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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
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December 12, 2018     The Monroe County Reporter
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December 12, 2018
 

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& EDITORIALS Declare among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not, Jeremiah 50:2 A 2018, 2017, 2016 winner: Editorial Page excellence 2018 winner." Best Headline Writing /O~i~'~l 2018, 2017 wi Best News Photography l~l'ff~'l-~l 2018 winner: Best Sporfs Pages~':klILN~- I 2018 winner. Best Serious Col On the Porch k'~e~ ~7"~] 2018, 2017 winner: Best Humorous Column - On the Porch ~ ~ ON THE PORCH by Will Davis County couldn't lose C!ongratulations to Brad Freeman on being elected eriff. Leading up to the runoff, most ofthe buzz at e Waffle House and around town was that Freeman ULD win, but that Lawson Bittick, having led the first vote by 1,000 votes, was the favorite. I don't think anyone expected Freeman to notch a 1,000-vote victo While we commend Freeman for running a good, smart race, we would be remiss ifwe didn't tip our hat to the Bittick family after nearly a century serving as our top law enforce- ment family. The Bitticks have been good for Monroe County, and Monroe County has been good for them. I've been a newsman in six Georgia counties working with six different sheriffs, and John Cary Bittick was the most open and responsive that I've covered. Lawson Bittick has always struck me as fair and someone who has integri By the way; so do Brad Freeman and A1 Shackelford, the outgoing interim sheriff. I guess I'm trying to say that Monroe County is fortunate to have had several good choices for sheriffin the last election. Not that they're per- fect--- that's why we need a good newspaper to hold them accountable. But let's just say it could be a lot worse President Trump may be having a hard time getting Congress to build a border wall, but the Great Wall of For- syth appears just about done. You 11 see the @all if you pass My morn, Betsy Wray, and nephew, Charlie Davis, were among the first guests at The Loft at 12 East John- ston Street over Thanksgiv- ing, enjoying this terrific view of the courthouse. the lot being developed across from our famous E1 Tejado Mexican Restaurant on Hwy. 83. That's where developers are building a gas station, Huddle House, Papa John and Zaxby's next to 1-75. The development will open up the east side ofthe interstate at Forsyth's main exit, maybe relieving the congestion the other direction, up on Hamburger Hill Anyway; some have asked why the project is taking so long. The property owner tells the Reporter that after surveying the propert, he learned that he would have to build a giant retain- ing wall around the perimeter to keep it firm and above nearby wetlands. It is some kind of wall! Some have grumbled because the Development Authority fronted the project $200,000, which will be repaid in new sales taxes. The authority says get- ring rid of the blighted Regency Motel on that site was worth the deal. I tend to agree. eee Speaking of development, my mom and step-dad made history as THE first guests ever to stay at The Loft at 12 East Johnston Street over Thanksgiving. Wow. Now, my mother doesn't do second-das it's hard enough to get her even to go to Walmart. But she was blown away by the work that our friend Joel Kennedy and his partner with City Line Commer- cial have done to bring a first-dass penthouse to Forsyth. "Is ?I?" this really Forsyth she wondered. There are two bedrooms and incredible features and decor, and the whole loft is run by an iPad. If your family needs a place to stay over the holidays, check them out on www.AirBandB.com. This just in: The railroad crossing on Hwy. 18 near its inter- section with Hw . 41 will be dosed for the next several days for maintenance. Crews will dose the crossing on 18/Harold Clarke Parkway just east of the Hw)a. 41/Brooklyn Avenue intersection for maintenance from Thursday; Dec. 13-Tuesday; Dec. 18. Hw . 18 between Hw . 41 and Patrol Road/Industrial Parkway intersection will only be open to local traffic. A detour will be set up. Don't look now, but "conservative" Georgia leaders in D.C like our congressman Austin Scott, are about to break the bank again with another bloated farm bill full ofwelfare for big farmers and corporations. And no work requirements for food stamp recipients. It's disgusting. Scott ran for Congress on fiscal discipline and reining in the debt, promising that unlike Rep. Jim Marshall, he would oppose raising the debt ceiling. Now, he's one of the biggest spenders in Congress. What a fraud. the Mortroe County 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 OUR STAFF Will Davis u ,is,er, Edito publisher@mymcr.net ~ Richard Dumas News Editor forsyth@mymcr.net Trellis Grant Business Manager business@mymcr.net Diane Glidewell Community Editor news@mymcr.net Carolyn Martel i ~i~ Advertising Manager @ ~i~:" Brandon Park Creative Director ads@mymcr.net graphics@mymcr.net Official Organ of Monroe County and the City of Forsyth 50 N. Jackson St. Forsyth, GA 31029 Periodicals Postage Paid at Forsyth, GA 31029 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to.' THE MONROE COUNTY REPORTER p.o. Box 795, Forsyth, GA 31029 SUBSCRIPTION RATE: In County: $40 Out of County: $48 Single Copy: $1 Deadlines noon on Friday prior to issue. Comments featomd on opinion pages am the creation of the writers, the do not necessarily reflect the opinions oflhe Reporter management. Publication No. USPS 997-840 PEACH STATE POLITICS by Kyle Wingfield Like many of you, I suspect, by bedtime on the first of December I was an emotional wreck. Once more, the Georgia Bulldogs had played a fantastic game against the Alabama Crimson Tide with a title on the line. Once more, the men in red and black had come up agonizingly short. This was, unfortu- nately, not a surprise. In the days leading up to the game, I told friends I hoped we won or lostcon- vincingly: Another contest decided on the final play was not what my cardiolo- gist recommended. What was different this time, for me, was how the aftermath played out. Sports fans like myself are long since accustomed to seeking solace by con- suming fact and opinion: the numbers in the box score, the post-game analysis by talking heads - and, increasingly, the exasperation or jubilation expressed on social media. Scrolling aimlessly through a Facebook feed or Twitter timeline, even with no intention of post- ing oneself, has become a habit for many of us at such moments. We are seeking, I think, validation of the joy, anger, frustra- tion, relief, amazement, shock, confu- sion, despair, hope and so much more we feel. But so often, that's not what is actually delivered. For all the promise in the name, "social" media are flat things. I don't only mean two- dimensional, although that's also true. I mean their activity is typically devoid of most of what truly makes humans such social creatures. It is opinion without thought, emotion unburdened by reflection, interaction not tempered by consider- ation. Even the more genuine expressions on social me- dia lack the benefit of true expressiveness; the cre- ation of emojis is a tacit, if inadequate, acknowledge- ment of as much. We may try to compensate for the flatness of the medium with exaggeration, but that yields only carica- tures, not the fullness of reality. All of this hit me more dearly than ever once Jake Fromm's final pass of the night fell to the (equally artificial) turf in Atlanta. So, while I went to bed on the first of December promising myself a lot of things I didn't even believe in the moment - stop watching Georgia football? really, Kyle? - I did so without seeking out anyone else's opinions about the matter. That includes the TV talking heads as well as my Face- book friends. The next da ; still down in the dumps, I rose and sought out something else: other people, in the flesh. And in them lay my salvation. Not because I saw them at church, although that never hurts. But mostly because I saw them: eye to eye, hand to hand, wince to knowing wince That even goes for my friend Jeff the Bama fan, who knew to laugh when I told him graciousness was probably more than he could expect from me that day - an exchange that might have gone wrong if tapped out ori our smart- phones. If this applies to football, it justmight apply to all else we experience in life. Including politics. I II TAKING A LIKENS TO YOU by Dale Likens ! Since we own a time- share and have the opportunity to visit different states with beautiful accommoda- tions, my wife and I spent the entire past week in Branson, Mo. Branson affords much entertain- ment in the middle of the spectacular, wonderful Ozark Moun- tains. If you don't mind the long, tedious drive at times, you might enjoy the stunning array of col- orful leaves that permeate the vast mountains that surround the entire city of Branson and beyond. We had great plans for the entire week. We intended to begin our visit just outside Branson at the famous Lamberts restaurant where young waiters and waitresses toss rolls across the room if you wave your hand and ask for one. With much practice the wait- ers or waitresses are spot on with their pitches, but some patrons aren't quite as good at catching the rolls so a few are missed and the rolls end up on the floor. It sounds kind of "backwoods;' but it creates a lot oflaughter and fun. Hundreds of people come from all over the country to visit this restaurant each day of the week and the waiting may be very, very long. Countless numbers of buses pull into the park- ing areas and quickly un- load with 20 or 30 people aboard each bus. But the food is delicious and the waiting is long. However, scores of people lined the waiting area inside and outside and the weather was so cold we chose to pass the invitation for another day. Arriving at our destina- tion early we signed Ll'k n, inandina short time we unloaded our luggage in our elegant third floor apartment that over- looked the entire village of Branson. What a magnifi- cent view! Splendid red, orange, and yellow leaves lit up the beautiful, blue evening sky while dotted, red tail-lights lined the Main Street a half mile away. We had great plans to travel on the Branson Belle where a wonderful dinner is served while you watch outstanding entertain- ment, which may be a combination of music, comedy, dancers or magi- cians as the Branson Belle travels smoothly down the river. We made sure we purchased our tickets for two days later because we were told the boat would be full each day of the week "Don't miss the Presleys while you're here!" The ticket master informed us. you must see the show titled 'Sampson'! It is the favorite entertainment this year and it is definitely a must! It will be packed every evening and I can only hope we can squeeze you in!" Then it happened. The temperature dropped to 13 degrees that night (which was a record low for this time of year). Our room, as accommodat- ing as it was, could not keep up with the heat I needed. The next morning I developed a terrible sinus infection and began feel- ing under the weather. Rain followed by two inches of snow was predicted for our area the next morning Growing up in Ohio my wife and I were well aware of the effects of snow on wind- ing roads and hills. We decided to ride the snow out and simply watch a little television. As I ran through the channels quickly, I stopped sud- denly and asked my wife if she recognized the people on the television screen. "Oh, my goodness!" she called out. "It's the '7 Little Johnston Family' from Forsyth!" "Can you imagine that? I said. "We drove all the way to Branson, Missouri to be entertained and here we are watching 'The 7 Little Johnstons' from Forsyth, Georgia!" Needless to say, I was excited to know that the Johnston family show was being broadcast in the state of Missouri. What made it more exciting was that we know the Johnston family well. We once attended the same church in Milner. We have As political campaigns are fought even more on digital terrain, the candidates fighting them become even flatter, emoji-like caricatures. That makes them easier to despise, as if the other forces pushing us toward opposite poles weren't enough. And then we bloviate about it all on the flatlands of social media, mostly among like-minded people, with the occasional dissenter dismissed or attacked as a "troll" We need to experience more of our politics in person: not only the cam- paigns, but our own de- bates with each other. In fact, for as much comfort as I got commiserating with other Georgia fans, it was that brief interac- tion with "the enemy" that helped ease the worst of my football hangover. (Not all of it, mind you; one can't expect disap- pointment like that to simply vanish.) It's too easy to hate the flat avatars of people. We need to experience them, and life, in the round. The president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Kyle WinydfeM's column runs in papers around the state of Georgia. e e met Trent, the father of the family, and his wife and his children.They are from Forsyth! They have made a success of their lives, and Forsyth can be very proud of the entire family! But why am I so proud? Because I remem- ber well Trent's first day of sixth grade at Stockbridge Middle School when he entered my dass and proudly slid into his seat and smiled at me. ' knd who are you, young man?" I asked as our eyes met. "I'm Trent Johnston!" he proudly said "J-O-H-N-S- T-O-N!" "Well, I'm Mr. Likens! 'L-I-K-E-N-S!"' I smiled in return. "I'm glad to have you in my dass!" "I'm glad to be here!" he smiled again. Because I was not feeling well we decided to leave Branson a little earlier than we had planned. We didn't get to see the shows we had planned, but our decision to leave early proved to be wise because the storm followed us along Interstate 140 and dosed it down for hours after we had gone through. Yes, we missed much entertainment in Branson, Missouri. But it was worth it all just seeing the "7 Little Johnstons" on televi- sion. It sure brought back many wonderful memo- ties! Thanks Trent! And thanks to your beautiful family! Forsyth is very proud of all of you! God bless! Dale Likens is an author who lives in Monroe County.