Braselton News

May 28, 2008


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Column
By Kerri Testement

Life includes difficult losses
They say life events, like the seasons, come and go on a cycle.
After graduating from high school, most of my friends went on to earn their college degrees. We started our careers at the same time. We got married at the same time. And we started having children at the same.
It’s a cycle among our friends that we’ve shared through good and bad times.
But in just the past month, some of our friends have dealt with another hard fact of life — the loss of a parent.
The first friend had some time to prepare for the possible passing of his father.
The second friend lost his mother unexpectedly.
One is dealing with the loss with stoicism, while the other is having a difficult time withholding his emotions.
No matter the circumstances of their parents’ death or how they are handling their pain, our friends are dealing with traumatic events.
We expect our parents to grow old, retire and live comfortably to witness the birth of many grandchildren (and possibly great-grandchildren). We don’t expect them to leave us when we’re still struggling with establishing our young families.
When our first friend lost his father a few weeks ago, it was a shock to my husband and myself. His death was the first among the parents of our friends. In losing him, we realized that our parents will someday pass, too. And we’re not ready for that, either.
Death is a topic few people choose to discuss in cold, hard facts with their loved ones.
Where do you want to be buried?
How do you prefer that we remember you?
What instructions do you want us to follow for your funeral?
What do you want us to do with your personal belongings?
It’s a topic that is easily brushed off for another day. If my family were to ask me those questions today, I wouldn’t have an answer for them.
An even tougher question is how do we deal with the loss of a close loved one? That can’t be answered until that unfortunate time arrives.
More than 15 years ago, my grandmother died of colon cancer in her early sixties. Her passing came about six months after her initial diagnoses.
At her funeral, I remember my great-grandmother (a sharp woman in her eighties at the time) crying over the loss of her “baby.” She didn’t see my grandmother as a grandmother; she still saw my grandmother as her “baby” and mourned the loss of her child.
And that’s the tough part about losing a loved one, especially a parent.
We remember the good times that we saw as children. Our daddy playing restaurant with our toy kitchen. Our mommy doing her best to provide for her family — and still looking pretty.
Regardless of age or life experiences, losing a parent is difficult at any time of our lives. We just have to remember to honor them, while still moving forward.
Kerri Testement is the news editor of The Braselton News. Her e-mail address is kerri@mainstreetnews.com.

Sewer line locations are important
The controversy surrounding a proposed sewerage line extension in Barrow County to accommodate a new school raises some fundamental issues about how local governments affect growth.
The proposal in Barrow for 13,900 ft. of sewerage line to a site on Mulberry Road for a new school would also be designed to take additional flow from other area developments.
But that’s a double-edged sword for local governments and the impact of laying a sewerage line can ultimately be good or bad depending on its location. Putting water and sewerage lines down any road immediately increases the value of land along the road. Property with water and sewerage available is usually more valuable because of its development potential.
But how that impacts local governments depends on how the property will be developed. Sewerage lines allow for higher-density housing development since septic systems aren’t needed. In the short-term, higher density housing may bring in some building and development fees to government, but in the longer term higher-density housing can lead to overcrowded schools and traffic issues, both of which costs local governments additional money, sometimes more than they get off property taxes from the development.
However, if a sewerage line is put in an area destined for commercial or industrial development, the investment of the infrastructure often pays back to local governments. While industrial growth does have some governmental costs, those are relatively low compared to the taxes paid by industries on buildings and equipment.
And this is where Barrow County is lacking. Barrow doesn’t have enough industrial development to act as a counterbalance to its booming residential growth. Some 60 percent of Barrow’s tax digest is residential while only 12 percent is industrial. Those numbers are actually further apart if you factor in homestead exemptions, which pull millions of dollars off the net digest.
Compare that to Jackson County, which has roughly the same size overall tax digest. Some 21 percent of Jackson’s digest is industrial while 47 percent is residential. That means that Jackson County is less reliant on homeowners for tax dollars because it has a larger base of industrial development.
So the real question in the Barrow sewerage line issue isn’t just the upfront costs, but how that line would be used for future development. If it is in an industrial area and would help lure industrial growth, the upfront costs would be more than recovered by the long-term benefit of such projects.
However, if the line would only make higher-density housing available, there would be a long-term cost associated with such a project in addition to the upfront cost.
If putting a sewerage line in the proposed location isn’t a good deal for the county government, then perhaps the school system should pursue other self-contained methods of sewerage treatment for its project.
However, if the sewerage line project would anchor future industrial growth, then perhaps the county should consider investing in that project for the long-term benefits it would bring.
Either way, the decision will be important to the future of Barrow County.



 

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