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The dance of democracy continues in 2021 with the once-a-decade ritual of drawing new state legislative and congressional district lines in Illinois and across the nation. In two-thirds of the states, including Illinois, the legislators themselves draw the lines. This means the party in powe…

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I have never thought much about New Year’s resolutions. They always seem about the same. Mine have been mostly about losing weight by eating better and exercising more. And then there has always been to work smarter and play harder. The resolutions may have helped a little, but everything ha…

editor's pick
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I was driving up Market Street over the weekend and the window with “What’s Your 2020 Vision?” written on it caught my eye.

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The cold weather coming for Christmas reminds me that creeks and ponds will be freezing over and a few people will be ice skating. This column from 1988 proves you don’t really need ice on the ponds for skating.

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The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University asked me to do some noodling about the future of Illinois. I have mentioned this to several friends. The responses — a roll of the eyes; a belly laugh; a retort that it is too late to do anything about Illinois. Nobody ha…

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The Christmas for Kids Toy Drive giveaway will be Dec. 19, 2020 from 8-10 a.ms at First Baptist Church, 307 Massac Creek Rd. We will continue to serve children 15 years old and younger in Massac County. We request one parent/guardian for family and no children present. Individuals will need …

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I’ve always taken great pride in the tender care I give to my cellphone. Until recently, I could boast that with all of the various cellular devices I’ve possessed through the years (dating back to the first Motorola bag phone my dad gave me during the Early Iron Age), I’d never once had so …

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There is more content available today about the upcoming election than likely in any previous cycle. While we could fill this page with media sources that have some type of information about the election, most people find their election information on social media (like Facebook and YouTube)…

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I have always admired songwriters because they seem to have a unique way of conveying complicated feelings in short, simple phrases.

editor's pick
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At the Planet office, we had a saying when someone left: Just wait, they’ll be back.

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Let’s squarely face an ugly possibility: President Trump could get elected a second time without winning the popular vote. Indeed, according to most experts, that’s the only way he could be reelected.

editor's pick
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What would my town be without a newspaper? If you haven’t asked yourself that question, perhaps it is time to consider just what the newspaper means to this community.

  • Updated
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Want to do something for your community that won’t take such effort and won’t cost much?

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I was talking with people today about what is going on with this COVID-19 pandemic, and everyone has an opinion. I couldn’t tell you if their opinions are right or wrong.

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The pandemic still threatens. Many face economic ruin. Racial tensions have exploded into violence. Anarchy and discord threaten national survival. Seldom have so many serious crisis come to the fore at the same time, as in these distressing days.

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The coronavirus, which continues to spread around the world, is or soon will be the biggest problem that many people have ever had to deal with. Area residents have had to overcome job losses, being separated from friends and neighbors, and schools and churches being closed.

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Remember when it was socially acceptable to shake hands with others? I am looking forward to that day again. There is so much revealed in that brief physical encounter. Traditionally it has been one of the first impressions that we make on others and they on us. Texture, strength, confidence…

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As I walked a country road near my rural town this past week, a local slowed his pickup alongside me. “We’re moving to Florida, Jim.” He paused, then: “Illinois is not well managed, you know.” Three weeks ago, a hugely successful commodities trader friend, who lives in splendor on a big swat…

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I can’t recall the last time I wrote or received a handwritten letter — but it’s time to send such letters again.

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“The only constant in life is change,” said Greek philosopher Heraclitus. And those words are so true, especially in the 21st century, and most notably in the year 2020.

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I’m getting a whole-house attic fan installed this week — just like the one my father had installed in my childhood home — and I cannot wait to cool my house using his old-time methods.

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editor's pick
  • 0

I was driving up Market Street over the weekend and the window with “What’s Your 2020 Vision?” written on it caught my eye.

  • 0

The cold weather coming for Christmas reminds me that creeks and ponds will be freezing over and a few people will be ice skating. This column from 1988 proves you don’t really need ice on the ponds for skating.

  • 0

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University asked me to do some noodling about the future of Illinois. I have mentioned this to several friends. The responses — a roll of the eyes; a belly laugh; a retort that it is too late to do anything about Illinois. Nobody ha…

  • 0

The Christmas for Kids Toy Drive giveaway will be Dec. 19, 2020 from 8-10 a.ms at First Baptist Church, 307 Massac Creek Rd. We will continue to serve children 15 years old and younger in Massac County. We request one parent/guardian for family and no children present. Individuals will need …

  • 0

I’ve always taken great pride in the tender care I give to my cellphone. Until recently, I could boast that with all of the various cellular devices I’ve possessed through the years (dating back to the first Motorola bag phone my dad gave me during the Early Iron Age), I’d never once had so …

  • 0

There is more content available today about the upcoming election than likely in any previous cycle. While we could fill this page with media sources that have some type of information about the election, most people find their election information on social media (like Facebook and YouTube)…

  • 0

I have always admired songwriters because they seem to have a unique way of conveying complicated feelings in short, simple phrases.

editor's pick
  • 0

At the Planet office, we had a saying when someone left: Just wait, they’ll be back.

  • 0

Let’s squarely face an ugly possibility: President Trump could get elected a second time without winning the popular vote. Indeed, according to most experts, that’s the only way he could be reelected.

editor's pick
  • 0

What would my town be without a newspaper? If you haven’t asked yourself that question, perhaps it is time to consider just what the newspaper means to this community.

  • Updated
  • 0

Want to do something for your community that won’t take such effort and won’t cost much?

  • 0

I was talking with people today about what is going on with this COVID-19 pandemic, and everyone has an opinion. I couldn’t tell you if their opinions are right or wrong.

  • 0

The pandemic still threatens. Many face economic ruin. Racial tensions have exploded into violence. Anarchy and discord threaten national survival. Seldom have so many serious crisis come to the fore at the same time, as in these distressing days.

  • 0

The coronavirus, which continues to spread around the world, is or soon will be the biggest problem that many people have ever had to deal with. Area residents have had to overcome job losses, being separated from friends and neighbors, and schools and churches being closed.

  • 0

Remember when it was socially acceptable to shake hands with others? I am looking forward to that day again. There is so much revealed in that brief physical encounter. Traditionally it has been one of the first impressions that we make on others and they on us. Texture, strength, confidence…

  • 0

As I walked a country road near my rural town this past week, a local slowed his pickup alongside me. “We’re moving to Florida, Jim.” He paused, then: “Illinois is not well managed, you know.” Three weeks ago, a hugely successful commodities trader friend, who lives in splendor on a big swat…

  • 0

I can’t recall the last time I wrote or received a handwritten letter — but it’s time to send such letters again.

  • 0

“The only constant in life is change,” said Greek philosopher Heraclitus. And those words are so true, especially in the 21st century, and most notably in the year 2020.

  • 0

I’m getting a whole-house attic fan installed this week — just like the one my father had installed in my childhood home — and I cannot wait to cool my house using his old-time methods.

  • 0

Over the last few years we have heard many people talking about what needs to be done with statues that may give glory to the Confederacy. In the last few weeks the issue has become a hotbed of argument, with no real decisions on how the statues and monuments should be handled.

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Living in a rural central Illinois town (Toulon, pop. 1,400), I am alert to any forces that might spur relocation to hinterland communities, which are often struggling to maintain population and vitality. Are the pandemic and recent urban, sometimes violent protests such prompts? I conclude …

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As the current school year ends in districts across our state, school staff, from teachers and principals to bus drivers and school nurses, have shown to be true heroes for our students and families in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In a recent column, I averred that the George Floyd death and protests-in-reaction represented a classic case of the powerful “us versus them” syndrome that is baked into the human brain.

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On Facebook someone recently stated that Metropolis needs to be known for something other than Superman. Maybe it is time to breakout Robert Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz. Well, not really. Here is a column I wrote about the Birdman when a new book was released.