More Jackson County Opinions...

April 10, 2002


Column
By:Jana Adams
The Jackson Herald
April 10, 2002

Pinwheels and balloons — signs of Child Abuse Awareness Month
April is a month of pinwheels and balloons in Georgia. April is Child Abuse Awareness Month.
Each pinwheel placed on the lawn at a county or city building or location represents a substantiated case of child abuse last year in that particular county. Each balloon released represents one of the 45 children who died in Georgia in 2001 as a result of child abuse.
As you drive through Jackson County later this month, you may notice the pinwheels on the square in Jefferson or at city hall in Commerce, placed there by Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), the Department of Family and Children Services (DFACS), Family Connection, law enforcement, the courts and members of other service agencies and organizations looking out for children’s safety and well-being.
The pinwheels may look quirky and pretty as they flash bright colors and spin in the breeze, but know that each one stands for a child who has been hurt — and that the abuse has been proven. In Jackson County alone in 2001, there were more than 100 cases of substantiated abuse, and that doesn’t begin to cover the number of calls about potential abuse.
In addition or in conjunction with placing the pinwheels and releasing balloons, CASA, DFACS and other organizations have held or will hold proclamation ceremonies in the area, with county and city leaders declaring April as Child Abuse Awareness Month and urging citizens to be aware of the issue.
On Thursday, April 18, at 10 a.m., a proclamation will be issued at the Jefferson courthouse, and at 10 a.m. Friday, April 19, the same proclamation will be declared at Commerce City Hall.
I attended the proclamation service in Banks County this past Friday. I watched as members of the participating agencies and groups, as well as county commissioners, stood on the lawn of the courthouse, pinwheels spinning at their feet, and released 45 balloons.
The blue balloons drifted upward, like the memories of those children taking shape and floating up and blending with the sky. The 75 pinwheels stood for the substantiated child abuse cases last year in Banks County — out of more than 200 calls and more than 170 investigations.
Child abuse is an epidemic, one that can be self-perpetuating, with abuse as a child sometimes translating into adult patterns of abuse. It’s horrible to think of it, to imagine hurt and fear dimming the brightness of a child’s eyes, but it happens.
Through Family Connection, DFACS and other group efforts in Jackson County, a county map has been dotted with pins, showing where child abuse cases are happening. The latest reports from Family Connection say cases are clustering in the Nicholson and surrounding area.
Local groups encouraged citizens to become informed about the issue, and to report to DFACS if they suspect child abuse. Simply put, make a phone call and help a child if you feel there is a cause for concern.
Jana Adams is features editor of The Jackson Herald.

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Column
By: Adam Fouche
The Jackson Herald
April 10, 2002

Fishing has meant more than I thought
I never really thought about the Commerce watershed lake as being that important.
Sure, I’ve done a lot of fishing there and I definitely want the lake to stay clean and available for fisherman. But I’ve never thought of it as a really important place.
Last week, I went to the lake looking for a picture for the newspaper. I found a family from Maysville fishing with their small son. The kid had his own rod and his dad was trying to help him learn to fish.
The scene got me to thinking back to when I learned to fish. My grandfather taught me the sport at the same watershed many years ago, and I’ve just realized how important fishing has been for me.
I remember my first bass. I caught it on a cricket downstream from the watershed dam on a summer morning.
I remember going with my grandparents and my sister to the lake fishing for bream and crappie with old cane poles.
I remember the thrill of riding in my grandfather’s bass boat on Lake Hartwell and Lake Richard Russell.
I remember spending Friday nights catfish fishing with my dad at a small farm pond in Jefferson. I still haven’t figured out the whole catfish barking thing.
I remember spending many evenings on the big rocks at the watershed. And I remember getting stuck in the mud over there while fishing one night right after I got my first truck.
I remember hanging out with my friends in high school at a small farm pond in Banks County. We all spent several nights fishing for catfish with fresh beef liver.
I won’t forget the first time I drove a bass boat. I won’t forget the first time I caught a fish on a lure. And I won’t forget my first trout fishing trip.
I remember spending evenings fishing and eating fried chicken with my girlfriend. And I remember taking many, many holidays from school to go fishing with my grandfather.
As I think about it, fishing has been a major part of my life for the past 20 years or so. And only now do I truly understand and appreciate why my grandfather took me to the watershed and taught me how to fish.
So when I saw that family fishing at the lake the other day, I was really encouraged.
With all the international turmoil and all the devastation our country has seen in the past year, fathers are still taking time to teach their sons how to fish.
And as long as we keep doing just that, we’ll be alright.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His email address is fouche@nbank.net.


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