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Newton Phone Poll - 08/29/09

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.

"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. 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 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."

"I am responding to the person who questioned what the bus monitor was doing when the child was bitten. While I cannot speak for that person on what he/she might have been doing or not doing at the time of the incident, I can say that I understand how something like that could have happened. I am a parapro in a special education class, which is the classroom version of a bus monitor. There is a huge misconception that special ed classes only consist of children with physical disabilities. Many classrooms have children with mental disabilities, such as bipoloar, schizophrenia, etc. These same children ride the special ed buses with children whose disabilities might not be quite so severe. I have learned from experience how quickly a situation can turn volatile, and sometimes it does not matter how close you are physically to that child, incidents do occur. When something happens to trigger such behavior in a child, it happens quickly and sometimes violently. When this happens, there are often only a few precious seconds to diffuse the situation before someone gets hurt. While we do our best to protect these precious children of Newton County, both in the classrooms and on the buses, unfortunate circumstances happen that we cannot control. On a good day there are only two sets of eyes to cover a bus or room full of special needs kids. Please take that into consideration before being too quick to judge the bus monitor. There very well could be another side to the story."

"Well, here we go again. Seniors on limited incomes get screwed one more time. We are required to pay school taxes on our property and have no children in any school, and like everybody else we did not get a homestead exemption this year and our property tax jumped up $250 and now we are told Social Security recipients will not receive a cost of living adjustment for at least the next two years. Yet, Medicare premiums will increase and be deducted from our Social Security checks. And local business owners look at you like you're nuts if you ask for a Senior Citizen discount when purchasing their products or services. Mercy! Obamanomics in full force! I don't know how much longer us old folks will be able to hold on at this rate."

"I'd like to know why our president is loaning $2 billion to Brazil to finance exploration of a huge offshore oil field. Why won't he do that here? (Reported in the Tuesday, Aug. 18 edition of the Wall Street Journal.) Also, why hasn't this been reported in the mainstream media?"

"After reading the article in the Citizen Poll from 8/22 by the individual who spoke of 'liberal bashing,' I felt it was only proper to thank you for answering a lifelong question, 'What exactly is a liberal?' It is some one who feels that they have the only right answer and is narrow-minded enough to think that other opinions, that don't lean to the far left, aren't worth anything. There are people living in this country that have opinions that actually make sense and might even correct some of the problems that we are having. The only problem with their opinion is that no one that's in a position of control wants to listen, and according to the upper management of this fine country, those of us that speak out against the leftist ideas are nothing but ignorant troublemakers. There are people all around the country voicing their opinion and are all but being told to shut up. Oh, almost forgot, our fine commander in chief covered that one too. The time has come that there are apologies due to the people of the United States. The comments that have been made about people speaking their opinion are unacceptable. We still have freedom of speech, at least for now, and we need to not be afraid to use it."

"To the person whose daughter is a teacher at Live Oak Elementary, first I think it is wonderful that she and other teachers provide supplies for the children that cannot afford them, but I would be willing to bet that if you went to these children's homes you would find that the parents have money for beer, lottery tickets, junk food, cable TV, cell phones and cigarettes."

"OK, I am a mom of three children, one of them in Newton County public high school. My child is an honor student and did kinda get upset for the change in grading system. My child feels why change a system that works for the children that are trying to make the grades and stand out. In my day you did the work, passed, or you were not allowed to do sports, clubs, etc. ... where is the adjustments for students who do try and not to encourage the ones who don't is OK."

"On Aug. 24, I attended the Republican Party Rally in Newton County. I was not impressed. As I looked around the room, I saw a lot of career politicians. I don't think our Founding Fathers ever intended for someone to become a career politician. I believe that politics is and should be a service for the people to the local, state, or federal government. I believe those who select citizens, who have the talent, drive and ambition to serve the public, should detour from their chosen career, serve the public as a politician, and then return to their chosen careers. I have the utmost respect for folks that do just that, like Sen. Sam Nunn. I believe that a politician should only serve his/her county, state, or federal government for no more than two terms. I believe that anyone who has been in office for more than two terms should be voted out of office! I've noticed that longevity in politics seems to be breed corruption. It is career politicians that have put us in the situation our county, state and federal government is facing today. In 2010 and 2012, if someone has been in their political seat for more than two terms, let's do the right thing and vote them out of office! Within the Republican Party, we need new political leadership at the county, state and federal levels, not the same old politicians with a new spin!"

"Ran out early this a.m. for milk, baking soda, dog food and laundry detergent.. All the local stores were out of unscented Arm and Hammer detergent. So I have decided to send a letter to all the manufacturers of such detergents which will state something like this: Haven't any of you rocket scientists there thought of the possibility that 48 percent of the population of planet earth is men! None of us want to smell like 'Spring Rain' or 'Summer Flowers' or 'Autumn Mist' or any of the rest of that crap you put in your detergents. What a bunch of goofs! That is why Arm and Hammer probably is outselling all the rest of you and also is the reason those shelves are empty (which shelve their unscented brand) most of the time when I go to the store. DOH! If you men who work at those manufacturers want to smell like some silly named scent, fine, but you can leave it out of my detergent. OK, one person can make a difference. I sent Hershey's a handful of their chocolate when it was still in the paper wrappers and asked them to open them and smell the insecticides that permeate the paper wrappers. It took them several months but if you notice they have changed to a plastic wrapper. ... "

"To respond to the person in the 8-22-09 Citizen Poll, I would like to advise him or her I am neither 'inherently divisive, clinically insane nor illogical.' Just because you don't happen to agree with my comments, does not make me such. You obviously idolize Pelosi with your common rabble comment. I turned 65 last year, thus going on Medicare, which by the way, I pay a premium based on my income. I am a GM retiree and they advised me at that time I would go on Medicare if I wanted to continue my other insurance coverages, which I also was paying monthly for. As of 1-01-09, all my coverages with GM were dropped. This was because GMAC, where I retired from, was never unionized. Retirees of GM still have their insurance (if under 65), subsidized by the unions. Due to Medicare paying so little and denying so much, my physician has been forced to no longer 'accept assignment.' More and more doctors will be forced to take this stand in order to make a living. If Obamacare is passed, it will even be worse. Do not say I am 'sucking from the collective teat of a liberal program.' I was part of the collective subsidizing other people's health care prior to last year. I don't have my hand out for freebies and never have. I don't want the government telling me I have to pay for everyone else's insurance, including illegals. I have to manage the money I have wisely in order to pay for my supplemental, prescription and extended care premiums. If I had to count on Medicare only, I would be in big trouble."

"We need immediate health care reform. My husband is self-employed and suffers from the same bad job market that everyone else does. He has high blood pressure, is 60-plus and is otherwise perfectly healthy. He was unable to get coverage with Blue Cross or Kaiser. Finally, he secured coverage through a trade organization. Around $400 a month (just for him) with a $5,000 annual deductible (again, just for him). Nobody likes these policies but the insurance companies, and they love 'em. Easy to see why. We need health care reform. No one should have to battle illness and worry about the cost at the same time. No one should go bankrupt trying to pay medical bills. No one should have their premiums jacked through the roof. No one should have to worry about losing coverage because and just when they have been found to have a need. Government's gonna kill your grandma! If they had any real arguments, would they spew idiocies like that? We must have reform. Now!"