Editorial Roundup: Georgia

Brunswick News. May 20, 2022.

Editorial: Jobs are still plentiful despite low unemployment

There is an interesting dichotomy at play when you look at the state’s unemployment numbers.

According to Capitol Beat News Service, Georgia’s unemployment rate held steady in April at 3.1%. That mark tied the March rate for the all-time lowest unemployment rate. The state also added 19,000 jobs to reach an all-time high of 4.76 million.

All of that is undoubtedly good news. But someone who hears that may be a little bewildered as to why there are still so many “Now Hiring” signs still affixed to many of our area businesses.

All you have to do is look at the number of jobs listed at EmployGeorgia.com to see there are still a lot of businesses hurting for workers. There are 227,000 jobs listed on the site, according to Capitol Beat.

Some industries have been hit harder than others. There are 36,000 heath care openings listed at EmployGeorgia with 23,000 manufacturing jobs and 18,000 retail trade jobs.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to play a part in all of these issues. Some people lost their jobs during the pandemic and didn’t return. Some chose to leave their positions voluntarily due to a variety of factors that mostly revolved around finding a better work-life balance, a phenomenon referred to as the “Great Resignation.”

The strain the pandemic has put on health care workers has no doubt had an adverse effect on that industry. Being on the frontlines of a global pandemic that has killed millions is likely to give even the most ardent doctors, nurses and other staffers pause when it comes to considering what their future might hold.

While unemployment may be low, it hasn’t quelled the need for workers. That should be good news to anyone who still wants to find a job. Some of the onus though will fall on the businesses hiring to adjust to these competitive times.

Workers are in demand, which means a skilled worker can afford to demand what they believe they deserve to make for their work. That’s why we’ve seen even our local county and city governments give raises to its workers as both not only seek to retain the workers they have, but also to entice new workers to join their ranks.

With inflation continuing to be an issue and gas prices still much higher than they were at this time last year, potential workers may be less picky going forward.

One thing is for sure. No matter what the numbers say there is still a huge need for workers across almost all industries.

___

Dalton Daily Citizen. May 25, 2022.

Editorial: The heat is on — stay cool, safe

Northwest Georgians should get ready for the dog days of summer.

In recent days, high temperatures have soared into the mid-80s then cooled considerably. Lows later this week are expected to be in the low 60s.

Since we’ve had a very mild spring, it’s important to remember that extreme heat can take a swift and devastating toll on our bodies. While we are outside mowing the grass or out for a walk, we can quickly border on overexertion due to the heat.

Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. However, more than 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are tips from the American Red Cross to help you deal with the heat:

• Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.

• Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of non-caffeine and non-alcoholic fluids.

• Check on family, friends and neighbors without air conditioning, who are alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.

• If you don’t have air conditioning, seek relief from the heat in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.

• Avoid extreme temperature changes.

• Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

• Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.

• Postpone outdoor activities.

• Take frequent breaks if working outdoors

• Check on animals frequently. Make sure they have plenty of cool water and shade.

It’s also important to know the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, which is more dangerous.

• “Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, those with high blood pressure, and those working or exercising in a hot environment,” according to the CDC.

• “Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106 degrees or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided,” according to the CDC.

Please remember to remain hydrated and stay safe while you’re out in the heat.

___

Rome News-Tribune. May 21, 2022.

Editorial: Make Elections Boring Again

It’s true, we’ve covered primaries, election days, runoffs — all of it — for decades and generally the most excited people are the candidates and us, the journalists who watch those processes. Nobody else generally cares much.

Web traffic on elections is ALWAYS low, but there are a number of folks who really care (we like to call them our readers, and thank you) each election cycle. Many just check out and most everyone around never even bothered to check in.

Then came 2020.

Well, to be fair, lets step back to 2016 nationally with Russians attempting to influence the presidential election. That did happen but President Donald Trump was still lawfully elected. Oh and don’t forget 2018 when Georgia Democrats, without evidence, hinted that then Secretary of State Brian Kemp influenced his election to governor.

But, again, then came 2020. Wild, ridiculous conspiracy theories surfaced like spouting volcanoes all over the place. People who’d never bothered to vote or pay attention before suddenly became elections experts. Trump used his, now banned, Twitter account to share videos pushing off-the-charts conspiracy theories concerning local — yes local — Floyd County Elections Board members.

The unfortunate truth in Floyd County is the issue stemmed from one person, the chief elections clerk at that time, and it’s still in the process of being resolved.

Here’s a couple of points:

♦ The elections office discovered the issue during an audit (that’s what an audit is for, by the way)

♦ The elections office admitted the issue (like we’d hope a government agency would)

♦ The elections office fixed that issue, and counted and certified all the ballots

♦ The person responsible for that issue was fired

What else can you ask for? Not a lot more really. But people who want to hold on to ANYTHING that makes them appear in the right continue to do so despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Being honest, that’s what conspiracy theorists are all about so it shouldn’t be a surprise.

However, we’re here to tell you there have ALWAYS been mistakes on primary day and election night. ALWAYS.

Reaching back to former editors, reporters and staff members who’ve all been at ground zero on election nights for the past several decades, there’s a consensus that there has nearly always been one snafu or another. And they all got fixed.

If they were fixed and the issue wasn’t a lasting one, we generally didn’t report on it.

We cared that our county for years and years was one of the last ones or in the last third to report election totals to the Secretary of State’s office on election night. But no one else did.

Then Trump lost the election and some of his supporters, like our congressional representative, began to aggressively push falsehoods. They’ve continued to do so to this day.

The 2020 presidential election and the months afterward were a tense time that has continued to prove unhealthy for our nation, and we’d like to see things return to normal.

Hence, Make Elections Boring Again.

We won’t be bored, believe us. Most journalists live for Election Day. It’s where troves of knowledge useless in any other venue become valuable. Can you imagine introducing election law or processes as a topic of conversation at a party?

You pay us to pay attention to the minutiae and we do, because we love it. But the accusations, threats and ridiculous behavior, especially on a journalist’s salary, have gotten old.

The fact is this 24-7 political scene is exhausting. The basis for the gripes aren’t true and, let’s be fair, the folks that are griping don’t really care.

Stand with the truth, stand with experience and go cast your ballot. Most of our races will be decided in this primary, and all of you should contribute your voice to our Democratic process.

END