Newspaper Archive of
The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
July 10, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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July 10, 2019

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Page 9A orter July 10, 201 MONROE OUTO00 RS by Terry W. J O~nSOll ecen@ The Enviromental Resources Net [TERN) held its annual meeting at the Persons Farm near Forsyth. TERN is the Forsyth-based Friends group for the Geor- gia Wildlife Conservation Section(formerly known as the Nongame-Endangered Wildlife Program). At the meeting, TERN members decided how they would allo- cate the monies raised during the year. The funds support a variety ofnongame ' wildlife-related projects con- ducted by the TERRY IN. Georgia Wildlife Conservation Section. However, this meeting was extra special because the organization honored its founder, Eva Persons. This year TERN raised more than $43,000. The members voted to use the money to support projects ranging from nongame wildlife research designed to address the conservation needs of migratory birds, sea turtles, monarch butter- flies and bats, conservation education projects aimed at children and teachers alike, as well as the purchase of equipment that will be used to enhance wildlife habitat. This year's allocation brings the amount of money TERN has raised for the Wildlife Conserva- mo tion Section to more than $1.4 million. These funds have played a critical role in Georgia's ef- fort to conserve its valuable nongame wildlife resources. Although the vast majority of the wildlife species that inhabit the state are consid- ered nongame, there are no dedicated funding sources available to address their needs. As a re- sult, the monies needed to tackle the conservation needs of these species are woe- fully inadequate. Historically conservation initiatives have focused on game JOHNSON species, such as largemouth bass, trout, waterfowl, wild turkeys, quail, white- tailed deer and others. This is due to the fact states re- ceive a steady stream of rev- enue derived from federal taxes on the sale of hunting and fish equipment. These allocations are augmented by state funds generated through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. At the time the Georgia Wildlife Resources Divi- sion decided to form a work unit dedicated to the conservation of nongame wildlife, it was obvious the fledgling Nongame-En- dangered Wildlife Program needed adequate funding to have any hope of being able to conserve the state's diverse nongame popula- tions. The first to step forward to help overcome the fund- ing dilemma came from a seemingly unlikely source- -:a woman from Forsyth named Eva Persons. Eva decided to take on the formidable task of forming a Friends group (TERN) for Nongame-Endangered Wildlife Program. At the recent TERN meeting, Eva received long overdue recognition for all that she has done for conservation in the Peach State. Highlighting the event was the presenta- tion of a framed Letter of Appreciation signed by Governor Brian Kemp. A letter of commendation from former DNR Com- missioner Lonice Barrett was also read. Throughout the years, Eva has used her leadership skills, engaging personality, love for the natural world, and strong work ethic to promote TERN. Her posi- tive energy, enthusiasm, and passion for the natural world is contagious. This has enabled her to assemble a dedicated board of direc- tors comprised of men and women from all walks of life dedicated to try- ing to help the staff of the Nongame Wildlife Con- servation promote wildlife conservation education and implementing the state's first comprehensive non- game wildlife initiative. Eva exemplifies a hands- on leadership style. She has always been just as willing to meet with corporate lizes Eva Persons is at home teaching a young Ben Granitz about the world of honored Persons at its annual meeting for her tireless and comprehensive ing and educating about Georgia's nongame wildlife (Photo/Jim Couch) nature. TERN efforts preserv- leaders as to get her hands ideal person to lead TERN dirty planting a demon- from its formative years stration garden at a local into the 21st century. school. She designed and We will never know how developed a nature trail at many lives she has impact- the Rum Creek Wildlife ed. Her efforts have had Management Area. She em- a ripple effect that spread ployed her teaching skills to from Monroe County to St. create signage for the trail Marys, ThomasviUe, Blairs- and wrote a teacher's guide ville, Augusta, and hun- designed to enable teachers dreds of cities and towns in to prepare their students for between as well as across what they will encounter generations yet to come. when they walk the trail. Sadly, the vast majority Eva has also assisted of the people whose lives biologists conducting she has touched will never shorebird, butterfly, and meet her. I am one of the bird surveys, lucky ones. I have been able I can honestly say TERN to work with Eva through- would not exist today if out the years. She has been it were not for her tireless a great mentor and friend. work. Eva Persons was the I am convinced I have be- mO | come a better person for it. Aldo Leopold once wrote, "There are those who can live without wild things, and those who cannot." Fortunately for Georgia and its rich wildlife heritage, , Eva Persons is a person , who cannot. , Terry Johnson is retired 1 Program Manager of the Georgia Nongame-Endan- gered Wildlife Program. He has written the informativ column" ' Monroe Outdoors ;i,5 for the Reporter f.or many years. His book, 'A ]ourne to Dzscovery, ts avadable at The Reporter. Email him a gl Z l I t i t ~iii~ii)ii~ii;/ ~~ ~i!i! ~!i!![~ !!i!ii]![i(!i!if ~ii~ L!,t and handle your curbside pickup; Pay for !fern in lvame, gel one mlmth FRSE By Rkhard Dumas leged' and are not otherwise re- quired to be disdosed by the Geor- gia Open Records Act. Vaughn also Monroe County Commissioners tdded a second provision urging aplSrb e t a c6de ofe cs:!to govem ommissioners to "Keep confiden- the behavior of county employees tial all matters that are discussed or and elected officials on Tuesday, considered in dosed or executive June 18. session." The final change added Monroe County attorney Ben a provision stating commission- ans committed an ethics violation in his alleged berating of a county employee who didn't hire his preferred candidate. Ambrose told Vaughn he objected to commis- sioners not being privy to a written report by an outside attorney. The new ethics ordinance proposes hiring an independent having regular citizens determine commissioners' fate would take the politics out of the decision-making process. But District 4 commis- sioner George Emami replied that in a county as small as Monroe, it would be virtually impossible to find citizens who would have unbi- ased opinions on commissioners - Vaughn, who drafted the nine-page document, added three additional ethical provisions that were not included when the document was initially presented on June 4. Vaughn added a provision in- structing commissioners to "Keep confidential all matters that are identified or marked as 'strictly confidential; identified or marked as 'discussion for executive session' or marked as 'attorney-client privi- ers and county employees should: review board made up of county After about 15 minutes of dis- "Make any proprietary interest attorneys of adjacent counties or cussion, Ambrose motioned to in an agency, business or other state Superior Court judges to re- approve the new ethics ordinance organization doing business with view and make recommendations which was seconded by Emami. the county known in writing to the County and County Clerk." District 3 commissioner John Ambrose made reference to Vaughn's refusal to make available to commissioners the findings by an outside attorney about whether District 1 commissioner Larry Ev- concerning ethics violations by members of the Board of Com- missioners. Evans said he instead preferred having a Monroe County grand jury appoint a review board made up of Monroe County citizens to serve as an ethics board with four-year terms. Evans said The measure then passed 3-1 with Evans opposed because he wante a public hearing for citizens to voice their opinions on the ordi- nance prior to its approval. District 2 commissioner Eddie Rowland was absent from the June 18 meet-~ ing. HOPI( INS ~~ ASSOCIATES Certified Public Accountants 68 North Jackson Street Forsyth (p) 478-994-1820 (f) 478-994-3102 Serving Forsyth for more than 40years! J A TRANE COMFORT SPECIALIST IS AS RELIABLE AS THE TRANE THEY ARE 405 College Street. Forsyth, GA INSTALLING. We are DET z nd BPI ce ified for test rg tour home am f duct wot for air tight ss :~;:i~;~,' ~ ~::L!i~~ Clay and Don Etheridge Sevice On All Brands Rep~ent & RepaJm ~ Cons'b'tJC'I~I1 Remodeling Custom Designed Metal Duct Systems Zoned Tr' e Cocr unicating Systems Res/obn#a/ | L : i By Richard Dumas scheduled their next regular meet- ing for 9 a.m. on Thursday, July 18. Commissioners are expected to pass Monroe County Commissioners a resolution at their next meeting that will call for a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax '" (TSPLOST) referendum to be placed on the Nov. 5, 2019 ballot. By Richard Dumas operating loss of $198,000 pital CEO Lorraine Smith Hospital in June to view fors with an average daily cen- told the Hospital Author- hospital's ongoing renova- sus of 10.6 patients. MCH'S ity of Monroe County tions. Authority attorney Monroe County Hospital total revenue for May was on Tuesday, June 25 that James Vaughn said Eng- recorded an overall loss of $1.7 million largely thanks Navicent has agreed to land, a l ongtime friend of $104,000 for the month of to 765 emergency room allow MCH to pay the Vauglms, was impressed ' May, according to MCH visits. Macon-based medical with the taxpayer support [ ' chief financial officer Judy conglomerate $400,000 MCH has received from Ware. r In other Hospital Au-for management services Monroe County citizens. "' Ware told the Hospi- thority of Monroe County for 2019. Initially, MCH, tal Authority of Monroe news: which is in the third year of Hospital Auflaority of County on Tuesday, June its five-year contract with Monroe County member 25 that MCH posted a May Monroe County Hos- Navicent was to increase Kate Cotton attended her by $50,000 the amount it final meeting on Tues- i i pays Navicent annually, but day, June 25 after nearly a There's no kitchen Navicent leaders agreed to decade as a board member, faeebookcm 789 U~-M! South mclmosktchn ~mesfille, C~ 30204 waive the increase this year. Rep. Terry England (R-Auburn), the ap- propriations committee chairman for the Georgia House of Representatives, and J'tmmy Lewis, CE0 of Hometown Health, LLC, visited Monroe County Cotton, whose retirement from the board became effective on July 1, will re-, ceive a formal appreciation: proclamation at a future board meeting. Cotton said: of her exit: "I really have ' enjoyed serving for the past: 10 years, but I just feel like " it's time for somebody else:"