Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Max Baer, Jr. played my favorite character "Jethro Bodine" on The Beverly Hillbillies television show for all 274 episodes. Jethro was known for being willing to undertake just about any career known at the time, and for his "bottomless pit" stomach. Jethro was always hungry.

In Spring 2006, a neutered adult orange-and-white tabby cat began coming by our house asking for food. He would rub against my palm and meow like our cats do when they think they are past due for dinner, and I readily brought him a share of theirs that evening, and most nights thereafter for a couple of months. He seemed to be in good shape, but was invariably hungry, so I called him Jethro.

Dave the Cat had been gone for two years. We had very recently acquired two dogs and fenced the yard, and had four other cats at the time, including an orange-and-white tabby named Jasper, but I was willing to accept Jethro as our outdoor cat, and he was very friendly to us.

It was when I took Jethro to the vet for vaccinations that I learned he belonged to someone else.

Since so many pets are now routinely implanted with identification chips, veterinarians commonly scan new patients, and in Jethro's case, determined that he had a registered human. Due to professional concern for private pet ownership, the vet could not treat Jethro, or tell me who belonged to him.

I sought help from the Leon County Humane Society and was then able to contact Jethro's person Michelle, who brought her two daughters by to pick up "Jinx". I had gotten the first letter of Jethro's name correct. 

Michelle thanked me and said that Jinx had been missing for several months, and I told her that the last two had been spent with me, and that I had fed him well and given him treatments for fleas. Michelle insisted on paying me ten dollars for Jinx's incurred expenses. I said goodbye and they all drove away.

Jethro returned the next day.

I called the Humane Society and asked how transfer of ownership was done for a pet, and they advised me as to what wording to use for a signed statement by the former owner. I crafted such a statement with a blank for signature and sent it with a note to Michelle offering to continue to care for Jinx because he had returned so quickly. I enclosed a self-addressed, stamped envelope and a check for ten dollars.

Michelle's assent arrived a couple days later with my uncashed check and I became Jethro's person.

Jethro was one of the most loving cats I have known, good-natured to all, and he passed on six years later on May 16th, three months ago. I often mistakenly call Jasper "Jethro" and even the neighbors' orange-and-white tabby reminds me of Jethro. 

Famous or not, they never quite really leave us. So long, Jethro.

Jethro at his favorite spot on the bird feeder

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Election 2012: The Half Percent Solution

"Sherlock Holmes is playing the bad guy!" is what I recall saying as a child when I first watched "The Adventures of Robin Hood" on black and white television. 

I was an adult by the time I saw Robin Hood in color and learned that Basil Rathbone, despite losing two epic sword fights in the 1930s to Errol Flynn in "Captain Blood" and "Robin Hood", was the more experienced and better trained swordsman. I read all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories and watched many of Rathbone's cinematic portrayals of the famed detective, before eventually reading Holmes' 1976 return in "The Seven Percent Solution".

In 2002, Leon County Florida voters approved an additional half-percent sales tax for ten years, affectionately known as the "Half-Penny Sales Tax", to benefit Leon County Schools. In Leon County, Florida, the sales tax on all taxable goods is 7.5%, and the marginal .5% sales tax expires December 31, 2012.

Loss of tax revenue due to declining property values and the recent economic downturn have alarmed school officials, who decided not to pursue a quarter-millage increase in property taxes that would only affect homeowners, and are instead in favor of a continuation of the 7.5% sales tax, that would be paid by all residents, visitors and guests doing business in Leon County.

On November 6, Leon County voters are being given the option whether to renew the half-percent sales tax increase for another fifteen years. Leon County Schools employees are forbidden to directly ask for a vote to extend the additional sales tax. I have been a Leon County Schools volunteer for more than ten years, and will also not advocate a particular vote.

So that we may make an intelligent and informed decision at the 2012 general election, Godby High School Principal Shelly Bell has provided us with relevant sales tax facts and budgetary concerns in this presentation.

Please choose wisely!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pro Fitness Competitor Jenny Worth Returns to Godby

Association of Godby Graduates (AGG) Hall of Fame member Jenny Worth is coming to town from Long Beach, California to put on a fitness show at Godby High School.

On October 19 and 20, 2012, Jenny, with FitSpaceLive.com co-founder Jason Giardino from South Florida, are holding both national collegiate competitions, and competitions that are only open to Leon County residents. Local Leon County residents may also compete in the open division Tallahassee championships.

This event will be a qualifier for the 2013 Collegiate Nationals, and only the Top 3 from each class will qualify.

A scholarship donation will be presented to the school that the overall winners from each class attends.

Student or General admission begins at $20. Seats and registration are available here.

Jenny was once known as the youngest female professional bodybuilder, and has achieved titles including NPC Florida Fitness Champion, Ms. Florida and Ms. USA. Now, she and Jason train professional athletes and clients from all walks of life.

The AGG is an academic booster club founded by Godby graduates in 2003 to foster, recognize and reward lifetime community service and academic achievement, and to raise money for graduating Godby seniors.

The annual AGG Hall of Fame Induction Banquet is our primary fundraiser of the year, and all proceeds benefit the AGG Scholarship Fund. On March 9, 2007, Jenny attended as a guest of honor, along with Patti, Bob, Bart, Sharon, Chris, and Karen, and I met Jenny and her mom Sylvia for the first time.

Jenny is the first Godby graduate I nominated for the AGG Hall of Fame. Membership is based upon exemplifying the ideals and mission of the AGG, and Jenny continues to well represent her Alma Mater and the Association of Godby Graduates, and we are proud of her.

Photo by Mitch