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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
June 13, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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June 13, 2018

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June 13, 2018 Page 5A orter ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN by Don DanieJ Council yawning at rundown properties riple bypass heart surgery and total knee replacement has kept me from Forsyth City Council and Monroe Commission meetings for two months. But now I have recovered enough to venture back into the local political world, again on the outside looking in. Asked after both meetings if I had noticed anything different, my re- sponse was "no", explaining the county commissioners are still micromanaging and the Forsyth council is still playing issue dodge ball and ego tripping. Seems the Forsyth Godfathers are attempting to build a new city hall/city government complex, having decided to build on land next to the police depart- ment. The site has a view of one of Forsyth's most con- demned and delapidated structures. Guess the council and mayor will get used to the downtown embarrass- ing buildings. At the council meeting the other night, councilman Julius Stroud commented that one of the first things you see coming downtown from the interstate is the condemned Ann's Deli building. And the second thing you see downtown is the old abandoned Big Star and Farmers Furniture building next to United Bank. Councilman Stroud's comment and question were met with some ho-hums and ignored. The city has the power to do something about those two properties and a couple more but just blatantly ignore their power, city codes and the laws they are sworn to enforce. Here are some unattributed comments by council members: "We are not a big city". "Birthing center next to a liquor store makes no sense". "Over 2,600 registered voters and just over 400 voted". "I hear what you all are say- ing". "To muddy the water a little more". "A community garden". "P ople are going to vote for those things that are tangible". "I was just trying to be re- spectful" The other day, I made an open records request of Forsyth City Manager Janice Hall asking if the grace period for issuing tickets to cars parked closer than 12 inches to the parking space lines expired, how many "complimentary" tickets were issued during the grace period and if the grace period is over, how many tickets have been issued so far? Still waiting on the answer. Found this interesting when the employee shortage in the police department was being discussed, Chief Harris commented "sometimes I have get out there and patrol" You make your own comments on that. OVER at the Commission meeting, there was an extended discussion as to what qualifications were necessary for a finance director: high school graduate, someone with a college degree, someone with a degree in finance, someone with experience, salary range, etc. You get the idea that all five commissioners had their personal idea about a finance director. Here are a few unattributed commissioner com- ments: "Examine the parameters"; "In my mind and perspective"; "I wanted to make sure"; "Educate us a little bit"; "This is not what I do for a living"; "For the official record"; And the best one yet! "We don't have the same situa- tions as Atlanta!" THERE'S a new sheriff in town and it is A1 Shack- elford, sworn in Friday to be our sheriff until Novem- ber's special election. I know A1 and his wife, she being a native Monroe Countian and he from North Caro- lina and of course calling Forsyth and Monroe County home. AI has some big shoes to fill until November try- ing to keep the "re-elect me" herd in the pasture. I am gonna say this about A1 without hesitation: He is a law enforcement professional. It is a credit to Mon- roe County that former sheriff and now United States Marshal John Cary Bittick hired A1 when he came to Monroe County and has supported him as interim sheriff. Wonder when a decision is coming down whether those employed by the sheriff's department and run- ning for the high sheriff's job have to resign to seek ta run. THE WINNER of the AR-15 in q-he Reporter sub- scription contest was Jim Conner and Dena Wheeler was the first to identify him in The Question. Dena gets a certificate for a Dairy Queen Blizzard, dozen Dunkin Donuts, Jonah's cookie, Whistle Stop fried green tomato appetizer, slice of Shoney's strawberry pie, Forsyth Main Street t-shirt, sandwich, chips and drink at q-he Pickled Okra. You are going to have to go back to last weeks' Clas- sifieds on Page 1D. Here's The Question for this week: The only ad under the "Sales" heading was for what? First correct answer gets the certificate DON'T FORGET to listen to The Reporter on Majic 100 on Sunday mornings at 7 and watch on Forsyth Cablevision. Don Daniel founded the Reporter in 1972. Email at mediadr@bellsouth, net. FROM THE FORMER SHERIFF by John Cary Bittick O It is with immense emotion and gratitude that I inform you of my decision to retire as the SheriffofMonroe County, Ga effective midnight on Saturday, June 9, 2018. I have accepted the appointment by the Presi- dent of the United States to the office of U. S. Marshal for the Middle District of Georgia. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office family and the citizens of our community are very important to me, and I have not made this decision lightly. In fact, it has been one of the most difficult decisions that I have made in the course of my career. To the people of Monroe County, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for the oppor- tunity to be your Sheriff, and I am humbled that you allowed me to serve for over 35 years. I sincerely thank you for your trust and your generous sup- port of me and my family throughout my career and beyond. From assuming the Office of Sheriffat 28 years old to the present, the relationships that I have formed over these years will not be forgotten. I will, of course, remain active in our com- munity, and I look forward to serving you in a new capacity as U.S. Marshal. However, I will truly miss being your Sheriff. To my fellow law enforcement officers and staff, it has been a privilege to serve with you by my side. The Monroe County Sheriff's Office is one of the best law enforcement agencies in the State of Georgia, as well as na- tionwide, and I would like to commend you for your professionalism and unwavering dedication to a higher duty. Although law enforcements reward is not tangible, it comes in the knowledge that each of you has made a difference in your community and in countless lives. I know that you will continue to serve and protect the citizens of Monroe County with the highest level of integrity and dedication. It has been an honor for me to be your colleague, your friend, and your extended family member. I wish each of you well and ask that you con- tinue to provide the level of commitment necessary in making this transition as smooth as possible. To the Momoe County Commission (both past and present), I am proud of the many changes and improvements that we made during the past 35 years. Working together, we provided the citizens of our community with an efficient, effective, and professional law- enforce- ment agency. Thank you for sharing in our mission, believing in our vision, and working alongside us to help us achieve our goals. I leave my position confident that the Sheriffs Office will continue to effectively pro- tect and serve our beloved conlnlunity. During this time of transition and reflection, I am reminded of a speech by Gen. Douglas MacAr- thur, who recalled an army barracks ballad that pro- claimed most proudly that old soldiers never die; they just fade away. While I do not plan on fading entirely away just yet, like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my career as Sheriffas an officer who tried to do my duty, as God gave me the light to see that duty. Yhe former Monroe County sheriff, John Car), Bittick is the US. Marshal for Middle Georgia. TAKING A LIKENS TO YOU by Dc le Lke s O morning I sit at my II brother-in-law's computer | in northeast Ohio. The night rains have stopped, the sky is a beautiful blue and the sun now bursts through a nearby window. Today my mind is filled with long-ago memories; some are wonderful memories of my early childhood days, some are sad memories of friends and relatives I once knew many years, ago but today are long gone with the passing winds. Two weeks ago my wife and I jammed our luggage and my guitar into the back of our car and set out to visit our hometown of Hartford, Ohio. It was here, in this small town, lost to the world, where Karen and I grew up. There are no street lights in Hartford and very few stop signs. The school we both once attended is no longer sitting in the middle of the town as it once did when we were children, but a beautiful town center has since replaced the school. This tiny school that once held all 12 grades is where Karen and I met. I was in third grade and Karen was in first grade. During her younger days Karen was bounc- ing around in her family barn, swing- ing from rafter to rafter watching her older brother milk their one cow named "Bossy" Meanwhile, I roamed our 25-acre rented farm doing small chores and playing softball with my brothers and sisters. I knew Karen because her brother was in my class all through school. Throughout the coming school years Karen and I came to know each other well. But it wasn't until I began playing basketball for our high school team that I became more and more attracted to this gorgeous, young cheerleader. For some reason I finally realized I was becoming more and more interested in visiting her brother. As I became more and more interested in this beautiful young lady, she suddenly moved on to Bowling Green State University in western Ohio. I was now working for General Motors in Lordstown, Ohio and tak- ing classes at Youngstown University. When I began taking the long trips to Bowling Green to visit Karen we both knew something was happen- ing. Needless to sa); when Karen graduated from college, wedding bells were soon ringing in our small Methodist church in Hartford, Ohio. Today two of Karen's brothers and two sisters are married and still remain in nearby towns. My two sisters also live in nearby neighborhoods. The other day Karen and I ventured down a lonely, dusty road I once lived on. Our family house sat beside a wandering tributary we knew as Yankee Creek. Today my "mansion;' as I once called our rundown house, is no longer here. It died many years ago as did many of my memories. All that remains is the stone founda- tion our house once sat on and the many bushes and trees that have grown in and around the middle of that foundation. But many of my memories still linger of the deer that often entertained my family and me as they bounced peacefully past our house and through the thick trees that wrapped their limbs comfortably around us. How dearly I remember pushing my oldest brother, Gene, in his wheelchair, down our long driveway and up the dusty road we knew as Anglin' Road. Together we would pause at the small bridge and look down at the blue-gill and other fish as they flipped their tails and dashed under the narrow bridge we sat on. Today, as I look down at the muddy, stagnant creek that flows under a newer, but less attractive bridge, I am reminded of the treks my four other brothers and I took along that crooked creek. Today the eyes of a much older man begin to fill with tears of long-ago memories of trapping, hunting and simply racing through the woods that surround Yankee Creek. Yes, there were eight children in my family and seven children in Karen's family. I guess you might say Karen's family was better off than we were financially, but not by far. My family and I grew up with no nmning water in our house. However, we were blessed with a small hand pump that sat on the counter of my mother's kitchen. We had no electricity and no bathrooms. Through rain, snow or sunshine we ran to an outhouse. We bathed in a round tub filled with mostly cold water. We studied under the light of a kerosene lamp. Truly-- we were blessed beyond words; we were blessed with family love. We had problems, but my memories of those problems aren't nearly as vivid as those of the laughter, the fun and the joy we shared in that old dilapidated house I once called our mansion. In a couple of days my wife and I will return to Forsyth. Hopefully, the traffic will be much better than our trip to Ohio. With any luck at all the rains will be moved on. Either way Karen and I have been blessed with wonderful memories of years gone by. Our town we once lived in as chil- dren has changed very little. There are still no street lights today. There are still very few stop signs. Many of the houses we knew as children are still there. The same wonderful friends are still in that same town; although in faded memories. What wonder- ful memories! We are truly blessed! Praise God! God bless! Dale Likens is an author who lives in Monroe County. Austin (not long in) City Limits Monroe County's congressman Austin Scott (R-Ashburn) held his last Town Hall with his constituents in Forsyth (at right) on Aug. 20, 2014. Scott defeated Congressman Jim Marshall in 2010 after Marshall went several years without hosting a Town Hall meeting with constituents in Forsyth. Scott did attend a chamber event last week but did not take questions from constituents and therefore cannot be considered a town hall meeting. If you want an oppor- tunity to let Scott know what you want him to do in Congress, call his Washington office at (202) 225-6531 and let him know. When Brian Kemp became secretary of state on Jan. 8, 2010, Terry Scarborough's survey of the Monroe-Bibb county line was on his desk. But Kemp, an ambitious politician now running for governor, punted. He announced on Aug. 23, 2011 that he was rejecting the Scarborough survey because he can't be sure it's the original line. On March 10, 2014, the Supreme Court ordered him to set the line and resolve the dispute. That was four years ago. The Reporter is devoting this space each week to counting the number of days Kemp has been on the job, and yet not done his job. If you want Kemp to do his job before he gets a promotion to governor, call his office at (404) 656-2817 and let them know.