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The Cheat Sheet

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1. Even though Shelby County is supposedly $2 billion in debt, officials have projected a $15 million surplus for the fiscal year ending this month. County mayor

A C Wharton warned this doesn't mean the county has extra money, however. "People always misunderstand that," he told reporters. Well, he's right. We do misunderstand. If we are so much in debt, why do we have money left over? And more to the point, can we have some of it back?

2. Twice last week, vandals damaged and defaced cars in the Peabody Place parking garage -- many of them vehicles owned by judges attending a Tennessee Bar Association convention. Not a wise move for those vandals. When you are eventually caught and hauled before a judge, don't even think that he'll slash your sentence after you slashed his (or one of his pal's) tires.

3. A former Methodist Church in Oakland has been turned into a combination bed-and-breakfast and massage center. Now that's the kind of "laying on of hands" that we like.

4. Shelby County school students should see better grades on their report cards next year. But it won't be because they studied harder. The school board voted to lower the standards for letter grades by one point. In the past, a numerical grade above 94 got you an A. Now an A is 93 to 100. The other grades were adjusted accordingly, except for an F (then as now, anything below 70). Failure, at least, is still considered failure.

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