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.
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, My daughter tried out for Bryan County High School's basketball team. After the tryouts, she learned she had made the team, although she had never played before. It was extremely nice for the coach to keep her on the team, even with her lack of experience making her one of the worst players on the team. She gave a lot of effort and worked really hard. I had to pay about $100-plus for her shoes and socks after she made the team.
Georgia lawmakers left town earlier this month after producing a 2016 state spending plan that invests no more money overall for health care than last year. Georgia ranks near the bottom of all states for health-care investment, and the consequences include hundreds of thousands of uninsured Georgians and hospitals that struggle to stay afloat.
Editor, When 1st Congressional District U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter spoke before Richmond Hill High School students on the issues surrounding Kinder Morgan's Palmetto Pipeline, he stated, "I suspect many of you drive, and gas is expensive. … Having a pipeline could help that. … So sometimes, we have to make tough decisions" (coastalcourier.com, April 17, reported by Jeff Whitten).
What time is it, boys and girls? It's time for Answer Man! Time to dip into the ol' mailbag and see what is on your mind and show you how little is on ours. While we can't guarantee total and complete accuracy in our answers, it is Answer Man's opinion that this won't matter because if you knew the answer, you probably wouldn't have asked the question in the first place.
Many people have crossed the path of my life, but only one crossed it from three different directions. Don Light, one of Nashville's most admired powerbrokers and star-makers, was meant to be part of my life. I said this repeatedly because I encountered him through friends in country music, Southern gospel and NASCAR racing.
Fifteen months ago, a local reporter asked me if there was any interest within the General Assembly in taking on the medical marijuana issue for the 2014 legislative session, and I told him, emphatically, that there was none and that I did not foresee that issue coming up anytime soon in Georgia. Then, a week later, I met a little 4-year-old girl named Haleigh and her courageous mom and dad, and was I proved ever so wrong.
The April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was called catastrophic by many. President Barack Obama declared, "This oil spill is the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced." The National Resource Defense Council said two years later, "A people wronged and a region scarred remains."
My fellow Americans, it is with a heavy heart that I announce to you today that I will not be a candidate for president of the United States in 2016.
Sometimes a man, despite his best efforts, doesn't find his destiny. Try as he might, down through the earnest years of his life, he chases it and even can believe he has it, only to awaken one morning and discover he doesn't - that what he has is an illusion, a mirage that he tried to turn into reality.
The classroom is changing.
This past week, it was reported that Josh Duggar, who is the son of Jim and Michelle Duggar from TLC's "19 Kids and Counting" reality show, molested several girls, including some of his sisters, when he was a teenager.
Taxes are nobody's favorite expense. Most people view them as simply a nuisance bill to pay or as an added cost on a major purchase. Average Georgians rarely give state tax policy a second thought, especially compared to critical challenges like education and health care. But few issues matter more to the pocketbooks of Georgia families, the bottom line of Georgia businesses and the ability of state and local governments to fund quality public services.
My recent open letter to Georgia's public school teachers produced as much response as I have received in a long time. Teachers from one end of the state to the other have weighed in, and the comments are still coming.
A friend said something the other day that has clung like mist to the crevices of my mind. She's soon to turn 70 and this is what she said:
Memorial Day weekend, as you've heard time and again, is that long weekend marking the unofficial start of the summer: beaches, boats and barbecue. Fun in the sun. With all the frolicking, many may overlook that Monday is, first and foremost, a special day set aside to remember those Americans who have died serving in our armed forces.
Cumberland Island was struck head-on by a major hurricane 117 years ago. The Category 3 storm pounded the Georgia coast with winds of 135 mph and massive waves, causing a 16-foot storm surge in Brunswick that left much of the city underwater.
I have been trying to figure out what to do with my free time now that I have decided not to run for president of the United States (or what's left of it).
Getting math right for the students and teachers of Georgia has been a priority of mine since day one. One of my first actions as your state school superintendent was working with the State Board of Education to provide a needed choice between integrated mathematics and traditional discrete mathematics (with assessments to match each option) for our schools.
Here, I'll announce something I've never admitted publicly: I love going barefooted. It's how I was raised.
Premium increases for Georgia's insurance-exchange health plans beat regional and national rates, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute, cited by Georgia Health News.
Editor, I omitted a very important name from my farewell column last week. Her name is Linda "Woodie" Hansford, and for a lot of years and for many people she was the face and caring voice of the Bryan County News. She was here when I arrived in 2006, and her knowledge of the community, combined with her patience and kindness, helped save my bacon on many an occasion.
I read an opinion piece recently that said Republicans couldn't be Christians because they are too hard and uncompassionate. The piece said that, pretty much, the Democratic Party was the party of Christianity.
The public's outcry in opposition to the Palmetto Pipeline has been clear. Voters don't want it and don't think it is needed. And the public doesn't trust the company that wants to build it.
Editor, Recently, in letters to the editor, some have questioned U.S. Congressman Buddy Carter's loyalty with respect to eminent domain and the Palmetto Pipeline.