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.
Banks County News
April 26, 2000
DFCS has successes every day
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.
Renota H. Free, director
Banks County DFCS
The Banks County News
April 26, 2000
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
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
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.