More Jackson County Opinions...

JANUARY 1, 2003


Column
By:Angela Gary
The Jackson Herald
January 1, 2003

Cheers, tears and jeers to the newsmakers of 2002
Local news is always informative and often entertaining. The news that made the headlines in 2002 from across Jackson County was varied and caused readers to nod their heads in agreement, laugh out loud and even cry.
Some of the news that brought “cheers” last year included Jefferson’s plans to locate a civic center in the building that formerly housed Wilkins Industries. The town needs a civic center where community and social events can be held. It’s also great to see an empty building being utilized in such a useful way.
Cheers also to progress finally being made in locating a new public library in West Jackson. This is the fastest growing area in the county and the residents deserve a new library. The late Annette Braselton worked on this for years and it’s wonderful that it may finally become a reality.
One of the headlines that brought tears was the death of Pendergrass council member Joyce Wilkerson, who is missed by people throughout the county.
Other tears came at the retirement of long-time county clerk Helen Motes. She was always quick to help anyone who asked and had a smile and kind word for those around her.
One of the headlines that brought jeers is county residents being forced to share their medical, financial and other personal problems in a public forum. For much of the year, the board of commissioners required “hardship cases” to be heard at their public board meetings. This is not the time or place for this and many people were obviously embarrassed about speaking publicly about their problems. We all have problems and we shouldn’t have to air them at a public forum.
More jeers to the fans who turned on a female photographer at a race track at Banks Crossing and verbally and physically threatened her, while no one in management helped her out. This one still makes me angry. I don’t like to see, or hear about, anyone being threatened for doing their job. Anyone who condones or ignores this kind of behavior has a serious problem.
Jeers also to the board of commissioners for their midnight meetings. I don’t like these obviously because it’s past my bedtime, but I also don’t believe these men can be making rational decisions at this hour. A five-hour meeting is too much for anyone.

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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Column
By: Kerri Graffius
The Jackson Herald
January 1, 2003

Taking The Jackson Herald on my vacation
Well, I finally did it. Yep, I dragged along a copy of The Jackson Herald on a recent vacation.
OK, it doesn’t sound that grand, but something about those vacation photos featured in our weekly newspaper has always bothered me: how do people remember to pack The Jackson Herald before taking off for vacation?
With all of the other things you have to pack (nightgown, clothing, toothbrush, etc.), it’s amazing people stop to think about packing a copy of the local newspaper for their vacation.
Since I’m one of those people who always forgets to pack something for trips away from home (I had to buy socks in England because I forgot to pack them one time), taking along The Herald was a big deal for me.
So, on a recent family vacation to Texas I thought I would try my little experiment to see if I could complete the “taking The Herald on vacation” process.
First, I remembered to pack the latest copy of The Herald in my suitcase before my vacation (a good first step).
The next step (like all of the other steps) also required a bit of thinking on my part: where do we take the shot that would be published in the newspaper?
Now, that may not seem too hard, but just look at some of the past vacation photos published in The Herald. Half are blurry, some you can’t see the people’s faces and others you wonder if they even went on vacation because the background looks like their next-door neighbor’s backyard (as if they forgot to bring along the newspaper and the pose was just an afterthought).
But, not everyone’s vacation photo has been that bad. Some people have really put a lot of thought into taking their newspaper to interesting locations. One guy even took a copy underwater recently (kudos to him).
For my vacation, my family thought it would be interesting to take the photo by President George W. Bush’s ranch, which is near my grandparents’ house outside of Waco, Texas.
We boarded into the car (not forgetting the newspaper, of course) and drove out to the boonies of Crawford early Thanksgiving morning. We thought it would be a really neat photo to take along the public road by Pres. Bush’s ranch, but the Secret Service wouldn’t allow it. Both Papa Bush and Baby Bush were at the small ranch home for the holiday, so the adjacent property had it’s fair share of Secret Service personnel and a few helicopters.
Instead, we headed back to town and decided to take the photo by a welcome sign with Bush’s goofy face.
It would have been a good photo, but in the process of taking the photo, I fell into a nearby barbed-wire fence and the pain on my face was evident in the photo. So, it was back to finding another vacation spot.
Speaking of “vacation,” another aspect I’ve wondered about for the vacation photos is what exactly constitutes a “vacation?”
Some of the published “vacation” photos were taken in the North Georgia Mountains. Is a 45-minute drive to Helen really a “vacation?”
And what about “family vacations” where the trip really doesn’t involve any sightseeing? My “vacation” bordered on that realm since we spent more time in the car then actually seeing anyone or anything (we drove to Texas for a five-day trip).
When we got to Corpus Christi to visit my grandfather, we made a quick stop at the bay to take some family photos—and to grab that one vacation photo.
Although the Corpus Christi Bay doesn’t provide the most interesting shot, that waterway does serve a lot of memories for me. It was on the city’s main bridge that my family always drove across when we arrived from Houston. My late grandmother used to also take me on boat rides in the bay when I was a child.
So, my vacation photo isn’t the most thrilling, but it does serve a point for me.
A few of the other vacation photos that have been published in The Herald have also had some underlying meaning. Some have bordered on free advertising for those local residents attending business-related conferences. Others have certainly been a plug for bragging rights (but, that’s sort of the point of the vacation photos—to tell everyone in the county where you’ve been and they’re still in Jackson County).
After the trip home, I developed my photos (yet another step in the process) and submitted the photo to my editor for publication. The truth is, we get so many of these vacation photos sometimes that they’re put on a waiting list for several weeks until we have the available space.
I’ll admit that there have been times when I wanted the vacation photos removed from the newspaper on weeks when we’ve had to cram news stories in The Herald; but, the vacation photos have been a popular item among our readers and I doubt they’ll be leaving the newspaper anytime soon.
Kerri Graffius is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. Her e-mail address is kerri@mainstreetnews.com.


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