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Deborah Simmons — Life As It Happens

Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons was a senior correspondent who reported on City Hall and wrote about education, culture, sports and family-related topics.

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In this Aug. 13, 2019, file photo a worker gets ready to pass out instructions on how to fill out the 2020 census during a town hall meeting in Lithonia, Ga.  (AP Photo/John Amis, File) **FILE**

Oklahoma points the way to better quality of life

- The Washington Times

Oklahoma is the fist-shaped state in south-central United States that looks like its pointy finger is pointed westward. That's Oklahoma in a itsy-bitsy nutshell, and that's why the headline from the editorial board of the state's largest daily is worthy of attention.

Cameron Bray donates to the the Salvation Army outside of Hobby Lobby in Janesville, Wisconsin, on Saturday, Nov. 29, 2019. Bell ringer Debi Pulver averaged $63 raised per hour while ringing the ball last year. (Anthony Wahl/The Janesville Gazette via AP) **FILE**

Pay it forward with charitable contributions

- The Washington Times

Santa's done his thing, and you've sifted through his deliveries to decide which you'll keep, which you'll regift and which (shrug) you'll return to brick-and-mortar stores -- or struggle to find the return labels for shipping. While you're at it, consider paying it forward. Donate to a worthy and reputable cause, and get a tax credit to boot.

This 1860-75 photo made available by the Library of Congress shows Harriet Tubman. (Harvey B. Lindsley/Library of Congress via AP) ** FILE **

Christmas and Harriet Tubman

- The Washington Times

So, on Christmas Eve 1854, she again trekked from Philadelphia, where she was safe -- relatively speaking, of course -- to Maryland, where her parents and three brothers were enslaved. Her brothers knew she was on her way, because she had sent word via the agents and conductors of the Underground Railroad.

Democratic presidential candidate Former Vice President Joe Biden waves before a Democratic presidential primary debate Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Joe Biden, say it ain't so

- The Washington Times

Joseph R. Biden, who twice strode alongside Barack Obama to win the White House and now is in a comfortable pace in the 2020 race, seems to have forgotten Mr. Sharpton's 2009 warning about education not being an option.

In this Jan. 25, 2017, file photo, students fill their lunch trays at J.F.K Elementary School in Kingston, N.Y., where all meals are now free under the federal Community Eligibility Provision. A donor inspired by a tweet raised money to pay off lunch debt in districts around the country, as well as thousands of dollars in overdue lunch fees at other schools in the Kingston district. (AP Photo/Mary Esch, File) **FILE**

Food stamps giveaways takeaways

- The Washington Times

Shame on those grown folk, of course, because they are not only wasting good food but good money, too. Federal, state and local coffers pay for school feeding programs, and your taxes fill those coffers.

At-large D.C. Council member David Grosso said "public financing of campaigns would give greater voice to all voters and reduce the disproportionate influence of big city donors in D.C. politics" under a bill he has crafted. (The Washington Times) **FILE**

D.C. lawmakers consider robbing PTAs and PTOs

- The Washington Times

Three D.C. Council members -- David Grosso, Vincent Gray and Brianne Nadeau -- hastened Tuesday to be the initial bearers of glad tidings by introducing the D.C. Public Schools Family and School Community Fundraising Equity Act of 2019.

 In this Feb. 28, 2019 file photo, actress Lori Loughlin, center, poses with daughters Olivia Jade Giannulli, left, and Isabella Rose Giannulli at the 2019 "An Unforgettable Evening" in Beverly Hills, Calif. Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli were charged along with nearly 50 other people Tuesday in a scheme in which wealthy parents bribed college coaches and other insiders to get their children into some of the most elite schools in the country, federal prosecutors said. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)  **FILE**

Community service benefits young students and athletes

- The Washington Times

Young people like Mayce Wood and others who volunteer to do good for their communities' sake aren't so jaded. They don't just see a need; they feel the need. Sometimes, again too often, young people only do things merely because an adult tells them to do it.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg fills out paperwork, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, at the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., to appear on the ballot in Arkansas' March 3 presidential primary. Bloomberg hasn't formally announced a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, but his trip to Arkansas is the latest indication that he is leaning toward a run. (Staton Breidenthal/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP) **FILE**

Michael Bloomberg and Donald Trump, meet Gladys Harrison of Nebraska

- The Washington Times

Republicans, Democrats, independents: Lend me your eyes and ears -- and if Michael Bloomberg and President Trump are paying attention, here's the American voter you both need to court. Her name is Gladys Harrison, and she lives in Omaha, Nebraska, where she runs a restaurant called Big Mama's Kitchen and Catering.

At-large D.C. Council member David Grosso said "public financing of campaigns would give greater voice to all voters and reduce the disproportionate influence of big city donors in D.C. politics" under a bill he has crafted. (The Washington Times) **FILE**

Divisive Democrats in D.C. City Hall?

- The Washington Times

Leave it to a D.C. politician to pick up on the far left's scent. As if Ms. Pelosi had handed him a rod and staff, D.C. Council member David Grosso appears to be training for a run against the chairman of the council.