Banks County Opinions...

JANUARY 28, 2004


Column

The Banks County News
January 28, 2004

Proud of dedication of chamber members
A group of dedicated Banks County business people met at the historic courthouse in Homer at 4:30 a.m. one day last week. It would be 20 hours before the tired group would return to the courthouse.
The Banks County Chamber of Commerce held its first-ever “fly-in” to Washington, D.C., to meet with congressmen and tell them of the needs and concerns of Banks County. It was a fast-paced trip with the group walking miles through the capitol and connecting building as they visited the offices of the congressmen.
For at least one member of the group, it would be her first flight. Another had only flown once before. They didn’t let their fears of taking to the skies stop them from serving Banks County.
We salute these men and women who took time out of their busy work week and paid their own way to go to our nation’s capitol to promote Banks County. I’m sure we’ll all reap the benefits of their hard work and dedication.
We hope this becomes an annual tradition. An in-person visit with these congressmen is so much more impressive than a phone call or letter. Although I’m sure, many members of the group will be following up with plenty of letters and phone calls to our legislators.
We encourage Banks County residents to also contact these congressmen about their needs and concerns. A brief bio of each congressmen and their contact information is given on page 5A of this weeks Banks County News. Please take time to let them know your concerns.

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Column

By:Jana Mitcham
The Banks County News
January 28, 2004

Leap Year calendar
A Leap Year calendar and everything that comes with it
It’s that awkward time of year again, when there are no current wall calendars available except for those nobody else wants either — those featuring sweet (manic, hugely up-close) kittens against hallucinogenic fluorescent backdrops or tiny Yorkshire terriers with grim smiles and giant hairbows against equally vivid backgrounds.
Nothing against photos of either, in moderation, particuarly the kittens, but that’s just not what I want to look at for a year at work. Month after month of so much excessive monochromatic color and grinning terriers would make my head hurt and burn a hole through my wall, I think.
Oh, yes, then there are the calendars with various sunbronzed strangers in bikinis who would be looking down at me each time I, seated at my desk, took a bite of a Reese’s peanut butter cup.
No thanks.
So, I am still without a current wall calendar, as I missed the pre-Christmas bonanza and am left with the post-New Year slim pickings. I’ve been writing various meetings and interviews and appointment dates and times along the edges of my December 2003 calendar page, creating a whole new border of red ink clutter. (If it’s written in red, it will stand out and I won’t forget. Of course, if it’s all written in red....)
I’ve been squinting at the corner of the December 2003 page at the tiny block that is January 2004. So far, I’ve been able to get by like that, but February is upon us, and a Leap Year, Leap Month, Leap Day February at that, which adds a 29th day to the normally 28-day month, and my capacity to figure days and months ahead is reaching its limit.
The Leap Month begins Sunday (or so I think, after taking a squint at my 1-inch by 1-inch January 2004 block). Then Leap Day is February 29, the first time in four years that day has been on the calendar; the last February 29 was in 2000 and the next one after this year will be in 2008.
Leap Year is a way to make the calendar “even out.” Since the tropical year is 365.242190 days long, an “extra” day is added to the calendar every four years. Actually, every year is roughly 365-1/4 days, but the “extra” day, which isn’t really extra, but rather an accumulation of quarter days, comes around every four years; unless, that is, the year ends in ‘00, in which case, it is only a Leap Year if it is divisible by 400. Yep, confusing.
In 400 years of the Gregorian calendar — which we follow — there have been 97 Leap Days, out of a total of 146,097 days. That means the probability of being a Leap Day baby is 0.09663942 percent. Because it is an infrequent occurrence, there is a web site devoted to Leap Day babies, who have not only a birth date, but also a birth day to celebrate. Leap Year babies note February 29 as their birth date, but their birth day is actually the 60th day of the year so that in non-Leap Years, that’s March 1.
Another interesting thing about Leap Year is the social tradition — in much more traditional times — of allowing a woman to propose marriage to a man on Leap Day, rather than waiting at home for him to make a move.
Scotland even passed a law to that effect back in 1288, that single women could propose marriage on Leap Day, February 29, and any man who declined had to pay a fine, whether it be a kiss or the cost of a new dress.
But while it was OK to propose marriage on Leap Day, Greek superstition said it was bad luck to marry during Leap Year. Something to think about as you plan out your calendar for 2004.
We were puzzling out some of the holidays and early deadlines we will have with the newspaper this year.
As I looked at my December 2003 page, I kept thinking of next Christmas as Friday, but, no, with Leap Year, we jump from Christmas on Thursday in 2003 to a Saturday in 2004.
The best thing is to go by your calendar, if you can find one.
Jana Adams Mitcham is features editor of The Jackson Herald and a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.


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