Opinion

Nonna’s Great Girl

My mother Donna, rest her soul, was a firm believer in the old English adage that children should be seen and not heard. To put it mildly, kids annoyed the hell out of her. It would be slanderous to claim that my mom hated all children, however. In fact, she tolerated and/or loved three or

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The Grace of Autumn Days

With seasons, it’s the power of air that shapes the pattern of movement on the land.  In the heat of summer, there are days and weeks when the air seems to stop moving altogether.  To hang dry and heavy around all that it touches.  To steal energy and drive good intentions back indoors in search

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Keeping Our Schools Safe and Open

When I was asked to sub as a special education paraprofessional at Southern Boone Primary to begin the new school year, I jumped at the chance. I knew, for the sake of my mental health, that a return to in-person school was exactly what I needed. Six months of being socially distant from my school

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Navigating One Read 2020 During a Pandemic

Every September since 2002, the Daniel Boone Regional Library has sponsored a community-wide reading program that encourages adults of all ages to read one book over the summer and in September participate in thought-provoking discussions and activities relating to the One Read winner. When author Amor Towles was writing “A Gentleman in Moscow”—the 2020 One

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Patriots Wear Masks

Contrary to what my wife may have you believe, I can admit when I am wrong. Last May, before the United States tallied its 100,000th death caused by Covid-19, I predicted that 200,000 Americans would be lost to this virus by Labor Day. Well, friends, I was wrong. According to the pandemic tracker on the

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The Story Behind Grits and Polenta

There is always a story that connects us with food. And sometimes there is a book as well. In this case, it’s Delia Owens’ 2018 novel “Where the Crawdads Sing”—a coming-of-age story, mystery, legal drama and love story that topped the New York Times bestseller list in 2019 and remains a bestseller today. In the

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A Letter To My School Family

Next week, Southern Boone students will return to in-person classes for the first time in nearly six months. Six months?! Sure enough, March 18th was the last day that school was in session before COVID-19 changed everything. I know that September 8th has been circled on a lot of calendars by folks who have been

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Adventures with Hank

On Friday, August 21, 2020, subscribers to the Columbia Daily Tribune opened their morning paper to a bold headline above the fold on the front page, “Hank Waters remembered as pioneering, persistent journalist.”  Below the headline, a photograph captures Hank, his wife Vicki, and three of his children looking out through a wide window opening

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Addressing the Substitute Teacher Shortage

In an effort to address an anticipated substitute teacher shortage for the 2020-2021 school year, Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) issued a press release last week that read in part: “Currently, individuals looking to obtain a substitute certificate must complete 60 semester hours or more of college-level credit from a DESE-recognized and

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The Magnificent Laura Perez-Mesa

How can I ever adequately describe Laura Perez-Mesa?  There simply aren’t enough words.  When Laura passed away the morning of August 11, 2020, those of us who knew her lost a treasured friend.  Her family shared these words, “To all those who had the good fortune of knowing her, she was the embodiment of effortless

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