Gargaro’s World

Can we please stop the insanity and eliminate tipping in our culture?
I mean, the entire process is idiotic from where I sit. This came to a head last week when I dined for lunch at a fine Clarkston establishment. The group of four I was in had good food, humorous discussion and great atmosphere at this restaurant.
The service was also solid during our stay. The waitress was pleasant and quick to refill my beverage, which is always key in whether I enjoy my dining experience or not.
At the end of the meal everybody threw down their money and due to either a lack of attention or a lack of math skills we left a subpar tip. This was brought to our attention in a roundabout and nice way by one of the restaurant’s employees. We quickly rectified the situation but it was awkward at best.
So I ask you why must we continue to play this game? Here is a simple solution to an annoying problem: pay your waiters and waitresses a decent wage and pass the cost off to the customers in the form of higher prices.
I would also not be adverse to the establishment automatically adding a certain percentage onto your bill for gratuity. A number of restaurants already do this when parties are large. Basically whatever eliminates math is good for me.
In the interest of full disclosure, my math skills leave a little to be desired. Combine that with the fact that after a good meal I am dangerously close to falling into a food coma, you have a recipe for disaster. I mean is there a worse time to try to showcase math skills then immediately following an enjoyable dining experience?
This is not a shot at waiters or waitresses. They have an extremely difficult job and one that I probably would be fired from within three days. I mean why should they be stiffed out of their hard earned cash because there customers are either cheap or did not pay good enough attention to the tip?
I don’t expect a tip after I write a feature story on someone, nor do I give my doctor a tip after he prescribes medicine for my sore throat. So why should some individuals be tipped for their job and some not? And why should I be put in the awkward situation of deciding whether these individuals should be tipped and if so how much?
Gargaro’s Hall of Shame: Stephen Joseph who was trying to sue to keep Oreo cookies out of California. Apparently the creamy center is full of trans fat which is horrible for an individual. How about some personal responsibility? If you think Oreos are that bad for you, do not eat them. Novel concept, huh? Sounds like a publicity stunt to me.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

My personal take on some news stories from this past week that had me shaking my head:
? Joey and Mary Jo Buttafucco are spliting after 26 years of marriage. If these two crazy kids can’t make it what chance do the rest of us have?
No seriously, my question is what could our good friend Joey have possibly done? I mean his previous indiscretion involved having an affair with an under-age girl who then shot his wife in the head. If Mary Jo did not divorce him after that, what possible reasons could there be for a divorce now? Maybe he left the toilet seat up.
‘Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan is suspended without pay for one month after saying on television that the wife of New Jersey Nets guard Jason Kidd, who was the victim of domestic abuse, needed someone to ‘smack her.? Let me start this by saying I in no way condone what Ryan said. While I agree seeing Kidd’s wife on television 44 times during a game is a bit annoying, making an off the cuff remark about hitting a woman is nor funny nor appropriate.
However, I also do not believe that Ryan was serious about his comments. I mean if everything I said would have come true then I would be in shape.
However, what chaps me is Kidd’s coach, Bryon Scott, piling on and saying he believes Ryan should be fired. That is funny because, although with a different team at the time, Kidd was never even suspended after he allegedly actually did hit his wife in a domestic disturbance.
It seems in our society you get in more trouble for words than you do actions.
? Michigan Marine Joshua Gracin was cut from Fox’s ‘American Idol? show. Who cares?
? A powder-puff girls football game involving high school students from a Chicago suburb turned into brutal hazing. The hazing included players being punched, slapped, doused with paint and splattered in the face with feces. Man, talk about Girls Gone Wild. Personally, they had me until the feces. I enjoy football as much as anybody, but let’s have some limits, kids. Apparently around 100 students participated in the game.
Gargaro Hall of Shame: Individuals trying to shamelessly cash in on the recent war with Iraq. I recently received an e-mail spam trying to sell me the ‘authentic Iraq card deck.? The pitch told me these cards were identical to the ones released by CenCom.
Getting past the question of why I would want to have these Iraq cards, I must ask what kind of company sees the release of these cards and decides this is a great product to try to cash in on? Only in America, I guess.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

I believe I have officially arrived as a Clarkston resident.
Despite being editor of The Clarkston News for more than a year, and renting an apartment in town for the same amount of time, I did not become an official member of the community until I was worked on by legendary Dr. James O’Neill last week.
Dr. O’Neill has been in this community many years and has recruited some great medical professionals to our town. I had met Dr. O’Neill before but was never a patient of his. And I had certainly heard numerous stories about the man from various individuals who held the doctor in the highest regard.
Actually, I am not a big fan of going to doctors. I am one of those men who assume my body will just bounce back and a trip to the doctor is usually unnecessary.
However, that was not the case last week when I found myself in somewhat of a medical emergency. I was home making myself a sandwich for dinner since I did not have the time to cook a real meal. I was ready to have corned beef on some Italian bread from Farmer Jack.
I had to slice the bread myself because I became impatient at the grocery store when no workers were in the bakery to slice my bread. I should have waited longer because while slicing my bread I also sliced into my left index finger. After noticing the bleeding was not stopping anytime soon I decided to drive myself to the North Oakland Medical Center.
After waiting about 40 minutes for the bleeding to stop, Dr. O’Neill froze up the finger and gave me six stitches. Within the hour I was on my way back home to nurse my wound.
While me and doctors tend not to have a great relationship, I was greatly satisfied with the urgent care unit that treated me last week. They were quick, courteous and knew exactly what they were doing.
This was in stark contrast to some of the stories I have heard in recent weeks from friends and family members who have dealt with emergency rooms in other metro Detroit cities. I have been told about bleeding patients sitting in the waiting room for close to an hour before being called back to be looked at by a doctor.
Everybody in the Clarkston area should be proud and relieved that the area has the fine medical establishments it does. It puts your mind at ease when you and your family’s health is well taken care of in the city in which you live.
I found that out last week although I obviously wish it had been under different circumstances. I thank Dr. O’Neill for what he has helped build for our community.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Everybody I have ever come in contact with has had a strong opinion on one topic or another. The fact everybody has an opinion, and is able to voice that opinion, is what makes our country great.
Personally, I have opinions on everything from the potential war in Iraq (I feel it is important to protect ourselves even if that means a preemptive strike) to Dr. Phil (I feel he is a windbag who exploits people on television under the mask of helping them.)
However, I am more interested in the opinions of The Clarkston News readers. After a busy election season when we had more letters to the editors than we had editorial pages, there has been a sudden and drastic decline in the number of letters we receive. Sure we get the occassional thank you letter, which we are happy to publish, but we are looking for more.
The lack of letters is alarming to us since we want to be the type of newspaper which spurs debate amongst the community. There is nothing wrong with some disagreement when healthy debate is taking place. While you might not change anyone else’s opinion, you might get them to look at an issue in a different light.
In order to send a letter you do not need to agree with us, you only need to have an opinion. We also ask that you sign all letters and give us a phone number so we can verify you wrote it.
So send us a letter on any topic. It does not matter whether the topic is local, national or global. Do you feel the Independence Township Board is making the correct decisions for our community? Do the schools need more facilities and support of their plan or are they an organization with no plan who is constantly asking for more money without looking at the big picture? How should the new governor balance the state budget? Should we invade Iraq or give the inspectors more time? Is “Joe Millionaire” great entertainment or the sign television has gone too far? Should Ben Wallace wear his hair in corn rows or have the afro kickin’ when he starts in the NBA All-Star game?
Any topic will do, we just want your opinions. We value your thoughts and would love to share them with the rest of the community. As the historical paper of record in Clarkston, along with Independence and Springfield townships, we want to document the topics of discussion that are occurring in our community.
There are multiple ways to get your opinions to The Clarkston News. Our e-mail address is or you can fax your comments to (248) 625-0706. If technology is not your strong suit, then feel free to mail your letters to 5 S. Main in Clarkston, 48346 or simply stop by our office and turn in the letter in person. Whichever is easiest for you is fine with us.
Thank you in advance for the letters.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Michigan in February.
It just sounds annoying, doesn’t it? While some love the winter months, all eight of them, I would guess that at least two of my three readers are sick and tired of the cold, snow and general yuck (let the record show that was the first time in my entire life that I have used the word “yuck.”)
It is the time of year when the weather beats us down to a shell of our former self. The phrase “cold enough for you?” while barely tolerable in December, is now ample reason to give someone a sucker punch.
However as the editor of the local newspaper, I feel it is my duty to raise the spirits of those who brave the cold weather.
So without any further rambling here are some items that would be much worse than Michigan in February:
· being forced to watch a 10 hour “Rosie O’Donnell Show” marathon. Seeing the Hollywood elite kissing up to a no talent for that long would definitely be worse than Michigan in February.
· being married to Jared from those idiotic Subway commercials and having to appear in the commercial yourself. Have you seen the one with video of him walking outside back when he was huge? It looks like bigfoot footage to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Subway sandwiches, but Jared needs to go.
· being at an N’Sync concert.
· being a young boy making his first trip to Neverland.
· for that matter being Michael Jackson’s nose.
· being from Canada. Not only do you have the horrible weather but you also have plummeting money, the inability to stop saying “eh” and the knowledge that you are from the same country which gave the world Alan Thicke.
· being the barber for Don King.
· being the man that forgets about Valentine’s Day on Friday and gets a tongue lashing from his significant other. You know it is going to happen to somebody and at that point not even the Vermont Teddy Bear will help them climb out of the hole they dug for themselves.
Hope that helps you feel a little better. And if that did not work here is some more good news to raise your spirits, the Detroit Tigers have not been officially eliminated from playoff contention yet.
I would like to thank those who took the time to write a letter to the editor after I requested more letters last week.
This week I ask all the readers of The Clarkston News to send the editor $1,000.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

At the age of 25 I attended my first funeral last week. After going through the emotions of saying good bye to someone close to me, I realized I had been extremely lucky not to have attended a funeral before.
The funeral was for my grandmother, Julia Pichalski, who was affectionately called “granny” by the seven grandchildren.
The two days at the funeral home and then the funeral were a surreal experience for me. There was just a general feeling that it was not actually happening.
However, a few days later it really started to sink in for me. My grandmother was a special person who touched many different lives during her 85 years on this planet, which was evident by the number of individuals who came to pay their respects at her funeral.
Although she is gone, her memory lives on. Many personal memories come to mind including:
· The cards that would arrive for birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and any other holiday that could possibly come to mind.
Every card would have a plethora of stickers placed upon the envelope corresponding to whichever holiday it was. I think she single-handedly filled about five of my sticker books.
· The way she would take an extreme interest in whatever was important to me at a given time. Whether it be my trials and tribulations at Super Mario Brothers, the new Masters of the Universe toy I had received or how many RBIs Darrell Evans had on the season, my grandmother would listen intently as if what I was saying was riveting information.
· Staying at granny’s house and receiving the cooking I could not get at home. Basically this meant tasty french toast which probably had about half a tub of butter per piece, multiple bowls of sugar cereal or simply cookies for breakfast. Breakfast food that was frowned upon at the Gargaro house was fair game at granny’s place.
· The last few years and the way she would laugh at my brother, sister and I when we got together as a family. To say us siblings have an immature sense of humor would be an understatement of grand proportions.
However granny, while not talking much, would be laughing with us the entire time. Looking back there was no way she could possibly find what we were saying amusing, but rather was simply entertained by her grandchildren having a good time.
Of course, there were many other hats my grandmother wore. She was a patient mother of four, an active member of her church, a friend to many and a pretty mean Uno player.
However, to me she will always be granny and I will miss her deeply.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

The Grammy Awards evidently came and went Sunday night but they were not on my radar.
In fact, the only reason I knew it took place was because of the local news programs and newspapers covering the subject. The only time I turned on my television Sunday night was for an hour of “The Sopranos.”
What I learned Monday morning was Norah Jones was the story of the Grammys by taking home five awards. Of course my first question was who is Norah Jones? At first I thought she was a former cast member of Saturday Night Live before it occurred to me that I was thinking of Nora Dunn.
I recognized a few names, like Bruce Springsteen and Eminem, when I looked over the list of winners. However, I had a general feeling of who cares when I glanced through the articles on the awards ceremony. And this is from someone who loves music and tries to “keep it real,” by occasionally mixing in the station 89X to my daily listening of 101.1. I mean, come on, the RIFF rocks.
So while I enjoy music, I think my indifference is the general annoyance of all the coverage celebrities get in our society. It doesn’t matter if it is the Grammys, Oscars, People’s Choice or whatever else award show (there seems to be one every other week). When I see these I always ask myself why should I spend three hours watching a group of celebrities tell each other how great they are and how important their work is?
Just to clear things up, this is not a jealousy thing. I don’t have a problem with people making big bucks for entertaining America or the adulation that is thrown their way by the public. It just seems to be too much these days.
Remember when entertainment news was regulated to shows like “Entertainment Tonight?” Sure there were about a billion of those types of shows but at least you knew which ones they were and you could avoid them.
But now entertainment news is everywhere. On our local Fox 2 news they are interviewing that idiot Joe Millionaire, while Channel 7 has in-depth coverage of the Bachelorette. I mean if I wanted to see guys trying to get a gorgeous girl to pick them I would spend my Friday and Saturday nights at The Post Bar.
I don’t mean to rant on reality television because I have no problem with it. In fact, a few of those shows are a guilty pleasure of mine. However, I would imagine there are more important things in the world the news could cover rather than Ben Affleck being the 44th husband of Jennifer Lopez.
I finally thought I solved my news problem when I turned to Fox cable news for a discussion on the merits of a war with Iraq. Life is good I thought. Then, of course, I notice the one being interviewed about Iraq is Janeane Garafalo. Throw a man a bone, will you?
But seriously, will someone please tell me who Norah Jones is?

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

A young woman basketball player from a tiny liberal arts college is creating quite a stir in our country.
Toni Smith, a basketball player at Manhattanville College, has been turning her back to the flag during the playing of the national anthem all season. Smith is doing this because she is trying to take a stand against the impending war against Iraq.
Since this story has gotten out, there have been protestors outside the team’s gymnasium on game nights. In addition, she has been the recipient of taunts and insults in opposing gyms.
To me, this is a microcosm of what makes this country great. It allows both sides to enjoy their freedom of speech and voice their opinions.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think this Toni Smith is a first class moron and not just because she finds the need to spell the name Tony with an i. In my opinion, disrespecting the flag by turning your back on it when the national anthem is played is a slap in the face for the many Americans who came before us and gave their lives for that flag.
There are many other ways you can voice your opinion without disrespecting those who fought for this country. Marching on Washington, starting a petition or writing letters to the media all seem like fine ways to get your point across.
I realize actions like the one Smith took will probably get you the most attention, but I feel some sort of sound judgement should be exercised.
However, kicking her off the team for her actions, like some of the protesters want, would also be disrespecting the flag and everything it stands for. Many brave Americans lost their lives so that we could have the very freedom Smith is enjoying. So even if you disagree with both her views and how she is going about expressing those views, you need to respect her opportunity to do that.
I also applaud those who are appalled by her actions and are taking it to the streets. I hope she gets taunted and heckled in every gym around the country by other Americans voicing their opinions on her actions.
Human shields in Iraq
In case you have not heard, some United States citizens are threatening to go to Iraq and act as human shields to deter our country from bombing Iraq.
Unlike the Smith situation, I think these individuals are committing treason and should never be allowed back in the country if they decided to follow through on their threat. To put our troops in danger because they need to worry about the casualties of American citizens is unforgivable.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

The possible war with Iraq has dominated the news for quite awhile now and I have been eating up the coverage.
I have been watching everything from Bill O’Reilly to Dan Rather to President Bush trying to become an educated citizen.
I will be honest, I have been waffling for a number of months on if I agree a war in the Middle East is both warranted and smart for our country. Better minds than mine are on the fence, so I guess I am not alone.
However after listening to President Bush’s press conference, I came up with the opinion that it is time to trust the President. We elected him and eventually it gets to the point where we need to respect his judgement. American citizens are not privy to the classified information he receives on a daily basis, so it is kind of hard to say he doesn’t know what he is doing.
This is not to say I do not have numerous questions about our foreign policy, because I do. Why are we so concerned with Iraq when it is reported that North Korea is a much bigger threat at this point? What has changed in Iraq over the past five years that now we need to go in and take care of it? If we are so right and have such hard evidence why are other countries so opposed to this war? Why do we scream about countries having nuclear weapons when we are the only ones to have ever used a nuclear bomb?
Those protesters who say Bush doesn’t know what he is doing and is just power hungry are crazy. To think Bush would risk reelection, American lives and his legacy on a whim would be ignorant. My guess is the same people screaming about how wrong Bush is on this war would be the first ones screaming for his head if the President did nothing and we were attacked by Iraq in the next few years. If on Sept. 10, 2001, Bush said he wanted to send our troops to Afghanistan and attack the Taliban he would have received the same reaction he is now to a war with Iraq. However, on Sept. 12, 2001 it was a completely different story.
And one final point about those against the war. I respect their opinions even though they give the illusion they are in the majority because those who favor the war are not holding marches.
Yet the individuals I don’t respect are the ones who say “war is never right.” Now that is just stupid. Want to tell the Jewish people who were in Nazi concentration camps that war is not right? How about relaying that message to black slaves in the south during the Civil War era?
War is not pleasant. It is a horrific occurrence that I wish never would happen. However, we do not live in a perfect world and sometimes we need to take drastic measures to keep the world a safer place for everybody.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

The countdown is on for your friendly, local editor.
After 25 years of walking around this great country a free man, I have decided to enter holy matrimony. Many said it would not be done. In fact, many said it could not be done. However on Aug. 16, 2003, the impossible will become a reality as Kyle becomes a married man.
So as I sit in The Clarkston News offices writing this column the countdown is officially at 151 days. Of course, that is not my countdown but rather that of my coworkers who are very much enjoying my nervousness. I mean, 151 days is nothing. And everybody knows how the summer flies by in Michigan. I definitely have to begin getting mentally prepared.
Now I am absolutely sure getting married to my fiance (that word just sounds weird when I use it) Kerry Nugent is the right thing to do. I am positive we will have a great lifetime of happiness together.
Yet, I am still a guy so I am nervous. It is still spending the rest of your life with one person. And why someone would want to spend the rest of their life with me is beyond comprehension. Just my sarcastic humor alone has scared away the great majority of females whose paths I have crossed. I mean, it couldn’t be my looks and the 15 extra pounds that had them running, could it? (In the interest of full disclosure I should probably say it is closer to 20 pounds but keep in mind I am still carrying some holiday weight. I think it is from Presidents’ Day)
All my friends have been extremely excited when I told them the big news. If they are genuinely excited about the fact that I will begin a lifetime journey with the woman that I love or the fact there is an open bar is debatable. However, I enjoy the good thoughts, regardless.
Over the past few summers I have been to a plethora of weddings as many college and high school friends have decided to tie the knot. A great majority of these individuals are giving me nothing but positive reactions to how married life is treating them. Everyone from my grade school friends, (Don Ibach and the woman formerly known as Grace Hagen), high school friends (Jeff Goza and Russ Tedrake) and my college friends (Mike Moran and Dennis Worden) say that marriage is good times.
So I am sure that everything will be great (it is all about positive reinforcement.) I just have to get through the actual wedding ceremony which will be held in a non-air conditioned church in mid-August. Maybe I have been watching too many reruns of America’s Funniest Home Videos but the odds of me toppling over is probably a 50-50 proposition at this point. Feel free to make bets amongst yourselves.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

I am the definition of a sports fanatic. I love to watch sports, play sports and read about sports.
As such, March is usually a great month for me due in large part to the NCAA basketball tournament. The tournament, which is dubbed March Madness, usually preoccupies all my free time. Filling out the brackets would usually bring me great enjoyment, while watching those brackets being shredded would bring me great frustration.
However, that is not the case this year. With the war in Iraq I have spent more time watching the Fox News Channel than CBS’s Road to the Final Four.
With individuals dying in the Middle East, who makes it to the Sweet Sixteen seems pretty insignificant. Even the fact my beloved Central Michigan University Chippewas made their first tournament appearance since 1987 did not make me fully embrace the tournament.
It was not lost on me that while 18 to 23-year olds competed around our country to cut down the nets, individuals of the same age were putting their lives on the line to protect the freedoms that we value so much. How can you get angry or depressed when your team loses when there are so much more important events going on around the world?

Moore needs a clue
Flint native Michael Moore acted like a buffoon at the Academy Awards Sunday night. I did not watch the Oscars, since I think celebrities telling each other how important they are is irritating at best, but heard the replay on the Drew and Mike morning show Monday.
While receiving an award for a documentary Moore said, “We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elect a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man who’s sending us to war with fictitious reasons, whether it’s the fiction of duct tape or the fiction of orange alerts.”
Luckily some in the crowd had the presence of mind to boo this idiot. Sure he had the right to voice his opinion in America, but how about rallying around our troops and our commander in chief during this time in our history?
And what is fictitious about the terror alerts our country has? Sure some items, like the duct tape, can get comical at times but the threat is very real and needs to be taken seriously.
And speaking of fictitious let’s talk about Moore’s documentary, “Bowling for Columbine.” Evidently, numerous items were staged and downright lied about in order for Moore to get his point of view across. Anyone interested in this topic should go to for the specifics.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Our Canadian neighbors to the north have been annoying for some time now, but lately they have gone too far.
In opposition to the United States going to war with Iraq, they have booed our national anthem at hockey games, had their politicians call President Bush an idiot and bad mouthed their own Wayne Gretzky because he voiced his support for President Bush and our troops.
Now I have looked the other way on numerous Canadian transgressions due to the fact they allowed me to legally drink at age 19, but their latest actions are too much. If anyone tried to attack them who would be the first ones they call? Why, the United States, of course. If you can’t back us up, Canada, at least you can keep your big mouth shut.
Everybody, except our one true ally Great Britain, complains about how arrogant and horrible the United States is until they need help. Then we are the first ones on their speed dial to get military or financial help. I always thought Canada would not be one of those countries but I guess I was wrong.
I suppose I should have seen this coming. Canada has brought its fair share of annoyance to the United States by:
· using the state of Michigan as their own personal trash dump. Hey, if I wanted to live with trash I would move to Alabama.
· their bringing confusion to something as simple as bacon. Bacon is one of the greatest parts of life and should be respected. Isn’t Canadian bacon simply ham? We don’t find the need to have American bacon, do we? Leave our fatty foods alone!
· giving the National Basketball Association Steve Nash and his horrible haircut. If I wanted to watch hoops players with long, flowing hair I would turn on the WNBA. Who am I kidding, I would never watch that inferior brand of basketball.
· infiltrating our currency with their coins. We have enough coins already, we do not need yours. I firmly believe they are trying to take over our country and are beginning with the dime.
· giving us Warren and Wendy Whiner at last year’s Winter Olympics. The Canadian figure skaters liked to whine so much they could have been named Bartles and James. Although they did become the first Olympians to complain their way to a gold medal.
· saddling us with Alex Trebeck on a weeknight basis. This elitist buffoon is a little too much for me to handle. It is real easy to look smart when you have the answers (or the questions as the case is on “Jeopardy’) written on a card. I would like to see if he would be so smug if the answers were not given to him on a nightly basis.
With that being said, I do appreciate our Canadian neighbors for giving us good beer, Steve Yzerman and a lot of bang for our American dollar since their currency has plummeted in value.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. Any complaints about this tongue-in-cheek column can be e-mailed to

? If you have seen me around town then you must realize I am not the healthiest of individuals. My average day of consumption is Fruit Loops for breakfast, a deli sandwich for lunch and then an obscenely insensible dinner.
Although I work out about four times a week, I am not adverse to the occasional beer or the frequent hamburger. So that leaves me forever overweight and on the brink of full-fledged obesity.
However rock bottom came last Wednesday when I attempted to purchase a healthy snack. Before the Red Wings game I decided, instead of eating unhealthy, I would run up to Kroger and purchase some raisins.
Acting like your typical confused man, I had no idea where raisins would be in a grocery store. In fact, I believe this was the first time I had actually purchased raisins.
Approximately 15 minutes later, and after trips to the baking, snacks and canned fruit aisles, among other parts of the store, I found my snack. Yes, snuggled between the produce and meat section are some shelves dedicated to health foods. Funny, I would have been able to find potato chips, beer or frozen French fries with absolutely no problem.
Why didn’t I ask an employee where the raisins were located? Because I am a guy, eventually I will figure it out. I mean, the Wings did not start until 10:30 p.m.
? I am happy to report that before the Red Wings began their series against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks I confidently predicted a sweep. It is funny though, I can’t seem to remember who I said would win the series.
? I am officially done talking about the weather. So if you want to discuss the ever changing weather then you are going to have to sell it somewhere else, sister. After the ice storm, followed by great warm weather, followed again by a cold spell, I am going to throw in the towel.
It seems whenever there is a nice day people talk about it like we found a cure for cancer, while when we get bad weather they make a generic crack about Michigan weather and then laugh as if they are a giant Fun Fruit tree.
So I am now drawing the line and from now on will just deal with the weather instead of talking about it. Of course I will still pay attention to what the forecast says. I mean, who can cut Chuck Gaidica out of their life cold turkey? I am human, you know.
? For me the best part of being in a relationship is spill over fries. Sure some people enjoy the connection between two people, but for me the highlight is the few extra French fries from my fast food restaurant of choice.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

I am out to set the record straight this week. I am 25-years-old.
Evidently most people have trouble believing that simple fact. The latest example was this past week when one of my neighbors found out I graduated from Rochester Adams High School, she asked me if I was in the same graduating class as Madonna.
I can honestly say that was the first time I had been linked to the Material Girl and it was not a flattering experience. I mean, she has to be more than 15 years my elder.
This was not the first time I had been pegged an older man. It seems most people believe I am in my mid to late thirties. Since I have automatically ruled out maturity as a reason, I am simply left with the fact that I have facial hair.(editor’s note: the picture in this column was during my ‘trying to find a job? look.) It couldn’t be the hair on my head thinning, could it?
To prove my relatively young age I give you these examples of my authenticity:
? As a young child going to elementary school in Canton I would make sure I got home and consumed my post school snack before ‘Masters of the Universe? cartoon hit the airwaves at 4 p.m. In fact, I had both Castle Grayskull and the Snake Pit.
? I was not around for the 1968 Detroit Tigers world championship, but was age seven when they won it again in 1984. My adulation of Kirk Gibson, Larry Herndon and Chet Lemon are unmatched. I had the record for both ‘Bless You Boys? and ‘There Ain’t No Stopping Us Now.?
? I was an eighth grader at St. John Vianney in Brookfield, Wisc. when the Black Crowes, the most rock ‘n? roll band, was hitting it big. Indeed my friends and I jammed to ‘Hard to Handle? and ‘Jealous Again? on a fairly consistent basis. Sadly SJV music teacher Joanne Collins did not share our enthusiasm.
? As an awkwardly loud middle school student growing up in the Dairy State, I experienced the utter joy of the beverage ‘Jolt.? If you don’t remember that was double the caffeine and double the sugar. After one experience, the Gargaro parental unit pulled the plug on that idea really quick. To quote father, ‘You do not need anything that makes you louder.?
Random thought: I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to have the knowledge they possess. And to be honest, I think this SARS epidemic is being blown way out of proportion. That being said, should we be concerned that Toronto has had multiple cases of this disease reported while tons of their garbage is being shipped to our state each day? Just a thought.
Gargaro Hall of Fame: Cadbury Eggs. Once again they made my Easter holiday a festive and filling experience. I am not really strong at math but I might have eaten my weight in the tasty candy.
Gargaro Hall of Shame: Bed, Bath & Beyond. It is a fine store with friendly, informed individuals working. However, I had to spend more than two hours in their store registering for wedding gifts so it needed to go into the Hall of Shame. No man should be subjected to that cruel and unjust punishment, yet it is important to point out that very few individuals actually consider me a real man.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

I am a thief.
Now I was not raised to be a thief. Indeed, John and Pat Gargaro did their best to ingrain the comprehension of right and wrong in me. And, save for an unfortunate incident involving Big League Chew Bubble Gum and the local 7-11, things have been going pretty well.
However that was until I discovered the downloading website Kazaa, which gives music fans like me an opportunity to trade music with people from all over the world. All you have to do is sign on, type in your favorite band and begin downloading your favorite tunes.
Now I am no Bill Gates, but to my knowledge after I download a song others can get that song from me. So round and round we go on the musical circle of trust.
However, evidently our big business friends at the record companies classify this as stealing and are doing all they can to shut down these type of sites. They have even begun to go after common folks, much like me, who are using the service.
Now I cannot get in trouble for simply downloading music can I? It is not like I download entire discs. I mean I will still go out and purchase CDs by Tom Petty or the like. It is just the one hit wonders who I do not need to purchase their entire compact disc.
It never occurred to me that I was stealing anything. I would never think of walking into Best Buy and stealing a CD. However on the Internet it does not feel like the rules apply.
When I heard this was being classified as stealing my rationalizations began. The best one I came up with is since I would have no problem copying a regular compact disc from a friend, there is no difference on the Internet. I just consider my fellow Kazaa users friends from around the world who I have yet to meet.
Even if it is stealing, record companies are hardly a sympathetic story. We always hear about them ripping off our favorite artists. I won’t even mention the crazy prices we are paying for live music at our local venues. I think my service charges alone have put multiple Ticketmaster employees? children through college.
So the little guy, in this case Joe Public, gets a little something for free. There is no harm in that, is there? I knew I would eventually find a use for technology. First it gives us the dust buster, then free music.
If you really want to prosecute someone then go after the BaHa Men. If it is not stealing to have a mass amount of soccer moms lay down $15each for an entire compact disc, when they only want to hear the song ‘Who Let The Dogs Out??, then I do not know what is.
I ask you, who is the real criminal?
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

My wallet is busting at the seams.
This is not because The Clarkston News is paying me big bucks, but rather I have about a thousand different cards from every retail store in the metro Detroit area.
These cards have names like the Farmer Jack Bonus Savings Club Card, Kroger Plus Shopper’s Card and the CVS/pharmacy Extra Care Card. Here is a thought: if you really cared about me as a customer then you would not make me carry a card to get 20 cents off a bag of pretzels.
What ever happened to stores just having a good old-fashioned sale? That seemed to work really well. I would go to the store, see a price on a product and then make a purchase.
Instead of that easy series of events, I am always stuck behind the consumer who is frantically going through their wallet/purse to try and find the golden card which will quickly shave vital cents off their grocery bill. I always thought technology was supposed to make our lives easier, not more complicated.
Kroger, my grocery store of choice, takes their cards extremely seriously. On the back of mine it states, ‘This card is the property of The Kroger Co. Use of this card is subject to The Kroger Co’s current policies and such privileges may be restricted at any time.?
Is that a threat? And if so, what could I do that would be so heinous that my Kroger Plus Shopper’s Card would be restricted? Could asking for a double bag or consuming a grape in the produce section be grounds for suspension? Will they lock me up and throw away the card?
I assume they have these cards so they can track what we are buying. That might be a valid reason but at some point shouldn’t the comfort of the consumer come into play?
Where is Rev. Jesse Jackson?
I was just wondering when the Rev. Jesse Jackson will come to town and complain about the injustice of Rick Carlisle being fired as head coach of the Detroit Pistons?
I mean, he was quick to speak up for former Michigan State football coach Bobby Williams when he was fired a year after leading the Spartans to a bowl win and former Green Bay Packer coach Ray Rhodes when he was fired after a 8-8 season.
Carlisle coached the Pistons to two division championships in two years and an Eastern Conference Finals appearance this last season only to get dumped in favor of Larry Brown. Surely, Jackson would love to bring attention to this injustice.
Now I don’t mean to make light of racial injustices, including some in sports, that still occur in this country. It is sad this is happening in the year 2003.
However, I think it is important to remember every time an African-American coach is fired in sports does not mean it was a racist decision. It annoys me when Jackson tries to cash in on these situations to get more media attention.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

These diseases are getting out of control.
Between the West Nile Virus, SARS and the recently discovered monkeypox, it is amazing that I am alive to write this column. It seems like everyday there is a new deadly disease being told highlighted by our local newscast as I consume my dinner.
Every time someone sneezes or gets ‘flu-like symptoms,? they have to wonder if this is a potentially fatal disease, or simply a bug that people have dealt with for years.
However, I do not intend to live my life in fear. You will not find me walking down Main Street with a surgical mask and enough Off to fry your noise hairs.
You see, I have resigned myself to the fact that a long life is not in my deck of cards. Let me just say I do not plan for Willard Scott to be wishing me a happy 100th birthday and not just because that would make Scott about 145-years-old at the time.
With my penchant for greasy burgers and the occasional cold brew, I realize I am going to be checking out a little early. However I always figured I would be brought down by heart disease or a failed liver. I mean, I don’t want to be taken out by a mosquito.
SARS I can deal with because I do not plan on traveling to Toronto or the far East. I do not even drink Canadian beer or watch ‘Growing Pains? reruns anymore. As long as nobody brings the disease to Metro Detroit I should be cool.
West Nile Virus is a bit more shady. With all the talk and money budgeted to combat the disease it appears the only solution the government can offer is to wear mosquito repellent and get rid of standing water where mosquitos can breed. Thanks for the advice, probably would not have been able to come up with that myself.
As far as monkeypox is concerned, it reaffirms my belief that no good can come from pets. Animals are meant for eating and being mascots for sports teams. All types of animals have animal instincts and animal diseases. Why would you want to invite that to live in your home?
That being said it is time for doctors to step up and begin curing some of these diseases. I mean, diseases are really starting to pile up and I can’t remember the last time they cured anything. With all the money spent on research, you think they would be able to cross a couple illnesses off the list.
There has to be a reason why all these diseases are beginning to rear their ugly heads but I will not engage in irresponsible speculation.
Yet, until then I will continue to fight the good fight. However, if Mad Cow Disease, which has been identified in places as close as Canada, ever comes to our country then I am throwing in the towel. I can live without pets and trips to Toronto, but red meat is where I draw the line.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

If you want an obscene amount of advice, just let it be known that you are attempting to drop a few pounds.
I have born witness to this after a friendly wager with Papa Gargaro on who could lose the most weight before the Fourth of July. The bet was two dollars per pound with the twist that if you gain weight you owe the other $100.
Now this bet was made in January, but like any procrastinator worth his salt, I did not get serious about the contest until late May. I mean, why peak early when the weigh in is not until July 4?
I thought I had a pretty good yet simple game plan. I would step up my workouts to five times a week, greatly reduce my beer intake and completely cut out fast food. My secret weapon was that I would not snack at night after dinner.
Things were going well for me. I mean I wasn’t in Jared’s league, but I was consistently dropping pounds. So much so that family and friends began noticing after I lost the first 10 pounds. While some might equate this with taking a bucket of water from the ocean, I was feeling good about myself.
However, once people realize you are attempting to lose weight they find the need to inundate you with information on productive diets. I have heard it all: you need to eat all carbohydrates, you can’t have any carbs, eat five or six small meals a day, drink a lot of water throughout the day, use a fat burning pill, exercise in the morning, exercise in the evening.
The most idiotic comment I heard came from a friend’s girlfriend. After learning that I was attempting to be victorious in my battle of the bulge, she looked at me straight-faced and said, ‘Have you tried chewing sugarless gum??
So to recap, she looked at my 230 pounds spread over 6?1? and decided my Achilles heel was gum. Evidently my problem was not with fast food, sweets or beer, but rather Bazooka. If I only cut out my horrible habit of chewing sugar gum then I would have the body of a Greek god.
So after getting all this advice, it becomes clear to me there is no magical answer. All you have to do is be active and use a little common sense. You don’t necessarily need to cut anything out, but rather partake in the foods you enjoy in moderation.
Quick Take: There seems to be a lot of hype about Farmer Jack closing up show for two days and reintroducing themselves to the public.
Much of what I have heard centers around the grocery store improving their customer service. That is all fine and good if improved customer service means properly staffing your store with knowledgeable employees who are willing and able to help you if you ask. However, if it means Farmer Jack employees asking me if I need help during every trip down an aisle, then I could do without it. I hate those type of places. Let me shop in peace and if I need help I will ask you.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Independence Day is literally right around the corner.
I can already smell the barbecue ribs and chicken sizzling on the grill. Throw in some sun, a frisbee and some beverages and you have the perfect holiday.
However, the Fourth of July is also a time to fully appreciate the fact we live in the greatest country in the world. Sure Italy has their pasta, England has their bad teeth and Canada has the annoying dimes, but nothing compares to the United States of America.
With that in mind I thought I would share some items, other than the obvious freedoms we are blessed with, I feel make this country great.
They include:
Sports. While the rest of the world gets excited about soccer as if it is a real sport, the United States hangs its hat on real athletic contests such as football and basketball. And I have news for you, Canada, I don’t care if you call it curling but sweeping ice is not a sport.
Rock ‘n? Roll. Sure Great Britain can claim this as their own due to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton, but you look at the entire genre and the U.S. gets the nod.
America has produced the likes of the Allman Brothers, The Black Crowes, Aerosmith, Bruce Springstein and the list goes on and on.
Michael Bolton. Okay, so no country can be perfect.
Comedy. Americans can do many things well and laughing is one of them. Whether it is being cracked up on my ride to work by the WRIF Drew and Mike morning show or watching Seinfeld reruns in the evening hours, American comedy strikes my funny bone.
Sure Monty Python and Mr. Bean might make me chuckle at times, but much like the rock and roll entry, we have higher quality.
Sparklers. You can’t beat giving burning sticks to children as a form of entertainment.
Just kidding and please hold the letters to the editor. Fireworks can be dangerous and should only be used with adult supervision.
Convenience. We are a culture based on convenience and I love it. You can get food without getting out of your car, turn off your lights by clapping and start your car from the comforts of your home.
Hollywood Movies. With everything from Rocky beating a Russian on steroids to a talking pig, American movies have something for everyone.
And really, who can deal with subtitles?
Enjoy your Independence Day celebrations everybody and have a hamburger for me.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News and a true American. His e-mail address is

At the risk of piling on let me just say telemarketers are the most annoying individuals in the world. Which says a lot since there are a lot of annoying people out there.
Their calls during dinner or while I am on the Internet have grown very tiring. And most get a little testy when you are not buying into what they are selling. While some may say they are trying to make an honest living, I say if you interrupt my dinner then all bets are off.
The national do not call list has been all the rage. In case you have not heard, the federal government is allowing residents to register on a list which would prevent most telemarketers from calling their phone lines. Some notable exceptions are charities and companies you have recently purchased goods from. At last check 17 million people have signed up on the list.
While you can currently sign up by going to the website or calling (888) 382-1222 the program will not start until Oct. 1. So have a good summer everybody.
While the list is a great call (pun intended), I found an alternative solution to slow down telemarketers a number of years ago. My idea was simple, make the callers feel as awkward as possible.
I thought what better time to share my knowledge with my loyal three readers than when the topic is being talked about. So with that in mind let me share some options with you.
? Tell the telemarketer you are busy but would love to hear what they have to say if they would only give you their home phone number where you will call them later that night. When they decline, ask if they would rather not be bothered at home. When they say yes, reply ‘neither do I? and hang up.
? After answering the phone continuously say, ‘I am sorry, I can’t hear really well, could you please repeat yourself a little louder?? After growing annoyed at yelling into the phone, the telemarketer eventually hangs up in frustration.
? Repeatedly ask them, ‘Who let the dogs out?? until they eventually realize being on the phone with you is not worth their time.
? Say you are giving them three chances to say your name correctly. When they use up their three guesses, say you are sorry and hang up.
I have gotten Carl Carcaro, Lyle Gargero and Kyle Garg in telemarketing attempts to ask for Kyle Gargaro. I mean Kyle Garg just shows you are not even trying.
? The only really productive way to end the calls is for people to stop purchasing items from telemarketers. If they were not making money by placing these phone calls then obviously they wouldn’t be subsidizing them.
So those are just a few simple solutions. Sure it is easier just hanging up, while some might feel better if they yell, but I find the most amusement by creating awkward situations for the telemarketers.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

What would Jesus do? Apparently he would not decorate cakes on Sunday.
Debra Kerkstra of Allegan recently settled a lawsuit that was brought against Meijer for firing her for refusing to work on a Sunday. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Meijer on behalf of Kerkstra. She is to receive $22,000 under the settlement.
Now I am not well-schooled in the Christian Reformed Church so I will just say when religions? names are longer than one word I tend to find they are a little kooky.
However, it is really unimportant what her religious beliefs are. If you decide to get a job in retail, especially the grocery business like Meijer, then odds are you will be pulling Sunday duty.
In my college job as a cashier at Farmer Jack I worked just about every Sunday even though it conflicted with my religion, football. Sunday is the day most people do their shopping and thus the store needs to be heavily staffed. I do not know much about cakes other than they are tasty, but I assume a lot of birthday, graduation and other parties are held Sunday afternoon so a cake decorator would be needed on Sunday morning.
But everybody in our country loves to play the victim and Kerkstra is just the latest. Recent lawsuits have blamed everything from hot coffee at McDonald’s to the tasty cream in Oreo cookies for their problems.
So instead of pointing the finger at Meijer, it should be pointed at our cake decorator. She was not fired because of her religious beliefs, but rather the inability to work her shifts. Sure, a 1977 U.S. Supreme Court decision states companies need to attempt to accommodate employees? religious practices, but it does not guarantee specific days off for this reason.
Maybe when she went through the interview process, Kerkstra should have stated that she would not work on Sundays due to her religious obligations. Maybe she should not have interviewed for a job in retail if she did not want to work Sundays. If you own the business you can do what you want, if you are working for somebody else then you play by their rules.
How annoyed would Kerkstra be if all stores were closed on Sundays because nobody wanted to work on that day? My guess is she would not be happy. Somebody has to pull Sunday duty and most do it without suing.
Everybody, myself included, would probably love to have all evenings and weekends off from work. However we in the real world realize sometimes extra duty is called for. We suck it up like adults and put in the time.
Well, most of us do that. Of course, Kerkstra decided it was prudent to waste tax dollars on this idiotic lawsuit. I am sure this is what the founding fathers imagined when setting up our legal system.
So congratulations Kerkstra, you are officially part of the problem.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

I really like to read. I have ever since I was a kid. In addition to newspapers and magazines I almost always have a book going.
I never thought I would come out against reading but I need to because of two words: Harry Potter.
These books about the boy wizard are getting out of control. Now I do not mind the youth of America enjoying these books. Although I would prefer their reading selections to be more well rounded, anything that gets kids away from the television and reading is great in my book.
However, these books have caught wildfire among adults as well. This became abundantly clear when I was at a recent barbecue. My friend Bryce Hamilton let it be known that he enjoys the Harry Potter books. Yet before I could begin to mock him for being a 26-year-old man reading a child’s book, numerous other adult males shared that they too enjoy the series.
My reaction was a combination of shock, annoyance and nausea (although in the interest of full disclosure the nausea could have been due to that third bratwurst.) Suddenly I was severely outnumbered by Harry Potter fans and did not know quite where to turn. I knew it was a hit among children and some parents but I did not think my peers would enjoy this form of literature.
Next it was me who had to defend my stand of not reading a children’s book. I asked my fellow barbecue friends, what has our society become? When will the entire adult population begin to read “Superfudge?” But there was really no defense since I was the lone Harry Potter basher in the bunch. Maybe I should get new friends.
Why does the fact Harry Potter has taken this country by storm annoy me? Well besides the fact that it is more played out than Creed, I don’t believe adults reading at a fourth grade level is something we should take pride in. And why adults would enjoy reading about a boy with wizard powers is beyond me.
I do not mean to come off as an intellectual elitist because I am far from it. I enjoy “dumbing things down” as much as the next guy. We are talking about a guy who watches the television show “Paradise Hotel” and has a subscription to “FHM.”
However, it just seems sad that a product like Harry Potter can generate such enthusiasm in our culture.
But maybe I am just overreacting and simply do not get it. It has been known to happen. When I read I enjoy an educational, non-fiction book so perhaps Harry Potter is great for individuals who want to read about a fantasy world. Maybe I should be happy that our society is reading and that Potter has reintroduced people to the library.
But then I flashback to the images of grown adults dressed as wizards and bubbling over with excitement about the latest Potter release. I think about parents taking their kids to stand in line at midnight for the book and I realize that I am right.
Harry Potter must be stopped.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News and can also read at an adult level. His e-mail address is

Random thoughts out of the head of your friendly, local editor:
• The old saying, “charity begins at home,” is being followed by many in the Clarkston area.
When we started the Millstream section a few months ago our goal was to promote people in our community giving back to the community. Well, we can barely keep up with you guys. Everyone from the Rotary to the Historical Society are taking time out of their busy schedules to make Clarkston a better place to live.
I am impressed with not only the number of organizations but also the amount of activities these organizations do.
As someone with two jobs and in the midst of planning a wedding I realize the constraints of time. However, helping out one of these many service organizations would go a long way in keeping our community a great place to live.
Once again if anyone has a service organization they want to get some publicity for don’t hesitate to give us a call.
• Some things never change when speaking of high school students. They usually enjoy music that makes their parents batty, have fashion sense captured in pictures that will come back to haunt them in 25 years and work jobs that are designated for low person on the food chain.
Back when I was in high school, the low job was grilling burgers at the local fast food restaurant. However in today’s job market I would nominate a new job for the rock bottom designation. That would be the teenager hired to hold a large sign near a busy street advertising the specials of the day at their particular business.
Now, I salute these kids because work ethic seems to be rare at times among that demographic. However, standing out under the blazing sun being mocked and ridiculed by other teenagers driving by is a really tough gig.
• Add The Allman Brothers Band to the list of artists well past their prime. I went to their show Sunday night and it was an extreme letdown. Last time I saw them, about eight years ago, they played inspired rock music, but this time they seemed to be phoning it in.
• I think the bottled water industry has pulled a fast one on us. Our bodies are 75 percent water, while the earth is 80 percent water, yet we are paying about a dollar for 16 ounces of the stuff.
I am as guilty as anyone. I have about half a dozen half empty water bottles rolling around my car. We are continuously preached to that drinking a lot of water is the key to good health, but are we any healthier than we were 15 years ago when you would rarely seeing people walking around town with bottled water?
Chalk one up for the marketing geniuses from our country.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

With a wedding less than two weeks away, things are getting a bit hectic in the life of your friendly, local editor.
We had a relatively short engagement, eight months, however we did some good planning and most of the wedding work has been done for awhile.
In all honesty that should read my fiancee did some good planning for she definitely picked up more than her fair share of the slack. You see I had a secret weapon in my arsenal. Whenever she asked me to do something I would be very enthusiastic about the job, then drop a line like, “No problem. I can handle it. In fact, I could probably make it funny.” Inevitably the task would be taken off my plate and put onto hers.
I know many of you think my actions are shameful. However, that could not be farther from the truth. I mean the simple fact is I am making sure Kerry is not missing out on any of the planning fun.
But while we thought we had a firm grasp on the wedding, some recent events had us going backwards instead of forward.
The most annoying of which was our encounter with Buffy the Cake Slayer. On a recommendation from a family member,who shall remain nameless, we chose Buffy to make our wedding cake. While this was solidified for months, we got a call from Buffy two weeks before the big day saying she decided not to fulfill her end of the agreement.
Apparently our reception hall wanted her to sign an agreement which stated she was responsible for the cake. Evidently, the hall did not want to be sued if the guests got food poisoning from the cake. Our fine baker balked at this idea and left us high and dry a mere two weeks before the big day.
Apparently someone was not confident in their cake making capabilities. If you can’t take responsibility for a cake, why have you chosen baking as a profession?
Her lame excuse centered around the fact that once the cake arrived at the hall she has no idea what would happen to it. She did not want to be responsible if one of our guests poisoned the cake after she left.
While I readily admit my family can be strange at times, and that some of my friends can be classified as immature idiots, I am fairly certain that cake poisoning was not on their things to do list. I tried to put her mind at ease by stating we had not invited any Al-Qaida members to the wedding, but she was insistent on not signing the agreement.
Maybe Buffy should spend more time baking brownies, because she is an obvious nut. In fact, the more I think about it our first mistake was hiring someone called Buffy. That name just sounds like someone who can’t get the job done.
So a note to my three readers: if you are in the greater Grand Rapids area try your best to steer clear of Buffy the Cake Slayer. She is nothing but bad news.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

I am often asked how I got involved in the newspaper business.
Actually I am rarely asked because people are not really interested in my life, but when I am I feel obligated to tell the truth.
It is not for the love of writing or the obligation to get to the truth in a story that I got involved with journalism. The reality is it was free Mancino Grinders. I was a junior at Central Michigan University and got involved covering sports for the school paper since you got great seats to the games for free and they fed you grinders before the contest.
While I really began to enjoy journalism and have since made a career of it, I still enjoy free stuff. So this past week was a good one at 5 South Main as two excellent books were sent my way free of charge.
The first was titled “Reliving the Glory,” and was written by local Pastor Father Bob Humitz of St. Daniel Catholic parish. Humitz was a volunteer chaplain at the recent Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
The book is a wonderful first-hand account of the experiences Humitz had at this world event. There are humorous stories of the adventures surrounding the games and also many great color photographs that allow you to get inside the experience.
In addition, the book has a nice message about people from different walks of life and backgrounds coming together. Some of the stories of different religions and races coming together give us a glimmer of hope for the future.
The second book I received was “Tradition” by former University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler. The book is billed as Michigan Memories expanded and revised. “Tradition” is the updated version of Bo’s “Michigan Memories” book published five years ago.
While not being a “Michigan Man,” I have a general interest in the Wolverines due to my love of football and proximity to the university.
Schembechler gives us a first hand account of the tradition rich Michigan football program. He takes the reader inside Michigan Stadium, bowl games and the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry. The expanded version includes coverage of the 1997 co-National Championship team.
This book also has a plethora of pictures which help tell the story of the Michigan tradition. There are photos of everyone from Michigan’s first All-American William Cunningham to Tshimanga Biakabutuka.
I would recommend these books to everyone who has an interest in the topics.
Father Humitz’s book costs $19.95 and is available from Kordene Publications at (248) 922-9400. “Tradition” retails for $49 and can be purchased at
Of course if you want it for free you will need to go back to college and get a journalism degree. The good news is that it is not that hard to do.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

So actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is building momentum in his run to become the governor of California.
Really, is that where we are as a culture? A celebrity can appear on “The Tonight Show,” udder a few lines from his movies, and all of a sudden is the leading candidate for one of the biggest states in our country.
I am a big political guy, but I also realize the anger and resentment many citizens have towards career politicians. Sure, many are bought by special interest groups and are less than honest, but to think just anyone can step in and hit the ground running would be a mistake.
I don’t even have a problem with the amount of C list celebrities registering to try and become governor. In case you have not been keeping track they include the likes of Gary Coleman (from D’frent Strokes fame,) Gallagher (perhaps the greatest comedian to use watermelon in his act) and Larry Flynt (who I heard enjoys the ladies.)
Looking over the list these people are not even qualified enough to produce a good episode of “Hollywood Squares,” much less run a state. However, it is their right to run so God bless them.
However, voters have to be smart enough to see the big picture and that brings us back to Arnold. As far as I can tell his political experience involves helping a couple kids do push ups and pumping the keg for Ted Kennedy.
He says nothing of substance and instead gives us sentence fragments consisting of lines he used in movies. He talks about fiscal responsibility and big business taking advantage of the little guy. Hey, if you want to be fair how about giving me my $7 back from Last Action Hero?
Leading the state of California is an awesome responsibility and one that should be handled that way. A popular comment is “it could not get any worse,” but it always can get worse.
Why should people in Clarkston care if California wants to elect someone who is under qualified? Well, the California economy is huge and if you think that has no influence on our country’s economy then you are kidding yourself.
Sadly however, our society has become a place where we embrace celebrities a little too much. More couples are worried about Ben and Jennifer’s relationship then are focused on their own. I mean we have an entire channel focused on celebrities. What they are wearing, who they are dating and where are they going gets answered 24-hours a day.
Go out and enjoy their movies but do we have to act like they are a part of our lives? And better yet, do we need to elect them to navigate an important state through a tough time period?
If Arnold wants to be a political player, let him do it the old fashioned way by paying his dues.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Well everybody, Kyle Gargaro is officially off the market.
After 26 years of being turned down by women of all different types, I finally took the plunge. I married the now Kerry Gargaro on Aug. 16 in the electricity rich Grand Rapids area.
I guess after a six year courtship it was not much of a plunge. And I am sure there is not much disappointment from single women around the state. While I would not make any top bachelor lists, we can officially move Carrot Top up a slot.
All went according to plan at both the ceremony and reception. From the rain cooling off the church, which had no air conditioner, to my father doing a spirited dance to “Johnny B. Good,” things really could not have gone any better.
However, I can’t take much credit for the events. If it did not have to do with food, booze or music, I tended to lose interest during the planning stages. Yet I did show up at the church on time which really can’t be underestimated.
You plan for eight months for this one day then it is over before you know it. The entire day was almost a surreal experience. Lucky for me, the fact my friend and usher, Jeff Hernandez, passed out drunk before dinner was even served, allowed me to realize this was in fact reality.
It was strange to think I am old and mature enough to enter marriage. It was especially hard to comprehend when I was on the dance floor participating in the chicken dance.
But married is exactly what I am. While our marriage is a little over a week old, I am starting to notice my life has changed. My bed now has something called a dust ruffle on it and it needs to be made everyday. Of course, I am from the school of why make the bed when you are going to sleep in it again tonight?
While I realize it is only a matter a time before my “Goodfellows” poster comes down and pictures of flowers go up, I would not go back in a minute. It is great being able to come home to somebody and share your life with them. Dinner being ready when I walk in the door is not bad either. I know what everybody is thinking, it has only been a couple weeks. You raise a valid point and perhaps you should check back in six months from now.
I figure that is the amount of time before Kerry snaps and realizes my funny and cute behavior is actually just annoying. As a former roommate once said, “Kyle is like Disneyland. He is fun to visit but you wouldn’t want to live there.”
Luckily my parents have shown to me what a loving and compassionate marriage can be. After 30 some odd years they are still going strong and are a great example for Kerry and I.
In other words, if my mom can put up with my dad then there is some hope that Kerry will be able to put up with me.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Thoughts out of the head of your friendly, local editor:
• The Clarkston community was out in all force last Monday for the Clarkston Rotary’s annual Labor Day parade.
Now I must admit that the charm and entertainment value of a parade is lost on me. I am simply not a parade person. My parents took me down to the Thanksgiving Day parade once as a youth and it failed to excite. When the family went a few years later, I chose to sleep.
That being said, I was impressed with the amount of people who came out to Main Street on Labor Day. Despite the rainy weather, the streets were lined with enthusiastic community members.
The Clarkston Rotary must also be commended for planning the parade. I could only imagine the amount of time and effort that went into planning such an event. However, from the smiles on everyone’s faces Monday morning, it was well worth it.
• My contributions to charity are not huge due to my budget. However, I try to give what I can to causes I feel are worthy.
So a few weeks ago I went through my entire wardrobe and boxed items that were not in my clothing rotation. I did this partly to give the clothes to charity and partly because I was getting married and needed to make room for another person.
The end result was numerous boxes of old clothes. When I took them to a metro Detroit charity (I will withhold the name because although I bash a lot of things even I don’t have the insensitivity to negatively single out a charity) they stated they can only take two boxes at a time. And by stated I mean they barked at me as if I was their biggest inconvenience of the day.
If I wanted to drop off all the clothes I would need to come back at a later date.
I am sorry; I thought I was doing a good thing. They were acting like I was dropping off trash at a dump. It would have been much easier for me to throw the clothes in my apartment Dumpster, but instead I packed up my car and drove to this charity. They acted like they were doing me a big favor in taking my clothes.
I will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the woman was having a bad day, but it did not make the charitable process very enjoyable.
• While the Labor Day signifies the end of the summer season, it also marks the beginning of the football season. So while I will miss the barbecues and outdoor basketball, I am ready to spend my Sunday afternoons in my climate controlled apartment watching National Football League contests from around the country.
If you are going to Las Vegas, my early prediction is the Buffalo Bills against the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl with St. Louis winning.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

The Tony Miller saga has been talked about in this community for weeks and still no end is in sight.
In case you missed it, Miller, who was elected to the Clarkston school board in June, wanted to continue working with the Clarkston High School football team as a coach. When Superintendent Dr. Al Roberts stated he was not able to hold both positions due to a conflict of interest, Miller filed a lawsuit against Roberts. Last week the courts ruled in favor of Roberts.
During this debate, which sometimes got ugly, both sides stated their number one concern was the children. While I do not doubt that both sides have great interest in the children, or they would not be in the positions they are, let’s just take a look at what the students might have learned by having a front seat to this issue:
• That if you have a problem with somebody get a lawyer. Maybe this is just a sign of the times but this dispute does not seem like the type of thing our courts should spend a great deal of time with. Maybe if both parties had spent less time with their lawyers, and more time talking it out one-on-one, this dispute could have been worked out a long time ago.
Keep in mind as taxpayers we are paying for the lawyers representing the superintendent.
• That good people trying to give back to their community can be turned away. Miller is a hometown guy who has an interest in his community schools.
The fact that he was penalized for wanting to take on multiple tasks is a shame. Most of the time you have people not wanting to do anything, not people wanting to do too much. The people wanting to spend time giving back should not be punished.
• That mudslinging has a place in working out a legal dispute. Tony Miller’s lawyer threw a couple “below the belt” shots at both the Superintendent and the school board. Instead of doing his arguing in court of law, it seems like he wanted to do his arguing in the court of public opinion.
• That you should play any card to get the victory. After weeks of screaming about the Incompatible Public Offices Act, the school’s lawyers did an about face and argued a different position in court. The lawyer referred to powers conferred by the Michigan School Code that the superintendent has the authority to hire or decline to hire anyone he wants.
However at a press conference the next day, the school officials consistently beat the incompatible drum. It seems as if they had one argument to win the court battle and another to win the public relations battle. To see our education leaders speaking out of both sides of their mouths is troubling at best.
Despite the participants attempting to have the children’s best interests in mind, these are some awfully bad lessons we are teaching them.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

There are about 20 local individuals working hard to achieve an admirable goal.
I am talking about the “Friends of Renee” Spraypark Committee. And in case deductive reasoning has escaped you for a moment, the group is hoping to raise $153,000 to construct a new Spraypark at Clintonwood Park. The park would be dedicated to the memory of Renee Przybylski who lost a battle with leukemia at age 23.
Renee worked day camps for the Independence Township Parks and Recreation Department and from everything I have heard was an incredible person.
Since I would never have the patience to accomplish such a task, I have a healthy respect for people who work with young children.
I mean, I had to move tables at Pizza Hut last Friday because we were seated next to a table of screaming children. Ironically I have been led to believe, mostly from my parents and past teachers, that I was the loudest child ever to walk this earth.
Yet, Renee was able to excel at such a job and leave people behind who are greatly motivated to keep her legacy alive.
With the economy being rough the past couple years, I realize many individuals and families are forced to tighten the proverbial belt. However this spraypark not only is a tribute to an impressive and courageous individual, but would also be a great asset to the community.
I would urge all to make whatever contribution they can to this worthwhile project.
On another charity note, I received some feedback from a recent column documenting some trouble I had donating clothes to a Metro Detroit charity.
A reader connected with Lighthouse of Oakland County wrote me and gave me the point of view a charity might have of the situation.
They wrote about the type of clothing they sometimes receive at their building. I was disturbed to hear some people use a charity as a Dumpster with a tax break by dropping off dirty, smelly or ripped clothing.
As a service to my three readers, let me pass along what Lighthouse accepts. They are looking for “clothing that is clean, in excellent condition, fashionable (not outdated,) … something everyone wouldn’t be ashamed to buy themselves. Of course, in season clothing is a must.”
Evidently, a lack of space and volunteers forces the Lighthouse to be strict on what they can accept. I imagine a lot of time is wasted digging through unacceptable clothes in hopes of finding something that could be of use.
While I was mostly irritated by the way I was treated at this Metro Detroit charity (we all have bad days where we don’t treat people how we should or normally would) I appreciate someone taking the time to write about the other side of the issue. Sometimes we don’t realize the specifics behind someone’s decision.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

There are many signs the fall season has arrived here in the Clarkston area. The Labor Day Parade, the Crafts and Cider Festival and the Taste of Clarkston all mark the end of summer for some residents.
Since this is only my second fall in the Clarkston area, I have my own signs that summer is officially over and fall has begun. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share those signs with my four loyal readers (that number is up from three since my mother began reading my column at So my signs that autumn has arrived include:
• I began consuming mass quantities of candy corn. How something so simple can taste so good is beyond me. I have never done the math, but it is quite possible that I eat my weight in candy corn during the fall months.
As if that snack is not unhealthy enough, I have been known to mix it with peanuts to produce a powerful treat.
• Many Sunday hours become dedicated to watching the great game of football. Although I have noticed that football season as a married man is a little different. While I watch the 1 p.m. game and the 4 p.m. game, the evening ESPN game tends to be a tough sell.
• Being inundated with “fun size” candy bars at every grocery store. Let me just tell you there is nothing fun about the fun size candy bars. They are very deceiving in their size and a small snack can turn into quite a shameful experience if you are not careful.
• The Tigers close in on losing 100 games, the benchmark for baseball futility. In this case, this year it seemed like fall started in late June.
• People who are not quite sure how to dress for the autumn weather get the bright idea to tie a sweater or sweatshirt around their waist. The only problem being that the outfit makes them look like a major league dweeb. Hey, I did not say they were all good signs, did I?
• I suddenly begin seeing pumpkins wherever I look. There is always one guy who tries to be the talk of the neighborhood by purchasing the biggest pumpkin ever grown. I always wonder why they have a need to display a mutant pumpkin.
I gave up on pumpkins after years of being a frustrated carver during my youth. Despite all my planning, enthusiasm and concentration it was a simple fact that carving was not my game. I could only produce either a happy pumpkin or an astonished pumpkin. Those two looks would be rotated every year of my childhood.
• Consuming chili. There is nothing more enjoyable than a big bowl of chili on a fall weekend afternoon.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Our government confuses me from time to time. The rationale for what is illegal and legal can sometimes be puzzling at best.
In my mind, this is the case when the issue of gambling is discussed. In some instances our government allows, even encourages, gambling yet I can not legally place a bet on a couple of football games during the weekend.
I am just asking for a little consistency. If we decide gambling as a whole is not something we want in our society then I will play by the rules. But this picking and choosing of the legality of basically the same activity is annoying.
You can go downtown or up to Mount Pleasant and play the slots or try your luck at blackjack. You can also walk into any convenience store and play in the biggest gambling game there is: the Michigan Lotto.
The government wants you to play the lotto so much, solely because they get the money, they run commercials using children to promote their games. The message is if we want our children to be educated, a portion of the lotto money goes to the schools, then we better play the state’s legalized gambling game.
However, if we want to sports bet we are only left with getting involved with a bookie or taking our chances on one of the many websites advertising gambling. Personally I don’t have the guts to engage in either activity. Giving my credit card number to an organization setting up outside the country is a bigger gamble than whether the Lions and 49ers are going to beat the over/under.
I realize some people feel gambling is an immoral activity and that all forms of it should be done away with. However, if we did away with anything anyone thought was immoral, NBC would not be permitted to run “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” (Not to be confused, I feel that it is important to point out this last line was only to prove a point and does not mean I waste time watching any make-over show.)
I guess we can just file this away on the ever growing lists of contradictions by the government. Marijuana, in my opinion a relatively harmless drug, is illegal while alcohol, something that causes many more deaths, is legal. Smoking is horribly frowned upon and taxed heavily, yet fast food and Twinkies seem to be an acceptable diet. Have you seen the studies comparing the deaths caused by smoking to the deaths caused by unhealthy foods?
I guess people just need to hope that by the luck of the draw their vice happens to be on the legal side of the ledger.
Is it too much to simply ask for some consistency?
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Some miscellaneous thoughts floating around the head of your friendly, local editor this week:
• Why is everyone surprised by the fact that Roy Horn (of Siegfried and Roy fame) was attacked by a tiger during one of their performances?
Let me take you through the math. The duo does hundreds of shows a year for the past 30 years with a live tiger. Don’t you think he was probably pressing his luck a little bit? I am just surprised it took this long to happen.
Don’t get me wrong. This was a horrible tragedy and I am not trying to make fun. It just seems like the two were playing with fire.
• Congratulations to the Clarkston High School football team who made it a truly enjoyable homecoming for those in attendance. The Wolves took care of Waterford Mott 26-19 to run their record to 6-0.
After a down season last year, it looks as if the Wolves have reestablished themselves as a football powerhouse. While head coach Kurt Richardson is guarding his team against overconfidence, and rightfully so, the team deserves some congratulations. It will be interesting to see how they fare the last two weeks of the season against perennial powers Farmington Hills Harrison and Lake Orion.
• As always The Clarkston News is looking to publicize all activities from area service groups. Members of those groups who would like to get their events and activities in the paper should give us a call at (248) 625-3370 or drop us an e-mail at
• Anyone else feel ABC is attempting to cash in on John Ritter’s death?
• Yet another white male found himself in some hot water after talking about race. In case you have not heard, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh made some comments during his new gig at NFL Sunday Countdown that eventually led to his resignation.
Limbaugh stated Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated due in large part to the fact the politically correct media wanted a successful black quarterback so they would not write anything negative about him.
While I agree with Rush that McNabb is an overrated player (along with a lot of other players), I think stating the sports media has a great social conscience and created McNabb is giving them a little too much credit. Want to ask Charlie Batch if the media gave him preferential treatment because he was a black quarterback? How about Kordell Stewart?
While I do not believe Limbaugh should have stepped down because of those comments, I do believe his comments were off base. However, once the politically correct momentum gets rolling it is difficult to stop. By the way, I thought the fact some democratic presidential candidates were screaming for him to step down seems self-serving.
A note to all my white, male friends out there: keep your mouth shut. It is only going to lead to trouble if you inject race into an argument.
It has occurred over and over again so you would think people would learn their lesson. Limbaugh can get in line with the likes of Jimmy the Greek, John Rocker and Trent Lott.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Everybody complains about violence in movies, television and music lyrics. People rail it is hurting our children and leading to a violent society.
Well, I have one to add to the list. We need to stop the Republican holier than thou idiots who find the need to speak violently. I must prefix this by saying I am a Republican even though the conservatives can go a bit far for my taste.
However I hate hypocrisy in every form, so I must call these people out. The first is republican Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich’s wife, Kendel. No doubt trying to get some good public relations, Kendel decided to jump on her soapbox and scream about the entertainment industry’s negative influence on youth, and more specifically Britney Spears.
“Really, if I had an opportunity to shoot Britney Spears, I think I would,” Ehrlich was reported as saying while accusing the singer of exaggerating the importance of sex for young girls.
You would think the wife of a politician would be smarter than that, but I guess not. While it is obvious that she was joking, I think it is inappropriate to paint that type of picture. If I was her husband, I would sure scale back her public appearances.
What makes me most perturbed about the entire situation is Ehrlich put me in the position of having to defend a no talent like Spears. I mean sure, Spears dresses like a slut, but if you are worried about the children make sure yours are not watching her videos.
The next one who stepped up and put the proverbial foot in the mouth was religious broadcaster Pat Robertson. On his television show, “The 700 Club,” while Robertson was interviewing author Joel Mowbray he conveyed that he thought the U.S. State Department ought to be blown up with a nuclear device.
I am not quite sure what the 700 Club stands for, but in my estimation it is either the number of times Robertson says something stupid within the hour or the number of times he asked for money.
How appalling is this? I guess Robertson forgot to put his “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelet on that day because I am not sure the Son of God would promote using a nuclear device on our state department.
Where are the people making sure these idiots are held responsible for their actions? How about a boycott of the 700 Club? How about asking for something more than a press release apology which is far from sincere?
Even more horrifying was that Robertson already had said similar things in a June interview. I am all for questioning our government because they are far from perfect, but let’s tone down the crazy talk a little bit.
Is there anything more annoying than someone as pompous and condescending as Robertson speaking out of left field? If you are going to preach the message, then you better make sure your house is in order.
President Bush might want to take a small step away from the conservative religious right.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

It is time for our community, and specifically Clarkston Community Schools, to move forward from the Tony Miller saga.
In case you have not heard, Miller was the top vote getter in the June school board election who had been a coach on the Clarkston High School football team for a number of years. However, the board cited both school board policy and state law in establishing a “conflict of interest,” even if Miller did not receive pay for his services, to justify not renewing his contract this season.
Miller filed suit against Superintendent Dr. Al Roberts and Oakland County Circuit Court Judge John J. McDonald dismissed the case based on the in-court argument that Roberts had the statutory delegated authority to made decisions on hiring and firing.
Miller’s attorney is now contemplating either taking his original lawsuit to the Court of Appeals or may simply file a new lawsuit on behalf of Miller on First Amendment grounds.
I believe it is time for Miller to throw in the towel on this fight. The battle is costing the taxpayers hard earned money in legal costs and any thoughts of it being “for the kids,” now seems comical. The football team seems to be doing fine and have continued competing with a 6-1 record to date.
That being said, I respect a great deal the courage the hometown boy had in standing up to the board and more specifically Roberts. A great deal of the time, it seems the board and Roberts find it more important to speak “with one voice,” than to debate the issues and come up with the best solution. That is not the way a democracy should work and is not in the best interest of our community. I applaud Miller for standing up to that mob mentality.
Roberts does not seem to be one who is receptive to opinions that differ from his own. We at The Clarkston News learned that this year when Roberts decided not to write his column for us anymore because of an opinion column by our assistant publisher, Don Rush.
The fact the leader of Clarkston Schools would be so petty and “take his ball and go home” because he does not like the opinions of a single columnist is appalling to me. The fact that he decided not to speak to the community through the community’s newspaper of record and answer important questions should be appalling to our readers.
Write a letter to the editor, call and yell at me or bash us in your column if you do not like our stance. All of the above has been done before to this editor. What you can’t do is turn your back on the community who has a right to know what is going on in the schools. It should not be about Rush, Miller or Roberts if it is solely for the kids.
I wonder if Roberts would have taken the same hard line stance last year when the majority of his columns were written in an attempt to get their latest bond issue passed. I would hope so, but my better judgment says, “no.”
So while I give Miller accolades, there are bigger issues to fight for than one that makes you look selfish which I believe is beginning to happen. During the campaign, Miller questioned whether there needs to be 27 developmental days for high school teachers. He also spoke about if there are money issues in the district the cuts need to come from the people “running the show” and not the kids.
One of the most interesting items he talked about was that Clarkston had the third highest paid superintendent in the area and the third lowest paid teachers in the area. One can only ponder if these statements influenced Roberts thought process at all.
These are the type of issues that need to be raised and discussed in the public format.
This in no way should be taken as affirmation to what the board and Roberts have done on this issue. I think they should be ashamed of the way they debated a conflict of interest in the court of public opinion then uthority to make decisions of hiring and firing in the court of law. It was a terrible message to the kids that you need to “win at any cost.”
However I fear further fighting on this subject will make Miller less credible when more important issues are on the table. And that would be a shame because as far as I can tell, Miller is a guy with a good heart who wants to do what is best for the community.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Thinking out loud…
• Let me be honest and say I know about as much about computer technology as Richard Simmons knows about monster truck pulls. That being said, I spend a great deal of time on the Internet corresponding via e-mail, reading newspapers from around the country and keeping up with my ever important fantasy football team.
However that came screeching to a halt this past week when my Gateway computer (just over a year old) broke down and required me to replace the hard drive. Not only am I not able to feed my Internet fix, but once it is fixed I will have lost everything saved on the computer. Of course I did not have the foresight to save anything to disks. That is one of those mistakes you only make once.
I think I have talked with Gateway’s tech support more than my wife these past few days as they tried to explain how my $1,000 investment broke down in a little over a year. Maybe somebody is getting even with me for downloading some free music.
Whatever the case, if anyone of my four readers has sent me an e-mail, please bear with me if I do not respond in a quick manner.
• Anyone interested in learning more about the Clarkston community should come out to the annual expo. Lets try that again. Anyone interested in getting a bunch of cool free stuff should come out to the annual expo.
If you are like me and lose an average of 86 pens per week, this is an excellent place to replenish your stash. But seriously, it is an excellent opportunity to learn more about our area businesses and service groups.
Make sure you stop by and see me at The Clarkston News booth Thursday, Nov. 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Clarkston High School.
• Our federal government is falling further and further into debt with a struggling economy, tax cuts and an expensive war. While I have an extreme interest in politics, I am not going to lie and say I have a really firm grasp on our country’s economics.
However what I am quite sure of is we don’t need to be spending money on promoting a new $20 bill. The new currency is colored and evidently will cut down on counterfeit problems.
By being a football fanatic and watching more than my fair share of games, I have seen advertisements for this new $20 bill consistently on these broadcasts. I can’t imagine these advertisements come cheap.
Here is a simple idea. Release the information to the press and I am sure newspapers and television news will do a story and get the word out. Save the taxpayers some money and still inform them. Novel concept.
While I am sure there is much more wasteful spending coming out of Washington this just happens to be the one that is annoying me at the moment.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is Good luck with that.)

Men have historically been expected to be tough, rock solid and unemotional in our society. Despite my age, I classify myself as old school so I attempt to live up to some of those expectations.
However, all bets are off when I am sick. That is when my tough guy persona turns into whining. I pretty much act like a child until I turn the corner to a healthy existence again.
This was the case last weekend, and spilling into the beginning of the week, as I was suffering from a cold. While it is referred to as the common cold, it is anything but common when it hits me. You see, while many people don’t think twice about a cold, it throws my entire life into disarray.
I am convinced that I am somehow cursed by the cold. It seems whenever someone else is sick with a cold it is no big deal, however when it is my turn to be sick it just so happens that I have the worst cold ever.
So the entire weekend I complained my cough was too much to handle, my head felt like it was going to explode and my throat felt as though it was being scratched with a knife. I laid on the coach and asked what I had done to deserve this horrible event in my life?
Ironically despite my discomfort, I was not motivated enough to get myself any medicine.
Idle thoughts:
• Is there anything more deceiving in our culture than the fun size candy bar? At least with the regular size I know exactly when to stop eating.
• Best part of Halloween: While handing out candy I noticed a great majority of the kids were quite polite and made sure to give a thank you for the candy. Even more heartening were parents teaching the small ones to say thank you.
• Worst part of Halloween: Evidently trick-or-treating does not have an age limit any more. I could have sworn some of the individuals I was handing out candy to at least had their drivers licenses. Of course you hand them candy because you do not want to deal with the consequences. Halloween night is not the time to take a stand with our youth.
How about a cut-off at sixth grade?
• Speaking of age limits, let’s set one for painting your face and going to a sporting event. I love going to games and cheering for my team, but to apply face paint is going a step too far. I noticed this while watching the Sunday night game between Green Bay and Minnesota. The amount of adults with their faces painted puzzled me.
How about a sixth grade cut-off for that as well?
• Congratulations to the Clarkston High School girls cross country team for capturing the state title. While the enjoyment one gets out of running eludes me, it was an impressive accomplishment.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

CBS gave in to public pressure last week and decided not to air a four hour miniseries on former President Ronald Reagan. It was a strike against freedom of speech and quite a disappointment.
Conservatives had been flooding the air waves for the past few weeks screaming the series was in poor taste and should be banned from the airwaves. Everyone from Sean Hannity to Bill O’Reilly said the series was offensive given perceived inaccuracies and the fact the former president is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
And everybody knows that everything on television is in good taste and not offensive. Don’t let the fact that network television includes people eating bugs for money, marrying someone they know for a few weeks and voting to kick people out of a house influence your view. If CBS is really concerned about what will offend the American public, why did they ever broadcast ‘The Nanny??
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of Reagan and all he did for this country. He gave our country a sense of pride in the United States coming off the heels of the depressing Carter administration. Reagan was not dubbed ‘The Great Communicator? for nothing.
However, I also don’t believe a four hour television show on CBS would ruin his legacy. Haven’t we gotten to the point where the general public is smart enough to realize these are not completely truthful, but rather are meant for entertainment. I mean, when I watched ‘Come and knock on my door,? the behind the scenes story of ‘Three’s Company? I realized I wasn’t watching a documentary. Not that documentaries are completely factual either. All you have to do is watch a Michael Moore film to bring that point home.
Now the film might be in poor taste. In fact with Barbara Streisand’s husband James Brolin involved, it is a pretty good bet it is going to stink.
And while there is no way I would waste my time watching it, it is offensive that CBS would cower in the face of some heat. But I guess that just shows that the almighty dollar trumps the ability to stand by your project. With people complaining and advertisers taking away their money, CBS decided to ship the show off to Showtime which evidently is even more lowbrow than current network television.
So I suppose in a way we did have some form of free speech. That came from citizens flooding CBS with complaints and talking heads screaming about how offensive they thought the show was. That is also protected under the first amendment and I applaud those individuals for standing up for what they believe in, even though I feel they are way off base.
It is just sad that CBS did not have the courage to stand up for what they believe in and run the show. They must have thought it had merit since they agreed to run it at one time. I mean network television would not simply put an inferior and offensive show on television just to get ratings and make money. Would they?
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

The community service garden on the old McCord farm has been shut down and that is a shame.
The program, which was only a year old, was implemented by 52nd District Court Judges Dana Fortinberry and Michael Batchik. The garden allowed nonviolent and first time offenders to serve their debt to society by working in the garden rather than spending time in jail.
The entire harvest was donated to the Food Bank of Oakland County which this year consisted of 12,343 pounds of vegetables.
However, a group of citizens dubbing themselves the “Citizens for Community Safety,” spoke out against the community garden at a recent Independence Township Board meeting. They complained the garden both lowered their property value and put the neighbors’ safety at risk. After an evening of arguments, the next day the judges sent a letter to the township board saying they should eliminate the community garden at the McCord property and look for another home.
What a sad series of events. While I agree the citizens were correct in worrying about the property value of their homes, the simple fact is they didn’t own the land the community garden was on. It amazes me that people feel their rights as property owners continue on all land that can be seen from their property.
After all the complaints were voiced, there was only one possible incident where a worker possibly did something wrong. That was an indecent exposure complaint and even that could not be proven or traced back to the workers.
And this was not outsiders trying to disrupt our community. Fortinberry lives in the area and her kids volunteered at the site. The board, made up of locals voted in by the residents, thought this was a good idea. It just seems like another case of “not in my backyard.”
This is a fine program that has worked in other communities. I am not saying this was a perfect system, since it was in its first year, but the citizens were not willing to compromise at all. There was no willingness to discuss the issues and tweak the program so it could continue.
These were not convicted murderers and rapists. These were small time criminals who made a stupid decision. We do not need a barbed wire fence and supervision with automatic weapons in this instance.
I will give credit to the “Citizens for Community Safety” because they knew how to play the game. I mean, who can argue with their name? It is much more effective than “Citizens worried more about their property value than feeding the poor.”
I wonder what the group’s next project is? What is the next issue these concerned citizens can tackle? Or was it just their personal issue that had their interest?
It is sad to see the garden go, but I guess that is what happens when politicians get a whiff of public discontent. Sometimes it is easier to cave in than fight for something that can cause a public relations problem.
Fortinberry said a major reason the decision was made was to prevent the taxpayers from footing the bill for possible litigation from the group.
Maybe we can get the neighbors to use the money they would have paid in legal fees to make donations to the food bank. Not likely.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

The mother of all holidays is upon us. Thanksgiving is centered around food and football, which ironically enough, is what I center my entire life around.
This Thanksgiving Day, much like all others, will be spent at the parents’ place. Even though it is before the fact I know exactly how the day will go. Let me give you the rundown.
9:30 a.m.: Wake up excited about the fact that I will eat my weight in turkey.
10 a.m.: My excitement turns to annoyance as I realize Channel 4 once again is allowing Devin Scillian to sing country music during the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
10:45 a.m.: Laugh hysterically at the marching businessmen doing their parade routine.
Noon: Watch the FOX NFL Pregame show where Howie Long tells me what 44 things need to happen for the Lions to have a shot at winning the Thanksgiving Day game.
2 p.m.: Officially begin consuming the Thanksgiving Day meal.
3:15 p.m.: Slowly fall into my food coma.
5 p.m.: Aunt will attempt to get everybody motivated to play some sort of card game. I state I am saving my energy for dessert.
5:30 p.m.: I indulge in dessert and am officially done eating for the day.
5:35 p.m.: I began thinking about tomorrow’s leftovers.
As you can see, I will have a very full day on Thursday. So with all the creativity of a baboon, I thought my three readers would enjoy the obligatory Thanksgiving column.
With that in mind your friendly, local editor is thankful for:
• the fact that Michael Jackson might be in prison by the time the wife and I decide we want to have kids.
• the television show “The King of Queens” being in syndication. It is the best sitcom since “Seinfeld” and tickles my funny bone every night at 11:30 p.m.
• my health. Well, as healthy as a slightly overweight individual who enjoys the occasional fast food trip or beer can be.
• Oakland County resident Bob Seger being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Seger is a greatly underrated artist who has had one great song after another.
• being able to spend the holiday with family. And I am not just saying that because they are feeding me mass quantities of food.
• that as of the writing of this column nobody has referred to Thanksgiving Day as Turkey Day in my presence. A note to all of my three readers: this is neither humorous or original so please stop the madness.
I hope everybody enjoys their Thanksgiving holiday, wherever you spend it.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

(Since Click it or Ticket is once again upon us, I thought this was a great opportunity to reprint my column on this topic from Jan. 8, 2002.)
More than 19,000 safety belt citations were written by Michigan Law enforcement officers during the highly publicized Click it or Ticket campaign from Nov. 25 to Dec. 8 according to the Office of Highway Safety Planning.
Federal funds were granted to 18 counties to put additional officers on the roads during the two-week period.
In my opinion, what a waste of taxpayers’ money and police officers’ time. How is it the government’s responsibility to make sure we buckle up on the road?
Why should police officers be concerned if drivers are wearing their seat belts or not? I applaud making an effort to ticket drivers who are intoxicated on the road or those who are speeding. (Except of course if it is me and I am in a hurry.) When drivers engage in these types of behaviors they are putting others on the road in danger and should be punished for doing so. However, if I am riding without my seat belt the only one I am putting in danger is myself.
The government should legislate to protect citizens from other citizens, and not try to protect people from themselves. If this is their idea of good government then why stop there? Why don’t they legislate against fast food since studies have shown the fat in this food directly leads to heart failure? Accidents often skyrocket during snowstorms so let’s pass a law so people can’t drive during a snowstorm. Heck, let’s outlaw cars in general since they cause many deaths each year. These ideas do seem crazy but are not so farfetched when thinking about the absurdity of the seat belt law.
I am sure a lot of readers are thinking, “why doesn’t he just buckle up and quit complaining?”
Well, I do buckle up and I feel that everybody else should also. It is common sense that wearing your seat belt could save your life if you ever got into a serious accident. There is really no logical reason that I can think of for not wearing the belt at all times.
However, I feel that isn’t the point in the argument. The argument should be whether the government should get involved in forcing individuals to wear their seat belt. The point is keeping an eye on government, which is not only our right but our duty, and speaking up when they take too much control of our lives. The only seat belt law that should be enforced is the one in regards to children. Since children don’t know any better it is important to make sure their safety is protected. As for adults, let them make their own choices.
My guess is some of the police departments are less concerned with the safety of the drivers and are more interested in the money raised from the seat belt tickets.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

The Christmas season is officially upon us. While there are some who have complained about how early the season starts, it is now December so we must embrace it.
Despite my family labeling me a Scrooge, I really do in fact enjoy things about Christmas. The problem, as I see it, is for every part of Christmas that is truly enjoyable, there is another aspect that is truly annoying.
So, with that in mind, I thought it was important to set some ground rules this season. If everybody could please adhere by these simple requests, I believe we will all enjoy a truly Merry Christmas.
The rules are as follows:
• Radio stations can play as much Christmas music as they want. The only rule is that the Porky Pig rendition of “Blue Christmas” must be played at least once a day on each radio station in America.
• No more fruitcake. Nobody eats it. My guess is the same fruitcakes just get passed between families from year to year.
• No more preaching about the true meaning of Christmas. We have all heard about the birth of Christ. Some believe it, while others do not. I guess once we die we will individually realize if we put our chips down on the right number.
But for now let’s allow those who embrace the religious aspect of the holiday to do so, and those who want to embrace the commercialization can do their thing. It does not make them bad people, just different people.
• Along the same lines, please no human nativity scenes. They are creepy.
• Every person must watch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” at least once during the month of December. “A Christmas Story” is highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
• While shopping, if you block the aisle by putting your cart right smack, dab in the middle, you will be banned from the store for the holiday season.
• No wishing it will be a white Christmas. Not even Chuck Gaidica has that kind of power. It is either going to snow or it isn’t. No amount of discussion on the topic can make it snow.
•Along the same lines, I don’t care how low the temperature gets or how far the wind chill dips, never utter the phrase, “Cold enough for ya?” followed by a giggle.
• Somehow color coordinate the parking lots at the mall. It never fails that I will spend a good portion of my day walking around Great Lakes Crossing in a futile attempt to find my automobile. This is especially frustrating since half the people in metro Detroit drive silver Grand Ams like me.
See, now, that was not too hard, was it? I think if we all follow these simple rules we should have an enjoyable holiday season. Now, if only I can get everyone to think like I do for the remaining 11 months of the year.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail is

Let me prefix this column by saying I love my Sundays.
I enjoy everything about them including the sleeping in, the Sunday paper and the excuse to sit on the couch and enjoy sports on television. Don’t even get me started on winter Sundays when the combination of cold weather and important football games leaves you no choice but to stay indoors.
So let’s flash back to last Sunday when all was right in the world. It was noon and within the hour 16 National Football League games were going to be available with my satellite dish, Saddam was getting the most publicized medical exam and hopefully being slapped around by our well trained military and there was just enough snow on the ground to keep me indoors for most of the day.
The main point there was most of the day. I just had to look at one house, the wife and I are house hunting, before settling into an afternoon of inactivity. Then a left turn out of my apartment complex went wildly wrong as my automobile lost a battle with a sheet of ice and rammed over the curb onto the grass. Since my car took the curb sideways, my right wheel looked like it had gone 12 rounds with Mike Tyson.
After uttering a few choice words that would not be appropriate any day of the week, let alone Sunday, it was back to the apartment to call a towing service. Thus my Sunday was completely ruined. Now don’t get me wrong, I watched a ton of football but I barely enjoyed it.
However, Sunday’s irritation gave way to Monday’s utter disgust as I had to jump through multiple hoops for my friendly insurance company.
Now I am not here to bash the insurance industry because in the spirit of full disclosure it is important to point out the industry helped put me through college.
Yet, I was a bit dismayed when the first thing out of my insurer’s mouth was ‘get an estimate and if it is not too high you just might want to pay it so your rates don’t go up for three years.?
Let me get this straight, I have paid thousands of dollars over the past 10 years for car insurance and never asked for a dime in return. Now that I need some money, which is a fraction of what I put in over the years, I have to worry about my rates going up.
Maybe my annoyance had something to do with the fact that I needed to get a ride to work from the wife at 6 a.m. I am not exactly what you would call a morning person.
Is there a more useless feeling that being an American without a car? It just seems to put your entire life in a tizzy. Luckily I outrank younger sister Angie on the Gargaro food chain and was able to commandeer her vehicle until mine was back in commission.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

As leader of the free world President George Bush has to wear many hats. Our leader needs to be commander-in-chief, inspire the American people and decide policy. However don’t ask him to read a newspaper because that seems to be too taxing.
At least that is what we are led to believe after Bush was interviewed by Diane Sawyer on ABC last week. When Sawyer asked why the President did not read newspapers he said, ‘I get my news from people who don’t editorialize. They give me the actual news, and it makes it easier to digest, on a daily basis, the facts.?
From what I have heard, there is no truth to the fact that the President can simply not read. But seriously, it is a little distressing to me when our leader relies solely on the people around him (people he has hired) to give him the news. Do you think these individuals have the ability to be as critical of the news as someone who is impartial does?
Now obviously Bush does not need to read newspapers to keep up with the everyday activities of the world in which we live. He has a competent staff and intelligence community which can make sure he is reading the pulse of the entire world.
But obviously that is not all a newspaper provides. How about reading an opinion columnist who might have a nonpartisan view on a specific subject? Better yet, how about reading the letters to the editor and be able to gage the opinions of everyday Americans that you were elected to serve? In my estimation, it is more than a little pompous to assume one can learn nothing from reading the newspaper.
And this is not just a biased rant from an individual who has made a career out of print journalism. I do admit that I am biased. However, I would feel just as comfortable with the President if he was receiving different opinions from television or magazine news coverage. The issue is not what media the President chooses to expose him to, but rather that he exposes himself to them.
In what organization would you feel comfortable receiving information just from those on the payroll? Do you really think a CEO of a Fortune 500 business is not getting facts and opinions from every source possible with the thought in mind that the more conflicting information you have the better prepared you are to make a decision? Why does this theory not translate to Bush, who is literally holding the most important job in the world?
Now I am sure President Bush is not the first president to go this route to receive the news, but he is the sitting president and he made it public record. In addition, he did paint himself as a common man who was just like you and I during his campaign. For all the talk that he is a Washington outsider, he truly is isolating himself from people other than his circle of trust in Washington.
So I urge the President to get in touch with the pulse of America and pick up a newspaper every now and again. Sure, you might not enjoy getting raked over the coals on a few decisions but maybe you will get a kick out of reading the Al Gore’s son was arrested for marijuana.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

This might come as a shock to my loyal readers but I am somewhat of a whiner.
I don’t try to be, but it just turns out that I am a big baby. I complain when I am sick. I complain when I am tired. And I complain when I am hungry. So basically much like a child, I am always complaining.
However much like everything in life, experiences are relative. It just takes one serious situation to make you realize how idiotic you are to be frustrated because the self-checkout line at Kroger’s is not moving fast enough.
Such is the case when I compare my day-to-day life with my Grandmother Gargaro. She has been dealing with heart failure for well over a year and has bucked conventional medical wisdom by not succumbing to her medical problems. Her days are usually filled with pain, discomfort and nurses. Not a pleasant way for someone to spend their golden years.
However, I do not hear Grandma complaining. You see, the matriarch of the Gargaro family is old school. She is a tough Italian from the old country and this is shown in every aspect of life. Think Estelle Getty from ‘The Golden Girls? and then please forget that a 26-year-old male knows what actress played the grandmother in a chick comedy.
To this day one of my clearest memories as a child is when we brought Grandma home from the hospital after one of her stays for a medical condition that eludes me at the moment. On our way to getting Grandma inside to rest up, we saw a snake on the driveway. While my brother and I both cowered in fear (my excuse being that I was in first grade although I am fairly confident the situation would play out exactly the same way if it happened next week) Grandma Gargaro picked up a stick and beat the snake to death.
You see, like I said, Grandma is old school. Sure there would be cookies and bottles of 7-Up whenever we went to visit. However, there was also always a cold beer for the mailman to keep him cool during the summer months, and a shot to keep him warm during the winter months.
Of course Grandma has her quirks, we all do. Grandma has an odd love affair with the show ‘Wheel of Fortune,? even though her grasp of the English language is not the best. In fact now that I think about it, I do not believe I have ever seen her solve a puzzle. Also, she seemed to have an unhealthy obsession with the O.J. Simpson trial even though if you asked her to name one person who played professional football, you would probably get a blank stare in return.
But that aside, she is the kindest woman you would ever want to meet. She is loving to everybody but very protective of the family. The only bad thing I can say about her is she helped put me on the path of carrying around some extra baggage by preparing the best food this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Whether it is gnocchis, spaghetti, or something the Gargaros refer to simply as Cheese Things, she would make sure her grandson indulged in second and third helpings.
So keep on fighting the good fight, Grandma. It just wouldn’t be the same without you.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

The scales have been tipped in favor of the Detroit area.
That is not good news as ‘Men’s Fitness? magazine named Detroit as the fattest city in America. Detroit moved from third place to first, while last year’s leader, Houston, fell to third place. There is no truth to the rumor that Houston moved down a slot because Anna Nicole Smith moved out of Texas.
According to the Associated Press, the magazine makes their rankings based on 14 categories including number of health clubs and sporting goods stores and the number of fast food and ice cream and doughnut shops per 100,000 residents, air quality, climate, television viewing trends and availability of health care.
Now I am not sure how far the magazine extends Detroit, but if it extends Metro Detroit all the way up to Clarkston, I might be partly to blame. I realized I had put on a little holiday weight, I just did not realize it was enough to catapult my hometown into fattest in America. But rest assured, my New Year’s resolution was to drop some unnecessary weight so I will be working out and eating right for at least another week.
When you look at the situation you see many items working against Detroit. Obviously the climate does not lead to much exercise in the winter months. Also, the fact that there is a Coney restaurant on every corner does not help. Then, of course, there is the fact that we are the Motor City and love our automobiles. The culture here is to drive everywhere which means we get no walking exercise. You would think individuals would get exercise from fleeing downtown, but I guess that is not enough.
Finally, the Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick is not exactly leading by example. After the news hit the mayor, who is over 300 pounds, said he was going to try to lead by example from now on and would be finishing a marathon in the coming year. I am assuming the marathon is a new burger at McDonalds.
But I commend the mayor for taking this seriously because it truly is an epidemic. I don’t care about the overweight adults because they can make their own decisions. As long as they don’t sue the airlines because seats are too small, then I am fine with them being jumbo size.
The problem is with the youth of this country. A recent survey said that every day nearly one third of U.S. children, ages four to 19, eat fast food. Nearly 15 percent of American children are obese.
That is the result of parents not having the time to cook quality meals for their children and deciding to make a road trip to Burger King. It is an easy option since there are fast food restaurants on every corner.
Add that with the fact that kids spend a good portion of their free time watching television or surfing the net and we have a problem. Parents need to take responsibility for this problem.
Until then let’s all drop a few pounds and at least get out of the top spot. I mean come on; we can beat out Milwaukee can’t we?
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Your friendly, local editor’s take on the news of the past week:
? Burger King introduces bunless Whopper:
The low-carb craze hits an all-time low as Burger King unveiled a bunless Whopper.
Somewhere in the home offices of Burger King, in an attempt to make their product a healthy alternative, they looked at their menu and decided buns were the problem. I can hear the conversation now, ‘I don’t think the issue is the red meat simmering in grease or the slices of potato warming in lard. But I think that bun is really having a negative effect on the health of our nation.?
To all you Atkins dieters who think you are on the road to a healthy existence: take a step back and realize your diet says you should have a steak instead of an apple and that your leader, Robert Atkins, died of a massive heart attack.
Big picture people, big picture.
? John Kerry wins Democratic Iowa Caucus:
Can the primary season please start in more important states than Iowa and New Hampshire? I have never seen such pandering to people who don’t deserve it since the Lions courted Scott Mitchell as a free agent quarterback.
For months I have had to see speeches and debates from politicians talking about the issues affecting the people of Iowa and New Hampshire as they spend most of their week rallying their people.
I think between the two states they have about 60 residents. Let’s start with New York or California. Just something we can sink our teeth into.
Enjoy your moment in the sun, Hawkeyes and thanks a lot for Tom Arnold.
? Clarkston Board of Education updates ethic codes:
A sad sign of our times happened recently when the Clarkston Board of Education had to add a provision to their staff ethics preventing the staff from engaging in romantic or sexual relationships with students. Just for good measure they also added the staff should not provide alcohol, drugs or cigarettes to a student.
Now I realize the board just made these additions because they needed to be in accordance with state law, however, that does not make it sound any less crazy. It is just my belief that certain things do not need to be spelled out.
And if these items need to be spelled out to recent hires, maybe something in the interviewing process has gone amiss. Maybe the state should also require the schools to add provisions that the cafeteria lady cannot poison the students, the bus drivers can’t attempt to run over children at bus stops and janitors cannot spraypaint the walls with grafitti.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Everywhere you look celebrities are endorsing Democratic candidates looking to grab the party’s nomination and beat George Bush in the 2004 Presidential election.
Wesley Clark has Madonna in his corner. Senator John Edwards has the support of filmmaker Jerry Zucker. Howard Dean is being endorsed by director Rob Reiner and actor Martin Sheen even though the former Vermont governor sounds like a llama in heat while giving a concession speech.
It does not stop there as Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich has the backing of Willie Nelson and Danny Glover while John Kerry has James Taylor, Stephen Stills and Kathleen Turner on his side.
And let us not forget about Senator Joe Lieberman who is lucky enough to have the support of former game show host Monte Hall. Hmm, I wonder why Lieberman’s campaign is losing steam?
However a better question is why would anyone make a decision on who to vote for based on celebrity endorsements? I guess I am not the norm in a celebrity worshiping culture since I could care less what they think or who they date. To spend my time wondering whether Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are on again or off again this week would give me a headache.
I mean I do enjoy some celebrities for their talents. I think Eric Clapton is an incredible guitarist, Brett Favre is one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game of football and Larry David is the greatest comedic mind around. However even if all three showed up at my front door and personally requested that I vote for Dean I would not be able to do it.
I am not really sure why these celebrities feel their opinion on politics should carry more weight than anyone else’s. Since Hollywood tends to be politically a little left of the rest of the country you would hope their preaching would fall on deaf ears.
I guess when we are a culture that has an entire network dedicated to where celebrities party, what celebrities eat and the story behind their rise from humble beginnings, the celebrities themselves should not be blamed for thinking their opinion really matters to the country.
Maybe celebrities should use their fame and influence to campaign for people to register to vote without telling them who to vote for. This occurred recently with Hip-Hop mogul Russell Simmons along with artists including LL Cool J, Rev. Run and Jadakiss kicking off a ‘One Mind, One Vote,? campaign aimed at registering two million voters. In the spirit of full disclosure, I only know who two of the above individuals are but I hear the other two are very popular.
The group was distraught at the fact that some 47 million people between the ages of 18 and 34 are not registered to vote. So I urge you all to forget the celebrities, do your own research and vote your conscience. See you at the polls.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

A crazy thing happened Sunday night as, for at least one day, Michael Jackson was not the most embarrassing member of the Jackson family.
That is because sister Janet decided to expose herself to the country during her halftime performance at the Super Bowl. In case you have not heard, during the grand finale of her duet, Justin Timberlake grabbed Jackson’s outfit and yanked off a patch of leather covering Jackson’s breast. So the millions of people watching the Super Bowl got to see much more of Jackson than they thought they would be able to.
At the time I am writing this column Jackson is apologizing for the publicity stunt while CBS, which broadcast the program, and MTV, who were in charge of the halftime show, are denying any involvement. And really who cares what Timberlake has to say because the guy has no talent.
Now I did not see the exciting 1.5 seconds because after Kid Rock’s performance I was busy grabbing myself another beverage and joking around with my friends who joined me in watching the big game. However one of my friends was watching at the time and he kept me abreast of the situation.
As a heterosexual 26-year-old male I must admit I wish I would have been watching the show at that time, however I was disturbed by the timing. It is the Super Bowl which in America has turned into a holiday. Families are sitting down to watch the game and while this might be hard to understand in our culture, some parents still make an effort to make sure their kids are not exposed to such images.
Individuals are making the mistake of lumping this in with the infamous Madonna-Britney Spears kiss on MTV as just another example an attempt to shock. However the two instances are very different. If you are allowing your child to watch MTV after 9 p.m. you are asking for trouble. If parents have to worry about their kid watching a football game on CBS, then parenting just got a whole lot more difficult.
This was obviously a stunt to get Jackson in the news and help promote her new album coming out in the spring. I guess she needs it because I can’t remember the last time Jackson had a hit. I have no idea how many people were involved but my guess is it was a lot more than just Jackson and Timberlake.
There is plenty of blame to go around in this situation. The NFL should know better than to relinquish authority on any aspect of their product and CBS should know better than to have MTV plan a halftime show. I mean, have they seen the station lately?
I love football and everything that surrounds Super Bowl Sunday. I mean, if you told me at the beginning of the year that I could either have Super Bowl Sunday or Christmas, I am afraid my December would be very boring. I also subscribe to the thought process that fried foods and adult beverages should be enjoyed until you burst. However the titillation should probably be regulated to pay-per-view much like the Lingerie Bowl which took place during the same halftime.
Lets give parents a chance.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

The ‘No Child Left Behind? legislation has been getting a lot of press both locally and nationally recently. The idea is for individual schools to be held accountable and make sure our children are receiving the best possible education.
Sounds like a pretty good idea, doesn’t it? Well, like everything else in life, the more bodies of government a particular issue needs to go through the more trouble that ensues. The education issue is no different as legislation from the federal government leads to mandates by the state government which affects our local school district.
Michigan’s answer to No Child Left Behind is Education Yes which, among other things, gives individual schools a report card in an attempt to have all students proficient in basic academic subjects by 2014.
Well the grades came out recently, followed shortly behind by complaints from school officials. Our very own Clarkston school district was distraught by their grades, which were mostly in the B range. While I was usually happy with a B back in my school days, I refuse to fault anyone for lofty goals.
While I freely admit I am not a No Child Left Behind scholar, on the outside looking in it seems like a good plan. I feel accountability in all walks of life is a positive. Without accountability you will most likely not fulfill your potential. And while some in education think we are picking on them, the simple truth is we are funding the American educational system so it is a perfectly reasonable request to expect to see some results.
I, for one, have been getting sick of hearing the administration whine about the process. When people start to complain it sounds exactly like the teachers on Charlie Brown to me. So I thought I would call up our Superintendent Dr. Al Roberts to let him explain his concerns and more importantly see if he had any ideas on how to fix the problem.
In my conversation with Roberts he made three major points as to why No Child Left Behind was unfair including:
Tests vary from state to state and it is unfair for Michigan schools that have much higher standards than some of their counterparts. To me this was a valid point and one that should be easily corrected. Why can’t we have one test for all fifth graders in America and another for all sixth graders?
We have tests like the ACT that cross over state boundaries so how hard would it be to come up with one for each grade level. Since this is a federal program, all districts in the United States should be on a level playing field.
Instead of measuring how the schools are teaching by comparing fourth grade test scores from one year to the next, compare the fifth grade test scores from this year to the fourth grade test scores from last year so you can measure the same students. Sounds to me like Roberts is right again as this is a classic example of not comparing apples to oranges. The key issue is how the children are progressing from year to year. It just does not make sense to me to compare test results from two different groups.
We also need to look at other issues such as poverty, home life, preparedness for schools and other items in order to see the entire picture. This one I am not on board with. To me it would fall under the category of items you need to deal with. Everybody’s job has specifics you need to overcome. Part of being held accountable is showcasing how you overcome the road-blocks being placed in your way. If it was an easy job anyone could do it. You need to step up to the plate and overcome obstacles.
So while this is obviously not a perfect system, I believe we are headed in the right direction. If government and school officials would get in the same room and hash out these differences we would be a lot better off.
However it is my opinion that school officials from around the country do not want a perfect system because they truly do not want to be held accountable. You see if No Child Left Behind was perfect they could not blame anybody but themselves for the terrible shape our nation’s schools are in at this time.
The simple fact is we are throwing a lot of money at education and are not getting the results. This is no knock on teachers because I believe they work hard and do admirable work. However, I would like to see more money going directly into the classroom and less going to administrative costs.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

I like to think of myself as a fairly opened-minded individual. While I have my beliefs I enjoy hearing the other side of the argument. I would much rather engage in a good debate than have somebody agree with everything I say.
However, when individuals attempt to stretch the truth or play with words in order to make their point it really annoys me.
Here are just two examples of what I am talking about:
? In a recent article in The Clarkston News, our reporter Don Schelske wrote about the budget problems of our schools. Part of the article quoted school board member Tony Miller criticizing the ongoing budget woes in light of new facilities under construction. In response to Miller, who after a rough start is really starting to impress me, Board Vice President Ronald Sullivan said the decision to build new buildings came from a voter-approved bond issue. ‘We listened to the community,? he said.
This comment gives the illusion that the community rose up and requested these new buildings be built. It sounds as if the school district was just doing what the people wanted.
Well that is obviously not the case. The school district came up with the plan, pitched the plan and promoted the plan. The community put its trust in the leaders of the school district and decided to endorse their recommendation. However to distance yourself from the decision does not tell the entire story.
I am not saying the decision to build was the wrong one. Just stand up for your choice and accept the consequences.
? Governor Jennifer Granholm was clearly misrepresenting her thought process when she unveiled her proposed budget for next year. Included in the proposal was a 75 cent tax increase on a pack of cigarettes. To explain this so-called ‘sin tax,? Granholm was reported as saying this would hopefully increase the likelihood people will stop smoking and therefore become healthier.
These comments are disingenuous at best. The simple fact is the Governor went after smokers because they are not a sympathetic figure. Slash education and people think you are heartless. Slash money going to seniors and people think you are cruel. Tax those individuals who make your clothes stink like a chimney and produce secondhand smoke, and well, no big deal.
No offense to those who smoke, but you are not really a group who looks to be on the cusp of mobilization. They tax you guys because they can get away with it. Sure there will be whining and complaining about how unfair it is, but then you will have a 30-second coughing fit and forget what you were mad about.
Well, putting massive taxes on smoking, and following closely behind on alcohol, is wrong. If the government thinks this is so bad for the consumers then have the guts to ban it and deal with the results.
But they will never do it because these vices are the government’s cash cow. It educates our youth and helps repair our roads. So Governor, don’t tell us that you are proposing this tax to help us become healthier when all you want is the money.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

They told me my life would change.
This was last year as I was preparing to get married. After the initial congratulations, there would be a smirk followed by the above comment. (That of course was the people that did not make cracks like ‘Marriage is a wonderful institution. But who wants to live in an institution??)
Myself, I could not imagine my life changing. Besides being very set in my ways, me and the now wife had been dating for six years so it was hard to expect any surprises.
Yet, after six months, I am back to report that in fact life has changed. Not in the major ways one would expect, but rather subtle day-to-day changes. Changes like:
? Everything has to match. We recently purchased a house and decided to take down the wallpaper in the kitchen (another story for another day.) Nothing was as frustrating as the domino effect that ensued. We needed to change the color of the wall so it matched the tile. However, after we painted the wall we needed to get new dishes because they did not match the recently painted walls. Prior to the wedding I was happy if my socks matched my pants.
? Television. Much to my surprise my television has more channels than just ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic. Now showing on my television is ‘American Idol?, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer? and ‘Trading Spaces?. I swear I have seen every person in America decorate their neighbor’s room.
In the spirit of full disclosure, the wife has had to sit through every Green Bay Packer game, ‘My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance? (which she lived last summer) and ‘Seinfeld? reruns.
? Saturdays. Premarriage a ‘big Saturday? would consist of sleeping in, having the boys over to watch college football and then hitting the bar scene at night. Just as a frame of reference, last Saturday consisted of a trip to ABC Warehouse to buy a refrigerator, a stop at J.C. Penny’s to purchase shades and a game of ‘Sorry?.
? Dinner. Evidently dinner needs to be planned the night before. No more stopping at Burger King on the way home from work or just grabbing some Cocoa Pebbles after working out. However the wife is doing the cooking so in this category I have few complaints.
? Dishes. Contrary to my previous belief dishes should be done immediately after dinner and not whenever you run out of clean ones.
? Wall decorations. I have been told framed ‘Goodfellows? and Reggie White posters do not make high-class decor. In fact, it barely makes the cut in a dorm room. You see, wall hangings need to well-coordinated. (Please see everything has to match paragraph)
So for once in my life everybody else was right when I was wrong. However, do not get the wrong impression, the changes have been good. Well, at least 90 percent good.
But hey, if I can change that means there is hope for everybody.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Can our country please come to their senses and not allow the religious right to highjack our culture?
In case you have not heard, a segment of our country, which I will call ‘Jesus freaks,? have attempted to impose their moralistic beliefs on the entire country ever since Janet Jackson showed her breast during the Super Bowl.
Now to cut down on the nasty e-mails I am sure to receive, let me define Jesus freaks. These are not everyday people who practice their religion and live according to the bible. Instead these are people who feel the need to tell the rest of the country how we should live our lives and what we can watch and not watch.
The first casualty of the cause was Howard Stern who was taken off six stations by Clear Channel. However this is not really about Stern. He is obviously a high-profile entertainer they are trying to use as an example.
I am sure other ‘shock jocks,? prime time television shows and other entertainment forms will follow as major companies are feeling pressure from Congress and the Federal Communication Commission.
In this election year the Republicans are jumping on the issue to appease their conservative base. Jackson and ‘Nipplegate? was just the opening they needed to advance their agenda.
How about the old theory that conservatives were for less government and individuals have more responsibility? I guess that is the case until your voting block tells you what to do.
The Republicans should have some faith in the American people. Now I am not a Stern listener, but I do believe people have the right to listen.
If the content of his show is so horrible, people will not listen, which will scare away advertisers and thus end the show. That is how our country should work.
The Jackson case was a different circumstance because it took place unexpectedly during the Super Bowl when parents thought it was safe for their kids to watch. However, if you are letting your children listen to Stern at a young age then you are probably not going to be earning ‘Parent of the Year? honors.
The amount of television and radio stations in our society is truly staggering. Are you telling me people can’t find anything for your family to watch or listen to? I find that hard to believe. So why don’t people watch what they feel is appropriate and the rest of the country can do the same?
Is this really how we want to our political leaders to spend their time? You don’t want them to talk about health care, Social Security or terrorism prevention? Much better for them to talk about Stern, right?
How a couple jokes by Stern is more harmful to United States residents than having their presidential candidates bought by special interest groups eludes me.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

A little piece of America died last week as McDonald’s decided to get out of the super size business.
Yes, Ronald is getting rid of the extra large portions of french fries and soft drinks. By the end of the year, the more than 13,000 McDonald’s around the country will stop selling super size portions all together.
The spin coming out of McDonald’s home office was this was done for ‘menu simplification? and ‘health concerns for their customers.?
I am not buying those arguments at all.
First off, the ‘menu simplification? argument is idiotic. As a man of average intellect, I am not afraid to tell you many things confuse me including computers, the stock market and the fascination with ‘American Idol.? However, I have the ability to grasp the McDonald’s menu.
And as far as health concerns, I don’t think that is high on the priority list either. I think McDonald’s would sell boiling fat if there was a market.
No, the main reason for this is money. My hunch says the restaurant was not making a big profit on super size meals and decided to make a change.
In addition, the lawsuits against McDonald’s could not have hurt. While these lawsuits hold no merit, since nobody is holding a gun to people and ordering them to load up on fries, the company was taking a public relations hit.
Of course, the recently released movie ‘Super Size Me,? a comedy about Morgan Spurlock eating nothing but McDonald’s for a month and gaining 24 pounds, could not have helped the situation.
However, this decision is really a credit to the American public. The recent health craze has made corporate America change their thinking.
But where does that leave me? As an overweight 26-year-old who enjoys french fry boxes the size of my freakishly large head and a coke so big it could serve as a children’s pool, where do I go?
I am not saying I indulge everyday, but once a month I like to clog the old arteries.
Are we not going to be the big, ugly high consumption Americans anymore? I mean I will get on board if that is the case, but it is just that I have not received the memo yet.
I thought we were a culture that drove gas guzzling SUVs, ate supersized meals and watched reality television on our big screen plasma television until we passed out.
Where have you gone America and when will you come back?
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News is

There are just some people that you instantly like. Independence Township Clerk Joan McCrary is one of those individuals. And get this, she is a politician and I still like her.
I first met McCrary about two and a half years ago on my first day as editor of The Clarkston News. The outgoing editor, Maralee Cook, was showing me around the Clarkston area. Maralee was also introducing me to important people in the community so this inevitably led us to McCrary’s office at the Independence Township hall.
Full of the first day jitters, McCrary made me feel right at home. We talked about my background, issues facing Independence Township and the area. You could really tell she had a love for her job and also a love for the community she served.
Surely she was just being so kind because she was friends with Maralee, I thought. However, the pleasant personality never subsided as I continued with my job at the local newspaper. And that is quite an accomplishment because usually the longer people know me, the less they enjoy being around me.
The truly amazing part was you could tell the kindness was authentic. After working in journalism for a few years you can often tell who is genuinely a good person and who is being kind to you in the hopes you won’t write a negative story about them. There is nothing more annoying than the latter, but also few things as satisfying as the former.
As I was learning the ropes in this community, McCrary was always quick to provide an explanation or a frame of reference by sharing with me some history that I wan not privy to. In addition, McCrary would never duck an issue I brought up. No matter what the topic was, you could count on her to return your phone call which is somewhat rare today. Even though you could tell she was biting her tongue in some of our meetings, she was always forthcoming.
Like any good politician, McCrary has thick skin. You would not receive a phone call of complaint from Joan if you happened to write a column opposing what she or the board had done. With some individuals I know I will hear from them as soon as they read the paper, but McCrary always respected the role of a community newspaper. It is amazing how many officials believe they can prevent the local media from offering up the other side of an argument with a mixture of complaints and threats.
So I was greatly disappointed this week when I heard McCrary had decided not to seek another term in office. After 15 years as Independence Township Clerk, McCrary is looking forward to more time with her grandchildren and her elderly parents.
Her family’s gain is the community’s loss. McCrary has made my job a lot easier over the years and for that I am grateful. In a selfish way I wish McCrary would stay on since she was such pleasure to work with during my time with the newspaper. But knowing Joan, I am sure she will train her replacement well.
Enjoy the new chapter of your life Joan.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Thinking out loud:
? Congratulations to the Clarkston High School basketball team for their run in the state tournament. Coach Fife and his squad have provided the area with some exciting ‘March Madness.?
? As long as I am giving out congratulations I might as well send some to Bob Seger. The local rock star was recently inducted to the Rock n? Roll Hall of Fame. If any artist produced better road trip music I have yet to hear them. I only wish I could have been around back in the day when Seger was selling out Cobo Hall.
? I have a problem I need to come clean about. I am addicted to Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs. I can’t be trusted with them in the house. They must put an addictive chemical in the candy, because I just can’t resist another after I have tasted one.
The sequence usually goes like this: I eat one and because it was so good I have another. Well after two eggs it is now more of a meal than a snack so I need to eat two more. After the fourth egg there is just two remaining in the six pack and since it does not make much sense to put away just two I finish off the pack.
I know, I have a problem.
? Despite being painted as the running liberal (please excuse the old SNL reference) in the letters to the editor, I like to think of myself as an independent and as someone who never runs.
That is probably why I am angered with both sides on how they are complaining about how the Sept. 11 tragedy should be dealt with in this political season.
My opinion is President Bush should be able to use footage from 9-11 in campaign commercials. It is a major part of his presidency and the rallying of the country was probably his most impressive accomplishment of the last four years.
However, the Democrats should be able to discuss whether Bush fell asleep at the wheel and could have prevented the attacks without being branded as unpatriotic.
At this time, both sides are using a national tragedy to score political points.
? Why am I addicted to Donald Trump’s ‘Apprentice? show on NBC? Better yet, why was I so happy that Omarosa was kicked off the show? I definitely need to invest in a life.
? I used to play tee-ball as a kid and was actually pretty good, but I really don’t like cats. (See March 10 letters to the editor to get reference.)
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Ahh, now I know how the other half lives.
I felt like a high roller Friday night after my friend scored us some tickets to the Pistons game. You see these were not just any old tickets to a basketball game. Instead, my buddy had gotten tickets to the Cingular Wireless Club.
At first I was reluctant to attend a game in a corporate sponsored club. I am a working man and enjoy watching the game with my fellow common folks who love to cheer for the Pistons and yell at the referees. However, I changed my mind after my friend told me the club had free dinner and free beer.
The experience was unlike any other sporting event I had attended. I enjoy going to numerous sporting events but usually I make sure to bring Kleenex in case my seats give me a nose bleed.
However, last Friday the four of us were treated like kings. The festivities began by pulling into our assigned parking spot not 50 feet from the Palace. With all do respect to L. Brooks Patterson, the shorter the walk I have to make the better.
After taking the elevator to the VIP club, we were presented with enough food to feed a small third world nation. There was chicken, pork, pizza, quessadillas, brats, pasta, salad and desserts ready for us to consume. After about an hour I was officially full for the first time in my life.
While throwing back a few cold ones, the four of us laughed at the poor souls waiting in line for their $7.50 beer.
It was a perfect night as the food was great and the Pistons beat the Heat.
The only question is how can I sit in the upper bowl again?
? While Kid Rock and the Palace got most of the attention for their $60,000 Spraypark donation, and rightfully so, the community as a whole should be saluted.
The way everyone rallied around the cause was indeed impressive and showcases the kindness that exists in the Clarkston community. The Spraypark Committee should also be saluted for all their hard work.
? In a society where complaining is common and action is rare, I applaud the citizens group calling themselves ‘Citizens for a Progressive Springfield? for getting involved.
The group has fielded candidates for supervisor, treasurer and trustee. While time will tell whether the group will receive support from the Springfield Township citizens, I am looking forward to some good debate. In my opinion, the more people wanting to take part in their local government the better.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

The senior center debate is back again.
The issue was a hot topic two years ago when the construction of a new senior center was voted down by the voters of Independence Township. However the issue is back as township officials and the Senior Advisory Committee are brainstorming ideas once again.
I can imagine what the residents of Independence Township are thinking about a new senior center. Conventional wisdom tells me it goes something like this: ‘No means no. If we voted it down two years ago then why put it on the ballot again.?
I can’t blame them since that is logical thinking. Personally, nothing annoys me more than government officials who do not listen to their constituents and instead try to ram their beliefs down their throats. Well, maybe Carrot Top annoys me more.
However, in this situation there are extenuating circumstances. The simple fact is that the township board hosed the seniors in 2002. Instead of prioritizing needs they attempted to get everything they wanted and ended up with nothing. Quantity over quality does not work for Ponderosa, and it sure does not work for local government.
In the August 2002 ballot, the board combined a new township hall with improvements to Clintonwood Park, including the building of more soccer fields, in an attempt to court the soccer mom. When that failed, the board came back in November 2002 with a ballot including a community center/senior center along with a new township hall. Voters, fatigued by another proposal asking for money and struggling with a poor economy, voted that down also.
It is important to point out while some seniors wanted a separate senior center, there were also some pushing the community center/senior center combination. But adding the township hall onto the vote was wrong and took advantage of the hard work the seniors had done.
The Senior Center at Clintonwood Park is an embarrassment. If the community is going to have a seniors program, then they should do it right.
It always disturbs me how horribly our culture treats seniors. It is even more perplexing given that all of us, God willing, will become seniors. Well maybe not me since, with my diet and lifestyle, anything after 50 will be borrowed time.
We build a state-of-the-art high school and invest $83.7 million in additional school renovation with no problem. Millions of dollars are being invested to make improvements to Sashabaw Road. However the individuals who have built this community into what it is and paid to educate children for many years continue to get the shaft.
Something needs to be done. Township officials, seniors and residents need to think outside the box. The community has shown it can rally behind a cause by raising more than $150,000 for a spraypark.
We need that kind of thinking with the senior center. Fundraising, business partnerships and fiscally prudent building plans can go a long way in making this area a great place for seniors to live.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

I am thinking we need a name change for the ‘Citizens for a Progressive Springfield.? I believe viable options include ‘Citizens for the wasting of taxpayer money,? or ‘Citizens for sore losers.?
The Citizens for a Progressive Springfield ran a slate of candidates against the Springfield incumbents. The challengers included Bill Sahutske running for supervisor, Christine Reilly running for Clerk, James Ashley running for Treasurer and Marc Cooper running for Trustee.
Cooper won his election and grabbed one of the trustee positions, but the rest of the slate got beat like a rented mule.
End of ballgame, right? Wrong.
Sahutske, Reilly and Ashley, still stinging from the lopsided loss, filed petitions requesting a recount. A total of 2,500 Springfield residents voted and the margins of loss were 432, 549 and 165. Those numbers do not look close enough to engage in a recount. And not surprisingly, after the recount was completed, none of the margins changed.
Sahutske said he requested the recount because, ‘The numbers didn’t add up.? He noted the victory of ‘slate? candidate Cooper and the wide diversity of votes among the other three slate members. While not taking away from Cooper’s win, Sahutske said ‘voter history? and ‘human nature? say the variance should not have been more than 10 percent.
That seems to be insulting the voters of Springfield Township. Isn’t it possible that an aware and intelligent voter might look at each individual candidate before deciding who to choose? This is especially true of the primary election when usually only the true political junkies come out to have their voice heard.
The fact that all four candidates were challengers also needs to be taken into account. As the National Presidential election has taught us, sometimes people vote against a candidate instead of for a candidate. Just ask the Democrats who want ‘Anybody But Bush,? and are supporting a flawed candidate like John Kerry.
If the Citizens for a Progressive Springfield would have spent as much time crafting a platform as they have complaining about how the election was run, they might have been more successful. From what I heard their issues were vague at best and their answers were something one might find inside a fortune cookie.
I applaud all the candidates for taking enough interest in their community to run for office. At a time when most people do not vote, their motivation is appreciated.
However, there is a time to move on. I have not even to mention that it cost the taxpayers to participate in this little puppet show. Amount the candidates need to pay for recount: $270. Amount township needs to pay for recount: $1,000. Losing with grace and class: priceless.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Stop me if you have heard this one before: Gold medal is awarded to athlete in a competition any sane human being should not call a sport; after competition scoring error is noticed, annoying athlete and supporters claim another gold medal needs to be awarded.
This happened two years ago in the Winter Olympics when ice skaters Jamie Sale and Daivd Pelletier (the most annoying people from Canada since Alex Trebek) complained they rightfully deserved a gold medal. As was expected with today’s culture, the large amount of whining was followed with the Canadian babies getting their way.
Fast forward to the summer Olympics this year and we have the big, fat Greek annoyance in the gymnastics competition. Paul Hamm, the pride of Waukesha, Wisc., won the men’s all-around gold medal by recovering from early trouble to make an unprecedented comeback.
Then, faster than Hamm could put on a cheesehead, South Korean gymnast Yang Tae Young was crying foul claiming he was incorrectly scored. After reviewing the competition, Hamm believes he deserved the gold since the judges did not dock the South Korean for some obvious errors.
Two years ago I wrote the Canadian ice skaters need to deal with their disappointment because sometimes life is not fair. I say the same thing to Young.
This is what happens when you spend your entire life preparing to play a game, not a sport. Now before I have a pack of male gymnasts attacking me (although I am pretty sure I could take them), let me explain myself.
When you participate in a competition that awards points for style and creativity, as well as ability, how can you be surprised when the results are heavily subjective? In basketball if the ball goes through the hoop you score. In football if you get into the end zone you score. In gymnastics, you are at the mercy of a judge’s interpretation of how you performed.
I don’t mind gymnastics being part of the Olympics or being broadcast in prime time because that is obviously what the viewers want. However, when the scoring of your little exhibition does not go how you want it I do not want to hear any complaints. And I would like to repeat, this is not a sport.
Nevermind that these Olympic Games are getting out of control. I swear the Olympic Committee is just creating new competition so every channel NBC owns will have something to broadcast. I was channel surfing the other day and ran across the trampoline competition. I was not quite sure whether NBC was broadcasting the Olympics or a high school graduation party.
Evidently our attention span has gotten so bad that we are no longer entertained by a simple diver. Now we want divers to jump at the same time and perform exactly the same way.
I am so glad football season is starting.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

The entire journalism field took a hit last week when legendary Detroit News columnist Joe Falls died.
Falls was a Detroit icon and an Independence Township resident. His resume included a 58-year career in sports journalism and membership into both the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and the Baseball Hall of Fame. He had a love for both sports and this area.
With a genuinely good guy like Falls it seems like everybody has a story about his character. With that in mind, here is mine:
I have always enjoyed reading newspapers and my life-long interest in sports always led me to that section. I read hundreds of Falls? columns over the years and felt like I knew him personally long before my time as editor of The Clarkston News.
However, my first real introduction to Falls was when it was announced he would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I placed a quick call to the Detroit News sports department hoping for a quick phone interview with Falls since we were the hometown newspaper.
Now we take our jobs very seriously at The Clarkston News and feel we provide a valuable service to the community. However, I am sure you will not be surprised to find out some people put us pretty low on the newspaper food chain. We tend to get phone calls returned after the major media outlets have already been satisfied. A good example of this is a former Independence Township resident who we did a story on about seven months ago. Well, his project has really taken off and now I can’t get his publicist to return my phone call.
After leaving a message for Falls I was not expecting a quick return phone call. I mean, publications like USA Today and Baseball Weekly would probably need to be satisfied before The Clarkston News.
Yet there was the phone call from Falls at 10 a.m. the next morning. Instead of a phone interview he invited me into his home later that afternoon.
We spent the afternoon downstairs in his office talking about his experience in journalism, his family and the town we both lived in at the time. He offered me advice about the newspaper industry that I still value to this day.
What we did not talk a great deal about was his election into the Hall of Fame. He did not get into this job for recognition or awards. While he was very gracious about the high honor, he wanted to make sure everybody else in his life got as much credit for it as he did.
The kind gestures did not end there, as the columnist kindly told me if I had any questions about my career or needed anything at all to call him.
I would like to think that Falls saw something special in me and wanted to take the time to help me out, but the simple fact is he was a kind person. Anyone in my position would have gotten the upmost respect from the seasoned veteran. After years of thinking he was a great reporter, I learned he was an even greater person.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Outgoing Supervisor Dale Stuart has given Independence Township a lot during his many years of service. However he should have one more item on his ‘to do? list: a smooth government transition.
After an intense campaign, current Trustee Dave Wagner beat Stuart by a surprising 2,458 to 1,703 margin and will take the reins of the supervisor’s office on Nov. 20.
To say it was a hostile election would be an extreme understatement. The relationship between Wagner and Stuart the past few months would probably fall somewhere between George Bush/John Kerry and Roseanne/Tom Arnold.
Wagner really wanted the Supervisor job and fought hard for it. Wagner attacked Stuart for his perceived lack of leadership and open communication Stuart exhibited during his time as supervisor. I believe Stuart felt Wagner’s attacks were misrepresentations at best and calculated lying at worse.
As with anything the facts are somewhere in the middle. When competing for a public office like supervisor the campaign can’t be all candy and nuts. On the other side, Wagner did play fast and loose with some facts, namely why the Spraypark had yet to be constructed, but nobody said politics was an easy occupation.
As I write this, the two have yet to speak since the Aug. 3 election even though they sat a few feet away from each other at the Aug. 4 board meeting. When I asked Stuart on Aug. 6 whether he would help Wagner transition into the position he would not give me any answer other than ‘I have not thought about it.?
Well Dale, it is time to start thinking about it because the residents of Independence Township deserve it. Do you really want your last act as supervisor to be pouting in your office like a child?
Stuart has done much to help this community in his 12 years as supervisor, and before that his time as a trustee. Sashabaw Road construction, water improvements and quality development will be just part of the legacy Stuart leaves this area. Why would you want to risk that legacy because you lost an election?
I have faith that Stuart will cool off and do what is right for this community. His track record tells me that will take place. He knows right from wrong and I believe eventually his true character will shine through.
Luckily, Wagner has spent the last four years as Trustee so he is familiar with many of the issues in Independence Township. There will not be an incredibly sharp learning curve, but it would be idiotic to assume it would be easy to step right into that job without help from the previous supervisor.
My first day at The Clarkston News was spent riding around the area with outgoing editor Maralee Cook. It made the transition a lot easier after Cook introduced me to individuals in the community and issues on the day.
I request both Wagner and Stuart to act like grown-ups and put the residents of Independence Township before their petty rivalry.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Some idle thoughts from your friendly local editor:
? I must confess I watched a good portion of the Democratic National Convention last week. I am also looking forward to the Republican National Convention later this month. Sadly, I am a political junkie.
Evidently individuals at the major networks do not share my enthusiasm. They showed a grand total of three hours of coverage last week. Evidently that was all they could provide us since everybody knows the disappointment our country would have if ‘According to Jim? would play seven times a week instead of the normal eight. Seriously, that show is always on ABC.
You would think that with our military involved in war on numerous fronts election coverage would be able to bump ‘Fear Factor.?
A lot of people complain the conventions are now just infomercials for the political parties and I agree they are orchestrated.
However, what is wrong with every four years allowing our leaders to speak directly to the American people. Instead of sound bites or edited materials, they can lay out a plan for our country’s future.
I enjoy idiotic television as much as the next guy, but there is a time and place for it.
? While watching election coverage on MSNBC, I was subjected to one of my favorite broadcasters, Chris Matthews, interviewing actor Ben Affleck. If anyone reading this really cares about Affleck’s political beliefs please give me a call here at the paper and explain why you would care because I just don’t get it.
It would be like billing the Super Bowl as family entertainment then turning the halftime festivities over to MTV to do as they please. Oh wait, that happened.
? Nice little debate is going on in the letters to the editor about whether individuals from outside the city limits should say they are from Clarkston and the size of the Clarkston name.
Let me weigh in from a newspaper perspective, having to write the City of the Village of Clarkston is very annoying so I would not be opposed to shortening it. Also, when interviewing individuals I need to make sure I know exactly where they live because people from Independence and Springfield Township will state they are from Clarkston.
From the average joe perspective, Clarkston and Independence Township are pretty intertwined with each entity providing some great items. There must be bigger problems we need to deal with.
? Saw this on Yahoo news and thought I would share: ‘A Berlin driving instructor who taught more than 1,000 motorists how to drive says he never got a driver’s licence because he was too nervous to retake the test after he failed the first time – 43 years ago. He was caught by police after a minor accident with a Polish truck recently.?
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

The newspaper articles have been written, the candidates have been heard from and the signs have been catching our eye. The only item left in the Aug. 3 primary election is for the residents to vote.
Independence Township Clerk Joan McCrary is expecting approximately 20 percent voter turnout and that is a shame. Things are not much better up in Springfield Township where Clerk Nancy Strole is expecting about 25 percent turnout.
Our area, much like most parts of Michigan, is dominated by a single party as Independence and Springfield Townships are Republican country. That makes the Tuesday, Aug. 3 election the real deal. A great majority of the candidates who win the primary election will automatically win the general election because their is no Democratic candidate.
Why local candidates need to be affiliated with a political party is beyond me. Our township board is deciding how our land should be developed, not whether abortion should be legal or how welfare should work. I assume everybody runs under the Republican category because if they ran as a Democrat they would probably lose.
That being said, the fact that only one out of four registered voters will cast a ballot is astonishing. This is not even taking into account the voters who might not be registered.
When the general election rolls around in November I am guessing turnout with be around 50 percent. This is because it is a presidential election and by the fall we will have been inundated with election information.
However, local government officials have the biggest influence on your everyday life. When they raise the sewer rates you pay immediately and when they fix the roads your drive immediately becomes more enjoyable. There are no checks and balances with the township board, what they say goes.
In my estimation the primary election should be moved. To schedule a Michigan election the first week in August just is not smart. Individuals are either off on vacation or busy trying to jam their entire summer wish list into the final month. Combine that with the general apathy most people feel towards politics and you have a recipe for low turnout.
It would make much more sense to hold the primary after Labor Day in mid-September. When the kids go back to school the normalcy of life tends to return. This would allow more people to be aware of the election, and still give the primary winners time to campaign for the general election.
So I urge every registered voter to cast their ballot. I have been to township board meetings in the past year in which residents have complained about the current senior center, the township’s sound ordinance and the amount spent on legal fees.
Well, on Aug. 3 you have a chance to make sure your voice is heard. This is the only time when you can be sure the politicians will be listening.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

As we get further into the election season the campaigns tend to get nastier.
This is especially true on the presidential level where Republicans and Democrats are pulling out all the stops for control of the White House.
If you watched, and believed, all the 30-second advertisements on television you would be convinced that neither George Bush or John Kerry are fit to lead this country.
My favorite part of the negative politics is when terms such as liberal or conservative are used in a negative fashion.
The term liberal has been dragged through the mud for a number of years now. Many individuals on the right like to paint a liberal politician as one who is a wimp on national defense while giving handouts to all.
A simple look in the dictionary defines liberal as: favorable to progress or reform, as in religious or political affairs.
How anyone can be attacked for being in favor of progress is beyond me. Our country was built on progress and reform.
The beauty of our country is that we continue to evolve. A quick look around the world shows we are an infant nation compared to others. Does anyone think our nation will ever reach a time where we no longer look to advance as a society? Heaven help us if we ever have that mindset.
So I ask you, what is wrong with being a liberal?
Label attacks do not improve much when you visit the other side of the aisle. While the term conservative does not quite elicit the contempt that liberal does, when you place right-wing in front of it you get a similar reaction.
A simple look in the dictionary defines conservative as: disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions.
How can anyone be attacked for wishing to continue what has worked in our country’s history? This country was built on a set of values and opinions that residents hold dear to their heart and they should be respected.
While our country is continuously evolving, it is important not to forget where we came from. Would individuals using the term conservative in a derogatory way propose we get rid of the Constitution since it is such an old document?
So I ask you, what is wrong with being a conservative?
So when Bush starts screaming that Kerry is the most liberal senator in America just turn a deaf ear. And when Kerry starts complaining that Bush is a right-wing conservative with no compassion, please do the same.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Both on the national and local level the political season is beginning to hit a fever pitch.,
Our opinion pages have been filled with local citizens pitching in their two cents about the upcoming primary election. I am not complaining, because I love it.
However, I thought this would be a great time to revisit our paper policy on Letters to the Editor. Our first request is for the writer to keep the letter as short as possible. This way we can run more letters and also keep readers? attention. We want to make sure you get your point across, but we also want you to get your point across just one time per letter.
The Clarkston News also only runs letters that are signed. It is easy to attack individuals and policies while not stating your name. Just this week I got a great letter to the editor from an individual who wanted to withhold his name. I thought this person had an interesting opinion and would have loved to see it in print but he was hesitant because he was not sure what the reaction from co-workers and friends would be.
We realize some individuals have reasons for not wanting to have their name linked to a specific opinion, but it is paper policy.
While I realize some of the political letters can get negative, I just want to make sure they are factual. If you include specific facts in your letter, do not be surprised if you receive a call from yours truly to find out where you got your information. Even though we are not the ones writing the letters we are still responsible.
So make sure you have your facts straight when you include them in a letter and please don’t take offense when I question them. As a newspaper our number one goal is to be accurate so a source would be fantastic.
And don’t worry if writing is not your best talent. All we ask is that you get your point across. We will edit for spelling, punctuation and clarity. The community does not need to know if you end sentences in prepositions.
And of course we have the liberty of printing, or not printing, any letters.
With that in mind keep sending us your letters. You can drop them or mail them to 5 S. Main Street, Clarkston, MI 48346; fax them at (248) 625-0706 or e-mail
We try our hardest to get each letter we receive in that week, but you need to make sure the letter gets to us by noon on Monday to get that consideration.
A friendly reminder that all political letters to the editor speaking about the Aug. 3 primary needs to be received by July 19. We will not be running any letters concerning the primary in the July 28 issue.
We will however be having a special political section that week so that you can learn more about the candidates who are seeking your vote.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Thinking out loud:
? Clarkston school officials have cut $1.6 million from their 2004-05 budget. In a related topic, the board voted unanimously to give Superintendent Al Roberts a 2.5 percent pay raise. His new salary will be $138,000 with another $4,000 bonus possible if performance goals are accomplished.
Now I am not here to begrudge anyone their salary, however when it is the public’s money we need to always take a closer look. As the head of the district, and supposedly its leader, would it not speak volumes if Roberts decided not to take a raise this year?
Everybody in the school district is tightening their belts to save money so the school district can avoid cutting valuable services to students. The entire community is tightening their belts after they were generous enough to pass an $84.7 million bond proposal in June 2003. Don’t you think the head of the schools should do the same and be able to survive on the $134,564 he made last year? I am not even talking about the other perks in the superintendent’s contract.
While I realize the pay freeze decision would be more symbolic than anything, that is what leadership is about. Every now and again you need to put your money where your mouth is and set the tone for the district. It would give Roberts a lot more credibility the next time he is complaining about the lack of state funding or asking the voters to give the school district even more money.
? I do applaud the school board not filling the position vacated by the retiring John Diliegghio and instead restructuring duties so his salary can be taken off the books. That is exactly the kind of forward thinking the district needs. When cuts need to be made the first place the board should look is the administration rather than the classroom.
? Michael Moore’s documentary ‘Fahrenheit 9/11? was the highest grossing movie of last week.
How people can go watch that movie and expect to be educated is beyond me. All the examples of Moore playing fast and loose with the facts in previous documentaries would not allow me to take anything he does seriously.
I should not even call it a documentary. In a documentary you should receive both sides of the issue in order to make an informed decision. The work of Moore is a lot closer to a propaganda film than a documentary.
? Independence Township is gearing up for another Fourth of July celebration. Just to make sure everybody is on the same page I thought I would remind our readers that the events will take place on Saturday, July 3 this year.
From the parade in the morning to the fireworks at dusk, you can count on Independence Township to put on a great show.
Remember it is an election year so the parade will probably be longer this time. We have to give all the candidates a chance to campaign.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

I always thought the City of Detroit was a tough, hard-nosed blue collar town.
I guess I will need to reevaluate after seeing the pathetic way people in this area reacted to a few comments by comedian Jimmy Kimmel. In case anyone missed it, the late night comedian took a shot at Detroit when he appeared on the halftime show during game two of the NBA Finals last week.
In what obviously was a joke, Kimmel said, ‘I’m glad the Lakers are winning because besides the fact that I’m a Lakers fan, I realize they’re gonna burn the city of Detroit down if the Pistons win, and it’s not worth it.?
Somehow those comments were able to outrage people in this area. Have we become so defensive about our town that we are no longer able to laugh at ourselves? If the crack would have been about Cleveland, Chicago or Indianapolis we probably all would have laughed hysterically.
Instead our local ABC affiliate, Channel 7, and other members in the media played the victim and whined about the unfair crack. Their actions have painted the rest of us Detroit area residents as a group of thin skinned individuals who can not take a simple joke.
It got so crazy that after Kimmel made a few more Detroit jokes at the taping of his show the next day Channel 7 refused to broadcast it before ABC decided to pull the plug. I guess that is what happens when the broadcast industry becomes so consolidated that only a few companies own all the outlets, but that is another column for another day.
So a small comment made at halftime turned into a three day media frenzy. If people would not have been so thin skinned not many people would even have known about the joke; now almost everybody does.
Sometimes you just have to let the pitch go by. Our team is beating the Lakers and the general public will be able to decide for itself how we handle a celebration. Residents got out of control after the Tigers won in 1984 and they still need to deal with the results. It might seem unfair but if you do the crime then you need to do the time.
Now I realize Detroit does get a bad rap and it would be nice to have the national press sing its praises every once in awhile. But how about we make it a first class city before we complain about people laughing that we are a second class city.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the city government was more concerned with its own residents than the national media? Nothing in the city gets fixed until the Super Bowl comes to town because we don’t want people outside the state to realize how bad of shape the city really is in.
I applaud Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick for not getting in the middle of the mess. While common sense and Kilpatrick do not always go hand-in-hand, he was smart enough to realize you can’t win a war of words with a late-night celebrity.
The mayor did what the rest of this area should have done, issue a no-comment.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

With the passing of former President Ronald Reagan last weekend, I was able to watch many television clips of the actor turned politician.
It was a great joy to watch how he lived up to his billing as, ‘The Great Communicator.? His disarming humor, aw shucks mannerisms and tough talk when needed made it easy to realize why our country rallied behind him during the 1980’s.
However my admiration turned to dismay when our current President George W. Bush was shown saying a few words about Reagan. While he only spoke for a few minutes Bush was constantly looking down at his notes. How he could not speak from the heart about a man he knew reasonably well or memorized a few words was beyond me? What was truly frustrating was his not so dramatic pauses and constant stuttering.
He must be adopted because when his father, Former President George Herbert Walker Bush, talked to the press about the passing of Reagan he came off quite well.
Now before Republicans begin screaming at me faster that Jennifer Lopez can find a new husband, let me say I don’t believe the President is a dumb man. While I am sure he was helped along by daddy Bush, you do not graduate from Yale without having some major intelligence.
This is not about the policies of the Bush administration, although I do have some issues much like I do with almost all elected leaders. I just wish he could communicate his intelligence to our country and the rest of the world. His bumbling and stumbling of the English language does not put me at ease.
Now I know the argument is wouldn’t you rather have a president of substance rather than style. My theory is why can’t our country, being the lone superpower with almost 300 million residents, have both? If put to a choice I would rather have brains than charisma in my political leaders, but we should raise the bar and demand both qualities.
And don’t give me the argument that early in our history we had great presidents who were not good public speakers. Times change over the years and so does our country. Former President Thomas Jefferson once owned slaves, but these days that would probably prevent a candidate from getting out of the primary.
I am sure many people enjoy the way Bush talks because he is a ‘common man.? His act tends to play well in Everytown, USA.
Well, I don’t want a common man running our country. I want an individual who can both think and intelligent thought and convey that very same thought. I want an individual the youth of the country will attempt to be by studying hard, not by skipping English class.
Can somebody please pull the president aside and give him some speech lessons? Maybe this could take place during the month vacation he seems inclined to take.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Idle thoughts from your friendly, local editor:
? This one has bugged me for awhile. Every government entity I have come in contact with seems to view grants the same way: as free money. Grants are great as they pay for everything from senior services to police equipment.
However can we get on the same page and realize this is not ‘at no cost to the taxpayers.? Last time I checked some of our tax money was going to Lansing and some of our money was also going to Washington D.C. So unless these grants are coming from some foreign nation, we the taxpayers are paying for it.
I realize local governments should try their hardest to get the money, but please don’t tell me it is free. That is a bad reason to rationalize your purchase.
? I will take a page out of Detroit Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace and say I guarantee this will be the greatest column you have ever read.
? Parade season is officially underway in our area. Sounds like Springfield Township had a great birthday parade last week. Hopefully that will be an every year event.
Hope to see everybody out at the Independence Township Memorial Day Parade on Monday. Is there a more important holiday for our country considering the current events?
? Anyone want to join me on a trip to Alaska to drill for oil. Why the Democrats choose the comfort of seals over the economic survival of their constituents is beyond me?
On a side note, Saudi Arabia has given us their word they will soon increase oil production. I assume the prices will immediately start declining since whenever they suggest they might cut the supply, prices skyrocket.
? Thanks to all our readers who are keeping our opinion page full of Letters to the Editors. Whether it is the senior center, homosexual marriage issue or a simple thank you to the community I appreciate anyone who takes the time to write.
? President George Bush has scrapes to his face and hands after hurting himself in a bike accident over the weekend.
Now I would be tend to consider this an honest mishap if not for previous episodes of choking on a pretzel and falling off a motorized scooter. I am sensing a trend that I don’t really enjoy. I have a problem with our commander in chief not being able to consume snacks or ride a bike. For some reason I do not think chewing was a problem for Lincoln.
? It was recently reported that 62 percent of federal workers received their merit bonus. Now 62 percent is a pretty impressive number. Either these bonuses are embarrassingly easy to achieve or the federal government is doing more work than I think it is.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

In their first interview since their son, Dylan Klebold, participated in the Columbine High School massacre Susan and Tom Klebold refused to accept blame or hold Dylan accountable.
Instead the parents blamed a ‘toxic culture? of the school where athletes were worshipped and bullying was tolerated when interviewed by a columnist from the New York Times.
Well, I could have seen that coming. I mean why blame your son for having a hand in the killing of 13 innocent high school students when there is so much out there to blame?
The culture of the high school is no excuse to do what they did. The worshiping of athletes and the bullying of the unpopular kids has been going on in high school for years without these results. Now I am not endorsing bullying because it is wrong. I was a bit of a bully back in the day and I honestly feel horrible about how I treated so of my classmates through the years.
But the reason Columbine occurred was not because these kids had no self-esteem, it was because they had too much self-esteem. These days children can do no wrong and are never taught how to deal with tough situations.
Too many parents of today are busy trying to be their child’s friend instead of their parent. A child comes home after getting in trouble at school and the parent blames the teacher rather than their kid. I tried my best to keep my trouble at school away from my parents because if they got wind of it I would also be punished at home.
When I am out in public and see how some children talk to their parents I cringe. At 26 years of age I still can’t get away with what I see junior high kids telling their parents. It is all part of a climate kids are raised in today.
Now I still see parents working hard and raising their kids the right way. But sadly, as time goes by it seems to be less and less prevalent.
Of course if kids are never taught how to deal with adversity when they are young, they will not handle it well when it is thrust upon them in high school. I am all for building up self esteem, but children need to learn life is not candy and nuts.
My parents offered praise when I did a good job and always took an interest in what I was doing. However if I was getting bad grades they told me to give more effort; they did not tell the teacher the test was too hard. If my basketball coach was not putting me in the game they told me to practice more; they did not complain to the coach about the fairness of playing each player.
Now I do not know Tom or Susan Klebold and can not be certain how they raised their child. However, after 13 individuals are dead due to your child’s actions, how do you not feel at least partially responsible?
Evidently the Klebolds don’t for according to Susan Klebold, ‘I haven’t done anything for which I need forgiveness.?
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

It is amazing what can get accomplished in an election year.
After years of debate and study, a new Senior Center looks like it is on the fast track to getting done. The Independence board approved the concept of having the new center built on land near the library and even hired local company Design Resources to begin the process.
The one hitch is the township needs to purchase the land from Clarkston Community Schools. Now, the township board and the schools have not exactly always played nice in the past. In fact, at times, it seemed as if Roseanne and Tom Arnold had a better relationship than these two government entities.
However, here is hoping common sense and remedial public relations are exhibited and the schools sell the land to the township for a fair price. The two governments are serving the same people so should work together whenever possible. I mean any way you dissect it, the taxpayers are paying for that land.
I think the schools will be able to see the big picture and make a deal. The schools will not want to anger a big voting block like the seniors. Irritate them now and the schools will have a front row seat to watch them vote down the schools next request for more money. Keep in mind we are talking about Clarkston Community Schools so they will be hitting us up for more money in the near future.
After this hurdle is cleared the only item left is how to fit this $1.4 million project into the Independence Township budget. While the board did not talk specifics, they would be wise not to go to the voters for a millage approval. They would get shot down faster than your truly used to at the bar when I was a bachelor.
While local governments are feeling the pinch from the state, if this senior center is going to become a reality, it is up to the township board to get creative with the money they have.
And while I believe the seniors deserve facilities much nicer than that horrible building at Clintonwood Park, they should not be holding their breath for a gymnasium, pool or whatever else they have on the wish list.
Many recent letters to the editor have stated seniors today need much more to do than bingo and Bob Barker. I agree with that premise but don’t agree it is the responsibility of the government to provide it. If seniors would rather shoot hoops than watch Plinko, more power to them. However, they should go to an open gym at one of the schools or perhaps rent a court at Basketball America.
I mean I like to play basketball also, but I would not feel right about asking Independence Township to build me a place where I could play ball seven days a week free of charge.
Since when does the government need to provide me everything I wish. Sure President Bush is pushing us in that direction, but I would hope we are not there yet.
I applaud the seniors. I hope they live long and fulfilling lives. I just ask you not to look for the taxpayers to fund your entire social life.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Random thoughts from your friendly, local editor:
? Can we please get together as a society and come to the realization that William Hung, from ‘American Idol? infamy, is not amusing anymore.
In case you missed it, Hung was a horribly out-of-tune Asian contestant on American Idol who did a not-so-intentionally humorous rendition of Ricky Martin’s ‘She Bangs.?
While it was funny at first, Hung has been severely overexposed as I have seen him everywhere from ‘The Tonight Show? to sporting events. I have not seen somebody get so much mileage out of so little talent since Rosie O’Donnell had her talk show.
Hope you enjoyed your 15 minutes of fame,Hung. Please step aside now.
? Of all the political topics I feel the citizens of this country should debate, whether homosexuals have the right to marry or not isn’t in the top 100.
Sadly this issue has taken the nation by storm. So instead of debating the economy, war on terror or social security we will be talking about adding a constitutional amendment legislating what goes on in the bedroom. Ahh, just as our founding fathers had envisioned.
While talking to a colleague, we were thinking why not get government out of marriage all together so the debate could be solved. Besides money, why should the government need to be involved in marriages? Let them be handled by churches or other organizations and they can make the rules. End of debate.
? Everybody angered by the above suggestion can send their letters to the editor to or drop them off at 5 S. Main.
? Anyone else getting sick of the George Bush and John Kerry political television advertisements? The calender just turned to May and I am already fed up.
It always puzzles me who would make up their minds by watching 30 second negative ads, but then I realize that if they did not work the candidates would not waste their money.
? Claire Huxtable, of ‘The Cosby Show?, was named best television mom in a recent poll. Huxtable was followed by Marion Cunningham of ‘Happy Days? and Marge Simpson of ‘The Simpsons.?
While my choice would have been Maggie Seaver from ‘Growing Pains? fame, I think Claire was a fine choice.
? And with Mother’s Day falling this Sunday, May 9, I would like to wish all the hard working mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day.
If you haven’t found that perfect gift for mom yet be sure to make a trek up to Kohl’s Department Store this week. If you can’t find something reasonably priced that mom would like at Kohl’s, then you are just not trying.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

Random thoughts from your friendly, local editor:
? Can we please get together as a society and come to the realization that William Hung, from ‘American Idol? infamy, is not amusing anymore.
In case you missed it, Hung was a horribly out-of-tune Asian contestant on American Idol who did a not-so-intentionally humorous rendition of Ricky Martin’s ‘She Bangs.?
While it was funny at first, Hung has been severely overexposed as I have seen him everywhere from ‘The Tonight Show? to sporting events. I have not seen somebody get so much mileage out of so little talent since Rosie O’Donnell had her talk show.
Hope you enjoyed your 15 minutes of fame,Hung. Please step aside now.
? Of all the political topics I feel the citizens of this country should debate, whether homosexuals have the right to marry or not isn’t in the top 100.
Sadly this issue has taken the nation by storm. So instead of debating the economy, war on terror or social security we will be talking about adding a constitutional amendment legislating what goes on in the bedroom. Ahh, just as our founding fathers had envisioned.
While talking to a colleague, we were thinking why not get government out of marriage all together so the debate could be solved. Besides money, why should the government need to be involved in marriages? Let them be handled by churches or other organizations and they can make the rules. End of debate.
? Everybody angered by the above suggestion can send their letters to the editor to or drop them off at 5 S. Main.
? Anyone else getting sick of the George Bush and John Kerry political television advertisements? The calender just turned to May and I am already fed up.
It always puzzles me who would make up their minds by watching 30 second negative ads, but then I realize that if they did not work the candidates would not waste their money.
? Claire Huxtable, of ‘The Cosby Show?, was named best television mom in a recent poll. Huxtable was followed by Marion Cunningham of ‘Happy Days? and Marge Simpson of ‘The Simpsons.?
While my choice would have been Maggie Seaver from ‘Growing Pains? fame, I think Claire was a fine choice.
? And with Mother’s Day falling this Sunday, May 9, I would like to wish all the hard working mothers out there a Happy Mother’s Day.
If you haven’t found that perfect gift for mom yet be sure to make a trek up to Kohl’s Department Store this week. If you can’t find something reasonably priced that mom would like at Kohl’s, then you are just not trying.

(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is

I am not going to lie: spouting off my opinions every week on page six of The Clarkston News is good times.
It feels good to be able to vent frustrations, raise awareness to worthy causes and praise people for a job well done. While I might not always be right on every single issue, what the reader is getting is my unequivocal opinion. I do not say what I think people want to hear, but rather what I feel is right.
I know this is the case because I hear from angry readers. In the past couple months I have been called a religious bigot, an ignorant liberal and an embarrassment to the journalism profession. I have also been called fat, slow witted and incompetent but I am going to leave my personal life out of this.
But hey, I am a big boy and can take it. Some of the attacks I find amusing given how the opinions are articulated and what I know about my political beliefs. It always surprises me that religious individuals tend to call me the most names but I suppose that will all sort itself out. My mother, on the other hand, is still trying to get a refund on the tuition she paid to the Catholic elementary and middle school I attended after a reader pointed out to her that I was a religious bigot.
I have learned that in journalism, if you are doing your job correctly, people are going to get mad at you. Heck, one of the ‘leaders? in our community no longer associates with the paper due to what he read on the opinion page. But as my old editor use to say, we are still going to buy ink by the barrel.
This is not to say I only receive negative feedback. In fact the opposite is true as I have recently received numerous e-mails and a nice letter thanking me for what I wrote or simply agreeing with my opinion. I very much appreciate anyone who would take time out of their busy schedule to praise my work.
But I will be honest; I like the negative letters better. Those letters are what raise the level of debate in our community. Sure they might be laced with personal attacks, but if you get through those there is a deep belief a person wants to share with the community.
Being able to debate issues of interest – whether they are local, national or global ? is what makes our country great. So I urge you to keep those letters to the editor coming. I believe page six should be the most important and interesting part of the paper.
This is especially true with the amount of elections slated for this year. In addition to the national contest, we have judges, supervisor and city council seats to fill. And that is just to name a few. I urge you to make sure all the candidates address the issues that are important to you.
As the paper of record for our community, The Clarkston News wants to help you receive as much information as possible. In addition to asking our own questions we want to ask yours. E-mail us questions you want answered and we will ask the candidates. Let us know what is important to you.
(Kyle Gargaro is the editor of The Clarkston News. His e-mail address is