Banks County Opinions...

July 19, 2000


Column
By Drew Brantley
The Banks County News
July 19, 2000

Vote no on summer heat
Summer is overrated.
Unless we're talking to students in school or teachers who can stop those jobs for a couple of months, the summer is not no sweat. It's so sweat.
For the non-school people, what is good about the summer? Nothing. It's too hot to do anything of consequence outside. Take a step or two outside and misery jumps on your back with a bag of quilts wrapped in a heating blanket.
I have considered it, but I will ponder the point again
Nope. I still don't like summer. Perhaps I don't like summer because I no longer get the time off that I did when I was a student. That would explain it. I'm sure it's just my envy of the school people. Maybe it's just my sour raisins (because grapes ain't sticking around in this heat for nobody).
My platform about the evils of summer is fairly simple.
·Heat: Being hot is not preferable to being cold. I can always add a coat, but there is a limit to removing clothing. The days are longer in the summer, which only compounds the problem. If days in the summer weren't so long, it wouldn't get so hot. In the cooler weather months, we could use those long days. But where are they when you need them?
·Bugs: Bugs are the second-worst part of summer. I really don't like gnats. I have always felt they have a hidden agenda to ruin my life. I don't like flies, bees or wasps either. But gnats are the worst. They get in your eyes, nose, ears and mouth. Even when you've swatted them away, you can still feel them dancing just inside the nostril or in the ear canal. Prickly, prickly, prickly. Itchy, itchy, itchy. I don't like bugs.
But all the things associated with summer would be as much, if not more enjoyable at other times of the year.
·Ice cream: I'll take a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough any day. Even in February. In the heat, ice cream is not as enjoyable because it melts. The milky runoff goes down your hands and dries quickly. You can try to clean it off with one of the sandpaper squares that always seem to come with an ice cream cone. But the truth is, cleaning ice cream without soap and water is not that productive. Once you get inside a house or business and wash your hands, bahda-bing, you're in air conditioning and you feel better even before you rinse off the soap.
·Beach/pool/outdoors: I will get in a body of water whether you're watching or not. I am definitely hip to cool water. But it is still fun to go swimming in May or late September. It doesn't have to be summer to enjoy the water nor the sun. The sun is much more enjoyable when it does not come on so strong. Golf, picnics and cookouts are fun any time of the year. The best cookout I've ever been to was in Washington, D.C., during the January 1996 Storm of the Century. We had to shovel snow off the grill to get started. And the sun was nowhere to be seen. And of course the threat of skin irritation was almost non-existent that day. When I was in the Boy Scouts, we slept in subfreezing temperatures. That was rough but bearable. Trying to sleep outdoors in the summer is just not a good idea.
·Vacations: The best vacation I ever had came in the first week of May. The sun was still behaving rationally. All the school-type people were suffering in the waning days of their captivity miles away from our beach house. No crowds. Warm days. Cool water. May is the best time to take a vacation to a warm-weather spot. July or August would be the time to go to Greenland or Iceland. Or even Australia, where like the swirling of the drain water, the seasons are reversed.
We have just finished the primary seasons. I am now asking for a new vote to protest this summer in particular, but summer in general. Summer bad.
Thank you for your support.
Drew Brantley is the sports editor for The Commerce News and The Banks County News.

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Column
By Jana Adams
The Banks County News
July 19, 2000

Not just summer reading
We had a May through July birthday party Sunday afternoon at my sister's pool for the children in our family. There was much jumping, splashing and eating and all that could be expected of a pool party - on the children's part, I mean. As for the adults, there was much eating, and sitting, and eating, and talking...and eating.
Anyway, in between bites we did manage some talk. My aunt Donna is the librarian at the Jefferson Public Library, and she was talking about the Harry Potter book craze and essentially how the "machine of commercialism" can and frequently does push its way into the literary world.
That's a whole other story. But that talk raised other talk of books I remember - the fantasy books from my childhood. Just as I am sure she has influenced other children to read, Donna was one of the big factors in fostering my love of reading. We talked about the J.R.R. Tolkien books - "The Hobbit" - and the C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia that she used to read aloud to me, my sister and our cousins. It has been years since I read any of those books, but I immediately remembered Smaug, the dragon of the Hobbit tales, and the names of the Chronicles of Narnia came quickly to mind: "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" and so forth.
Donna said, thinking back, she wonders how much of the Hobbit stories were lifted from "Beowulf." And I've heard talk about how the Narnia tales incorporate the Christ figure and so forth. I'm sure there are different readings and interpretations to make, but when I first heard those books, they hooked me, simply, into the story and the words.
My early reading (and being read aloud to) experiences were not limited to children's fantasy. And I really was hooked, not just on those stories, but on many. I spent much time at the area public libraries and my school library. I spent much time with my nose in a book, and got the name of "Jana B" for Jana Bookworm. I'm still hooked and frequently carry a book in my purse, just in case. You never know how long a closed "executive" session of a meeting will drag on. Or when you'll want to eat outside and read during lunch.
I spent my fair share of summers involved in Summer Reading Club, just as hundreds of children have this summer. I read last week that more than 400 children have participated in the Jefferson library's Summer Reading Club, and 200 in its various programs and activities. I think that's great - the more reading, the better - and not just in the summer, but year-round. I know not everyone likes to read, but perhaps given an early start and the right kind of book, children have a chance at learning that love if it doesn't come naturally to them.
With more reading can come a heightened appreciation of words, an expanded vocabulary, improved writing abilities, a better understanding of the language (and various topics) and an appreciation of a story and the art of storytelling, all of the many benefits of picking up a book.
And besides, unlike so many other things that are "good for you," reading can be a real pleasure.
Jana Adams is features editor of The Jackson Herald

 


Editorial
The Banks County News
July 19, 2000

SPLOST a fair tax
With only a little over a year left to collect the special purpose local option sales (SPLOST), the board of commissioners is ready to make plans to extend the tax for another five-year period.
The BOC will come up with several projects that would be covered by the sales tax and put it to the citizens to vote on. While no one likes more taxes, a SPLOST is one of the fairest ways of taxation. It is the same across the board for everyone­not just those who own property.
Another benefit of a SPLOST is that a large percentage of the money comes from people who don't even live in Banks County. The thousands of out-of-county people who shop at the outlet stores in Banks County each year bring in tax dollars for our projects.
The commissioners need to work hard to come up with projects that are needed the most and would benefit the most citizens. It is then up to the voters to again approve the SPLOST.


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