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Newton Citizen Poll 8/30/2008

The Newton Citizen Poll is a compilation of opinions submitted by readers. This week's Citizen Poll was an open line.

"I would like to make a comment in regards to the money being spent on the mayor's new office. In case you do not know what is going on, let me catch you up. Mayor Kim Carter wants to redecorate the mayor's office, and it probably needs it, but not at the cost that was quoted. First thing's first. She got a price from a client of hers, and just looking at the project was $6,000. If she did everything that was on the quote, it would have been $30,000. So they had a vote - three for it and three against it. The mayor broke the tie, going with her friend. I am assuming that she got so many phone calls and complaints about the price that she came back to the City Council and said they would put it out to bid. They would form a committee and they would look at the bids and decide which one was the best. Here comes the good part: The committee contains Mike Whatley, city councilman, Hawnethia Williams, a city councilwoman. Both of these council members voted for the quote to begin with. And here is the topper - the mayor, Kim Carter, is the third member of the committee. Are you kidding me? Why even form a committee? Why waste the time and money? Just go ahead and give it to the woman that the mayor wanted in the first place. First of all, the mayor should never be on any committee. She only gets a vote if there is a tie. I don't believe that any City Council member should be on any committee either. It should be other people from the city government. So, now you are all aware as to what the new mayor is doing during her first eight months of office. I really thought she would not be one of the good old boys, but she is fitting in just fine."

"There are several drivers turning left into Mamie's on Brown Bridge Road that are using the left turn lane. However, that left turn lane is for drivers turning left into the Champions for Children day care. The other drivers might notice that there is a double yellow line on their side of the road and also that the turn arrows painted on the street are not pointing to Mamie's but in the direction of Champions for Children. I was almost hit this morning by a driver who then gave me the one finger salute, as if I was in the wrong lane. I have also seen a police car do this same thing. Is there some way this can be looked at and monitored for a few days? I know these other drivers are probably thinking it is a left turn lane for traffic in either direction, but it clearly is not."

"This is in regards to Newborn getting a Dollar General. Why have you changed your minds? We really need a Dollar General. We have only one grocery store. That's Mr. Doug's and is a very good store I rate 100 percent. Then one gas station that's OK and two restaurants. Why not give us a Dollar General. We need that Dollar General so that those who do shop there won't have to drive the 16 miles to get there. It would also give our town customers. And we are a town that pulls together. So we all want a Dollar General. Speak out Newborn citizens."

Editor's note: The decision not to develop a Dollar General store in Newborn was announced by The Broadway Group of Huntsville, Ala., the development group representing Dollar General. According to Bob Broadway, president of the group, "Due to the requirements presented to us by the (Newborn) planning department we have canceled our contract to purchase property in Newton County. Dollar General, at this time, will not support a store in the town of Newborn."

"Listen up folks of Newton County! There are low-life losers going around stealing people's gas at night. Get locking gas caps and maybe an attack dog or two! All I gotta say is they're going to try that in the wrong yard one night! It's hard time for us all and they are just making it harder on the folks that are already struggling. But rest assured, what goes around comes around!"

"In regards to the town of Newborn and the Dollar General pulling out at the last minute: What comes around goes around. Remember the fire station?"

"To all you who drive down Hwy. 212 from the terrible four-way stop at 20, 212, and Brown Bridge to Hwy. 81: Aren't you all just thrilled that they have repaved that section of 212? I drive that section every day and I am here to tell you it really needed it. Not. That section of road didn't even have so much as a pothole. Why didn't they hold off on that project for another year or so and use that money on a project that is needed? Hey, they could have used that saved money to put up traffic lights at the fourway stop at 20, 212, and Brown Bridge. Then maybe all of us wouldn't have to sit at that intersection 10 minutes to get through. Nah ... let's just keep on paving roads that don't need it. Maybe the Newton Citizen should do an article about the road projects that are being done for no reason while other projects that are needed aren't getting done. I think that would make for a good read."

"In last week's paper there were two comments about Salem Road. The GDOT doesn't seem to understand how much traffic there is on Salem. It is designated as a long-range project. Every time we read about the widening, it is farther into the future. I didn't feel the condition of the road was bad enough to spend all that money on repaving, when what we really need is more lanes to handle all the traffic. In 2001 there was a meeting for the community and they promised there would be a light and left turn lane at the Spring Road/Salem intersection by fiscal year 2004. This is the only road that goes between Ga. 20 and Ga. 162 (Salem) that does not have a traffic light. During high traffic times, we who travel on Spring Road may be backed up for a block because someone wants to make a left-hand turn. About the only way that is possible is if someone on Salem takes pity on them and allows them the right of way. I, like one of the writers last week, get upset at the commissioners for allowing so much construction before the roads can handle so much traffic."

"I drive to work on Brown Bridge Road every morning and I am still flabbergasted at the number of people who have total disregard for the speed limit in the school zones. Do you not realize that even if the blinking lights are not working, the times are still posted and you are expected to obey the school zone speed limit? I have been tailgated, given the finger and had horns blown at me because I am doing the correct speed. But I have a message for my fellow travelers out there. If you are someone who also travels Brown Bridge Road each morning and are one of those who is "above the law", I can promise you if you are "lucky" enough to be behind me one morning you will absolutely be forced to obey the speed limit and I will be loving every minute of it!

"I am responding to the person who wrote to the Opinion Poll (Sat.8/23) who says she works at the front desk of Turner Lake Park Recreation/Senior Center. Am I to understand that (this caller) at the center is the spokesperson for the park? It would seem so as we are being told to 'stay home and not come over here' if we are not happy. Happiness has nothing to do with taking appropriate action when one sees problems in public areas. Your remark 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all' infers that as taxpayers we are not allowed to voice our opinion. We have every right to voice an opinion on how our government is run and how our tax money is spent. ... Thanks to the person who is taking their personal time to write, phone and go into the center to make known the problems of which we are aware and see during our walks each morning. That person does not deserve to be vilified ... in the opinion poll. ... In the future I shall do more than just agree that something ought to be reported, I too shall write, phone and visit when necessary, thereby making it known it is not just one person bringing problems to the center's attention. All it takes for a park to become dangerous is for us to ignore the problems that we see."

"A Newton County bus was traveling down 278 last week going around 70 to 75 mph. This is the same bus, constantly speeding with our children in their care. I have witnessed many buses speeding and would rather drive my kid to school than placing them on a bus. Another bus has been reported by various parents with three kids to a seat and kids sitting in the aisle on the floor. We are in the fourth week of school, and nothing has been done to correct the overcrowding and speeding issues."

"I haved lived in Newton County all my life, and I am a retired school teacher. Your Aug. 23 Citizen Poll had one of the rudest calls that I have ever read. To make matters worse, this call was from (someone who stated that they are) a county employee at the Newton County Recreation Department. This caller is telling people if they are unhappy 'then why don't you stay home and quit coming over here.' Doesn't this caller realize that Turner Lake is a public park, and people are free to express their opinions and especially about a park they pay taxes to support? If this caller cannot handle public criticism, then it is time for he or she to 'stay home' and do the citizens of Newton County a favor."

"My husband and I walk several mornings a week at the Turner Lake Park. Hardly no one walks at this facility because they are afraid. We take exception to the (caller who said they are a park employe) who by her comments dislikes complaints about the park. We saw the homeless men sleeping on the park benches at 7:30 in the morning not properly dressed. We tried to report them at the front counter, and a woman there was very discourteous. On another occasion we tried to report water sprinklers that had been left on for several hours with water pouring into the lake. We were told the sprinkler system was none of our business. Doors to out buildings are left open at night and this morning (Sat. 8-23) a sign was on the window at the concession stand saying it was closed due to vandalism. My husband and I are retired and we have worked at our local church for over 40 years, and we believe what we did was the right thing to do. We resent being called names like 'unhappy' and told to stay home. We will find another place to walk, but it is because the park is not kept up and is unsafe."

"Please allow me to comment on two articles that were printed in your Saturday paper. This first article on the front page pertained to Newton County's low test scores on the ACT. I teach at Fairview Elementary School, and we try to do everything possible to prepare our students for present and future achievement tests. When students come to class half asleep and with no completed homework, this pulls the whole class down. Parents who don't seem to care and won't attend scheduled conferences are also disheartening. My second comment is from Page 5A where an employee at Turner Lake Park stated that 'our kids here are very smart.' Last year I walked at the park after school with four more teachers. We stopped walking and went to health spas for safety reasons. When we walked we saw many of our students at the park practically every day after school. They were at the park before and during mandated tests such as the CRCT. During this time, notices were sent home to parents advising them to see that their children study and get plenty of sleep. I know there are exceptions, but generally speaking, these children as a group are the ones who perform poorly on these tests and develop bad study habits for the future. The caller also stated 'if they don't pass, the parents will turn and pull them out.' What is so sad at this point is that there is very little hope for the child or their parent."

"I am retired military and I live in an assisted living home. I contacted the Citizen several months back about a U.S. flag flying at a ball field at Turner Lake Park. This flag was faded, shredded and deteriorated. This flag was changed the next day after my comments were printed. A caller (who said they work at) the park complained about grievances from people and told them to stay home. This park is not what many people think America is all about. This caller ... should read Amendment 1 of the U.S. Constitution which states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

"In the midst of all the negative comments that seem to flood the Citizen Poll, I'd like to leave a more positive one. I want to applaud the Porterdale/Newton County firemen and other emergency responders who braved the rushing river Tuesday night to rescue the young man stranded on the rocks. The sun was quickly going down and the water was quickly rising and I watched from the Lofts as everyone worked together to get him safely to shore. This just occurred last night, so I don't know if it will make the newspaper but I hope it does. Thanks again for all you do each and every day to keep us safe and sound."

Editor's note: Thanks for your comment; the story ran in our Thursday, Aug. 28, edition.

"I myself have had issues with the special education transportation this year. A reader made a comment that Mickey Mouse could run that operation - I was thinking more of Goofy or Daffy Duck!"

Has anyone noticed the gradual but ultimately big change in what we are expected to buy for our students at the beginning of each school year? When my oldest child started school, all his supplies were provided by the school system - everything. Now that we have the lottery, which supposedly is funneling huge amounts of money into our school systems, parents are not only buying paper, pencils, crayons, notebooks, and calculators - but parents are also having to buy hand sanitizer, Kleenex, and other items which are not school supplies. Something's not right with this picture, and citizens should not only ask for, but demand, an accounting from our local school systems as to where tax and lottery money is going, what it's being used for.

In the article, "Burglar steals police uniforms" Lt Wagstaff says, "We don't anticipate that this person would have a car, too, but if someone feels uncomfortable, we always allow anyone being pulled over after dark to go to a lighted area. They should just indicate to the officer that is what they are doing." How do you indicate to the officer you intend to drive to a lighted area?

There is a long-standing, for lack of a better term, 'feud' that goes on between the City Council of Newborn and the businesses therein. It's a very very small town in many ways. You state in your article that the city of Newborn was requiring some 'improvements to Duke Street'. You need to know that 'Duke Street' for all intents and purposes is essentially a driveway that is so insignificant it doesn't even have a sign. It is only barely paved, and also barely wide enough for one vehicle to drive on. It is a total of about 75 to 100 feet long and ends in the grass beside Bess's Place. The city's 'requirement' was that Duke Street be widened to two full lanes and lengthened and a Cul-de-sac added with curbs and gutters is totally ridiculous, imho. Ostensibly, they wanted a place where the delivery trucks for Dollar General could turn around, thus the Cul-de-sac idea. They don't have curbs and gutters on the main highway 142!! The city of Newborn is having delusions of grandeur. They desperately need the income from increase in business in order to offset the cost of running their little hamlet and also to potentially avoid having to raise taxes on all the middle class residents of their city, but instead, they chose to become unreasonable and milk the situation for all it was worth. Do I want a another Dollar General store in the area? Not really. But what they are doing just isn't reasonable and could certainly be handled differently.