The Newton Citizen Poll is a compilation of opinions submitted by readers. This week's poll was an open line.
"I would like to make one comment. The Eastside Eagles are doing a great job - Go Eastside Eagles!"
"This is to all I know: We all had a rough year but the holidays are here. If you have a little extra please give. I think that the Newton County Sheriff's Office does a local toy bike run. I hope that gets twice as much. Also, we pray to get us through these hard times. So please remember to say Merry Christmas."
"To the person who complained about the way their children's bus was routed - your comments were rude and insensitive! With thousands of children in this county that receive transportation every day, I think the Transportation Department is doing a fine job! It is hard work trying to please everyone in the county, and when you complain like you did it doesn't make it any easier. Unless your children take a special needs bus to school, I seriously doubt that their pickup time is 10 minutes after 6! And even then, I doubt that their pickup time is that early. I know of no buses that pick up at that time. Secondly, if your child was attacked on the school bus, it is not the Transportation Department's responsibility to notify you of the incident; it is the school's responsibility to do so, so your issue as far as that is concerned is with the school administration. Shame on you for being so insensitive to a fine group of individuals at the Transportation Department."
"I seriously question the wisdom of our City Council when one of the members declares the golf cart ordinance as one of the greatest improvements he's ever seen to the quality of life in Covington! I was hoping that was a tongue-in-cheek comment, but it wasn't. It would be interesting to know who the big lobbyists for this ordinance were and what stake they have in its passing. Are they wealthy homeowners near downtown? Are they elderly or disabled people who are unable to drive but would like to use alternative means to get around? Regardless, having golf carts on the same streets as cars and trucks spells disaster for traffic flow. It won't improve traffic flow due to fewer vehicles being on the street, as Mr. Dalton professed. It will slow things down because cars will be held up by the slower golf carts. And you're just asking for accidents and lawsuits! These golf carts are not safety tested to the same standards as automobiles, and for obvious reasons. They're not meant to be driven on public roads. As for improving the quality of life in Covington, I have some real suggestions: 1) Improve our existing parks that cannot currently be used because of safety concerns. Whether this means including security personnel in the budget or extra lighting, it would be worth it to have accessible parks for families to use. 2) Add to the extracurricular resources available for students after school. This could mean extra ball fields, expanded library services, etc. 3) Bring some quality restaurants to Covington. People here want to eat in Covington instead of having to drive to Conyers or Lithonia, but the small selection of non-fast-food restaurants in Covington doesn't help (especially when you're trying to find one that consistently scores well on health ratings!). All of these suggestions would accomplish the goal heralded by Mr. Dalton. It's not golf cart usage that's going to encourage community participation and neighborly encounters."
"I enjoy reading the Citizen Poll to hear about issues that are important to my constituents. I would like to respond to the item about Porterdale City Council cell phone use. I personally have never had a city-paid-for cell phone. I continue to use the personal cell phone that I had prior to my election for personal and city business. Councilwoman Arline Chapman."
"Save the turtles - I also live in Five Oaks. I once talked to a deputy that was in the area - he told me that this road has been certified to run radar. I haven't seen a deputy since. Probably like all, we do have a speeding problem on our road where kids play after school and on the weekends. To the couple who tried to save the turtle - you should have chased him down and given them a piece of your mind. Lord help 'em if they ever endanger my family or the kids I watch. Remember 25 mph means 25 mph."
"I just wanted to say thank you to the Alcovy High School Varsity Spirit Cheerleading Coach Marcia Lynn Watkins for volunteering her time and energy to making the Newton Recreational Cheerleading Competition for the Recreation Department a huge success. The Varsity Spirit Cheerleaders and Moms who volunteered all day, to assist in hosting this event, worked extremely long and hard hours. Coach Watkins continuously monitored all areas to guarantee a smooth and flawless event. Also, thanks to the Moms of the Cheerleaders that always dedicate their time to volunteer in Alcovy's activities. We can't leave out giving a huge thank you to Mr. Watkins who cooked all of the hotdogs for the kids and parents for this function. Many times Coach Watkins is overlooked for her contributions to the school and our community. We just wanted to make sure she was recognized for this one."
"I would just like to say thank you to the community who stepped up and helped raise over $800,000 for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta through Star 94 Cares for Kids. I'd also like to say thank you to who began to donate to Brody's Angels! We are off to a great start."
"My compliments to the mayor of Covington and the other elected board members on the Nov. 15 article seeing a definite need for a tunnel under Turner Lake Road to enable pedestrians walkway from downtown. Really makes sense as after living in the area for many years, I have yet to see any walkers on sidewalks coming anywhere especially from downtown. Since the city cannot control all the reported problems associated with the Turner complex, exactly who do they think will use it? Go underground and get mugged? Why not traffic signals with pedestrian push buttons? Lot cheaper unless a survey was done to count pedestrian walking traffic during the past few months same as on highway road traffic. This has to be another total waste of tax money."
"On Nov. 12, 2008, I was traveling along Highway 11 entering the city limits of Historic Social Circle. After passing the well in the middle of the street I moved to the left turn lane to turn left on W. Hightower Trail. There is no left turn arrow for that left turn lane. The oncoming traffic was bumper to bumper. I moved under the light so I could turn left when the light turned to caution. But, the oncoming traffic stopped, blocking the intersection so I could not turn left, the light now red. When I finally got an opening to turn left I did it quickly to clear the intersection. I was then stopped by the Social Circle City Police. I apologized to the officer if I turned too quickly. He ignored my apology and asked if I wanted to be 're-shot.' What is 're-shot?' I asked. He gave me no answer and stated that I was speeding 39 mph in a 25 mph zone. This officer was shooting his radar from a local church yard and had to make a U-turn in the street in front of a school zone to give me a ticket. Is this safe driving for a policeman? I am 65 years of age and am a taxpaying, law-abiding citizen, not a criminal, hot-rodder, or reckless driver. Is this how Social Circle's mayor and City Council greet their visitors - by setting up a speed trap? It is my understanding from friends who live in Social Circle that 10 or more people get stopped at that intersection daily, with city residents only getting warning citations, not fines. Sounds like a great revenue stream from visitors in short budget times - $365,000 a year from one intersection. I will not be visiting Social Circle again. In the past I have taken family and friends and other groups to the Blue Willow. All I have ever done for Social Circle is give their city money by patronizing their businesses. Never again. Hope this $100 traffic fine is worth it to their city."
"I am interested in hearing some discussion about getting a year-round swim facility here in Newton County. I moved here from Albany 16 years ago and at the time that I came here the YMCA told me that there would be an indoor pool within two years. This has never happened, and I don't know of any concrete plans for anyone to build such a facility any time soon. I am interested in knowing if there is anyone or any group that I can join forces with to get the ball rolling for having an Olympic-size indoor pool here. I know about the very nice pools that are in Rockdale County, but they are a minimum of 20 miles from my house and usually quite crowded. I am also aware of the pool at the Covington Athletic Club. It is too short for serious swimmers. I think that we could fill up our own pool, and hope to hear from other swimmers who want to change this serious omission in our sports facilities."
"I read with interest your Thursday, Nov. 20, article concerning the new Newton County radio system. So the readers know, this is not one of the first inter-operability systems in Georgia. County-wide inter-operability has been in place since the early 1980s in most of the metro Atlanta area, as well as wide area coverage. Newton is just using a different system than all the rest. So let's make sure we set the record straight."
"This is from an independent to those who have a problem with the 'Democrats spreading the wealth.' When Barack Obama made that comment, he was referring to those very rich people who use loopholes and various other methods to make themselves richer and pay less taxes, which puts a greater burden on the rest of us - hard-working middle class America. If you make less than $250K a year, you will likely see a tax cut. If you're making over $250K a year, consider yourself extremely fortunate and shut up - most of us are barely making ends meet. 'Spreading the wealth' means putting a brake on the rich getting richer, while the rest of us get poorer. Business heads give themselves big raises and limitless expense accounts, while the rest of us (the ones doing all the work) are told we have to do without. When a 3 percent cost-of-living increase is given, guess who gets the biggest raises? The ones who already make the most. I work in an accounting department and I see this every day. I find it very telling that these business heads are always Republicans. So before you start criticizing Barack Obama and acting like the world is coming to an end, give him a chance! He hasn't even taken office yet. He may end up being the best president this country's ever seen. For eight long years I have had to endure someone categorized as one of the worst presidents in this country's history, a Republican no less. Surely you can survive four with someone who can only be an improvement."
"To all of you cruel and miserable people who dump your animals: Just because we live in a rural area does not mean we want your unwanted animals. Do you know what happens to these poor animals? If they are small and not able to defend and take care of themselves they will either be killed by a larger predator or starve to death. The next option is they are trapped and taken to Animal Control and if they have become too feral then they are put down. Only a few survive. So if you think that by dumping your animal you are saving it, think again. Try to be a little more responsible and either find it another home or take it to Animal Control and let someone who will treat it right have it. Every time we have to trap and take another animal to Animal Control it breaks my kids' hearts. (We can't keep any due to allergies.) Do the right thing."
"Well thank you Covington mayor and City Council for considering the customers again - not. It is nice to know that $2 to $4 was not important to the people struggling to pay our utility bills. You should be ever so proud of yourselves."
"To all of the people saying that Barack Obama won Newton County because of the changing demographics, have you all stopped to think that Newton County is still 70 percent white and that maybe some of these white people were ready for a change instead of the same old Republican policies that got us into the current mess that we are in today - tax the poor and give tax breaks to the rich. Even if Hillary Clinton had been on the ballot I'm sure she would have won the county just the same over John McCain."
"In response to the comments about shopping on the Square: Please remember that Porterdale now has a few stores as well. Tattersall's is a great book store and sells coffee and gifts. Cork Poppers has a wonderful selection of wines. You can also give gift certificates to Smiley's restaurant or Jimbo's Grill at the Mill or baked goods from Baby Cakes bakery. Please don't forget about Porterdale for shopping!"
"To the person who asked why our animal control doesn't use petfinder.com, I'd like to know why also. I think it would be a lot of help to all the homeless pets!"
"I wanted to say thank you to Downtown Covington for a great evening on the Square Thursday night. My family had a blast. The only safety concern I see that needs to be addressed immediately is detouring the traffic off the Square. The Square should be closed off during those few hours for only one night a week for three weeks. We now have a three-story parking deck that can be utilized for these type of events. Let's use it, our tax dollars have paid for it. Let's keep our kids safe!"
"This is about Sharp Learning Center. I would like to know who is watching the teenagers out there in the noontime. I got out to get some records the other day and got asked for a cigarette. I told them no. Then they proceeded to go to my car. I had a passenger in the car and was going to forcefully try to make her give them a cigarette. She had to lock the doors till I came back out to the vehicle. The teenagers are very harassing outside of the building. The cops were standing off to the lefthand side of the building and could not even see these teenagers, so I am just trying to figure out who is keeping an eye on these teenagers in the afternoon between 3:30 and 4."
"This is about the justice system in Newton County. I think if you are not guilty you should go ahead and plead guilty 'cause if you cannot afford a lawyer the public defender is not going to defend you at all. Somebody should check in to how many wins the public defender in Newton County has and how many wins the state has. They seem to put people on probation for three years for a $300 fine, two years out of the three they are making $35 a month just off somebody being on probation. I think their punishments are uncalled for; it doesn't fit the crime."