The Banks County News
September 13, 2000
Getting lost not
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
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,
·If getting lost is a big problem for you, always use
interstates or U.S. highways. Even if it will take longer to
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.
Banks County News
September 13, 2000
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
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?
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.