A little time has passed since Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's, which means we're far enough removed from the festivities that I can pen this opinion piece without letting those warm and fuzzy "holiday feelings" bias my sentiment. It has become clear to me that Americans are doing all they can to take God out of the holiday season, and it's disturbing.
Editor, Thanks a lot for printing most of my letters over the years and withholding the ones that would have gotten me arrested. I am preparing to move north to New York City and will sorely miss all the reasons I chose to write those letters while I lived here. I'm not sure the New York Times is going to print my thoughts, but I'll still send them my ramblings when I feel it is needed.
Liberty County is our home. Just as we take care of the homes we live in with our families, we need to take care of our community. Keep Liberty Beautiful sincerely appreciates the nearly 4,000 volunteers each year who help to make our county cleaner and more attractive through neighborhood projects and area litter cleanups, but those who are interested in going to the next level should consider "adopting" Liberty.
The state of Georgia's Juvenile Justice System is going to the dogs. And that's a good thing.
It happened a few months back. My father-in-law celebrated, to our great joy, his 88th birthday. There was no pomp or circumstance involved. He abhors that. Because he is among the most beautifully well-mannered people I have ever encountered, he politely took all the calls though he really wished we would just treat it as another day and leave him alone to watch the news channel.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, chairman of the Economic Development and Tourism Committee, and a member of the House's Ways and Means Committee, last week was a busy one for me. We gathered for four days of hearings at Gov. Nathan Deal's office, where the budget was presented. We also listened as state agencies offered input about budget needs and then asked questions regarding which programs worked well or were under- or over-funded.
My fellow Georgians: In order to keep my national certification as a modest and much-beloved columnist, it is required that I submit to you at the first of every year my State of the Column message. (Yay! Clap! Clap! Clap!) I do that gladly today. For one thing, this will be a lot shorter and less boring than the State of the Union address (Boooo!) and, also, we don't have to endure a bunch of fawning politicians trying to be seen on national television. (Yay! Ha! Ha! Ha!)
In politics, you must take advantage of windows of opportunity. Sometimes good ideas are sidetracked by unfortunate events, a bad economy or even personality conflicts among political leaders. Given the risk of delaying decisions, Georgia needs to address its transportation shortfall quickly and practically.
Ready to start this new year right?
Editor, Since Georgia's own Sen. Johnny Isakson voted for discriminating against pre-9/11 veterans and later against ending this discrimination, I've penned and sent the following to then-Senate Veterans' Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-VT, who introduced the Caregivers Expansion and Improvement Act of 2013:
It happened the other day. It's funny how things so simple can remind us of things so meaningful, of those sweets that are tucked inside our hearts and unknowingly treasured.
Two weeks ago, my husband, daughter and I struggled to come up with a fun way to pass a Sunday afternoon. My mother-in-law had just been staying with us, and she left that morning to head back to Florida. Since I'd given our house a good, thorough "pre-mother-in-law-visit" cleaning before she arrived, I was completely caught up on chores and housework.
Editor, In an attempt to somewhat clarify and somewhat respond to the recent letters to the editor, the online opinion poll question in the Coastal Courier and subsequent results of said poll, I want to say that the protests (locally and nationally) are not anti-police, as some have and continue to misinterpret them to be.
Editor, In recent weeks, more than 20 police officers have been killed or wounded by fanatics and/or terrorists on this planet. This would be a great time for Rep. Al Williams, Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier, Commissioner Gary Gilliard, Councilwoman Luciria Luckey Lovette, et al., to make a statement of recognition and support for police officers - wherever they serve. This exercise of their rights would go a long way to heal the wound of what was interpreted by many to be anti-police sentiment last month.
With major policy decisions on transportation, education, health care and tax reform on the legislative agenda, Georgia should think beyond the traditional approach of spending more money as the solution for every problem. Focusing on ways to enhance economic opportunity and empower individuals beats doubling down on the status quo.
Editor, National Small Business Week was May 4-9, but the must-attend event for small business entrepreneurs this month is the Mayor's Small Business Conference on May 20.
You are going to have to give me a little scat room today. I am having an attack of the nostalgias. Going down someone else's Memory Lane can be as boring as a lecture on the life cycle of guppies, but this has been a reflective few weeks for me. My beloved Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Georgia and the campus chapter of my college fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, both celebrated their 100th anniversaries this past month in Athens.
On May 22, my youngest child will graduate from high school, and I am ecstatic to see her turn that tassel and move on to her next chapter in life.
Once on "The Andy Griffith Show," Ernest T. Bass tried to join the Army. Several times, Barney says comically, "He's a nut!"
Someone asked the question, "Is Buddy Carter beholden to oil?" Would approximately $400,000 from a super PAC in Texas that represents big-oil interests mean anything? After all, the folks in Texas want Georgia to have good representation in Washington.
April certainly was the month for showers this year.
What if you were told that 95 percent of Georgians are using a product that may not always be the best value for money?
A college education in Georgia just got less affordable. Tuition is rising again in the wake of cuts in state funds for the university system. The HOPE Scholarship covers far less than it used to, and many students do not receive it. A college degree is more important than ever, yet it may be priced out of reach for many students.
Editor, I, along with many other Americans, breathed a sigh of relief at the news that the six officers involved in the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore will face multiple charges. The death has been ruled a homicide. This is a great day for the cause of justice in our country.