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I was born in Maine where trick-or-treating required eight layers of clothing, and the climate in Northern Ireland where I was raised required the same attire. In Florida, everything changed. Trick-or-treating in 90-degree weather is not fun, and I was forced to break the heart of my Elmo-lo…

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I will admit, when I first heard about the changes coming to the Independent, I was hesitant to accept them. I am a creature of habit, and I have never been a fan of change of any kind.

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In 2006, Bullying Prevention Month was first introduced during the month of October as a national campaign to educate and raise awareness about bullying.

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As a child, Halloween brought me such joy, and I loved the search for the perfect pumpkin upon which to carve my masterpiece.  I would eagerly light the candle in my pumpkin each evening, and count down the days until I could go trick-or-treating. 

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This morning, as this issue of The Independent makes its way to press, headlines are once again flooding the media waves in an all-too-familiar way.  There has been yet another heartbreaking and senseless mass shooting.

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Amidst the ongoing media frenzy surrounding the NFL, I was inclined to avoid this topic.  In my opinion however, I would be remiss if I ignored it.

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It has been a long-standing tradition in Marion County, and in a great number of neighboring communities, to open football games with a prayer, along with dozens of other sporting and public events.

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This Friday night, football fans across the region will flock to Marion County High School to witness a historical rivalry game between the Warriors and the Pirates, representing one of the oldest rivalries in the State of Tennessee.

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With stories of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey dominating the media, I can’t help but think back to my days of living in Florida.  Living right on the water proved to be a nerve-wracking experience, especially during Hurricane Season.

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My father is a man’s man, and I’m quite certain that at times I terrified him, but he certainly tried to engage with me when he could. 

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Law enforcement officers in rural counties such as ours are often perceived as “Andy Griffith” types.  Some picture the Marion County jail of old, with a few old “Otis’” serving a few days for public drunkenness.  Times have changed, however, as we now have an average jail population of 140 …

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