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Opinion

  • Our company has long given employees the day off for their birthdays. This year I was given that and a second gift: the care of of a second newspaper.

    Since June 1, our editorial staff here at The Perry County News has been working with and overseeing the staff of The Journal-Democrat in Rockport. How has it been going? The past two weeks have been a challenge. There have been more meetings to cover, added telephone calls and dozens of extra e-mails to sort through each day. I feel more stretched than usual.

  • "The Hangover," despite a slow start, is a downright hilarious comedy that is a welcome change from all the big summer movie fare.

    This movie doesn't pretend to be anything it's not. It is an R-rated comedy about a bachelor party gone wrong in Las Vegas. You can imagine the glorification of debauchery that ensues.

  • Like a beam of sunlight breaking through dark storm clouds, a glimmer of hope appeared Thursday in a National Public Radio report.

    NPR's Martin Kaste said the state-secrets tactic has failed to stop a lawsuit contending the U.S. government violated the privacy rights of an Islamic charity when it monitored the group's telephone conversations without obtaining a warrant first.

  • A long time ago, when summers came without a job, mortgage or other real-world responsibilities, the months of June and July seemed to be heaven-sent. There were, admittedly, farm chores to shoulder, hay to haul and a lawn to mow, but those were trifling interruptions in what seemed to be an endless string of carefree days.

    It's been during weeks like these that I miss those summers and long to roll back the years.

  • President Barack Obama's recently announced plan to require automobiles to average 35.5 miles per gallon of gasoline by 2016 has evoked criticism from a variety of sources.

    We agree that the plan is not perfect, but we think much of the criticism is misguided.

    Obama's proposal would require cars to average 39 mpg and light trucks to average 30 mpg under a system that develops standards for each vehicle class. It would also require automobiles to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by about one-third.

  • Today's column is a potluck of sorts, bits of news and small items sent to me by readers over the past week that I've been moving from one stack of papers on my desk to the other.

    Mars Disappointments

    I received an e-mail Wednesday from Pam Hilgenhold, mother of Perry Central student Levi Hilgenhold. I wrote a story in March about Levi's selection by NASA as one of nine finalists to name a new Mars rover.

  • Editor's Note: Logan Harding took first-place honors with this essay, submitted in the annual Friends of Southern Hills Writing Contest. Students were asked to place themselves in the role of an elected official and to respond to a constituent who needed their help with a personal or family problem.

    The Humvee cruised through the small town on the Iraq border. As the 142nd Airbome Division drove through the town, a man ran out in the road in front of them.

  • The release of a damning report detailing decades of abuse of young people in Ireland's church-operated reform schools didn't make the headlines it should have last week, at least not in the United States.

    Call it old news.

  • All newspapers worry about hanging on to their readers. Publishers, editors and circulation managers fret about studies that show today's young readers don't take as much interest in newspapers as their parents and grandparents.

    That's not good news and may be a result of increased competition from online news as well as newspapers not providing content geared to young readers. What it means is that newspapers need to do more to get young people connected with their hometown newspapers.

  • The economic travails that we are experiencing began with the collapse of the housing market. Sub-prime, low-interest loans to people who lacked sufficient income to make their monthly payments began this tumble into oblivion.

    Follow along. The origin of the sub-prime market collapse goes back to 1977, when Carter signed into law the Community Reinvestment Act. It was passed by a Congress even more profoundly liberal than today's.

  • Memorial Day is approaching and we hope Perry Countians will commit a portion of the long weekend to recalling the heroism of the men and women who gave their lives in service to our land.

    Unfortunately, Memorial Day risks being crowded out by so many other activities: graduations, vacations, even auto racing. We know the first summer holiday is a busy time for everyone, but we encourage individuals and families to honor fallen and living veterans.

  • Congratulations high-school graduates: The big day you've been waiting for so long has arrived.

    In just a few days, you'll take those anticipated steps onto a stage and claim that diploma. You'll also take a giant step toward adulthood.

    Amid the congratulations and cards, weekend barbecues and cookouts, take time over the next few days to thank the people who have made the big day possible.

  • The previews for the new "Star Trek" film claim that this "is not your father's 'Star Trek' " and I have to agree, slightly. But that doesn't mean that old fans should avoid this immensely entertaining film. It is technically a reboot of the series, but there are enough little jokes and throwbacks to appease the older fans while embracing the new. Maybe hardcore fans will denounce it, but people like me (who have only a slight interest in the series) will love the comedy and constant action.

  • Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. is probably rolling over in his grave at the news of Sen. Arlen Specter's switching from the Republican to the Democratic Party - and conservative Republicans' reaction to it.

    Lodge, like Specter, was a moderate Republican from a northeastern state. He won election to the U.S. Senate three times from Massachusetts before losing a re-election bid in 1952 to John F. Kennedy. That was a close loss that many blamed on Lodge's spending most of his time managing Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidential campaign instead of working on his own campaign.

  • The Indiana legislature, and more recently an Indianapolis law firm, the attorney for the Hoosier State Press Association and the director of the Indiana High School Press Association made short work of dismissing the First Amendment in regard to a law concerning school-construction referenda.

  • "Settle down, boys" were close to being among the sternest words Father Theodore Heck could muster to a group of fidgety kids in a late 1970s religion class.

    As an all-knowing 10- or 12-year-old, I judged the monk to be an old man already. He was in his 70s, a former professor and seminary rector who had adopted our small country flock in New Boston after "retirement."

  • The Hoosier National Forest volunteer program welcomes efforts from individuals and groups that wish to assist in the stewardship of their public lands. One of the most popular and long running volunteer projects has been Take Pride In America Day.

    Approximately 200 volunteers helped in May 2008 on a variety of projects including tree planting, trail and pond maintenance, painting the Hickory Ridge fire tower and picnic table construction.

    Since 1987, more than 40,000 volunteer hours have generated work valued at approximately $470,000.

  • It's finally arrived. Spring. While it's technically been with us for more than a month, the weather is finally providing the warmer temperatures and bright-blue skies we've needed to bring us out of the winter blues.

    And with this beautiful weather come blooming trees and flowers and, of course, growing grass needing mowed. Perry County has an abundance of natural beauty, both out in the county and in our own communities and it can only stay beautiful with some help.

  • Several people offered comments on a recent column on jobs I could have been doing had I not been working at a newspaper.

    Most shared their own vocational journeys and the ups and downs many of us have experienced in finding our places in the world.

    One man told me he often wonders what kind of life he would have enjoyed had he entered college. The guy has a good-paying "factory" job but was a wiz at math and science in high school and admits he would have had other opportunities with a college degree.

  • Because April is Autism Awareness month, I would like to share a personal experience related to autism.

    This school year, I have had the privilege of teaching a child with autism, and it has been a profound year of discovery and growth for both of us. 

    My student's mother encouraged me to share our story.

    When I discovered that I would be teaching a child with autism, I began to do some research on the Internet to learn more about the autistic child and techniques for reaching and teaching these children.