Jackson County Opinions...

June 13, 2001

By Mark Beardsley
The Commerce News
June 13, 2001

Graduates: They Didn't Teach You Everything
To: The recent high school graduates.
From: A member of the high school Class of 1968
Re: Things they didn't teach you.
I realize this is a week late and many of you are recovering from your trips to Myrtle Beach, Panama City or Cancun and will not see this. But this information is too important to hold another week.
You may be stunned to find out that they really didn't teach you everything in high school. This is to address some of the critical shortcomings of the typical high school education so you can continue your journey toward happiness unimpeded.
Please note:
·College is not like high school. You have tons of freedom and can be as irresponsible as you want - as long as you aren't counting on passing.
·When the CEO where you're employed states "Our employees are our biggest asset," he or she is falsely implying the company cares about its employees. It doesn't.
·Just because you have checks left in the checkbook doesn't mean you have money left in your account. Learn to balance your checkbook and you'll save a lot of returned check fees.
·Credit card companies are not trying to help you. They want you to go into debt. The more you struggle, the more money they make. They are not your friends. One credit card may be too many; more than one is a recipe for financial disaster.
·Freedom is relative. You've been waiting to clear high school and get a full-time job. They didn't tell you that rent, utilities, food, gasoline and insurance would cost more than you're going to make.
·Full-time work is not fun. It can be rewarding, and it is necessary, but every job stinks at some time. Some of them stink all the time.
·Don't count on justice in the world. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. The most qualified people do not always get the job, promotion, raise or recognition. Adjust.
·There is a God. The sooner you figure this out and learn to trust Him, the sooner you will have the spiritual help you need to cope with life's ups and downs.
·Neither the Republicans nor Democrats have the answers. Most of them don't seem to even know the questions.
·A good work ethic is more important than intelligence, and a lack of intelligence can be compensated for by a strong work ethic.
·Chewing gum on the job or in church makes you look juvenile. You've outgrown that, haven't you?
·Happiness is internal. You won't find it in possessions, it doesn't come from your friends, lover or spouse. Circumstances contribute, but you are responsible for your happiness.
·Don't believe everything your teachers told you. Or what your friends say, what you read in the newspaper or see on TV. Be open to the possibility that they're wrong.
·Cool isn't necessarily cool. If "everyone is doing it," chances are, it's not a good thing. Be willing to be different.
·The key to happiness is reading The Commerce News every week. Gotcha!

The Jackson Herald
June 13, 2001

Maysville holds questionable closed meetings
Just what is going on with the Maysville City Council?
The council has met behind closed doors for almost five hours in the past two weeks to discuss matters that should have been discussed in the open. And the police department is apparently at the center of these controversial closed meetings. By meeting behind closed doors and acting so secretive about issues that should be public, the council has brought up more questions and controversy about the police department instead of solving the problem.
The first closed meeting, which lasted 55 minutes, was blatantly against the state's Open Meetings Law. The council reclaimed the responsibility of hiring and firing personnel for the town after this meeting. This discussion is not one that legally should have been held behind closed doors. The Georgia Open Meetings Law only allows personnel discussions involving specific hirings or firings to be held in closed sessions.
The second meeting may not be as blatantly against the law, but it involved discussion of the overall operation of the police department and should have been held in the open. It was repeatedly emphasized that the individual police officers were being evaluated, but other more broad issues were reportedly also discussed.
The Maysville Council has members with many years of political experience, as well as a city attorney that is a former board of commissioners member. All have plenty of knowledge about how government is operated and should not be violating the public's trust by holding questionable closed meetings.


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By Mike Buffington
The Jackson Herald
June 13, 2001

On 'Pearl Harbor' and other random thoughts
When the Japanese dropped their bombs on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, it set off a chain of events that echo to this day. While there would be other, more bloody battles to come, Pearl Harbor was one of the defining moments of the 20th century.
Perhaps that's why the movie "Pearl Harbor" has been such a hit. Although built around a love story, the movie's attack sequence is so realistic that you wonder if you aren't on one of the ships being bombed.
History, of course, has been a low priority in many schools. But the drama of World War II, with its millions of unique stories and events, may change that in the coming years. Beginning with the movie "Saving Private Ryan," the entertainment industry began to see that many Americans were hungry for old-fashioned blockbuster war dramas. "Pearl Harbor" is another link in that chain.
But for all its value as a history lesson, the movie does have its critics. The focus has little to do with the events leading up to America's involvement in World War II and too much melodrama with the love story. Perhaps that was intentional to show how the nation was caught off-guard by the attack. More likely, it was a plot designed to appeal to more than just those interested in war movies.
Still, it is a movie worth seeing if you get the chance. Just ignore all the Hollywood effects and focus on the meaning of the real story underneath.
OK, so it wasn't the smartest thing for the Bush girls to go to a bar and flash a fake ID. But you have to wonder if it had been What's-her-name Clinton, would the media have had such a feeding frenzy? Every political pundit in America has weighed in on the story of Jenna Bush getting busted for using a fake ID.
Let's give it a rest. If she hadn't been the daughter of a Republican President, it wouldn't have rated a mention in most media outlets.
We're in the process of compiling the results of last spring's CRCT test in our local schools. That is the new state-mandated test which will soon be used in the 4th, 6th and 8th grades to pass or fail a student to the next grade.
Although we haven't yet done a thorough analysis, the local results don't look encouraging. At one school, over 40 percent of the fourth graders didn't meet state expectations on the test. Although both the test and the benchmarks are likely to be adjusted, it is still a problem when such a high percentage of students don't meet the standards. Either the local curriculums aren't in line with the test or the standards of the test are too high.
You're going to hear a lot more about the CRCT in the coming months. Stay tuned.
So some of the Europeans are protesting President George Bush's trip to NATO countries. It's long been the practice of some Europeans to slam leaders of the U.S. That Bush doesn't follow the agenda of the Green Party is especially galling to some Europeans who consider themselves sophisticated experts in environmental issues.
Frankly, I'm tired of the criticism this country receives from Europe. No nation is perfect, of course, but it was the industrial power of this country that rebuilt much of Europe after World War II and it is the light of freedom that shines in this country that continues to inspire liberty all over the world. America has its faults, but a lot of people from other nations are coming here to make their homes and to pursue their life's dream. And when European nations get into a bind, financially or militarily, it is always the U.S. to which they turn for help.
We don't owe European radicals any explanations or apologies.
Mike Buffington is editor of The Jackson Herald.

The Commerce News
June 13, 2001

Awaiting 'Rest Of The Story' On Chief Grimes
The city manager, the mayor, the head of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and much of the community viewed the late police chief George Grimes as a good cop and a man to be missed. But as Paul Harvey suggests, there is the "rest of the story" to tell.
Evidence has surfaced that leads city officials to believe Grimes misappropriated a lot of money from traffic fines ­ an amount that could climb into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. A dead man cannot defend himself, but city officials and the GBI have a strong need to know why two boxes of envelopes that once contained traffic fines were under Grimes' desk, the money missing and never turned over to City Hall.
Naturally, rumors abound about what went on, and the only man who can answer all the questions is beyond prosecution. The results include embarrassed city officials, incensed local policemen, a few of Grimes' enemies who are delighted to see his name impugned and something else to feed the public's cynicism about government in general and law enforcement in particular.
There is reason to hope that the GBI can wind up the investigation quickly. It has the envelopes with receipts (but no money) still in them, a receipt book detailing all fines paid, and city records about money turned over from the police department to City Hall. It should take little time to reconcile the numbers and sort out what happened.
The city's elected officials are mad and they want answers. The public has similar sentiments, but in the long run, the people who may suffer the most are Commerce Police officers who have to try to work around the accusations, snide remarks and innuendoes that will remain when all that can be known is known. To most of us, the loss of George Grimes was a tragedy; in a few short days, our perception is being changed. It's still a tragedy, but for far different reasons than we imagined.

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