For a party that is supposed to stand for smaller and less intrusive government, the Republicans in Harrisburg are getting awfully involved in my personal life these days.

I could go on and on about exactly how this is occurring, but for today I will focus on one such new law -- the one that requires voters to present photo identification at the polls before being allowed to cast a vote.


Bellevue officials have spent most of the past month drowning in the issue of how to manage the Memorial Park swimming pool this year.

Some officials say that the pool is safer and better run with a professional pool management company. The other side denies that, and says running the pool in-house takes a lot fewer tax dollars.


Just about every time we get the news these days, there is a story about bullying. Children are committing suicide, homicide, being scarred for life by the bullies they encounter at the grade school and high school levels.

I do not remember more than one or two incidents from my childhood that could be described as bullying. For the most part, everyone got along. There were squabbles, but not many physical fights that I recall. The biggest bully I ran into actually was my fifth grade teacher, who did things that would get her arrested today.


I'm having a hard time understanding the reluctance of some members of Bellevue Council to approve the fifth year of a farmers market. One of the key aspects of promoting and marketing Bellevue's main street business district is bringing in events that will in turn bring in people, some of whom might otherwise never visit Bellevue, and many of whom will patronize local businesses while shopping at the farmers market.


I know I don't have to convince most of our readers of the need to adopt rescued animals, but in the space of a few hours this weekend I have talked with two different people who have dogs they purchased from breeders.


My favorite TV show has returned to ABC -- "What would you do?"

This show sets up scenarios, using actors, that present innocent bystanders with what essentially are moral dilemmas. Most people know what they SHOULD do, but the show explores why some people just don't do it.

For instance, one of last night's scenarios involved people in a restaurant who observed someone stealing another patron's laptop computer. The responses ran the gamut, from people who did nothing, to people who chased down the culprit.


Winter is a trying time for many people. Many become isolated, confined to their homes by the cold and limited daylight hours, the challenging driving conditions. In warmer weather we might sit on our front porches or go for a walk, connecting with neighbors and strangers alike. Sometimes that smile in passing has a bigger impact than we might imagine.

In response to the bitter cold, however, we hunker down in our homes as much as possible, drawing inside ourselves.

That can be very depressing.


For far too many of us, Monday, Jan. 16, will be, at best, just another day off work or school. Few of us will stop to really think about the man who is honored on that day, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In reality, this world would be a far better place if all of us stopped for a bit and really thought about Dr. King, about the role race plays in the way we think and respond, about the horrifying events that unfolded not centuries ago, but in our lifetimes.


The new year provides us with the perfect opportunity to clean house, so to speak, in all aspects of life. The new year coinciding with the installation of new government officials just reinforces our learned tendency to make the new year a time of dramatic change.

We need to be careful, however, that the "junk" we're throwing out isn't the critical piece of an important item, or a rare collectible that will enrich us all.