This week's Newton Citizen Poll was an open line:
"The Porterdale police have a practice of sitting on a side road at the city limit sign on Crowell Road and issuing tickets as vehicles leave Porterdale. At that particular spot, the speed limit is 35; however, a very short distance further it increases. Even though one is guilty of speeding, I think it is pathetic that they use this very short distance for a 'speed trap.' This really gives one a bad impression of what really is an otherwise lovely town."
"My comment today is I appreciate the reports they put out on all the restaurants, but I wish they would do like they do in South Carolina. They put the grade like A, B, C, D, or U on the door, so you really don't have to go into the restaurant. The way it is here you have to go in and look around and see if you can find it first, cause usually they are not in a good spot to see right away, but I wish they would put them on the door. That way if they have a bad report you don't have to get out of your car."
"I am reading the Saturday, April 19, 2008, edition of the Newton Citizen phone poll, and once again you are blasting the county commissioners and all that good stuff in Newton County. Once again, we had an election in November of 2007 and only 50 percent of Newton County voters took a chance to get out and put new people into office. Once again, if you are going to complain, don't call the Citizen Poll; go to the polls in November or whenever we have an election and get rid of those (officials)."
"To the lady who complained about the lady dropping the water bottle at the March of Dimes walk this past Saturday: Shame on you for not picking it up. Seemoregreen would have picked it up, you know, keep Newton beautiful, so if you want to keep Newton beautiful, do your part. Quit your whining and do your job. If you see somebody making trash, pick it up."
"Regarding the methane gas issue coming from the landfill and the residents along Lower River Road that were contacted by Commissioner (J.C.) Henderson to attend the meeting: This just reeks of racism and not only on his behalf. Let me explain. I wonder if Mr. Henderson would have made those contacts to those people along Lower River if they had not been black. Let's put it this way: If they had been white. During the voting session, to give the people along Lower River and surrounding areas testing or whatever they need to ensure their health and home is safe, both black commissioners voted for it and three white commissioners voted against it, and I am wondering if the white commissioners would have voted yes if those people had been white. It is just a shame, it just seems like a huge racial issue brewing.
"I wanted to comment about the article in the Citizen last Friday about having uniforms at Middle Ridge. Some of that information was not correct. My granddaughter goes to Porterdale Elementary where uniforms are required. She has been there three years. They never have a free dress day unless it is something like 'Dollars for Denim' to raise money for Relay for Life or some type of special event. Otherwise, they wear uniforms five days a week. The prices that were quoted in that article for buying uniforms were very incorrect. Her brother was at Porterdale until he got in middle school this year, and I never paid under $14.99 for a pair of pants, dresses usually run between $12.99 and $15.99, shirts run between $8.99 and $12.99, and shorts run between $14.99 and $16.99 when you can find them. If you are fortunate enough to have a child that is small, they are not so hard to find, but if you have a child that is not in the norm, like my granddaughter, who is short and a little chubby, we have to go everywhere, stressed out all summer long trying to find uniforms for the next year. Hurrah! She will be in middle school next year. I hope those things never find their way to middle school. Also, I wanted to comment on the CRCT test. I have a child who has generalized anxiety disorder. She has left every morning this week so far, throwing up when the bus comes. Every morning last week she left throwing up when the bus comes because she is in fifth grade and she is so excited about going to middle school and so afraid if she doesn't do good on this stupid test that she won't get to go. We need to fix this. Our children don't need to go off to school so stressed about one test when they are on the A/B Honor Roll or all-A Honor Roll, making good grades and get stressed and don't do well on one test."
"I have heard that senior citizens were going to get an increase on homestead exemption. Then I got my 2008 assessment, and found that my property has increased in value by $18,200. I would like to sell it for its current valuation, but no one would pay such a price. I tried to call the phone number for information on the proper method of filing an appeal. If I hadn't hung up, it would probably still be ringing. I wonder if because there are so many homes in foreclosure that our politicians must squeeze the ones left in order to keep up with useless projects, too many to list. I am 75 and my (Social Security) check is spreading thinner each month. I have lived in this area even longer than old Darrell, and I remember when this area was a great place to live. I ran a bread route through Rockdale and Newton County in the late '50s and remember all of the friendly small stores, where you could spend time visiting and talking to nice helpful owners. They are all gone. We now have crowded, senseless sprawl. One big store has built three big eyesores and left two of them useless. There are many other things ... I could point out, such as the murders, home invasions, theft, drugs, traffic and roads, but it would have as big of an impact as this letter to the poll. Nothing!"
"To the person who is out of work and looking for a job: After you apply for a job online, print out the response that you get, wait about a week, and walk into the business that you applied to online with the printout in hand, dressed professionally, and ask to speak with the personnel office in reference to your application. That is one of the best ways to get your foot in the door. Post-application follow-up is always best."
"I hope that people take a political candidate's view on the state of this country as the best reason to vote for him or her, because I know that a lot of women are voting for Hillary just because she's a woman and a lot of blacks are voting for Obama just because he's black (well half black, but he looks black) and last but not least, a lot of the 'good ol' boys' are going to vote for McCain just because he's an old white male. As long as we think like this, America is only going to get worse. You see the way things are going in this country now, with people losing their jobs and the economy getting worse, the unwinnable war in Iraq and Afghanistan, high fuel prices. We were once the envy of the rest of the world; now we are the laughing stock of it, so please put your personal affiliation aside for a moment and really think hard about the three candidates and which one would be best to bring back our glory days and make us proud to be Americans."
"To the person complaining about the traffic and museums in Newton County ... please compare apples to apples. Museums and museum planning are typically funded through preservation or arts grants, not your local tax money. If you have lived in Newton County and not heard anything good about our history, you obviously haven't lived here for long. Like many other communities, we have a rich history - but we are lucky enough to have commissioners who are willing to go after funding that allows us to highlight that history, research it more, pass it on to our children. As for traffic studies and road improvements, they aren't funded exclusively through your local tax money either - the intersection you mentioned at 20/212/Brown Bridge is two state highways. In that case, you need to not complain about your local government but your state government. If it is a state road/highway, they are the ones controlling its fate. If you want to know what our local commissioners are doing or thinking, ask them - don't merely complain because you don't see the results or changes you expect. Contact the county to inquire about road projects. You might be surprised to find out that your commissioners are more competent than you realized."
"I wish every law-abiding citizen in Newton County could have seen the crowd of people and cars Wednesday night at the local bar Down the Hatch. Cars and trucks were parked from the beginning of City Pond Road to nearly City Pond Park itself. Newton County certainly does not need this kind of place, especially on a road that has six large ballfields with lots of children nearby and a church on the same street. This place will attract folks from Morgan, Jasper, Walton, Rockdale and Newton counties, because it's the only night club around here ... "
"This is in response to last week's topic about the economic refund checks - you can spend your money at lots of places besides yard sales. My family is going to use the money to see our great country. We are traveling to the Rocky Mountain National Park, Mt. Rushmore, and BlackHills of South Dakota. If you can't go out of state, why not be a tourist right here in Georgia? There are lots of places and things to do, plus you'll create memories with your family."
"My phone poll comment today is concerning the construction at the Newton County Water Department building. The sign out front says 'Construction for customer service,' and I am wondering what in the world could be done to such a new building to help customer service when instead it would help all the customers of Newton County if the county would approve the use of credit/debit cards for payments of their bills. Just curious how much this is costing the taxpayer with the minimal surcharge that a credit card company would charge the county for accepting a payment."
Editor's Note: According to Director Mike Hopkins, the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority "started accepting credit card payments a month ago, and we are trying to serve four customers at one time instead of two in our customer service lobby, in addition to having a drive-through service."
"I live out in the Oxford area and I have to go to Covington around 6 and pick up my wife on the other side of the railroad track. It seems like here lately, every day there is a train stopped and blocks both crossways from Oxford for about 20 to 25 minutes. I was thinking in the past someone had said the city should give them a ticket for doing this at one of the worst times of the day when people are trying to get to work or trying to get out of the Covington area. I would like to see if the county or city police could check into this, because there is one way around it down Alcovy if we had to have an ambulance or a fire truck over in this area, but it sure does mess up a lot of the people. My second comment is, the new Kmart or Sears or whatever it is. Every time I go there, there are a lot of people in line, but only one checkout open. I understand that Kmart was closing stores and all of that. I seen a lot of the people do what I did was lay the stuff down and walk out. That is sort of ridiculous to have one checkout and 20 people in the line."
"I think it is time the county did another sting on convenience stores selling to underage children and also selling beer to underage children and lottery tickets to underage children. I was in a store over the weekend. I saw them sell beer to what looked like 17-year-old boys and also where young people came in and purchased lottery tickets."