Ground 'hope' day
It's that time of year. In its annual journey northward, the sun has reached the midpoint between the winter solstice and vernal equinox. The gray and gloomy days of winter have become noticeably longer, and the average daily temperature has begun to creep upward ever so slowly.
In a folksy and humorous way, we mark that occasion with Groundhog Day, named for the little brown marmot that is a native of much of the North American continent.
Folklore tells us that the little hibernating marmot, sometimes called a woodchuck, will awaken from its long winter nap and, emerging from the comfort of its den, come out to take a cautious look at the conditions.
If the groundhog sees its shadow, it will hurriedly return to its den and go back to sleep for six weeks while the raging winter weather continues. On the other hand, if the groundhog does not see its shadow it remains outside the den confident of pleasant weather.
While this bit of folklore lacks meteorological accuracy, it points toward something far more important. There is an indomitable spirit within the human heart that refuses to be crushed by surrounding circumstances.
Although the cold north wind howls around the house, and the drifting snow swirls across the lawn, we know that spring, with warm sunshine and pleasant days, is ahead. We await those pleasant days, confident of better things.
Owsley program feeds hungry children, seniors
In 2005, standing one morning in the Owsley County Elementary cafeteria, I noticed a difference: the children were eating and saving food at the same time.
Some children laughed and kidded around, while others ate and watched. If they had a piece of toast, cereal, milk and juice, they ate the toast and drank the milk, then they quietly and so very quickly placed the juice and cereal into their backpacks.
As other children finished eating, they took what they did not want and placed it on a table. Some children would take the food from the table and place it in their backpacks.
Asking around, it was discovered these were children forgotten by their parents. It was not that the parents did not love them; it was that drugs took food from their children.
After talking to a lady at The Christian Appalachian Project, research was done on the Food Backpack Program.
We were able to start this program with $200 in Owsley County, one of the poorest counties in the United States. The Christian Application Project stepped up with a small grant. And with others' help and the Lord's guidance, we have been able to maintain.
In January, 2007 we received our 501(c)(3) non-profit status. In 2011 we are serving 152-plus children a weekend. We are also able to help assist senior citizens with food boxes and clothing vouchers.
Learn more at Owsleycountyoutreach.org.
Owsley County Outreach director
Such a problem
When one considers the potential impact of the Tea Party, it would be helpful to contemplate what might have been if the movement had emerged earlier in our nation's history.
Given their mantra that "government is the problem" and their desire to "get government out of our lives" let us consider that:
We would probably not have a national park system, which put aside many unique and beautiful places for the benefit of all.
We would not have Social Security or Medicare and would have to again develop "old age homes" and "county farms" to warehouse the elderly, along with soup kitchens run by churches to feed those without incomes.
We would not have had the G.I. Bill, which led to a much more educated populace and a strong American middle class.
We would not have had the Marshall Plan that brought Europe back from the devastation of World War II.
We would not have the interstate highway system.
We would not have the space program and all of our inventions brought about by the research conducted or inspired by that program.
We would have a few immensely wealthy people and tens of millions of very poor people — a banana republic without bananas except for those grown in greenhouses for consumption by Tea Party members.
My reading of the tea leaves suggests that we are not quite ready for a revolution of this sort.
No sacred honor
Their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor. These are what our Founding Fathers had on the line.
That they emphasized their sacred honor is not perceived by the leaders of our government today. Federal judges are appointed for political purposes, not to support the rule of law and the Constitution. Many congressmen voted against the will of their constituents to pass the health care bill. We have some 35 White House czars appointed by President Barack Obama without being vetted by Congress.
Many rules and regulations in all three branches of government are, in fact, end runs around the Constitution, including a movement to accept U.N. treaties such as the Law Of The Sea, where we would give up the right to control our ocean areas, and gun control (i.e., confiscation), as communist and fascist nations have done.
Acceptance of the International Criminal Court and U.N. laws would overrule domestic law, as many European Union countries have found out to their sorrow.
We must realize that sacred honor is not there in the absence of moral values. "Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other," President John Adams said.
It appears our government's power figures no longer relate to these values, unlike the majority of our people.
Raymond L. Schanie
Why does MSNBC:
■ Have too many commercials?
■ Keep repeating the news?
■ Spend time on prison life on the weekends?
My training in economics at the University of Maryland would indicate a cash-flow problem.
Why do media blame the right? It's like the pot calling the kettle black.
MSNBC's new brand, "Lean Forward," is great.
Gilbert Van Over