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I am so happy to welcome a new member to my WRCB Channel 3 family. Meteorologist Cedric Haynes was born and raised in Dalton, Georgia, and is a proud graduate of Dalton High School, class of 2004. His career path has taken him to Louisiana, Texas, Iowa, South Carolina, and now Chattanooga. This young man is truly living his dream.

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CBS Sunday Morning recently aired a story about Mount Airy, North Carolina, the inspiration for Mayberry of “Andy Griffith Show” fame. Ted Koppel interviewed the townsfolk, who reflected on Mount Airy’s sixty-year run as America’s idyllic depiction of life in the slow lane.

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As Alabama Secretary of State, John Merrill is the state’s chief election official overseeing the process of voting.

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Note: the following is FAKE NEWS. It is a satire, a parody. No one over 12 will be allowed to read this column unless accompanied by someone with a sense of humor. Any resemblance to any current politician is purely intentional.

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Since our last visit, I have been busier than usual. Life’s parade includes events of joy, like a son’s wedding (exhilarating, but tiring). 

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I was told that beginning in early childhood, most Texans are taught to “Remember the Alamo,” learn the lyrics to “Deep in the heart of Texas,” and lingo such as “hook em horns” and “guns up.”

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The events of Sept. 11, 2001 are so fresh in my mind. It’s hard to believe that today’s high school seniors were not even born when terrorists took so many lives and changed our world forever.

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When our children are born, we silently vow to do everything we possibly can to protect them from all harm.

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One year ago this week, I wrote a column called “Four Years Notice.” It was an open letter to Democratic and Republican party leaders, encouraging them to find fresh candidates for the 2024 presidential election. 

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The ability to express our opinion is a valuable right. In this country, we are free to make our feelings known without government reprisal, according to the Constitution.

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The sign was at the restaurant entrance, plain for all to see: “Please be patient with our team. We are understaffed, and we are trying very hard.”

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During the feminist movement of the 1960’s, women began to enter the workforce in great numbers. Up until that time, most women stayed at home to raise their children. Only a few had previously sought jobs outside the home.

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It happened in a doctor’s office. It was during one of those awkward moments, when a medical assistant and I were awaiting the arrival of a doctor. We were running out of small talk about the weather, COVID, and lunch plans.

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It’s back to school time, at least for now. Can we be sure of anything these days? After the students return, if the new COVID variant starts spiraling out of control, will it soon be “back to home” time again?

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As a kid, I would read my favorite newspaper columnists. I loved looking up the big words used by George Will. Lewis Grizzard’s humor was solid gold, every single time. I enjoyed the show business name-dropping of Earl Wilson. I even liked the gossipy “scoops” uncovered by government watchdo…

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Despite the perception by folks in other parts of the country, most of us in Alabama can write and read. But actions by our friends and neighbors are starting to reflect badly on us.

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I first met Halie Forstner back when she drove to the beauty shop each week, grabbed a Wendy’s junior cheeseburger after church on Sunday, exercised each morning, lived alone, walked without any assistance, and cleaned her own house.

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I love the television show Law and Order. I find myself even watching it even when some of the earliest episodes are on.

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If you have watched any television shows in recent years, you have probably noticed the lack of enviable characters. In some cases, they are not even likable.

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Each week the Associated Press publishes “Not Real News: A Look at What Didn’t Happen Last Week.” It is a collection of fake news, most of which has been shared online. The stories usually include quotes taken out of context, photoshopped images, and doctored audio.

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Last year, I found myself doing two things that were completely out of character: procrastinating and denying responsibility for my actions.

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I have declared this The Summer of Joy, even though I have no legal authority to do so. I am merely comparing this summer to the last one. We are smiling again. We are taking vacations, and we are going to church, ball games, and concerts. Optimism is in full bloom.

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My Channel 3 weather friend Paul Barys hears it everywhere he goes: in the grocery store, in the mall, on vacation, even when he goes to the mailbox. “Paul said it would be like this!”

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I have declared war on rude people. Some may consider it an unwinnable war, but so far, I am pleased with the results. My world is small, making it easy to control. 

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“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

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My 110-year-old friend Halie Forstner was reminiscing about the two pandemics she has survived. (How many people do you know who can say that?)

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Oh, how our lives have changed during the past thirty years. We’ve had great medical advances. Once-fatal diseases are being cured, and hope exists where once there was none.

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I was in line at an all-too familiar spot, a fast food place, and some customers began grumbling. “The service sure is slow around here,” one said at a volume level that carried beyond the counter. 

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 “It was like someone flipped a switch.” That was my son in Washington, DC, reporting on what he saw last weekend as he walked the streets. “One day, everyone was wearing a mask, with no eye contact or small talk, and the next day, it was like everything was back to normal.”

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Some people consider me to be a stubborn individual. And rightly so.

I consider myself to be an independent thinker who forms her own opinions and do not take kindly to being told what I should or should not believe.

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It is graduation season, and pre-COVID, I was occasionally asked to speak at a commencement program, but this year most of the organizers just want to get it over with. I don’t blame them.

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There are certain days you will never forget. Members of the “Greatest Generation” could tell you exactly where they were when they heard about Pearl Harbor and the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking we know someone simply because their name is a household word. The truth is we often do not have a clue about the person behind the title.

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I would like to thank former President Trump, and those who worked under him, for their efforts in establishing Operation Warp Speed. They are to be commended for making safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines available in a remarkably short period of time.

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According to the latest numbers, 161 million Americans cast their ballot for President of the United States in the November 2020 election. It was reportedly the largest number of voters to participate in a presidential election in American history.

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I remember an older lady from my youth. We’ll call her Mrs. Ballyhoo. She and her husband were fairly well off and didn’t seem to have a worry in the world.

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He was Chattanooga’s hero of World War II. He was a symbol for all of the heroic sacrifices of the city’s service men and women. He was Tennessee’s bravest man, who refused to surrender.

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From the time I got a job in broadcasting, until a year ago, I had a daily routine. I would spend around 10 hours a day at work, and then come home. In spring and summer, I would do yard work for an hour or two or watch the Atlanta Braves. In the fall and winter, I would watch a little TV, collapse into bed, and repeat those steps the next day. Sound familiar?

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As a parent raising children, we are responsible for teaching them innumerable lessons. Some of those lessons are intended to teach them how to deal with big issues as well as minor blips on the radar of life.