Students lucky to get break

March 22, 2010 Spring break has officially begun for many schools across the region today, but Sunday’s weather for some in Arkansas was anything but spring-like as close to a foot of snow fell across the northwest.If it’s one thing I’ll never forget about the fifth grade and my Arkansas history textbook, it’s a sentence that summarized Arkansas weather in 20 words or less.“If you don’t like the weather in Arkansas, wait five minutes and it will change” (or, something like that).Over the years I’ve realized it’s become more like the motto of the “land of opportunity.”

Life before politics

March 19, 2010 Anyone who knows my politics understands that I consider myself pro-life; however, as I have written often, I also recognize that millions of Americans feel differently than I do and that we must continue to respect each other as Americans even though we share this fundamental difference of opinion.But today I am deeply concerned about the use of tax dollars to fund elective abortions.

Failing school grades

March 18, 2010 Today, Washington is so focused on expanding the size and influence of our federal government at the expense of taxpayers that they are overlooking one of the greatest security risks facing our nation -- our failing education system.Our broken education system is failing America’s children while countries around the world, our own global competitors, are making dramatic strides in educating their future work forces.

More Irish spirit needed

March 17, 2010 Their slogan wasn’t “Irish need not apply.” It was worse.I speak of a battle I witnessed in Old Town, Alexandria, Va., a decade ago — a battle that involved a popular Irish pub, Pat Troy’s Ireland’s Own, and a condo association.A new landlord purchased the building in which Troy’s pub had resided for 19 years. The landlord wanted to turn the pub space into office space. He asked Troy to vacate.Troy, an Irish immigrant known for his many charitable causes, bought a building two blocks away. He planned to relocate his pub there — right next to the condo association.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

March 16, 2010 Last St. Patrick’s Day I was living in New York City, which you’d think would carry the day for celebrating the Emerald Isle. But, this year I’m perched in Chicago where there are signs everywhere that say, “Kiss me, I’m Chi-Irish,” and the Chicago River has been running green since Saturday.The trains were already packed early Saturday morning with crowds of people dressed in green beads and funny green hats. It was a Mardi Gras mood but without the liquor or parade. That comes later.

Life 101 years ago

March 16, 2010 Did anyone else wake up a little groggy Monday morning? I mean, more so than usual? I did, but I’m not sure if it’s because I hadn’t fully adjusted to the time change or just had a busy weekend, or something else entirely.I won’t complain about a little grogginess when I know longer days are on their way. It’s time for spring! Last week we seemed to go from summer to winter in all of one day. Arkansas weather, right? I had high hopes for this weekend, but our yard is still wet from last week’s storm. So we didn’t get out much.

Health care making people sick

March 15, 2010 This health care thing has driven people crazier than Johnny Depp in a Max Fleischer cartoon on acid. Pro or con, your rhetoric better be cranked up to 11 and soaring past the outer orbit of Neptune, or you’re going to be as invisible as a tax collector with a soggy paper plate full of Swedish meatballs sitting next to the deceased at a wake.

Garlic Rose offers taste of Italy

March 15, 2010 Prior to Valentine’s Day I had wanted to do a story about a fairly new restaurant located on Main Street in Hardy, but didn‘t.More than a month later I still want to do a story about The Garlic Rose restaurant even though Feb. 14, the day of chocolates, roses, hearts and romance has passed.