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Walter E. Williams: Isn't it strange?

There is a letter titled "Isn't It Strange?" making the rounds in email boxes. It asks questions to which our fellow Americans should know the answers, save for those caught up in modernity.

  • icon Posted: February 08

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Monday 02/08/2016
Column: Keep your eyes open
Posted: February 08, 2016

I found a nice arrowhead last week. Even though I have found over 100 artifacts since I moved to the area in 2003, it still gives me a rush of energy every time I find one. I found this one in a field that has recently been planted in pine trees. Every artifact that survives the plow is a small miracle.

Sunday 02/07/2016
Spiritual gifts, part 1
Posted: February 07, 2016

It seems today that people in all denominations are more and more confused about spiritual gifts.  The reason may be that they are listening to what man says, rather than searching the Scriptures for the truth.  We will attempt in the next couple of weeks to show what God's word says about spiritual gifts.

Heart Matters - By Angie Land
Posted: February 07, 2016

I love “love”.  Even with many years of marriage under my belt, I still love for my husband to make an effort to make me feel special. As a matter of fact, I have never spoken to a wife yet who doesn’t enjoy or even yearn for their husband to do the same.  Since February is the month we celebrate expressions of love via Valentine’s Day, I want to devote the next several columns to this topic.  Specifically, I hope to encourage husbands and wives to be intentional about this area of marriage.  Before I begin, let me add one disclaimer:  If it seems like I am leaning a little more toward the husbands, it is because I often hear from men that they don’t understand what their wife wants.  Trust me, your wife wants you to know, so please view this as a little encouragement and help in the right direction.  I promise the pay-off will be worth it!

Friday 02/05/2016
Rant & Rave for Feb. 5, 2016
Posted: February 05, 2016

On Jan. 28, 15:55, I received an Amber Alert.  This same alert was broadcast via Suwannee dispatch approximately 30-minutes earlier, with a suspected vehicle traveling 100+/- mph on I-10w at mp 284.

Thursday 02/04/2016
This week's "Life in White Springs"
Posted: February 04, 2016

There are quite a few ingredients in the recipe for a healthy, successful small town and I’ve always been a firm believer that a local post office is one of them. The evolution of computers, email, and social media has had some considerable impact on the United States Postal Service operations over the last decade and many changes have been made in the USPS to survive and adapt.  In this week’s column I’m going to tell you a little about what is going on with our local post office, which services clients in Hamilton, Columbia and Suwannee counties, because I don’t think many of us realize what a broad range of services are available there.   

Around the Banks of the Suwannee
Posted: February 04, 2016

"Try to remember when life was so tender

Tuesday 02/02/2016
Opinion: Long range planning vs. reactionary government expansion
Posted: February 02, 2016

The decision to locate the new state’s attorney’s office behind the courthouse annex near the old Nettie Baisden School exposed not a new problem, but one that needs to be addressed. I have been talking about this problem for some time during my tenure as a commissioner and it was basically met with broad support until recently.  Your Board of County Commissioners asked our county administrator to locate a large piece of property to basically plan a campus around for future growth. We as a community have asked for and welcomed the idea of growth. Now we must deal with the results of that decision. How we deal with it is the subject of this opinion.

Rant & Rave for Jan. 29, 2016
Posted: February 02, 2016

Rave for the County Commissioners. Good choice on the construction site for the State's attorney office. The old Nettie Baisden site serves the downtown area well. In fact that rest of that block of land there could be utilized to centralize many outlying governmental offices.

Sunday 01/31/2016
Heart Matters - By Angie Land
Posted: January 31, 2016

In a past New Year’s sermon series, my pastor dealt with how to manage other’s expectations of you without letting them stress you out.  He mentioned expectations that come from many different directions:  spouses, parents, children, bosses, etc.  The point was made that while some expectations are unrealistic and unhealthy, some are absolutely necessary.  As I listened, the thought crossed my mind as to how many times through the years my children felt the expectations their Dad and I had for them was unrealistic. They had been known to make comments in that direction from time to time.  “No one else has a curfew as early as mine,” etc.  You get the point.  

God only asks our reasonable service
Posted: January 31, 2016

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.   And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2 NKJV)  

Friday 01/29/2016
Keep the sun shining on government
Posted: January 29, 2016

The Florida Legislature is currently considering several bills this session that seek to restrict the state’s open record laws, again. 

Thursday 01/28/2016
This week's "Life in White Springs"
Posted: January 28, 2016

Imagine you are me. Though I know that is a scary prospect to those of you who know me, consider this premise.  This is one of those days that few columnists will admit to, the day when you sit down to write your column and you have no idea what to say.  Despite your pleas, nobody has emailed or called with new stories about “Life in White Springs.” You’ve been out of town for a few days, but nobody wants to hear about that because this column is not called “Life in Flagler Beach,” which was just as cold and windy as White Springs was last weekend. You think about skipping a week but it is a fleeting thought, chased off by the nightmarish mental image of your editor and your readers, normally nice enough people, gathering in your front yard, screaming insults and demanding to know why you can’t do something as simple as write a column about life in the tiny town of White Springs with a population of 800 or so folks. Oh, there is plenty going on, but when you take into consideration that, first, this is not a gossip column or a “society” column, though elements of that do sneak into the message now and then and, second, this is not supposed to be a column about politics, sports or religion, but rather about “life,” it narrows your choices somewhat, but hopefully in a good way.  

Around the Banks of the Suwannee
Posted: January 28, 2016

"We got barbecued ribs and candied yams,

Wednesday 01/27/2016
Opinion: Education insanity
Posted: January 27, 2016

Some credit Albert Einstein, others credit Benjamin Franklin, with the observation that "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing year after year and expecting different results." Whomever we credit, he was absolutely right. A perfect example of that insanity is education in general and particularly black education.

Opinion: The truth is on Fox
Posted: January 27, 2016

After waiting 13 years for my favorite show to come back on the air, the NFL made me wait just a little bit longer. I don’t understand how such a one sided contest could take longer than anticipated, but it did. I think the Panthers/Broncos matchup will be better than the last few Super Bowls, and since the Patriots will not be playing, there is probably not going to be much controversy.

Friday 01/22/2016
Rail crossings take center stage in today's Rant & Rave column
Posted: January 22, 2016

Who is responsible for the closing at the same time of ALL of the railroad crossings west of Live Oak? Why wasn't law enforcement at US129 and US90 to help traffic move smoother?  Where was the coordination?

Thursday 01/21/2016
Around the Banks of the Suwannee
Posted: January 21, 2016

"The weather outside is frightful,

This week's "Life in White Springs"
Posted: January 21, 2016

At the White Springs observation of Martin Luther King Day, the people in attendance, particularly the young folks who drew pictures and wrote essays, reminded us that this is an observance of importance to all of us, regardless of color or creed.  I was very taken with the talents of the coloring contest winners, whose drawings captured the likeness and the essence of Dr. King.  The drawing contest winners were Lynette Cobos, Amelia Campbell and Noah Snowden.  The winners of the Essay Contest showed a maturity beyond their years with their observations about Dr. King and with the questions that they would ask him if they could interview him today.  The essay contest winners were Karsyn Smith-Corbett, Chase Howard, Jacoven Brooker, Kenzie Dungan and Joshua Land  The room was filled with people from all walks of life and all sections of town as we came together to celebrate and reflect upon the importance of the man, the movement and the message.  Mayor Rhett Bullard was the very able master of ceremonies, the Sunrise Choir and Earnestine Johnson provided wonderful inspirational music, people too numerous to mention came together to decorate, serve food and clean up.  It was truly a group effort.  The keynote speaker, the honorable Robert Earl Brown, reminded us that the full promise of Dr. Kings speech has not yet been realized, that we still must remain active and vigilant if we are to someday fully realize Dr. King’s dream.    I was privileged to have a small part in the ceremony and I have been asked by several folks to repeat my story here about how Dr. Martin Luther King affected my life, so with apologies to those of you who were at the celebration, I’ll tell it again.

Wednesday 01/20/2016
Opinion: Blacks and the Confederacy
Posted: January 20, 2016

Last July, Anthony Hervey, an outspoken black advocate for the Confederate flag, was killed in a car crash. Arlene Barnum, a surviving passenger in the vehicle, told authorities and the media that they had been forced off the road by a carload of "angry young black men" after Hervey, while wearing his Confederate kepi, stopped at a convenience store en route to his home in Oxford, Mississippi. His death was in no small part caused by the gross level of ignorance, organized deceit and anger about the War of 1861. Much of the ignorance stems from the fact that most Americans believe the war was initiated to free slaves, when in truth, freeing slaves was little more than an afterthought. I want to lay out a few quotations and ask what you make of them.

Opinion: A night to remember
Posted: January 20, 2016

I had the privilege of attending the Teacher and School-Related Employee of the year Banquet last week. It was a very uplifting experience. The event was held at the Phillips Dining Hall at Dowling Park. I enjoyed the food, the company, the décor, and hearing about the many great things that educators in our area have accomplished.

Monday 01/18/2016
Rant & Rave for Jan. 15, 2016
Posted: January 18, 2016

As a military retiree (Vietnam vet) whose total retirement and Social Security totals less than $30,000 annually, it is good to know that elected officials and hordes of directors, managers along with their assistants and staffs continue to fatten at the public/government trough. 

Election season upon us
Posted: January 18, 2016

It’s here and it’s not going away. We know you get tired of all the campaign ads and candidates talking on every program when you turn on the TV. The ads will only continue to grow in numbers.

Thursday 01/14/2016
This week's Life in White Springs
Posted: January 14, 2016

Recently, I was mesmerized as I was reading a description of a majestic, almost magical piece of land that surely must be one of the most amazing places on earth. It lies in the basin of one of the most widely known and recognized river systems in the world. It sits upon a foundation of bedrock that was originally part of the African region, cushioned by 250 million years of limestone deposits.  Here’s a hint.  This land is in the state of Florida.  It represents 15 percent of the state’s landmass, but is home to 75 percent of Florida’s unique geologic features.  Have you figured it out?  It amazes me still every time I realize it, this magical place is us!  Or, to be more exact, the Suwannee River Basin.

Around the Banks of the Suwannee
Posted: January 14, 2016

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people." - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday 01/13/2016
Healthy Living: Don’t worry about the Joneses
Posted: January 13, 2016

Have you ever heard the saying “keeping up with the Joneses?” Who are the Joneses and why are we trying to keep up with them? Today in the United States, it seems we are never happy with what we have, where we are and how we are currently doing. We are always worrying about the next latest and greatest gadget, bigger house, faster car, better jewelry, and just about bigger and better anything that we could possibly have. Why are we not content?

Column: The end of an era and the start of another
Posted: January 13, 2016

I was very disappointed to learn that Live Oak will be canceling its bus service. I understand there were not many riders. I figured with stops at all of the rental apartments around town, that there would be a steady stream of riders. Maybe one day, when our population is a bit larger, the bus service can resume.

Opinion: Minimum wage dishonesty
Posted: January 13, 2016

Michael Hiltzik, a columnist and Los Angeles Times reporter, wrote an article titled "Does a minimum wage raise hurt workers? Economists say: We don't know." Uncertain was his conclusion from a poll conducted by the Initiative on Global Markets, at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, of 42 nationally ranked economists on the question of whether raising the federal minimum wage to $15 over the next five years would reduce employment opportunities for low-wage workers.

Friday 01/08/2016
Thanks, to our first responders
Posted: January 08, 2016

First responders are those that help keep the communities in which we live safe. They may or may not wear a uniform, but they are all deserving of our thanks. 

Rant & Rave for Jan. 8, 2016
Posted: January 08, 2016

WOW! How can Randy Harris make more money than most of the County Officials that have been here for many years? He makes more that any of them. Somebody has lost their minds, paying him so much. Now we know where are tax dollars are going, to Randy Harris!

Thursday 01/07/2016
This week's Life in White Springs
Posted: January 07, 2016

2016 is here, has been here for seven days, and will be here for three hundred and fifty eight more days.  There are some things that we pretty much know will happen in White Springs before the year is over, and then there are some things that we don’t know, but would like to know.  Here is a partial list for your consideration.  Some of this will be of interest to our “out of town” friends who read this column too. 

Around the Banks of the Suwannee
Posted: January 07, 2016

Happy New Year! 2016 has arrived, and, as we enter a new year, let us enter it with hope in our hearts and with a positive outlook. There is enough negativity in the world. All you have to do is turn on TV and there it is. 

Wednesday 01/06/2016
Opinion: Unappreciated tax on the poor
Posted: January 06, 2016

A few years ago, BET had a commentary titled "Where Are the Grocery Stores in Black Neighborhoods?" One wonders whether anyone thinks that the absence of supermarkets in predominantly black neighborhoods means that white merchants do not like dollars coming out of black hands. Racial discrimination cannot explain the absence of supermarkets in black communities.

Opinion: May the force be with you this year
Posted: January 06, 2016

I saw the new Star Wars movie this past week. It was as good as the first Star Wars. I am not exaggerating. There was something lacking in the last few installments in the Star Wars saga. It is hard to describe why those films just were not as good as the first three, but this new movie really captures the feel of the first film that I saw as a young boy back in 1977.

Friday 01/01/2016
Citizens sought for Suwannee Democrat editorial board
Posted: January 01, 2016

The Suwannee Democrat is seeking two citizens to serve on its editorial board, currently comprised of Publisher Myra C. Regan and Editor Jeff Waters. 

Rant & Rave for Jan. 1, 2016
Posted: January 01, 2016

To those who believe his/her sheriff is doing us a favor by wanting to continue prohibiting concealed-carry on campuses:remember, they are armed 24/7;you should not have to give up your God-given right to self defense just because you walk on to a campus;most of the mass shootings occurred in gun-free zones.

Thursday 12/31/2015
This week's "Life in White Springs"
Posted: December 31, 2015

As Christmas rolled around this year, I was ill prepared. As my wife Merri decorated, baked, bought and mailed presents, and generally fell into the hustle and bustle of a joyous season, I faltered, and soon procrastination and preoccupation defeated my feeble attempts at preparation, and I fell into a Christmas funk which did not go unnoticed, nor did it get much sympathy.  But eventually the good vibes of the season and the love of friends and family prevailed and it was a very good Christmas.  It was much like the experience of viewing the international space station as it flew directly overhead on Christmas Eve.  Although I was looking forward to the viewing, the weather had been cloudy and gloomy for days and my hopes and expectations began to fade.  Then, literally at the last moment, the skies cleared and I shared a breathtaking experience with my wife and our friends as we watched, and felt connected to the spacecraft and the people in it.  That is how Christmas was for me.  It didn’t look like it was going to be much but then it turned out just fine.  A happy ending, thanks to divine providence, good friends, good luck and a loving family.  I hope it was a good Christmas for you too!

Around the Banks of the Suwannee
Posted: December 31, 2015

I found myself over the past couple of days taking some inventory of some "old and new" events that occurred in my life over the past year. 

Wednesday 12/30/2015
Opinion: Misleading and using blacks
Posted: December 30, 2015

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia ran headlong into the leftist meat grinder by questioning whether college admission of blacks with academic achievement levels significantly lower than the rest of the student body is beneficial to blacks. His question came up during oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas, wherein the court will rule whether the use of race in college admission decisions violates the 14th Amendment's guarantee of "equal protection of the laws" to all citizens.

Opinion: Sweating with Santa
Posted: December 30, 2015

This was the warmest Christmas I have had since I left South Florida in 2003. It was too warm for long pants or long sleeves. Since we live near the Suwannee River, it seemed like the perfect day to take the boat out. So after the kids opened up their gifts, we loaded up the boat and headed for the river.

Friday 12/25/2015
‘For unto you is born this day … ’
Posted: December 25, 2015

We thank each and everyone of our readers and advertisers. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and the hope of a prosperous new year.

Thursday 12/24/2015
Opinion: Suwannee County commissioners lack resolve against Sabal Trail
Posted: December 24, 2015

The Suwannee County Commissioners held an emergency meeting earlier this month to finalize a strongly worded letter to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers opposing the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline. I am puzzled as to why its contents was, apparently, a surprise to several board members. The commissioners inexplicably reversed their stance and did not approve the letter. Who got to them in the 24 hours leading up to the meeting?

Around the Banks of the Suwannee
Posted: December 24, 2015

A letter to my  long time pen pal, Minnie Mae Simmons who is the night shift operator in the laying facility at the Bountiful  Biddy Chicken

This week's Life in White Springs
Posted: December 24, 2015

It’s Christmas Eve for those of you who get the Jasper News on Thursday, the day that it hits the newsstands. It is a time of eager anticipation for millions of children across the world. For some of us, perhaps fewer, it is also a time of spiritual contemplation.  The very idea that, in the midst of all the troubles and turmoil of the world, there is a day coming with the hope of salvation, is comforting to many of us.  To me, the puzzling thing about salvation, along with forgiveness, mercy, love, charity, joy, health, peace of mind and peace on earth, is that so many of us pray for these things, mainly in the hope that we’ll receive them.  I’m pretty sure that we would be more effective if we prayed that we would find a way to give these gifts.  So, in the hopes that we see the light, I wish you a contemplative Christmas, and an opportunistic New Year.  Daily, may we all contemplate the opportunities that we have to make healthy choices for ourselves, our families, our neighbors and our planet.  Remember, after Christmas is over you can still carry the spirit for the rest of the year by giving freely of yourself.  After Christmas is over, the needs and the hopes of the world are still there and it’s up to you!  For the next year, the Salvation Army is you, the Prince of Peace is you and you are the mercy and the joy and the love that the world needs so badly.  So please, get busy!

Wednesday 12/23/2015
Column: I haven’t shot my eye out yet
Posted: December 23, 2015

One of my favorite holiday movies is “A Christmas Story”. The movie tells the story of a young boy from Indiana who has many funny things happen in his life around Christmas time. On of my favorite parts of the movie is when he almost shoots his eye out. The boy wanted a BB gun for Christmas, but everyone he told about his desire for a BB gun told him he would shoot his eye out. His dad ends up buying him the BB gun he wanted, and he nearly shoots his eye out the first time he shoots it.

Column: Immorality and contempt for liberty
Posted: December 23, 2015

American immorality and contempt for liberty lie at the root of most of the political economic problems our nation faces. They explain the fiscal problems we face, such as growing national debt and budget deficits at the federal, state and local levels of government. Our immorality and contempt for liberty are reflected most in our widespread belief that government ought to forcibly use one American to serve the purposes of another American. Let's examine it.

Friday 12/18/2015
Sharon Higgins, letter to the editor, Dec. 18, 2015
Posted: December 18, 2015

Dear editor,

Opinion: Going once, going twice, sold!
Posted: December 18, 2015

If you are like me, you have driven by the cars and boats north of the Busy Bee gas station on US 129 North and said to yourself, “One day I am going to go to the auction for those things.” I finally did go to that auction last Saturday, and I am glad I did. There were over 2,100 items being auctioned off that day, and I came home with a few of them.

Rant & Rave for Dec. 18, 2015
Posted: December 18, 2015

The county commissioners failed take a stand to protect our aquifer and its future. They tabled a decision to let the Feds know we object to the Sabal Trail pipeline dissecting our county and river, possibly contaminating the aquifer forever, and which the EPA highly recommends rerouting. I can think of 2,700,000 rea$on$ why. 

Thursday 12/17/2015
Opinion: Environmental Protection Agency flip-flops on Sabal Trail pipeline
Posted: December 17, 2015

Less than two months after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated concerns with the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline project, the government agency changed its stance and dropped all objections. The 515 mile, $3.2 billion project will impact the Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers, thousands of springs, the Floridan Aquifer, and several hundred of acres of wetlands.

 

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