Last Week, In Case You Missed It: February 19, 2011

This week saw Valentine’s Day pass, along with what is becoming the annual sight of men lining up in a tent in the Kroger parking lot to purchase flowers, cards and candy all from one convenient location. It also marks the debut of this year’s Easter candy, because after all, that’s only like two months away, and we need to start loading up on marshmallow chicks now. So bite into one of those Cadbury eggs, and take a look at what you might have missed this past week in Oak Ridge Now:

Lost In Suburbia’s Tracy Beckerman offered some helpful suggestions of what not to get your man for Valentine’s Day. I thought the whole X-Ray sunglasses thing had potential, though. She later acknowledged that her thigh-high boots, cropped cardigans and miniskirts were probably not optimal for winter weather.  Teresa Strasser reflected upon the weight of responsibility associated with being a mom: “One sloppy baby-proofing job and my boy is guzzling bleach and chomping fistfuls of Ambien thinking, “These Skittles are kind of lame. I’m tired. Nighty-night forever.”

In our other regular features, Dear Margo addressed how to deal with Too-Much-Information-Guy, and Dave Ramsey talks about why it’s not a good idea to borrow money from family members: “If you really want to ruin family events, have debt to your parents.” Our weekly Unknown Soldiers features describes how two families came together after the deaths of their sons, who were friends at the US Naval Academy. “We were so lucky to get to know them and be a part of their lives,” one sister said. “One is rare enough, but to have two, both brothers to you, is on a whole other level.”

Our recipe of the week featured chocolate almond bark, in observance of Health Heart Month and National Almond Day (February 16th). You may have missed the almond celebrations and parades going on throughout the U.S. this week on the nightly news.

Every good gardener in this area knows that you start pruning your fruit trees and bushes after Valentine’s Day, and we showed you how to do that.

Want to be in one of the milk mustache ads? You could, as the “got milk?” folks are looking for high school seniors in their annual Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year (SAMMY) program. Scholarships are also available via Build-A-Bear’s Huggable Heroes program for student volunteers. Deadlines for both are rapidly approaching.

In Texas news, there is still a lot of political posturing going on around the $830 million the federal government would like to provide for education in our state. Hopefully, Governor Perry will stop playing political chicken on this one and do what’s right for our school kids. And although the good Governor doesn’t want to touch the Rainy Day Fund to help balance the state budget, that pending decision will still loom large in the coming months.

We in Texas love to be the best at everything, and we show many categories where Texas is number one, as compared to other states. This includes executions, percentage of uninsured children, amount of carbon dioxide emissions, and the amount of hazardous waste generation. Take that, California! We are, sadly, number 50 in per capita spending on mental health, workers’ compensation coverage, percent of women receiving prenatal care in first trimester, and percent of population 25 and older with a high school diploma. That is bound to bode well for the future.

More census data is becoming available, the latest detailing the racial makeup of our population. Montgomery County had the fifth highest rate of population growth (of Texas counties) from 2000-2010, up 55%. That included a whopping 155% growth in the population of those of Hispanic origin.

You probably didn’t know that there is a Texas law that prevents breweries that sell their own product on-site from also selling their beer at Kroger and other locations. As you can well expect, some Texas brewpub owners are trying to change that.

In our national news section this week we presented the story of “Ghost Soldiers” – men and women in the Army’s Civil Affairs division, charged with helping to restore electricity, building water systems and spreading good will in Iraq and Afghanistan. Though Civil Affairs soldiers only make up about 5 percent of the Army’s reserve forces, they account for 23 percent of the combat fatalities among reservists.

The big Oak Ridge High School news saw the War Eagle cheerleaders do well in a national competition at Disney World. The boys soccer team lost a heartbreaker to The Woodlands, and the Oak Ridge Band announced their annual golf tournament, raising funds for band scholarships.

In our opinions section, Bill O’Reilly explains how Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama are very much alike in one respect: their convictions. Mark Shields exhorts the President to not focus too much on Egypt, because “the economy is only the issue in American presidential politics”. John Stossel talks about seasteading. Really? Seasteading? Living on the ocean simply to escape the clutches of government control? Good luck with that. Finally, Chuck Norris and Barbara Bush team up to speak about education priorities. My favorite quote from this one: “I don’t think government can do everything at all. Parents, grandparents, neighbors, churches, everybody … we’ve got to get ourselves geared up and not be lazy parents and not be lazy neighbors, but we’ve got to help children.”

All that, along with our editorial cartoons, in one week of Oak Ridge Now. Read us. Like us. Share our articles on Facebook.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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