Publisher's Column

Talking to people around around Southeast Volusia like Claudia Torres about the economic slowdown reveals most are sure things are slow, but they are uncertain as to what is really causing it.

Torres, an agent at State Farm, said: “The slowdown is horrible here. There is less money and business. An acquaintance is having a hard time affording gas for his SUV to drive to his job in Orlando”

When asked about what is causing the slowdown, she blamed it on the war and said the president is not handling the money well.

Joyce Hanson also at State Farm said, “we are having hard times.”

I was not surprised the weekly Observer newspaper folded Monday. I was the final editor under the daily version of what was the New Smyrna Beach Observer and warned ownership that converting it into a weekly would be its death knell. That is why I am so pleased to have established NSB News under This is greater New Smyrna Beach's daily home-based newspaper. Period. So here we are, 11 months later and indeed The Observer is no more. I remember the day I put together that very first weekly edition. As soon as it hit the press, I was shown the door. Just like that.

When I look out my living room window over to the Marathon gas station on North Dixie Freeway, my eyes become glued to the gas prices, which for the past week have been stuck at $3.999 a gallon for regular unleaded. I cannot understand why they even bother with that third digit. Just get to four bucks. God knows it is not going to stop there, anyway. I feel sorry for all the hard-working middle class families in our community that bought those huge sport utility vehicles that now cost anywhere from $70 to $100 to gas up. I have a little car. Well, sort of. It's a gas hog.

Noting recent headlines touting the fact that summer jobs were very scarce for teenagers it was tempting to go out and see if anyone had any idea of what the real problem is. The people writing the articles gave no clue. While in Dennys restaurant here in New Smyrna Beach the other day, I asked Catherine O’Brian about the job market for teenagers.
She said it is "tough and business is slow.” When asked about how to fix the problem she responded, “We need to get more money into the economy.

One of my favorite tasks of managing this Web site is the interaction with the contributing writers, none of whom are paid for their services, but all of whom are so very talented. They all share one common theme: Love of community. The most recent additions are awesome thinkers: Michael Visconti, Catherine Forester and Irving Davidoff. They complement Tia McDonald, Darlene Vann, Rosi Karnes, Congressman Tom Feeney, Styron James, Lonny Russell, Kelly Azzinaro and Capt. Budd Neviaser. And finally, there is Peter Mallory, my mentor in many ways.

Our most recent InstaPoll asked: In light of the massive cuts in state aid for Volusia County Schools, should Superintendent Margaret Smith and the School Board members take pay cuts? Eighty-five percent of the 252 respondents voted yes.
While the poll is in no way scientific or accurate, I think this is a good idea.

It is only good leadership for the people at the top to suffer along with everyone else in the organization when things are tough.

It seems like many people in Southeast Volusia have a quick fix to the gasoline crisis. One popular solution being circulated by my friends Ken Taylor and Walter Glenn and others here in New Smyrna Beach involves boycotting Exxon. According to their theory, this would force Exxon to drop their price and then everyone else would have to do likewise.
The problem with the gas prices is caused by a number of factors none of which can be addressed easily.

First, China and India have developed a hunger for oil which affects the whole world market.

There is hardly a person who has not been hit with the desire to make a speech to a graduating class to share their infinite wisdom with the graduates. Since Sunday was the day we recognize our mothers, here is some of the wisdom I received from my mom that might be most useful -- including but not limited to the benefits and pitfalls of marriage, how to manage personal finances and how to deal with others. Plus some advice on petty thieves and whiners.
One of Mother’s pet peeves was watching a movie in which the hero saves the heroine and then they get married and live happily ever after.

It would appear that some New Smyrna Beach residents want it both ways. First they wanted to take advantage of the depressed real estate prices that pertain to property close to the New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport when they bought their property. Now, they want to do away with the airport so that nasty noise will go away and their property values will go up.
No one can blame residents if they dislike the sound of airplane engines. However, the airport was built in World War II to train the “greatest generation” how to fly to protect the country from the Japanese and Germans.

My mother taught me how to read and write when I was 3 years old. She raised seven of us while my father worked two jobs. She gave me the foundation for what would be a career in journalism. I lost my mother nearly five years ago, but what she instilled in me endures. For those of you who have a mother, be thankful.
I know I am, even though she's gone.