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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
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September 4, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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"Declare among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; & EDITORIALS publish, and conceal not." - Jeremiah 50:2 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 winner: Editorial Page excellence~ 2019, 2018 winner:. Best Headhne Writing /0~~ 2019 winner:. Best C ity Serv~:o l~l~ i-~1 2019 winne* Best Layout and Design ~'~e~, ~! 2019 winmm Best Serious Column - Don Daniel IkY~"'~Pr, dP~r '1 ,[. ON THE PORCH by Will Davis f you're looking for work, our friend Leia Gatliff at the new Five Below distribution warehouse in Smarr says they're hiring to get ready for their Christmas blitz. Gatliff, who's in charge of human resources at the warehouse, has already hired 170 employees, 20 of them on salary and the rest are hourly. Gatliff told the Forsyth-Monroe County Kiwanis Club on Tuesday that they'll add about 100 more to get ready for the December rush. Gatliff shared some other interesting tidbits about our newest business. The Smarr warehouse currently provides truckloads of merchandise for 202 Five Below stores from south Florida to the west. Among those stores is the new one that just opened in Macon on Bass Road. So now locals can check out a Five Below store and see what it offers. Gatliff explained that her company's found- ers envisioned a store where any parent of any income level can take their child inside the store and allow them to choose one item to take home for $5 or less, a.k.a. Five Below. Gatliff said some have described the store as a "fun" Dollar General. Gatliff said Five Below has a company headquarters in Philadelphia where their buyers work hard to get ahead of trends and make sure their stores have the most popular items for young people. In fact she said Five Below deserves part of the credit for fueling the Fidget Spinner craze that swept the nation. Gatliff said almost all the merchandise comes to the Smarr warehouse from the port in Savannah. And since the port is currently closed due to Hurricane Dorian, Gatliff said it's been kind of slow at the ware- house until the port reopens. If the Monroe County Development Authority is looking for someone to testify about this being a business-friendly community, Gatliff is the one. She said the community has been very supportive. In fact, when they started hiring, she was inundated with more than 3,000 applications only from word of mouth and from advertising in the local newspaper, the Reporter. Moreover, their neighbors in Smarr are always willing to help. Recently the warehouse's "yard dog" equipment which helps unload trucks went down. That would mean 170 employees would be sitting around with nothing to do. But their neighbors at nearby Gresco loaned them their yard dog and they were able to put 170 workers right back to work. "There's just a special spirit in this community," said Gatliff. Lineage, a refrigerated warehouse company, has bought property next door for $3.9 million to build its own facility there in Smarr. That means more jobs and more economic activity in Monroe County. Some people complain about the growth coming to Monroe County. They wish things could stay the way they are. And anyone who has watched the way growth has overrun Henry County would certainly be apphrensive. But Gatliff, who lives on High Falls Lake, pointed out that she was driving a 3-hour round trip com- mute to Cobb County every day before she joined Five Below. Eliminating that commute means she and others like her are able to spend more time with their families and in our community. If you look it at that way, then growing our economic base actually HELPS build community and family ties that make small- town life special, rather than hurting them. www. MyMCR.net is published every week by The Monroe County Reporter Inc. Will Davis, President. Robert M. Williams Jr Vice President Cheryl S. Williams, Secretary-Treasurer Will Davis Publisher/Editor publisher@mymcr.net Trellis Grant Business Manager business@mymcr.net c.Oum ~ ~00. News Editor Community Editor forsyth@mymcr.net news@mymcr.net Carolyn Martel Advertising Manager ads@mymcr.net Amy Haisten Creative Director graphics@mymcr.net Official Organ of Monroe County and the City of Forsyth 50 N. Jackson St. PC) Box 795 Forsyth, GA 31029 Periodicals Postage Paid at Forsyth, GA 31029 POSTMASTEPc 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 featuped on opinion pages are the o'eat~n of the wdte~ the do not neo~adly refle(t the opinlom of'l~ Reporter manageme~ Publication No. USPS 997-840 I PEACH STATE POLITICS by Kyle Wingfield met Johnny Isakson a decade ago. Others have known him longer and can tell you about him in the de- tail required for the his- tory books, in light of his announce - ment that he will leave the U.S. Senate at year's end due to his health. I'm going to tell you what I've seen from him, and in him, "- "'; because it's what I'm going to miss about him. Ten years ago I was a 30-year-old columnist at the Atlanta Journal- Constitution, learning on the job in a way that probably shouldn't have been allowed. But every- thing goes faster these days, and so I came to be at Atlanta's OK Cafe, meeting our (at the time) first-term, junior senator. It was the summer of the Obamacare town halls. The nascent tea party had moved from rallying against bailouts and "stimulus" to con- fronting Democratic members of Congress about their forced reor- ganization of the health- care sector. My editor, who'd ac- companied us to lunch, suggested that the sena- tor let me tag along for some of his own town halls. Johnny (no one re- fers to him as "Isakson," not even those who make his campaign materials, so to heck with AP style for today) quickly agreed, and bright and early one morning soon afterward I rendezvoused with him down in Claxton. We left my ear behind and took off in a black SUV down U.S. 301 toward Glennville. One thing you may have forgotten about politics in the summer of 2009 was a) Republicans were not immune from the tea partiers' fury, and b) this was fairly novel Their relatively swift downfall, three years af- ter holding all the levers of power, had earned them no sympathy from their own base. Combine that with the fact our entire relation- ship at that point consist- ed of one luncheon, and it's remarkable in hind- sight that Johnny - who was up for re-election in 2010 - spoke so freely with me. That openness as an elected official is one thing about him I'll miss. We arrived directly in Glennville, where he was to speak to the lo- cal Rotary Club's lunch meeting. As I recall, he made remarks to the effect of, "I'm willing to talk about healthcare reform, but this isn't the right answer." Again, to jog your memory: Poli- tics in 2009 hadn't yet reached the fever-pitch tribalism of today, but a Republican then took a real risk by signaling any openness to change. He took questions from the audience. All of them, by my recollection. That willingness to speak his mind and stand his ground, in the name of doing right by the American people, is another thing I'll miss about him. After that, we climbed back into the SUV and headed down to ]esup. The topic there was not Obamacare. Rather, the senator held a field hearing about veterans' affairs, specifically their access to healthcare. If you have followed Johnny's Senate career at all, you know serving those who have served their country has been a priority. I expect to read a TAKING A LIKENS TO YOU by Dale Likens ecently, my wife and I returned, once again, to Ohio. This time Karen was to celebrate her 60th year of graduating from a school we both attended: Hartford Centralized School. It's the same school where Karen and I first met. I was in the third grade while my beautiful wife-to-be was in the first grade. Oh, our love affair didn't begin in the first grade or the third grade, but somewhere in those wonderful years ahead God was preparing us for that eventual year we would tie the knot and become one. However, a few years later Karen did become the most charming cheerleader for our basketball team, and I was chosen as the team's captain. Still, it wasn't until Karen enrolled in Bowl- ing Green State University that she and I became serious. I was working my way through Youngstown Univer- sity and simply dying to visit Bowling Green every weekend I could. Today Karen celebrates her 60th year class reunion from high school. The year was 1959. For weeks she has been excited to see many of those who graduated with her. "Should I wear this?" She would ask time and time again. "It doesn't matter!" I assured her. "You will definitely be the most beau- tiful person there!" And she was] Leading up to this reunion of her dassmates I found myself thinking often about those golden years gone by. Kareds class was the largest to ever graduate from Hartford Central- ized School with a grand total of 29 students. Hartford Centralized School once sat in the middle of our town square. A few years ago the school was destroyed and the land was quickly turned into a beautiful town square with the remaining statue of a World War II soldier holding a rifle. Below the statue the names of those Hartford soldiers who valiantly gave their lives for our nation are carved on a large, stone monument. As we drove through this small town with no street lights and only a few stop signs I decided to stop at the land where Karen's childhood home once stood. "Right there, in that barn, is where I used to walk across the rafters pretending I was a great cowgirl ready to pounce on the bad, bad cowboys!" Karen chuckled. "I was surely a tomboy and could whip any of my brothers or neighbors in a mad race to atbarn," "I remember hearing all about you from yotg brother, Ron" I said. "Of course he and I were in the same class. He told me much about you through- out those years. Still, I was too slow to put two and two together until you became the beautiful woman you are toda "The other night I was reminded of that wonderful year, 1959 ' Karen said as we sat in her family driveway. "Do you remember who the great singers of that year were?" "Oh, I remember Jim Reeves and Pat Boone,' I told her. "They were two of my favorite singers." "Well, Doris Day was my favorite. But I remember Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald as well." "It was a great year wasn't it? In 1959 Hawaii became our 50th state. It was also the first year year for my favorite TV show. Do you know what it was?" She challenged me. "Tell me!" I said. "Bonanza!" she laughed. That evening we met with Karen's Classmates of 60 years ago. One by one her close friends paraded into our meeting place. Of course I, too, remembered each of them and con- number of tributes to the senator - he's earned them - and most of them will speak to his willing- ness to reach across the aisle, to compromise. That's true, but incom- plete. Yes, Johnny Isakson has played a different game in Washington than most of late, from either party. The game has changed and only the old hands are allowed to play by the old rules, like Gor- die Howe taking the ice without a helmet. But what made Johnny really different, to me, was that all those admi- rable traits - his open- his willingness to speak his mind but also to compromise when that was called for - stemmed from a genuine humility. Don't read into that statement too much about anyone else; it's about him, not an oblique reference to others. But it is what I'll miss about having him represent our state in the Senate, and our nation is the poorer for having few cut from his cloth The president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Kyle Wingfield's column runs in papers around the state of Georgia. sidered each to be a long lost friend. Upon graduation Russell Rhodes worked with the governor of New Mexico. His wife, Ann, whom he met in New Mexico, was one of the Blue Jet Airline owners. Today she travels across our country speaking to vari- ous company employees. Joe Mott reminded the class of his pet crow that followed him to school each day and sat at his window during dass. Jape Mott's husband, George Gerasimek, showed pictures of his company cut- ting trees by remote control Each graduate told of his or her children or grandchildren and what each had done in their lives. Karen, of course, showed pictures of our newest great-grandchild and the wonder- ful years she had spent as a teacher in both Ohio and Georgia. Then she surprised each graduate and his/her spouse with the greatest gift of all, a luscious, mouth-watering Georgia peach from Dickey Farms in Musella] The last to speak was my step-broth- er, Bill. Bill went on and on about checking his DNA and discovering how he was related to nearly everyone in town. "In fact," he said with a look of concern on his face, "I'm related to John Dillinger, the notorious criminal of the Great Depression era of the United States!" "He's my step-brother" I reminded those in attendance. "He's not my real brother as you all know!" The laughter echoed across the room! "It was fun!" Karen said on our way back to Georgia. "I mean it was so wonderful seeing all my friends of so long ago. I can't believe I hadn't seen some of them in 60 years! Sixty long years ago! But your brother Bill was the most entertaining! He had everyone in stitches! Imagine admit- ting he was related somehow to John Dillinger!" She paused for a moment. "Thanks Hon! That was truly a won- derful time! The year was 1959! What wonderful memories!" God bless. Dale Likens is an author who lives in Monroe County.