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 OPINION PAGE - NOVEMBER 17, 1999 - COMMERCE, GA

Editorial
The Commerce News
November 17, 1999

Commerce City Council Reverse Decision
The Commerce City Council needs to reverse a mistake it made at its Nov. 8 meeting.
The council's decision to accept the recommendation of the Commerce Planning Commission and reject a request by Providence Academy for a conditional use permit (CUP) is not only wrong, but it also makes the city vulnerable to a lawsuit.
The irony is that the planning commission has admitted all along that Providence Academy will be given an extension of its CUP so it can keep a portable classroom on the campus for another year. But the planning commission still voted to recommend denial of the request to the city council because one member wanted to research the original CUP request. Even as it did, members acknowledged that Providence Academy would get the permit.
The results didn't match their words.
Planning commission members could have tabled the issue while the questions were resolved. Instead, they suggested that a representative of Providence Academy withdraw the request and bring it back a month later. The representative did not take that action. Then, the city council accepted the planning panel's recommendation without discussion, rejecting the application.
Under the city zoning ordinance, once a request is denied, it cannot be reconsidered for six months; and under the same ordinance, without a conditional use permit, the mobile classroom at Providence Academy must be removed.
The end result is that Providence Academy, a Christian school, is being treated much differently than the public schools, for which a CUP for all three schools was approved the same night for the same kind of classrooms. The courts do not take kindly to that kind of discrimination. Nor should the public. The Commerce City Council must reverse its decision.

Column
Mark Beardsley
The Commerce News
November 17, 1999

Environment?
Hah! Anything
To Kill The Ants
We've had ants in our pants at the Beardsley house. More frequently, though, the ants have been in the kitchen, crawling out of the wall and into the sink, or in the bathroom seeking water, in my daughter's room looking for candy, and in the living room, perhaps to watch TV?
I'm not talking about the occasional ant. I'm speaking of whole columns consisting of 10,000 or more ants, infiltrating from a new place each time, like North Vietnamese regulars sneaking down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. These invasion forces have been present all spring and summer, and they seem undeterred by the physical and chemical warfare tactics employed against them.
"It's a bad year for ants," is the response we get whenever we mention the problem, whether to an exterminator or to a friend.
Actually, it seems to have been a good year for the ants. They have prospered as only insects can prosper. I have used brute force, from my hand to a basketball (the latter dribbled upon ants marching across the garage floor), and come back 10 minutes later to see the column re-established and the replacement ants, like good Marines, carrying off their casualties.
We are told they like sugar and oil. We're not sure whether it's sugar one day and grease the next, or are two distinct varieties of ants. We've been told they come into the house because of the drought, but they don't bother the dog's water dish on the patio.
Naturally, we have employed a variety of poisons against them. It's easy to kill the ants you can see with a bit of household ant killer. Ten minutes later, however, the column is intact and on the move. Killing all of the ants is another thing. We've had mixed (mostly bad) results with three kinds of baits. I've applied fire ant granules all around the house on the theory that a barrier might prevent their gaining access, and have poisoned every ant nest I could find in the yard. We've tried household remedies, including the placement of bay leaves. I've washed millions down the sink with hot water. They just keep coming. I would gladly put a dish of food, sugar or water outside just for the ants if it would keep them from entering the house.
We resorted to a commercial exterminator and signed a yearly contract. Three days after the first visit, the ants swarmed in like Chinese soldiers in Korea. One column entered through the dishwasher, so for days every time we washed the dishes, we also washed one or two thousand ants. They ignored the ant trap the exterminator had left. They bypassed the green and brown poison baits. In fact, we never could determine what they were there for, other than to annoy us.
The exterminator has redoubled his efforts. He found and baited three places they've been entering the house, and he left two more kinds of baits, along with tactical advice for using them to their best advantage.
If they don't work, I'm going to search the Internet for DDT or a household nuclear device. Who cares about the environment? Mine is full of ants.
From the SciFi Channel to the Discovery Channel, experts agree that when man is long gone from earth, insects will be left. When I'm gone, I won't care. Right now, I'd just like them out of the house.


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