by Bruce Garrett
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – November 2017
Did you know we have a town historian? Well, we do! He’s one of the many volunteers who serve without pay in our community. His name is Larry Smith and he can just about recite the history of any event, person, or structure within our city. He’s […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – October 2017
I recently had occasion to remember a political figure I listened to every week on the radio. His name was Senator Claghorn and he was a true Southern spokesman. One week, when objecting to the import and sale of apples from the North, and being told that’s […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – September 2017
We all have one of “those days,” a day when unforeseen circumstances alter our plans. Sometimes they offer pleasant surprises. Oftentimes they are anything but pleasant. I had one of these in late July, and thought it worth sharing.
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – August 2017
July 4th has come and gone… now for the “lazy hazy days of summer.” If you missed it, we had one “swellegant” party here in town on the Courthouse lawn with 350 to 400 people this year. That’s not counting the many volunteers as well as the […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – July 2017
Independence Day is at hand. Congratulations and Happy Birthday America. It’s been quite a ride for 241 years. When the Continental Congress formalized the Declaration of Independence with the signature of John Hancock, they took a step so bold and daring and went where no others had […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – June 2017
Last month, we ran a film called Saturday’s Children at Old City Hall. It’s a story about people living in tenements… people like my own family.
In buildings like this, there were no elevators, so the higher the floor on which you lived, the cheaper the rent.
Ours was […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – May 2017
I’ve always wanted to “play” Walter Winchell in one of my columns. Walter would jump from topic to topic in almost every other sentence. So… with the forbearance of my publisher, here goes.
Greetings Mr. and Ms. Jacksonville wherever you are, in your home or in one of […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – April 2017
In my years as Mayor, the two questions I get most often are, “Will we have a museum again?” and “What are the chances of having a live theater in town?” In case you didn’t know, Jacksonville once had a permanent melodrama theater in the old Pioneer […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – March 2017
Did you wake up angry this morning? A great many people do, judging by the news reports every day. I’ve never seen so many people this angry since Pearl Harbor was bombed, when I was twelve-years-old. By then I knew all the bad words children weren’t supposed […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – February 2017
Each New Year finds me more perplexed than usual regarding the subject matter for this column. Due to my degree in history, I am tempted to write something history-related, but current events usually take precedence. So here I am, reminiscing about a world long passed… the decades […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – December 2016/January 2017
Another Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone. For me, this one was special because I owe so very many people a big “thank you” for their support and their vote in this past election. What was especially heart-warming were the letters to the editor of the […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – November 2016
Here we are—election time again, with the media blasting out the latest “he said”…”she said” news daily until one is worn out! Therefore, it is with some reluctance that I bring up the subject of our local election… something I hadn’t even considered doing except that people […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – October 2016
Before addressing our tagline, here is the long-awaited announcement concerning a Public Citizen’s Day at the New City Hall. The date for the festivities is set for Friday, October 14th from noon until 1:00pm, complete with refreshments. Your hosts and hostesses will be the Belles and Beaus […]
A Few Minutes With the Mayor – September 2016
Here comes September. “Where did the summer go?” is a common question dating back long before our time. The yearly cycle repeats itself: children go back to school… vacations end… commerce picks up… and soon squirrels will begin to hoard fall nuts for the long winter. Speaking […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – August 2016
East Side, West Side, all around the town…
Boys and girls together, me and Mamie O’Rourke
Tripped the light fantastic on the sidewalks of New York
Things have changed since those times, some are up in “G”
Others they are wand’rers but they all feel just like me
They’d part with all […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – June 2016
My wife kept reminding me about how I talked of writing a column on aging, in other words, growing older. I kept putting it off but finally came to the conclusion that I’d better write this now before she forgets to remind me. (She’s getting older, too.)
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – May 2016
Most of our Jacksonville citizens have never been to one of our City Council meetings. They don’t know what they are missing. It’s true each meeting has an agenda, but that doesn’t always foretell what might happen since human behavior is quite often unpredictable. This was certainly […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – April 2016
An odd thing happened a few days ago… I saw a penny on the sidewalk and kept on walking, never bothering to pick it up. That would be unthinkable at an earlier time… a time when a penny meant something.
When I was ten-years-old, five pennies could buy […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – March 2016
Downton Abbey has ended. We knew it must. One of the most watched series in television history, it carved out a special niche in the hearts of its audience… one that will be difficult to ever duplicate. Even its cast may never again see a production as […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – February 2016
Last month, a friend complained to me about reading newspaper headlines declaring what a bad year 2016 will be. Her reaction was to avoid reading these columns all together… and who could blame her? We seem to get enough bad news without some writer trying to tell […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – Dec 2015/Jan 2016
Year end approaches and so does Christmas. For some, it is a time of giving and perhaps not much more. This act of giving, which most of us engage in, began a long time ago when the Magi brought gifts to celebrate the birth of the […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – November 2015
I remember, as a child, being struck by the Greek mythological fable of Persephone, daughter of the goddess Demetra, who was abducted by Hades and brought into the underworld. Demetra, whose task was to bring fertility to the land, became so depressed she renounced her divine duties, […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – October 2015
Last month at movie night, we commemorated the Battle of Britain which took place 75 years ago. Old City Hall was so packed people were turned away because of lack of room. Following an interview with Clifford Wilton who survived that battle, we ran the film Spitfire, […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – September 2015
“Where Liberty dwells, there is my country.” Words spoken by Ben Franklin. But today? We are willing to forsake Liberty for comfort or safety. Certainly this was untrue in Franklin’s day. So conditioned to some government bureaucrat telling us how to behave, it no longer concerns us […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – August 2015
The idea crossed my mind the other day that many who read this column haven’t met many of the dedicated people responsible for making our City work as well as it does. And dedicated is the word. I realize this sentiment runs counter to much of what […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – July 2015
A while ago I wrote a column in which I rhapsodized over the construction of the historic Courthouse soon to become Jacksonville’s City Hall. Built in 1883, it is an example of superb hand-craftsmanship. Using only natural materials of the day, it was built […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – June 2015
Well… it seems as if your Mayor has finally done it. I broke a rule every Boy Scout was taught since the first one earned that title in 1910. Even my grade school teachers did their best to make me understand… in any endeavor, in any undertaking, […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – May 2015
At the risk of sounding like a disgruntled stage actor upset with his Wednesday afternoon matinee audience, I feel the need to share my thoughts about citizen attendance at our City Council meetings. Where, oh where are most of you? My one desire is to see more […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – April 2015
As you know, this column seldom devotes attention to affairs outside of Jacksonville; numerous other news and opinion outlets exist for such information. However, reports on the national level about Hillary Clinton’s emails prompted me to join in the conversation, so please bear […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – March 2015
Are you troubled by the political discord today? I am! Not that it is anything new. It is as old as the art of politics. History bears that out. I remember the hatred directed at President Harry Truman. It was intense, personal, and vicious… especially after he […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor, February 2015
Before beginning this first column of the year, I wish to thank the editor/ publisher of this newspaper who approached me four years ago with the offer to write my own column, promising to allow me total freedom to write whatever I felt like. Now I ask you, […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor -December 2014/January 2015
‘Tis the season of Christmas! (Yes, we can still call it that despite all who would have it otherwise.) Christmas is upon us, as well as the end of another year, and it’s been a very busy year for this mayor!
As I wanted to do something special […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – November 2014
The following scenario has not happened, but with all things possible is certainly worth contemplating…
It took months, but the sale of the old courthouse to the We Operate Efficiently Corporation finally went through. WOE had worked at obtaining the building even before the citizens of Jacksonville became […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – September 2014
Now there’s a word that can strike fear into the hearts and minds of otherwise stout-hearted men and women. How many times have we all heard someone say, “I wish they’d stop changing things all the time,” or “Why do we need to change… I like things […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – August 2014
How many of you remember one of the most common commands in the English language appearing in the business community following the end of World War 2? The command was short… one word… and it seemed to be posted wherever one worked, especially in the tabulating department… […]
A Few Minutes with the Mayor – July 2014
This June marked the 70th anniversary of “D Day,” when a brave and mighty fleet of soldiers landed on Normandy’s beach, where virtually the entire first wave of Americans, 10,000 in all, was annihilated by enemy fire—one of the most difficult missions ever carried-out by our soldiers […]
We may live in an historic town, but I’ll wager that when studying history in school, you hated it. Was your history class like mine, consisting of nothing more than memorizing important dates of people and bigger-than-life events? King George may have been a bad king… at least from the American colonists’ point of view, but what were we taught about the man himself? Very little!
In today’s world the question arises… what is the definition of ethics, for often it seems to be lacking in at least some of our public officials. At least the daily headlines keep telling us that...
An incident occurred on my recent vacation that some might call coincidence… but I know better. My wife and I were strolling around a crowded street fair in Palm Springs when, quite unexpectedly, we heard a voice behind us cry out, “There’s the mayor of Jacksonville.” Sure enough, it turned out to be a couple who were also vacationing from Jacksonville.
New Year’s Eve 2013 marked the end of my third year as mayor, an occupation which seemed most improbable to me when growing up—it was a different world back then. This thought crossed my mind while recently watching an old Hopalong Cassidy film...
It was almost a century ago, 1916 to be exact, when a young man, only 18, was put on a boat by his six older brothers and shipped off to America before the Turkish army could conscript him...
This month brings us Thansgiving—A time to reflect on our reasons to be thankful—I would like to take this opportunity to...
I was recently criticized as someone who lived in the “Wild West” and unable to move into the 21st century...
Lately, we have been hearing from a small number of citizens about their concerns over what they’ve heard...
That was quite a picnic on July Fourth! Five hundred hot dogs purchased, five hundred hot dogs served...
This month, I ask your indulgence to wander a bit from my usual reflections over City happenings to devote some thought to…
It seems appropriate to lead off this month’s column by mentioning the successful conclusion to the MRA land swap...
Our courthouse has had its own checkered history...
It’s time to resolve the Community Center issue...
"Drums Along the Mohawk" is February's Free Movie - February 15