In the last couple of years, a dear friend experienced some of life’s most difficult challenges and heartbreak: her mother’s declining health and subsequent passing, her closest childhood friend lost her battle with cancer, and the loss of two sisters- the oldest to breast cancer and the youngest, tragically, just days before Thanksgiving. I marvel at her ability to greet each day with the purpose of moving forward and addressing her grief head-on. It’s hard to imagine how difficult it is, but I still hear her laugh at silly day–to-day things while processing all that has happened. It amazes me that she has endured so much, and yet, her sense of humor remains intact; she manages to find the good spots in life.
The funerals of her loved ones were in distant cities, but friends still wanted to do something for her, as in, “let me know if you need anything,” or, “what can I do for you?” We discussed how people mean well when they offer to help; they sincerely want to do something to ease the heartbreak, to make it better. She shared how overwhelmed she was by the circumstances of each loss and that she didn’t know what she needed, or what friends could do to support her. In her state of grief, it was difficult to put a finger on exactly what would help.
I’ve already told you that books are my passion and addiction, but you absolutely can never have enough gardening books. I use all of my books at some time or another, most are dog-eared from continued research. And a true favorite is The Southern Gardener’s Book of Lists (the best plants for all your needs, wants and whims) by Lois Trigg Chaplin.
So what does a book of lists have in it– well, over 200 lists! Along with wonderful bits of garden advice from well-known garden gurus like our very own Sam Jones of Piccadilly Farms in Bishop. Besides listing his top 20 perennials for southern shade such as toadlily, false solomon’s seal and epimediums, he points out that “the secret of successful shade gardening is careful soil preparation, with raised beds and high, open, light shade.”
Last week I told you about that wonderful Rufous hummingbird and the vines that will attract them. Well, this book goes further and lists all sorts of others plants they love and also ones that attract butterflies. Then how about a list of tenacious shrubs for banks and slopes; or narrow, upright shrubs for tight places. And for those of you lucky folks who have a beach house there is a list of plants that do well in sandy soil or salty air.
OK, I’m going to admit right up front that I didn’t have to do a lot after finding this one.
Tawana Bourne, 30-year-old mother of two, pulled a .38 semiautomatic pistol on another mother at a Chuck E. Cheese in Newington, Conn.
Why? Because Bourne’s 2-year-old son had pushed the daughter of the other mother off of a ride.
Now, this isn’t going to turn into a rant about gun control – I’m sure Bourne had perfect control while leveling the pistol at the other mother – but there are some issues with Bourne’s character that I think a licensing board should have considered before granting her a weapons permit.
The Hartford Courant, in interviewing most of those present at the altercation, including Bourne, reported that, before the incident, Bourne had “rediscovered God, conquered a crack cocaine addiction and pursued her dream of working with children.”
Wait. That isn’t all.
The Courant also states that Bourne is the founder of a local non-profit organization, Healthy Home Healthy Child, Inc., which “works with parents on crisis prevention and intervention.”
(I don’t know about you all, but something about all of this isn’t meshing right in my mind.)
When police arrived on the scene, both Bourne’s handgun and permit were taken from her, and now it remains the task of a Connecticut judge to decide whether or not they will be returned to her.
Since the county in which Connecticut’s capital lies has the second-highest crime rate in the state, I’m surprised that the judges around Hartford have the time to rule on such a petty matter. After all, no one got hurt. Right?
And if anyone is worried about the children possibly being traumatized by the dispute, Bourne can use her talents as a peacemaker to soothe the kids’ subconscious at her Healthy Home Healthy Child center.
Newspapers bring business to your city • Lamar Norton, Executive Director, Ga. Municipal AssociationSubmitted by editor on Thu, 02/14/2013 - 20:04.
Newspaper publishers across Georgia are dedicating a significant bit of time and ink explaining why community newspapers matter. I would like to add my thoughts on the subject. As executive director of the Georgia Municipal Association, the state’s largest representative of city governments, I have seen firsthand how newspapers impact cities. To put it simply: Newspapers are economic development.
First, and most basically, most newspaper offices are located in downtowns. They employ people who, hopefully, eat and shop at other downtown businesses. People come to newspaper offices to place ads, share their news and buy their newspapers. So newspapers drive traffic into the downtown area.
They also cover events like ribbon cuttings and business expansions that help local businesses. Think about where you live. If you live in one of Georgia’s many smaller towns, it’s likely your newspaper is a once or twice-weekly publication. If that newspaper didn’t exist, who would cover these events? Would the closest large daily newspaper drive to your town to cover the grand opening of a Mom and Pop store? Probably not. Your community newspaper, however, does cover those events and that coverage helps Mom and Pop and the rest of the family stay in business.
The House again saw only a handful of bills during our third week, but that situation won't last long since the committees have begun to pump out a steady stream of new legislation. Our main work was getting out the “little budget,” as the bill to adjust the current, fiscal year 2013 budget is called. This bill makes adjustments to reflect the actual rate at which revenue is coming in, and is also used to alter priorities on some programs. Revenue is off very slightly from projections (by less than 1 percent), so that part of the adjustment was fairly minimal. Nonetheless, K-12 education needed roughly $160 million to handle enrollment growth, and various healthcare programs (primarily Medicaid) required about $240 million extra, so cuts were necessary to accommodate those changes. The House honored the Governor’s request that K-12 education not share in the cuts, so most other areas of the budget saw 2 to 3 percent reductions. No one was surprised to see another tight budget, and thus little comment was made. I supported the bill, and it passed by 145 to 18.
Now I’ll turn to discussion of some interesting new bills. As I mentioned in a previous column, the freshmen have been busy introducing ideas they are eager to pursue. The “old dogs” haven’t been idle either. To date, over 200 new bills have been launched in the House. As we look at some of them, please remember that while I find a bill interesting enough to report to you, that doesn’t mean I support it. These ideas are often a surprising measure of our times.
Georgia House Bill 142 (introduced on Jan. 29, 2013, see: http://goo.gl/tFdYG ) attempts to reform ethic laws in this state. Sadly, legislators have, in their zeal to cast a wider ethical net, broadened the definition of lobbyist so wide that it now encompasses basically everyone except elected officials themselves (just wait, that will come next!). Yes, this includes even you and me. The particularly onerous portions of this bill, the reporting requirements, do not apply to individual citizens expressing “personal views” UNLESS they are speaking to someone elected statewide who was not elected within their district. In other words, as the law is written (as of today Feb. 10, 2013) if you wish to speak to the Governor, Secretary of State, Public Service Commissioner, etc. and discuss anything other than the weather or sports you technically would need to register with the state of Georgia as a lobbyist and pay a $300 annual fee for the privilege thereof.
This provision clearly violates the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (in conjunction with the supremacy clause) or the 14th Amendment (take your pick) insofar as the 1st Amendment guarantees “the right of the people… to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” That key phrase “right of the people to petition” – defines precisely what “lobbying” is. Therefore any laws that in any way hinder the ability of anyone to petition (lobby) are violations of this core Constitutional right. It is immaterial toward the exercise of this right whether I (or a group of people) personally petition the government or if I hire someone to act on my (or our) behalf.