Country music funny man Ray Stevens made a lot of money with a song about Shriners and their alleged antics. It's a good song sure to make you laugh.
Now most Shriners I know take the good-natured ribbing well, and let's face it, it's hard not to laugh at a guy in a fez driving one of those miniature cars in the local parades.
But I think it's important that people realize some of the important work the Shriners do.
While the group is active in a number of community projects, probably their most visible work is done with children in need of orthopedic care.
Children, youth and teen-agers up to age 18 who suffer with club feet, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, scoliosis, hand and back problems, bowed legs, rickets and dislocated hips are offered medical care at no cost to the patient thanks to the work of the Shrine clubs across the country.
Marvin Shelton, director of public relations for the local Shrine Nemesis Temple, said that this year's free screening will be held on Saturday, May 6, at the Family Medical Center of United Hospital Center.
Last year, 110 children were referred for treatment, according to Shelton, who speaks passionately about helping children toward a brighter future.
Remember these things the next time a Shriner asks for your support of their worthwhile projects. And if you know of a child who can benefit from the Shriners' program, contact 624-2551 to schedule an appointment.
Like many of you, I'll be spending part of the weekend finishing my taxes.
It's become somewhat of a tradition to wait until the last minute, though I'm not one of those guys who races up to the post office at 11:59 p.m. to see how close to the deadline I can get.
Actually, some of the last-minute "thrill" is gone since the Internal Revenue Service extended the filing date until Monday, April 17 instead of the usual April 15.
Despite that, I'm taking a little different approach this year. I've decided that in the spirit of the new, friendlier IRS, I'm going to have a more positive attitude toward the process.
I'm not going to sit around cursing the situation all weekend. It does no good. Instead, I'm going to think of all the government-subsidized programs that are worthwhile and truly enhance our quality of life.
Quit laughing, I'm serious.
Just a few quick notes on the newspapers:
n Beginning today, local stories written by a staff writer will include a tag at the end with the writer's phone number. That's to encourage our readers to phone in and give us news tips.
n Beginning Tuesday, we will be running a full-page stocks package in the Exponent as well as the Telegram. We believe this will better serve our readers.
John G. Miller is managing editor of the Clarksburg Exponent and Telegram newspapers. He can be reached at 626-1473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.