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 OPINION PAGE - AUGUST 4, 1999 - DANIELSVILLE, GA

 

Column
By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
August 4, 1999

The Journal has hard workers behind the scenes
I had the privilege of accepting some awards for The Madison County Journal this past week.
It was nice for the paper to get some recognition, because there are a number of people who work really hard to make The Journal a quality publication.
There's Margie Richards, who handles a heavy writing load while serving as the paper's office manager.
There's Journal founder Frank Gillispie, who writes a weekly column as well as various news stories.
There's receptionist Pat Little, who greets people with a smile, keeping up with numerous requests and a constant flow of paperwork.
There's ad salesman Charles Richards and saleswoman Argie Gillespie, who maintain The Journal's relations with local businesses.
There's Jim Smith, who - with the help of his wife, Vickie, and son, J.R. - delivers the paper, making sure The Journal is prominently displayed in stores and that nobody is messing with our news racks.
There's Ben Munro, who has done it all over the past year - sports and feature writing, crime coverage, photography, page layout, writing columns and working in the press room.
There's April Murphy, who handles church news and obituaries for all four of MainStreet Newspapers publications - The Journal, The Jackson Herald, The Commerce News and The Banks County News. April is also legals editor for the Jackson and Banks County papers.
There's Mary Ann Robinson, who types submitted news articles and helps lay out Journal news pages on the computer, while also putting together pages for the other papers. Adam Fouche and Jana Adams, who occasionally contribute stories to the Journal, also aid in the paper's production.
There's photographer Travis Hatfield, who handles photo reproduction for all four papers, making adjustments to color and black and white pictures to make sure they look right in the paper.
There's Sharon Hogan, who "dummies" The Journal, meaning that she determines where each ad will be placed in the paper. She also keeps up with billing for each paper. Sharon and Cathy Krusberg also proofread Journal pages, saving us from a number of embarrassing errors.
There's Debbie Bass, who handles the classifieds and subscriptions for each paper.
There's Pam Moree, who creates ads for each paper, along with ad production assistants Dana Brown and Kathy Brooks.
There's Betty Wilbanks, who keeps up with the money from newsrack sales.
There's Alex Stewart and Bobisue Strickland, receptionists in MainStreet News' Jefferson office, who field some Journal calls when the Danielsville office is closed.
Once a strange machine called the "imagesetter" prints a negative of a news or ad page, a new process begins with a crew that prepares that page for the presses, then prints the paper and gets it headed to the stores and homes.
Those working full-time in the press shop include Julius Mack, shop foreman; Garnett Smith, job shop supervisor; Tony Phillips, web shop supervisor; Larry Norman, maintenance; Maurice Sanford, press helper; Brad Smith, printing; and Lisa Lyles, pre-press.
And of course there are the Buffingtons - Herman, Helen, Scott and Mike, the family that owns MainStreet Newspapers. They've created a system that produces four quality publications and they've opened the door for a lot of young people to learn what journalism is all about.
The Madison County Journal has a lot going for it and a lot of people working to keep it that way.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal. Email Zach Mitcham

Column
Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
August 4, 1999

Frankly Speaking
It's time for a change
It is not often that I agree with State Rep. Tyrone Brooks, but this time I am endorsing a bill he and two Republicans have introduced in the Georgia House of Representatives.
House Bill 672 - the Voter Choice and Election Access Reform Act of 1999, will change state voting law so that third party and independent candidates have a far better chance of getting on the ballot. Georgia currently has one of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation. If you wish to represent a minor party, or run as an independent, you will run into roadblock after roadblock.
As a result, 29 of 56 state senators and 107 of 180 state representatives ran unopposed in the 1998 elections. The voters of those districts were denied an opportunity to express their political will by choosing between candidates with different ideas and programs. Madison County was denied a choice in the State House because Rep. Ralph Hudgens had no opponent.
This is wrong. When only one major party offers a candidate, and state law makes it virtually impossible for a minor party or independent candidate to gain a place on the ballot, then the person appointed (if there was no opponent, there was no election) may be more indebted to the party than to the people.
I am one of many Americans who have become dissatisfied with the current political system that allows two major parties to dominate political life. I firmly believe that our first president, George Washington, was right when he warned against party politics in his farewell address. Georgia's restrictive ballot laws are exactly the kind of thing he was warning us about. With apologies to our current chairman I say, "It is time for a change!"
We must take back control of our government from the two major parties and give it to the voters, where it belongs. To do that, we must make it possible for minor party and independent candidates to gain access to the ballot. Once our elections become a means for voters to express their opinions by having a chance to choose between a variety of candidates with a wide spectrum of views, we will finally know the "will of the people", not the dictates of a hand full of political bosses.
Contact your State Senator and State Representative and insist that they support HR 672.
Then look up the Voter Choice Coalition (http://www.voterchoice.org) to see who is supporting and who is opposing this effort to bring truly free elections to Georgia.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.

Letter
The Madison County Journal
August 4, 1999

Doctors say good-bye to Colbert
Dear editor:
This is an open letter from Dr. Robert and Mrs. Sandra Stough to the people of Madison County.
A new place, new faces, new expectations, all of these combine to create a sense of excitement but tinged with a sense of anxiety as well. When we arrived in Colbert, we really didn't know what to expect but we were filled with enthusiasm for our mission to serve everyone who might need us here. The warmth and open friendliness of the people we have met has made this location much easier to serve and much harder to leave.
Even so, we knew that we had, long ago, been called of God to go out into the world and reach others with his message through the abilities he has given us. As time has passed, this calling has become more and more urgent such that recently we have been called repeatedly for work in Africa and in the war-torn areas of Kosovo. We have resisted this calling long enough and feel we must respond. This is even more evident now with the advent of a new medical clinic in Hull.
This means that the folks in Madison County have even more medical help than when we arrived, while the rest of the world begs for new training and for hands-on help. With this in mind, we have decided to move into much more regular medical mission work. We cannot do this in the office setting since we will need to be available on short notice and for periods of three weeks to three months at a time. Such a schedule would be disruptive for everyone.
You will hear rumors and suggestions of reasons for our departure. This is always the case when a doctor leaves an office practice in a smaller community. Please know that there is no problem with the practice here at the Colbert Medical Center. There will soon be a full-time, regular physician in the office. While we would have preferred to take a somewhat longer time for transition, it was decided that an early departure was necessary for administrative reasons. Please continue to take your medications as prescribed and to seek regular medical care as usual, either at the Colbert center or at an office of your choice.
I want to thank Dr. Haymore for his open spirit and obvious love of God and for his outreach to us when we arrived. We want the people of Madison and surrounding counties to know of our eternal concern for your well-being, both physical and spiritual, and of our prayers on your behalf.
Sincerely,
Dr. and Mrs. Robert C. Stough, M.D.



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