More Jackson County Opinions...

November 7, 2001


Column
By Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
November 7, 2001

Growth nobody wants to see
How can we tell if Jefferson and Jackson County are growing? Let us count the ways. If you've lived here for any length of time, say 40 or 50 years, you'll need a calculator.
One, stand for one hour on what used to be the Jefferson square and count the cars as they go by.
(See what I mean about needing a calculator? Can you imagine the traffic jam we'd have if Mayor Tom Crow hadn't bulldozed that historic site one early July morning in 1962?)
Now, compare the number of cars you counted in that one hour with the number you saw in a 24-hour day 40 or 50 years ago.
Oh, you don't remember how many you saw way back then? Let me refresh your memory. I don't know the exact number, but you saw a lot fewer in an entire day than you'll see in one hour this week. In fact, more cars went by there in 24 minutes today than went by there in 24 hours 48 years ago.
When I started commuting to Athens in 1952, I saw maybe five or six cars between here and there. Now you see more than that just trying to get out of the driveway.
Two, related to the number of cars, compare the number of accidents reported in the local media. Forty, 50 years ago, an accident was an event, and we'd drive clear across town to check it out. Today an accident is an everyday occurrence (literally), and we don't give it a second thought.
Three, also related to cars, count the number of gas pumps that have sprung up in the community. There's no excuse for running out of gas around here. On the interstate you see signs that say "next rest area, 47 miles." On our city streets: "next gas station, next block."
Four, again related to cars, count the number of DUIs. On a good (bad) week, The Herald will list six or eight. Fifty years ago there weren't that many drunks in the whole county. And none of them was driving. They couldn't afford both booze and transportation.
Five, break out your calculator and count the churches. I can remember when there were four: First Baptist, First Methodist, First Presbyterian and First Christian. Now there are Second, Third and Fourth mainline denominations, and when you count the independents that have been planted in recent years, you need to charge the battery on your calculator. If churches were the way to heaven, there'd be no excuse for anyone around here going to hell.
What this county needs are more denominational and/or independent churches. Just kidding, folks. And it is not true that the proliferation of DUIs is related to the proliferation of churches.
If I may express an opinion, what this county needs is one ecumenical church like the one established in 33 A.D. (Look up ecumenical.) I like definitions 2 and 3 in my dictionary: "of or representing the whole Christian church" and "promoting unity among all Christians."
Six, now that you've recharged your calculator, count the foreigners in our midst. And I'm not just talking about our Latino friends. I call them friends because, without them, how would we ever get our work done?
In 1951, when I moved to Jefferson, we foreigners were as scarce as hen's teeth. The natives outnumbered us 100 to 1. Now the reverse is true.
Five decades ago, anyone who lived in Hall, Banks, Barrow, Madison or Clarke County was a foreigner. Especially Clarke, that bastion of egghead, pseudo-intellectuals and a haven for long-haired, radical, leftist, hippie-type, pot-smoking liberals.
Being from the flatlands of Tennessee, however, I was about as foreign as you can get. And when the first Mexican crossed the Texas border and migrated to Jackson County, he was as much of a curiosity as that extraterrestrial in the movie E.T. My, how times have changed - and grown!
Seven, look in the phone book. We aren't just Smiths, Kellys, Joneses, Bryans, Adamses, Borderses and Greshams anymore. Count the names with only five or six letters and compare them to the names that run on forever and take up so much space there isn't any room for the address. Where did all those people come from, Gwinnett County?
Eight, related to names in the phone book, go to the grocery store on a Friday afternoon late and listen with curiosity to the languages that are Greek to you. They'll outnumber our good ol' Southern redneck English two to one. Why, you seldom hear ain't, nite, brite, git, fixin' to, goin' to directly, yen side of town, we-uns, you-uns and y'all anymore nohow.
There are many other indexes and categories of growth in the area. And we ain't seen nothing yet. Growth will continue unabated. I know this is unsettling to the few natives who are left. Although it took a while, you welcomed me a half century ago. I trust you will do the same as more and more strangers cross the county line.
I have not mentioned the one area which, perhaps more than any other, is indicative of the growth in Jefferson and Jackson County. I hesitate to mention it now, because it brings grief, not joy.
When I fiddled around at The Herald in the 1950s, we'd go for months without a single one. Now they take up two pages sometimes. They have proliferated more than churches and drunk drivers.
Check out the obituaries. Here is growth neither native nor foreigner wants to see. But it is inevitable. As surely as growth follows death, death follows growth. (See John 12:24.)
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.


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Column
By: Charlie Broadwell
The Jackson Herald
November 7, 2001


Painting the road over a game?
According to Herald sports editor Tim Thomas, the rival game between Jefferson and Commerce was a good one. If I hadn't been at Panther Stadium, I would have been on the sidelines reporting on Jefferson and watching the game, hoping that Jefferson would pull off the win.
Why Jefferson? Well first off, I simply prefer Jefferson over Commerce, plain and simple. Secondly, the drive I made to Wal-Mart in Commerce the other night influenced my thoughts on the game.
OK, why on earth would I go against Commerce because of a simple night drive to Wal-Mart? Well, on the bridge on the Commerce-Jefferson Highway in Apple Valley, right past the "Apple Valley Mall," I noticed a lot of paint in the road. It was gold paint. I wasn't aware of it at the time, but it also was wet. So what happened? That's right, gold paint all over the bottom of my truck.
Now my truck may be dented and scratched, but I still love it, and I owe money on it. So I have the right to complain - anybody would. Plus gold splatter on candy apple red doesn't look very attractive. I didn't even notice the paint until later that night when I saw my tire covered in gold splotches.
I guess now that I think about it, both teams deserved to lose. When I was driving to Wal-Mart last week I also saw red and blue paint in the road. This childish vandalism has to stop somewhere. I mean, can't you think of something more creative? Take it out on your opponent's personal property if you must vandalize. Don't take it out on the public.
If you insist on using paint, paint your own car gold or red and blue. Use that paint that you invested in to show that you have Tiger or Dragon pride. You'll be the coolest kid in the schoolhouse. Add a "bumpin phat" system to your newly painted "bad ride" and you'll receive "mad props" from the community. Hooray for paint and annoying rap music!
When I was a student at Central Gwinnett (a school that was run by the football team, even though they had a very poor record), there was a parking lot attendant who worked out of a little shack in front of the lot. There was a rumor going around school that the attendant lived in that metal shack because he spent all of his time there and supposedly had all of his bare necessities inside it.
The night before the Central Gwinnett-Collins Hill game, some Collins Hill hoodlums burned down the man's shack. A man's parking lot home was destroyed that night because of a rivalry game against two schools. The man escaped unharmed, but appeared to be somber and distraught the following day. What foolishness - I hope that poor man had insurance.
Now, back to Commerce and Jefferson - I'd bet that a lot of people who drive down that road don't even know what the heck gold, red and blue paint means - and most would have to think about the colors before it clicked. They're probably assuming that a truck driver without a tailgate or tie-downs hit the bridge and lost his load of paint and went back only to salvage the buckets, since there were no buckets present at the scene.
I'm positive that most football players didn't have anything to do with the vandalism - they are fair, honest and probably the better players on the teams who actually care about the sport. Perhaps a few of the stereotypical meathead jocks, more interested in being popular than talented in football, carried out the deed. But I also understand that it could have been some deranged student who wanted to show off his or her school spirit by vandalizing the road, hoping that the paint would get on the vehicles of innocent civilians who are unaffiliated with the rivalry between the two teams.
If the perpetrators are caught, I think that they should be arrested, charged with destruction of government property (a felony), forced to pay for the damages and clean up the mess themselves without any "Slow down road work ahead" signs alongside the road. They'd think twice before throwing paint on the road again over a football game.

Charlie Broadwell is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.


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