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By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
August 11, 1999

What's in a name?
I want kids one day. But right now, the thought of pacifying a baby cutting teeth is frightful. And it scares me to consider the tantrums I threw, how I'll surely get a large dose of justice when I have children.
My mother sometimes reminds me that as a toddler I hid under a table in a Chinese restaurant, clinching the table's leg and howling like a madman on the verge of war. I had similar episodes in fabric stores and if we even headed to the same side of town as the dentist, I could clear traffic off the road with my siren-like wails.
Taking care of kids is a hefty responsibility. But so is naming one. I thought about that the other day as I scanned a poster of mine, "History of baseball in the major leagues," and saw the odd names of some of the now forgotten ball players in the majors. Most notably, there was Urban Shocker, who had four straight 20-win seasons for the old St. Louis Browns.
Who names their baby "Urban?"
I can just see it now, a wild-eyed man in a hospital leaning over his wife and newborn son. She takes his hand softly: "Let's call him John. He'll be John Shocker."
The man pulls his hand away, resolved to get his way.
"Naw, baby, this young 'uns Urban! Can't you see it in his eyes? He's a cute little Shocker, ain't he?"
A name isn't everything, but tag a baby with a bad one and he or she already has a foot in a hole. I laughed and laughed after being told of unfortunate sisters in Texas named Ima and Ura Hog. Those probably aren't real names, probably just school yard jokes, but there are plenty of strange names out there, especially in the sports world.
Remember NBA standout World B. Free? How about Sixto Lezcano, who played in the major leagues? Have you heard of standout college basketball player God Shamgod or Noodles Hahn of the Cincinnati Red Stockings or Boog Powell?
Some names have a good ring. Stephens County's Condor Cash comes to mind. Now, that sounds like a power hitter, just like Enos Slaughter, who played for the St. Louis Cardinals. Old-time ballplayer Hoss Radbourn had nine, 20-win seasons in the majors, proving he was indeed a "hoss."
While some were blessed with tough-sounding names, others got the raw end of the deal, like Eddie Stanky, who once walked seven times in one game for the Cubs. Way to go, Stanky! Or Pud Galvin, whose 6,334 hits allowed is the second most in a career by a major league pitcher. Poor, poor Pud. One of my favorite unfortunate sports names belongs to former Alabama basketball coach - Wimp Sanderson. I can hear the pep talk before the big game now: Win one for the Wimp!
Some major league ball clubs seemed to lose good judgment when naming their teams. Consider that before becoming the Indians in 1915, Cleveland was the Naps for nine years - named after their former star Nap Lajoie. You can imagine the occasional headline: "Naps tucked away in a yawner." The Boston Braves were once the Beaneaters (I'll spare you the crude headlines) before later becoming the Doves, Rustlers and then the Bees. Before becoming the Cubs, Chicago was known as the Orphans for three years. And prior to settling on the Dodgers, Brooklyn was the Bridegrooms, the Superbas and the Robins.
A name can certainly be a powerful or laughable thing.
So I hope I'll have good judgment when the day comes to help name a child.
No Urban baby in my family. But now Rural, well, that's kind of catchy.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal. Email Zach Mitcham

Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
August 11, 1999

Frankly Speaking
Small core of
Madison Countians
make good things happen
Many good things have happened in Madison County in the past decade. Most of them came about because of the efforts of a small group of dedicated people.
We are fortunate to have a core group of citizens who are willing to give their time and talent to good causes.
Many of the recent improvements would not have happened without the efforts of citizen groups. While our county government has contributed significantly to building needed facilities, often their actions are the result of pressure from citizens rather than plans that originate within the government.
For example, Madison County's excellent library came into existence because of a hard-working library board, and fund-raising efforts of the Friends of the Library. Through their efforts, along with other civic organizations and individuals, Madison County residents contributed more than enough money to meet the matching funds necessary for a state library grant. The board of commissioners guaranteed the matching funds and provided property for the building.
But the force behind the library came from the citizens.
The same is true of Madison County's modern, beautiful senior center. A number of civic groups, individuals, and the senior citizens themselves organized fund- raising events that produced the local funding for the center.
Again, county government provided land and other assistance, but the push for the center came from outside the government.
Several additional community improvement projects are ongoing, again being spearheaded by volunteers:
The Veterans Memorial Garden, an ongoing project that will eventually encircle the old Courthouse in Danielsville, is almost totally financed with private donations. Additional work on the gardens will continue once repairs to the old building are completed
A committee to save the old Courthouse is currently raising funds and making plans to restore the building as a community center.
The board of commissioners has signed a contract to have a new roof placed on the building to stop additional water damage.
Internal restoration and improvements will take time and money, including lots of private funding.
The Madison/Oglethorpe Animal Shelter committee is working hard to establish a shelter to serve people of the two counties. Plans are to locate the facility in the Comer area. Again, the committee is made up of volunteers who care about the quality of life in Madison and Oglethorpe Counties.
Madison County is a better place to live because her citizens work hard to make it so. If more people were willing to take part in these efforts, the improvements would come more rapidly.
I salute those who are making such heroic efforts to build a better Madison County and invite the rest of you to join in.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal.

Letters to the Editor
The Madison County Journal
August 11, 1999

Says Broad River is an invaluable resource
Dear editor:
I would like to thank Margie Richards and The Madison County Journal for the excellent August 4th feature article on the Broad River Watershed Association. The BRWA, like most community groups and non-profit organizations, is run by a handful of volunteers, and we really appreciate the Journal's assistance in getting part of our message out to its readers. Margie did a fine job of condensing the information available about the BRWA down to a full-page feature article (someone could - and should - write an entire book about the Broad River). BRWA members and volunteers have done an incredible amount of work over the last nine years in protecting and preserving the Broad River and its watershed, and in working with and educating landowners about their options for protecting this invaluable resource. If anyone wants to find out more about the BRWA, please attend our annual meeting at 9 a.m. August 28 at the pavilion at Watson Mill State Park near Carlton.
I do need to expand on a few points from the August 4 article: No one wants the Broad River to end up like the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta, where pollution and unplanned overdevelopment have caused water quality problems and rampant flooding of neighborhoods. The robust redhorse fish, though to be extinct for nearly 100 years, was reintroduced into the Broad River in 1996 and 1997 after being rediscovered in the Savannah and Oconee Rivers in Georgia and in the Pee Dee River of North Carolina. The first conservation easement granted to BRWA was donated by Bud and Mary Freeman along a wooded area of the Broad River. A landowner who places a conservation easement on his or her property keeps ownership of the land - the conservation easement controls the type and amount of use and development that can occur on the property (or on parts of the land) according to the landowner's wishes, and a land trust such as the BRWA that receives the easement has the duty to ensure that the conditions of the easement are followed in the future.
The Broad River is an invaluable natural resource and an important part of our history and our heritage. Meriwether Lewis, who led the Lewis and Clark expedition across the Rocky Mountains from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Pacific coast and back in 1803-1806, learned many of his wilderness skills as a boy growing up on the banks of the Broad River in Georgia. As a young man, he traveled on foot and alone between his Virginia plantation and his mother's lands along the Broad. This pristine and beautiful river system deserves to be protected and preserved.
The Broad River Watershed Association is a regional, non-profit land trust created to preserve the Broad River as a free-flowing river system and to support land use compatible with the maintenance of water quality, scenic rural character, and the preservation of sensitive natural and historic areas and wildlife habitat. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and donations are tax exempt to the extent allowed by law. We welcome all new members or volunteers who want to help preserve the Broad River and its watershed. Again, a big thank you to Margie Richards and The Madison County Journal for showcasing the BRWA on its features page.
Victor Y. Johnson

Says U.S. is not a Christian country
Dear editor:
I read where someone called America a Christian nation. Why would anyone in their right mind think we live in a Christian country? Or even in a Christian state or a Christian county? There is no such thing.
In a Christian country, state or county, the politicians would publicly confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and live for Him. Other people who claim to be real Christians would be willing to stand up and take a stand for Christ. I have yet to see a politician advertise their faith in Jesus Christ.
That does not mean some of our politicians or all of them are not Christians. I only think it strange that I have never read where any politician, anywhere, in my lifetime, ever made a real public profession.
When someone runs for public office, they usually have something printed in the paper to let people know they plan to run for election. Sometimes they might mention what church they attend. They try to convince people they are nice, sweet people, and their wife/husband/children are nice and sweet. That means little or nothing except to get votes. That is not taking a stand for Christ.
Going to church does not make you a Christian. Going to church does not mean you are living for Christ. Being nice and sweet does not make anyone a Christian.
A Christian is a person who has trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior and has asked Him to save them, believing in their heart that Christ died on the cross for them. Some people go to church only to cover up their evil ways.
To live for Christ is something else entirely. Jesus died for all of us. If we had no other reason, we should love Him enough to be willing to live for Him because he loved us enough to die for us.
There are a number of obvious ways we can show Christ that we want to live for Him. I mentioned politicians, but I am not picking on politicians today. These things apply to everyone.
"Love thy neighbor." We should lift up our fellow man and not try to hurt him/her.
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." We should never say any untrue thing about our fellow man. Even if we know something bad, the first thing we should do is to love our neighbor and try to help him/her in private instead of beating him down. Otherwise, you would not be showing Christian love.
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?"
Because we are Christians (if we are), we should not yoke ourselves up with people whom we know are not living right. If we know someone is doing some obvious sins, we should remain friendly, but not be social friends. We are known by the company we keep and by the kind of friends we have. Jesus Christ socialized with unsaved people, but His purpose was to get them saved. Many times we socialize with unsaved people or with Christians who we know are living in sin. We do this to serve our own purposes. Does this apply to you?
"Thou shall not commit adultery."
"Thou shall not steal."
"Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain."
Take stock of yourself. Are any of your friends guilty of any of these things? (It does not matter if that friend is a Christian or not.) If you are a Christian, you have no business spending much time with them. You have no business having business dealings with them. Most of all, you, yourself, have no business breaking any of these commandments.
"Honor thy father and thy mother." This Commandment does not say to love thy father and thy mother. That is taken care of in other parts of the Bible. The word is honor. You bring honor or dishonor on your parents by the way you live, even if they are no longer alive. For example, if you were to murder someone or rob a bank, you are bringing dishonor on your parents. On the other hand, if you honestly lived for Christ, you would bring honor on your parents. You can bring honor or dishonor on your parents no matter what kind of people they are by the way you live.
If you are a Christian and are living in sin, let me encourage you to repent and ask God to forgive you. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
If you are not a Christian, let me encourage you to pray to God. Tell Him you believe Jesus died on the cross for you and ask Him to save you. If you will do these things believing in your heart that He died for you, He will save you, and you will never have to face your sins when you get to your judgment.
Hope to see you in heaven.
George Boutwell

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