Madison County Opinion...

DECEMBER 4, 2002


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
December 4, 2002

Frankly Speaking
What’s truly divisive
It never ceases to amaze me how the big Atlanta media can pass on quotes from anti-south bigots without bothering to question the accuracy of their statements.
For example, the latest quotes from members of the so called “black leadership” and the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce; restoring the “Georgia flag would be divisive” and cause “massive economic damage” to the state. They declare that the action would bring about an NAACP boycott of the state, and that would cause extensive damage to our tourism industry.
Did he say “divisive?” The late night, secretive backstabbing method used to change the flag was extremely divisive. It was so divisive that it cost the Democrats control of Georgia’s government. Not changing the flag back will be a truly divisive action. How can these people justify offending the majority of Georgia citizens in order to avoid offending a few radicals who insist on playing the race card at every opportunity?
The NAACP would boycott Georgia like they did South Carolina? Guess what the Atlanta media forgot to tell you about the South Carolina boycott. During that action, South Carolina has seen a dramatic increase in tourism. At the same time, crime in the state’s tourist areas has dropped substantially. South Carolina’s experience suggests that a boycott by the NAACP would make Georgia a better and more profitable place to live. So, let them boycott.
Economic damage? Consider this: Georgia’s strongest economy ever occurred under the flag. As soon as the flag was changed, tax revenue in Georgia plummeted. Georgia has lost millions of dollars by hiding the Confederacy rather than embracing our culture.
Do you remember the Atlanta Olympics? If you recall, Athens invited a circus to come to town as part of its plans to capitalize on Olympic visitors. Madison County organized a “Country in the Country” festival with plans to run buses from Athens to Comer. Both failed. The circus went broke and sued the city of Athens to recover losses. The only people to attend the Madison County event were locals. In Atlanta, street vendors had so little business that many of them shut down and left.
Why? All those visitors came to Georgia to see two things, the Olympics and the Confederacy. When they arrived, they were unable to find any trace of Southern Culture. It had all be covered up, painted over, or banished from the Atlanta area. The visitors went to the Olympic sites, watched the events, returned to the airport and left. Georgia’s refusal to embrace and display its heritage cost millions of dollars in potential tourism income.
Restoring the flag and other Southern symbols will not only restore our culture, it will boost our economy, not damage it.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address is frankg@mcga.net.

Column
By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
December 4, 2002

A Moment With Margie
Animal shelter becomes a reality
The word by definition means a place of sanctuary, protection, safety and security.
This week, after many years of dreaming and planning, persistence and hard work, the Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter finally became reality.
First of all, let me tell you a few things about your new animal shelter.
It was built by a contractor hired by Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter, Inc. (MOAS), a non-profit humane society run by a group of volunteers dedicated to the cause.
Madison County government has leased the land the building sits on to MOAS.
Neither Madison County nor Oglethorpe County governments used taxpayer money to fund the building of the shelter.
However, the counties have agreed to pay $3 per person, per year (based on 2000 census figures) to contract the services of the animal shelter for their residents. This money will help with the expenses involved in the day to day operations of the shelter (such as food, medicines, etc.).
Both counties have also helped by grading and graveling the parking area and drive to the shelter.
At an open house this past weekend, shelter staff and board of directors dealt with a number of comments and questions on the building’s design. So as a board member, let me address some of those:
First of all, none of the building’s space is “wasted.” Every part of the design was carefully considered and thought out. We spent exhaustive hours visiting other shelters, talking with shelter workers, doing research and seeking the advice of experts.
Now to some specifics.
The shelter has such a high roof line for several reasons. One was to get away from the “institutional” look and feel of so many animal shelters. This is no “dog pound.”
But more importantly, the high roof will provide excellent ventilation for the animals who will be housed there. Lack of adequate air flow to aid in disease and climate control was a frequent problem cited by workers in shelters we visited.
The large reception area just inside the entrance is “a people friendly place” designed to double as a meeting room and educational area for both children and adults.
We hope to host school field trips and fundraisers there frequently.
The large indoor/outdoor “runs” located at the rear of the building can accommodate at least two large dogs per run. Again, the runs were designed utilizing information gained from visiting other shelters.
Separate spacious rooms can house a number of small dogs and puppies, kittens and cats and provide a play/exercise area for them. Potential owners will also be able to interact with animals they are interested in adopting.
A surgical suite is designed to perform on-site spays and neuters of shelter animals, as well as to take care of the immediate needs of incoming animals.
A small “pet store” where pet-related items can be purchased will be located in a part of the reception area.
It is important to note that a lot of thought and hard work has gone into the design of this shelter with an eye toward the future of our growing area and not just to fulfill the immediate and pressing needs of today.
The shelter was built as a public service with a couple of main goals in mind: first, to help educate people in the humane treatment and care of animals and secondly, to help reduce pet overpopulation.
Animals brought into the shelter that are not adopted will have to be humanely euthanized.
How many animals are euthanized and how often euthanizations occur will depend largely on such things as how many animals are brought into the shelter during a given time, how much room is available, whether or not the animal is deemed adoptable (i.e. not diseased, good temperament, etc.) and how many can be adopted by responsible owners. It is the intention of MOAS to adopt as many animals as possible into loving homes.
The shelter will need a lot of support from the community to provide the best care possible for the animals that come there. Donations of time, supplies and money are always needed and gratefully accepted.
Remember, this building is basically a “gift” to our county and Oglethorpe County from concerned residents who have given their time and their money to make it happen.
Please help us make our area a better place to live, not only for the animals that are given shelter within the building’s walls, but for the human population as well, by helping decrease the potential for disease, injury, inconvenience, expense, etc.
We are proud of this shelter, but now the real work begins — caring for the dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, who come through the doors and who cannot speak for themselves, but who depend on humans to make decisions for them.
It’s an awesome responsibility, one that the shelter doesn’t intend to take lightly. We hope you will share that responsibility with us.
Come visit your new shelter and take a look around.
Spend some time with the animals.
Who knows, you might just find a friend there, one (or several) who will love you — without reservation.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal. She is also a Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter board member.

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