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 OPINION PAGE - JANUARY 5, 2000 - COMMERCE, GA

Editorial
The Commerce News
January 5, 2000

Plenty To Do To Make Year 2000 A Success
With little or no trouble from Y2K and no sign of an impending end of the world, Jackson County lurched into the year 2000, and, according to many people, the New Millennium. The establishment of time is rather arbitrary (somebody had to declare 1 A.D., and not all people recognize our calendar), and the year 2000 will be different not because of its number, but because of what happens during it.
Each of us has a little control over what happens during 2000. Our milestones, accomplishments, mistakes and fortune (good or bad) will determine whether it is good. And the combination of events that affect us will be both global and local, though largely local.
Ideally, not only will 2000 be a good year for each of us as individuals, but it will also be a good year for our communities, a year in which they overcome obstacles, solve problems, operate efficiently and deliver needed services, all while being as unobtrusive as possible.
Here's what we'd like to see happen during 2000 to make it a good year:
·Commerce completing its water plant upgrade and getting permitted to remove upward of 4 million gallons per day from the Grove River. That work is in process and will meet the city's water needs for years to come.
·Nicholson getting its zoning ordinance implemented and beginning to control the development that has been predominantly mobile home parks.
·Maysville's government settling down and working better together, and voters electing someone in March who can work with the other officials.
·Commerce continuing to improve its financial condition while building up its utility distribution systems, repairing old sidewalks and even building new ones. Its Downtown Development Authority, working with the Jackson County Area Chamber of Commerce, will renovate the old City Hall and start a successful small business incubation center there ­ just as planned.
·Commerce taking a serious look at what should be done when new shopping centers are proposed to prevent the problems that exist now with the old Bi-Lo shopping center and will soon exist when Wal-Mart leaves. Those huge, empty buildings and parking lots are a blight in any community.
·Commerce High School addressing the past three years of substandard SAT scores with an improved curriculum. Teaching kids how to take the SAT, playing background music while they take it and giving everyone the PSAT may all be helpful, but they are not substitutes for a curriculum that better builds the skills required for the SAT and academic success in college.
·BJC Medical Center recruiting three or four general practitioners who will fit into the community and help support the hospital.
·A strong field of competent candidates qualifying for the five county commission seats under the new county government form, and voters electing five men and women who will diligently search for the best possible county manager.
·Public officials in all of our communities being more selective about the new development they allow, be it residential or industrial.
·The chamber of commerce and county and city governments deciding to focus on the development of smaller retail businesses in our downtowns. Big stores are nice and convenient, but smaller retail stores and shops add character and community. The Downtown Development Authority will have the lead role in that in Commerce, hopefully getting some good out of the 1999 marketing survey.
·The development of community pride such that citizens, business and industry will all desire to keep public and private property well maintained, litter free and attractive. You can tell a lot about a community by the appearance of its homes, businesses, streets and public facilities. We have a lot of room for improvement.

Column
Mark Beardsley
The Commerce News
January 5, 2000

Resolutions
To Help Start A
'New Millennium'
Resolutions for a New Millennium:
·Realize that there is nothing inordinately different about the "new millennium" unless you make it different. 2000 is going to be just like 1999 unless people make it special.
·Enjoy life a little more. There's plenty of time for work and stress. Try to laugh more, particularly at yourself. Not only should you take time to smell the roses, but you should also plant a rose bush.
·Watch where you place your passions. Too many of us are passionate about unimportant things in life, from politics to athletics. Be passionate about your convictions, but don't have a stroke because the Bulldogs drop a crucial pass.
·Go the other way. If everyone is traveling in one direction, try going the opposite way. You'll have lot less competition, and you'll find life a lot more interesting. Remember, the ways of the world are seldom godly, and it isn't mandatory that you drive an SUV.
·Worry less. That's easier said than done, but most of what we worry about never happens and most of what does is unavoidable. Worrying is not just counterproductive; it is damaging.
·Seek knowledge. Whether you do it through reading, watching the Home & Garden Channel or by the Internet, make an effort to be more knowledgeable. We have access to an infinite amount of information. Knowledge really is power.
·Do something for the environment. You don't have to personally repair the hole in the ozone layer, but you could start a compost pile, buy your beer in recyclable cans rather than in bottles or quit throwing your old tires on the side of the nearest dirt road. Everyone can do something.
·Reduce the clutter. Most of us have more stuff than we need, more than we can successfully store. We're a country of pack rats. Have a yard sale, donate to the Potter's House or otherwise dispose of a few things. You'll need the space to store the acquisitions of 2000 anyway.
·In connection with the above, simplify. Do without something. Keeping up with the Joneses is good for the economy in general, but does nothing for yours in particular. You probably don't even like the Joneses.
·Reduce your debt. If we all followed the above step, we could all cut down on personal debt. Wouldn't you feel better with a zero balance on your VISA card? If Congress can balance the national budget, surely we can balance our personal budgets.
·Read a good book. Surely there is a classic novel out there you've never read, whether it's "Huckleberry Finn" or "Pride and Prejudice." Avoid William Faulkner and Thomas Hardy like the plague, but there are thousands of good books you can borrow for free from the library.
·Lose weight, if only so you can enjoy gaining it back later. And if you succeed in keeping it off, call me and tell me how you did it.
·Do something you've never done before. A vacation to a new location, an off-Broadway play at the Classic Center, a Saturday of hammering for Habitat for Humanity, take up a new hobby or vote for a Libertarian.
·Disregard people who suggest resolutions for you for the New Millennium. They're all idiots who think they're smarter than you are.
·Start the millennium the right way by having a successful first year.


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