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Oglesby: Home prices, shot puts and census
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It’s depressing to read the thick section(s) of The Times devoted fully to home foreclosures week after week, particularly those of us who have houses on the market that have been sitting vacant for months attracting no potential buyer interest.

Then, reading the housing inventory levels, we realize it may be months more before we normally could expect a sale unless some of us luck out on a buyer who finds our house fits the need or especially likes the neighborhood.

Most sales now are below $200,000. The new homebuyer credit reaching upward of $8,500 and other breaks could change the "normally" by making higher priced homes fit their budget.

I speak from personal experience. In April 2008, health problems forced us to move from our two-story home on Tommy Aaron Drive just up from the golf course to a one-story. Luckily, we found a ranch house just up the street and didn’t have to leave our beloved neighborhood.

The problem is that nearly two years later, despite our lowering the price to about $60,000 less than value, it’s still vacant. A few inquirers want to rent at rates much less than mortgage payments. Others are in this boat. This, eventually shall pass.

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I was a fair athlete, my teams picking up a few championships and I a couple of records, but when school was over so was most of my athletic career except for my 3-handicap golf (woods, irons and putter — all three are major handicaps).

My brother was a great athlete in high school and college, winning state high school championships in tennis, high jump and discus, caught on our state baseball runner-up team and was offered basketball scholarships at such institutions as Georgia Tech, Kentucky and Florida State. Humbles me.

A still-practicing Florida surgeon, he’s competed in the Senior Olympics and set a few records in track and field events for several years. He turned 75 on Nov. 20 and moved to the 75-80 age category. In early December, he competed in the Southeastern competition in Florida and did quite well, winning first in shot put, discus and javelin.

On the first of three shot puts, he broke the state record. On the second, he broke his own new record, also setting a national record. On the third, he broke that national record, with a heave longer than the standing world record. He can’t claim the world record because the meet wasn’t international competition. However, it did result in his being officially ranked No. 1 in the world. He also similarly broke the national age 75-80 record in discus.

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The Northeast Georgia Area lost another great when Jack Holcomb died. The World War II veteran taught and coached basketball and baseball and became academic dean at Truett-McConnell College; was a longtime director of the area educational technical assistance area; and was a church leader.

We were neighbors when I lived on Holly Drive, and he had been a member of our Lakewood Baptist Church for many years, I served as his family deacon.

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A note about the constitutionally mandated census coming up this year: Again, I speak from personal experience having been director of a 22-county area for the 1970 census. It’s vitally important that everyone even go out of their way to be sure they’re counted, even when they draw the long form questionnaire.

The short form provides the profile required for mandated reapportionment of congressional districts nationwide and for various state, county and city elective offices. The long form provides Congress with the demographic needs for allocating federal funds for numerous programs.

If we don’t give them the needed information, we’re short-changed on our deserved share, and it’s our own fault because we are required by law to answer the form we’re given.

Ted Oglesby is retired associate and opinion page editor of The Times. You may contact him at P.O. Box 663, Gainesville, GA 30503. His column appears every other Tuesday and on gainesvilletimes.com.

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