Mother's Day 2006 is a great day for moms, even for those getting burnt toast and weak coffee delivered to their bedside by well-meaning children who otherwise can't put their own dishes in the sink.
Good moms deserve good days every day, so this particular Mother's Day couldn't come at a better time: After all, this past week was pretty rough on a couple of local mothers.
And that's not even including the self-inflicted embarrassment of the ex-River Ridge Elementary mom, who continues to attract eye-rolling incredulity. See, most folks can't figure out why she thinks it's a civil rights crisis that her 7-year-old had to clean up his mess on the kindergarten potty.
For other women this past week, though, the news was both good and bad, depending on your perspective.
For example, it is good news that Linda Schrenko decided to end her denial and, on Wednesday morning in federal court in Atlanta, pleaded guilty to fraud and money-laundering.
She'll do eight years in prison, and turn over any other evidence she might have to federal prosecutors.
The plea is bad news for her co-defendants - especially her former bunkmate Merle Temple, who had already pleaded guilty but has not yet been sentenced.
Schrenko's best shot at the trial had been to blame everything on Temple. It looked like the strategy was working, but there was enough blame left that she was hip-deep in it, too.
Having pleaded guilty and accepting a sentence, Schrenko can spill her guts without fear that she'll get more punishment. Temple, who pleaded guilty first and agreed to testify against her, doesn't yet have his sentence set. And now it will be tougher, because Schrenko helped record him violating the judge's order not to talk to her.
When Temple turned against Shrenko, she became a woman scorned. We again see what that means.
It was also good news this past week that the court here in Columbia County ordered former Lakeside High School Band Booster Club president Sharon Nichols to repay $15,000 she stole from the club.
The bad news is that everyone suspects far more was stolen. But that's about as much as can be comfortably proven to the court.
Current president Carol Hutchins delivered the news about the restitution Tuesday night to band parents at Lakeside, and said the money will be put into an account for badly needed new band uniforms. It will probably take about two years to earn the rest of the money - longer than would have been necessary if the former president hadn't siphoned off her "share."
Schrenko stole education money, and Nichols stole band money; you'd have to swipe lunch-money from a kindergartner to get any lower than that.
There was news in the past week about another young woman, however, and it's all good.
Gina Sprague's doctors gave her mom, Candi, a tremendous early Mother's Day gift when they told Gina she has "a fantastic chance" of walking again.
Gina, a Lakeside High graduate, was badly injured in March in a Colorado auto accident, and early expectations were that she would spend the rest of her life using a wheelchair.
Her sister, Jennifer Crow, of Evans, says the family is praying that Gina will be able to walk out of the Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in Denver. That would really be good news.
A final note
Because it is Mother's Day again, it still aches that there's an empty spot at the table where my mom used to be. If there is a silver lining in her untimely death six years ago, it is that five other people lived because she was an organ donor, and made sure her family was aware of her wishes.
For those of you celebrating the occasion with your mom, give her an extra hug from those of us whose mothers are here with us only in spirit, would you?
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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