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Sylvia Hughes returns

&uot;Hello darling, nice to see you…it’s been a long time.&uot;

With all due respect to the late, great Conway Twitty – the country music legend who made that opening line famous – it’s a refreshing sight to see Sylvia Hughes return to writing.

Hughes is a former journalist with what once was Parker Brothers Inc., the founding fathers of what is now the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. She served many years as News Editor of one of our former sister publications – the Scotland Neck Commonwealth.

She went on to become the Public Relations Director of Halifax County Public Schools, a career that makes a nice fit for a majority of former writers/reporters.

Hughes retired from that position a couple of years ago, freeing her time to do some things she enjoys in life – traveling and relaxing with her grandchildren. She even has more time to enjoy – or, as was the case last year, wallow in misery – rooting for her favorite NFL team (as well as mine), the Miami Dolphins.

She remains, at least in my eyes, a fairly young woman, still possessing a keen sense of sharing with the readers of her weekly column a wide array of topics and viewpoints.

I cordially invite you to check out our new columnist. I feel you will find her as a bonus for the small price you pay for our publication. Call or e-mail me with your thoughts.

A second agenda that needs addressing this week is the Hertford-Gates Relay for Life.

As discussed in a previous column, I personally had no &uot;dog in the fight&uot; when it came to Relay. My wife has been cancer-free for 11 years, so my recent involvement with Relay was strictly as a reporter for this newspaper.

All of that changed on Oct. 11, 2004 when my mom died of liver cancer. Suddenly, Relay for Life took on a whole new meaning…one I could personally relate to.

I listened very closely to the stories of cancer survivors, feeling their energy as they and their loved ones battled this disease. I would find myself teary-eyed when listening to family members tell of the struggles and eventual deaths of their loved ones who finally surrendered in their battles against cancer.

This past weekend’s Relay for Life was an overwhelming success on more than one front. The first thing that jumps out is one set of numbers – $213,235.07. That is the amount raised in Hertford and Gates counties for cancer research and education.

Sure, the $213,000-plus was cause for a celebration, given the fact that the planning committee’s goal was $205,000. That thought brings me to a second observation – the Roanoke-Chowan area may be listed as one of the most economically challenged regions of our state, but when we all get behind one effort, look at the impact it makes.

People throughout the R-C area – including the good folks over in Bertie County who are preparing to add to their running total of over $1 million during their Relay for Life on May 13-14 – have proven time and time again that their collective hearts are as large as any other region in America.

If you haven’t made a donation to either local Relay for Life event, there’s still plenty of time. Contact Bonnie Langdale in Hertford County or Bobbi Parker in Bertie County. If you can’t find it in your wallet to make a donation, find it in your heart by becoming a Relay volunteer. Every little thing adds up to make a big difference.

One final parting shot to the Ahoskie Town Council.

It was brought to my attention on Tuesday that the Council is under the assumption that Tommy Hurdle’s slice of bread will be buttered when his company is asked once again to provide the fireworks for Heritage Day in October.

Town of Ahoskie officials have nothing to do with providing or paying for the Heritage Day fireworks. Last year, that cost was graciously covered by the Downtown Merchant’s Association, a totally separate entity that is to be commended once again for agreeing to head-up this year’s celebration.

My best advice under this particular assumption by Council members is don’t take credit where credit is not due.