Columns/Opinions

Thu
22
Aug

"Scents of fall brings reminders of first days of school" by: Jessica Shepard

   Recently, I got an email from Bath and Body Works announcing their release of fall and Halloween scents. 
   And, again, I’m a little disappointed.
   But, we’re making due and with the help of several coupons, our house will smell like autumn come Sept. 1.
   Even if it seems a little too early for us to get into pumpkin-scented or –flavored everything, we’re still going full steam ahead.
   Plus, I know that temperatures will be in the 90s feeling like the 100s for at least two more months, scents of autumn are a bit more relaxing for me.
   I mean, if mom would let me, I’d have fall scents running amok in every room of the house to match my love of Halloween.
   Though, I’d still hold on to some of the smells from summer if the fragrance market overlords didn’t push holiday scents on us at such a brisk pace.
   I can almost guarantee you that we’ll be seeing Christmas junk in stores before November even starts. 

Thu
22
Aug

"This economic ride may require keeping the ant-acids handy" by: John Sample

   Another week of turmoil with the bears prevailing.
   The inversion of the yield curve stoked fears that a recession could arrive sooner than later.
   It should be noted that the inversion was literally only a day. It didn’t help that the President continued to blame the Federal Reserve for keeping interest rates too high. 
   This was not lost on gold bugs as the price per ounce climbed above $1,500.
   I don’t see the recession being imminent.
   What I do see as a problem is the apparent lack of capital investment due to the uncertainty. It is understandable as lack of confidence on the economic future makes it hard to place hundreds of millions dollars at risk.
   Then there is the constant uncertainty of the trade war with China.
   We are a tweet away from even higher levels.
   Of late though, there seem to be more concessions by the President.

Thu
22
Aug

Interested in fixed annuities? Beware of common misconceptions

   To retire comfortably, you’ll likely need to draw on many sources of income – one of which might be a fixed annuity that can provide a lifetime income stream. 
   But you might have heard some discouraging things about annuities. How concerned should you be?
   Many of these negatives are misconceptions. 
   For example, you may think you can’t touch any of your money before you retire without facing federal tax penalties. 
   But some annuities allow a small withdrawal with no penalties.
   Another misconception: The interest rate is too low to make an annuity worthwhile. 
   In reality, a fixed annuity’s key benefit is its guaranteed interest rate and the potential for lifetime income.
   You might also have heard that when you die, the insurance company that issued the annuity will keep all the money. 

Thu
22
Aug

"Find your time: We all do well if we all incite each other to love, good words" by: Betsy Monico

   I see the world in words. I am a writer. My passion began in fourth grade when Mrs. Price called me out and bragged on my outlandish story! 
   Since then, I see the world in words and snapshot pictures. To say I see it in videos would be a sin. They move too quickly. 
   I prefer the snapshot philosophy. A picture seems to freeze time. It captures just what is going on at that very moment. 
   Pictures and words help me sort out what every season of life brings my way. 
   The word that most recently stamped on all that I do, all that I see, and all that I am involved in is teamwork. 
   Let me do a synonym search to see what else might come up for it. Cooperation and fellowship fit nicely. They mean the same thing. Why teamwork?
      School began last Wednesday. My family used teamwork to make it out of the door on time each morning, or somewhat on time. 

Thu
22
Aug

"Reel Reviews: ‘Good Boys’ hilarious look at modern tweens coming of age" by: Jessica Shepard

   If you’ve seen the trailer for “Good Boys” or seen ANY movie with Seth Rogan either in it or directing, then you’re prepared for this movie.
   Despite its rating and some of the subject matter, I still spent more time laughing than not and it’s currently ranked No. 1 at theaters worldwide.
   Good Boys is rated R for strong crude sexual content, drug, and alcohol material, and language throughout - all involving tweens.
   The film stars Jacob Tremblay, Josh Caras, Chance Hurstfield, Izaac Wang, Brady Noon, Millie Davis, Molly Gordon, Midori Francis, and Keith Williams, and tells the story of the misadventures of three sixth-graders who try to impress their classmates.
Max (Tremblay) is a hormonal middle school kid whose father is going on a business trip. 
   He tells Max not to touch his drone while he is gone as it’s for his work and not a toy. 

Thu
15
Aug

"Sometimes I’m easily entertained, sarcasm goes a long way" by: Jessica Shepard

   We share a lot of generational overlaps at home, one of them being entertainment. 
   While everything doesn’t match up all the time, overall we enjoy music from the mid-1970s to early-2000s.
   It just depends on who you ask about their favorites.
   For example, when I go out to Bowlera Fun Center and Fat Boyz Pub & Eatery for karaoke night I’m more often than not going to sing along with 1980s classic rock hits than something older or newer.
   Mostly because those songs have been heard by nearly everyone and it creates a common sense of nostalgia.
   Plus, it levels the playing field between younger adults and older.
   Some things aren’t always like that.
   I grew up watching comedy re-runs like “The Three Stooges,” “Mama’s Family” and was an avid follower of “The Simpsons,” “Beavis and Butt-head,” and “That 70’s Show.”
   Plus, almost every other sitcom in-between when I could find something I liked.

Thu
15
Aug

"Economy’s turn may not be how you envisioned lazy summer days" by: John Sample

   If you weren’t nervous before this week, you were either on vacation or gave up caring sine you went to cash in July. 
   The volatility is exacerbated by the lack of volume. 
   The majority of people are squeezing the last vestiges of summer getting away these last two weeks before Labor Day. You take the lack of volume and pile on the unrest in Hong Kong, trade wars with China, peso devaluation in Argentina, the general bad news of mass shooting and why would anyone buy a stock.  
   The fear index is so high that the 10-year Treasury has dropped to 1.68% with gold climbing above $15,000 per ounce. 
   Can you hear Chicken Little?
   There is little or no relief in the commodities sector with West Texas Intermediate crude prices at $54 per barrel. 
   This has not been lost on the energy sector which has been one of the poorest performing sectors. The drop in interest rates has equally punished the financial sector.

Thu
15
Aug

Be alert for opportunities when you are preparing for college costs

   It’s almost back-to-school time. 
   But someday, “back-to-school” will mean “off to college” – and college can be expensive. 
   You need to look for every opportunity available to help your kids with those sizable college bills.
   For starters, think about financial aid at least a year before your child or grandchild is going to start school. 
   The main federal financial aid application is usually open on October 1 for the following school year.
   Also, look everywhere for scholarships. 
   Find out what’s offered from religious, ethnic or community organizations, local businesses, and civic groups. 
   And you can find a great deal of scholarship information on the web sites of the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor.
   One more suggestion: Don’t forget about community colleges – they’re an affordable way for students to get a lot of college credits before transferring to a four-year school.

Thu
15
Aug

"Learning the guidelines that help navigate us through challenges" by: Betsy Monico

   At some point last week, my brain chemicals aligned with my emotions, faith, and physical strength. 
   When this happens, I can usually clean my house, closet, or write something from the heart! 
   I did just that recently and posted my thoughts on Facebook. I only use social media as a positive resource. 
   It helps me get the word out when different organizations I am involved in need help. I also like Facebook because it allows me to reconnect with old with friends. 
   Occasionally, FB gets the Word of God and encouragement out into the crazy, lost world of the internet. 
   This is what I shared.
   My mom resume-a work in progress for 19 years- along with my husband is this: Thankful the most for the grace of God & my first point: My kids all know Jesus personally. I’m an educator, but our STARR scores haven’t always been passing. 

Thu
15
Aug

"Through Jesus’ sacrifice we can leave our valley and meet God on the mountain" by: Caleb Gibson

   One day, God took the Prophet Ezekiel to a valley of dry bones. He walked with him back and forth. 
   Then He asked Ezekiel, “Son of man, can these bones live?” 
   He replied saying, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know” (Ezekiel 27:3). 
   The Lord told Ezekiel, “Prophecy to these bones.” These bones were so dry vultures probably weren’t even looking at them twice. 
   When we go through a valley, we can either give up or start speaking. 
   This is what the Prophet Ezekiel began to do. 
   As he began to speak, he began to hear a sound, these dry bones began to become connected. God then told him to Prophecy again and speak breath into them. 
   They received life and these dry bones stood up and they became a vast army!
   This vision was given to show Ezekiel how the people of Israel were at this time. 
   They were in a way, lifeless. They needed someone to prophecy life into them. 

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