Banks County Opinions...

September 13, 2000

By Drew Brantley
The Banks County News
September 13, 2000

Getting lost not so hard
Not too long ago I went to cover a football game somewhere I had never been before, and along the way, I thought I never would.
I had checked the map and asked co-workers, but the roads aren't blue and red in real life, and "go a ways and turn left" can be nerve-racking advice.
After missing the first turn because my friend told didn't tell me that the highway made a turn onto and off of another road. I began to doubt my directions. I then turned to my own sense of direction, which led me quickly to nowhere.
After driving blind for about 20 minutes, I came upon a convenience store.
When I asked for directions to my destination, I could sense that this person knew that I did not have any idea where I was going. I was at the clerk's mercy.
He then proceeded to give me further directions, which took me farther away from my goal.
I eventually found a U.S. highway, which brought me to a town just a few miles from my destination. I finally arrived in time only because I left an hour early.
My unfortunate trip that was good for only frustration scenario brings out several misconceptions about driving and getting lost.
·Friends don't always tell you the right or specific way to get where you're going.
·If you've never been there and get lost, you not going to learn how on the way.
·Convenience stores aren't always conveniently located.
·Locals don't always give the right directions.
I am not a human compass. These people, who know how to get anywhere from anyplace, bug me. Unless the person giving directions is a truck driver or a state patrolman, I am a little suspect.
Following my own rules, I might not be the best person to get advice from. But I think I have some good ideas.
·Always keep a map in the vehicle and make sure you've got a spare tire.
·Leave town with a full tank of gas, and refill as often as possible - this will also let you use restrooms with regularity, too.
·If getting lost is a big problem for you, always use interstates or U.S. highways. Even if it will take longer to get there.
There are also some little secrets that will not keep you from getting lost or ensure you quick passage to the right track, but they may help.
·Take roads that say "No Trucks." Truckers make their money moving loads as quickly as possible, so if they aren't allowed to take a road, it must be a shortcut to a main road of some sort.
·This may be the worst or most stupid adivce in this piece, but remember what general direction you're headed, and never forget - the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. This can help you know if you're going in the right direction
·If it's nighttime and you haven't got a clue where to go, don't worry with navigation by the North Star. If you need starcharts, pull off to the side of the road and sleep, because you're really lost.
For some people staying on track is easy, and finding the right way is a breeze. But if you're like me, keep leaving early with a map by your side and listen to the radio to make sure the world is getting along fine, even if you're not.
Drew Brantley is the sports editor for The Commerce News and The Banks County News.




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Letter to the Editor
The Banks County News
September 13, 2000

Questions education reform
Dear editor:
May I share some views on education and school taxation? In the years 1975 through 1978, I served on the Banks County School Board. I thank the people of Banks County for that privilege. This board endeavored to create the small classroom pupil/teacher ratio, with the funds available. This board also worked toward teacher accountability. This board was interested in the scholastic achievements of our students and strived to upgrade in areas of need, while at the same time maintaining extracurricular activities such as band, chorus and physical education, including the athletic competitions.
If you think I digress, no, just going back, so as to come forward. Times have changed drastically in 25 years. In those days, it was not often that we had student problems. There was very little disrespect that couldn't be handled quietly. Since then, there has been a continued growth and need in the school system, which has resulted in an independence of students and parents.
A few years ago, lottery money was designated for the Pre-K program, but there was no money for the facilities to house this program. What to do? Banks County citizens had their taxes increased. Yes, the building is paid for now, but we still had additional taxes levied for the period of time it took to pay the debt. Don't misunderstand, education for our children is needed, but I question duplications mandated by the state and federal bureaucrats for the Head Start and Pre-Kindergarten. I question the need for 4-year-olds to be in a classroom, when a parent's love and bonding can ready a child for growth.
House Bill 1187 has dealt a blow to our school system that we will find difficult to overcome. In Banks County this year, we have 40 new teachers in a system of 161 teachers. A bureaucracy at the state level has been created that took $4 million from the elementary reading program-a program that is essential to a student's further education. Over a four-year phase, we are to eliminate paraprofessionals, hire teachers to replace them and create a smaller pupil/teacher ratio in the classroom. There is no funding for the extracurricular activities. There is no funding for the facilities to house the extra classrooms. We are told two teachers can share a classroom. Archaic-who remembers the 1920s? But there were not 2,500 children in the system in those days. "Or we can be taxed." We are also to understand that in teacher accountability the state will police our teachers and have the power to dismiss them. Where is job security, but more specifically, where is our local control from our locally elected school board? This bill also affected us in the Habersham area where the Banks and Baldwin students attend school. Cornelia Elementary was to house those students, but now only those who can provide their own transportation, thus, we are busing the balance to Banks County.
We are blessed that our administration has always strived for the development of the subjects I've mentioned. Our paraprofessionals will be released through attrition, our teachers will give their all and the extracurricular activities will be maintained, as much as possible, because the board, parents and booster clubs will work for these activities.
My question is, how long will we let federal and state mandate to the locally elected board? How many times will we send people to Washington and Atlanta who create these laws or edicts, not only in education, but in other areas, that will tax us to death? What is our freedom to become under this type of government?
Jean Mize

The Banks County News
September 13, 2000

Don't forget Baldwin election on Tuesday
A seat on the Baldwin City Council will be filled Tuesday when residents go to the polls. Five candidates are on the ballot for this vacant council seat.
With only one race on the ballot, many people might forget to go to the polls Tuesday. They shouldn't, because this council seat is as important to local residents as state and national offices. The local city councils make the decisions that have the most impact on area residents. They need to have a say in selecting the person to serve.
On Tuesday, Baldwin residents should be sure and head to the polls to cast their ballot in this important election.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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