Madison County Opinion...

OCTOBER 30, 2002

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
October 30, 2002

Frankly Speaking
The flag question won’t go away
The flag question will not go away. Two political stories last week brought it back into play.
In a televised debate Sunday, King Roy was forced to address the issue. His response was that bringing the issue back up will only increase the divisiveness within the state. He said that “we only have one flag, the U.S. flag.”
Sonny Perdue quickly pointed out that the original action of changing the flag created the divisiveness, reminding the “King” that he has been greeted by protesters at every opportunity.
I find the Governor’s statement that “we have only one flag” to be strange. After all, included in the legislation changing the flag was a demand that all state and local governments, including the schools, fly the new flag. Those cities, counties or school systems that refused would be denied state funding.
That rag was the creation of Barnes, Jessie Jackson and a group of Atlanta businesses being blackmailed by Jackson. Atlanta’s business community as reflected by the Chamber of Commerce was told that a highly profitable college basketball tournament would be withdrawn unless the flag was changed. Now, Barnes is trying to suggest that the state flag is of no importance. He knows that the action is costing him a substantial political debt.
When the Georgia Patriots introduce legislation in the next general assembly to give us a vote on the flag, perhaps they should include a bill removing the threat of funding cuts to those who refuse to fly the “non-flag.” That would be a good first step toward correcting this assault on Southern culture.
The business leaders that pushed state legislators to change the flag are now being pressured to come to their aid. An article in The Atlanta Journal revealed that the same companies are pouring a large amount of money into the campaign treasures of their lackeys. Apparently, many of them are at risk of losing their seats in the state legislature.
King Roy and his peons were convinced that by changing the flag early, we the voters would have accepted the change by the time re-election came around. They were wrong. I find just as much anger, if not more, today than I heard just after the action. Attacking the flag is the same as attacking the people it represents.
Southerners have two important characteristics. We are a kind and hospitable people. But we are also a proud people. Honor is one of the most important Southern characteristics. The flag change dishonored huge numbers of native Georgians. And they are ready to revenge the insult.
I am convinced that the flag change will be far more expensive than Barnes and his supporters believed. But then again, that might just be my ego talking.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at His e-mail address is

ByAngela Gary
The Madison County Journal
October 30, 2002

Guest Column
A night of blues
Willie Kent started out singing in his church choir in Mississippi. Now, he sings the blues a couple of times a week in clubs in Chicago.
Willie is like many blues singers who left Mississippi and the south and headed to Chicago to find work. While many of these southerners found work in the plants during the day-time, they spent their nights at the clubs located throughout the city.
Willie and his band, The Gents, perform several times a week at clubs in town, including Blue Chicago, which has locations at 736 North Clark Street and 536 Clark Street. During a recent trip to Chicago, I spent a few minutes talking to him before he took the stage.
Willie said he grew up listening to the blues music of Ike Turner, Raymond Hill, B.B. King and Muddy Waters. He said he sings the blues because he “likes to eat,” but it’s obvious that it’s more than that. When he takes the stage, his love of the music that he makes a living at mesmerizes the crowd. The expression on his face and his body language make it clear that he feels every beat and nuance of the music.
The Blues Chicago isn’t one of those glitzy places put in place just to make the tourists happy. With cement walls, ceilings covered with flour sacks, overhead fans, a small dance floor and colorful artwork by John Carol Doyle of blues singers adorning the walls, it is much more than that. It certainly does make the out-of-town visitors happy as they make up most of the crowd, but it also offers a look at grittier, smokier club than you find in some of the more touristy stops.
Business people, college age kids and senior citizens mix easily in the crowd at the Blues Chicago the night I was there. It’s clear that Blues is a universal music that appeals to people from all walks of life.
Patricia Scott also took to the stage the night I was at the club. Most blues clubs also feature a female singer each night as a large part of the music has traditionally been a woman singing of her experiences. When she took the stage, she was announced as “one of Chicago’s true blue divas” and that was clear from the moment she walked into the club. With a form-fitting sequin dress and long black hair, she was clearly there to perform. I had her picked out as the “female singer” long before she took the stage.
Guy King, who performs with Willie’s group, also sang and played the guitar. He is simply amazing on the guitar. His hand moved so fast on the strings that it made my head spin. Only 24-years-old, he is originally from Israel.
While Chicago has been known as home of the blues for decades, some visitors may not be aware of the world class museums found in the town. There is an amazing collection of museums, many of which have weekly free days. You can spend days at the Museum Campus, a park-like atmosphere where the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum are located on the South Lake Shore Drive. Trolleys make stops throughout the day at the area, which has one of the best views of the city to be found. Sailboats dot the water in front of the skyscrapers. A grassy hill by the water front provides a great place to relax between museum hopping.
Be sure to get a City Pass, which provides for admission to six Chicago attractions for only $39. Purchased individually, these tickets would cost $72.50. The youth pass, for ages 3 to 11, is $29. The City Pass may be purchased at the first attraction you visit and then used at the other five.
The tickets are for The Art Institute of Chicago, The Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, the Hancock Observatory, the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry.
Another must stop for visitors is the Chicago Cultural Center at 78 East Washington. It features the world’s largest tiffany stained-glass dome, broad marble staircases and colorful mosaics. It’s hard to believe it was once a public library. The cultural center should be the first stop for visitors, as tourist information, brochures and a guide book with special values are available.
I spent one warm fall afternoon taking an architecture tour of Chicago offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. It starts at the main channel of the Chicago River and goes along the north and south branch of the river for up-close views of a variety of architecture. Historic and modern skyscrapers line the river-way.
Among the highlights were: the Wrigley Building, which has a 1921 lock in it that was modeled after one in Spain; the Tribune Tower, which has an ornate, elaborate, gothic look; the Michigan Avenue bridge, which was built in 1920 and is a double-level bridge; the 1929 Merchandise Mart which was built for $38 million and later sold to Joseph Kennedy for $475 million; the Montgomery Ward catalog distribution center built in 1906 and 800 feet long; modern, glass skyscrapers; and three story red, brick townhouses.
Visitors to Chicago get a great bird’s eye view of the city from two well-known spots, the Sears Tower and the Hancock Observatory. Visitors should go to one of the famous Chicago stops during the day for a clear view of the city and check the other one out at night to see the bright lights down below. I did both on a recent trip to Chicago and have plenty of great memories and photographs of my experiences.
The Sears Tower Skydeck is one of the world’s highest observation decks and it offers a panoramic view of up to 50 miles in every direction. Visitors can see four states, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, along with getting a beautiful view of Lake Michigan.
The elevator takes passengers vertically 1,600 feet per minute while they watch a comical movie. The doors open at the 103rd floor to an awesome view of Chicago and beyond. On a clear day, you can see up to 50 miles.
At the Hancock Observatory, visitors can take a personal audio tour that gives commentary on the sights below and the city’s history. Sixteen recommended stops of one to three minutes each can be experienced at your own pace. Also found high atop the Hancock building is an open-air viewing area like no other. You can feel the wind in your hair and hear the sounds from 1,000 feet below.
Chicago is filled with restaurants offering every kind of cuisine you can imagine. From deep dish Chicago pizza to Italian to French, it’s all found in the city. One of the most relaxing nights I had was at Thyme restaurant, which has wonderful food and atmosphere.
It was jazz night and we sat on the outside patio. You can enjoy your meal and have a conversation while soft jazz music plays in the background. The jazz style ranges from the 1960s-70s with music from Miles Davis, Mel Torme and Chet Baker among those featured by the local bands. The open-air deck has trees, plants and lights to provide an intimate, warm atmosphere.
One afternoon we found another delight for the taste buds at Vosges Chocolate, located at 520 North Michigan Avenue. A second boutique is located in The Peninsula Hotel at 108 East Superior in Chicago.
The truffles are made with spices, with the motto being “travel the world through chocolate.” Among my favorites was the “Black Pearl,” which provides a taste of Japan. Ginger and wasabi infuse fresh cream and premium dark chocolate. Each truffle is dipped in black sesame seeds.
For information on visiting Chicago, call 1-877-CHICAGO or check out:
Angela Gary is an editor and reporter with MainStreet Newspapers. She can be reached at

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