By: Fred Johnson; Columnist
Someday we will have to answer to our grandchildren. Were you there Grandpa? Grandma? Were you there when our county was great? Your answer might well be -- "Yes, we were there." America was the economic engine of the world. Our standard of living was the envy of the world and New York City was called the Financial Capital of the world. Our booming economy was adding a half million jobs a month and unemployment was below five percent. It was called free enterprise. Our military was the finest and best equipped in the world and we were known as a Super Power. Homeland Security protected us from foreign terrorist instead of protecting the government from its citizens. Yes, we were there.
This leads to the second line of questions from our grandkids. What happened? Why did you pile trillions and trillions of debt on us? What were you doing when the government seized control of automobile and financial companies? And what was the reason for all of the Czars? Auto Czars, Green Czars, Energy Czars, Diversity Czars and even Corporate Pay Czars. What were you thinking?
What will your answer be? Will it be something like this? "Gee, we didn’t realize what was happening. We were watching network news programs and reading the New York Times and they kept telling us how great everything was. They kept talking about 'green shoots' even as the unemployment rate sailed past 10 percent and a job loss of 450,000 people was considered a recovery because it was less than the 500,000 jobs lost the previous month. I guess we just hoped that things would eventually change for the better instead of getting worse and worse."
By: Celia Murray; Columnist
In the old television cop show, Detective Jack Webb asked witnesses for “the facts, just the facts.” While nuance and interpretation have their place, at this time, as the debate over healthcare reform rages on with a staggering amount of misinformation, I want “just the facts.”
FACT: There Are No Death Panels. There is no panel in any version of the healthcare bills in Congress that judges a person's "level of productivity in society" to determine whether they are "worthy" of health care. Senator Johnny Isackson (R-Georgia) sponsored the amendment which led to the rumors of death panels. Sen. Isackson explained his reason for the amendment: “In the health-care debate mark-up, one of the things I talked about was that the most money spent on anyone is spent usually in the last 60 days of life and that's because an individual is not in a capacity to make decisions for themselves. So rather than getting into a situation where the government makes those decisions, if everyone had an end-of-life directive or what we call in Georgia 'durable power of attorney,' you could instruct at a time of sound mind and body what you want to happen in an event where you were in difficult circumstances where you're unable to make those decisions. This has been an issue for 35 years. All 50 states now have either durable powers of attorney or end-of-life directives and it's to protect children or a spouse from being put into a situation where they have to make a terrible decision as well as physicians from being put into a position where they have to practice defensive medicine because of the trial lawyers. It's just better for an individual to be able to clearly delineate what they want done in various sets of circumstances at the end of their life.”
By Dick Hodgetts; Columnist
Over 9,000 visits have been recorded at the new Morgan County Aquatic Center. That equals nearly half the population of this county. If you like swimming, you will simply marvel at the thoughtful features of this new pool. Several members of the Recreation Board originally felt the cost was prohibitive for a community this size. We all know that cost over-runs are the norm in today’s environment. Instead, the pool was laid out by our Recreation Director, and it was completed on time, without contract changes, and slightly under the budgeted amount. That is simply a marvelous feat. We are fortunate that at this juncture we have Bill Wood as our County Recreation Director, and he is at the top of his game.
It would be easy to be the publicist for Bill. He has a record in this county and throughout the state for excellence in his field. One observer said: “Morgan County gets $2+ of recreation for every $1 allocated to Bill and his department.” He has been at this position for 34 years. For the first 12 years, he was the only employee of the Recreation Department. Morgan County wins State recognition as “best in class” year after year due to his stewardship. He has written many of the rules and regulations that all Recreation Departments use across the State in his capacity as Chairman of the State Recreation Authority. He has officiated all types of sports and has served as the Coordinator for High School officials. It would be an understatement to acknowledge that he is among the highest regarded recreation and sports talents in Georgia. It has been this way for 34 years.
Seven weeks. In seven weeks, you can gain 20 Twitter followers, 20 hamsters or 20 pounds around your midsection. Or you can spend the next seven weeks training for the inaugural Madison Fitness Triathlon (400-yard pool swim, 15-mile bike and 5K run) Sunday, Oct. 18.
It’s win/win. Become a triathlete and make a good dent in losing 20 pounds. Gain 20 new triathlete Twitter followers. And ditch those 20 hamsters by sealing them in unmarked cardboard boxes which you place on neighbor’s back stoop. After knocking, you can flash away as lightening since you are now a triathlete.
In seven weeks change yourself.
Join the burgeoning ranks of individuals who swim, bike and run. Maybe the idea of completing a race always intrigued you. “I’ll do that one day.” Well, that day has arrived.
Barring medical issues, most people with proper time devoted to training can compete in this race. But if the idea of raising your heart rate is little more than resting on the couch watching the Bulldogs kick-off, maybe enough training time left is an issue. Never fear, you can still compete. Get an up close look at this triathlon stuff. Receive a cool T-shirt.
You haven’t swum much lately, but enjoy it. Look around your workplace, family or friends and grab a buddy who likes to bike. Then tag-team a pal who owns a pair of running shoes. In the next seven weeks each can swim enough, bike enough and run enough to become comfortable with that portion of the race.
Or volunteer to help race day. Be a kind soul who offers Gatorade, hands out bananas and gives an encouraging thumbs up when I am wondering why the heck I signed-on for this race. Don’t tell a soul, but during some races it crosses my mind, YOU IDIOT! Who did you think you were signing up for such a thing? Elizabeth Branch?
By: Bobby Smith
The Georgia Master Gardener volunteer Program in Georgia is a training program designed to assist extension agents to transfer research based information about gardening and related subjects to the public by educating home gardeners. Master Gardeners currently are active in many Georgia counties. Through this program, volunteers benefit from the classes as well as ongoing training and the opportunity to share their knowledge with others and the agents and community benefits from the service.
To become a Master Gardener you must first be accepted for a comprehensive training program which consists of 50 hours of classroom instruction. Applications are accepted year round however, the training classes are usually conducted January through March. Classes are taught by University faculty and county agents and are generally held on Tuesday and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. until noon. A few locations offer night classes. Participants must successfully pass a mid-term and a final exam. Even though the deadline is November 1, 2009, in some areas classes may be filled quickly so it pays to apply early.
Depending on the location a course is offered, the training fee is generally in the $135 to $175 range. The fee includes a comprehensive training manual, an intern name badge and membership in the local as well as the Georgia Master Gardener Association for the year following graduation. Class topics include: vegetable and food gardening, plant disease and identification, insect control, ornamental shrubs, tree care, turf grass management, annuals, perennials, pest identification, pest control and xeriscaping.
Printed in the August 27, 2009 edition.