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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
May 15, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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May 15, 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: Editond Page excellence 2018 win.r: Ses, Headline Wriling /O~i~X 20,8. 2o17 P oto ro h II I 2OI8 winner: Best Sports Pages ~L~I.~L~,~I 2018 winner:. Best Serious Col On the Porch ~"~,~A'q~r~'~/ 2018, 2017 winner:. Best Humorous Column - On the Porch~ ON THE PORCH by Will Davis any of you told us that we would enjoy moving to the country in Monroe County. You were right! That's nothing against neighborhoods. We really enjoyed the subdivision where we lived and I think it contributed to a great childhood for our teenag- ers. 2hey were surrounded by kids their age and had a lot of fun playing bali and traips- ing around the woods when we moved there 12 years ago. Lots of us moved there in 2007-08, and then the market crashed. The bank repossessed our builder's helicopter, and some homeowners discovered they had liens on their homes because of the developer's financial woes. In 2009 we discovered that the HOA had racked up $13,000 in debt and the neighborhood didn't have enough money to operate the pool that summer. So we all joined River Forest and made the most of it. With the real estate crash, there were only about 20 homes occupied then in what was planned as a 200- home neighborhood. But it was nice and quiet. Most of the neighbors bought golf carts and the kids created golf cart trails through the woods around us. We discovered an old mica mine that had been dug during World War 2 with giant holes and caves and lots of silver mica. We also found an old homestead with a stack-stone chim- ney and a wild lemon tree out front, which I had never seen before. We called the bank and they let us get a sapling of it to plant at our home. It's huge now. And there was country life in the neighborhood too. There was the time my wife found our cat Catfish in a standoff with a rattlesnake in the backyard. This city boy grabbed his shotgun and blasted at the rattlesnake. The first shot missed. The second round split him into two. "Shoot him again!" my wife yelled. It was about the first thing I'd ever shot, and all the neighbors came over to see it and celebrate. My head was too bag for a hat that day. Then there were less he- roic moments. There was the time I was late for supper from work and rushed up the driveway and ran inside to eat. Our spaghetti was interrupted by neighbor Jim Finch who screamed, "we've got a runaway Will!" Ap- parently when I had stopped at the top of our driveway, in my haste to enjoy the meal, I failed to put the truck into park. The runaway truck rolled across the street, into the yard of a vacant home, smashed an AT&T box, roiled back into my yard, and then rolled to a rest back across the street. Thank God no one was hurt. Alas, growth returned a few years ago and the place has exploded with new homes. With that came in- creased scrutiny from the Homeowners Association. One time when our dog Asian was a puppy I took her to the workout room. I mean I need all the help I can get when I work out. I didn't realize that the HOA had installed cameras in the workout room until the presi- dent emailed me photos of myself working out with the dog and included a $100 fine in my name for breaking community rules. Thankfully his successor forgave the fine. But lately the HOA continued doing the thing that HOAs do. We gotten phone calls about grass clippings. We got warnings about parking on the street. Yep, it was time to go to the country. And so last Thursday, after the boxes were moved and the furniture was in place, I stood in the yard at dusk and spun myself 360 degrees seeing nothing but our 8 acres, and lots and lots of trees. I heard nothing but whippoorwills and bullfrogs, and felt the cool breeze rustling across our front porch. Yep, I think we're gonna like it here too. the Monroe Gamty www. is published every week by The Monroe County Reporter Inc. Will Davis, President. Robert M. Williams Jr Vice President Cheryl S. Williams, Secretary-Treasurer STAFF Publisher/Editor Business Manager Richard Dumas ~ Diane Glidewell .ewsE .o, communit.E ,tor Carolyn Martel Advertising Manager Brandon Park Creative Director Official Organ of Monroe County and the City of Forsyth 50 N. Jackson St PO Box 795 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 Fdday pd~ to t~ue Corn men~ fear~d on opinion pages am the creation of the writer~ the do not necessarily rc~lect the opinions of The Reporter management Publication No. USPS 997-840 PEACH STATE POLITICS by Kyle Wingfield or all the complex- ity ofhealthcare, efforts to improve it really come down to one dividing line: Either you think Washington's central planners know best, or you don't. The past several decades have been one long exercise in yielding more and more author- ity to a small group of deci- sion makers, despite scant evidence this approach has been work- ing and much evidence that it hasn't. The high-water mark for this kind of thinking is the Af- fordable Care Act. At least, so far it is. Now there's a move under way to scuttle even the small opening Georgia and other states see as their only chance to bring some sanity back to their bat- tered insurance markets for individuals and small businesses. To understand what's go- ing on, first recall the hu- bris of the ACA s authors. They thought they could wrest regulatory authority over insurance from the states, mandate a slew of coverages, crimp the ability of insurers to differentiate the prices of their products for riskier or more fre- quent users ofhealthcare, subsidize it heavily for a segment of the population - and end up with some- thing besides a market with less competition and higher prices, one rejected by many Americans even though they faced a tax penalty for doing so. Predicting these prob- lems required no orescience on the part of ACA critics, just an under- standing of how markets actually work. Despite all that, the law did include a provision all but ac- knowledg'mg the authors might not have it all right. Section 1332 of the ACA allows states to propose innovative ways to reform their health-insurance markets. The states do this by applying for waivers, as the General Assembly this year authorized Gov. Brian Kemp to do. The problem was the initial guidance for imple- menting this flexibility, is- sued by the Obama admin- istration in 2015, allowed no real flexibility. It was like bringing someone a broken-down car, and tell- TAKING A LIKENS TO YOU by Date Likens AbS a young boy I played plenty of asketball. My rothers and I hung a bushel basket 10 feet high on our barn wall and far away from any neighbors. Living far out in the country we could play basket- ball until bedtime and yell and complain all we wanted. I used to drive to stood frightened to death. During practice our coach screamed at the older players and grabbed them when he deemed neces- sary and screamed again. During a game he became angry at a player and turned to me and told me to get into the game. I shook my head and said, "I don't want to go in" I wasn't asked to play anymore that year. A few years later a new coach the bucket, whip the ball appeared and I felt more confi- around my dent. I became back and lay the captain of our the ball high above and team. Once again I began into the basket, whipping the ball around When I was in the eighth my back and driving to grade I was sitting in class the bucket. "Quit showing when our high school off!" the coach who was coach, who taught this much milder than the first class, announced basket- coach yelled. "Just pass the ball practice would begin ball!" Once again I froze the next Tuesday and "I up. Although I was the want you, Dale Likens, to best shooter on the team, come to our high school I would steal the ball from basketball practice." This opposing players, pass up was unheard of! An eighth good shots and feed the grader being asked to play ball to other players. high school basketball! Lou Blaney, the grandfa- I was totally proud as a ther of Ryan Blaney who peacock, but embarrassed now drives the number 12 as well. car in NASCAR, was our Two of my older brothers starting center at 6 foot 3 were starters on the high inches tall. I was a mere school team. During one 5 foot 8 inches tall. Each of our first practices I met time I went to the foul line our coach and another Lou would pass me by older player on the steps and say, "Make your shots leading from the dressing fall to the left of the rim, room to the basketball and I will get the rebound court. They were argu- and put it back up for two ing terribly when I heard points instead of one" It the coach scream at the worked. We were winning other boy and shove him games;all 13 that year down the steps. The boy and became the league went rolling past me as I champions. Our coach If ing them they could use as much paint and duct tape to fix it as they wanted - as long as they didn't actually work on the engine. Late last year, the Trump administration changed course. It offered states four explicit ways to innovate in their markets, and encour- aged them to find others. Certain legal guardrails remain in place, mean- ing the states still have to work within the ACA'S parameters. But each of the four ways gives states a real chance to fix some of what's a markets. Naturally, this horrifies those who pretend the broken-down car is just fine, and don't want anyone touching the engine. This past week, House Democrats approved a bill that would go back to the paint-and-duct tape method of improvement. The bill claims to protect patients with pre-existing conditions, but that's non- sense. The ACA specifi- cally prohibits states from waiving those protections. So what's really going on here? The bill refers to patients with pre-existing condi- tions because Democrats know Americans over- whelmingly support those protections. In fact, only in its title does the bill even mention pre-existing con- ditions. That's because it was satisfied with the way things were going and never encouraged me to shoot more often. A number of years later my wife and I were visiting our son and daughter-in- law in Gilbert, Arizona. One day our granddaugh- ter and I were out for a walk and passing Danny Ainge's mansion, which is just beyond a park that separated our son's house from his. (For those who may not know, Danny Ainge played for BYU and the Boston Celtics a few years later. Today Danny Ainge is the General Man- ager of the Boston Celtics.) A young man was shoot- ing a basketball inside a gated area. 'Are you Danny Ainge's son?" I yelled through the bars to the young man shooting some hoops. "Yes, I am!" The young man called back with a friendly tone. "May we come in and shoot some hoops with you?" I asked "Sure!" He smiled in return. After shooting some three pointers for awhile Danny's son said, "I play for our Junior High team, you should know. Would you like to play a game of PIG?" He asked. "I would love to!" I joy- fully answered. We shot three pointers and I won the game of PIG and another game of HORSE. He truly was trying to win, but I was hitting a high percentage of my shots. As we left the young Ainge boy, we shook hands and smiled. "You're pretty good!" he said as we left. "Thanks for would ban all of the Trump administration's guid- ance on these innovative reforms, even things like allowing people to collect their ACA subsidies in ac- counts to use for healthcare expenses beyond insurance premiums. Fortunately, the bill ap- pears to be dead on arrival in the Senate. At the root, however, this effort is about ensuring no state gets a chance to enact reforms that prove a more market- oriented approach can work better for patients, " After years of ar gu'ing against repealing and replacing the ACA, many Democrats are now ready to do essentially that. Only, instead of getting away from a Washington-centric approach, they would go all-in on it with a single- payer plan. It won't work. We'll see a further reduction in choices and competition. We'll see a further increase in prices - and that may come in the form of higher taxes, more debt and lon- ger wait times. This engine needs a total overhaul, and not by Washington. The president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Kyle Wingfield's column runs in papers around the state of Georgia. stopping in!" As we got around the corner of the street, away from Danny Ainge's house, I proudly called to my granddaughter, "I just beat Ainge in two games of basketball! No one needs to know it was his son and not Danny!" We laughed together. The year I retired from teaching I was honored to play a basketball game against our Girls Junior High basketball team in Stockbridge. Among our players was a man by the name of Scott Woerner who played extremely well for the Georgia Bulldogs during their national championship football title in 1980. Before our game began I was hitting my three pointers with extreme accuracy. Soon I heard the players from the Junior High team call me over. "Who are you?" They asked. "You're the best player out there! Seriously! We've been watching you shoot your three pointers! You're great!" I didn't play much that game, but when I did Scott Woerner kept calling for me to pass the ball to him. I did. Just like I did in high school! I never became a star basketball player during my lifetime. But I sure ended on a high note! Thanks to the young ladies on the Stockbridge Junior High basketball team! You made my da ; ladies! You made my career and a pocket full of wonderful memories! God bless! Dale Likens is an au- thor who lives in Monroe County.