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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
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March 6, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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March 6, 2019
 

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& EDITORIALS "Declare among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not." - Jeremiah 50:2 A 2018, 2017, 2016 winner: Editorial Fage excellence "20111 winnen Best Headline Writing /0~~ 2o1++++, ++++,+ +'o+e+ t':'++'l 201B + r: +o+t +or+o++ +o' Oo,he 2018, 2017 winner: Best Humorous Column+ On the Porch ~ ~ ON THE PORCH by Will Davis A round February, readers start asking me the [ question. "So,Will, what are y'all giving away this ,JLyear? Yes, in our efforts to keep and gain new subscribers at our Forsythia Festival booth each year, we have created a monster. I mean isn't it enough that for a measly $40 per year, we give readers so much good content that it takes four copies of the local daily paper to equal what you get in one Reporter? Yes, that should be enough. And it is. We hear that from you all the time. But the truth is, we ENJOY giving you a little something extra to show our appreciation to our readers. The first three years after we bought the paper, 2007- 2009, it rained or snowed almost every year for For- sythia. We gave away umbrellas almost every year, and of course got blamed for the continued bad luck. "Can't we move this Festival to April?" I asked wearily. But lately, the weather has been much better. And we've expanded our giveaways beyond umbrellas. We've done the Tervis-style tumblers and Yeti=style cups (notice we use the word "style" to save us from having to pay full price for the real thing). We have served lemonade with the cups. We've had T-shirts. Then one year, Dr. D (that's me) gave away free Smart- ies pills with your "prescription" to the paper. That was one of my favorites. This year, thanks to our friends at Mossy Corner Nursery in Smarr, we are giving away forsythia plants to everyone who subscribes or renews to the Reporter. So you can show your love for Forsyth by planting a brand-new forsythia plant in your yard, and demon- strate your heart for your community by reading the newspaper every week, keeping up with what's happen- ing in your hometown. I like selling subscriptions, and we enjoy having more revenue to pay our bills and employees. But really, the reason I love sitting at the Reporter booth at the For- sythia Festival is having the chance to interact with you, our loyal readers. We enjoy a special relationship. For many of you, we only communicate through the writ- ten word. But at Forsythia, I have the chance to shake your hand, see your smile (or scowl), and hear your story. We all need to do more relating like that. I walk my dogs a good bit. You know what I notice as I walk the streets? Too many people -- and this is a problem across America -- come home from work, sit on the couch, and never leave the house or interact with anyone. It's a problem. Our social fabric is frayed because too many people, if they relate to anyone at all, only do it online. And I say this as someone who would rather you send me a text message than call me. But I realize that's a problem. We need real relationships with real, li ng, breathing people, not an exchange of bytes and letters. When God wanted to begin a relationship with way- ward human beings, He didfft send a text or post on social media. He came in person. He got into the muck and mire of daily living. He went to weddings and par- ties. He talked to people one-on-one. That's how real relationships happen. Forsythia is a great opportunity to do just that. www. MyMCR.net is published every week byThe Monroe County Reporter Inc. Will Davis, President Robert M. Williams Jr Vice President Cheryl S. Williams, Secretary-Treasurer STAFF Will Davis Publisher/Edit0r publisher@mymcr.net Richard Dumas ~ News Editor f0rsyth@mymcr.net Carolyn Martel Advertising Manager ads@mymcr.net Trellis Grant Business Manager business@mymcr.net Diane Glidewell Community Editor news@mymcr.net Brandon Park Creative Oirector graphics@mymcr.net Official Organ of Monroe County and the City of Forsyth 50 N. Jackson St PO Box 795 o Forsyth, GA 31029 Periodicals Postage Paid at Forsyth, GA 31029 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: THE MONROE COUNTY REPORTER 478-994-2358 SUBSCRIPTION RATE: In County: $40 Out of County: $48 Single Copy: $1 Deadlines noon on Friday prior to issue. Comments ~aturecl on opinion pages am the creation of the writers, the do not necessarily reflect the opinions of]be Reporter management. Publication No. USPS 997-840 PEACH STATE POLITICS by Kyle Wingfield In almost a decade of writ; ing about school choice, I ve heard every excuse imaginable to oppose giving students and families educational options. I've heard critics say school choic.e is only for "the rich." Not true - families of means already have options, thanks to their ability to pay pri- vate school tuition or move into a neighbor- hood with good public schools; school choice is about extending that liberty to those without means. I've heard critics say school choice hurts students who remain in public schools. In "fact, as a 2016 review of the 33 empirical studies on the topic reported, "31 find that choice improves aca- deniic outcomes at public schools. One of the remaining studies finds that choice has no visible impact on public schools, and (only) one finds a negative impact." All of the complaints boil down to one notion: There isn't enough money to support.public schools properly and pay for choice pro- grams. This zero-sum argument is of- fered without proof, much less with any acknowledgment that this year Georgia is fully funding .pub- lic schools and planning to raise teachers' salaries by more than $2,500 and offering $100 million in tax credits for private scholarship donors and supporting dozens of public charter schools and paying for the Special Needs Scholarship. + There's enough pie for every- one to have a slice, despite the zero-summers' protests. Now we have evidence they have it exactly backward:+School choice can actu- ally lower public school districts' costs by more than the amount they stand to lore in funding due to choice programs. That's the finding of a brand-new study by Jeffrey Dorfman, a professor of econom- ics at the University of Georgia. Dorfman looked at the marginal cost for districts to educate students: how much more they would spend if one more student enrolled. Or, as far as school choice is concerned, how much less they would spend if one fewer student enrolled. Dorfman looked at spending and revenues for Georgia's 159 county school districts. (Due to difficulty in obtaining the appropriate data, he did not examine the city school districts.) He calculated both their variable costs - which change with the number of students, versus fixed costs - and their average marginal cost. What he found was telling: "state funding per student was below marginal cost for all county school districts." In other words, if a child were to leave a public school - tak- ing the state's contribution to her education with her - her former school district would on aver- age save money, no matter which district it was. That's because it was going to spend more educating her than it was going t.o receive in state funding. Its not even close in most cases. Of Georgia's 159 county school districts, Dorfman found 20 would save at least $5,000 on average; all but four would save at least $1,000 on average. Half of the districts would save more than $3,825. It's important to note these are averages. At any particular mo- ment, a district might be able to absorb one more student with minimal additional cost - or it might reach a tipping point and be forced to hire an additional teacher. The average accounts for both of these extremes and all pos- sibilities in between. In any case, the bottom line is clear: School choice programs don't harm school districts if they are tied to state funding levels. As it happens, two bills in Geor- gia this year would create Educa- tional Scholarship Accounts for students: House Bill 301 and Sen- ate Bill 173. Both bills would allow students to use the state portion of their school's funding for private School tuition, homeschooling materials, tutoring, or even save some for college. All 159 county school districts would, on average, be better off financially if some of their students took ESAs, since they would reduce their costs by more than the reduction in their funding. No more excuses. Give Georgia's students the tools they need to obtain the education that's best for them. The president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Kyle Wingfield's column runs in papers around the state of Georgia. TAKING A LIKENS TO YOU by Dale Likens II he legendary Let- termen trio were in concert at the Monroe County Fine Arts Center this past Friday celebrating the 58th anniversary of their first hit record, "The Way You Look Tonight" Tony Butala, the only original mem- ber of The Let- termen since they began performing in 1959, explains that he was the 8th child of 11 children. Born Nov. 20, 1940 in Sharon, Penn Tony Butala began his singing career in 1948 when he ap- peared on a radio program in Pittsburgh. In 1951, at the age of 11, Tony moved to California with his mother where he first sang in a boys' choir and later as the singing voice for "Lost Boy Slightly" in the animated film "Peter Pan" As a teenager Tony sang with a quartet which also included another beauti- ful, well-known singer named Connie Stevens. I must confess that nei- ther my wife nor I attend- ed The Lettermen Con- cert that was held at our Monroe County Fine Arts Center last Friday evening. I must also confess that I have never met any of the Lettermen so what is my purpose of this article? I do remember their records and I did enjoy their music as I was growing up. The truth is, I remember walking those same streets of Sharon, Penn. where Tony Butala spent his first 11 years of life. I was born in Sharon one yearbefore Tony Butala was born. My mother and my brothers and sisters and I lived on 1st Street with our grand- mother and Uncle Buck during our early child- hood years. The stores that once lined State Street 70 years ago still line State Street today. Shanango River still chases its muddy waters under the bridge on Main Street. The only difference one would suddenly discover are three of the four beautiful movie theaters that once lined the 14-mile stretch of Main Street have long ago been torn down. I remember the Colum- bia. Theater. How proudly it stood with its ornate col- umns, its picturesque en- trance and colorful lights flashing as one entered its colorful halls with large pictures of famous actors and actresses lining each wall as you first enter its door. Needless to say, we children seldom entered those doors. Then there was the. Nuluna Theater which showed movies more in line with the average person's pocket book. Next was the Liberty Theater and finally the Gable The- ater which we understood to be named after the famous actor Clark Gable. The Gable Theater was the theater my brothers and sisters and I attended when we could round up enough dimes and pen- nies to attend. I guess this is where I learned more about cowboys than any book I had ever read. I remember the films often breaking during the mov- ies and we small crowds that often attended would stomp our feet until the movies began once more. But now I take you back to the Columbia Theater. Although it was closed many years ago it was never torn down as the other theaters were. For some strange reason the Columbia Theater still sits in the same place as it did many, many years ago. As my wife and I pass by the theater on our trips back to Ohio and Pennsylvania we notice the front of the theater has been removed. The rest of the theater still stands as it once did. Today we have been told by people who now walk Main Street in Sharon, Penn the Columbia The- ater has been beautifully+ remodeled to accommo- date those people who are interested in the Finer Arts and great concerts Sharon, Penn. has to offer. "That's a wonder- ful idea!" We replied to their explanation of what happened to the great Columbia Theater. "Surely that would take a consid- erable amount of money to change the theater to a Fine Arts Theater!" "Have you ever heard of Tony Butala?" They ask in return. "Sure! We know of Tony Butala. He's part of that great trio known as The Lettermen!, "Well, Tony Butala was born in Sharon and lived here until he was about 11 or 12 as we understand it. They say he is the person who initiated the idea and financially supported the change" *I have no facts on the above information I just reported. What people from Sharon have told my wife and me is exactly what I have reported. I know good reporters check their facts before reporting, but'I trust the people of Sharon, Penn. Anyhow, I belie% them. Either way I say, "Thanks to you, Tony Butala, for being a member of the great singing trio Iknow as The Lettermen! Thank you for never forget- ting your home town of Sharon, Penn.! And thank you for what I am sure was another outstand- ing performance at the Monroe County Fine Arts Center this past Friday!" God bless. Dale Likens is an author who lives in Monroe County.