Features Analysis and Opinion


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MANDY FLYNN: Queen Mum proud

FEATURES COLUMN: Its not every day your daughter is named homecoming queen

They called her name. The lookon her face. Sheer, honest surprise. She didn’t expect it. But there it was. Never had I seen a smile so big. I cried just a little. Didn’t want to embarrass her. But I was proud. So proud.

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KIRSTEN LUPINSKI: Gift-giving can be tasty, too

HEALTH & FITNESS: Gifts in jar can be just the thing to mix fun and gift-giving

With three kids in school now, I am always trying to come up with something new, unique, and creative for teacher gifts. I just love the idea of something the kids can help make and that the teachers will enjoy getting (and eating, too).

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BARRY LEVINE: Four Tops remained intact for 44 years

THE OLD ROCKER: Group members unchanged from 1953 until 1997

The four original members were Levi Stubbs, Lawrence Payton, Duke Fakir and Renaldo Benson.

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CREEDE HINSHAW: Population of Muslims in United States at 1 percent

FAITH: Much fear about Muslims deeply unfounded

What most Americans think of Muslims is terribly skewed towards the incessant television and Internet coverage of the warring Middle Eastern Shias and Sunnis.

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BRAD MCEWEN: Don't tell me there's nothing happening in Albany

OPINION: Lack of attendance at Big Pine disappoints

Last weekend’s Big Pine Music Festival once again proves that for far too many Albanians it’s easier to say there’s nothing to do around here than it is to show up for something.

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RONDA RICH: You gotta be careful

THE DIXIE DIVA: Be careful what you ask for - - especially if it's powered

Having great power tools comes with great responsibility.

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BARRY LEVINE: 'Monster Mash' surfaces at Halloween

THE OLD ROCKER: Bobby Boris Pickett co-wrote the song in two hours

The song was a spoof on several of the era’s dance crazes including “The Twist” by Chubby Checker and “Mashed Potato Time” by Dee Dee Sharp. “Monster Mash” featured several of Pickett’s impersonations of renowned Hollywood horror stars including Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, who he also had used in his nightclub act.

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MANDY FLYNN: Lima beans out of the fridge

FEATURES COLUMN: Stealing from the stockpile in times of emergency

Apparently, over the last few months we have acquired an unusually large amount of frozen lima beans that have been hiding out in the back of the freezer. The freezer that no longer freezes.

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MARY BRASWELL: Looking Back at superstitions | QUIK QUIZ

HISTORY: Good and bad luck come from many timeless superstitions and vary from country to country.

The Irish believe that a blacksmith can drive out evil spirits and disease.

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PERRY BUCHANAN: A diet break can be a good thing

HEALTH & FITNESS: The concept tends to be counterintuitive

Research has shown that people who are more flexible in their eating patterns are actually more successful in the long term, showing less of binge eating habits and weighing less.

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HAL BRADY: Looking beneath the surface

FAITH: Real friends share important characteristics

We all meet others who take one look at us, make a snap judgment and file us into a category so they won't have to deal with us as persons. They treat us as something less than we are, and if we are in constant association with them, we become less.

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HAL BRADY: Handling criticism

FAITH: Harsh criticism comes from three undernourished areas of a person's life

Criticism is often blind to a person's or program's potential.

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MARY GANZEL: Obesity places burdens on health, finance

HEALTH AND FITNESS: Obesity-related diseases and health problems account for 61 percent of U.S. healthcare costs

If obesity rates keep growing, costs associated with obesity will become too large for federal healthcare systems to cover. A reduction in obesity rates across the country would save the government tens of billions of dollars that could be spent on other government programs.

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BARRY LEVINE: The times definitely were a-changing

THE OLD ROCKER: The changing morals of the nation reflected in changes to its music

Two of Bob Dylan’s early songs — “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’” — became anthems for the American civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements.Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’” further expounded on this nation’s changing morals, especially as it pertained to early rock ‘n’ roll.

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MANDY FLYNN: Sick of squirrels

FEATURES COLUMN: SpongeBob is not the most reliable temperature consultant

You know you’re sick when you’re willing to ignore an annoyingly misplaced sock on the floor. And don’t get me started about those squirrels.