It’s not often that I can write a column about sex with little fear of angering readers, but I think this one is probably a pretty safe bet.

As you’ve hopefully noticed, this month’s cover story is about health and sex education curriculums in our public schools. And I say with pride that our story package is virtually without bias one way or the other.

What we are trying to accomplish this month is twofold:

First, we want to shed some light on what our children are learning about health and sex education, and when, in our schools.

Second, we want to present the facts in a non-emotionally charged atmosphere. You may agree or disagree with what our schools are doing – but in either case, we’re giving you the information necessary so you can make a decision on your own. This is, after all, something we try to do every month.

We’re not trying to stir up controversy with this month’s cover story. But it’s hard to argue against the thought that what our children are learning today will significantly affect their lives – and ours.

And if we aren’t involved in making the decisions about our schools’ curriculum, we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves if we don’t like the way things turn out.

We’re excited about our first Fall Football Preview, also a part of this month’s Advocate. Our Sports Editor, Brett Hayman, has compiled a section’s worth of information you won’t find anywhere else about our high school football and fall sports programs.

Let us know what you think about it. Your comments are always welcome; after all, that’s one of the reasons we put the paper together every month.

We plan to do a football section again next year, and we’re thinking about doing sections for winter and spring sports, as well.

The football section wouldn’t be possible without the support of the neighborhood retailers and businesses advertising in the special section.

As a matter of fact, our entire publication wouldn’t be possible without the support of these same retailers, as well as many others.

That was one of our goals when we started Advocate Community Newspapers 2 ½ years ago. It was obvious to us that no one regularly covered the news in our neighborhoods. What wasn’t as obvious is that no one offered neighborhood retailers an affordable opportunity to reach the people in their neighborhoods.

It doesn’t make much sense, after all, for a retailer who wants to tell people in his community about his store to buy an ad in the Morning News – there aren’t too many people in Grapevine or Grand Prairie who are going to drive to East Dallas, Lakewood or Lake Highlands to shop.

So we decided to offer those retailers that opportunity – and it has worked well. Our readership study, done last year, said that eight out of 10 of us would prefer to shop locally.

That’s a lesson I learned first-hand last month, when my point-and-shoot camera stopped taking sharp snapshots of my son.

I began scouring the newspaper advertisements for “deals” on inexpensive camera equipment. Barry’s, Ritz and a host of local department stores run full page Morning News blowouts advertising cameras of all shapes and prices.

But after all of the comparison shopping my wife could take, we went to Super Tex Cameras at Mockingbird and Abrams. They’re a small, specialty camera supplies store, and they’ve been a faithful Advocate advertiser since our inception.

I have to admit, because they’re a small shop, I expected to pay more for the same cameras I’d seen advertised by the big boys.

Owner David Conger spent a half hour answering my questions about the merits of Fuji versus Olympus versus whatever. He painstakingly demonstrated each of the cameras for us.

Finally, he made a sale – at exactly the same price the big chains were advertising – and he proceeded to take my new camera out of the box, install the film and battery, and spend another 15 minutes telling me how to use all of the features. (Closing time came and went during this explanation, and he didn’t seem to mind.)

All of this without a hard-sell for various “packages” of “accessories” I could probably do without.

“I can’t sell cameras for any more than anyone else,” Conger says. “If you can get one for less money somewhere else, why would you shop here?”

I could have saved myself a lot of time (and my wife a lot of aggravation) by walking into Super Tex in the first place.

That’s why I hope you’ll do us, and them, a favor: If you like the special section, and if you like the Advocate as a whole, tell the supportive retailers and business people when you shop or trade with them.