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Ethel Thompson, 93, of Macclenny

Ethel May Thompson, 93, of Macclenny died January 10, 2012. She was born in Carline County, Virginia to the late James Franklin Howard and Sadie Scott Thompson Howard on September 23, 1918. Ethel was a very thoughtful person that loved her family, her church and her friends. She was predeceased by husband Stanley Ray Thompson and siblings Fred Howard, Lloyd Howard, Aubrey Pierman Howard, Estelle Howard Little, Pearl Howard Lawson and Grace Howard Denton.

Survivors include daughter Sharon (James) “Bud” Staggs of Macclenny; grandchildren: Cheryl (Patrick) Harris, Richard Staggs, Jeff Staggs, Chris (Suzie) Staggs and Kristin Staggs; great-grandchildren Heather (Matthew Crews) and Jonathan Harris, Lance Rayburn, Peyton, Wesley and Briar Staggs.

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Small choices can make a big difference, says retired admiral

Retired Admiral and former Assistant Secretary of Defense Thomas F. Hall.Thomas F. Hall started his life as a poor boy from a small town in Oklahoma, but he rose to become an Assistant Secretary of Defense in Washington, D.C.

What happened in between was recounted by the two-star admiral, pilot and Vietnam War veteran before more than 50 students in the high school’s media center the afternoon of January 5. Most of them were Junior ROTC cadets.

His message: seemingly minor choices in one’s life can be the difference between life and death, or love and loss. He talked about some of the close calls he’s had while flying, but also how his decision to join the Navy led to his 48-year marriage.

“Every morning look in the mirror, stare at yourself and say, ‘What are my choices?’” Mr. Hall, 72, told the group. “And how can my choices make the difference between me living and dying.”

He repeated the mantra more than once during the hour-and-a-half encounter, which ended with a question-and-answer session that impressed  the visitor.

“You guys have better questions than most of the adults I speak to,” said Mr. Hall, who now works as a consultant for a handful of companies. 

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Political ads on TV … They lyin’

The onslaught is coming. Grab your kids and take cover. And whatever you do, make sure your DVR is working properly.

After Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, and then South Carolina, we’re next. My inbox at the office is already bursting at the seams with political junk mail from all of the Republican nominee hopefuls. Save one.

Mr. Reasonable himself, Jon Huntsman.

This poor guy doesn’t have a chance in the presidential primary. He’s too pragmatic, logical and calm to get the base’s blood pumping. And he’s not dogmatic enough to win over any of the large conservative constituencies: evangelicals, libertarians or free marketers.

He might have been able to corral the war hawks, but now they’re all Democrats who get giddy when they hear that President Obama’s killed more terrorists than any president before him, thanks to Predator drone strikes and more surgical attacks by US special forces.

Maybe that’s a stretch, but you get the point.

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