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Todd Cline

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CLINE: Giant tomato plant casts shadow over my own garden

Our Top 10 online stories this week supported what a lot of us already know — people enjoy reading about big fish and big garden plants. We covered those bases with a record-setting brown trout and a tomato plant that has its eyes on the Guinness Book of World Records.

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CLINE: Believe it or not: Kevin Bacon coming to Sugar Hill

“Why would Kevin Bacon come to Sugar Hill?” It was a good question.

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CLINE: Memories of kind men and Friday nights of the past

We learn as we get older that the good times don’t go on forever, and sometimes you hear a familiar name in a way you wish you never would.

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CLINE: Brewing up an event in Duluth

This week Greg Lindquist is busy preparing for the second incarnation of Beer Fest Duluth: Brews and Tunes, an event that will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Duluth Town Green. The irony is that come Saturday, the man who loves to sip a cold one and has made a business of beer won’t have time for nary a drop.

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CLINE: Local cities doing their part to recognize Memorial Day

There is no lack of things going on this week. We just completed the earliest primary in state history, and up next is the last day of school, signaling the start of summer vacation for the kids which begins with a three-day weekend. It’s a respite that comes with a chance to cook out and hit the lake or pool, but obviously there is deeper meaning behind this holiday. And thankfully that will be highlighted as Gwinnett’s busy week continues with ceremonies recognizing Memorial Day in Snellville, Duluth and Dacula.

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CLINE: National Library Week brings back memories of reading past

A library can be a place of escape for anyone, allowing readers to travel to places and see things they never dreamed they’d experience. While I believe that to be true of libraries anywhere, it may be even more true for those who grow up in a rural area or small town like I did.

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CLINE: A volunteer job with lots of baggage

As chairwoman of the caddie committee, Julie Coupland’s job is to make a home at TPC Sugarloaf for the men (and women) who carry those bags on the Champions Tour. The tour comes to the county for the second time next week for the Greater Gwinnett Championship, which will play rounds Friday through Sunday.

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CLINE: The joke's on them

We took our lumps from the national media with our most recent winter storms that derailed traffic and about everything else, keeping kids from school and most folks inside. But the advantage to living in the South is that weather lasted for days, not months.

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CLINE: The importance of saying ‘thanks’

In that spirit of thankfulness, the City of Duluth has declared next week Public Works and Police Appreciation Week. It’s a chance to let the residents of Duluth thank the people who kept their city safe during the storm, a process that was emulated around the county last week.

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CLINE: The cold business of heartiness hierarchy

When it comes to weather, the pecking order of heartiness is interesting. It seems everyone thinks everyone else is a wimp.

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CLINE: Meeting your heroes

I was struck by the sense of awe one young lady and his mother had at the chance to meet the grand marshall of the Lawrenceville MLK march — former Olympic golf medalist Tommie Smith.

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CLINE: Good Samaritan Health Center to present five-year plan

To accomplish its fundraising goals, the Good Samaritan Health Center, which services the poor and uninsured, needs to increase the donations it needs to run. To that end, a plan will be presented to the public next Wednesday, Jan. 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Sonesta Hotel (formerly the Marriott) in Duluth.

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CLINE: The lack of commercial appeal

These days live TV is my main, and usually only, impetus to sit through commericials. In the age of streaming and DVRing, there’s no need to spend a minute (or even 30 seconds) away from your show of choice. In fact, I barely know what days the shows I watch actually air; they are just collected and watched when the schedule permits, commericials relegated to fast forward.

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CLINE: A look back at the people (and columns) of 2013

The world can be a rough place, something we are reminded of on a daily basis, especially if you work for a newspaper. That’s one of the reasons I tend to lean toward the fun, positive and uplifting when it comes to my personal column. We can all use a pick-me-up at times, and I hope relaying occassional feel-good stories achieves that (for me and the readers).

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CLINE: Buford girls basketball team great example for Christmas giving

Sue Rudnik is a big fan of the Buford High School girls basketball team. And not because of their prowess on the court. Over the years, the team coached by Gene Durden has made it a tradition to sponsor children from Division of Family and Children Services (DFACS).

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CLINE: Enjoying traditions of the season

Those of you who travel for the holidays know about the pressure of getting everything done on time. The Christmas season brings with it some inherent stress with all the tasks that need to be completed, and deadlines get moved up when they have to be finished in time to drive or fly to your destination.

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CLINE: A Toys for Tots tradition

Doug Reid’s 15th Annual Toys for Tots event will be held Friday through Sunday at Suite 110 in the Village Shoppes at Creekside, located at 860 Duluth Highway in Lawrenceville.

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CLINE: The true story of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura

After watching the piece on “60 Minutes,” I dare you to come away without thanks for what you have and without a feeling that you really should do more with it. At its heart, that is what this story is. As Chavez says: “The world sends us garbage. We send back music.”

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CLINE: Cecil Flowe leaves a legacy at Parkview

What I have always liked most about Cecil is how human he is. When he was upset you knew it, and when he was elated you knew that too. He was honest with his feelings, and I think the players picked up on that.

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CLINE: A legacy of love for Right to Hike

To me, that’s where Right to Hike stands out — hitting the right notes of helping and healing, of being fun yet poignant.

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CLINE: A slow, but Sweet(water) commute

Craft beer is like a lot of things: You think you are an afficianado until you find people who really are. I enjoy drinking (and reading about) all styles of craft beer, seeking out unique brands and styles at the liquor and growler stores. But I met my match in Denver.

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CLINE: Teaching awards provide nice recognition

But all awards are not equal, and some do a better job than others in bringing deserved recognition to the people (and their profession) that are nominanted. Which is why I like the yearly Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year competition, which announced its list of 26 semifinalists this week.

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CLINE: The cliches of coachspeak trite but true

The simple words are sometimes the most impactful. And the things you already know are exactly the ones of which you need to be reminded. As you get older, those cliches, trite as they are, make more and more sense.

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CLINE: The fair cost of making memories

The Gwinnett County Fair is in full swing, bringing back plenty of memories of festivals and fairs past. Like the wild food options available at the fair, those memories are varied. Or maybe time makes them that way.

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CLINE: The simplicity of sitting

We all have those places. Places where we go to get away from the job, the hassles and even the maddening reruns of sitoms you’re not quite sure why you watch in the first place. We’re such a plugged in society — let me check my email on my phone while I surf on my tablet while listening to music on my iPod — that it’s easy to forget the soothing nature of simplicity.

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CLINE: The humility of heroes

In today’s society it’s easy to get caught up in games of “who deserves the credit” or “that’s not my job” but no matter what your occupation it should come down to doing your job and doing it to the best of your ability.Funny how when you take care of that the credit and compliments take care of themselves.

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CLINE: The good news from our schools

In any system as large as Gwinnett County Public Schools — an enrollment approaching 167,000 to go with more than 10,000 teachers — there will be issues and items of complaint. It goes with the territory. But less than three weeks into the school year, we’re reminded again and again of the good news that comes from our schools.

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CLINE: Making some deer friends

Though I enjoy seeing the deer, I feel bad for infringing on their territory. But that has changed a little, first after they ate my hibiscus plants and second after speaking with a wildlife biologist.

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CLINE: New theme for annual SPCA fundraiser

On Sept. 7, the Georgia SPCA is hosting its annual fundraising bash. This year it’s a “Wizard of Oz” theme with the motto: “There’s no place like a home.”

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CLINE: How the cookie crumbles

We all like what we like. Even if it’s the snacks that come with giving blood. But sometimes the rest of the story is the most interesting part.

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CLINE: Words are great, but Nash knows BOC's actions will tell the tale

In last week's State of the County address, Charlotte Nash addressed a topic she'd prefer not to visit again.

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CLINE: Falcons game a nice break for contest winner

For Suwanee resident Lisa Anglese, Sunday's Falcons game was a chance to take her mind off her cancer fight and share a fun day with the people who support her most.

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CLINE: Remembering the year that was

From sad columns to fun ones, 2012 allowed me to write about many intresting people and topics.

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CLINE: Remembering letters from the editor

Postcard request brings back good memories

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CLINE: Remembering ol' 'Georgie Boy'

As a letter writer to the Daily Post, George Morin was a lighting rod for criticism of his liberal view. But good friend Kurt Schwaneman will tell you he was much more than that.

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CLINE: 'Pound Dog' event a gala for the dogs

On Aug. 18, the Georgia SPCA will hold its third annual "You Ain't Nothing But A Pound Dog" event, the organization's largest fundraiser.

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CLINE: Hotel proposal should be a "no-brainer" but isn't

The proposed Marriott hotel that would be built at Gwinnett Center looks like a great deal for the county. But the BOC must make sure it doesn't also improperly benefit one of its own.

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CLINE: Copeland's battle continues as does Snellville's support

Aimee Copeland went through some ups and downs last week, her father reports. But as the South Gwinnett grad continues to fight, her hometown of Snellville continues its support.

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CLINE: Hi-Hope Center working toward more community connections

Center also has openings for direct support professionals to work weekend shifts.

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CLINE: A reminder of people's goodness

Blood drive to support Aimee Copeland proof of people's inherent goodness.

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CLINE: Local groups prove Gwinnett's homeless no longer hidden

I first moved to Gwinnett more than two decades ago, and like others who have been here that long or longer, I've seen a myriad of change in the county.

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CLINE: Moving on to May

Sometimes looking ahead is the best way to go.

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CLINE: Always good to get off the beaten path

Familiarity is fine, but sometimes it's much more fun to not know where you're going.

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CLINE: Going to the dogs not a bad thing

SUWANEE -- We all know that every dog has its day. But this past weekend I was reminded they get some mornings, too, as the Georgia SPCA hosted its Run for the Rescues 5K.

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CLINE: Remembering the kindess of Furman Bisher

Furman Bisher won awards too numerous to name in his distinguised sports writing career, but my top memory of him is the way he treated his fellow writers no matter how large or small the paper.

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CLINE: Trying to weather the storm

If you think a prolonged stay in a basement is bad while waiting out a storm, try a closet.

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CLINE: Middle school hoops bring good competition and memories

The Gwinnett County Middle School tournament showcases basketeball at a pure level. And makes for some neat memories for the kids.

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CLINE: Young spellers earn an 'A' at the Bee

Students show poise as well as smarts at county competition.

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CLINE: Suwanee Post is your paper

I drive by Suwanee's Town Center every night on my way home. Often, as I'm stopped at the light in front of the park, I take time to watch the many folks who always seem to be enjoying the space. From people walking their dogs, to parents playing with her

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CLINE: The cold, hard truth about winter in Minnesota

It's better than you think.

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CLINE: Run the Reagan coming up, rain, snow or shine

Annual road race set for Feb. 18

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CLINE: Civitans doing civic duty with Duluth address

Mayor Nancy Harris will speak at Tuesday's event.

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CLINE: Local college on its way up

GGC making great strides.

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CLINE: J.W. Benefield will be missed

Former school superintendent remembered as "prince among men."

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CLINE: Looking back at a year in columns

Remembering interesting subjects and fun conversations.

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CLINE: No need to throw stones at church over gridlock

Organizers apologize for role in traffic jam, vow to make improvements.

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CLINE: 'Tis the season of positive thinking

Feel-good stories highlight this time of year.

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CLINE: Duluth co-op planning to open thrift store

Proceeds would help fund Hands of Christ ministry.

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CLINE: Keeping up with the principal a tall order

Looking back at my day at Crews Middle School.

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CLINE: Maynard an inspiration

Quest to climb Kilimanjaro is his latest exploit.

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CLINE: Local events offer chance to recognize veterans

County will hold ceremony at Gwinnett Fallen Heroes Memorial.

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CLINE: Finalists for GCPS Teacher of the Year super indeed

Local teachers earn deserved recognition.

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CLINE: A new view of an old rivalry game

Parkview-Brookwood football provides more memories.

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CLINE: Why can't we all just get along?

When it comes to sportsmanship, maybe we expect too much.

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CLINE: Celebrating 20 years of Rainbow Village

Rainbow Village looks back, and ahead, at 20th year gala.

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CLINE: HOT lanes not so hot

Watching an empty HOT lane can be frustrating.

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CLINE: Great Days promotes volunteer spirit

Some groups are still in need of help for this weekend's Great Days of Service event

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CLINE: Vinegar fries hit the spot at Gwinnett fair

Vinegar fries bring back fair memories.

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CLINE: Local firefighters experience outpouring of support on 9/11

A solemn but memorable day for Gwinnett firefighters.

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CLINE: Ella's Run an event worth planning for

This past weekend, like seemingly every day since July, flew by, leaving me to wonder how it is that the pools are closing, college and pro football are kicking off and the days are getting shorter. We can all relate to it getting dark earlier, it's like the closing of

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CLINE: Airport dealings need to avoid negative perceptions

Airport discussion continues to be a polarizing topic.

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CLINE: Former South football star now making his mark in golf biz

Former South Gwinnett football star Adam Wilhite is living his professional dream at East Lake Golf Club.

CLINE: Kruskamp takes short retirement; helping as interim principal at Alcovy High

Bill Kruskamp's retirement was a short one as the former Gwinnett principal has returned last week as the interim princopal at Alcovy High School in Newton County.

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'Tomato Man' a real home-grown hero

A lot of people enjoy home-grown tomatoes. And plenty of them grow their own, harvesting enough to share with family and friends.

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CLINE: Can locals step up to the plate?

It's not lost on me -- or my waistline -- that my television viewing habits are ironic at best, unhealthy at worst. I'm addicted to the Travel Channel's "Man vs. Food" show, which follows host Adam Richman as he scours the country for interesting cuisine and the biggest eating challanges.

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CLINE: Can locals step up to the plate?

It’s not lost on me — or my waistline — that my television viewing habits are ironic at best, unhealthy at worst. I’m addicted to the Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food” show, which follows host Adam Richman as he scours the country for interesting cuisine and the biggest eating challanges.

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CLINE: The ups and downs of students being out for summer vacation

Local students celebrating their first week of summer vacation brings to mind many things:

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CLINE: Duluth best at honoring our veterans

I’ve written about it before in this space, but as I drove through Duluth on Sunday and saw all of the flags memorializing soldiers who fought for our country, I said it again, out loud: “This is great.”

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CLINE: Warm memories of icy cold conditions

As my vehicle slid back down the hill Tuesday, first backward, then sideways and finally (after a slow but not so enjoyable 180-degree turn) nose first, there were many things going through my mind, some more fit for print than others:

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CLINE: Reading, watching resolution

After spending the holidays reading everyone’s “best of” lists, I find myself wanting. It’s pathetic when your list of books you wish you read and movies you wish you saw is longer than the ones you actually enjoyed.

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CLINE: Another year of fascinating encounters

If you’re like me, you’re stuck this week between the modes of looking back and planning ahead. The new year is almost here, and once it is it will be full steam ahead.

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CLINE: Show a can-do spirit by donating to a food bank

I recently headed a canned food drive for my alumni club as we tried to combine community service with our weekly gatherings to watch football. The food drive went well, but what caught me off guard was that while we thanked the participants, many of them thanked us back for the opportunity.

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CLINE: Program gives GCPS students role models

We all have someone we look up to. On Monday at Chateau Elan Golf Club that point was made both literally and figuratively.

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CLINE: Helping on the road to recovery

To those who know her best, Linda Halbman is a lot of things. Wallflower is not one of them.

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CLINE: An event worth recycling

It’s an idea that worked so well that the city of Norcross has recycled it. Just like the electronics officials hope locals will drop off on Oct. 9, Norcross Recycling Day.

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CLINE: A special time for Longhorns

There’s no doubt this is a novel year at Lanier High, the newest high school in the Gwinnett County Public Schools family. You see it everywhere, from the immaculately clean hallways to the first athletic events even down to the inaugural year golf shirts worn by some staff members.

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CLINE: Feeling nostalgic about the county fair

This week makes me think about an old Bruce Springsteen song I discovered a couple of years ago. I had never heard it but instantly liked the tune, titled “County Fair.”

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CLINE: Banks & Shane make time for Dream House

If you've lived in the Atlanta area for any length of time, chances are you've enjoyed a performance by Banks & Shane. The musicians have been together for nearly 40 years, playing everywhere from festivals and churches to private parties and their own restaurant.

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CLINE: Banks & Shane make time for Dream House

If you’ve lived in the Atlanta area for any length of time, chances are you’ve enjoyed a performance by Banks & Shane. The musicians have been together for nearly 40 years, playing everywhere from festivals and churches to private parties and their own restaurant.

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CLINE: Good news can rise out of the bad

Like most of you, I like when the guy gets the girl, the underdog wins the game, the good guys save the day and everyone lives happily ever after. But we all know the news of the day doesn’t always unfold that way.

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CLINE: Hawks help make better community

Football programs are fond of their traditions. And many are protective of them as well. But there's one at Mill Creek High school that head coach Shannon Jarvis doesn't mind being emulated.

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CLINE: Braves back to their old winning ways

They say you don't know what you've got until it's gone, but I never knew that could apply to a pennant race. Though I never quit being an Atlanta Braves fan, my interest waned over the past couple of seasons in direct correlation with the team's winning percentage.

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CLINE: Dealing with the JetBlues

These stories always come out of the blue. Or, in the case of Steven Slater, JetBlue. And what amazes me more than the flight attendant's movie-like outburst is the way seemingly ordinary people like him become overnight heroes.

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CLINE: Field gives family a way to remember their son

Gary Pirkle Park in Sugar Hill stands out for its sprawling synthetic turf fields, the largest in the Southeast. The fields play host to soccer, lacrosse and semi-pro football and seem to always be busy with activity when I go for walks there.

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CLINE: Voting easy, but turnout still lacking

We like easy. And in a microwaveable, push-a-button, have-it-delivered world we are always looking for easier. Problem is, when it comes to voting, it's about as easy as it's going to be for the foreseeable future.

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CLINE: Making lists, checking them twice

We all love lists.

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CLINE: Snellville event looking for a few good runners, volunteers

Unlike his friends and neighbors, Tom Mayfield has embraced the recent cold snap. Rooted for it even. But before you question his sanity, consider his volunteer position as one of the organizers for the Run The Reagan road race. A month from now, on Feb. 13, the annual race will be held in what Mayfield hopes are much warmer conditions than what we endured last week.

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CLINE: Taking a step for homeless

Runners will be raising their heartbeats during Saturday's Run For Shelter 5K run and one-mile fun walk. Organizers from the Fairview Presbyterian Church hope they raise awareness as well.It's the second year for the event, held at Tribble Mill Park, that raises money to combat Gwinnett County's homeless problem. Proceeds from Saturday's run go to Gwinnett Home Sweet Home, an emergency housing program of The Salvation Army that helps homeless families in Gwinnett.

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CLINE: Men don't always live up to the myth

I recently had lunch with a friend who works in the memorabilia and collectibles business. His is an interesting job that allows him to meet a variety of people, not unlike that of a reporter.While many people enjoy collecting autographs, my friend's job is to facilitate that for fans and collectors. Chance meetings with a celebrity are pretty neat, and getting their signature is good proof of the encounter, but most people these days get their autographs at organized signings.

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CLINE: Men don't always live up to the myth

I recently had lunch with a friend who works in the memorabilia and collectibles business. His is an interesting job that allows him to meet a variety of people, not unlike that of a reporter.

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CLINE: Bitter pills don't need added guilt

How do you like to take your medicine? Not literally, but figuratively.Do you like some sweetener to help that hard-to-digest news go down? Or do you prefer to take it straight, disregarding the bitter taste it will leave behind?Me? I'm from the school of "you can make me take my medicine, but you can't make me like it." We all have to do things in life that we'd rather not, be it for work or family or whatever, and I've always preferred people who give it to me straight.

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CLINE: Bitter pills don't need added guilt

How do you like to take your medicine? Not literally, but figuratively.

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CLINE: Hoaxes like balloon boy erode our trust in others

The balloon boy saga is deemed a hoax. And closer to home, we find out the guy whose car was "accidentally" swallowed by a sinkhole in Duluth was not a victim at all.My question: How does that make you feel? Or more accurately: How does it make you act?Because stories like these -- one national and large in scope, the other local and smaller in stature -- have an effect on us. Because the more times we hear people lie -- big or small -- the less we trust the next story and the next person.

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CLINE: LeBron's story redeems author's faith in preps

Not everyone is lucky enough to be pigeonholed. Buzz Bissinger knows that. Being known for one song, one movie or, in Bissinger's case, one book is a lot better than the alternative.

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