• Class is in session.

    Today we have a pop quiz.

    Ready? Here it goes.

    Question 1: How many American military personnel were killed in the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan for the whole year of 2017?

    Question 2: How many school children were shot to death in the past month in the United States of America.

    Question 3: How many people were killed and wounded in the Las Vegas mass shooting on Oct. 1, 2017.

    OK. Put your pens down.

    Here are the answers.

  • Guns aren’t the problem, no matter how hard you cherry pick the numbers.

    As a gun owner, it pains me to hear folks blame the lack of gun control as the problem for mass shootings in the United States.

    No matter what you believe, the gun didn’t sprout legs, a consciousness, and decide to kill everyone in sight.

    It was a person behind the trigger that did that.

    “But if guns were banned, then we wouldn’t have this problem…”

  • Sr. Claire McGowan

    Guest Editorial



    I. am. done.

    Done with cheesy slogans. Done with stupid memes: “Guns don’t kill; people do”; “Nobody’s going to take away my freedom to bear arms, any kind of arms I want”; “The left won’t be happy until they take away all our guns and only the criminals have them.”

  • As we observe Black History Month, I find myself reflecting on a recent trip that taught me more about the history of our nation, including some of the cruelest times imaginable. It was a visit to Memphis, Tennessee, to the National Civil Rights Museum, and it was a trip well worth taking.

    The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent his life fighting for equality. He did so until his death on April 4, 1968, in Memphis.

  • Journalism is a tough profession.

    You hear a lot about what you did wrong – even if you did nothing wrong at all – and rarely hear about what you got right.

    But I got an email Monday morning telling me that one of my articles had an impact on Washington County.

    Which one, you ask? It was the article about the road signs being stolen around the county.

  • I’m a careful man.

    I always take my time when I’m making a big decision. I weigh the pros and cons. Do some research and background checking. Make sure that I’m right, then I move ahead.

    The kids asked me the other day when did I know their mother was “The One” that would bear my children and share my life.

    I told them: “30 days after I met her.”

    Renee said “You mean that after only knowing momma for 30 days you were sure she was “The One”.

  • Sexual misconduct.

    It’s a phrase we hear in the news almost daily, and it’s getting to the point that there’s a new, high-profile name attached to the words each time we hear them.

    Personally, I have no toleration for people who abuse others in any way, and sexual abuse is a particularly disturbing accusation. If a person is found guilty of such a crime, I feel the full extent of the law should be applied when it comes to doling out punishment.

  • “The Lord is with you.”

    Angel Gabriel to Mary

    The quote you see above was spoken by the angel, Gabriel, to Mary announcing the coming of Jesus Christ. Mary was about to conceive a child without ever knowing a man. God knew, as good a woman as Mary was, she would still need his help, his divine protection, for the road that was ahead of her.

    Divine protection.

  • It’s one that makes you proud to stand up and say, “Yes, I come from Washington County, where we have good people that make a difference.”

    Today I want to talk about one such young man that is making a difference. His name is Michael Hilton Mann.

  • I’m a former smoker. I smoked a pack-and-a-half a day for 11 years before finally kicking the habit in January 2013.

    That makes this January my fifth year as being smoke free.

    Despite this, I still get cravings; especially when I smell someone else’s cigarettes. When I’m stressed, it sends my “I need a cigarette” craving to DEFCON 1. I literally hear missile alarms and see quick flashes of red sirens pulsating in my brain as my fingers twitter around, longing for that familiar feeling of a cigarette in my hands.

  • By the time you read this I will have officially retired from the Army Reserve after a total of 42 years, 7 months and 29 days. I had nine years of active service and the rest as a weekend drilling Army reservist. I never, ever planned on staying this long.

    I believe that I set a record as the longest-serving enlisted man that Washington County has ever had. But I’m sure that local citizen Roger Milburn is the longest serving person overall as a warrant officer with more than 43 years of service.

    Dang that Roger!

  • Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, 

    And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.” 

    And The Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave 

    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave! 

    From The National Anthem of the United States of America.  “In God is our trust.”


    Powerful words. 

    Words that shouldn’t be said lightly. 

  • We look at our parents and grandparents, and often, we see them as people who have somehow been eternally old. It’s not a matter of disrespect, it’s just hard to see them as someone who was once our age, and even younger, with a life of their own, filled with activities similar to those we enjoy.

    As an adult, I know my grandparents weren’t always old, but in my memories, that’s pretty much been the case. Until you start to do the math.

  • Johnny Hardin wrote this story about the Springfield of his youth a few years back.  A lot of the older residents from that time enjoyed it so much that I thought I’d give it a repeat in honor of his recent death.  I think I got more calls and letters about it than any story than any story that I personally wrote.  So without further delay, here is Johnny Hardin’s Memory Lane.

  • My aunt Alison was a trip.

    I’ve never met anyone like her - and probably never will.

    She took me to a midnight showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” when I was 12 at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles, California. I had no idea what she was getting me into that night, but boy was it a surprise.

  • “Whatcha Preachin’ on?”

    That was the way my dad would answer the phone when I called him on Sunday mornings. 

    Before, “Good morning,” or “How ya doing?” he would ask, “Whatcha preaching on?”

    Always on the way to church on Sunday, I would call. 

  • “I’ve got this,” my son, David, told me as me as he reached for the check.

    “What are you talking about?” I asked. 

    And my wife, Lori, chimed in, “You don’t need to pay for our dinner.”

    We were visiting David in his new home. His girlfriend had driven down to meet us for dinner at a favorite dinning spot of his. 

  • You know what?  

    You don’t? 

    Well that’s what I’m here for.  

    I’ll tell you what.

    There ain’t nothin like a good old fashion scary show to get your neck hairs primed and standing up. 

    Oh, I know there’re a lot of other things that can get your neck hairs up.  

    But none of that is like a scary show.

    When I was a little kid I was drawn to scary movies like a skunk is to tires rolling down the highway.  

    That was a long time ago.

  • Sometimes actually knowing what you are talking about based on experience will lead to very, very different conclusions than from someone looking at a situation based on what they have read or heard.

    I ran into that one day between two different college students on a very serious topic.  It was the value of living in America.

    I love talking with young college kids.

  • I’ve always tried to be a good citizen, and I keep up with what’s going on in our country. I like to be informed, and I think it’s also part of my job.

    Still, I’ve never been one to sit and talk politics at great length.

    That’s why a visit from a U.S. Senator to my newspaper office many years ago turned into a good old-fashioned baseball chat. And that’s a subject I can talk about all day long.