Banks County Opinions...

January 30, 2002


By: Angela Gary
he Banks County News
January 30, 2002

Lessons Iıve learned from my nephew
Iıve never been around newborns or small babies. I had never held one until my nephew, Jake, was born almost three months ago. Iıve learned a lot about little babies in the past couple of months.
Last week, I had my first solo babysitting experience with Jake, which enabled me to learn even more about infants. My friends and some family members are amazed that my sister trusted her little baby with me and only me for a day. She had gone over the basics, such as diaper changing, feeding and burping, and left me his schedule and a list of important phone numbers.
I may have been alone, but I was certainly checked up on. My cousin came over around 10 a.m. ³just to see how things were going.² My mother called shortly after to make sure ³everything was OK.² It was and everyone left us alone for the rest of the day.
A few of the important lessons Jake has already taught me include:
€Babies go to sleep when they are good and ready and not one minute before, no matter what you may do. He has made it clear that there is no need to try and ³get him to sleep.² He will toss and turn and whimper and fret for as long as he wants to and you might as well accept it. When he does decide to go to sleep, donıt congratulate yourself that you got him to sleep. He just decided it was time for a nap. It had nothing to do with you.
€Itıs perfectly fine to eat every two hours, whether youıre hungry or not. Forget about those people who say to only eat when youıre hungry. Every two hours, he wants his bottle and it doesnıt matter if heıs hungry or not. So what if he falls asleep shortly after you put the bottle in his mouth, proving that heıs really not hungry. It was time for it and donıt even try to get him off his two-hour feeding schedule.
€Itıs your job to hold my pacifier in my mouth and donıt you forget it. I put it in his mouth, he spits it out and then cries. I ask why he spits it out if he wants it and he just looks at me. I know the answer. Iım here to serve him and one of my duties is to hold it in his mouth so that it doesnıt fall out.
These are just a few of the lessons I learned after my first day of babysitting. Iım sure there will be plenty more to come. While it is a lot of work, there is one thing that makes it all worthwhile. That moment comes when Jake looks up at me with a huge smile and laughs.
Itıs also pretty cool when he wraps his tiny hand around one of my fingers and wonıt let go. Oh yeah, you also canıt beat those moments when he curls up on your chest and takes a nap. As I said when he was born, the fun has just begun and I canıt wait for what is to come as he grows up.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at


The Banks County News
January 30, 2002

Public boards shouldnıt close the door to the public
Itıs a trend all over the state — local elected officials get nervous about public scrutiny of their actions, so they dream up creative ways to keep the public out.
In Muscogee County, for example, the county board of education rotates members during closed-door discussions so as not to create a quorum, thereby skirting by the Georgia Open Records Law.
Up in Stephens County, the Toccoa City Council has put into place a controversial plan to require members of the public wishing to speak at their meetings to follow a complex registration process in advance.
The problem with these actions is that the leadership of the agencies involved have lost sight of the fact that they represent the public, not some private interest.
Here in Banks County, the board of education now requires any complaints against school personnel to be in writing and to be heard in closed session. School leaders assure us that this is just an effort to keep legal personnel issues discussed in private and that the policy is mirrored after rules in place at school boards across the state. School leaders also assure us that personnel issues that are legally appropriate for public discussions will continue to be aired in the open.
The school board is right that complaints can be heard in closed session. The Georgia Open Meetings Law is clear, though, that no presentation of evidence can be heard in closed session. What that means, in a nutshell, is that unless a board takes some formal action against an employee and a hearing is held, the public will never know about these complaints.
While we know there are on occasion unfounded complaints about school personnel, to close the public out of the process is a dangerous precedent. The rights of the individual, not to mention the rights of the public at large, could easily be violated with such star chamber tactics.
One of the things many city and county governments across the state do to get around discussing controversial issues in public is form committees. These committees are made up of a couple of council or commission members. Since the committees donıt make up a quorum of the board, they can meet in secret without the public knowing what is going on. This may be technically legal, but it is a dirty way of getting away with keeping the public uninformed of what is going on. Too many politicians get an inflated ego when they get in office and forget that they are serving the public.
We encourage all city and county agencies in Banks County to continue to remember the interests of the public who elected the board members.

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The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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