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OPINION PAGE - OCTOBER 6, 1999 - HOMER, GEORGIA

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Column
Angela Gary
The Banks County News- October 6, 1999

Time to hug
a journalist

Pumpkins, children, bosses, mother-in-laws, firemen, clergy and business women. These are among those being recognized during 24 special days or weeks in October. The month kicks off with Children's Day on Oct. 4 and ends with National Business Women's Week Oct. 18-23.
October is also Country Music Month, Adopt-A-Shelter Month, National Make A Will Month, Dental Hygiene Month, National Seafood Month and National Car Care Month, Healthy Living Month, National Crime Prevention Month, National Pizza Month, National Popcorn Poppin' Month, National Pork Month, Vegetarian Awareness Month, Disability Employment Awareness Month and National AIDS Awareness Month.
And let's not forget Halloween coming up on Oct. 31. With all of the special days coming up, we'll be celebrating all month. It does seem that just about every day of the year is set aside for something. I'm sure it keeps the card companies in business.
In all seriousness, there is one week in October that is not celebrated or even recognized by people outside the industry, but it is important to me. National Newspaper Week is observed Oct. 3-9. It's not an occasion where reporters will be flooded with cards and flowers (although it might be a good idea), but it is a time when we in the industry take time to reflect on the work we do and its importance in our communities.
Reporters and editors are often given criticism about something that people don't like. If an editorial, column or newspaper story makes you mad, you are sure to let us know. But we don't often hear when someone likes something that we do. As newspapers are being celebrated, I'd like to take time to recognize those journalists who have inspired me.
George Hough and Conrad Fink, two of my professors at the University of Georgia, fueled my love and awe of journalism. Both came to the university to teach after rising to the top in the journalism field. They encouraged, challenged and pushed me during my last two years at UGA. Hough has since retired but Fink is still at UGA.
I like asking journalism students what they think of Fink. If they complain about how unfair, tough and mean he is, I know they aren't cut out for the world of journalism. He may be tough, but no tougher than what you encounter every day at any newspaper.
My editors at The Jackson Herald, first Helen Buffington and then her son, Mike Buffington, have taught me more about newspapers than I could learn from any book or college professor. Under their guidance, I have grown from a trembling teenager who never talked to a tough journalist (at least I hope I have). Mrs. Buffington taught me the most important thing an employee can learn-work ethic. As for Mike, all of my newspaper successes can be traced back to something he has taught me.
Since I'm employed with a company that owns four newspapers, I get the opportunity to work with three other editors. In addition to Mike Buffington, I have also worked with Commerce News editor Mark Beardsley for many years. Mark understands government-related issues better than anyone I know. He usually knows more about what is going on than those leading the meeting. He can go to a meeting and get down to the crux of the issue and then explain it to his readers better than anyone I know. He is also a great editorial writer, which is something that I struggle with. I look forward to checking out Mark's editorials and news stories. He is a well-rounded journalist who knows all aspects of the news business.
I owe a lot to the journalists around me and I appreciate all they have done for me.
Angela Gary is associate editor of The Jackson Herald and editor of The Banks County News.

Editorial
The Banks County News- October 6, 1999

Observes 'Domestic Violence Awareness Month'
October is "Domestic Violence Awareness Month." It is appropriate that we pause and reflect on our efforts to establish Peace Place, the battered women's shelter for the Piedmont Judicial Circuit (Barrow, Banks and Jackson counties). This is a good time to thank all those who have helped in getting this far by building community support, donating goods and services, fund-raising and readying the shelter for occupancy. The names are too numerous to list here, but be assured we know who you are. Our deepest gratitude goes to you.
We also must acknowledge that we have a very long road yet to travel. Yes, the shelter will be ready to open in a few months. But we as a community must also recognize and take a further stance against the scourge of domestic violence. About 200 domestic violence calls are made to "911" in Jackson County each month. The problem is far-reaching. If you sense someone you know is being abused, speak up and offer support. If you know someone who is a batterer, don't look the other way - speak up! We must, individually and collectively, show we will not tolerate domestic violence. To quote Attorney General Janet Reno, "We can't be serious about safer streets until we have made a commitment to keep our homes safe."


Letters
The Banks County News- October 6, 1999

Complaints from BCMS student
I've heard many complaints from Banks County Middle School students. The first complaint is the unfairness in the BCMS cafeteria. They have recently gotten a new red light noise monitor. When we get too loud, it goes to the red light and buzzes. The reason it is unfair is because some grades come in the cafeteria and the grade that came in before them is still there. The buzzer goes off and it is mostly the grade that came in before them that is talking. Since the buzzer went off, the grade that just got in there loses their break after lunch.
The second complaint is the lines for getting your food in the cafeteria. Sometimes they run out of a certain food in the cafeteria. Sometimes you have to wait five minutes or more so they can get some more food. Kids also push and shove and break in line to get in the front of the lunch line. When you finally get to sit down and eat, it is time for break. Some kids have to miss break so they can eat their lunch.
Another complaint is the name tags we have to carry around. Usually, the students would wear them as necklaces but we can't anymore. A boy was climbing the new playground equipment and the string around his neck which was holding his name tag got hung and it choked him. Now we have to put our name tag in our pockets. Most kids don't agree with these name tags because they give away your identity. It has our Social Security number on it and people can see them. They should keep them in the library like they did at the elementary school. The only thing we use them for is to check out books at the media center.
The last complaint is on overcrowded buses. Some buses are so crowded that kids have to stand up or sit four to a seat. The bus drivers say to keep your feet out of the aisle, but you can't with overcrowded buses. If Banks County had more school buses, there wouldn't be a problem. The seats are supposed to hold three people, but if you have a lot of high schoolers on the bus, then it is hard to fit everyone in a seat.
These were some opinions of Banks County Middle School students.


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