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Noted and passed - Jan. 6, 2014

Posted: January 3, 2014 4:03 p.m.
Updated: January 6, 2014 5:00 a.m.

• The concept of energy conservation has never been stronger, as the amount of electricity consumed in U.S. homes fell in 2013 for the third straight year. Usage is at the lowest level since 2001. Several factors are involved, in addition to Americans being more conscious of saving power: homes are better built; appliances and gadgets are more efficient; insulation has become better and cheaper; and there are nifty new devices such as smart thermostats. It’s all a good thing, of course, for this country.

• At age 95, evangelist Billy Graham is still one of the 10 most admired men in this country, says the Gallup Poll. It’s the 57th time Graham has landed on the list, far more than any other person since Gallup began taking such a poll back in 1948. One reason is that with a few exceptions, Graham has stuck with preaching instead of dallying in politics. We wish him more good years.

• We note with sadness the recent death of Andy Granatelli, who virtually created the STP brand and also made a name for himself in Indianapolis-style automobile racing. Granatelli grew up on the Chicago slums and dropped out of school at 14, but his entrepreneurial spirit was strong and he made a success of himself. In 1976, he bought an auto-parts distributor for $300,000 and sold it 10 years later for $60 million. He was an American success story, and he will be missed.

• As first ladies go, Barbara Bush was one of the most outspoken. As the spouse of George H. W. Bush, she wasn’t hesitant to speak her mind publicly about all sorts of issues. She was hospitalized in Houston all last week for a respiratory issue; at 88, such things can be serious. A timetable had not been set for her release at the time this was written, but we wish her the best -- and look forward to more of her outspokenness.

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