Banks County Opinions...

FEBRUARY 5, 2003


By: Kerri Graffius
The Banks County News
February 5, 2003

The new replaces the old
On Thursday morning, I turned on my radio and began singing to some oldies.
I’m one of those people that will sing aloud in my car—I don’t care if you see me singing along; you can’t hear me anyway. On that morning, I remember singing to “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.” By that afternoon, the same radio station was playing a song by Nine Inch Nails commonly called, “I Want to (expletive) You Like An Animal.”
Whoa! How did that happen on the same radio station in one day? Well, in case you haven’t heard, Atlanta’s Fox 97.1 finally lost its bid to “Save the Oldies.”
According to news reports, the station’s new owners arrived in the Fox 97 station office on Thursday morning, fired the station’s 20 employees and immediately began playing an assortment of musical garbage, to say the least.
Unsure of what to play, the new station began airing a wide range of musical genres—from hip hop to alternative, rap to country and rock to easy-listening “while you work in your cubicle” junk.
Atlanta no longer has an oldies station. No more Beatles, The Temptations, The Supremes or Elvis (unless a more marketable remix airs on another station).
But while I am noting the end of Fox 97, it upsets me more that in order to find some of these great pieces in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, local listeners will have to turn to another source—possibly paid radio.
Satellite radio, through several providers, is beginning to gain popularity among frequent radio listeners. I even looked into the possibility of paying for satellite radio about a year ago, when I was debating to remove the cassette player from my car and opt for more variety. I later decided against the move when I began to think how paying for smaller advances in technology would force me to ask my boss for a bigger pay raise.
After dishing out an estimated $200 for a “basic” satellite radio stereo installed in one’s car, the listener would still have to pay $10 to $15 a month for service. Sure, the service provides dozens of high-quality stations, but that’s what they said about expanded cable—and I don’t watch all of those stations.
To get the best of technology (or even experience the “basic” features), we have to pay small doses equaling a lot of money each year.
Over the past year, my cable bill slowly crept to $90 a month. Even after the movie channels were removed, I still pay $55 a month. Still, I watch the same seven channels.
And then I pay $21.95 a month for Internet service (after I was suckered into a three-year contract when I purchased a new computer). I primarily check my e-mail and read some newspaper websites—that’s it for $21.95.
Then there’s the cell phone—$30 a month for crappy coverage and little usage.
The point here is that technology, if given the chance, will eat slowly away at our pocketbooks. As you’re beginning to complete your income tax returns, take the time to review what can be trimmed away when it comes to your “technology allocation.”
On a separate note, the recent Columbia shuttle tragedy has hit close to home for myself and millions of others just like me.
Growing up in Houston, the space program has always played a memorable role in my life.
As a child, I wanted to attend Space Camp in Alabama; just visiting the Johnson Space Center frequently wasn’t enough for me. I begged my parents to pay for the excessive room and board for the adventure (I even considered taking my family on Nickelodeon’s Double Dare, just to win that final prize). When my parents said it would cost too much, they enlisted me in a program at the Houston Science Museum that included a complete mock shuttle mission. That was one of the coolest things I remember doing as a child.
As an adult, I had the chance to see a shuttle launch when I lived in Orlando. Although I couldn’t make it to Cape Canaveral, I just happened to catch the beautiful ball of fire glide toward the sky as I waited at a traffic light. Every vehicle on that busy highway stopped and watched the shuttle. Once again, it’s a memory I will not forget.
My mom called on Saturday morning, just an hour after the explosion occurred over Dallas. Family members in Waco heard the sonic booms that signaled the end of the shuttle’s flight.
If there’s one thing that we should stop to thank God for in this tragedy is that no one on the ground in Texas or Louisiana was injured or killed as the shuttle’s remains fell to Earth.
Kerri Graffius is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. Her e-mail address is

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By: Angela Gary
The Banks County News
February 5, 2003

Vacation memories warm winter blahs
I stood high atop the Andes Mountains in Chile and looked down into the valleys below. It was peacefully quiet on the deserted mountain-top as I took in the wonder and natural beauty God had created.
I sat back in my seat as our bus driver backed up a steep portion of the roadway across the Rocky Mountains on a trip to Canada.
It was a little scary but the journey was worth it as we ended up in the picturesque town of Jasper.
As a long, cold January ends and another few months of winter loom ahead, I’m ready for a vacation.
Traveling is one of my favorite hobbies and it’s where all my extra money goes. From chasing rainbows in Hawaii to rubbing elbows with the stars in Nashville to catching the sights in the big cities of New York City, Boston and Chicago, I have many memories to enjoy to beat the winter blues.
Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. The weather is always wonderful and the people are among the friendliest to be found.
Everyone is happy in Hawaii. Maybe it’s because of the abundance of sunshine.
I go to Nashville a couple of times a year and always end of wishing I lived there. For country music fans, it really is paradise.
Every weekend is filled with many choices of concerts and events and you never know if you will run into Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at the local Old Navy or Kenny Chesney at Home Depot.
Every time I go, I tell my family and friends I’m going to stay if I find a job or a husband in Nashville. Needless to say, I haven’t found either one yet, but you never know...
Food is an important part of any vacation and I have favorite restaurants in all of the places I’ve visited.
There is this bistro near Times Square in New York City that has the best oysters ever. I want to go to New York again just to go to this restaurant. There’s another restaurant in Soho that has this amazing chocolate sorbet. My mouth waters just thinking about it.
My next trip is one month away, so I’ll have to keep reveling in my old memories until then. Happy traveling....
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. When she’s not traveling, she can be reached at
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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