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Category Archives: Opinions

Building a bridge to the other side

You may or may not have heard about the new school in Easley, but you can bet that people all across the United States have heard of it, and many more will find out about it soon.

It’s called Lakes and Bridges Charter School, and it is one of only five free public schools in the nation for students with dyslexia.

That seems pretty out of whack to me, considering that a whopping one in five people are dyslexic. And that tuition to private schools that specialize in teaching such kids runs $25,000 a year and up.

So it’s no wonder that families have actually moved here from as far away as Massachusetts and North Dakota so their children could attend

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Courier Letters to the Editor 10-2-19

The growing problem of drug abuse

Dear Editor,

In 2016, I wrote about the growing drug problem in this newspaper. The main problem back then was methamphetamine. Examining the latest statistics, the rising use of opioids/fentanyl has broadened and increased the problem in our county.

Comprehensive drug misuse and abuse data is hard toacome by. For instance, if Mr. Jones has a knee operation and is given a prescription, his appropriate and legal use of the drug is recorded when the prescription is dispensed. Mr. Jones only takes half his pills and puts them in his medicine cabinet. If months later his wife twists her ankle badly and takes the rest, that misuse is not reported. Worse yet, if his daughter gets her hands on the pills, starts to take them, develops a habit and then buys heroin on the street, that drug abuse is not reported. If she ends up in prison or in a treatment center, or

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The outfitting of a 7th-grade gangster

Back during the Byzantine era, I was in the seventh grade at Pickens Junior High School. One of my classmates convinced me that I should enter the race for a seventh-grade class officer. Looking back, I do not remember what kind of grudge he held against me, but obviously in his mind I had wronged him some time in the past and this would be a great way to get even. I know of no other valid reason for getting one of your buddies involved in politics at such an early age.

I was not exactly sure what a class officer was supposed to do, but thought it might be fun as well as place a feather in my cap to enter the

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Estimated increase in Social Security

Grab your calculator. Those in the know are making an educated guess about the amount of our Social Security increase for 2020. The Senior Citizens League estimates that the increase will be 1.6 percent, below the raise we got last year. This will mean an average net gain of $23.40 per month for those receiving the average $1,460 per month benefit. In 2019, that benefit amount netted an increase of $40.90 per month.

The Social Security Administration will come out later

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The legacy left by Grandpa Brezeale

My mother’s father was Perry Brezeale. He lived on Concord Church Road about two miles from our house. He remained somewhat of a mystery to me for several decades after his passing.

I was speaking with one of my cousins some time back and happened to mention that I had walked into what appeared to be Grandpa Brezeale’s work shop. It was not very large, maybe 12 feet by 16 feet, with a few tools laying around. Most appeared to be ready for the trash can.

Among them I found a ball-peen hammer with a broken handle, an old hand saw with gaps where teeth used to be and formerly used nails, along with some rusty wire. I would like to mention that back in Grandpa Brezeale’s day, nothing was thrown away. Nails especially were

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How do you like your beans?

The world is flat, we never landed on the moon and there is no such thing as climate change. And if you believe that, I suggest you go outside and look around.

Next year we’re going to have to switch to a different variety of bush bean than we’ve planted in the past. We’ve done the research and are going to try Rattlesnake Beans or Greasy Backs. Those are two varieties that can endure extremely hot, dry weather.

This year our pole beans grew tall, the leaves were green, and they bloomed. When they produced, we picked, strung and snapped them and put up a run of 14 jars. This is a lot of work, as you know. We didn’t can everything that was picked, but saved enough to

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Courier Letters to the Editor 9-25-19

Panem et Circenses

Dear Editor,

The Latin ‘Panem Et Circenses’ is literally defined as Bread and Circuses; entertainment provided by government to appease public discontent.

That’s what three minutes will get you, when addressing county council.

Since council appears to have no interest in officially responding to my proposal at the Aug. 12 meeting of council, regarding a resolution titled, ‘Declaring Pickens County a Gun Sanctuary County,’ it is my duty as a concerned citizen to inform the people of Pickens County that our government places tourism, taxation and fee-in-lieu-of-tax incentives above our country’s Bill of Rights, specifically the Second Amendment, which is a reminder to government, regarding

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Descended from royalty

According to my doctor, there’s a weird virus going around, and apparently I got it.

So I have been in bed just about all the time for the past three days, although I’m starting to feel a little better after I broke down and went to the doctor and got some medicine.

Meanwhile, however, I haven’t been completely idle. I’ve been doing genealogical research, and I have some big news for you.

If the calculations done by the minions on FamilySearch, the world’s largest genealogical database, are correct, I am the 12th great-grandson of King Henry VIII.

That explains my portly physique. And my gout. Thanks, Grampa!

I told my wife she could start addressing me as “Your Majesty.” She just rolled her eyes. But now she has a way to manipulate me. “Would your majesty please bring me a slice of watermelon?” What benevolent Royal Personage could deny such an humble request?

She, however, is the real genealogist of the family, and she has a pretty

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Prom night

Having lived well beyond the half-century mark, I have met a lot of women and have had the good fortune to have dated a few of them. But not many stand out in my mind like the one I took to my first junior-senior prom.

Women just don’t realize how much pressure, how much torment and anguish we guys go through simply trying to build up enough nerve to ask a girl out the first time. As was the case with my first junior-senior prom date at Pickens High School in 1963.

I remember her quite well. Her name was Carolyn. She and I exchanged pleasantries from time to time, and eventually we started talking with each other about the third month after we first met. We were classmates and sat near each other in history class. As time rolled by, I started looking forward to seeing her each day. I also noticed how pretty she was, and she seemed to like me.

Being involved in many other school activities, I lost track of time. Here it was springtime already, with the

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When summer was neverending

Mama would sing to us. Lots of different songs, but always at bedtime and during car trips. Sometimes she’d buy sheet music for the piano. And she’d play and sing.

I remember “Frankie and Johnny,” a song we loved, “The Abba Dabba Honeymoon” and “Carolina Moon.”

She also loved to listen to the radio, and sometimes in the kitchen after supper when we were washing the dishes, some tune with a good beat would come on and Mama would dance with a damp dishtowel in one hand.

She was a great dancer. She used to tell us about the dances she went to when she and Lilly were girls in Washington, N.C. This was during the big band era, and they would dance from the beginning of the evening until the end.

She’d talk about the evening dresses they’d wear and the boys they danced with.

She had an album of Duke Ellington and Louis

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