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Newton Phone Poll - 07/04/09

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.

"I am concerned with the failing restaurant scores in Newton. Has anyone considered calling Adam Murphay with CBS 46 news? I used to work at a restaurant and I know that many things inspectors don't see are of concern to me. I know for a fact that my manager always said to us, 'I know when they are coming, so don't worry about that or this.' I felt sorry for the inspector because everyone at the restaurant talked bad about her when she left the restaurant. I think it would be hard to do a job where no one likes you the second you walk in, and the inspector I remember was very pleasant."

"I work in Covington and live in Gwinnett and restaurants are failing in Gwinnett as well, and I do not hear or see the issue of restaurants 'crying' over here. For the owners of restaurants - those who complain and grumble the loudest are probably guilty and at fault. It is known that if there is a sour apple in the group, others' minds could be warped into their way of thinking - complainers tend to be contagious - they tend to try and bring everyone else down with them. To me, it looks as if a person or a couple of people are to blame for this madness of 'cry, cry, cry'; 'I failed my inspection ....' For goodness sake, people died last year from peanut butter - let me repeat - people died from peanut butter! I say back off and let them do their jobs!"

"I am trying to get something straight in my mind. Our government is debating a health plan for all people. By the time they get done with it in the next few years, it will be about 6,000 or more pages long. It will contain those items that the AMA approves. Yet our Congress has a fantastic health plan that probably is about one page long to describe it. They are not going to give the Social Security recipients a COLA this year and maybe not next year. Yet these part-time employees of the American people now get an automatic cost-of-living raise. I call them part-time because they have an awful lot of time off to go campaigning. At one time they voted on this raise each year but so many of the voters complained, they decided to make it automatic so they don't disturb the people."

"I read somewhere that our government is thinking about letting illegals get Social Security. Am I wrong? I thought illegal meant not legal. Maybe I have the wrong definition of the word. There is something I read that was written a long time ago. It said, 'Government of the people, by the people and for the people.' Has this been changed?"

"We would love to see more lighting put up in higher crime areas. We would especially like to see it on the corner of Lang and Lazy Lane roads. The crime around here is really bad. It is a shame that people can't seem to keep their hands off of other people's stuff. Some of us care about our property and work hard to get what we have. What can we do to secure our areas? Lighting would be a great start. We would also like to see more policing during late night hours."

"You know, I am a food safety consultant and I am horrified that the restauranteurs of Newton are complaining of their scores. For instance, on (one inspection) employees were touching chips with their hands. As a consultant on food safety, that is a big no-no. Not to mention lighter fluid was stored with foods? Can you say possible chemical intoxication in your 3-year-old? I say calm down owners of restaurants - inspectors appear to be looking at the hazardous items too! C'mon Newton citizens."

"Congratulations to Tommy Hailey and the Recreation Department again for being chosen to host the Dixie Boys Tournament. Let's all go out and show these visitors as we did last year what a good town and county we have. It was great last year on the Square with all the festivities. It means more business for our stores. I extend my hand in welcoming these folks and you can, too. Again, thanks Tommy for all you do!"

"Well don't look now but part of Atlanta (crime) has moved to Covington. Whoever would have thought eight shootings in 24 hours in our small Southern town. We better wake up and remember we are no longer a small, quiet town. Our law enforcement have a very hard and dangerous job. Years ago if someone ran a stop sign or got a little 'rowdy' that was a big thing. Wow, it is now a different story. I am not that old, but I remember when we had dirt roads at Covington Mill Village and we ran to hide in the closet when the road scraper came by the house. We were reminded that was the 'devil and his angels' by our grandpa. Now, the devil and his angels live next door. Who would have thought from the road scraper to this day of violence we would be running to hide from neighborhood gunfire! Yes, it is a different day and time since we were a small and quiet Southern town. God bless our law enforcement as they try to protect us."

"My comment today about the motorcycle cruise in Porterdale on Saturday. It was for a good cause and I am sure there was a lot of planning involved, but I wonder did anyone take into consideration that people that had business at the post office could not get into the parking lot."

"Nominations for Georgia's Supreme Court in this particular order: Judge Judy Sheindlin, Rev. Al Sharpton, President Barack Obama. One of those three would be a better choice for Georgia Supreme Court than Newton County's Judge Samuel Ozburn."

"What is a theme school? As far as the mayor and City Council getting a raise or needing one, I never remember public servants doing this for the many or needing it, only in Covington."

"I am sad to hear the schools didn't meet the AYP either, but I didn't expect them to because of the way the AYP is measured. My children studied for the CRCT test. I am sure there are three times as many that didn't study. I don't think the school system should take the rap for this. There needs to be a better way to measure the AYP. There is so much pressure put on these children before the CRCT test. Some of the stuff on the CRCT has not even been taught in the classroom. That is not the schools' fault; that is the way it is designed to be set up. Also, I want to say the Newton County School System has lost fine man of great integrity when they lost Eric Arena at Veterans Memorial. My children loved and adored Mr. Arena. He was a fine principal and a fine man, very professional, always there to listen to anything the children needed help with. We will miss him greatly, and we wish him the best in the future."

"Mercy! With the new guidelines in place for scoring restaurant health issues, and the low marks some are receiving, my cooking don't taste so bad, after all. I'm sure everyone has their own opinion, but there's no way my family and I will frequent a location that receives an unsatisfactory inspection score. Once you lose that business it will never be back. That's not a promise - that's a fact."

"The Cap & Trade Bill - said it will be the biggest job-killer yet. Eight traitor GOP representatives voted for this insanity. It is rumored they were promised special favors by Pelosi and the Go Green power-structure to vote yes. If we Americans think we are going through hard times now - 'we ain't seen nothing yet.' This lunacy has to stop. Every representative who voted for this bill should be voted out of office when they come up for reelection. They obviously were not thinking of the hardships this bill being passed, would bring their constituents, (we Americans). This proves they could care less. This type of insane thinking does not belong in Washington where our future is being decided. Our forefathers would turn over in their graves if they knew what the present administration is trying to do to our 'land of the free and home of the brave.' If this socialistic trend is allowed to continue, we will no longer be able to consider ourselves 'free.' I hope everyone will contact their senators and tell them to vote no when the bill is brought before them to vote. Americans, please wake up and stand up for your rights before it is too late ... "

"To staunch local Republicans who argue against most forms of government spending simply for the sake of it and then cry and complain that we are not having a government funded July 4th celebration, what makes you think you can have it both ways? If a patriotic celebration of our nation's birth is that important to you, then why not raise private funds to make it happen? Happy Fourth of July. God bless America, including the current administration!"

" ... gripe, moan, groan. Cell phones are driving me nuts. Is there any such thing as cell phone etiquette? In the grocery store, in the department stores, on the street and, my lord, in the hands of someone behind a vehicle driving down the road. It is like waving a red flag and saying, 'Hey, look at me. I have a cell phone.' Who cares? Doesn't everybody? It is also like saying, 'Hey, look at me, I have no manners and, oh yes, I am an idiot.' People, please."

"I am writing in response to recent complaints of the poor performance of Newton County Schools. I am a Special Education teacher who currently works at one of our superb elementary schools. For those of you who are questioning the performance of our schools, you really need to take into consideration the populations we work with as well as the resources we are given. For example, my school has the highest poverty rate in the county. We have 85-90 percent of our students who benefit from free and reduced rate lunches. In addition, 30 percent of our total population consists of students with mild, severe, and profound disabilities. Another factor to consider is the absentee rate which contributes to our ability to consistently make AYP. Yes, we receive title money in order to fund the many programs we offer to increase student achievement, but as we make progress the money decreases and eventually is no longer allocated to us. As far as employing teachers who have lost their vigor for teaching, it is the responsibility of administration to create personal improvement plans for those teachers. If the teachers do not make the improvements as required by the action plan, then they are eventually dismissed. However, this process could take two to three years. As far as my school is concerned, I know these processes are followed completely. I would also like to give you some insight into the teachers that care for and instruct the public's children. Did you know that the average teacher works at least 20 hours/week beyond what is technically required of them? Did know that teachers are constantly attending professional learning courses to stay up-to-date with best practices? Are you aware of the challenges faced by teachers who work in the schools that have high rates of poverty? Parental involvement is extremely low. Most of our families do not have transportation, computers, or even books for their children to read at home. Who do you think provides the supplies that our budget does not cover? Teachers do. We are nurses, care givers, mentors, and teachers. We have to teach social skills, responsibility, and introduce our students to basic community knowledge that goes beyond our state's curriculum. We teach students who have never been outside the e county, never been to the movies, never seen an ocean, never heard a nursery rhyme, etc. We try give them these experiences in any way we can. The teachers at my school are so dedicated. They make consistent home visits to bridge the home-school communication gap. We buy uniforms, backpacks and school supplies to support our students. We have community outreach programs to lend helping hands in our students' communities. I could go on and on, but instead I just ask you to consider all of the facts before you insult our school system.

Consider these questions:

What school does your child attend?

What is their poverty rate?

What percent of the population receives Special Education services? How many hours per week do you volunteer in our schools that don't make AYP? What is your solution to this problem and how will YOU help our county get there? Sincerely,

A dedicated teacher who works to improve our school system for the benefit of the whole community.