Banks County Opinions...

June 14, 2000

The Banks County News
June 14, 2000

Don't stop reading
For school-age children and teenagers, summer means sleeping late, splashing around in the pool or lake and putting away the books. Wait a minute, putting away the books is not a good idea. Reading needs to continue all year­not just nine months. Reading is something we should never take a break from.
Parents need to make sure their children continue reading this summer. The public library is a great resource that parents should take advantage of. Special story hours and programs are planned all summer long. The theme of the summer program, "Open a book....Jump in," sums up what is so great about reading. A book can take readers to countries they have only dreamed about and introduce them to a wide range of characters.
The most important thing adults can do is provide a good example to their children by picking up a book themselves and reading. While the kids are at the library programs, their parents should be picking out books for themselves. If adults make reading a priority, children will too.
Setting aside a family reading time each night is important. Everyone in the family should pull out their favorite reading material, whether it's a library book, newspaper, magazine, the Bible or even the comic book.

By Shar Porier
The Banks County News
June 14, 2000

Hello, Banks County!
Since I started with the paper two months ago, I have had a variety of assignments that have put me in contact with a variety of people. And all I can say is, I'm lucky to live in a county with so many friendly folks.
I'd like to thank a lot of you for being so helpful to the "new kid."
Sometimes it's difficult to go into a situation virtually blind as to what is going on and turning the subject into an informative article. Many of you, including the politicians, have given me the information I needed to make sense of the situation.
I know. It is unusual for the press and particularly politicians to actually get along. In times past working for other newspapers, I could see in their eyes, "Oh, here she comes with that tape recorder."
But here in Banks County, it has been a pleasure working with the different city councils and authorities. In fact, some of the meetings have been adventures in journalism.
At one of the recent meetings with the Homer City Council, I had set up at one end of a table - recorder on and taking notes, trying to listen to three conversations going on at once. (Hey, it was a zoning meeting and anything goes.) Being such a full house, there were not enough chairs to go around. So, one gentleman took a seat on the middle of the table right behind me.
About halfway through the meeting, all of a sudden there was a crash and my notes and recorder go flying along with somebody's Coke. The weight of the gentleman had been just too much of a stress on the fiberboard table; it broke in two. As I scrambled to retrieve my notes and get the Coke off the recorder and myself, I noticed that no one had stopped talking. Complete disregard of the accident. They all were still deep in the controversy of zoning. "Aw, geesh!" I said to myself as I scrambled to keep up with the conversations and get the recorder going again. (Incidentally, I've requested "hazard pay" from the publisher when I cover Homer meetings from now on).
The table lay in two pieces and I balanced my notebook on the slanted end and held the recorder the rest of the evening. The gentleman had taken another position, a chair vacated by someone.
Later on that week, I happened to come face-to-face with the gentleman again. Turns out he is one of the candidates running for a county position.
I won't mention his name, but I have come up with a few slogans he could use free of charge.
"I'll be as tough on crime as I am on tables." Or, "If I can break a table, I can break you." Or, "These cheeks were made for sittin' and that's just what I'll do. I'll come over there and sit right on top of you!" (Goes nicely to the tune of "These Boots Were Made For Walking").
At the other end of the spectrum of reporting, the Baldwin City Council was deep into a budget work session. Some of their meetings, particularly the work sessions, go on for hours. Marathons. The chairs they have are far from comfortable for such long periods of time. (I keep asking for a line item to be added to the budget to include soft, cushy chairs for the reporters.) I kept changing positions, trying to get some relief, but to no avail.
Well, the police chief, Frank Andrews, noticed my discomfort and went into his office and brought me out his very own soft and cushy office chair. What a kind gesture! Though I was a bit embarrassed, I was so grateful. It was heaven to sit in for the rest of the evening.
I never know what to expect on an assignment. I can only hope that mixed in with the news and controversy, will be humor and kindness. And that's what makes this job so interesting. The unknown lies just around the corner.
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.

By Angela Gary
The Banks County News
June 14, 2000

Time to stop with
the self-diagnosis

I've really got to stop diagnosing myself. Those helpful medical books are not so helpful when you start trying to diagnose yourself. In fact, I believe they can make your condition worsen.
I had an unusual medical problem last week and I looked through my handy copy of "Family Health and Medical Guide" one night in an effort to find out what is wrong.
You see, my thumb hurts. I just couldn't go to the doctor and tell him that I'm concerned about the pain in my thumb. Especially when the next thing I would have to tell him is that last week I had the same pain in my toe. And then there was a couple of weeks ago when I had that pain in my knee.
So, I looked through the book and tried to narrow it down. I thought I had it figured out when I read the symptoms of one serious ailment, then I noticed that those who are afflicted with it are age 60 and over. I sighed with relief and kept looking.
I finally narrowed it down to two other illnesses, one much more serious then the other, that it could be. The symptoms fit and I am in the right age range. Of course, there were also other symptoms listed along with the aching joints
Now, I'm convinced that I'm coming down with the other symptoms. For example, it says blurred vision could occur. I have blurred vision. It also lists fatigue as a symptom. I am always tired. I must have made the correct diagnosis. Or maybe it's just that I need a new pair of contacts and need to get more sleep in each night.
Anyway, you see what I mean about the danger of these self-help medical books. Not only can you absolutely, without a doubt determine what your illness is (hah), but you can also develop symptoms you didn't even know you had.
Another book that can be dangerous is one that lists all of the possible side-effects of prescription medicine. For a while, I looked up my medicine each time I returned home from the drugstore. It was freaking me out so much that I needed additional medicine to handle the stress.
I believe that every kind of medicine listed in the book includes "death" as a possible side-effect. I'm sure the authors were just trying to be safe and cover all possibilities, but I didn't need to read that the medicine could be more dangerous than the illness.
I really think I'm going to have to come up with a different kind of reading material. Maybe some of those children's books that end with "and they all lived happily ever after" would be good night-time reading. But, wait a minute, don't some of those have monsters in them?
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald.

The Banks County News
June 14, 2000

Upset with sign stealing
Dear Editor:
To those who are running for sheriff, if you are so insecure about running for sheriff that you have to go around pulling other candidates' signs out of people's yards, you shouldn't be running for sheriff at all.
I think that it's pretty low that you have to pull other signs up because it's not your sign. I would like to catch the person pulling the sign out of my yard and know who you are.

Sincerely, Libby and Gary Tanner, Gillsville

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Homer, Georgia
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