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Teachers, citizens and some amour

I was scanning some other news sites recently and came across a story about a student in Stone Mountain, Ga. about a student who ran over her teacher.

Her driver's education teacher.

You know I don't have the patience to teach children, but I know I could never teach driver's education.

I tried to teach my sister how to drive and was a nervous wreck by the time I returned home.

Anyway, this story reminded me of my own driver's education teacher, Ms. Bennie Payne.

Everyone who has lived here any length of time knows Ms. Payne. She's a volunteer here or she over there doing something.

She likes to keep busy.

That's good. It keeps her out of the classroom now and out of cars training other motorists.

I like to tease Ms. Payne about the time she cursed at me for making a mistake. She still denies it to this day.

But that's okay.

We both know the events of the day.

It went like this.

We were driving around what was then Greenville Junior High School and we were in a Chevette or some similar car.

She decided we should do 3-point turns.

As I began to do the turn, I hit the curb. She hit the brake on her side of the car.

We started to do it again and this time when I hit the curb, she said something.

I can't really remember what she said.

Through the years and many visits with my shrink I've been able to lock it away.

To this day I have been unable to perform a simple three-point turn. I will actually drive to the next street and go around.

At least I never drove over Ms. Payne.

She probably wanted to run over a few of us, but she didn't.

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As I noted recently, we are finishing up our Horizons 2005 edition.

I'm proud of it.

A big part of this edition is our Citizen of the Year profile and the profiles of our Unsung Heroes.

I'm happy to say that we a total of 41 people nominated for the award. You don't realize all the good so many people do for others until you get this list combined and ready for others to vote on it.

Throughout the week, our Reader Advisory Committee and our senior staff members have been casting their ballots for the honor.

Friday afternoon, the last ballot came in and we finally got to the tally the votes.

So who won?

Well I'm not going to tell you yet.

But you'll find out on Feb. 23 when the Horizons edition is put in the racks.

To everyone who took part in this, I say thank you from everyone here at the paper.

It was good to see so many of people think so highly of others and to take the time to write why someone deserves this honor.

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Finally, on Monday friends and lovers will celebrate Valentine's Day.

Do remember to something for that special someone in your life.

I would suggest you visit on e our great local florists or gift shops and find something that says "I love you."

For those whose loved one can't be near on Monday, remember that flowers can be delivered anywhere and that sometimes a phone call can mean so much.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Jay Thomas is managing editor of the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 382-3111, ext. 136 or via email at jay.thomas@greenville

advocate.com.