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Columns

  • Rand voted ‘no’ on state budget bill

    As legislators were debating Friday night whether to give final approval to a major revenue bill, someone brought up the old joke about how most of us would prefer to fund government: Don’t tax you, don’t tax me; tax that fellow behind the tree.

  • Choosing words wisely seems to be a lost art

    By MIKE CALDWELL

    The Advocate-Messenger

    You could argue this is the biggest understatement of all time, but here it is: Language is important.

    Word choice and tone can make all the difference. How we say something is often just as critical as what we say.

    That seems to be somewhat of a lost concept in today’s world of 280-character tweets, status updates on the hour and attention-seeking sound bites.

  • Your best years are ahead. Invest wisely.

    The most frequent question I’m asked when telling someone what I do for a living is, “What is the best thing for me to invest in?” It’s as if they are looking for a great stock tip that is going to catapult them into instant wealth. Unfortunately, these opportunities are rare and usually pure luck when they do occur. Your co-worker’s story of a friend of a neighbor who instantly went from rags to riches is probably heavily embellished with little to no fact.

  • Want to clean up the county? Marsh explains county’s nuisance policy

    If you have not noticed, the election season is upon us. The same old indicators are present—little signs freckle the roadways, you are getting more visitors to your door than you may be used to, and everyone is talking about change.

  • Pension legislation was tacked on and rushed through without needed input

    The common thread binding all good legislation is that, by the time the actual vote arrives, the outcome is all but a foregone conclusion.

    It takes a lot of effort to get to that point, of course.  Stakeholders need to be included early on, because they are the ones who will be most affected by any change, and the public must have the chance to weigh in as well.  It’s a process that can take months, but when it works, the positive impact is measured in years.

  • New technology is available but traditional research still important

    Welcome to my new genealogy column. After an extended hiatus, Editor Kristin Beck has graciously agreed to let me start writing on my favorite topic for The News-Democrat once again.

    It’s great to be back.

    While I enjoy the traditional genealogy research, my absolute passion is using DNA testing as a tool for finding more information about your family history.

  • Small things that add up to a lot

    When taking on new clients we first tackle a 2-5 day food and training journal. This helps us delve into their past and understand more about their body. There are many questions making it a very multi-faceted process, so we are in the best possible position to create the right plan for them. When I read the feedback sections there are comments such as:

    “I usually eat the following meals every day, but I sometimes have X, Y & Z as well...”

  • Rushed pension bill pushed through in sewage legislation

    Of all the facts and figures surrounding the public-pension debate, two speak volumes about what happened last Thursday at the Capitol: nine and 291.

    The first is about how many hours it took for House and Senate leaders to publicly unveil their plan to reform the state’s public retirement systems and then steamroll it through both chambers.  The second, meanwhile, is the number of pages other legislators and I were somehow expected to read and understand before voting in that short timeframe.

  • Legislature takes steps to secure pensions with passage of reform bill on Thursday

    The 2018 Session is quickly winding down as Thursday, March 29, marked Day 57 of the 60-day budget session. Budget negotiations are continuing with positive results, and the Senate gaveled in for two days to pass a number of bills including some aimed at helping our first responders and their families. Although the amount of days left is shortening, the days in the Capitol are getting longer as we prepare to pass the Commonwealth’s two-year budget.

  • Budget differences still need work in home stretch of session

    The General Assembly’s top priority this legislative session – adopting a two-year budget to run state government – entered its final stages late last week, when House and Senate leaders sat down Friday morning to begin looking for common ground that both chambers could support.

    While there are a lot of similarities between the two spending plans, there are still some considerable differences.