Madison County Opinion...

 February 14, 2001


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
February 14, 2001

Frankly Speaking

Time to reduce bureaucracy
President Bush has made an interesting proposal that federal money be used to finance the charitable activities of "faith based" and private organizations. I have a better idea.
I agree that people who need help receive the best aid from private charities. Local churches, civic clubs and organizations formed to address local problems. Such groups can respond quickly without having to wade through government red tape. They have the ability to determine who truly needs assistance and who is trying to live off the system. They have no political agenda that might determine who gets aid and who gets ignored.
Here in Madison County, we have numerous deserving organizations. Some receive a portion of their funding from government sources, other are totally privately financed. These volunteer organizations provide everything from fire protection to emergency medical aid and search and rescue operations. Others provide emergency food and clothing assistance, toys for needy children at Christmas or ramps for handicapped residents.
With more funding, these groups are capable of meeting the special needs of our citizens. And they do it without a massive government bureaucracy. What we need is a way to finance these agencies without paying for layer after layer of bureaucrats, their offices, transportation, utilities and other perks.
When we send our money to Washington, they take the major part to finance government, then send back whatever is left. Numerous studies of this process show that as much as $8 out of $10 are used up by the bureaucracy, with 20 percent or less actually reaching the people. Even then, a significant part of the money arriving at the local level is soaked up by fraud, excessive payments to a few recipients or diversion to purposes other than the intended uses.
The only way to ensure that the majority of funds earmarked for public assistance are so used is to never send it to Washington in the first place. In my opinion, the federal welfare system should be abandoned, and the taxes used to finance it returned to the taxpayers. With more money in our pockets, we the people will have the opportunity to support those charities that prove they deserve our support. We can see where our money goes, how it is used and who benefits.
Liberals will object to this idea, of course. They will say that we are putting the poor at risk of being neglected. I don't think so. Americans have proven repeatedly that we are the most generous people on earth. If a family in our community needs our support, the community will help.
Those who are ripping off the system are the ones who will have to start supporting themselves, but that is as it should be.
Removing welfare programs from the federal bureaucracy will go a long way toward returning constitutional government to this nation. I can find nothing in the U.S. Constitution that authorizes federal spending on welfare. And the 10th Amendment prohibits the federal government from exercising powers not granted it by the Constitution. The massive fraud and waste in federal welfare programs make it clear why our founders left public assistance to the states and the people.
Faith-based and community organizations are the best source of assistance for the needy. We don't need government financing these organizations. Eliminate federal welfare programs and send the money back to the taxpayers. We will take care of our own.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net.

 

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Column
By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
February 14, 2001

From the Editor's Desk

How did we get these names?
There's Buzzard Flopper Creek in Cherokee County, a waterway believed to have been named for an Indian named Buzzard Flopper (or flapper) who lived on the Etowah River.
There's Radium Springs in Dougherty County. The name was changed from Blue Springs to Radium Springs after water tests revealed "7.12 mache units of radium emanation per litre."
And here's one of my favorites, "Pobiddy Crossroad" in Talbot County. Legend has it that this crossroad was named when a mother hen had a brood of little "biddies" and one of them ran out in the road and got killed by a horse, which led to the exclamation, "That's the end of that po'biddy."
I love to hear stories of how places got their names. And Georgia has some good ones. There's a book I've been reading, "Georgia Place Names" by Kenneth Krakow, an Iowa native, who turned a term paper project at Mercer into a book, which was published in 1975.
The author admitted that his research was no "exact science." The fact is, there's no way to prove or disprove certain stories -such as how "Pobiddy Crossroad" was named.
But it's fun to flip through the book and read the odd stories.
Here are some of the stranger names listed: Hog Potato Branch, Hog Heaven Branch, Iceberg, Hunger and Hardship Creek, Pink Knot Creek, Old Screamer Mountain, Grab All, Gopher Town, Funkhouser, Frogtown Pass, Four Killer Creek, Old Hell Bight, No Business Creek, No Man's Friend Pond and Bad Creek. Then there's Worse Creek - which is not far from Bad Creek.
According to Krakow, there's a place in Barrow County called Nodoroc, which he reports is a mud volcano three and half miles east of Winder. He wrote that it "is similar to some found in Burma' and said it "erupted shortly after the area was settled and was given its Indian name meaning, 'Hell.'" (Editor's note: Remember, Krakow wrote his book in 1975. So if this place did exist, it's probably under a Golden Pantry or subdivision by now.)
There's the story of the town of Ideal incorporated in 1907 in Macon County. Two railroad executives were looking for a place to put a railroad stop. They paused at a place and one of them said the site was "ideal." And the other man proclaimed, "And you have just named it."
There's the story of a post office named Fargo in Clinch County. A postmaster explained that a lumber company built a railroad from Valdosta and this was "just as FAR as it would GO."
Then there's the old post office in Laurens County called "Nameless," because, of the many names submitted for the post office, none were satisfactory.
Madison County, of course, was named after the nation's fourth president, James Madison. And Krakow makes some interesting suggestions on some of its names.
For instance, he said that Ila was derived from the "Choctaw word 'illa,' meaning 'dead.'" And Pocataligo may have been named after a balky mule or a turtle that wouldn't budge, so you poke it's tail to make it go, hence, "poke'e tail'e go."
Krakow also writes about the old Madison Springs community, first named Alexanderville, after James Alexander, who purchased the land to develop a public resort. The place was referred to as the "Saratoga of the South" until the resort community ended when its hotel burned Jan. 30, 1871.
There's no doubt that people form tighter bonds with their community when they learn about its past, including how places were named.
With this in mind, The Madison County Journal has published several articles about the county's history, such as pieces on old barns and old country stores.
But we'd like to print more. For instance, we plan to run an article on how some of the county's roads were named. If you have a story about a road in Madison County, we'd like to hear it.
And if you have any suggestions on other articles related to Madison County's past, please give us a call at 795-2567.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.


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