Newspaper Archive of
The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
October 30, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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October 30, 2019

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uDeclolre among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; ON THE PORCH by Will Davis The brevity of life t was 10 years ago that Kell Joseph and I coached our daughters’ Fillies softball team together at the Monroe County Rec Department We were neighbors and friends, but he was a better baseball! softball player than I was. I was glad he was teaching the girls. I was just there for morale — a cheerleader, urging our daughters to quit drawing in the dirt. Kell was one of the first people we met when we moved to Forsyth in 2007. He lived on a high hill across the cul de sac. We were new to town, but Kell was pretty much Mr. Forsyth. He grew up here. He played football at Mary Persons. His whole family lived here. He hunted and fished here, and had a grading business during the busy mid-20008. His family had the iconic Joseph’s store on the courthouse square. Our girls became best buddies growing up in the cul de sac on ' Kyndall Lane. They often took turns, as little girls do, spending the \Q Q night with one another. But the first & ‘k few times Emily stayed with us, she couldn’t make it through the night. Will, I have a stomach ache,” she would say. “Do you want to go home?” I’d ask “Yes sir,” she would say sheepishly, and we’d load her in the truck and take her up the hill She was a daddy’s girl and I sus— pected she missed him. The Josephs eventually moved a few miles away and I missed seeing Kell too. When the real estate recession hit, he gave up his full-time grading business and pursued his dream of opening a taxidermy shop, Boneheads, in Smarr. He was always hosting friends to shoot the bull while he worked On Saturday morning, another old Kyndall Lane neighbor, Jim Finch, told me what had happened. I am still in shock Kell apparently suffered a massive heart attack at home early Satur- day morning. He was gone. The news spread around this town like fire. Kell was a likable, laid—back guy who was easy to get along with. He was like an old, comfortable shoe. The long line at visitation at Monroe County Memorial Chapel on Monday night was a testament to his personality and deep roots in Forsyth. It took some people 90 minutes to get through the line. There was some talk that it had taken Monroe County EMS a long time, 30 minutes, to arrive to try to revive Kell. I asked my county commissioner, Eddie Rowland, about that. He said the county actually had three ambulances on duty on Saturday, which is more than usual. Two of the three ambulances were working a wreck on I-75. That’s because one of the drivers, De— marius Dean of Warner Robins, who was going 15 mph on the interstate and suspected of DUI, claimed he was the passenger in his 2003 GMC Denali. So two ambulances had to respond in case they found the “driver”. EMTs eventually figured out, since he was trapped in the driver’s seat, that he had to be the driver and was just trying to wiggle out of his-DUI. ' Anyway, Rowland said the first two units arrived at Kell’s home off Hwy. 83 five miles south of Forsyth 12 minutes after the call, and a county ambulance arrived in 14 minutes. That’s not a bad response time actually. Sadly there was more tragedy to come in Monroe County on Saturday. A 2-year—old girl on Wadley Road also passed away. See her obituary on page 6A. As I get older, I get used to some things. The ease of childhood eventually gives way to the reality that life is hard But one thing that’s hard to get used to is that life ends —— for all. There’s a 100 percent chance that none of us are getting out of here alive. The Bible puts it this way in James 4: 14: “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” And the Psalmist adds: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” The fact that I will die, and that all my friends and loved ones will die, is the most important fact of life. It makes me realize so many of the things I worry about are a waste of time and energy. Ball games, status, money, social media — the things that grab my attention — none of them matter when I consider that one day soon I will appear before Jesus Christ At that time, the only thing that will matter will be whether I let Him in when He knocked on the door of my heart. Reporter is published every week by The Monroe County Reporter Inc. Will Davis, President - Robert M. Williams Jr., Vice President Cheryl S. Williams, Secretary-Treasurer OUR STAFF Will Davis Publisher/Editor Trellis Grant Business Manager Diane Glidewell Community Editor Richard Dumas News Editor Carolyn Martel Advertising Manager Amy Haisten 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: 548 - Single Copy: $1 Deadline noon on Friday priorto issue. Comments featured on opinion page are the creation of the writers, the do not necessarily reflect the opinions ofThe Reporter management Publication No. USPS 997-840 EDITORIALS 2019, 20m winner: Best H 2019 winner: Best Cowman; PEACH STATE POLITICS by KyleWErtgfieid Ga. must keep cutting taxes 0 rise, or not to group based in Washing— rise: that is the ton, D.C., arrive at these question. rankings? It considers No, I don’t five key types of taxes: mean the Atlanta Falcons, corporate taxes, indi- who blew their chance vidual income taxes, sales to “rise up” this season. taxes, property taxes and Rather, unemployment I’m talk— insurance taxes. ing about It ranks each whether state on each the state type of tax, then of Geor— compares them gia will overall. maintain its It turns out upward tra- that Georgia is jectory in better than the economic median state competi- on only one of tiveness. w these: corporate A key WW taxes. With 1 measure of being best and our prog- 50 being worst, ress, the Tax Foundation’s we rank 36th in individual State Business Tax Climate income taxes, 29th in sales Index, was updated this past week The good news: Georgia rose four spots in the new edition, the third- largest gain of any state. The bad news: Even that improvement left us ranked a middling 32nd. The states we climbed over are not exactly a hotbed of competitive- ness: Illinois, Kansas, Maine and Massachusetts. You deserve a prize if you guessed even debt-ridden Illinois and “Taxachusetts” had better business tax 'cli- mates than Georgia until this year. How does the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan taxes, 28th in property taxes and 39th in unem— ployment insurance taxes. Our ranking improved by two spots on corporate and individual income taxes, both tied directly to the changes the General Assembly passed in 2018. Lawmakers were reacting to the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which eliminated many of the federal deductions that Georgia simply adopts and consequently would have increased state taxes by more than $1 billion per year. Recall what happened in the state bill: First, effec— tive last year, the standard deduction was doubled, reducing tax bills for the majority of Georgians who don’t itemize their deduc— tions. Second, effective this year, the top income tax rate was cut for the first time, from 6% to 5.75%, saving money for all single taxpayers with more than $7,000 of taxable income ($10,000 for married couples). Yet, until now the net result from the state and federal laws was an increase in state taxes. That’s right: Georgians this year are expected to pay over $100 million more in state income tax than they would have otherwise (apart from the effect on federal taxes). At the state level, all of this tax reform — the changes, remember, that led to that welcome improvement in our state business tax climate won’t become an actual tax decrease unless the General Assembly follows through with the third part of its package: afur- ther reduction in the top income tax rate, to 5.5%. Only then would the net impact on state revenues turn negative for the year. Even then, the impact is expected to dissipate over the course of a few years. Given the sudden nar— rative that this tax cut is 20I9 winner: Best loyoul are D n 2019 winner: Best Serena Come. Don Danie: publish, and conceal not." Jeremiah 50:2 20W, 2018, 10", 2016 winner: E-‘~r ~‘ 9”: l the reason Gov. Brian Kemp has ordered some state agencies to cut their budgets, bear this in mind: The total impact of that third tax change is less than the total of the poten- tial spending cuts. In fact, the total of the potential cuts is much more comparable to the amount legislators approved this year for Kemp’s $3,000-per—year pay raise for teachers. It remains unclear if the total state budget is actu- ally going to decline. It is possible the spending cut in one place will be redi- rected to higher priorities for example, the other $2,000 per year Kemp has promised teachers. Far from arguing for scrapping the rest of the state’s tax reform, the les- son here is the state can achieve multiple objectives at once. Georgia can find efficiencies, re-prioritize spending and provide a modest amount of tax relief for citizens. It’s about time opponents explained why they think taxes should instead go up — while Georgia’s competi- tiveness takes a tumble. The president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Kyle Wingfield’s column runs in papers around the state of Georgia. BACK 'N‘ FORTH by Bili Weaver Bulldog Brigade or delight to see, and hear laying the tuba never was a boyhood dream. For that matter, does ANY boy or girl entering the sixth grade ' really have a yearning to play the big- gest and heaviest horn in the band? Maybe, but I never met one. FOR MOST of my band-playing years I played a white fiberglass sousaphone, the big tuba-sounding, wrap-around horn that usually plays the lowest oom-pah notes in the band. John Philip Sousa, the great composer of military march music, helped create the wrap-around tuba, which later became known as the sousaphone. MY FIRST instrument was the trumpet, but later I was moved to the baritone, and later still I landed under the sousaphone, which I played in middle and high school, two semesters of college, and then for a couple of seasons in a community band. ON FRIDAY nights, when the Mary Persons Bulldogs play at home, I gladly pay $10 to get in to see not only the game, which I enjoy, but especially the Bulldog Brigade and its four players who have the honor of blowing into their beautiful, brass sousaphones. This past Friday night was a special treat -. .. because not only did the Brigade entertain us, but the big West Laurens band — which s .0. WE WERE disciplined and well coached. I recall the “spinning right flanks,” which not many bands used. When we were supposed to turn 90 degrees to the right, instead ofpivot— ing on our left foot and turning right, we pivoted on the ball of our right foot and spun 270 degrees around to the left, leaving us headed to the right. Trombones and h d 1 trumpets had to raise their a at eaSt “fice a5 horns high to avoid hitting marry $011331) CITIES their neighbors. It was pe OI’me as We . pretty hWATCflIIHNG fifND BUT WE had nothing eanng ose pe or- .. _ on the Bulldog Brigade. mances took me back What makes a marching to my high schorgl d mm", band is really the sound yezriilwl en our a3 — that big, brass sound. I f a e 0W? 1‘ ecor always felt sorry for the 0f conseCUthe suPe' woodwind players — clari— rior One ratings at marching band contest — 49 straight years. We were a proud crowd at a small high school, which had about 280 students in grades 9- 12, about 65 of whom were in the band. nets, saxophones, flutes, etc. — be- cause they rarely played the melody and rarely could be heard over the sound of the brass. The more brass in the band, the bigger the sound. The Bulldog Brigade has that sound, and A young Bill Weaver plays the sousaphone. they perform their music very well. THE “LIGHT Up the Night” show Friday night was excellent. The last song, called “Firework,” a pop song by Katy Perry, was performed with great enthusiasm. And to top it off, while the band was playing, to the right of the end zone someone set off a nice display of fireworks. It was dramatic and unexpected. I WILL stand or sit for any march- ing band — especially ones that play Sousa marches-- and I do not go to the food stand or the restroom during halftime of any football game, high school or college. The band is a big deal, and I appreciate the stu- dents who put in the time to practice and then entertain us. I congratulate them for their dedication and effort, and I will watch them and listen to all the instruments, but especially the sousaphones and their players who blow oom-pah—pahs all night long. Bill Weaver lives in northern Monroe County. He can be reached Via email at billweaver81 1 @gmail. com.