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Opinion

  • The 116th Indiana General Assembly convened Jan. 7 and, by law, must adjourn by April 29. State lawmakers will spend the next few months deliberating on many issues. However, the most challenging will be crafting a new two-year state budget during an ever-worsening economy.

    The state currently faces a shortfall of more than $700 million for the current fiscal year. This will make the work of this session the most challenging in decades.

  • Editor's Note: Gov. Mitch Daniels' office forwarded a copy of the governor's inaugural address to Hoosier newspapers. It's published here as a letter to Perry County residents.

    As a matter of both good manners and necessity, second helpings should be smaller than first portions. Likewise with second pronouncements on accepting duty in the public's employ.

  • Whether you're watching network news, reading a hometown newspaper or visiting with a colleague at the proverbial water cooler, one topic trumps all others these days – the economy. And more times than not, the tone skews toward the negative.

    Here's a positive twist to "the topic of the day," It's not going to save our automakers or reverse the direction of the NYSE. But it is a practical way for you and your family to enjoy an evening of entertainment at a price most families can afford, even in today's coupon-clipping world,

  • Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told an interviewer last week that she thinks Caroline Kennedy is getting softer press treatment in her pursuit of a New York U.S. Senate seat than Palin did as the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee because of Kennedy's social class. But we think Palin's criticism misses the mark on several points.

  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The Golden Rule isn't just a religious directive but a simple guide many of us try to live by.

    Treating others like we want to be treated. I try to live by this concept, though I've certainly not followed it perfectly. I break it when I judge people before I know them, when I let my temper get the best of me without a just cause and by taking advantage of others for my own gain.

  • Perry County ushered in 2009 last week amid toasts and cheers. Most of us greet each new year with optimism and high hopes for ourselves and our families. But as the first full work week of 2009 dawns, nearly all of us know the year ahead will be challenging. But underlying the current difficulties are opportunities.  

  • It's hard to find the time I once had to rummage through old courthouse records. When I first came to the paper in the late 1990s, I would venture off some afternoons and sift through dusty boxes and yellowing tomes filled with old wills, court orders and criminal proceedings.

    While decades old, the records  are open to the public and while recent real-estate transfers, criminal and civil proceedings and probate cases can be searched on computers in the various offices, the really interesting things are in back rooms and closets.

  • We’re happy to see Perry County’s schools are unlikely to be affected by an effort to consolidate Indiana’s schools, and suggest such attempts elsewhere be put off for at least a year.

    As we reported at the beginning of this year, the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform produced a 46-page report urging a number of changes, including the consolidation of school systems to achieve student populations of at least 2,000.

  • There are two events on my annual calendar that get me in a serious mood for housecleaning. The first is a neighborhood party I throw each June that brings a few dozen people to my backyard. I know them all well, but I hate the idea of visitors seeing a dirty house.

    The second round of cleaning comes with New Year’s Eve and for the past several years, I’ve spent the final hours of the old year scrubbing floors, dusting nooks and crannies and wiping down windows in a rite of winter grime-fighting that sometimes lasts from dawn to dusk.

  • What a tumultuous time we’ve gone through in the last few months: violent storms, unstable gas prices, dramatic stock-market changes, a national home-mortgage crisis and hundreds of job layoffs.

    It has been a scary time for many folks in our area and it may not get better for a while. But there is one thing I know from having lived in Perry County for the last 25 years: when times get hard, Perry Countians step up to help their neighbors in need.

  • Christmas is upon us again and it's a time to rejoice on what this day really stands for. Sometimes the real meaning of Christmas gets lost in all the holiday shopping and the memories of past years.

    Some memories are wonderful and others are heartbreaking. Yet, we still celebrate this most exciting holiday with all the joy possible.

  • Editor's Note: In the months before the Christmas of 1897, an 8-year-old girl named Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the New York Sun, asking if there really was a Santa Claus. Edward P. Mitchell gave the assignment to Francis P. Church, whose reply to Virginia appeared in the Sept. 21, 1897, edition of the Sun. Virginia's letter and Church's reply, as it appeared in the Sun, are reprinted below. Virginia O'Hanlon Douglas died May 13, 1971.

    Is there a Santa Claus?

  • Santa Claus

    North Pole

    Dear Santa:

    I hope all is well with you and Mrs. C. I've been reading all year about shrinking Arctic glaciers and melting polar ice, but I hope you're holding your own at the top of the world. Maybe we'll start treating our planet a little kinder than we have.

    I hope our new president will help lead us in a greener direction. I'm sure you'd approve.

  • Memories of childhood make me thankful for the poor times we were living in. I did not know at the time we were poor. We had lots of love in our house and family. I was brought up to know and understand that God takes care of those who take care of themselves.

    I was taught to understand that as long as we have a roof over our heads, food in our stomachs and clothes on our backs, we were rich. My grandparents would relive the Depression every time they had the opportunity, so we would always understand life could be worse than it was at that moment.

  • The holiday season is here and along with it comes one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year.

  • In their upcoming session Indiana legislators will consider a bill to further restrict beginning drivers' licenses, including putting restrictions on their cell-phone use while driving.

    We're not sure if the restrictions will do away with some of the problems caused by young drivers or merely postpone them, but we think the cell-phone restrictions would be good rules for drivers of all ages.

    Among other things, Senate Bill 16 would:

    • Prohibit drivers younger than 18 from using hand-held or hands-free cell phones while driving.

  • After a simple life on the farm, I'm finally moving to town and can't wait to enjoy the fast, exciting adventures of the big city.

    Well, sort of.

    Over the next week or two, I'll be hauling the contents of my house a tad over a mile to the metropolis of New Boston. I recently bought a house there and while it's nothing fancy, it more than meets my bachelor needs.

  • Perry County is lucky to have several organizations that can help citizens find help when they need it. If it's some extra food you need, there are several public pantries across the county ready to help. If your home was destroyed by fire or a natural disaster, the American Red Cross can help you find shelter. If your home is cold because you don't have enough money to pay the gas bill, Lincoln Hills Development Corp. has grants ready to help pay for it.

  • I used to devise all kinds of ways to count down the days to Christmas. I was that eager to wrap up a semester at school and welcome Santa and his presents under the tree.

    The longing began in church, usually the weekend after Thanksgiving, with the lighting of the first Advent candle. A wreath with four candles was placed in the front of our church at New Boston and each week another candle was lit, leading up to the weekend before Christmas. Advent, from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” is the four-week period before the nativity of Jesus.

  • The Perry County News is to be commended on its willingness to bring life issues to the attention of its readers. A Nov. 17 editorial reported a group of bishops saying that opposing abortion is of first importance among the life issues.

    One might rightfully ask: How does this group of bishops have the authority to make this evaluation? Suppose someone else were to think that capital punishment is of first importance? Indeed.