Editorial Roundup: Georgia

Dalton Daily Citizen. October 5, 2021.

Editorial: After a year hiatus, the Prater’s Mill Country Fair returns this weekend for its 50th anniversary

After being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Prater’s Mill Country Fair on the mill’s grounds in Varnell returns Saturday and Sunday just in time to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Prater’s Mill is recognized as one of the best fall festivals in the South, and we are happy to see it return after missing last year. 2020 marked the first time since 1971 the fair wasn’t held.

The fair is a true representation of Appalachia featuring mountain music, Southern foods, living history exhibits and handmade crafts and art items of many talented artists and artisans. There will be plenty of live demonstrations, from blacksmithing to wood carving to hand-tufting, which was the foundation of the tufted carpet industry that turned Dalton into the “Carpet Capital of the World.”

The festival happens against the background of the red and white water-powered mill known for decades as Prater’s Mill, which was built in 1855. The mill fell into disrepair, so in 1971 volunteers started the festival to raise money to restore the mill and surrounding buildings.

Years later, those volunteers were successful. We as a community are blessed to have a restored, vibrant Prater’s Mill area highlighted by the country fair during the second weekend in October.

In addition to the mill, visitors can tour the Shugart Cotton Gin, 1898 Prater’s Store, Dr. Lacewell’s office, Caboose, Westbrook Barn & Goodner-Smith Farm collection and the Prater’s Store.

Adult admission is $7 cash per person per day for adults; children 12 and under are free; military members with ID are free. Parking and shuttle service are free. Visit pratersmill.org/fair for more information. Visitors are advised to dress casually and wear comfortable shoes.

Fair Director Mikey Sims said organizers deliberated long and hard about whether to go forward with the fair this year. He said it will be a little bit smaller than past fairs.

“Pre-COVID we decided to require all of the food vendors to have hand sanitizer available and visible for public use,” Sims said. “That was already in place. We have a running water hand-washing station with soap and paper towels.”

History abounds at Prater’s Mill. And this weekend, arts, crafts, singing, dancing and plenty of scrumptious fair food will abound. We hope you are able to attend and celebrate 50 wonderful years of the Prater’s Mill Country Fair.

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Valdosta Daily Times. October 6, 2021.

Editorial: Newspapers serve communities with trustworthy reporting

Imagine communities without newspapers.

Who would hold government accountable?

Who would keep an eye on taxpayer dollars?

Who would stand up for free speech and defend the public right to know?

Newspapers reporting real news have never been more important or more valuable to readers and communities.

This week, newspapers across the nation recognize National Newspaper Week and a time for us to talk candidly about the importance of accurate reporting, watchdog journalism, strong editorials, comprehensive public notices and a free, open public forum that can be easily accessed by readers in more ways than ever before.

In print, on digital sites, via laptop, desktop and mobile devices, through SMS or social media, newspapers across the nation continue to be the leading source of reliable information in all of the communities they serve.

In a world of bogus news reports spread on social media and repeated attacks on the media, it is important for the public to know the difference between legitimate reporting by credible sources and all the noise on social media.

Here are some of the reasons your local newspaper is the most trustworthy source for news and information:

— Newspaper newsrooms are staffed with real people — people you know — reporters, photographers, editors — gathering the news, conducting interviews, covering meetings, attending events, writing, editing, fact-checking and making sure every day you can trust what you read.

— Newspapers rely on recognizable sources. Quotes in the articles you read are attributed to real people and can be easily verified.

— Newspapers work hard to stay away from single-source reporting, giving readers context and balance.

— Newspaper websites have legitimate URLs ending in .com or .org extensions, listing contact information, the names of staff members and the media organization’s leadership team on the website.

— Newspapers correct mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes at times, but there is a big difference between an error and intentionally and knowingly publishing a false report because of some political or social agenda. Spurious websites, blogs and social media do not correct errors. They thrive on them.

In the U.S., newspapers have a long and important legacy of holding the powerful accountable, defending the First Amendment and advocating for government transparency.

Democracy is protected when the newspaper provides checks and balances as the Fourth Estate of government from city hall to the courthouse to the statehouse to the White House.

Newspapers are committed to the neighborhoods, cities, counties, states and coverage areas they serve.

Straightforward news reporting and thought-provoking commentary give a voice to the voiceless and empower the powerless. Newspapers hold government accountable because at our very core we believe that government belongs to the governed and not to the governing.

Get your news where real, legitimate, trustworthy news reports have always been found: Your local newspaper.

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Brunswick News. October 5, 2021.

Editorial: State should fix policy on informing public about spills

What the people don’t know won’t hurt them, right? True or false, it appears to be the thinking of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

Case in point: a recent jet fuel spill at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. At least 700 gallons of the fuel found its way into the Flint River at the end of last month. It wasn’t the first time either. There have been other spills, some involving thousands of gallons.

No one warned residents downstream in the past or last month what might be mixed with fresh river water passing their homes and communities. They found out, though. Having a sense of smell will do that. Some reported a “kerosene” like odor. Seeing cleanup crews at work in the Flint confirmed their suspicions. Dead fish offered another hint.

But only after inquiring did they learn the source of odor.

Communities that depend on the Flint River for drinking water also remained in the dark about the spill until curious citizens began making inquiries. One shut down siphoning operations until the threat passed.

The state agency did nothing wrong by being mum. It was only following policy, a policy that says it is not required to announce the spill or make it public. It hadn’t in the past, and residents and communities found out just fine on their own over time.

Considering the frequency of spills and other similar accidents across this 159-county state, maybe Gov. Brian Kemp, the state legislature or the Environmental Protection Division, or even all three, should consider a new policy, one that requires the government to notify the public when foul things are headed their way and could pose a major or minor threat to health and safety.

The agency could manage this without breaking a sweat. A simple email blast to media in affected areas would amount to an 180-degree turn from current policy. The media can advise the public, as well as pass along any advice or recommendations “experts” might have in regards to a spill.

Not informing the public is a flaw in policy, but one that can be easily corrected by a government that puts people first.

END