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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
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September 18, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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% & EDITORIALS "Declare among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not." - Jeremiah 50:2 A 2Oi9, 2OI8, 2017, 2OI6 winner. Editorial Page excellence~ 2019, 2018 winner:. Best Headline Writing /O~h"~q~ 2019 wilmer: Best C ity Service I~I~" iT~! 2019 wkmen Best Layou, and Design '~'~ l~q,~ I 2019 winner:. Best Serious Column - Don Daniel ~'ql"~Fl[l~jl' ,"2 '~. ",2 J i i ~i~ :i 'Z='I ;A: -~." ON THE PORCH by Wilt Davis ur staffhere at the Reporter includes some smart and hard-working people, not the least of is our community editor Diane Glide- well. Diane spends countless hours at city coun- cil meetings, city zoning meetings, school board meetings, board of health meetings etc. to make sure that you, dear reader, are informed about what's happening in Forsyth and Monroe County. She goes to meetings so you don't have to. She also does a great job col- lecting human interest stories. While the two men in the newsroom, news editor Richard Dumas and myself, handle the crime and mayhem that comes with news gathering, Diane brings a softer touch to high- light the food banks, the camps, the ministries going on in our communi . As an added bonus, she sometimes even brings her goats to the office to take out the weeds and overgrowth in our courtyard area behind the office. And she's about to become a grandmother. Since her duties include the city council beat, Diane has been hearing council talk lately about looking at its power rates. At the same time, we were also approached by For- syth's oldest business, Castleberry Drug, to note that the city issued a building permit allowing them to add $42,000 in solar panels. Then, once they were installed, the city refused to let them use them to reduce their power bills. All of this was reported in last week's edition. Hizzoner the mayor hasn't taken it well. He called it a smear job, and called Diane out at the city council on Monday. Even though we reported in other places the city's discussions about its solar policy, I admitted to the mayor that we should've allowed him to respond in the original story and apologized. Since that time, we were ap- proached by the solar company that installed the Castle- berry panels with more details of how the city mishandled the issue (see page 7a). This time, we were sure to ask the mayor for a comment. But the mayor, who often boasts about his support for local businesses, said he would not talk to us about the sto . Moreover, he said if the city does change its solar policy, he will call the Macon media, not the Reporter (a Forsyth business), to announce the news. Seems mature. I said in this space last week that the mayor has done a good job in his first term and he deserved to be re-elected without opposition, as will happen. Thankfully this is the first time we've seen this sort of childish outburst from the mayor, and we hope it's the last. The mayor daims to be a strong libertarian, a supporter of leaving people alone and letting them do what they wish. Freedomand liberty and all that. But when the city refuses to let its residents employ solar power to reduce their city power bills, which are known to be higher than average in Georgia, then he's not living up to the libertar- ian principles he prodaims. This would be like the county telling residents they cannot use a well if they're on county water. The only motivation is to prevent a loss of revenue squeezed out of its residents. The mayor says if the city allowed residents to use solar power to supplement their city power supply, the city would have to buy back excess power from residents. I can understand how that might be a problem. The man who installed the Castleberry solar panels, Suncatcher's Gerry Kilgore, says that the technology is now such that the city would no longer have to buy that excess power. Look, I'm no greenie. I am not a big fan of solar power because it's unreliable on a large scale. But I am a big fan of freedom. Rather than blaming two local businesses, Cas- tleberry and the Reporter, maybe the mayor should just make sure that Forsyth residents who want to use solar in the future to save on their power bills have that right. It's a story we'd be happy to report, whether he calls us or not. II~ Monr~ County www. MyMCR.net is published every week by The Monroe County Reporter Inc. Will Davb, President. Robert M. Williams k Vice President Cheryl S. Williams, Secretary-Treasurer Publisher/Editor publisher@mymcr.net News Editor forsyth@mymcr.net Carolyn Martel ~ Advertising Manager ads@mymcr.net Trellis Grant Business Manager business@mymcr.net Diane Glidewell Community Editor news@mymcr.net Amy Haisten Creative Director graphics@mymcr.net Ofl~cial Organ of Monroe County and the City of Forsyth 50 N. Ja~:kson St, PC) Box 795 - Forsyth, GA 31029 Periodicals Postage Paid at Forsyth, GA 31029 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: THE MONROE COUNTY REPORTER 478-9942358 SUBSCRIPTION RATE: In County:. $40 Out of County: $48 Single Copy: $1 Deadlines noon 0n Friday pdor t0 issue. Comments featured on opinion pages are the oea'don of the wfitels, the do not necessarily reflect the opinions of~he Reporter management. Publication No. USPS 997-840 PEACH STATE POLITICS by Kyle Wingfield L niStening to op- ponents of school hoice is an using exercise - if, that is, you think it's funny to hear people make all sorts of nonsensical, contradic- tory claims about why our children shouldn't have ac- cess to the education that best suits their needs. Consider, for start- "I ers, this dynamic duo of excuses: 1) School choice doesn't exist in many parts of Georgia, especially rural areas; and 2) if education dollars fol- low the child, our public schools will lose enroll- ment and funding, and suffer as a result. Well, which is it? Are there no alternatives for students to choose? Or are there so many good options that students will leave traditional public schools in droves? In reality, there are options in many parts of our state, including rural communities. There are private schools, both pa- rochial and secular, as well as homeschooling associa- tions - in addition to pub- lic choices such as charter schools, magnet schools and online schools. Are there communities that need more options? Of course. And they'd be more likely to have them if the state let families use education funding in more ways. This brings us to a related ar- gument: There's no need for school choice, because public schools are doing a good enough job already. If public schools are doing fine, then why worry about students leaving them by the yellow-bus full? Could it be that many counties don't have good enough schools - or that "good enough" isn't really, well, good enough? As we know, some fami- lies already choose among the existing alternatives for their children. In fact, that's another half-baked argument against school choice: We'll really just be giving money to people who would make another choice anyway. Let's unpack this sup- posed logic. First, the apparent premise is that anyone who wants or needs to make a choice is already doing so. But these altematives are unafford- able for many Georgians; after all, public-school advocates constantly tell us that part of their problem is the high rate of poverty among Georgia school- children. They lack the ability to make another choice, including to move to a neighborhood with better public schools. School choice pro- grams are explicitly about extending choice to those who can't afford it now - while also not excluding anyone, just as a billion- aires child isn't forbidden from attending a public school. Think, al~o, for a mo- ment about the notion that when students leave public schools, they are hurting those schools because their funding disappears. This comes up only when people are trying to block a new school-choice pro- gram; no one daims those who already make an- other choice are similarly draining public schools' budgets. Why don't opponents make that argument? One hopes it's because they know it's not true. On the contrary: Georgia has more than 150,000 private-school students and another 60,000 or so home-schooled. If they all suddenly enrolled in their local public school, they wouldn't create a financial windfall but a financial crisis. Any additional state dollars sent to their dis- tricts wouldn't come dose to covering the district's additional costs of educat- ing those children. Maybe that's why you don't see school choice opponents proposing laws mandating that all chil- dren attend their zoned public school. (Well, that and the fact that some lawmakers who oppose school choice for oth- ers are perfectly happy for their own children or grandchildren to attend private schools.) Nor do opponents pro- pose barring Georgians from moving from one public school district to another. Even though - here's their logic again - it's "taking away" state fund- ing from the district being left behind. So how do the self-same people turn around and daim that letting more students make choices, but also letting them use public funding for some- thing other than a public school, "robs" public schools when those other scenarios don't? I don't know about them, but I trust Georgians to see that self-serving con- tradiction for what it is. The president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Kyle Winglield's column runs in papers around the state of Georgia. TAKING A LIKENS TO YOU by Dale Likens I must admit I'm not into pro- fessional football these days. I guess I gave up watching professional football when a young football player by the name of Colin Kaepemick began to kneel in protest of America. Somehow he become a national hero for showing such disrespect for our country. Very soon it seemed others began to join him and before long I simply said, "That's enough" Today I'm just as excited about college football as I ever was. I watch the Georgia Bulldogs and the Ohio State Buckeyes as often as I can and cheer each team on as I did when I was a young high school student many years ago. However, recently a great, well known professional football quar- terback by the name of Drew Brees brought me back to my deep concern for America, once again, as to where professional sports is headed and where America will be in the coming years. According to Fox News Drew Brees put an ad out for Focus on Family suggesting that young high school children should bring their Bibles to school on Bring Your Bible to School Day. Since my wife and I are both Christians we thought that was a great idea. If I remember my history of American culture it seems that was a common idea when our states joined to become one nation under God. As I recall most of our found- ing fathers were Bible-believing Christians. Our school students recited prayers each morning and some teachers read scriptures to our children. Churches not only defended such actions, they were instramaental in teaching Christian ideas to our children, and Christian leaders were active on school boards and served as principals and teach- ers. But today something rotten has suddenly spread across America. An old word has been yanked out of Webster's dictionary, dusted off and brought back to life to control our thinking and scorch our minds. The word I am speaking of is TOL- ERANCE! Today we as Christians are told we must tolerate the rapid changes confronting our world today. England, so I hear, is teaching its young chil- dren about transgender life in its schools. It's mandatory. Now we in America have also tolerated and endorsed such teachings. Accep- tance of homosexual marriages: "Why not? They're born that way!" we are told. Boys prefer- ring to be changed into girls and girls preferring to be changed into boys has suddenly become toler- ated. Abortion--even after a child is born-- is not only tolerated, it is ac- cepted. "Why not?" we ask. "It's the mother's body. It's her decision!" But asking children to bring a Bible to school? How dare we tolerate such a suggestion! We stand by and speak little of its promising implications. Recently, my wife and I listened to a pastor explain a very similar di- lemma: abstinence among our chil- dren. "How dare we think of teach- ing our children abstinence! Today we must not only accept (tolerate) these people; but their lifestyle, their beliefs, and their habits as our own. And if we don't, we are intolerant bigots!" he explained. ' kny person,' he continued, "who gives up such moral absolutes and absolute faith he/she has been taught will eventu- ally be incapable of distinguishing right from wrong!" What a powerful message! Only you and I can decide whether his statement is true in our very own lives. Those who have the power of the media, such as Hollywood, have now declared President Trump is not the only problem in America, but it is also 'we the people who have voted for him" "To wear a red hat" we are told, "is a shame and must not be tolerated." As Christians we are the demons of the world according to one of our liberal candidates running for the highest office in America. "God will surely punish us for spewing out the toxics that are ruining our world" he boldly claims. "We must stop using plastic straws and stop eating meat!" He proudly declares while he parades through the Iowa State Fair doing both. Before we know it the 2020 elec- tion will be upon us. Will Drew Brees be the last to be criticized for his strong Christian faith or will others be bold enough to speak of God and His Bible? Will we once again be free to read the Bible and speak of God in our public schools? Will the Second Amendment re- main as it is, the right to bear arms? These and many more questions remain to be seen. When a nation turns its back to God--God will surely turn His back to that nation. Perhaps you may laugh and say, "God will never turn His back on America! God is a God of love, not hate!" Perhaps so. But try telling that one to the people of Noah's time. If you still have ques- tions as to whether God would turn His back to a nation that turns its back to him, please read 2nd Chronicles Chapter 36, verses 15-20. But what if we do continue turn- ing our backs to God? Oh, well! Just tolerate His sudden act upon us! God bless. Dale Likens is an author who lives in Monroe County.