Jackson County Opinions...

JUNE 5, 2002

By Mark Beardsley
The Commerce News
June 5, 2002

When You Know
Your Call Really
Is Not Important"
Thank you for your patience. Your call is very important to us," the recording declared, as it had every 20 seconds for the previous four minutes.
"If it's so damn important, why don't you answer it," I screamed into the phone, tired of being thanked for patience that no longer existed.
I hung up, depriving the company of a call that was very important to it, went online and exercised little more patience in writing a scathing email, which, I am sure, is equally important.
A word to all of you corporate types when you contemplate your voice mail system, including answering machines: If you're too cheap to hire someone to answer the phone, don't further annoy potential customers by repeatedly lying to them about the importance of their calls. If hearing from your customers had a high priority, you wouldn't make them jump through hoops to talk to you.
Here's some more honest voice mail recording options:
•"I'm sorry, all of our representatives are away from their desks or are talking on another line with their friends. If you stay on the phone long enough, someone will eventually pick up, although the chance is good they will put you on hold to transfer you somewhere else."
•"Thank you for your patience. To save $8 per hour, management has eliminated the switchboard. Your best bet is to go online at www.whocares.com and leave a message. Your email is important to us."
•"Hello. Your call is not really important enough that we can afford to answer it. At the sound of the click, leave a message."
•"Please wait. All of our technicians currently have more important things to do than to talk to you."
•"Thank you for holding. While you are waiting, we hope you enjoy Jim Nabors' Greatest Hits."
•"Thank you for calling. Please leave a message. We won't return your call, but if you persist and finally reach us, we'll say we tried."
•"Please dial the extension number now. If you don't know it, tough luck."
•"Please hold. Your call will be answered in the order it was received. We are now taking calls that came in last Friday."
•"It's you again? We'd hoped you'd given up by now."
•"While you are on hold, please enjoy this message about the dangers of driving under the influence of intoxicants."
•"Your call is very important to us. Just kidding."
•"Thank you for calling. Our caller ID has informed us that you are not someone with whom we wish to have conversation today or any other day. Goodbye."
•"We're sorry. You have inadvertently called the office during break time. Please smoke a cigarette, drink a cup of coffee and then call back."
•"Please hold. We're pulling your file onto the computer right now to see if you're important enough to talk to."
•"We’re sorry, all lines are currently busy. If you have an emergency, call 911."
•"911: If you are reporting a house fire, press 1; if you are being shot at, press 2; if you are bleeding profusely, press 3; for all other emergencies, please hold."

The Jackson Herald
June 5, 2002

Bear Creek water important to county’s future
Sometime this week, perhaps even while you’re reading this newspaper, an important milestone will be reached — water from the new Bear Creek Reservoir will begin flowing through miles of pipes and into Jackson County homes.
A decade and a half after it began, the reservoir and treatment plant is a reality. Against tremendous odds, four counties came together to build the reservoir and three of the four built a joint treatment plant.
It is a watershed for our future, no pun intended.
We all take water for granted, unless, of course, we don’t have it. Two decades of droughts has left many wells dry. That, and increased pressure on ground water from growth and pollution runoff, has taught us that having access to clean water is vitally important.
Yet getting clean water on a reliable basis doesn’t come easy. We don’t carry water to our house from the local spring anymore. What comes out of a tap when we turn on the water is the result of work by dozens, if not hundreds, of other people.
With the Bear Creek Reservoir, Jackson County should have a secure future of available water resources for many, many years to come.

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By Adam Fouche
The Jackson Herald
June 5, 2002

There is no excuse for physically assaulting reporter
On Saturday, some fans at the Atlanta Dragway assaulted one of our reporters for taking pictures of a jet car crash, and track officials are implying that she got what she deserved.
Unfortunately, a person was killed in the wreck.
As citizens of this area, we are saddened when such tragedy strikes. We shed tears with the community when these horrible events happen.
But as a newspaper, our job is to report the news. Sometimes that news is bad. We hate being there when it is. But that is our job.
Our reporter at the track was not photographing the injured driver nor was she interested in photographing him. When she began taking pictures, paramedics had already taken the driver out of the car and were transporting him to the hospital.
Our reporter was only taking pictures of the remains of the wreckage and some of the attempts to clean it up.
But some fans at the race track began assaulting her simply because she was taking photos. They cursed at her, called her names and threw bottles at her. She was injured in the assault.
However, no one at the track tried to help her. Track officials did nothing to stop the crowd. Track security did not rush to her aid. And no gentleman in the stands tried to save the reporter from the attacks.
In an e-mailed response to the newspaper’s inquiry about the incident, dragway officials contend that they had not authorized our reporter to be on the track. In fact, general manager Craig Armstrong said the reporter was lucky that she “was not arrested and summarily removed from the property for that little stunt!”
Mr. Armstrong said that at the time of the incident, he and other officials were wondering who she was and why she was taking pictures, though no one bothered to ask her. He even says that our reporter put herself in that position in front of spectators and that “it’s no wonder that they jeered and cursed!”
Our reporter stopped at the front gate of the race track and identified herself. Track officials let her in to take pictures. She did not jump over a fence or gain unauthorized entry. She was allowed onto the track—a fact Mr. Armstrong conveniently overlooks.
Secondly, if Mr. Armstrong were so concerned that a “mystery” individual was on the track, why didn’t he go and ask her who she was?
Do officials just allow anyone down on the track? If so, this raises serious security concerns.
The fact is, track officials let her onto the track. She went through the proper channels to lawfully do her job of recording the news.
Mr. Armstrong never apologizes that our reporter was injured at his track. In fact, he blames the entire problem on her and basically implies that she, the victim, got what she deserved.
As a member of this community, we are appalled to have a business in the area that would condone such acts of violence.
Our reporter did not deserve to be assaulted at the dragway Saturday. She was doing her job, with no malicious intent. However, Mr. Armstrong blames her, the victim, for her own assault.
I can only hope that track officials have realized their mistakes and will move to keep everyone safe at the dragway, reporter or not.
Because no one deserves to be assaulted.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers.

The Commerce News
June 5, 2002

Court’s Ruling A Win
For State, Mike Beatty
The state of Georgia won Round 2 and perhaps the final round in its war against video poker last week when the Georgia Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling and held that the state's video poker ban is constitutional.
Barring some kind of appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the ruling should effectively remove those machines using gambling-style games and paying cash prizes (or their equivalent). In Georgia, thousands of machines must be removed and it is likely that those businesses relying largely on video poker to survive will close.
The bill could also boost Rep. Mike Beatty's bid for lieutenant governor. The Jefferson Republican led the effort to ban video poker machines and deserves most of the credit for the legislation the Supreme Court just upheld. More importantly, the ruling removes from truck stops, convenience stores and other businesses gambling devices critics say were virtually addictive to some people. It is perhaps hypocritical of a state that itself sponsors gambling to suggest that someone else's gambling business should be illegal, but the video poker ban successfully closes a loophole in the state's laws prohibiting commercial gambling.
Few people suggest that the court's ruling will make those who gamble via the machines less inclined to waste their money, but at least it will make it harder for minors to gamble legally. If it causes some businesses to fail, those are businesses the state can well do without.

MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
PO Box 908, 33 Lee Street, Jefferson, Georgia 30549
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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