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OPINION PAGE - AUGUST 4, 1999 - HOMER, GEORGIA

Column
Sherry Lewis
The Banks County News- August 4, 1999

Laughter makes everything brighter
There are two quotes that come to my mind as I think back on a trip I took with three co-workers last week. "Laughter is the best medicine" and "If I wasn't laughing, I'd be crying."
To be honest, last week was very rough, so the thought of going to the Georgia Press Association awards banquet was bittersweet. I knew I would be a little preoccupied but I also needed to get away, so I took the plunge and headed for Destin, Fla., with Angie Gary, Jana Adams and April Murphy.
Our trip down went smoothly and by 4 p.m. on Thursday we were lying on the beach, and I was trying to wash my troubles out to sea. To top it off, that evening we had a great meal and actually ended up getting some free food because the waitress forgot to bring our appetizer on time. Things were really going well.
When we woke up on Friday, I was a little worried about the weather because I saw a lot of rain when I went to the beach earlier this year. I warned the girls about this. So when the clouds began to roll in at the pool, I began getting dirty looks. Luckily, it was only a brief shower so things were still going OK. That evening, we attended the awards banquet, and I was really proud to see the four Mainstreet Newspapers take home a total of 40 awards.
Our problems began when we tried to find a room for Saturday night. We were unsure of our plans for Saturday night, so we had not made reservations at the resort. When we tried to, they were booked solid. In fact, almost everything in Destin and Panama City was taken.
I felt somewhat responsible because Angie had asked me a few days earlier if I thought reservations were necessary and I said no. I was proven wrong on Saturday when she walked into a motel and heard the clerk say, "no one is stupid enough to come down here without reservations."
Luckily, we did find a place to stay when Jana called a local realty company. A two bedroom condo for one night for $217. A little steep, but it was nearby so again we were worry free. We spent the morning lying out on the beach. By lunch, I was feeling a little sick and did not know if I got seasick from floating on a raft or if the 100-plus degree heat index was taking its toll on the "senior citizen" of the trip. We thought we would get some relief by eating lunch and checking into the condo, which turned out to be $286. The clerk tried to explain all the taxes and service charges but we were ready for a revolt and canceled our reservation. It is pretty bad to have a sunscreened, sandy and sweating body and no place to take a shower. We drove to Panama City and encountered the same thing: nearly no availability. Oh, I forgot to mention the car was almost running hot, so we had to get out of the ungodly Panama City traffic and seek refuge at the bay. We found a Ramada Inn and Angie and Jana went in to see if they had a room. Jana came back out to the car and said, "I think we take this room or drive home." So we took it and we are sworn to secrecy about that experience, if that tells you anything. Let me just say we should have taken Jana up on her second offer.
We finally got a shower and headed to dinner at Capt. Anderson's, a place where I was familiar. The wait was two and a half hours, so needless to say we opted for the restaurant next door.
After a good night's sleep, we headed home. The closer we got, the hotter the car got. So I am driving up the road with a blood pressure that is about to become fatal, but I know better than to alarm the passengers. I just turned the air down and the gauge said that the car was cooler. By the time we got to Columbus, there was no getting out of it, and I had to confess, we had a problem that could thankfully be resolved. We just turned the air off and rode back to Nicholson with the wind in our face and our hair blowing in the wind. But we made it.
I learned one really important thing on this trip-never leave home without reservations. Other than our reservation dilemma, we had a great time. We never got ill at each other and yelled and we worked together to solve all of our problems. I haven't laughed as much in a long time.
Sherry Lewis is news editor of The Banks County News.

Editorial
The Banks County News
August 4, 1999

Big business bully
We've had a lot of questions about why this newspaper and two sister newspapers are no longer available at the Homer Golden Pantry store. The reason is simple - someone up the chain for Golden Pantry decided the company no longer wanted the store to carry the local community newspapers.
Our firm attempted, to no avail, to work around the problem with decision-makers at the Golden Pantry home office. But we were told that the company wanted all outside newsracks removed from its locations.
So we moved our papers inside the store, but the store failed to keep our large number of papers stocked in the small space we were given. Following that, we had no choice but to move the papers to another location for the convenience of our readers.
What's frustrating about this entire episode is that the company has allowed large daily newspaper racks to remain outside their premises. In addition, the company has refused to pay us for a week's worth of newspapers it sold just before the decision to move them to a new location.
We don't like the bullying Golden Pantry has dished out to its local newspapers. It's just another example of how large, impersonal, out-of-town businesses often make senseless decisions to step on the little guy.
The action by Golden Pantry won't measurably hurt this newspaper, but it has created an inconvenience for our customers who are also customers of Golden Pantry. And frankly, we are at a loss to understand the business strategy behind that.



Letter to the Editor
The Banks County News
August 4, 1999

Upset about school situation
Dear Editor:
What a sad situation with those small children having to pass by their local grammar school to Baldwin and be bused several miles to school. These children and their parents just happen to live on the wrong side of the street, therefore it would certainly appear they are going to be discriminated against.
I thought forced busing was over, but evidently not.
All board members and elected officials need to get their hearts to the right place concerning those small children.
If they let the love for the almighty dollar overpower their hearts and minds, then they should make a public apology, resign and get out of office, allowing someone else to make a decision from the heart.
Sincerely,
Lamar Wilbanks
Baldwin


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