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Community Review
Ready for a day of love?
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    Congratulations to the winners of our Valentine’s Day Blog Contest. All of the blogs were really good, and the judges had a difficult time choosing only two. But, they finally decided on a winner and a runner-up. You can read the winning blogs below.
    The winners will pick up their gifts on Tuesday, and their pictures will appear in our Valentine’s Day edition on Wednesday.
    Thank you to our sponsors who were so generous with their prizes. The winner will receive dinner for two from Statesboro Brews, one dozen red roses from Southern Creations Floral and Gift Shoppe, Inc. and a couple’s massage from Serenity Day Spa and Salon. The runner-up will receive movie tickets, one-half dozen roses from Southern Creations Floral and Gift Shoppe, Inc. and coffee and dessert for two from Daily Grind.
    Reading the blogs really made me curious about the holiday and how it got started. So I consulted the Web site for the History Channel ( for more information. As so many holidays that have been celebrated for centuries, Valentine’s Day has its own mysterious past, as well.
    One account has its beginnings in ancient Rome. In this account, during the third century the priest Valentine defied Emperor Claudius II by continuing to marry young men and their sweethearts. Claudius, who thought that single young men made better soldiers than married young men, had issued a decree which prohibited the priest from performing the marriage ceremonies. His defiance cost him his life. And, it is possible that this priest may have been the first to send a Valentine’s card to his sweetheart from prison.
    It wasn’t until the seventeenth century that Valentine’s Day became a popular celebration in Great Britain. Though small tokens of love were commonly exchanged, it wasn’t until the end of the eighteenth century when printed cards began to replace handwritten notes. Esther A. Howland was the first producer of printed cards in America in the 1840s.  
    The legend still endures today. While it is uncertain whether St. Valentine was actually executed or died from illness in prison, his remains, or those that are believed to be his, were given to an Irish priest by the name of Father John Spratt by Pope Gregory XVI as a gift. The remains in a black and gold casket are displayed every Valentine’s Day in the Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin, Ireland.
    Regardless of its beginnings, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love. The best ways to show your affection for your loved ones don’t always require you to spend lots of money. A handwritten letter expressing your feelings for the recipient can be especially nice. The great thing about a letter is that you express yourself in your own words. And, the letter can be cherished and reread time after time.
    So, I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Valentine’s Day. If you’re having difficulty coming up with ideas for your loved ones, read the blogs. You’ll find some good ideas there. And, I hope you will blog us to tell us about your Valentine’s Day.
    On a little different note, I want to bring to your attention an expression of love in a little different context. A group of 35 youth and adults from the United Methodist Statesboro District Youth Group will travel to the Grand Bahamas during their winter break to share their love and the love of God with people there who have suffered devastation from hurricanes.
    The group, made up of students and adults from seven different churches in Bulloch and Screven counties, will leave on Saturday and return the following Saturday. They will be posting daily updates with pictures on our Blogspace. You can view their blog on our Web site, and highlights from the trip will appear in print, as well.
    While they are there, the group will help complete the Hunter Youth Training Center, which was damaged by Hurricane Wilma. This center will provide services for several thousand youth in the area. The group will also do plumbing, painting, and drywall work on a nearby home.
    Please continue to post your events to our community calendar and let us know what’s on your mind by posting a blog. We love seeing your pictures in the Photo Gallery, too.
    Please contact me if I can be of assistance with your community news.
    Make it a great week!

    Community News editor Pat Homer can be reached by phone at (912) 489-9465 or through email at
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