Editorial Roundup: Georgia

Rome News-Tribune. April 30, 2022.

Editorial: To develop or not develop, that is the question

It occasionally feels like we are our own worst enemy. We fuss and fret that we need housing, affordable preferably, and that we’d like to see more manufacturing jobs in this area, high paying preferably. But when it comes down to the wire, we don’t seem to have our head in the game.

We need housing, but EVEN MORE SO we need housing that our workforce can afford. The signals are good, we’ve made the shift from begging literally anyone to build here to a spike in new home building applications.

But there’s a catch — they’re bringing in metro-Atlanta area prices to townhomes and apartments. They’re talking in the neighborhood of $200,000 for a townhome in a county that has a median HOUSEHOLD income — which often means two wage earners — of around $48,000. That’s nowhere near affordable.

On top of that, we need to attract decent paying jobs. But here’s the catch — the Rome City Commission tapped the brakes on over 100 acres of property taxpayers have invested millions of SPLOST dollars in.

In this example, Summerville Park residents spoke against rezoning the 100-plus acres of former Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital property purchased with SPLOST funds at Monday’s City Commission meeting.

Taking less of a Not In My Backyard approach, residents of the neighborhood represented by an eloquent and well thought out presentation took more of a What Will Be In My Backyard approach.

That argument was essentially that the residents aren’t against development per se, they want an idea of what is coming to their neighborhood.

Fair point.

Historically there is a level of privacy involved in attracting a business to an area and those dealings have always been handled with kid gloves.

The issue we take is a couple of messages sent by tabling the zoning of that property.

One, City Commissioner Bill Collins is a resident of that neighborhood. Collins didn’t do anything unethical or illegal by waxing poetic about why the rezoning shouldn’t go through, however the appearance of impropriety is often as damaging as actual impropriety. In this case Collins pushed against a vote involving his neighborhood yet then advocated for the rezoning of other neighborhoods near Dodd Boulevard under public protest in the same meeting.

Two, it sends a message to industries currently being courted by the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority as well as those in the future. To a point, it’s almost hearkening back to the Floyd County Commission taking issue with the Rome Floyd Chamber, leading to the current way industrial recruitment is handled in Floyd County.

There absolutely has to be a balance in how we move forward with housing and industrial development. The unfortunate truth in compromise is that not everybody gets what they want.

The hope is to find that sweet spot so all get what we need.

For the last time, election fraud is a myth

Most of the folks claiming there was some form of election fraud in the 2020 election don’t understand what an absentee ballot is or how they work.

For instance, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene testified in a hearing last week that her husband Perry was an example of fraudulent voting practices in Georgia’s 2020 election.

Pete McDonald, Floyd County’s interim election supervisor, told the CNHI newspaper group this week that Greene’s husband, Perry, had requested a mailed absentee ballot but surrendered it so he could cast his ballot in person during the three weeks of early voting.

Greene testified under oath her husband did not request a mailed ballot and when he showed up to vote in person he was told he had already voted absentee.

While it was all worked out, a person unfamiliar with the process could easily be confused and buy into conspiracy theories floated by politicians pushing fraud claims.

As if that wasn’t enough, locally we had another problem. The elections supervisor in Floyd County at that time was known for his nearly superhuman ability to miscommunicate and rub people the wrong way.

The purported fraud, it didn’t happen. Human error, that happened. Once they realized the issue it was a tired but dedicated Floyd County Elections Board who immediately admitted the issue and corrected it.

We, again, thank that volunteer board composed of citizens for the work they did during a difficult time.

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Dalton Daily Citizen. April 30, 2022.

Editorial: We can all take steps to prevent child abuse

Saturday marks the end of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Although the month devoted to raising awareness for child abuse closes, we must stay diligent in recognizing the warning signs of this societal scourge and do everything we can to prevent it.

This month, there were 1,386 pinwheels on the lawn of Dalton City Hall. Those colorful pinwheels belie an ugly fact: they represented the 1,386 reports of child abuse or neglect in Whitfield County in 2021. Keep in mind that the pinwheels represent reported cases of abuse. The unreported incidents drive the numbers even higher.

The Family Support Council hosted two public events this week to raise awareness for child abuse with Pinwheels for Prevention ceremonies at Dalton City Hall and the Murray County Courthouse.

“I believe it has been over 1,000 every year since we started more than a decade ago,” Mary Smith, child abuse prevention program manager with the Family Support Council, said at Thursday’s event in Dalton. “But we can change that. Everyone here has the ability to make an impact.”

Although the Family Support Council uses the pinwheel ceremonies to help do its part in bringing awareness that April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, its efforts continue throughout the year. And it needs the community’s help to achieve its goals of reducing and eliminating child abuse.

Prevent Child Abuse America, the nation’s oldest and largest organization committed to preventing child abuse and neglect, offers these 10 ways you can help prevent child abuse:

• Be a nurturing parent. Children need to know that they are special, loved and capable of following their dreams.

• Help a friend, neighbor, or relative. Being a parent isn’t easy. Offer a helping hand take care of the children, so the parent(s) can rest or spend time together.

• Help yourself. When the big and little problems of your everyday life pile up to the point you feel overwhelmed and out of control— take time out. Don’t take it out on your kid.

• If your baby cries … It can be frustrating to hear your baby cry. Learn what to do if your baby won’t stop crying. Never shake a baby — shaking a child may result in severe injury or death.

• Get involved. Ask your community leaders, clergy, library and schools to develop services to meet the needs of healthy children and families.

• Help to develop parenting resources at your local library. Find out whether your local library has parenting resources, and if it does not, offer to help obtain some.

• Promote programs in school. Teaching children, parents and teachers prevention strategies can help to keep children safe.

• Monitor your child’s television, video and internet viewing/usage. Excessively watching violent films, TV programs and videos can harm young children.

• Volunteer at a local child abuse prevention program. For information about volunteer opportunities, call (800) CHILDREN or contact your local Prevent Child Abuse America chapter.

• Report suspected abuse or neglect. If you have reason to believe a child has been or may be harmed, call your local department of children and family services or your local police department.

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Valdosta Daily Times. May 4, 2022.

Editorial: Ready your household for hurricanes

We join Lowndes County Emergency Management in recognizing this week as National Hurricane Preparedness Week and encourage our readers to make preparations for what could be an active hurricane season.

We agree with Emergency Management Director Ashley Tye who said, “Now is a great time for residents to have an emergency plan in place in the event Lowndes County experiences effects of hurricanes, tropical storms and depressions this upcoming hurricane season.”

Our EMA does an excellent job preparing for and implementing its emergency plan during inclement weather.

Still, every resident must prepare their households.

Here are some safety tips collected from EMA, the Red Cross and other trustworthy sources:

— Build an emergency kit with water, food, medications, gasoline, important documents and cash. Have provisions for at least three days for each person.

— Secure outdoor furniture, trash cans and loose items.

— Know the location of all shelters in your area.

— Prepare for your pets with an emergency kit as well.

— Consider purchasing an emergency weather radio.

— Take all watches, warning and alerts seriously.

We also encourage you to sign up for free Valdosta Daily Times text alerts.

When severe weather happens, we spring into action and our entire news team works around the clock to keep our region informed. We send out notifications, push alerts, throughout the weather event in an effort to help keep everyone safe and informed.

Weather alerts from The Valdosta Daily Times are free.

So are alerts about other events in our city, region, state, nation and world. But you do have to sign up to receive them and now is the time to do that, before another storm hits, or the next bit of headline news breaks.

You can get the severe weather alerts on your cell phone or mobile device and you do not have to be a subscriber to The Valdosta Daily Times to receive weather alerts and breaking news.

When severe weather approaches, you can be among the first to know. Anyone can sign up for the text alerts and it’s both easy and free.

With The Valdosta Daily Times text-alert app, you can also be among the first to know when a violent crime takes place in the community and police are looking for a suspect or when there is a major accident on the interstate and traffic comes to a halt. The newspaper is committed to being the leading news source for South Georgia and providing the news to our communities in every way possible.

At no cost, anyone can opt to receive a daily weather forecast and top headlines on their cell phone or tablet each morning. We encourage both our regular readers and non-subscribers to sign up for “Your News. Your Way.”

To start receiving the alerts go to the Valdosta Daily Times website, then:

(1) select “Subscribe” in the navigation bar on the website valdostadailytimes.com then select “Text Alert”;

(2) select the Text Alerts button also located on the valdostadailytimes.com homepage; or

(3) paste the line: http://bit.ly/1j03sZ3 in your browser.

Text alerts to your mobile device, morning and evening email newsletters, daily website updates, Facebook and Twitter posts, and of course, the traditional printed edition of the newspaper give you the news every possible way as we work to keep you informed and be Your News. Your Voice. Your Times.

Most importantly, the time to prepare is now so everyone can stay safe during the upcoming hurricane season.

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