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Opinion

Among other things, the holidays are a time of giving and receiving gifts. The question most often asked of people is, "what did you get?" Much less frequently asked is, "what did you give?" Invariably, the inquiries concern material gifts. Purchasing a gift can certainly be thoughtful and a wonderful gesture, especially when it's backed up by your actions.

However, the most valuable presents are those that aren't sold in stores. When you give your love, your time, help someone in need, aid another in solving a problem or overcoming an obstacle, you give something priceless.

The true spirit of the holidays is giving. When you give, you receive. You can get anything in life you want by helping enough others get what they want. But only if you give without expecting anything in return. The impact of giving isn't limited to just the holiday season, it's something that has value all year.

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This article can be filed under the “be careful what you wish for” heading. The row between the Franklin Main Street Program and many of the downtown merchants is unfortunate, but predictable. A few years back, merchants were enthusiastic about reconstituting the Main Street Program that had fallen by the wayside. I didn't share that optimism. The downtown merchants were and are, capable of making their own individual and collective decisions for promoting their businesses. Creating a government entity creates an additional barrier to entrepreneurial flexibility. At the time, I argued that if we were having difficulties promoting joint business ventures, why did we think a layer of bureaucracy would solve that problem?

Theoretically, the Main Street Program should be working to improve the business climate and in the process - make itself obsolete. What are the odds of any government program working toward its own demise?

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The FCC has on the table a policy that would resurrect broad censorship rules – very similar to those that were revoked in 1987 because of their chilling effect on free speech and the television press.

The proposed new Localism, Balance and Diversity Doctrine could eventually also affect news on the Internet. The FCC has already begun transferring the broadcast spectrum used by local television to the Internet to make it the nation’s primary communications platform, and the agency has already started to regulate the Internet.

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In October 2011, six entrepreneurs from Franklin attended a conference in Asheville. The conference was an AdvantageWest initiative highlighting “ways for entrepreneurs and community leaders to focus efforts on strategic goals which ultimately keep the ‘wealth at home.’ Industry representatives and successful business owners explained their experiences with the common pursuit of growing a ‘local economy.’”

The conference and the objective were legitimate, and the attendees came away inspired to implement what they had learned. And thus, Venture Local Franklin was born.

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