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The Monroe County Reporter
Forsyth, Georgia
December 25, 2019     The Monroe County Reporter
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December 25, 2019

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“Declare among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; ‘ii i .3. if: . r ON THE PORCH by Will Davis Fake year in reivew hat a year it’s been in Monroe County. It started in January when Monroe County commissioners doubled the fees for children to play at the rec department. That after commissioners realized low fees were drawing the cheapskates from other counties. As another way to increase revenue, commissioners levied a $1,000 fine on any parents thrown out of a ball game. Commissioners weredisappointed, however, when the new fines only collected $42 millicn in the first year. Also in January, county employees were outraged to learn that commissioners were capping the number of hours they can bank as leave time. One employee, Ima B. N. Tahiti, was so upset she retired from the county. Fortunately, Ima had been with the county five years, so she had built up 25 years of leave time and was fully vested. Also in January, legendary Smarr banker Joe Evans reflect- ed on his successful career after the sale of State Bank. Evans allowed that part of the reason for his success is that he isn’t wasteful. For instance, as the head of Georgia Tech’s alumni association, Evans noted that he hadn’t had to waste money by attending a post-season bowl game in decades. Later in the month, commis- sioners gave themselves a 46 percent raise to $15,000 per year starting in 2021. Commission chairman Greg Tap- ‘ ley said he considers it a parting gift for Mike Bilderback when he beats him next year. Not to be left out, city councilmen Julius Stroud and John Howard suggested in February that the city should pay for their wives and families to attend conventions such as those in Savannah and Amelia Island. Howard noted that by paying for his family to take trips, city tax— payers would actually save more money than when they just allowed him not to pay his power bill. In March, commissioners announce they’re consider— ing 21 pages of new laws to clean up things like junk cars in the county. Commissioners reverse course after a Boxankle Road resident explains that “junk cars” are now actually “fashionable yard art” that adds value to v homes and properties. Then in April, Monroe County gets a look at true love when Bolingbroke area residents Catherine Kehl and ' Caleb Fuller are married just hours after their home burned to the ground. The couple watched at 3 am. as their Emerald Drive home burned. They embraced and said, “we will still be married tomOrrow, come hell or high water”. ‘ “And let me tell you,” said Kehl. “Hell was at my house.” Understandably, no one was offended when the bride and groom announced to their guests that they reg- istered for gifts at Lowe’s, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Allstate Insurance Co. Also in April, Forsyth approved new “party cups” for downtown restaurants allowing patrons to ramble around town with an alcoholic beverage. Mayor Eric Wilson said he can’t wait to try one with Kool Aid. As an added bonus, city police noted that DUI fine collections are up 300 percent in the city. Meanwhile, also in April, animal shelter director Ty Oppelt banned local pet rescue volunteers from his facility. The two sides growled at each for several weeks before Michael Vick was finally summoned to separate them. Eventually it was Oppelt who needed to be ad- opted after he was shown the door. Meanwhile, Mary Persons’ baseball players got the thrill of a lifetime by playing at SunTrust Park. Junior Trippe Moore pitched a complete game shutout to lead MP to the Win, and it was remarked that once again, the only way to win at SunTrust is not to go to the bullpen. See next week for the rest of the Fake Year in Review. the Morin): County porter 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 OHS 11A EDITORIALS PEACH STATE POLITICS by Kyle Winglield en the plant in West Point had gone through two lieu- clock rolled its first car off the tenant governors. David strikes assembly line about six Ralston became speaker midnight weeks earlier. Since then, of the House on the 11th to usher in Jan. 1 and an the plant has produced day of the decade, and still entirely new decade — we about 2.7 million vehicles. holds the gavel. will not, About 1,600 Just two of Georgia’s I’m sorry Georgians work statewide elected officials to report, at a Caterpillar were in their current office be getting plant in Athens when the 2010s began: jetpacks. that hadn’t even Public Service Commis- Or flying been announced sioners Chuck Eaton and cars. a decade ago. Lauren McDonald. Just 2020 Ditto for about two others (Kemp and La- may have 1,000 more bor Commissioner Mark sounded at the Takeda Butler) were in elected futuristic Pharmaceutical office of any kind a decade for many plant near Social ago. of us in our Circle, which Ten years ago, Republi- youth, but ,» has mana ed cans in Geor ia were on it’s merely WW to have thgree their way to tam-thirds another names in the “supermajorities” in both incremen- interim (Shire chambers of the General tal marker on time’s march before Takeda, and Baxter Assembly. Heading into forward. Yet it’s worth before Shire). next November’s election, looking back across the Fourteen Georgia-based Democrats think they decade that’s almost fin- companies made the have a real shot of taking ished to see 110w Georgia Fortune 500 list in 2010, back the state House for has changed. but the most recent list the first time in nearly two We’ve added about 1 had 18. In 2010, the New decades. million Georgians since York Stock Exchange was All of which is to say, 2010. That’s a smaller based in New York City; “career politicians” not- increase than the two now it’s based in Atlanta. withstanding, politics is previous decades, but still The mergers creating the dynamic as well. plenty to ensure our roads companies now called On Jan. 1, 2010, the 15 and classrooms remain WestRock and Veritiv Georgians elected to rep- crowded. hadn’t yet happened. resent us in Washington Georgia’s unemploy- Newell Rubbermaid hadn’t (13 in the US. House, two ment rate last month was yet moved its headquar- in the Senate) had served a record—low 3.3% less ters from Georgia to New a collective 145 years in than a third of the 10.5% Jersey, and then back to Congress. We’ve added rate a decade earlier. The number of Georgians with jobs is about 700,000 higher than a decade ago. What are some of those additional workers doing? When 2010 began, the Kia Georgia. a seat in the House since All of which is to say, then, and despite turnover capitalism is dynamic. in 10 of the 16 positions, Since Jan. 1, 2010, we the collective tenure have elected two new gov- has actually gone up, to ernors: Nathan Deal and then Brian Kemp. We’ve 153.5 years. That’s chiefly because four Democrats 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 winner: Editorial Page excellence 2019, 2018 winner: Best Headline Wrriing 2019 winner: Best Community Service 2019 winner: Best layout and Design 2019 winner: Best Serious Column Don Daniel publish, and conceal not." Jeremiah 50:2 . Georgia dynamic, but still Loserville — Sanford Bishop, Hank Johnson, John Lewis and David Scott — each served the entire decade; the other offices have lost a combined 31.5 years of tenure. The Georgia delegation’s collective tenure would be even higher, but Jan. 1, 2020, will be Kelly Loef- fler’s first day as a US. senator — and the first day since Feb. 22, 1999, that Johnny Isakson wasn’t a member of Congress. For all those changes, though, some things have stayed regrettably the same: ' World Series won by the Atlanta Braves: still just one. Super Bowls won by the Atlanta Falcons: still iero (halftime leads, and even fourth-quarter leads, un- fortunately don’t count). NBA Finals won by the Atlanta Hawks: still zero. The only major profes- sional title to come our way was courtesy of a new team, Atlanta United. Otherwise, we the sports fans in Georgia still have a familiarwrefrain: Wait ‘til next year. Just not, let’s hope, the next decade. The president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, Kyle Wingfields column runs in papers around the state of Georgia. BACK 'N’ FORTH lay bill Weaver Straight Talk was my bad idea 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 POST MASTER: Send address changes to: THE MONROE COUNTY REPORTER 4789942358 SUBSCRIPTION RATE: In County: $40 - Out of County: 548 - Single Copy: $1 Deadlines noon on Friday prior to issue. Comments featured on opinion pages are the creation of the writers, the do not necasarily reflect the opinions oflhe Reporter management Publication No. USPS 997-840 ong-time readers of The Ma- con Telegraph might recall a column that ran in the 1990s called Straight Talk. It was very similar to the Vent that runs in the Reporter — anonymous com- STRAIGHT TALK became a vehicle for hate speech, unsubstanti— ated attacks and blatant lies. Some of those attacks got published. Later, it became a lot of work to police the column, not to mention having ments get published. to sortthrough the many com- ments to determine what would get DURING the period when I published. Despite the noble idea of worked at The Telegraph I was giving the voiceless a voice, it was proud of Straight Talk, ‘ more trouble than it was primarily because it was worth. my idea, and also be- cause it quickly became LOOKING back, I see wildly popular. how it was an affront to public civility. Personal THIS WAS back attacks were fair game. before the Internet, Name calling was al- which allowed anyone to lowed. It was the social publish whatever he/ she media of today, just 25 wanted for thousands to f; years before its time. see. It was back before . Facebook or Twitter NOW, incivil- or other social media. M ity is everywhere, and At the time, about the nowhere was it more only way an average present than during the citizen could voice his/ impeachment process her opinion was to write a letter to the editor. But those had to carry the author’s name or they wouldn’t get published. MY IDEA was to give people who had something to say an easy way to say it and be heard. Most people wouldn’t take the time to write a let- ter to the editor, but they could pick up the phone. And they could be anonymous. IT PAINS me to say that column was a bad idea. . last week People couldn’t agree on what was a fact. The Republicans and Democrats called each other liars. Heck, our president has called a man “dumb as a rock” or a “loser” and a woman a “fat pig.” We blame leftist Democrats, or the media, or I the president, or right-wing Repub- licans. THIS IS the conduct of people at our highest level of government. So, what can we expect from those of us down here in the hinterlands? SOCIAL MEDIA has allowed us to spread outrage and anger as fast as our fingers will type. Many of us have become so callous to criticism that we’ve overcome the reluctance to sound off without the protection of being anonymous. We don’t care what our opponents think of us. Town hall meetings have become free—for-alls and shouting contests. Some of us don’t want to be civil because doing so might be a means of silencing us. MINE IS but a lone voice in the Southern wilderness, but it pains me to see the kind of Straight Talk ven- om poisoning our public discourse. Why can’t we be civil? Why can’t we respect an opposing opinion? Why can’t we debate and compromise and let both sides find a way to claim a partial victory without resorting to personal attacks? THIS IS the season for thinking and doing good deeds, so this is as good a time as any to find a way back to civility. Not getting along is not becoming, nor is it productive, nor is it civil. We can be heard and we can disagree, but must we call each other names? A RETURN to civility is my Christmas wish for everyone. That, and wishing everyone would use their car blinker when they turn, but that’s another story. Bill Weaver lives in northern Mon- roe County. He can be reached via email at billweaver81 Let your voice be heard. Email letters to the editor to