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--UPDATED--
MONDAY  NOV. 29  7:11 a.m.  Levy, Dixie and Gilchrist counties

 

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Building official addresses
alleged ADA issues at Eddie Buie Park

By Jeff M. Hardison © Nov. 26, 2021 at 4:11 p.m.
     CHIEFLAND –
David Greenbaum, the building official who works for the City of Chiefland, addressed alleged problems with accessibility by handicapped people to the facilities at Eddie Buie Park.

 


 

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     Greenbaum was among the visitors speaking to the Chiefland City Commission Monday night (Nov. 22) during the City Commission’s regular twice-monthly meeting. Michael Dockery, one of the leaders of the recently formed ad hoc group calling itself the Chiefland Neighborhood Task Force, complained that wheelchairs would be stuck in the sand at certain parts of the park, and that access to one restroom was not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
     The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. It affords similar protections against discrimination to Americans with disabilities as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, and other characteristics illegal.
     Later, various aspects of sexual orientation were added to the ADA so that people could not discriminate against one another based on gender identity, or sexual partnerships. In addition, unlike the Civil Rights Act, the ADA also requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations, such as parks.
     Greenbaum said he conducted a walking tour of the park. He reviewed the park structures related to the Florida Building Code as well as the ADA. The ground surface appeared to him to be in accordance with the laws requiring surface strength.
     “When children dig or play in the sand,” Greenbaum said, “that will disrupt the path.”
     Individuals using walkers or wheelchairs, he continued, or people with artificial limbs may see some difficulty from ground that has been dug up by children playing in the dirt. Parking areas for handicapped parking are clearly designated at Eddie Buie Park, he added.
     Greenbaum said his “walk-through” of the restroom facilities at Eddie Buie Park with Chiefland Water and Facilities Manager Shane Keene resulted in one toilet being adjusted to the proper height to meet ADA standards. Grab bars are present and there is proper lettering on doors of the restrooms, Greenbaum said.
     City Commissioner Norman Weaver mentioned that in the absence of Dockery that evening, he had some questions. Weaver asked about wheelchairs that may be hampered if gravel at the starting point before the paved walking area is moved or deteriorates. Dockery and Weaver question if the gravel may not prevent wheelchairs, both manual and motorized from use of the walking area.
     Greenbaum said that as the building official, he saw what was placed and compacted properly. It is safe, he said, and it meets the standards set by law. If the city wants to go beyond the current standard and to add concrete or pavement, then that is an added expense the city can choose.
     “I have been to other cities, though,” Greenbaum said to quell Weaver’s concern about the milling that was placed at the entrance to a walking path wearing out, “and my experiences have been with crushed rock, crushed shell, packed, and they do just as well after a period of time.” 
     Alice Monyei, another member of the Chiefland Neighborhood Task Force, was present.
     She asked Greenbaum about his explanation of disproportionate costs if Buie Park were to be improved.
     Greenbaum had said that anything more than 20 percent of an added cost to meet ADA standards when a park is improved would cause those improvements to not be needed. In other words, he said, if the cost of the renovation of the park was $100,000 and $20,000 or more of that cost was simply to meet ADA standards, then there is an exemption from having to make the park ADA-compliant.
     He gave Monyei another example.
     If the owner of a building was improving the building and it had a restroom that would cost more than 20 percent of the total renovation costs of the building, to make the restroom ADA-compliant, then the owner of the building would be exempt from that federal mandate, Greenbaum explained.
     Monyei switched tracks and said she heard that the millings used at the park were not properly installed.
     City Facilities Manager Keene said the city workers dug three inches deep in the sand. They put in asphalt millings. They heated the millings with a torch and packed it. Some person or persons worked to cause the millings to become loose, twice, Keene said.
     “We went back there again on Wednesday of last week, I believe it was,” Keene said. “We tore all of that out. We put in cone patch. It is stickier. We packed it all back down again.
     “We went out there again today (Nov. 22),” Keene continued. “They hurt their toes doing it this time. But they didn’t dig it up.”
     Victoria Larkin, a leader of the Tri-County Area Athletic Commission, a relatively new youth sports league, said she felt the second installation was better than the first. 
     Larkin then complained that the packed milling is still chipping away as people in motorized wheelchairs run over it.
     Mayor Chris Jones said the park has been inspected. It is ADA-compliant. 
     “We are responding even to the malicious activity where it is being destroyed,” Chiefland Mayor Jones said. “We can’t do it all in one setting. We’re doing our best to provide everything that the public is asking us for.”
      Monyei asked if the Florida League of Cities could send a person to inspect the park to confirm that it is ADA compliant.
     City Manager Laura Cain said the Florida League of Cities sent an inspector who visited every city park and other city buildings in Chiefland during the spring to confirm that they are all ADA compliant. They were all noted as being compliant then. Cain said she would provide Monyei with the written report.
     Monyei then brought forth a petition regarding allegations of speeding traffic on Southwest Second Street and Southwest Second Avenue. She said Police Chief Scott Anderson agrees there have been speeding vehicles there, as well as on Southwest Fifth Street.
     Residents of the affected throughways are asking the city to consider installing speed bumps to help reduce the ease of vehicles speeding on those roads via the petition that Monyei presented to the city’s ex-officio city clerk – City Manager Cain.
     Chiefland Planning Project Coordinator Carol Gore said that of the 20 letters sent to affected addresses with a poll regarding speed bumps, eight letters were received by the city as of Nov. 22. Of those eight, six people were in favor of speed bumps and two responders were against them on Southwest Second Street and Southwest Second Avenue, Gore said.
     In the first complaint of speeders brought by City Commissioner Lance Hayes, Southwest Fifth Avenue was not mentioned.
     City Manager Cain said the city will review the slope of the road and other factors to determine how many speed bumps and the location of them, which will be recommended to the City Commission.
     The City Commission will be the entity to decide when and where the speed bumps are placed.

In Other Action
     The City Commission gave permission by consensus for Bishop W.Q. Courtney and the Higher Anointing World Ministries Inc. to conduct a revival from 7 to 10 p.m. each night on May 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27, 2022, at the park most recently used for the Chiefland Watermelon Festival.
     That park is known as Trailhead Park and it is located at 23 S.E. Second Ave., in Chiefland, across the street – going west from the historic Train Depot. In the past 16 years, the annual watermelon festival has migrated from the grassy area and around the Chiefland Police Department on East Park Avenue, south to the Chiefland Train Depot Park, and then across the street to the west to Chiefland Trailhead Park.
     In another consensus action, the City Commission chose against having two meetings in December. The Dec. 27 meeting was cancelled. Therefore, the only Chiefland City Commission in December will be Dec. 13, starting at 6 p.m. in the Hardy Dean Municipal Building, which is also known as Chiefland City Hall, on East Park Avenue.

 


Food distribution helps 1,500 people
Next Farm Share distribution - Dec. 11

Food for people Hooray for the Tri County Community Resource Center and Farm Share
Among the two-score of volunteers are Central Florida Electric Cooperative General Manager Denny George and Carol West, who is part of the core of active members with the Dixie County Chamber of Commerce as well as the Dixie Education Foundation.

Information and Photos Provided
By TCCRC Manager Beverly Goodman
Published Nov. 22, 2021 at 12:11 p.m.
* Updated Nov. 23, 2021 at 8:11 a.m.
     CHIEFLAND –
Once again, a food distribution event hosted by the Tri-County Community Resource Center (TCCRC) helped many people through a Farm Share food distribution event.



Food for people Hooray for the Tri County Community Resource Center and Farm Share
(from left) Crystal Lara of the Levy County Supervisor of Elections Office, and Levy County Supervisor of Elections Tammy Jones and Jordan Lindsey, of the Supervisor of Elections Office, are among the people helping again this year.

Food Giveaway
Tammy Boyle, who is a member of the Tri-County Community Resources Board of Directors as well as a member of the Levy County School Board, helps at the food giveaway.

Food Giveaway
Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Sheryl Brown (at right, and waving), who is a member of the Tri-County Community Resources Board of Directors, as well as being a significant member of the Gilchrist Prevention Coalition is seen here with student volunteers.


     This event heralds the fourth annual Farm Share event where the TCCRC gave away food in Chiefland.
     Farm Share brought approximately 43,000 pounds of food to Chiefland on Saturday (Nov. 20), which exceeded last year’s 30,000 pounds distributed during the same event just before Thanksgiving. That’s 13,000 more pounds than last year.
*   Almost all of the food was given away, however, there were a few leftovers (cilantro and spaghetti) and Levy County School Board Member Tammy Boyle transported them to Cedar Key Food Pantry for distribution tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 24).  

     There were 450 vehicles lined up and this distribution at Chiefland’s Charles Strickland Recreation Park benefited more than 1,500 residents of the Tri-County Area of Levy County, Dixie County and Gilchrist County.
     There were 40 volunteers from the TCCRC, Central Florida Electric Cooperative, Chiefland Fire Rescue Station 71, the Tri-County Area Unit of the Florida Department of Health, Dixie County High School FFA, Fanning Springs Community Church, the Levy County Sheriff’s Office’s Citizens On Patrol, the Levy County Supervisor of Elections Office and from other sources!
     “We at Tri-County Community Resource Center are thankful for the opportunity to distribute free and sustainable food items to local families,” TCCRC Manager Beverly Goodman said. “We are so appreciative for a community of caring and collaborative partners and volunteers, who help us meet the needs of those in our community and who make this annual event successful!”
*    The next Farm Share in our area will be held Saturday, Dec. 11 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Trenton Elementary School. That event is being hosted by the Gilchrist Prevention Coalition, the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office, the Gilchrist County School District and the TCCRC. 

 


Woman’s Club Presents Gift Baskets
Cedar Key Woman's Club makes presentation
Cedar Key Woman’s Club President Judy Duvall presents gift baskets filled with boxes of Terri Lynn chocolates, snacks, and a 2022 Cedar Key Woman’s Club Calendar for each member of the Cedar Key Volunteer Fire Department and the Cedar Key Police Department to Fire Chief Robert Robinson and and Police Chief Virgil Sandlin on Nov 16. The Woman’s Club gave these gifts as a way to say ‘Thank You’ to Cedar Key’s first responders during the past year.
Published Nov. 21, 2021 at 10:11 a.m.

Information and Photo Provided By Kathy Salkaln of the Cedar Key Woman’s Club

 


Rotarians learn about Catholic Charities
Rotary
Development Coordinator Catholic Charities – Gainesville Laurie Porter (left) and Gilchrist County Rotary Club President Rick Washburn pause for a moment during the Monday afternoon (Nov. 8) meeting of the Rotarians.

Story and Photo Provided
By Gilchrist County Rotary Club President Rick Washburn
Published Nov. 8, 2021 at 7:11 p.m.
     TRENTON --
The Gilchrist County Rotary Club welcomed Laurie Porter to the Monday afternoon (Nov. 8) weekly meeting at the Gilchrist Women’s Club.

     Members and guests heard about some of the great programs and history this wonderful organization has.
     As a non-denominational organization, in spite of the name, the Catholic Charities are the second largest Social Provider for needs in the United States, behind only the Federal Government. The organization operates in regions, with local offices focusing their efforts on the specific needs of those communities. This enables the funds raised to be returned into the community.
     The Catholic Charities office is based in Gainesville and was started in 1975 to help with Vietnam refugees. Today, its mission is provide for immediate emergency needs and poverty assistance as needed. In the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the local office was not closed a single day as it met the emergency needs that came in daily. 
     The Emergency Assistance Needs program is there to help folks get back on their feet. The belief that it is easier to keep a family in a home instead of trying to relocate them later is strong. Utilities, rent or mortgage assistance, three days of food, and other assistance is available.
     As part of this program, they provided 850 kids with weekend meals during the school year prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic. A backpack was loaded with meals for the weekend and sent home with the backpacks returning Monday to be refilled for the next week.
     They also have a rural outreach program where they bring food, toiletries and even pet food into rural counties such as the Tri-State Area regularly. Development Coordinator Porter said many people wait too long before reaching out to them for help and the hole is too big.
     She encourages folks to reach out as soon as there is a need and see what can be done to quickly help them out. One statistic she shared is that in Alachua County, one in five people are considered food deficient.    
     The Bridges to Prosperity program is a path to self-sufficiency for those wanting to work out of their poverty. The charitable organization begins with a four-week basic financial skill building program. This covers things such as budgeting, checkbook balancing, and other basic financial concepts.
     They also provide a 16-week, personal level program, designed to identify the specific obstacles and roadblocks for the individuals and working to overcome them.   A matching funding program is available up to $1,500 where a person can save up funds with the organization matching these funds and disbursing directly to housing, to a school or other approved place for the person working to get self-sufficient.
     They have added a program called "English As A Second Language" to improve the English skills of those wanting to find better jobs.
     A Caring Choices program to help those with unintended pregnancies make the decision to keep their babies or set their babies for adoption.
     Later, they can connect those adopted to natural parents for needed medical information. The HIV/AIDS program helps those infected with medication, living expenses and finding housing.
     As a non-profit, the incoming funds from donations, grants and special events are mostly turned right back into the community. For more information:   https://www.catholiccharitiesgainesville.org/.

 


Rotarians learn about CFEC
Purple pinkies appear in Bell and Trenton

RotaryAC
On Monday afternoon (from left) Gilchrist County Rotary Club Rick Washburn, Rotarian Donna Lee, and Madison Redd and Allison DeLoach with Central Florida Electric Cooperative are seen in the Trenton Woman’s Club’s Clubhouse during the weekly meeting.

Story and Photos Provided
By Gilchrist County Rotary Club President Rick Washburn
Published Nov. 2, 2021 at 10:11 p.m.
     TRENTON --
The Rotary of Gilchrist County held its weekly meeting Monday (Nov. 1) with the featured program by Communication Specialists Allison DeLoach and Madison Redd from the Central Florida Electric Cooperative.

    This history of rural electric cooperatives comes from the New Deal signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 to provide electric service to rural areas in the United States of America.
     At the time, fewer than 10 percent of American farms had access to electricity. Across the country, rural electric cooperatives have in excess of 42 million member customers. These co-ops run power lines across farther than 2.8 million miles.
     Formed in 1939, the Central Florida Electric Cooperative now has more than 25,700 members, with 35,000-plus meters and more than 100 CFEC employees - team members - serving those electric service members.
     As a non-profit company, it is member-owned and it is overseen by an elected board of trustees.
     The next annual meeting is currently scheduled for May of 2022.
     What makes a co-op different?
     Public utility companies look to maximize profits. They are investor-owned rather than member-owned.
     Municipality utilities take the profits from their operations and distribute that revenue through those cities to other projects of that community, such as parks. A rural electric cooperative returns extra profits back to the members as part of a Capital Credit.
     The CFEC provides these services to its members: 1) Energy audit – to find ways energy is being wasted at your meter; 2) Outdoor lighting to make your space safer; 3) Many easy ways to pay your bill; 4) Surge protection – both with equipment and with an optional insurance program that can replace covered items that are damaged by a lightning strike; 5) Adult education grants; 6) Youth tour to Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.; and 7) An opportunity to sign-up for medical equipment -- so you can become a priority for power service restoration when power is lost.

Rotary

Rotary
Purple Pinkie at Bell Elementary School and Trenton Elementary School

     The Gilchrist County Rotary Club had some of its members participating in the annual Purple Pinkie event with the elementary classes of Trenton and Bell.
     In 1985, Rotary International began raising funds to eliminate polio around the world through a Purple Pinkie Project. The purple pinkie was inspired by the way vaccines are distributed in many countries.
     Once a child receives a shot, their pinkie was dipped in purple dye so they were not given a second shot. Through matching grants from Rotary along with other private funds, each donation is multiplied. The effort has paid off. Vaccines work.
     Polio is nearly eradicated from the world, with only two countries where the vaccine has not seen widespread distribution.  This year, between the students and Rotarians, the Gilchrist County Rotary Club is sending $1,500 to help this cause.


Breast Cancer Awareness
Walk shows progress

Cancer War
Driving a Bronson Fire Rescue engine at the front of the Ninth Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk in Bronson on Saturday (Oct. 30) is BFR Fire Chief Dennis Russell.

Story, Photos and Video
By Jeff M. Hardison © Oct. 31, 2021 at 2:11 p.m.
     BRONSON --
Reggie Stacy heralded his Ninth Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk and Rally Saturday morning (Oct. 30) as the procession went from the United States Post Office in Bronson to the James H. Cobb Park.

 

 

Cancer War
Reggie Stacy walks in front of the group of people who walked with him to bring awareness about breast cancer this year in Bronson.
CLICK ON THE PHOTO ABOVE TO SEE THE VIDEO OF THEM WALKING.


The Bronson fire engine helps assure safety for the people walking in the breast cancer awareness event Saturday as the BFR Squad Truck stops oncoming traffic from Court Street.

Cancer War
Willie Schnitzler sets up the sound system for the rally at James H. Cobb Park. Schnitzler is among many people who helped behind the scenes. He has participated in helping all nine years of this event. There were more than 20 individuals and business interests donating as sponsors this year in addition to people like Schnitzler who served in logistical manners. Those bags in the picture are among the door prizes from the rally.

Cancer War
Reggie Stacy confers with Nurse Practitioner Kizzy McCray-Sheppard just before the start of the rally.

Cancer War
Deacon Nathaniel Patterson of Saint John’s Missionary Baptist Church of Bronson agrees to a photo opportunity moments before he said the opening prayer for the rally.



     Stacy’s primary goal was attained again this year, as it has since its inaugural steps – bring awareness about cancer to the people. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
     Breast Cancer Awareness Month began in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries. Betty Ford helped kick off the week-long event 36 years ago. 
     She was herself a survivor of breast cancer. Betty Ford (April 8, 1918-July 8, 2011) was diagnosed with breast cancer when her husband, Gerald Ford (July 14, 1913-Dec. 26, 2006), was president of the United States (1974-1977).
     The Ninth Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Rally In Bronson, scheduled from its 10 a.m. launch at the Post Office through the closing prayer at the park that is also known as the Bronson Sports Complex, showed even more support this year from the faith community, medical professionals, cancer survivors and others than in years gone by.
     While Stacy has been leading a walk and having a rally every year in Bronson to help bring awareness for nine years now, this year’s event also provided an opportunity for the group to donate to the American Cancer Society in Gainesville, he said.
     The walk originally was set for Oct. 9 this year, but Stacy needed to change the date to Oct. 30.
     Deacon Nathaniel Patterson of Saint John’s Missionary Baptist Church of Bronson opened the rally with a prayer. Minister Charlene James was the emcee for the rally.
     The schedule of events showed Lillian McClendon being the first singer of the day, with other songs performed by Catherine Manuel, the Greater Works Praise Team, Flora Vincent and Family, and Stacy himself, with Kevin Williams on Guitar.
     Stacy performs under his stage name of Reggie RealStarr. He sings country music, southern rock, music from the 1980s and 1990s and Gospel music, and has earned recognition over many years and at many places with his talent.
     Another performer of the day was Inari Brutton who performed a praise dance.
     Emily Smith, R.N., was the first listed speaker of the day. Mike Hodges, a cancer survivor, and Kizzy McCray-Sheppard, a Nurse Practitioner, was another speaker who helped listeners understand more about cancer as everyone worked to bring awareness about the disease to the public.
     Not only did the rally provide information and inspirational singing and speeches, but there were door prizes as well.

Cancer War
This table shows the small differently colored vials of sand that were given to people to take with them as participants in a group sand art project.

Cancer War
This chart shows the representative colors for the different forms of cancer, including pink for breast cancer and lavender for all forms of cancer. Lung cancer is represented by clear color, which for sand art meant white sand like on Clearwater Beach.


Stacey Peters pours lavender sand to represent all forms of cancer as she participates in the sand art creation project.


     And there was a unique artistic activity offered for everyone to participate.
     Stacey Peters brought different colors of sand to provide an opportunity for an event that resulted in sand art, which was either raffled or presented to a person after the event Saturday.
     People whose lives have been touched by cancer, for instance by a family member surviving or passing away after suffering from cancer, would select differently colored types of sand and then pour that color of sand into a big glass jar.
     After that, each participant was given a small container with sand of that color, if they wanted, to take home as a memento from the day.
     At the end of the day, a cap was placed on the jar and some person went home with the big art.
     Peters said this was an activity in contrast with some events where people released massive amounts of balloons into the air. When large numbers of balloons are released together, they can present a hazard to pilots. Beyond that, eventually balloons pop or fall to the ground and become part of the debris commonly known as litter.

 




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First Published Feb. 1, 2011 at 8 a.m.
     On Feb. 1, 2011, HardisonInk.com came into existence on the Internet. On Nov. 1, 2011, The Christian Press section on The Life Page of HardisonInk.com started, which was about nine months after the start of the daily news website -- which officially began Feb. 1, 2011. The name "The Christian Press" was derived from an encounter a decade earlier in 2001 in St. Petersburg, when and where a man mentioned to a journalist that this particular journalist must work for "The Christian Press." Although the presumption by the man about that journalist was incorrect and misplaced, the name sounded good. And the journalist said that if he could work for The Christian Press, then that certainly would be the publication to serve.
     Since Nov. 1, 2011, The Christian Press section of this page has run daily devotionals from several individuals who contributed over the past years. There were two days in 2018 when the daily devotional did not run due to a journalist requiring emergency orthopedic surgery on broken bones in his left arm and wrist. That surgically added metal, though, makes that part of that arm even more able to withstand forces. Many daily devotionals are pulled from Strength for Service to God and Country (Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers). The journalist who is the sole proprietor and owner of HardisonInk.com (Jeff M. Hardison) notes his appreciation for the use of those devotionals from that now-defunct publishing company, and for the many other contributors who have helped people over the past 11 years here now. That publication's daily devotionals include many from a time when the United States of America was a partner in a World War. This journalist welcomes contributions of daily devotionals. Daily devotional authors are asked to please send only their original works to hardisonink@gmail.com. Americans are reminded that all religions, having no religion and or being a person who endorses anti-religion are all protected as part of the freedoms from government intervention, as are other benefits from being an American.

 


Monday, Nov. 29, 2021 at 7:11 a.m.

BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY

Read Matthew 5:43-48

     And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
-- Matthew 5:47 (KJV)


     The Medal of Honor can be given to any officer or enlisted person who shall “in action involving actual conflict with an enemy distinguish himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity, at the risk of his or her life, above and beyond the call of duty.”
     One of the distinguishing marks of true Christian character is also the willingness to take risks and go beyond what is demanded by the call of duty. Our Lord Jesus Christ made it clear that He expected this of His followers when He challenged them with the question, “what do ye more than others?” To conform to ordinary standards of decency and respectability was not enough. Jesus intended that His disciples should be the light of the world and that they should go far beyond what was required by customary ideas of duty.
     Extra service, the willingness to do more than what is demanded of us, is a measure of reality of our patriotism and the depth of our religion. To go beyond others in acts of courage, loyalty and kindness is one of the marks of a “good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
     O GOD, our Father, we thank Thee for the heroic examples of all faithful people who have gone beyond the call of duty in their service to their country and in their service of Thee. We humbly pray for strength for our daily tasks and for the spirit of devotion that goes beyond what is required in loyalty and in unselfish love. Amen.
James C. Perkins
The Federated Churches
Schroon Lake, New York

Strength for Service to God and Country
(Whitmore & Stone © 1942; Renewed 1969 by Norman E. Nygaard; Second revised edition © 2002 Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, Providence House Publishers)

 



Outdoor Truths Ministry

By Gary Miller © Nov. 29, 2021 at 7:11 a.m.

AdGaryMiller062318

     I spent Saturday morning with about eight other friends and acquaintances, hunting deer. My mood was still melancholy because of the unseasonably warm weather, but the company and camaraderie made up for it. Our group was made up of the young and old, the experienced and the novice, and those who just came along for the ride. There was only one doe taken that day, but we agreed to gather up again in a few days to do it all again. The next trip may include an overnight stay at the house that’s on the property, along with a big campfire, and perhaps some fresh tenderloin. It sounds like my kind of hunting trip. Many hunters like to go on these overnight stays. Around here our Wildlife Management Area is about an hour away, but it allows those who are drawn to come and stay at their campground while hunting. For most of us, this is as much fun as the hunt itself – just hanging out with the guys. What I have noticed, however, over the years is the tendency some have to try too hard to be a part of the group. Their effort shows up usually by finding what they perceive to be a common punching bag. It may involve politics, religion, or even race. They think if they can bash a group or people they’ll be accepted. To me, it’s just a sign of immaturity and ignorance. And it also shows the insecurities of those who have to find something or someone to tear down in order to, somehow, make themselves look good. It makes me sick. A wise man once said, “Reputation is what man thinks you are. Character is what God knows you are.” Our character is who we are when no one is looking. And our character must be built not on traditions and on a bad experience, but on the truth of the scriptures.
     Now this little column that I do will go out to many publications in several states. It will be read by probably more than a few people. And just in case anybody wonders where I stand, let me tell you.  believe I’m a better person than my enemies think I am, and a worse person than my friends think. I believe bad people, at times, do good things, and good people, at times, do bad things. I believe anything I am or I have is only by the grace of God and not by any merit of my own. I believe God loves everyone. As we used to sing as a child, “Red, yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.” And if they are precious in his sight, they will be precious in my sight as well. And lastly, I believe given a few minutes around a campfire, most people will reveal what they’re really like at home.

 -- Gary Miller  gary@outdoortruths.org

Gary Miller has three books that are compilations of the articles he has written for nearly 15 years. He also speaks at game dinners and men’s groups for churches and associations.
Gary Miller's website is located at http://www.outdoortruths.org/.

 


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