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Newton Phone Poll - 08/22/09

The Newton Citizen Poll is a compilation of opinions submitted by readers. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Citizen newspapers. If you agree or disagree with something you read here, you may respond by e-mailing poll@newtoncitizen.com or by calling 770-787-7303 ext. 1349.

"To the person complaining about Hollywood being here, don't you realize that the movies and shows filmed here bring tourists who want to see filming locations and they stay here and spend money and eat here. It would really help if the city would use this as a marketing tool and promote Covington for all of the shows that have been filmed here. And you don't speak for the majority of us because I like watching the filming take place when I have the opportunity and 'In the Heat of the Night' was a big help to the city at times. Who do you think purchased the sound system on the Square. Before you complain, do your research. And to all of you talking about this health care reform, stop listening to these conservative talk show hosts and request a copy of the health care bill yourself and then you will see what they have been lying to you about. You can still keep your regular job insurance if you want, but this will help the people who have nothing because our jobs aren't guaranteed and if you were unemployed it will be better than nothing."

"H. J. Res. 5 - Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the 22nd article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as president. If this passes, Barack Obama could end up being president for life. God have mercy on our souls."

"I am trying to figure out why the city/county officials are not trying to do anything about the four-way in Porterdale. It is getting so bad that my child barely gets to school in time to eat breakfast because you spend at least 15 to 20 minutes there. I have to drop my son off at the day care, which does not open till 7 a.m., and I still have to spend time at the four-way, which means I barely get to work and there has been times when I was late. Can someone tell me what I need to do or who do I need to talk to. Also when are the meetings held? Do I need to go to Porterdale or to the county. Something has got to give. This is horrible ... I don't understand why the police have not said anything. I see all the time or maybe they need to direct traffic ... help, help help."

Editor's note: Porterdale and Newton County are working on a design for intersection improvements at Ga. Highway 81 and Crowell Road. Once completed, that design will be submitted to the state Department of Transportation along with a request for construction funding. Newton County and Porterdale have been working to improve the intersection for several years. The city and county had agreed to a plan under which the local governments would be responsible for rights of way acquisition and moving utilities, and the DOT would fund construction. However, the project was stalled last year after the DOT ran out of money and withdrew funding.

"I have a question for the parents of Newton County School System children. You don't trust the school system to educate your child and you are constantly moving them from school to school because of not meeting AYP. Remember your involvement plays a big role in AYP. But then you turn around and you send your children to school with all these major health concerns on a clinic health card that you don't even care to address and trust the school system to take care of them! Not to mention the new clinic card has phone numbers that are not even working! Parents of Newton County school students need to accept their role in a failing school system! And I am speaking to every (including teachers, doctors, etc.) parent with a child in the Newton County School System. Accept responsibility for your children or stop procreating!"

"To the new Newton restaurant 'coalition:' I cannot believe you people formed a group to try and find justification for your unclean establishments. I, like thousands of others, have been in them and you are not fooling us for one minute. I have seen employees picking their noses or licking their fingers, I have felt grease on the tables and table condiments, I have seen and felt grease all over the floors, I have smelled the sour cleaning fluids. We have boycotted many a restaurant for what we see. Guess what, we really, really don't want mold in our ice. The majority of the restaurants are only clean now because of the controversy. I and my wife are very careful about where we go to eat. We believe the inspector is only telling us the truth, unlike the last one! Try really following the rules instead of acting like caught politicians and you might get business back the honest way! A side note, we are just as tired of rude, careless wait staff and managers, too! Why should we pay big money to get unclean food and lousy service? We only go where we know it will be pleasant."

"The idea of a theme school in our county, which requires parental involvement, has zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior, and has higher academic standards for our children is a terrific idea. We enrolled our children, in Clements, because it was supposed to be a great school. We love our children's teachers and think they are some of the best. However, the school falls very short of how it was advertised. Two weeks into the school year have produced two weeks of daily disruptions in my children's classrooms by other children who refuse to follow the rules. We have all signed the Behavior Contract several times now, which states 'continued disruptive behavior will result in removal from the theme school.' When does that start? This was supposed to be a school where parental involvement was required and welcomed. Instead, we have met locked doors to the school during drop off and pick up times. There is a 'guard' at the door making sure parents do not enter the school to interact or help out the teachers. The teachers are asking parents to come into the school and help them out, but the administration continually says we are not welcome. Our volunteer hours, which we have been fulfilling, have been wiped clean and we were told all hours had to start over. Do I think this can be turned around - yes. But, so far, the administration has turned the theme schools into just another Newton County school where parents are not allowed to be involved in our child's education and behavior disruptions are commonplace in the classrooms."

Editor's note: According to Sherri Viniard, spokeswoman for the Newton County School System, there are no guards at Clements. Parents are required to sign in with the person on lobby duty and then go to the Trailblazer Center. Work requests that teachers have completed in advance are given to parents who wish to volunteer. Parents are not allowed to go to the classroom as this would be disruptive to instruction. These guidelines, according to Viniard, are clearly stated in the school's handbook.

"After reading the 8-8-09 Citizen Poll, I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that far too many people here present themselves as common rabble. Other than the person that castigated the (driver) who purposely drove over the turtle, just about every post was inherently divisive, clinically insane or simply illogical. To the person who wants an English button on the remote ... if you don't like your video package, then you are always welcome to go with another provider. Good luck finding one that does not offer programming to Spanish-speaking populations. Cable providers are in business to make money, not cater to individual racist peccadilloes. The Latino packages are a lucrative segment of the cable-viewing market. So, get a life and learn to program out those channels on your remote! To the senior citizen nagging about Obama's health plan yet in the same breath mentions that he/she is on Medicare. I see, it's OK for the collective to subsidize your health care but it's not OK for those under 65 and over 17 (Peachcare) to seek redress for their health care needs? How many of you are bashing 'liberals' while simultaneously sucking from the collective teat of liberal programs such as Peachcare, public education, subsidized student loans and Medicare? I chuckle at your hypocrisy as you continually vote against the interests of your very own economic class, all the while reaping the benefits of these liberal programs you supposedly despise."

"My daughter is a teacher at Live Oak elementary school and I was amazed at the supplies the teachers have to provide to keep their classroom stocked for the students that cannot afford it. Such supplies as notebook paper and spiral notebooks, crayons, markers, pencils and teaching aids such as charts and maps. On a teacher's pay and with most of them having student loans, they cannot afford it, so as a parent of a teacher I help her each year to supply her classroom. I just want the public to know that your teachers are spending their own money to supply your children with the materials they need, how many of us work for a company that you supply your own supplies? Let's all get behind our teachers and give them some relief in helping stock our classrooms with the needed materials."

"It is sad to see the privately owned 'mom and pop' eateries around town struggling for survival. When our family moved to Covington in 1987, there were several privately owned pharmacies in town. Today, there is only one. The small guys did not have deep enough pockets to handle the delayed payments from Medicaid and the multiple insurance plans. Most insurance companies stated they would rather deal with one person who could handle 2,300 pharmacies than one person who could handle one pharmacy. Our corporate eateries do not seem to be having as much difficulty with compliance to the updated regulations simply because their pockets are deep enough to provide staff to oversee compliance issues. One adequately trained staffer could oversee multiple eateries - but our local mom and pops struggle just to keep the doors open - much less hire a specialist to assist with compliance. I enjoy eating at all the establishments in Newton County. Several have had score issues with the survey process. However, I have never had any problems with any of the food in any of these places. While I was in Perry a few years ago, I had a case of food poisoning, from a nationally known seafood fast-food restaurant. When I called to report it, they said 'I had no claim - I couldn't prove it was their food.' The funny thing is that I never made a claim - I didn't ask for anything ... other than that they need to check their stock for spoilage. There was no doubt in my mind what caused my food poisoning, and it took several days and some antibiotics to clear it up. I decided that if they were going to be that abrasive to a paying customer who commented on a case of food poisoning, I didn't need to do business with them again - and I have only been to one of these chains twice since then ... both with my elderly parents who love this food. Good luck to all of you locally owned and operated eateries. We need you in Newton County, and you need us. I will still be eating there as long as the doors are open."

"You know this is a 'parental involvement' school, and in my opinion that means for all aspects. Yes, most children are car-riders, so there are going more cars and a lot of traffic to begin with. Is this a bad thing? Absolutely not! This just shows that most of the children at the school truly have involved families. The parents that wanted their children to go there made the sacrifices to get them there and get them picked up. I don't think just because you live close to the school you should have the leisure of home drop off. I understand that in most families both parents work, that's the way it is at my house, too, but we made arrangements. Until this year my child was in private school. I am so excited about and so much in support of this school. I think it's going to be a great thing for our children."

"To the writer who suggested we call Congressman Jim Marshall's office and ask three questions. I wrote an e-mail about one of those questions and received a three-page letter in response to my request that Congressman Marshall not vote on a bill he has not read. In essence, Mr. Marshall said he does not read the bills because the volume of bills is too great. Mr. Marshall did say that he had staff read the bills for him and said, 'I often consult the bill summaries produced by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service.' The rest of the letter was a civics lesson on how a bill progresses to vote. I pulled up HR3200, the Health Care Reform Bill; and, it is a read. Believe me, it is an effort. So, since most of us won't know what the bill says before it impacts us, let's set some simple conditions that will give us a sense of comfort. 1. Not just Congress having to adopt the new Health Insurance program, every government employee and those who profit from huge government contracts. Now there's a cost saving for you. 2. Declare that if you are sick, you are sick, not sick and 60. 3. If having an abortion is a personal choice, then personally pay for it. 4. In every state that adopts Medical Malpractice Tort Reform, like Georgia, demand the insurance companies reduce their premiums by 80 percent. What do you think? With those provisions, I could go for reform."

"I'd just like to point out, once again, that the correct word to describe U.S. Army mounted troops is cavalry! As I said previously, Calvary is a religious word. (This is in reference to the picture on the front page of the Aug. 18 Citizen in which troops of the 108th Cavalry are shown.) And my congratulations to those who support Operation Sandbox. There's no doubt their efforts on behalf of our troops are greatly appreciated."

Editor's Note: Yes, you are absolutely right and we are absolutely wrong!

"When your child attends school all day, then has over five hours of homework at night, it kind of makes me wonder what exactly they do in class."

"We have home-schooled for years, with our children working diligently on their studies, taking outside classes, and participating in a lot of community service projects. Every year, people ask about socialization. This year, we tried public school. Boy, I am glad my children have learned how to threaten other children, be disruptive in class, throw spit balls, come to school sick because they want 'perfect attendance,' and spend hours doing nothing productive. I totally see what we have been missing."

"Just a thought: Is the city really paying a storm water fee and if so why do they still allow all the grass cutting company to blow the clippings in the road that lead to the drains. We can't help the rain, especially when we need it the most. A tax on rain - this is a joke ... "

"Hey guys, I just wanted to ask a question but did not know where to start. I don't know much about the Cash for Clunkers program, but the other night I was at my Monday night volunteer firefighter meeting. This fellow walks in from the local scrap yard and he was telling us about how good of cars that was coming in from the dealership. And how he hated to have put them in the shredder. My question is: my wife has lost her job as a master cosmetologist of eight years, which led to her car being repoed and two of her credit cards closing on bad terms. So if these cars are just going to the scrap yard, why doesn't the government or dealership allow us, who need a vehicle due to the hard times, (to) maybe pay the scrap fee and allow us the car. It could really help us in finding a new job and tending to our two kids' needs. Thanks y'all."

Editor's note: The Cash for Clunkers program is designed, in part, to reduce the number of high-mileage vehicles on our roadways. According to the www.cars.gov Web site, "Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)" in order to be eligible for the program. According to the Web site, getting high-mileage vehicles off the road will: reduce greenhouse gas emissions; improve energy security and reduce oil dependence costs; increase energy sustainability.

"I cannot believe the parent behavior at the last school board meeting. The theme school letter published last year clearly stated that transportation would be provided on a limited basis. Also, the theme schools are not the same kind of choice as the kind required by NCLB. I think these parents need to educate themselves before making such a scene at a school board meeting. I now see why kids behave the way they do in the school where I teach. That must be what they see at home. You do have choice. You can move or home school."

"I am calling the poll this week to let you and the person that printed the article about Allene Burton you should be ashamed. Allene was lying in the funeral home, and you had the nerve to print all the bad things about her. You should be ashamed. Everyone I have talked to about it was very upset and lots of them have stopped their paper. If I were the children of Allene I would sue the person who sent it in and also the Citizen Poll. You can't get any lower than what you did. She was a good person and at one time had a problem, but who don't have some problems at one time or another. All the people I talk to would like for you to put in the paper who sent the article in and put the picture of them in the Citizen. I won't be reading your paper anymore. You should all be ashamed."

Editor's note: We understand that many of those who knew and respected Allene Burton were disappointed to read a reminder of the difficulties she encountered in life. However, as a newspaper that takes its credibility very seriously, we could not ignore the circumstances that led to her resignation as mayor. That would have been such a glaring omission that readers on the other side of the issue would have inundated us with accusations of trying to "cover up" the real story for one reason or another. In cases such as this, we cannot please everyone and we cannot play favorites. We simply report the truth. Most of those who have complained about our coverage would admit that if the story were about someone they neither knew nor cared about, they would not have found the coverage objectionable. Crystal Tatum is an exceptional reporter who in no way reported the facts of this story with any animosity toward Mrs. Burton. She went out of her way to find former colleagues who would have positive comments about Mrs. Burton, and she handled this assignment with her usual skill and accuracy.

"I am calling regarding your article on a lady that served this city very well for a number of years. Dredging up her past was totally uncalled for and her friends take offense to this. Were she my family I would demand a public apology. I haven't see you doing anyone else this way. You might tell your reporter at this point we don't want to see anything of her writing. She may have freedom of the press but at the present time we still have freedom to voice our opinions as well, and we do not like the manner that she reported this article."

"I was calling about the bridge that crosses over I-20 up above Almon. The viewing when you get to either side of the bridge you can't see the oncoming traffic. I was just wondering how many wrecks it was going to take to get that remedied?"

"They haven't read it! Since when does it make sense to pass a bill not knowing what is in it? Congress can't be bothered since the Health care Reform Bill is 1,017 pages long and they would need a law degree to understand it. Times have certainly changed. The government used 'to work for the people' who elected them. In the last seven months since Obama took office, it appears the government is trying to rule the people. Whatever happened to our forefathers' ideas based on our Constitution and written for the good of the people? Freedom for all and the opportunity to speak our minds if we are unhappy with what our leaders are trying to pass and shove down our throats. Washington would turn over in his grave if he knew what Obama and his administration have done with all the 'bail-outs' and special interest pork, and is now trying to do with Obama-Care. Another fiasco is the president appointing his 'czars,' who don't even have to be confirmed by Congress. This is something that no other president used their power to create positions who 'only answer to him,' at secret White House meetings. The time is now! We need to stand together and make our voices heard peacefully! We are not happy with what Obama and his Congress are trying to do to take away our voices to disapprove of what is happening to our country and our freedom to choose. A question to each American - if Obama-Care is so great, why has Obama and every member of Congress, when asked if they will trade their present insurance coverage for the Obama Plan, refused to answer?"

"I have a question for the parents of Newton County School System children. You don't trust the school system to educate your child and you are constantly moving them from school to school because of not meeting AYP. Remember your involvement plays a big role in AYP. But then you turn around and you send your children to school with all these major health concerns on a clinic health card that you don't even care to address and trust the school system to take care of them! Not to mention the new clinic card has phone numbers that are not even working! Parents of Newton County school students need to accept their role in a failing school system! And I am speaking to every (including teachers, doctors, etc.) parent with a child in the Newton County School System. Accept responsibility for your children or stop procreating!"

"The important question is; 'After cutting almost a million several months ago, if county officials can cut an additional $929,000 from the budget, why were we spending that money in the first place?'"

"I think it's pitiful that the kids at Livingston can't go outside to play because of the bees on the playground. I can see this being a problem the day when the bees were discovered, but nothing has been done about them. I don't want my children or anyone's children to be stung. I just think something should have been done about it in the past three weeks."

"I would just like to comment on the article about NCSS changing the transportation for the new theme schools. First of all, to all the parents that agree with this change ... you need to be attending these meetings as well and tell the school board your point of view. I personally totally and completely agree with the change. This is after all a parental involvement school. That encompasses all aspects of your child's education, including getting them there and picking them up. To the one parent that said she pays her taxes to Newton County ... yes, every parent who has a child there pays their taxes to Newton County, and I'm sure our taxes would go up if the NCSS decided that they would provide bus transportation for all the kids in the theme schools. Why should your child have any more rights than mine does because of where you live within the county? If your child has the opportunity to be bused home, then mine should too. I'm sorry that they changed it two weeks into the school year, but sometimes things just can't be helped. I honestly don't see what the big deal is. Who's getting these children off the bus at their homes in the afternoons anyway? Why can't the person getting them off the bus pick them up from the school or from the drop off point? Thank you NCSS for making these changes! I personally feel that the ones doing all the complaining are probably not right parents for our school to begin with."