balls, boot soccer balls, blast baseballs, and fly around the track oval.

Chief Justice Hunstein calls for sentence reform

This week we held the State of the Judicial address by Chief Justice Carol Hunstein. 
Just as our governor, serving as chief of our state’s executive branch, visits the House and presents the State of the State address to the General Assembly each year, so to does the chief justice in presenting the State of the Judiciary address.
The two biggest issues addressed by Chief Justice Hunstein in her State of the Judiciary address this week were sentence reform and specialty courts.

Have you thanked a teacher lately?

They said she was mean.
Children at that age can be highly critical of people – especially teachers.
If an educator is out there who seeks more from a student than the pupil merely going through the motions, I reckon that deems the lady a meany.
That is the belief hammered into your psyche when you are a fifth grader.
Now seemingly eons ago I was once such a fifth grader. It has been a few years – my eldest son currently is a sixth grader – but I still remember Mrs. Watters.

Keeping an eye on the future and reflecting on others

We concluded our 10th day of the session on Feb. 3. The committee process is in full swing as we have begun consideration of new legislation. The House Appropriations subcommittees delved further into the state budgets.  These meeting have begun to show that zero-based budgeting and the HOPE program will receive a great deal of attention throughout the remainder of this session.  With that in mind, I would like to take a moment to let you know a little about both of these issues.

Want an unusual gift for your Valentine? Try a bottle of Lithuania

Lithuania, the southernmost Baltic state, must be desperate for attention — or at least male attention. The country’s foreign ministry has launched the very first national perfume, appropriately called Lithuania. It features fragrances of moss and wildflowers and — here’s the kicker — wood fires.
There’s a good reason for the smoky smell.
“For Lithuanians to identify themselves with this perfume, we’ve added the smell of wood fires that can be associated with pagan rituals, as well as moss and wildflowers,” said Mindaugas Stongvilas, an expert in emotional communication.

Prep recruiting process not so dreamy thanks to so-called ‘fans’

Within the pages of this week’s Sylvania Telephone newspaper is a list of the newest recruits for Jeff Monken’s Georgia Southern Eagles, a squad that last season reached the semifinals of the Football Championship Subdivision in the first year of the Monken Era.
Writing this literary piece a day before the first prep standout officially signs on the dotted line Feb. 2, I cannot tell you all the names of the Class of 2011.
You will need to review the names in the sports section at your leisure.

Illegal immigration, tax reform, health insurance vital issues

Monday, Jan. 24, marked the beginning of the third week of the 2011 legislative session. 
Traditionally the third week is a time when committees begin to meet to review and discuss legislation. It is required that each bill be read on the House floor before it passes through the committee process with hopes of returning to the House floor for final deliberation.
Despite the slow start caused by the snow and ice that covered much of Georgia over two weeks ago, we were able to begin the committee process in earnest this week. 

Should schools teach morality? Perhaps it’s now come to that.

Two years ago, my wife and I were visiting in Louisiana when I picked up the New Orleans daily, The Times-Picayune, tore out the op-ed page and stuck it in my briefcase. I kept it because the headline on a particular column, one by André M. Perry, caught my attention. “Why schools must teach morality,” it read.
Well, it’s not up to the schools to teach my children morality, came my first thought. It’s up to my wife and me and our church. Who knows what kind of values a teacher would impart to my kids or grandkids?


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