Jackson County Opinions...

NOVEMBER 20, 2002

By Mark Beardsley
The Commerce News
November 20, 2002

Offering His Services To The
GOP And State
Having endorsed State Senator-elect Ralph Hudgens and having not said anything ugly about Rep.-elect Chris Elrod, this legislative session appears to be my best chance to grab a lucrative state job now that the Republican coup is complete.
Granted, the odds would be better if I'd actually endorsed Elrod and had something good to say about Gov.-Elect Sonny Perdue or Senator-elect Saxby Chambliss, but you gotta play the hand you're dealt, they say.
The spoils system isn't what it used to be, but with the Republicans firmly in control of the U.S. Congress in addition to the Georgia (Motto: "We're number 50") Senate and governor's mansion, change is in the wind (and you thought the Jessie Jewell rendering plant was back).
Given my record in favor of a strong defense, I'm a good applicant for the director of the Georgia Office of Homeland Defense, which though sounding like something from Eastern Europe during the Cold War, is actually the coolest new office.
I would bring a lot to the table in this capacity. For example, having written five times now when the DOT will start its resurfacing project in Commerce, only to see the date constantly change, I will be able to keep a solemn expression when issuing warnings for terrorist attacks against Georgia's economic and cultural symbols, like Stone Mountain and the Big Chicken, when in reality no one knows what is going on.
My best-defense-is-a-good-offense philosophy will be useful in effecting regime changes in Florida and Alabama to gain control of OUR water. We'd get our money's worth out of Dobbins AFB and we'd showcase the Hellfire missiles made in Norcross to promote economic development.
But the first step on defending the homeland would be to seize all of the liberal media types and incarcerate them at Andersonville, since the prison at Guantanomo Bay is full. Anyone caught watching "Sex in the City," or "Saturday Night Live,"or listening to National Public Radio would join them as an enemy of the Homeland. CNN (Communist News Network) would cease to exist; its assets redistributed to FOX.
A top priority would be restoring America for Americans. Illegal immigrants would be sent back to Mexico, Cuba or Michigan, we'd raid every Chinese, Italian or Mexican restaurant and make English the official language of Georgia. At least four of the Ten Commandments would hang in my office, along with Roy Barnes if he ever dared to enter it.
Under my direction the Georgia Department of Homeland Defense would protect the Bulldog Nation with gas masks for every man, woman and child, at least the Republicans among them, and we’d put able-bodied welfare recipients to work digging foxholes.
I would, as a good Republican appointee, fully endorse tax cuts and deficit spending to stimulate the economy, school vouchers and a Constitutional amendment banning burning of the flag unless it's wrapped around Bill Clinton.
I know I’m late to the GOP banner, but that shows my flexibility and my ability to be a team player, no matter which team is in charge.
Ralph, Chris, put in a good word with Sonny for me, would you?

By Angela Gary
The Jackson Herald
November 20, 2002

Sleeping in the floor and other adventures
I’m at the bottom of the ocean...I’m falling and falling and falling and then I hit the ground. I’m on the bottom level of a huge ship...
For some reason, I keep dreaming about being in low places. Maybe it’s because I’m sleeping closer to the floor than I ever have before.
We will be moving into a new house in less than one month and I’m having my antique bed refinished for the move. That means I’m sleeping on my mattress on the floor. It seems colder down there but I’m sure that’s just my imagination. The change has also led to some pretty bizarre dreams.
The change in the bed has also confused my cat. Quincy is used to hopping up on the bed. Now, he just walks over and steps up on it. I’m sure the new house will really confuse him.
In other moving adventures, my dresser was sent off to be refinished earlier so my socks, hose and other clothes are scattered around my room. I’ve found a pillow case works great for holding your socks. I have one in the corner of my room.
I had an unfortunate accident in my closet a few months ago that led to me moving my clothes to various piles around the house. That’s why I’ve been wearing the same thing every few days. I haven’t gotten to the bottom of any of the piles yet.
If we don’t move soon, I’m going crazy. A good’s night sleep and finding something to wear are getting harder and harder to accomplish. The upheaval also likely explains why I look tired all of the time. I had dreaded the move but now I can’t wait until it’s over.
I never realized how stressful building a new house could be. You have to pick out everything from the light fixtures to those shiny knobs in your bath tub. Does anyone really care about that stuff? I know I don’t. I’m leaving these decisions up to other members of the family. All I asked for was plenty of closet space. Being without a closet for a while has made me appreciate how important they are. Who cares if the walls are purple and I have orange knons on the bath tub. As long as my bed is back to normal and I have closets, I’ll be happy.
Angela Gary is associate editor of The Jackson Herald and editor of The Banks County News. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.

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By Rochelle Beckstine
The Jackson Herald
November 20, 2002

Swimming in October?
For the second time in my life I found myself in a pond because of Ole’ Agnes Scott.
I went through the traditional tossing of the newly engaged into the “Pond” in my sophomore year at Agnes Scott College. It took six girls to drag me kicking and squeeling on that sunny April day to the 8 x 10 bricked pond in the alumna gardens. By the time I came up sputtering and pushing wet hair out of my face, my friends were gone. Their laughter echoed behind, cheering me out of the pond and onward to my dorm. It was over. I wouldn’t have to dread it any longer.
So why you might ask was I in a pond again because of my alma mater?
This, too, I can blame on my husband. You see he decided to get a culinary degree in July and he is currently baking enough bread to send all of the Canadian geese to Bermuda with their bellies full. So because of him and his baking I was standing on the shores of the Winder-Barrow YMCA pond with three bags of rolls and donuts, my toddler in tow, her Winnie-the-Pooh costume hanging in our truck just waiting for the chance to Trick-or-Treat.
It started out as me trying to lure the geese closer. They were resting on the other side of the pond. I broke off chunks of bread and threw them at the geese. Of course it didn’t go nearly far enough so I continued to throw harder and harder — -my rolls making it about 40 feet, a quarter of the distance to the geese. The geese began to swim closer to me and that’s when it happened. I realized it in the instant it happened. My college ring, the symbol of the sorority of Agnes Scott women, the epitome of my hard work and accomplishment flew off my middle finger and soared through the air, bulleting into the water 20 feet from where I stood gaping. In that instant, my daughter’s memory vanished, I was no longer Mama. I was the sophomore who cried when my first paper earned me only a C-plus after I went to bed at a modest 10 p.m. every night after studying for three hours. I was the junior who enjoyed walking among the books on the 7th floor of the library and finding the quietest spot on campus among the older and seldom used books. I was the senior whose heart soared as my goal of graduation was reached and it was my turn to take the graduation walk with my professors and mentors. And I was diving into that frigid pond on the last day of October — make no doubt about that. Before the wake of my zinging ring had cleared, I was there waist deep, dredging the bottom of the pond with my numb fingers sifting through slimy, oozy gunk.
It seemed to take a year, but my ring wasn’t off my finger for more than a minute before I chanced upon the signature square onyx stone with my right hand. I breathed again, noticing the freezing water soaked through my clothes and shoes, the honking geese and the rolls floating past my eyes. Further away, I could see cars speeding by on the main road in downtown Winder. Reality returned in a rush and I turned to see my daughter Piper standing where I had left her, limply holding a roll in each hand and staring at me as if to say “Just what are you doing in the water Mama?”
Climbing out of the pond in my jeans and T-shirt, water trailing behind, I knew someday she would understand why I went into the pond after my college ring, which is insured for my lifetime. What she may not understand is why I finished feeding the geese the two bags of bread while 40 degree winds chilled my body to the point that I still shiver when I think of it. Heck, I can’t even figure out why I did that.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.

The Commerce News
November 20, 2002

‘Official Song’ Another Bad Idea For Commerce
With all due respect to singer/songwriter Ricky Fitzpatrick whose creation, "America in Harmony," is being proposed as Commerce's official song, this is not an action the Commerce City Council needs to take.
There are two primary reasons. The first is that the city needs an official song as much as it needs an official rodent. The equally important city flag should have sated the city's silliness appetite for years to come. Alas, the flag seems but to have inspired Councilman Bob Sosebee to seek more of the same.
But the second reason is more important. If there is to be a "city song," should it not be "City Lights," written by Commerce favorite son Bill Anderson? Anderson's love for this community is well established, he got (or made) his first break into the big-time right here in Commerce by writing “City Lights” and he is considered one of the greatest songwriters of all time in the country music genre.
Let's not forget what Anderson does for Commerce. Every year he brings major talent from Nashville (of which he is not the least) for a benefit concert on Tiger Field, not to mention an acoustical "dinner with the stars" the day before the concert. The events raise tens of thousands of dollars every year, the end result of which will be a performing arts center, which should encourage future generations of singer/songwriters.
Anderson is also legendary for his character and his abilities. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry, just recently received the BMI Icon Award and if there was an award for generosity, his name would be on it most every year.
The establishing of an "official song" is of little practical value, but if the City Council insists on following this path, it should designate a song by someone whose track record is unparalleled for both song writing and love of this community. The only choice at that point is "City Lights" by Bill Anderson.
The Dominant Factor
The Commerce Board of Education will soon break ground on a new middle school at a cost of $6 million plus. Site preparation is under way at Commerce’s new sewage treatment plant, the cost of which is estimated at between $6 million and $7 million. The Commerce Fire Department just took possession of a $497,000 new fire truck.
Three miles out Waterworks Road, the new East Jackson Elementary School is under construction. Jackson County is working toward the construction of a new courthouse at a cost yet to even be estimated in public. Sheriff Stan Evans says Jackson County needs a new jail.
The common thread is the development of the infrastructure to support the phenomenal increases in population. In addition to the projects mentioned above, countless water and sewer lines and roads are under construction or in the five-year plans.
Those are the issues that occupy the governments of Jackson County, its municipalities and its school districts. Driven by proximity to Atlanta and Interstate 85, the growth is unavoidable and a challenge to manage. When you read in these pages of government decisions regarding new roads, water and sewer projects and public facilities, recognize that they are the consequences of our location.
There are diverse opinions about tactics, but by necessity the focus of every public body is upon dealing with growth. There is debate about how to best cope, but there is none about the necessity of responding.
Growth is now and will be the influence on government action. We’d all be wise to get used to it.

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