Sine die! It is now official, the Georgia General Assembly has completed the 2011 legislative session. The session began on Jan. 10 with an icy snow storm that blanketed much of our state, including the Capitol. However, that did not deter the members of the legislature from doing their job and serving on your behalf. Forty legislative session days later, the adjournment of the 2011 session ended at around 11:40 p.m. April 14.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company in Greater Garfield is pleased to recognize members of the 2011 General Assembly who gave so much so that we could get so little. Please hold your applause until all our honorees have been recognized. Otherwise, we could be here until the Legislature returns in August. Nobody wants that.
That's just like the federal government - instead of assigning blame, instead of acknowledging that there really is such a thing as intentionally underperforming individuals, it overlooks the obvious. These slackers, people who don't do their jobs because they don't want to and feel they don't have to, often are fodder for analysis that has citizens of this nation wondering if they and their government are from the same planet.
• Day 38 (Monday, April 11): After a week off for spring break, we returned to work this morning knowing full well that these final days of the session would be a sprint to the finish line. We didn't go in until 1 p.m. this afternoon, which is normal for Mondays but especially was necessary today because all bills had to be approved through committees before the start of the 38th day.
Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Sure enough. I have no idea how it got that way, but I looked it up, and someone has proclaimed it thusly.
This past winter, I docked my charter captain's hat and added a Richmond Hill High School bus driver's hat to my collection. What a great experience.
Dear Editor, The Friends of the Richmond Hill Public Library would like to thank the public for its great support of our recent book/yard sale. Many people came and took advantage of the large assortment of books and in doing so supported their public library.
This community is well aware of the sacrifices of the volunteer military force that protects the rest of us. Right now, even at a time of overlapping wars, about 1 percent of the population of this country is doing all the fighting, and sometimes dying, for the other 99. Yet America's treatment of its veterans, both young and old, and of soldiers' families has too often been a shameful failure on multiple levels.
My first post-wide yard sale taught me a few things. It taught me that even after having been stationed at Fort Stewart for almost two years, I still have no idea how to get around post. It taught me that the threat of rain seriously reduces garage sale prices. It also taught me that a few hours out with good friends can make up for a too-long series of bad days.
Some three years ago, a seemingly never-ending series of studies, audits and reports criticized the Georgia Department of Transportation on a variety of fronts. Harsh comments made headlines across the state. Georgians were left to wonder if the DOT was an unaccountable, broken, unfixable bureaucracy.
Maj. Gen. Robert B. Abrams officially took command of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield from Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo during a change-of-command ceremony Friday on Fort Stewart's Cottrell Field. After nearly three years as commander, Cucolo passed the division's colors and responsibilities to Abrams, who we expect will continue to do a great job of leading our troops and overseeing the installation.
It has been more than a year since I have talked to Skeeter Skates, owner of Skeeter's Tree Stump Removal and Plow Repair in greater metropolitan Pooler.
One of the most widely debated topics today is health care. Between physicians and patients, the dialogue is markedly louder. In an ideal world, physicians successfully could manage their patients' individual health, based on years of medical training using prescribed treatments determined by examinations, appropriate tests, diagnoses and patient histories.
The Georgia General Assembly was not officially in session last week; however, work still took place on behalf of the people. With only three days remaining of the 2011 legislative session, several items still are on the agenda. The No. 1 priority is the passage of the upcoming budget for Fiscal Year 2012. In addition to the budget, numerous other highly publicized and debated issues have yet to pass this session, including tax-reform legislation, the local option for Sunday sales of packaged adult beverages and immigration legislation.
Celebrating "Georgia Cities Week" is an annual event that recognizes the importance of and contributions by local government to its citizens. Cities throughout the state will celebrate during the week of April 17-23, and Richmond Hill is no exception.
In politics, you must take advantage of windows of opportunity. Sometimes good ideas are sidetracked by unfortunate events, a bad economy or even personality conflicts among political leaders. Given the risk of delaying decisions, Georgia needs to address its transportation shortfall quickly and practically.
My fellow Georgians: In order to keep my national certification as a modest and much-beloved columnist, it is required that I submit to you at the first of every year my State of the Column message. (Yay! Clap! Clap! Clap!) I do that gladly today. For one thing, this will be a lot shorter and less boring than the State of the Union address (Boooo!) and, also, we don't have to endure a bunch of fawning politicians trying to be seen on national television. (Yay! Ha! Ha! Ha!)
Editor, Since Georgia's own Sen. Johnny Isakson voted for discriminating against pre-9/11 veterans and later against ending this discrimination, I've penned and sent the following to then-Senate Veterans' Affairs Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-VT, who introduced the Caregivers Expansion and Improvement Act of 2013:
It happened the other day. It's funny how things so simple can remind us of things so meaningful, of those sweets that are tucked inside our hearts and unknowingly treasured.
Two weeks ago, my husband, daughter and I struggled to come up with a fun way to pass a Sunday afternoon. My mother-in-law had just been staying with us, and she left that morning to head back to Florida. Since I'd given our house a good, thorough "pre-mother-in-law-visit" cleaning before she arrived, I was completely caught up on chores and housework.
With major policy decisions on transportation, education, health care and tax reform on the legislative agenda, Georgia should think beyond the traditional approach of spending more money as the solution for every problem. Focusing on ways to enhance economic opportunity and empower individuals beats doubling down on the status quo.
Editor, On behalf of Bryan County Children's Fund, I would like to take this opportunity to extend our sincere appreciation to everyone who helped to support the program this year. We were able to provide Christmas gifts to over 400 disadvantaged children in our county. This would not have been possible without collaboration and assistance from local churches, businesses, schools, social-service agencies and many others. The communitywide response was overwhelming. We are exceptionally thankful to The Good Ol' Boys, who raised funds through the annual Santa Scramble Golf Tournament and to Pembroke Advanced Communication for use of their space ...
Editor, I read Mr. Bruce McCartney's letter to the editor regarding the Wounded Warrior Project. He is totally correct. The project is top-heavy with a greedy group of executives. The top 10 officers have a compensation package from $150,000 to $333,000 a year. The remaining funds are disbursed to over 40 distribution organizations with similar management configurations.
Allen Peake is a man on a mission. The five-term Republican state representative from Macon is the driving force behind proposed legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Georgia. He may succeed this year after suffering a setback in 2014 when the House and Senate got into a bit of political brinksmanship at the last minute and failed to pass his bill, which had sailed through the House with only four negative votes.
My parents, according to the world's definition of "cool," were not. Neither drank, nor did either ever possess a credit card. Groceries and clothing were paid for in cash, utilities paid by check, and the only monthly payments they ever allowed themselves were a mortgage for a house, a short-term loan for another farm, and a couple of cars bought, over time, and paid for quickly.
When thinking about the $1.1 trillion spending bill passed by Congress last month, one might ask, "What does Congress have against conservation?"
Dear Cameron Charles Yarbrough: For the past 15 years, I have taken the opportunity at the beginning of the New Year to share some advice - first with your dad and his cousins and now with you, my great-grandson. I hope you don't mind and will bear with me. You probably would rather be playing with your Legos and I understand that but maybe something in this letter might make a difference in your life in years to come. I pray that will be so.
Editor, I've been seeing a lot more commercials for the Wounded Warrior Project on television recently, requesting that I send in my $19 per month.
A few years ago, the magazine I have long loved - Southern Living - changed. Like most Southerners, I have an aversion to change, which is why our traditions have such stranglehold. We never let go.
There's nothing like a good, old-fashioned road trip to ensure that good parenting habits and ground rules are not only broken, but stomped to smithereens and tossed out of a (moving car) window.
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