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I read over the weekend that the Rotary Club of Huon Valley in Tasmania raises money by holding apple races every year. Supporters buy apples for $3 each. The apples are tagged with the owners’ names. Then the apples are launched from a bridge into the Huon River for a 327-yard float to the …

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Every year at this time, lots of people get upset about keeping Christ in Christmas. As if the word "Christ" does a better job of that than using the symbol "X." In a day and age when we use all kinds of short symbols to communicate -- texting, chatting, and so on -- it's even more surprisin…

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Greetings from Hickory Ridge. The “Oscar” awards for children’s books are coming up very soon. The winners of the Newbury and Caldecott medals, as well as several major awards, will be announced in late January.

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The onset of winter ended most military operations east and west; Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s force, advancing into upper east Tennessee continued to skirmish with various Federal elements and in southwest Virginia, Brigadier General William W. Averell renewed an attempt to sever t…

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Almost 15 years ago now, I was honored as a high school sophomore to induct my freshman friend Tanner Schlindwein into the George Wythe High School chapter of the National Junior Honor Society. I still have a picture of us from that day. I always liked Tanner for his wicked sense of humor, v…

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I think Black Friday started when Kohl’s Clothing Stores discounted all its black leather coats on the day after Thanksgiving. Now, Black Friday is the biggest thing in retailing. Walmart is offering Black Friday deals a week early. “Black Friday is our Super Bowl, and we plan to win,” said …

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A few years ago, a friend of mine published his first book. Within its pages, J.S. Moore interweaves stories of bootleggers, hard times, crafty survival, strong men, and the stuff of regional legend. Memoir, family history, and cultural reflection all at once, Understanding Apples serves as …

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The Battle of Missionary Ridge ended with General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee seeking refuge in the mountainous region of northwest Georgia. As one Confederate force prepared for winter quarters, another launched a futile assault on a Federal bastion in Knoxville, Tennessee. Lieutenant…

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I was honored to be back at Wolf Creek Indian Village in Bastian a couple of weeks ago for their annual Blessing Day, signing books alongside my fellow author and friend Kim Thompson, credited to readers as K.R. Thompson.

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Greetings from Hickory Ridge. Award-winning author/artist Brian Floca gives us another stunning fact-based picture book, “Locomotive,” just in time for holiday giving.

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Recently, there has been a great deal in the news about food expiration dates and whether consumers are wasting when throwing away food that may still be safe to eat but past its expiration date. Americans, in general, have the misconception that a date on foods equates to food safety. In mo…

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At this point in my life, my peers and I seem to spend equal amounts of time reflecting, being in the moment, and anticipating what comes next.

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It seems to me that bartenders are an unappreciated lot. They hear a lot of sad stories and have to exercise great tact. Like psychiatrists, they must listen without taking sides or getting the customer mad.

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Major General U.S. Grant’s wait for the arrival of Major General William T. Sherman’s troops finally ended as “Cump” neared Chattanooga during the waning days of November. Grant, determined to break through the siege lines of General Braxton Bragg’s Confederate Army of Tennessee, destroying …

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As a local self-published author, I consider the work of Rosa Lee Jude to be the standard to which others in my position should set themselves. With the release of Deception, the third of her five-book collaboration with Graham Mansion director Mary Lin Brewer detailing the thrilling tales o…

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It is estimated that food allergies affect 2 percent of adults and 4-8 percent of children in the United States. Allergies usually develop within the first one or two years of life. For reasons not quite understood, some children can outgrow their childhood allergies. Studies have shown that…

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At precisely half-past eight o’clock on Sunday morning, there she stood. Upon the threshold between our room and the hallway stood the 9-year-old: dressed, ready, bed made, breakfast eaten, hair brushed, (did I mention “bed made”?) and hand on hip. We were still groggy from sleep. She insist…

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Greetings from Hickory Ridge. In the autumn, the hickory nuts falling on our roof sound like thunder. The squirrels hide them away in pots left on the deck and in flower beds. Surely some go in their nests for the winter, but we hope that in the process they reforest the ridge, as well.

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Given the contentiousness of the two political parties in Congress…given the resulting paralysis of government…given that we have a financial crisis now every three months…given that the pain of the recent shutdown is still fresh, I have come up with another of my brilliant ideas.

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Nov. 19 dawned on a day, which would produce a gathering of an estimated 15,000 people into the Pennsylvania crossroad town of Gettysburg for the dedication of a new national cemetery. Edward Everett delivered the keynote address, and President Abraham Lincoln offered “a few appropriate rema…

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According to news reports I've seen in the past day, the Quad Cities may finally be hooking back up with Amtrak. This is good news! Right now, Chicago is a looooong ways away. Even though it is about 2.5 hours to get to Chicago, that doesn't include driving time in heavy traffic, constructio…

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The workshop, held on Thursday 1 and Friday 2 October 2009 at the University of Barcelona in Spain, started with a keynote by Dr. Ben White (British Library), emphasizing that we are at a crucial time: norms are currently being set by different uses, governments, and technologies, and librar…

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It may seem like a month after the rest of the world saw the latest installment of the (Christian Bale) Batman series - The Dark Knight - but, for the Quad Cities, tomorrow is when it arrives at the IMAX theater. Jarrett and I have been looking forward to this, and I just purchased two ticke…