Newspaper Archive of
The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
January 23, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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January 23, 2019

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January 23, 2019 Page 5A iR6porter + ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN by Don Daniel ~eaiS going around the intemet so just in case you missed it here it is: I disagree with the Presi- cancelling the military flight for Speaker of House Nancy Pelosi I would have waited then cancelled the return flight. HOW CAN you tell the Georgia Legislature is in session? Having convened for less than a week, how to improve edu- cation has become, as usual, front page news. It just amazes me that for as long as I can remember, the first issue for our elected representatives when they congregate for 40 days and nights in Atlanta and under the Gold Dome, is how is it determined that something is wrong with education in the state and they want to either change or improve. MAKING AMENDS? Posted on Facebook was a photo of Forsyth's Mayor and the local defeated for a seat under the Gold Dome attending the Governor's Inaugural balL Surprised they were let in since Monroe County was one of two counties which did not vote for the elected governor in the Republican primary I don't know whether any county offidals were imbibing, supping and dancing at the inauguration ball and wonder if county offidals were even invited. Well, you can attend guber- natorial functions such as the swearing-in or private parties if you have a thick checkbook or a stuffed briefcase. one is the first one I have missed since Zell Miller was elected, re-elected Governor. AFIT RUNNING only two help wanted ads in The Reporter, Five Below has had over 400 people apply for the jobs. That bit ofinfo came from Development Authority of Monroe County president. He also told without naming there is another prospect very interested in locating here. Then there's a former Monroe Countian bringing his busi- ness back home, building in the Indian Springs Industrial Park. Again, according to the DAOMC president, no incen- tives such as tax breaks, free water, etc. were given as entice- ments for Stewart Rodeheaver to load his company in trucks as he comes back home from Eatonton. General Rodeheaver is the brother of real estate company owner Connie Ham and his company is a cutting-edge and futuristic---the best way I can sayit computer company with some major contracts with the U.S. Army and several other private and public companies. Wdcome back home Stewart! WHO IS selling and where Girl Scout Cookies? Sure do want a couple ofboxes of the chocolate mint and a couple of boxes of some other favorite which I can't remember. Chocolate and coconut, maybe RECOGNIZING FIVE former Forsyth Mayors, Mayor Eric Wilson has to be wondering if he will be the first mayor to be re-dected in more than 15 years. Ifyou want to chal- lenge Mayor Wilson and attempt to make him a one termer, you will have to plop down $375 to qualify Aug. 26-30. Three council seats will also be up. OVER AT the county commission, there is a new moniker for county manager: PPM, which are the initials for "Power Point Manager". He even purchased and bragged about a new camera to project his Power Point presentations to the commissioners and public on the big screens. Here are some unattributed commissioner comments: "Wdcome to the fray"; "That's why we have Mr. Vaughn"; "Most all ofyou know"; '9 s far as I know"; "I can explain that to you later"; 'Tm scratching my head"; "The reason it was conceived" "I fed them"; "You will have more than one op'mion'~ 'We don't have to have that knowledge"; "We all have similar problems"; "yeah, I got plenty"; "You have to prioritize". '~rou got towers everywhere". "The local fish paper". Here are a few checks that were paid out: $12,053.53 to pay stuff charged to the BB&T credit card; $1,750 to reimburse the Forsyth Convention and Visitors' Bureau; $4,572.90 to Central Georgia EMC of electridty used all over the county; Cintas Corp. got a check for $1,089.52 for supplying dean uniforms to county employeeg inmate medical bills totaled $14,523.86; and the biggest, $50,000 went to the Develop- ment Authority of Monroe County for a quarterly payment, I presume one of four; Ham's Auto Parts, $9,186.04 and Shred Monster got $690 for paper destroying. The biggest check went to Utility Partners in the amount of $34,355.09. Over $247,913.38 was paid out to pay our bills. Of course, those amounts did not indude payroll for county employees. IF YOU are/were concerned about Norfolk Southern wanting to diminate crossings, there was a public hearing advertised and slated to be held last night at Alderman Hall Surely ifyou were concerned, you showed up for the hearing. Ifyou didn't, then you have no right to complain or approve. HERE'S THE Question for this week. What is the name of the play being performed at The Rose Theater? First cor- rect answer after 12 noon Thursday gets the certificate for a Dairy Queen Blizzard, dozen Dunkin Donuts, luliette's Whistle Stop fried green tomato appetizer, Bolingbmke's Sweet Tea Cafd dessert, Forsyth Main Street-t-shirt, slice of Shoney's strawberry pie, The Pickled Okra sandwich, chips and drink. Donald Daniel is the#under and former publisher of The Monroe County Reporter. Contact him at tullaybear@bell- LETTERS TO THE EDITOR e To the Editor: I am writing this letter to you to tell you what being a Boy Scout means to me. I am 12 years old and have been in Boy Scouts since December 2016. I am a mem- ber of Troop 51 in Forsyth. What is scouting? Scouting to me is being around people you get to know and trust. You are part of a group that will watch over you and take you on adventures. It is a very good way to get outside and see what nature has to offer. Being a member of Boy Scouts is fun and enjoyable. Adam Rhodes Forsyth e To the Editor: In response to the artide "DOT to cut down Lee Street canopy soon in the Jan. 16 Reporter: I, Mary Aiken Wright, did meet with a DOT gentleman in the Fall of 2018 regarding the trees on our/state property bordering Hwy. 42. It was stated in a previous Reporter article that the DOT would be willing to "work" with homeowners, if need be. This particular gentleman couldn't have been nicer and did just that. I am grateful, as some of our trees were saved. With regard to "the beautiful canopy" on South Lee Street, I did speak with city man- ager Janice Hall. To the best of my recollection, she said I could contact arborist Rick-y Shannon, as I was shocked when I learned the DOT was going to cut down (remove) these designated trees. I am pretty sure I said I wanted to get a second opinion. It is with deep regret that I did not do this. Again, to the best of my knowledge, I must have said; If they are indeed diseased, dead or pose a threat, then SADLY I under- stand the decision that had to be made. As an added note, I am not a member of the city tree board. Mary Aiken Wright Forsyth GUEST COLUMN by Commissioner Eddie Rowland s I watched the ball drop at midnight on square in Forsyth, I glanced at our beautiful courthouse and reminisced. I thought about being at the courthouse on election night and then being there again when I was sworn inas anew commissioner. That was 18 months ago and the beginning of a venture like none other. I would like to take the opportunity to look both backward and forward in helping run our colnty, It quickly became evident that, at best, I was 20 percent of the decision- making authority. The other commissioners had their wants and needs for their districts as well and negotiation and discussion were imperative to reach a consensus. That same negotiation and discus- sion were also necessary in dealing with city/county issues. I feel we have come a long way in improv- ing relations within the commission as well as our relationship with the city, school board, Chamber of Commerce, and other entities that have buy-in on making our county great. I hope we continue to meet together monthly and quarterly to keep us focused on that goal. As a commission, we have ac- complished a great deal in the past 18 months. We have hired an excel- lent leader in our county manager, Jim Hedges. His experience and leadership is evident throughout our departments. More im- portantly, we have finally begun to act like a local government that wants to work under a county manager format. This means we relinquish control of day-to-day operations to our manager and we focus on adopt- ing good policy. "INs will work well for our county as we continue to move forward and its impact is just beginning to be felt. The finances of our county are greatly im- proved. In hiring Lorri Robinson as finance director, we have put into place a financial specialist with many years of experi- ence in county financial operations. With some added assistance, she has begun to turn around the business of paying our bills on time and going after the money owed to the county. She was a huge help in the budgeting pro- cess along with the county manager. We are now getting updated reports on our finances and are more confident each day that county money is well spent and accounted for. I look forward to our 2018 audit to see troublesome findings are greatly re- duced, and I think there's a good chance we won't have to get a tax anticipa- tion note to get us through 2019. These items, along with a dear, concise budget story to be posted on our website, are things to look for in the coming year that will validate that our house is back in order. We have made some good hires in several of our department head posi- tions that are showing pro- fessionalism and promise. As they continue to learn their positions and we continue to lead with our county management, they will all improve their skills and become more aligned with our philosophy. We have made some policy headway with improvement to our water, zoning, human resources, animal control and recreation departments. We continue to work toward fine-tuning those and other departments as we find opportunities to do so. Those opportunities will either improve our service or save our county money or both. We have watched closely the work of the hospital and are working to help them with their projects and keep them funded as necessary, while keeping a sharp eye on our taxpayer money. We've made some great headway in industrial development with the new Five Below business, new potential businesses com- ing, and small business development. This year we have allocated some funds for the develop- ment authority to use in continuing to procure new business. I believe this will be a great tax boost as well as job creation and local service use for our citizens and businesses. Personally, I have made every commission meet- ing scheduled (other than ones where I was out of town on county busi- ness). I've completed the coursework to earn the designation of Certified County commissioner. I've been active in my district from Culloden to Forsyth, Russellville to Smarr, Bolingbroke to Brent, helping fix road problems, animal com- plaints, traffic concerns, zoning issues and a variety of other things people call their commissioner about. I've met some great people and have been able to help most of them. My job is a combination of being a good neighbor, understanding law, and making policy decisions that best complement both. Sometimes the two conflict. I've said from the beginning, "We may not always agree with the decisions I make, but the decision I made did not come without prayer, con- sideration, study, and the firm belief it was the best decision for the count '. I look forward to the next two years of my term as I continue to do the best job I can for Monroe County. Whenever I decide or it is decided for me that it's time for another change, I want to look back and say that I traded my time and effort away from my fam- fly and life for something that made a difference in the lives of Monroe County citizens. Have a great 2019. Eddie Rowland represents District 2 on the Monroe County Board of Commis- sioners. Continued from Front the property. The adjuster told Deane they think the fire started in an empty pot left on the stove, which was left on. Deane said Nate doesn't cook and denies tuming it on. He said the last time anyone used the stove in that case was around 11 p.m. the night before when Deane heated up some water for bran for their horses. The next day, Nat happened to be home due to a disciplinary inddent at school. Dearie said the school didn't want to suspend him but his mother, Corrine, a teacher in Bibb County schools, ins' ed they do so. '~She's pretty tough on them about their school worlC said Dearie. So on Friday morning, Nate was home and noticed the smoke. He ran outside, but then went back inside to the kitchen and grabbed the cats. Dearie said Nate knew his little sister Reagan, and the whole family, was very attached to the cats so he wanted to rescue him. He was not able to save the family's birds. Then he ran next door to the home of his uncle, Shane Comer, a volunteer fireman, to alert him. Shane called 911 and summoned firefighters over his radio. Dearie, heard the call while working at Station 1 on Montpelier Road and tom his brother to make sure Nate was out of the house as he headed toward his burning home. Nate Comer was safely outside by now but had to be treated for smoke inhalation by Monroe County EMS. He was taken to Navicent Health and then was taken to the burn center in Augusta, first by ambulance due to the rain and then was put into a helicopter near Milledgeville. Dean said while they had his mouth covered in breathing apparatuses, Nate was busy writing notes to them since he couldn't speak. A pediatridan determined he had no bum damage, just smoke inhalation, and he was able to go home over the weekend. The family is staying in the Resi- dence Inn by Marriott in Macon Deane said while the kids have enjoyed the indoor pool, their insur- ance company is urging them to find a home or apartment to rent. The chil- dren returned to school on Tuesday. While smoke destroyed almost ev- erything in the home, Dearie said their family mementos, including some jewelry and his military dtations, were preserved inside a fire safe. Friends, family and co-workers have rallied to bring dothing donations and raise money for the Comers. Monroe County firefighters are selling Boston Butts for $35 until Friday, Feb. 22 to raise funds for the Comers. Firefight- ers set up at the Bolingbmke station over the weekend to accept donations to help the family. "We're not hurting ' said Dearie. Comer said they're going to keep their horses and dogs at the property, as their dogs have prevented any thefts at their home through the years even as some neighbors have had cars broken into.