Banks County Opinions...

March 1, 2000

The Banks County News
March 1, 2000

Be sure and vote Tuesday
Chances are, most of Banks County's registered voters won't go to the polls on Tuesday. No local candidates are on the ballot. No local issues are to be decided. Some countians may believe that it won't make much difference whether they go to the polls on Tuesday or not.
These people are wrong. Deciding who will lead our country into this new century is very important. Every vote counts and one vote can make a difference.
A Presidential Preference Primary usually doesn't bring out hordes of voters. Only those few die-hard Republicans and Democrats will take the time and effort to cast a vote in this election. Less than 20 percent of the 6,158 registered voters are expected to go to the polls. This is not a very good representation of our county.
Our registered voters are encouraged to gather as much information as they can about the candidates over the next week and study it. It's not only important to go to the polls and vote, it is just as important to make an informed decision.

The Banks County News
March 1, 2000

Says citizens should request public hearing on R&B landfill
Dear Editor:
That big ad from the Dept. of Natural Resources in last week's paper deals with air emissions coming from the R&B landfill. Emissions could be anything from dust and odors to asbestos and chemicals such as methane. As waste builds up, more and more chemicals will also build up.
EPD's solution to accumulating methane is a "flare," which means burning it off on or near the landfill site. Burning also means smoke and the unburned parts of the methane.
We have an opportunity to have a public hearing to discuss whatever concerns people, but only if many people write and request a hearing.
Letters should be addressed to Jimmy Johnston, program manager, Stationary Source Permitting Program, Air Protection Branch, Atlanta Tradeport Suite 120, 4244 International Parkway, Atlanta, Ga. 30354-3908.
Adele Kushner, president
Action for a Clean Environment

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By Jana Adams
The Banks County News
March 1, 2000

'Four eyes' no more?
I've been a "four eyes" as long as I can remember.
I didn't actually get glasses until third grade, I think it was, but I can't remember that long-ago time before my view of the world was framed. The clear view has always been the one that is straight ahead, with blurred boundaries above, below and on either side.
There was an initial foolishness, during which time I thought it would be great to wear glasses because my friend Leigh did. But then reality set in and each year brought a dreaded trip to the eye doctor; dreaded because each trip revealed worsening vision and the need for a new prescription for my glasses. Each new and stronger prescription meant at least a week of adjustment, feeling as if I were walking high above my feet, with all my surroundings distorted and far away.
Because my eyes changed so drastically each year, I feared going blind, or that my nose and face would not be able to bear the weight of increasingly heavy glasses. Old photographs show a small girl with big glasses, thick and brown and ugly.
For several years in early high school and then again in early college, I wore contact lenses. But, unfortunately, my eyes developed a sensitivity to them and I went back to my glasses-framed boundaries.
I breathed a sigh of relief when, at around 20, my eyes began to stabilize and the worst I could expect was a slight change in my astigmatism. And by then, there was such a thing as "featherweight" lenses, so glasses didn't have to be quite so big and thick and ugly anymore.
I was resolved. I would wear glasses forever and, actually, I could think about it in terms of thankfulness. After all, what if I had lived in a time when there were no glasses? My life would have literally been one big headache, a pounding in my skull and eyes from never being able to focus on anything. I would have been disoriented by the blurriness around me and what could I have been able to do, except for work that I could hold up close to my face?
No, I could easily live with glasses, I decided. I've got it down pat - how to wear glasses and how to do the parts of life that require me to take them off.
It's not out of vanity that I lean so close to the mirror, my forehead nearly touching the glass, when I put on make-up; it's just that otherwise the results could be more than a little lopsided. And even with that up-close concentration, there are still sometimes surprises when I put my glasses on.
It wasn't a fluke that I nearly broke my nose one summer by swimming into the side of the pool; I just couldn't tell how close it was until - bam - there it was. After that, I learned to be more careful.
I'm used to the soft blur of my surroundings when I wake up in the morning, before I reach over for my glasses on the bedside table; it's become sort of an extension of sleep for me.
And, yes, I'm used to people asking to see my glasses, looking through them, and then saying, "Wow, you really can't see, can you?" In fact, I usually turn them down now when they ask.
Yes, I can definitely do glasses. In fact, I went back to the eye doctor recently to get my prescription checked so I could get new frames sometime soon.
But it was there that I learned about the possibility of being a "four eyes" no more. I had heard of corrective laser eye surgery, but I had also heard that I wasn't a candidate for it because of my astigmatism. Plus, eye surgery? That's pretty scary stuff. Perhaps because they are already so blurry, I feel very protective of my eyes, afraid to jeopardize what sight I have.
But my doctor talked to me about the latest advancements in the procedure, telling me that now it is possible for anyone - whether with nearsightedness, astigmatism or farsightedness - to have their "own" vision through laser surgery.
I nodded sagely and then went away, determined to not think about it because, after all, it is expensive, and it is eye surgery. Scary. But the thought kept coming back and back again.
I broke down and went to an informational seminar, during which the doctor performed an actual surgery and answered a lot of questions. When the patient, who had been legally blind a minute-and-a-half before, sat up and could read the clock on the wall...well, what would that be like?
I left the seminar a little squeamish about the procedure - we watched it all on a big-screen TV - but still open to learning more. I set up an appointment for an evaluation session, during which the doctor and nurse would thoroughly examine my eyes and determine what my results would most likely be if I had the surgery.
Strange, but I suddenly felt a little wary of losing my blurriness. What if I didn't really want to see myself that clearly? What would it be like to open my eyes and instantly be into the reality of my day? What would it be like if I was no longer invisible? (I may be the only person who does this, but I've always felt ­ irrationally ­ that when I take off my glasses, no one can see me because I can't see them.) What if I found too late that I had liked hiding behind glasses? What if that exposed, confused, circle-eyed-look that a lot of glasses wearers have when there faces are "naked" never went away?
That's crazy tug-of-war thinking, I know, but that blurriness is what I've known all my life. And, yet, at the same time, that exact blurriness is what pushed me to ask more questions about the surgery, and I feel sure clear vision is something I could happily get used to. I agreed to visit the doctor's office to find out more. Today is the day, in fact, when I will learn if "four eyes" no more could be a reality for me ­ my nerve and savings account withstanding - or whether I'd better just stick to the world within my frames.
Jana Adams is features editor of The Jackson Herald.

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