Banks County Opinions...

April 26, 2000


Editorial
The Banks County News
April 26, 2000

Time to clean up
Banks Countians need to take note of the clean-up day planned by the City of Baldwin Saturday and join in. While volunteers are needed in Baldwin, residents in other areas of the county can do their part by cleaning up their property.
Front yards with junk piled up are an eyesore for everyone and shouldn't be tolerated. Landowners need to take more pride in their home and clean up their act.
What better time than the Great American Cleanup planned during Keep Georgia Beautiful month to get rid of debris in around your homes. The Great American Cleanup has been a part of the Keep America Beautiful program for 15 years. This year, more than two million volunteers in more than 10,000 communities in 35 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada who are set to take part in the campaign. Let's do our part by making Banks County clean and beautiful.


Letter
The Banks County News
April 26, 2000

DFCS has successes every day
Dear Editor:
I wonder sometimes why the needs of abused and neglected children never reach the front pages or the TV screen until a child dies. As director of Banks County Department of Family and Children Services, protecting children has been part of my job for 10 years. I know that the success stories are rarely told. However, we have successes in DFCS every day.
For example, how many people know that DFCS protected 20,000 to 25,000 children last year? That is accomplished with fewer than 800 staff statewide. In Banks County, we investigated 107 reports of child abuse and neglect in 1999. While our statistics show how many investigations we completed and how many families we served, we don't have numbers to show what we prevented. Numbers don't show the child saved from further beatings because we taught his family the difference between discipline and physical abuse; or the children saved from a substance-abusing, neglectful parent because we went to court to get custody; or the number of families who needed help with the basic necessities such as food and clothing whom we directed to community resources.
Do we make mistakes? Do we close cases that should stay open or fail to open others? Unfortunately, sometimes we do, but we are working hard to correct mistakes when they happen so that children do not fall through the cracks. Many of the families we serve have so many problems - drug abuse, mental or physical impairments, poverty - that they will always need some kind of help. Some will never be able to be good parents. That cannot stop us - DFCS and the community - from intervening to make life safer for children.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month across the nation. I hope that everyone who cares about children in Banks County will think about ways that they, their church or their civic club can work with us to protect children.
Sincerely,
Renota H. Free, director
Banks County DFCS

 

 

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Column
By Phillip Sartain
The Banks County News
April 26, 2000

Yellow fever
Wham!
In case you didn't know, that's the sound a phone book makes when it's thrown across the room and slams into the wall. It's a sound I know well.
Ordinarily, I get along fine with my phone book. If I know the name of the person or place I'm looking for, I can run it down alphabetically in the "white pages."
My phone book has never gone "wham" because I couldn't find something in the white pages. The act of whamming is something I reserve exclusively for the "yellow pages."
I'll never understand why they decided to color those pages yellow in the first place. They should have been dyed scarlet red for all the blood pressure medicine they've sold.
In other words, letting your fingers do the walking through the "yellow pages" is like running the gauntlet­no one gets out unscathed.
It's anybody's guess how the "yellow pages" were organized when they first got started. But over time, as the world has gone strange, the "yellow pages" have led the way.
Complicated is not an adequate description for the challenge faced when entering the printed maze.
Maybe I'm just dumber than dirt, but I can't understand why people who practice medicine and call themselves doctors aren't listed in the "D" section under something like Doctors.
Instead, they're listed under Physicians. Then they're broken down into so many specialties, subspecialties, groups, classes, subphylums and species that you need a flowchart to find your way around.
Some diseases just aren't worth the hassle.
And you can forget about looking in the "C" section for anything about cars. According to the "yellow pages," they're not cars, they're automobiles.
When is the last time you heard anyone say, "I think I'll drive the auto over to the automobile wash." Sure, and while you're there, you might have some tea and crumpets, too.
And doctors and cars are the really easy ones.
Conversely, when roaches have invaded your house, you get your dictionary out to look up the word "exterminator." You just know the "yellow pages" are going to make it hard.
After the roaches have carried your house off, you might try looking under something mindlessly simple like "pest control."
It's reverse stupidity, I guess. First, they get you all worked up, and then they go simple.
The trick that gets the most whams in my house is the one where you get the key word right the first time, and you locate the subheading OK, but nothing is listed.
Instead, you're directed to look under another heading with a similar name. Once you flip back to that heading, you're told to look under the previous heading.
It's called Consumer Ping-Pong, and the goal is to see how many times you'll flip back and forth before you throw your phone book at the wall.
I will say this for the "yellow pages"­as they've become more maddening, the phone book has become more durable. These days, it's almost impossible to tear one in half by throwing it against the wall.
Phillip Bond Sartain is a Gainesville attorney.


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