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State Representative Jon Burns (R-District 159), of Newington in Effingham County, is not new to the State House, having joined the body in 2005, nor is he new to leadership, having served as the GOP House majority leader since 2015. But he is new to the Office of Speaker, arguably the second most powerful elected position in state government, and he will be bringing a slightly new approach to wielding that big gavel.

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In our relativistic age in which everyone has his or her own "truth" and none is to be preferred over another so long as the individual feels good about it, why should anything be considered scandalous?

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Like Halley’s Comet that only comes around every 75 years, the resignation of a top politician from office is a rare occurrence.

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The death at age 54 of Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis, got me thinking again about the two-edged sword that is fame.

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By the late 1970s, the famed nearly 50-foot tall Cyclorama painting of the Battle of Atlanta during the Civil War was moldy, wet and rotting in places and making its way toward a landfill somewhere.

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My niece, Nicole, was telling me about a family meeting that she and her husband, Jay, had recently conducted with their five children.

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I have long been an advocate for character education in schools. Unfortunately, many children get little training in good behavior at home, whether it be from poor role models or the anger-tainment “news” channels blaring in the background.

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Last July, the U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Mark Milley, visited Jakarta where he said China's military has become significantly more aggressive and dangerous over the past five years.

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My first visit to California in the late ’80s was part of an ill-fated love connection. While I did find elements of the “Endless Summer,” “California Girls” and “California Dreamin’” that I had come to expect from listening to the Beach Boys for years, I found San Francisco to be cold (it w…

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It’s been the honor of my life serving the good peoples of Newton and Morgan counties. It’s a testament to your generous hearts that you could so thoroughly welcome myself and my family, even though we’re not from here. 

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By custom and habit, this writer regularly – though not always – devotes a column relatively early in the New Year to positive and encouraging economic, political, social and other trends in our world.

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After months of ignoring the problem and demonstrably false claims by his Homeland Security secretary that the southern border is "secure," President Biden is finally visiting the area this week as part of a trip to Mexico.

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It was late December of 2020. COVID cabin fever was hitting me hard. As a writer and communications consultant, I’ve long worked from an office in my home. I was used to working alone at home, but COVID isolation was pushing me beyond my limits.

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New Year's Eve 1981 was probably the coldest sporting event and evening of my life, in 50-yard line seats, in the very top row of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. My maternal grandmother, a Falcon's season ticket holder, had given me the tickets... but I can remember very little about that entire evening, other than the biting wind and freezing rain, my hot date... not quite charmed by the event or the smuggled bottle of holiday Seagrams.

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The new slim Republican majority in the House of Representatives lacks something besides its slim majority and the battle over leadership positions. It lacks intellectual depth.

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In the 1930s, President Herbert Hoover’s second-in-command was Vice President Charles Curtis, who had once been a powerful Senator. A magazine article about Vice President Curtis is credited with coining a phrase that has endured for almost a hundred years: “It’s lonely at the top.”

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This past year, it seems that I spent most of the time taking big steps over jutted holes where my foot stopped just short of another rut. I’d balance for a moment, thinking how to clear the next hole.

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The New Year is upon us. 2023. It seems like only yesterday that we were up at midnight on New Year’s Eve, 1999, wringing our hands at what catastrophes might await us at the beginning of Y2K – the year 2000. It was thought there could be a problem in the coding of computerized systems that would create chaos in computers and computer networks around the world as the year 2000 made its presence known. Some even predicted our telephone network and power grid would blow up as a result. It didn’t happen. As we approach Y2KXXIII, I am still getting calls wanting to extend the warranty on a car I don’t own and Georgia Power is still hosing its customers.

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People speak of a new year as turning the page, or starting out fresh, or forgetting the past.

At the start of a new year, I like to look back a century ago to see what has changed and what hasn't.

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President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine is ending 2022 in a strong and highly visible manner. On Dec. 21, he addressed both houses of the United States Congress and received multiple standing ovations. Time magazine has named him Person of the Year.

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Few industries took more of a beating from this easing pandemic than tourism and travel. Even in Orlando, Fla., one of the tourism capitals in the world, the impacts were real and lasting, and even some of the titans of the industry felt the crowd losses.

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Eighteen Republican senators voted for the monstrosity known as the $1.7 trillion Omnibus spending bill, thus forever relinquishing their claim to belong to a party committed to less spending, smaller government, and personal responsibility.

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In my neck of the woods, regular gasoline can be purchased at the low, low price of about $2.40 a gallon at this writing. At various times, I have expressed joy about this to friends and acquaintances.

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When King David ruled over all of Israel, one of the many Psalms he wrote included this verse: "Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing." (Psalm 146:3-4 NIV)

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As we wave farewell or at least say "see ya next time," to this pandemic, and soon after 2022, I note that both took from me my mother, as well as several irreplaceable and close friends. Those losses helped me appreciate those still in my world even more and clarified that I might let more of them know what they mean to me, while they are around to hear it.

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Tink is getting on my last nerve.

I am trying to do business and keep my company going but he’s like a little, dark cartoon cloud popping in on my deal-making. Normally, he would only know what I tell him, which means he wouldn’t hear an entire conversation.

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I read a great piece in the Tribune-Review about the nostalgia many Pittsburghers hold for their favorite old suburban shopping malls — especially around the holidays. Malls around the country are in trouble these days. Experts say their Golden Age ended years ago, and Pittsburgh proves it.

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I know some of you expect hard-hitting political commentary when reading a newspaper column. Well, not today. There are no elections any time soon, and we could all use a break.

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If you like cream in your coffee (if not, the analogy works with any other drink), keep pouring after you have reached what you would normally drink. If you pour the cream long enough it will replace the coffee.

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At the turn of the 20th century, and on into the mid-1950s, life in the Appalachians was a tale of black and white gothic existence.

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I was a teenager when I first visited New York. The flight cost $15 on the Eastern Airlines Shuttle from Washington, D.C. You could buy your ticket from a flight attendant on board. She (and it was always a she back then) would roll a cart down the aisle with a credit card device on top.

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Nearly 90 years after General James Edward Ogelthorpe founded Savannah and established Georgia as the last of the 13 original colonies, the Georgia General Assembly would act on Dec. 9, 1822 to create and charter the county of DeKalb, out of parts of Fayette, Gwinnett and Henry counties.

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Leaving aside any possible undeclared motives for leaving the Democratic Party and becoming an Independent, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema has said some things that have needed to be said for a long time.

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It’s been four years ago now. Tink and I were attending the annual NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction as we normally do with our friends, Darrell and Stevie Waltrip.

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POLL: January is National Blood Donor Month. Are you planning to donate this month?

According to the American Red Cross, winter is “one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs.” National Blood Donor Month has taken place each January since 1970.
Find a blood drive here: https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive.
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