The Newton Citizen Poll is a compilation of opinions submitted by readers. This week's poll was an open line:
"Why does the Newton Citizen (meaning Newton County, Covington, Georgia) always feature what's happening in Conyers, Georgia? Could it be that the papers are the same except for the front page of the Newton Citizen. Please, we are not that stupid. If you are going to have a Newton Citizen paper, then make the paper about Newton County and not Rockdale."
Editor's note: The Newton Citizen publishes Tuesday through Saturday, and the Rockdale Citizen publishes Tuesday through Sunday, which means that the Sunday paper received by Newton subscribers is actually the Rockdale Citizen. That explains why the content is focused more on Rockdale County. On the other days of the week, the Citizens share some content - particularly the World & Nation page, comics, weather, crossword, stocks, etc.
"This is in response to the person who wrote in about the new lot for school bus parking on Jack Neely and Kirkland roads. You said it had been completed for about 2 1/2 months now, which is not true. Lights at that location were not installed yet, and they were supposed to be there as a safety precaution, both against bus vandalism and for the safety of the bus drivers who park there. Would you enter a dark lot, early in the morning to start your bus? Would you even think about parking there if there were no lights there? In today's society, safety should be a No. 1 issue for everyone and that is what the county is trying to accomplish for it's employees who do drive the buses - to have a safe, secure parking area both for personal vehicles and the school buses. Please stop and think about a situation before you speak."
"This comment is in response to the front page article that reads 'Think before you shoot' in the Saturday citizen on Jan. 10, 2009. Now before I write another word let me just say that I fully support our law enforcement officials 100 percent and that this is not a rant against our police departments. But I am sick and tired of so much care being given and the special handling that goes on when it comes to the criminal element, not only in this country but right here in our own community. Sgt. Arvo is advertising his firearms class, which I am sure is a very good class. But he seems to go out of his way to warn good and decent law-abiding citizens not to act too hasty when confronted with the criminal element in our community. ... Sgt. Arvo talks about that window of opportunity when deadly force is justified, well you see the problem for the innocent would-be victim facing the criminal is that our window of justification in the eyes of the law is very narrow, while the criminal's window is wide open to perpetrate his or her crime the way that they choose. ... Maybe one day our articles could be directed at the criminals reminding them that if they continue on the path that they are on by preying on innocent people they may very well end up in a body bag."
"Soon after the holidays were over, I received a call from Target. It appears that in my holiday chaos I forgot to pay my credit card bill by the due date. They simply stated that my bill had not been paid and did I want to pay it by telephone before it was considered 'late.' Thank you, Target. I think this is great customer service. They didn't charge me a late charge. They didn't up my rate by 20 percent. They gave me a courtesy call. Now that's customer service. In my book that's good business practices, the kind that keep customers. And I think other credit providers should do the same, rather than raising percentage rates or other outlandish charges."
"Would someone from the Superior Court of Newton County, preferably a judge, come forward and explain to the general public and the taxpayers of Newton County what is going on with the appointment of the new Juvenile Court judge. Georgia law states that to be qualified one has to be a state resident for three years. It is my understanding that the appointed judge lived in the state of Kentucky for several years and moved to the state of Georgia (recently). Why didn't she have to meet the residency requirements before she was appointed? ... "
Editor's note: State law requires that an appointee to the Juvenile Court judgeship have lived in the state for three years. The law does not state that those three years must be immediately prior to appointment. Chief Superior Court Judge John Ott told the Citizen that Juvenile Court Judge Sheri Capes Roberts meets the qualification requirements for the position because she has lived in the state most of her life, although she was out of the state temporarily while her huband was attending school.
"My comment is about the article in the paper about the Newton County Board of Commission meeting last week. I rarely vote for a Democrat, but I did vote for the Democrat for chairman and District One. The county has been poorly run and proof is everywhere. Thousands of dollars have been spent on useless projects like the Porterdale train station and the Old Jail, while much-needed improvements to busy intersections are promised but never delivered. But, it looks like I have voted for change like the Democrats put it but the good old boys are still running the show down at the Newton County Board of Commissioners. Last Tuesday's meeting was a joke. The panel was totally unprepared to vote on issues but did it anyway. Mort Ewing ... (called) for a vote to reappoint Tommy Craig before anyone had a chance to see how (much) he is charging the county every year. Ewing called for a vote, backed by J.C. Henderson and Ester Fleming's son Tim and got it through. Why do we taxpayers continue to allow this? Why don't we have a county attorney on staff with a reasonable salary? Then to add insult to injury the county posts a bid for an exterminating contract and decides to throw the low bid and keep Cleary Exterminating in spite of the fact that there was two other bids considerably lower than Cleary's. ... This is the same thing that happened last year with the landscaping contract. ... So much for the change. I guess I learned my lesson about voting for Democrats."
Editor's note: Cleary's Pest Control contract was only extended through the month of January until further discussion could be held at a planned commissioner's work session on keeping the contract with a local company.
"I would like to comment on the selection of pest control services under present consideration. Mr. Ewing's point about engaging local people has merit, but it seems grossly unfair to turn down the low bid because he is out of county. Seems like that should have been agreed upon before the bids were let. The price difference between Cox, the low bidder from Snellville, and Cleary, the local company who presently has the contract with the county, is over $25,000 - considerable difference. Cleary is the highest bidder. I think consideration should be extended to Cox at least this year since he went to the trouble of making the bid and it is very favorable, and if you are going to make restrictions such as restricting it to this county then do so next year."
" ... Mr. Tim Fleming ... you told us you would not vote to rehire Mr. Tommy Craig as county attorney, but you did on your very first meeting. What a disappointment. You remember one thing - four years is a long time, and we will not forget this. This is from not just one of your supporters but several that will not be supporting you in the future."
"As I sat and read the Barrow County news online today and as I read the Walton Tribune periodically I see where they are still getting new commercial developments that we can't seem to get in Newton County. for some reason. Target, Belk and Publix is set to open in the spring in the Barrow Crossing's complex and Best Buy, Dick's Sporting and Lowe's are opening in Loganville. The Newton leaders really need to be aggressive in trying to get business to come here instead of the wait and see approach that is the norm around here because I will continue to shop out of county until we get something."
"I'm glad to see the intersection work will begin at Salem and Smith Store roads, but what about the intersection of Hwy. 212 and Oak Hill Road? If an investigative study were completed, I'm sure it would be discovered that more accidents occur there than the other intersection, including serious injury accidents and fatalities."
"About a month ago there was an article in this paper about a wetland park at the City of Hall of Covington, also a parking lot on the upper lot close to the Post Office and the city had a grant to do this with. Man, they have been digging more holes and laying more pipe on that lot ... They have done enough work to build five parking lots and dug three fishing ponds and have spent enough money to redo the mayor's office too. It seems like they have used more equipment there then they have on any other thing in the city. Also, I called 911 Tuesday evening and it rang about 30 times. I hung up and called back, it rang about 20 times before someone answered my call. Two women were fighting in the shopping center around Goody's and finally a policeman came down and asked what was the trouble, and I pointed out the two women fighting. He sure wasn't in no hurry to do anything about it. It was sort of rough to see the fighting because it looks like one of the women had a broke arm."
"There are many different stories circulating concerning the recent Crestview Drive arrest, that (involved members of) the family of the recently appointed Juvenile (Court) judge. Hopefully the Newton Citizen will give us an updated report on the story and tell us if all the charges remain intact and who will prosecute the Crestview Drive fight."
"It is below freezing at night and there are dogs chained to trees on my street (different owners). The dogs are pit bulls and do not have any fur on their stomach. One dog lays on a pillow thrown outside; it does not go into the dog house. Probably because the dog house is not insulated, breezy with openings and does not have any blanket on the floor. I guess it stays on the pillow because it traps some of the dog's body heat. The dog is totally exposed all night. Why are the owners not protecting their animals from the icy wind and freezing weather? They have been advised by the authorities but continue to disregard any notice that these conditions are too harsh for their dogs. Also, there are foxes and coyotes roaming at night and the dogs are chained; they could not get away if threatened. What can we do as citizens? I have already notified the authorities several times, notified the landlord and owners. What are the ordinances? How do they get updated and enforced? Are there any groups that can help us get this situation improved: Dogs chained outside and left out in below-freezing weather. Every dog that I have seen chained 7x24 for 365 days a year has been neglected. I have never seen a responsible dog owner chain their dog continuously. If they do not have money for a kennel pen, they don't have money to properly feed the dogs and get it rabies, etc. shots. The odd thing is, the two dogs I am mentioning, the owners have carports and sheds that they could set up a nice area for their dogs."
"Why is that when you do your job right, by the rules and not lazy, that you finish last all the while the people who don't care, get the better end of the deal? Just trying to understand it. So all you slackers do all the hard workers a favor and do your job!"
"Please, in this era of tough economic times, budget cuts and projected job losses, surely the Newton County Board of Education has better ways to spend its time rather than revising a policy that was revised only two years ago. Naming the new schools is secondary to finding ways to balance the school system budget with the least loss of personnel. While change can be good, this is not the time to squabble over issues that have nothing to do with the academic progress of our children."
"Drivers in this county can't use a four-way stop properly and the city is still planning on building a roundabout on Turner Lake Road. Do us all a favor, remove the traffic lights and stop signs from the Square and see how that works."
"Regarding 'City seeks bailout funds:' You knew it was coming. Doesn't matter who or where, folks are lining up at the troughs to get a piece of the pie, and Covington is no different. Two items are missing on the wish list though. Bailout money for office furnishings, and money for a new City Hall building. I know some here are embarrassed by its appearance."
"Why is it people think government is supposed to provide everything to everyone. Doesn't matter what it is or how much it costs, it should be provided and should be free. Doesn't make any sense. Like the heated indoor swimming pool complex. Since when would that be considered a proper government function? If there's such a demand for a heated indoor pool, wouldn't the private sector build one and charge an admission or membership fee? Oh my, someone already did that, didn't they. Actually there's two in the Covington/Conyers area."