Editorial Roundup: Georgia

Valdosta Daily Times. June 25, 2022.

Editorial: Security should not include armed teachers

We are pleased to see educators, administrators and state lawmakers taking school safety seriously.

Active shooter drills and authentic conversations with students are simply necessary.

There is no one solution for keeping our children safe but we are sure of one thing: Arming teachers should not be a part of the equation.

Let teachers teach.

In the horrible wake of the shooting and deaths of children at the school in Uvalde, Texas, some people are again pushing to arm teachers.

Bluntly, arming teachers is a horrible idea.

Beefing up school security, sadly, is necessary.

More trained and armed police officers, metal detectors, single secured entry points, panic buttons, fencing and safe rooms are all things needed or at least worth considering but teachers with guns is not the answer.

Having a gun in a classroom, even if the teacher has a concealed-carry permit, just creates too many possibilities of things that could go tragically wrong. Some teachers may be former police officers, military personnel or avid hunters familiar with weapons, but that is most likely a very small percentage of educators.

The only people using a deadly weapon to protect our most valuable resource are trained professionals.

Having a handgun permit, going to a shooting range and shooting at targets, animals or even going through one or two active-shooter classes, does not mean you would be able to defend yourself or anyone else when confronted with someone who has a semi-automatic long gun and no regard for human life, his own or anyone else’s.

We are not opposed to armed, trained, certified police officers or deputies in our schools. That’s their job. That is what they are trained to do.

Shooting assailants armed with AR-15s with their small handgun is not the job of a school teacher.

We oppose arming school teachers.

There are better ways to keep our children safe.

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Dalton Daily Citizen. June 29, 2022.

Editorial: Be safe, use common sense with fireworks this Fourth of July

Each Fourth of July, fireworks elicit plenty of “oohs” and “ahhs” as we look skyward for the brightly colored and loud displays of our patriotic pride.

While fireworks are as ingrained in our Independence Day celebrations as backyard cookouts and time spent on the lake, they can potentially be a dangerous damper on your joyous festivities. When misused, fireworks can cause serious, gruesome injuries, death and costly fires.

In 2019, there were a reported 12 non-occupational, fireworks-related deaths, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Seven deaths were attributed to misusing fireworks, two deaths were due to fireworks malfunctioning (late ignition) and three incidents were associated with “unknown circumstances.”

The commission found that fireworks were involved in an estimated 10,000 injuries treated in hospital emergency departments during 2019, while an estimated 7,300 fireworks-related injuries (or 73% of the total estimated fireworks-related injuries in 2019) were treated in hospital emergency departments between June 21 and July 21.

Children comprised a significant amount of those injuries and emergency room visits. Children under 15 accounted for 36% of the estimated fireworks-related injuries, while people under 20 made up nearly half of the estimated fireworks-related injuries that required emergency department visits.

That’s why national, state and local officials are urging people to be extremely careful when using fireworks.

“Independence Day is a time to celebrate the founding of our nation with friends and family,” said John F. King, Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire commissioner. “Although celebrating with fireworks is a fun and time-honored tradition, it is important to remain cautious and follow certain safety tips to prevent accidental fires and severe injuries this holiday.”

King’s office provided these fireworks safety tips:

• Always read the labels and follow the directions for each specific type of firework.

• Light fireworks outdoors and maintain a safe distance away from other people and fire hazards.

• Never re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks.

• Do not give fireworks to small children.

• Avoid using illegal or homemade fireworks.

• Have a garden hose or bucket of water nearby.

• Submerge used and unused fireworks in water prior to discarding.

• If injuries and damages do occur, call 911.

• If you do not feel safe lighting your own fireworks, feel free to attend a public fireworks display.

Let’s all have a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend. If fireworks are part of your celebratory plans, please use common sense and stay as safe as possible.

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Brunswick News. June 28, 2022.

Editorial: Georgia Power’s proposed rate hike is excessive

Upon learning that Georgia Power Co. is seeking a 12% rate hike, a customer of the utility company remarked that he wanted to buy electricity, not the company itself. While his comment reeked of exaggeration, such hefty increases do tend to elicit a “Wow” response from those paying the bills.

Nevertheless, rising costs — not to mention the billions of dollars more Georgia Power is paying for its yet-to-go-online nuclear units at Plant Vogtle — is making it necessary for the company to take a larger chunk out of the paychecks of customers. The 12% would be added to bills over a three-year period.

The proposed hike is more than just a “Wow” to many. There are individuals and families living on fixed incomes, for example, as well as those working two or more jobs just to make ends meet. To them, it’s an “Oh-no,” an income whammy.

The general public accepts the fact that costs are going up. Anyone who drives a gas-powered automobile or buys groceries is well aware of the market today. They feel it on a weekly basis.

Georgia Power is no different. Its expenses are going up too. It must generate more revenue, it says.

That is hard to argue with inflation like it is. Some adjustment may be necessary, despite the $3.78 increase to monthly bills the Georgia Public Service Commission has already approved that will be added to bills when the two new nuclear units go online. But 12%?

That’s not all. Georgia Power President and CEO Chris Womack recently confirmed the company is thinking of increasing bills even higher early next year to cover the soaring fuel costs.

Surely there is a lot of wiggle room in the increase sought by Georgia Power, an increase that will enable the company to reap higher profits, battle inflated costs and pay for improvements.

For some, the hike would be barely noticeable. But that is not the case for everyone, particularly the business community. Small businesses are panting hard enough these days just to keep their heads a fraction of an inch above water. Like Georgia Power, they continue to struggle with the pandemic during a time of profit-breaking inflation.

As a member of this community, we urge Georgia Power Co. to reconsider the amount it is requesting. Failing that, we urge members of the Georgia Public Service Commission to insist upon a more reasonable increase.

Too many elderly citizens and low income households in general are already counting pennies. Don’t make them choose between medicine or electricity during the hot months of summer or the cold months of winter.

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