April 18, 2007 Edition

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Frankly speaking...

John Bland
Publisher

I don't recall ever seeing as much plant damage as we have this year from the early April freeze. New growth on shrubs and some trees was zapped by the cold snap. I was told that the Farmer's Almanac said not to plant gardens and other plants until April 15. That was good advice. Herb Ginn, county agriculture agent, tells about the freeze and its possible damage to area crops.

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We are in the last stretch of the school year, and academic honors, scholarships and competitions are numerous. This is some of our favorite news to report. It also shows us that we have some of the best schools and teachers in the state when ours consistently win top state honors.

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It was fun attending the book fair, which raised $6,162 to benefit the Children's Shelter. The Gateway Theatre on Main Street was filled from wall to wall with tables of new books. Lewis Slaughter, owner of Black Rock Auction, generously donated the books, which he had purchased in bulk from a national bookstore chain.

Many volunteers worked the sale over a four-day period. Prior to the sale, Lee and Judy Turnbull, leaders in the effort, reported that a small, dedicated group of volunteers spent hours sorting and categorizing books. Many people were able to buy many good books at great prices. All the volunteers behind the effort to build the Children's Shelter are doing a great job. The effort is getting the kind of widespread support that our county needs to be able to succeed in other endeavors.

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We have also had reports of another successful World War II reunion hosted this past weekend by the Walnut Ridge Army Flying School Museum Board. Attendance was reported to be good, and the program said to be impressive and meaningful. The board's dedication to the museum and these veterans is also quite remarkable.

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"The Pursuit of Happyness" is now available for video or DVD rental. We recommend it. Based on a true story, it tells the struggles and persistence of a man who strives to make a better life for himself and his young son. So strong is his desire to succeed that he doesn't even drink water on the job because he doesn't want to waste time going to the restroom. His work habits and determination are inspiring. Providing for basic survival needs, such as food and shelter, are strong motivators.

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The tragedy on Monday at Virginia Tech is beyond our grasp. We can't hide out from the world, but incidents like this make us want to retreat. Faith in God and prayer seem to be good starting places for guidance.

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