Banks County Opinions...

JULY 30, 2003


By: Angela Gary
The Banks County News
July 30, 2003

A special star
Last week, I spent an afternoon in an Atlanta area Wal-Mart. I was in the store for more than four hours which surely must be a record. I know a lot of people out there love the store, but four hours is a bit much for even a seasoned shopper.
I wasn’t actually shopping although I did buy a CD, a soft drink, some snacks and a magazine. I was in the store to get Brad Paisley to autograph his new CD, Mud on the Tires. Yes, I had seen Brad in June at his fan club party and got a photo and autograph there. And, yes, I had ordered an autographed copy of the new CD from the fan club. I just thought it would be a fun thing to do.
When I called my sister from the line inside the store, she screamed, “You’re doing what!!! He won’t be there until seven o’clock and you’re already in line (at 3 p.m.).” Yes, I was and no, I’m not a teenager, as she kept laughingly accusing me.
As I slowly walked out of the door with stiff muscles and cramps in my legs, I realized that I’m not a teenager. Spending hours standing in line and sitting in the floor are obviously more exhausting than I had thought. I felt like I had run a marathon as I stiffly walked through the parking lot.
Kelli Hogan, who went with me, said her legs were sore too. Since she’s only 18, I doubt that she felt like I did. I think she was trying to make me feel better as I moaned about how out of shape I am.
There were probably more than 500 people crammed into the boys department at Wal-Mart waiting for a few seconds with Brad. He performed two songs and then got busy autographing. I can’t imagine how stiff and tired he felt after smiling and signing his name hundreds of times. He remained smiling and pleasant as the hours passed by. He thanked those who came by and purchased a CD.
I was so stiff and tired by the time I got to the front of the line, that I didn’t even care that the batteries in my camera were dead and I didn’t get a photo. I was even too tired to consider the irony that I had been sitting in a store surrounded by batteries for hours and could have easily bought some and put them in my camera. It was still an adventure and fun to meet fellow country music fans.
The night after my adventure at Wal-Mart, I headed back to Atlanta for the Brooks-Dunn Neon Circus show. Brad was one of the acts featured in the five-hour show. I sat beside of a nice lady from Ringgold and her granddaughter, Megan, who is a big Brad fan. The granddaughter has many physical difficulties and was in a wheelchair. They had backstage passes to see Brad and left shortly after the first act hit the stage.
Brad usually meets with 20 fan club members, who are selected by a lottery system, before each of his shows. The grandmother said she and her granddaughter are long-time fan club members and had met Brad many times. She said he always remembers her granddaughter and spends time visiting with her.
When they returned to their seats at the show, the grandmother said Brad had asked them to return back stage after his set to meet his wife. It’s touching to see big stars take such time and care for their fans.
I’ve always been a big fan of Brad, who is multi-talented as a singer, song-writer and guitarist. He is also special to me because of his values and the comments he makes about being a Christian. My experiences over the past week, seeing Brad with hundreds of fans and hearing of his time with a handicapped little girl, only added to my admiration. It is special stars like Brad who make country music so wonderful.
Be sure and get Brad’s new CD. It is filled with the traditional country music that has made him a “celebrity.” He has also written more humorous songs that will make you laugh out loud.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at

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By: Rochelle Beckstine
The Banks County News
July 30, 2003

Fish for your health
In a world where it seems “healthy” food changes from week to week, there is one litany that has stayed constant—fatty fish is good.
It seems strange that science should tout anything fatty as the new miracle food, but that is exactly what they’ve been doing for the last several years.
Study after study has proven the benefits of diets high in fatty fish, including salmon, tuna, sardines, herring and trout. These fish contain essential fatty acids which our bodies need for good health. The two most essential fatty acids are omega-6 and omega-3, but it is important to have these in the right balance in order for the acids to do any good for our hearts, joints, brains, pancreas, mood stability and skin.
Omega-6 is in the vegetable oils we use so much in our food and most Americans get too much of this since it is present in most processed foods. Conversely, omega-3 is found only in fish and fish oil, all green leafy vegetables, flax seed, hemp and walnuts.
As more and more studies focus on fish, the resounding evidence suggests adding fish rich in omega-3 to your diet once or twice a week is the most important diet change you can make. For many reasons.
It’s a proven brain food. People who ate fish aged 65 to 94 cut their risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by 60 percent and improved learning and memory.
Fish is also the ultimate mood lifter, boosting the brain’s ability to process serotonin and alleviating depression in some cases.
And fish is good news for the heart, too. One serving of fish a week decreases the risk of a fatal heart attack for middle-aged adults by 50 percent. Eating fish two to four times a week will reduce the risk of ever getting heart disease by 30 percent.
And for people who have had a heart attack, adding fish oil supplements to their diet will reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death by 42 percent in the three months after the attack. Fish will also reverse the artery damage caused by smoking.
Fish has so many heart healthy benefits because the omega-3 acids work on many levels to raise levels of beneficial HDL (which protects against heart disease), reduce blood levels of triglycerides (the blood fats that raise the risks of heart disease and diabetes), act as natural anticoagulants altering the ability of platelets to clump together and reduce the tendency of blood to form artery-clogging clots, prevent heart arrhythmias that can lead to sudden cardiac death and slow the progression of existing heart disease.
Now that’s one mouthful worth its weight in healthcare costs.
But that’s not all fish can do. It will improve brain and eye development in infants and children. It will reduce the risk of diabetes by lowering blood triglyceride levels and making membranes more fluid so that they’re better able to respond to insulin responders.
Best of all, fish can decrease the risk of cancer by inhibiting hormone-processes that cause cancer.
If you’re counting calories, don’t worry that salmon will put you over your limit because even the fattiest fish is leaner than the leanest red meat.
And by choosing fish as your protein source instead of other meats or cheese, you reduce your saturated fat intake.
So while margarine is on the way out, fish is still very much in.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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