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Newton Phone poll - 07/11/09

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. This week's poll was an open line.

"Well, let me respond to two entries in the past week. First of all, let me thank the person (family) that eats at the local restaurants on a weekly basis. We appreciate your business more than you can imagine. Second, I am speaking to the person that commented on restaurants that are raising prices. I work at (a local restaurant), and we have lowered our price from $8 to $6.75. However, if you owned and operated a restaurant, you would see that prices for groceries have doubled just as in a grocery stores ... Just for macaroni and cheese, it has gone up to $60 a box for the cheese. We wish we could give you food for free, but for the work involved and cost for groceries, there is not much money to be made. We do donate and give to people that cannot afford to eat more than is said. Please feel free to come and look over our bills and overhead so that you may understand what the cost is to run a restaurant. We will gladly show you the cost involved ... we have nothing to hide. My mother owns this restaurant, and let me let you know, she has not been able to pay herself for over a year, but has put herself and her life in this place to ensure our jobs and try to make a living, which at this time, has become almost impossible for her. If you are brave enough, please come by and talk to us."

"Does anyone know of any plans for the Covington YMCA to expand into a 'family friendly YMCA'? The dues are the same for the Covington Y as they are for ones that have indoor pool, racquet ball courts, basketball gym, teen area, rock wall, etc. We would love to join the Y, but there is nothing for our two children to do on a daily basis. My brother's Y has all kinds of options for kids to keep active while the parents work out. Come on Covington - let's make this a families can be active."

"I think that the protesters at Lanny Barnes' funeral really showed that they lacked any class. Yes, I think Lanny Barnes was a pathetic human being for purposely running down that family and killing that innocent child. Yes, I think the world is better off without him here, but protesting the man's funeral is plain and simple rude! His family didn't do a thing to that family. Lanny Barnes is dead and them protesting didn't do a thing to him. However, it was rude and disrespectful to the Barnes family. The protesters should be embarrassed that they acted so trashy."

"The D.A. had it right when he said, 'Lanny Barnes' act was one of the most heinous that I can recall in more than 20 years of prosecuting criminal cases. However, he alone was responsible for the murder of Avery King and the injuries he inflicted on her family members,' Wynne said. 'I'm sure that his family has also suffered through this ordeal, as the families of defendants often do. For that reason, our sympathies and prayers are with them as well.' The protest across from a church and to 'follow' the family to the cemetery was as disturbing to me as Lanny's despicable act. His family didn't commit this act, and Lanny knows nothing of your protest. Hatred can and will alter your life; seek therapy. God bless you and your family during your trials."

"I think that the Casola and King family could have done a better job of remembering Avery King than to make fools out of themselves at a funeral. Lanny Barnes committed the crime against them, not his family. I'm embarrassed as a Christian that they would stoop so low as to protest a funeral and follow the family to the grave site. The Casolas and Kings should be ashamed. Period."

"I think it is just wonderful that Newton County and Covington officials can give themselves raises and lavishly redecorate their offices in this time of economic trouble. We citizens don't need July 4th celebrations, or better police to protect us from the gangs moving in, or better fire and emergency medical protection. We can just all feel good that we are standing still and letting the local government of our county treat us just like AIG would."

"Commission chair a disappointment. She was going to do great things. We haven't heard a one of them. (Buying a railroad and hiring a lobbyist don't even make it onto the scale!) The 'lobbyist' is certainly the last straw! Putting a political pal in a $100,000 per year job for a three-month work schedule should be illegal. Over the last 25 years, the commission chair and the state rep and senator from our district were the ones who worked the DOT. We seemed to have done real well under this system. With the budget crunch, this suggestion is so out of line, I, for one, believe it's time for the new chair to voluntarily step down before she is totally muted by the board, as allowed by our charter. ... "

"My condolences to the King and Casola families for their loss of Avery King, but I absolutely can't believe that they'd protest Lanny Barnes' funeral! His family wasn't responsible for what he did, and they didn't deserve to be disturbed or ridiculed during his funeral and burial. Protesting a funeral and following the family to the grave site was extremely tacky and uncalled for."

"When are roaches ever acceptable at a restaurant? True, there are some restaurants with minor infractions, but when I see bugs crawling or hear about them, that is a sign that there is not a priority on cleanliness or good housekeeping. If bugs are eating there, I don't want to. Look up 'vectors' in relation to the spreading of viruses or disease, and I am sure you will agree."

"We live in a decent neighborhood in Newton County - Eastwood subdivision. It seems that repeated efforts to contact the head of Traffic Control at the Newton County Sheriff's Department to see what can be done about the 'excessive' speeding in this posted 25 MPH area has fallen on deaf ears. He said he would take action within two weeks, but nothing happened. Personally, I have left several follow-up messages on his voice mail. Results = 'no espondez si vous plais.' It is an everyday occurrence to observe drivers (young, middle-aged and those with gray hair) driving 40-plus MPH or 60 percent above the maximum posted speed limit. The GSP will pull you over at 10 MPH over the posted 70 MPH on I-20 (only 14.3 percent over the limit.) There are only drainage culverts here and children are present walking on the streets, people walking or riding bikes. What does it take to get control over this situation? Hopefully, not an injury or worse to a young person. Often, I have been told 'unfortunately not much will be done until an accident happens.' That always seemed to be a very lame reason. Prevention has been and still is the best medicine. I along with others have called out to 'Slow Down' and in return we receive the 'one' fingered salute and a rev of the engine on the vehicles with loud exhaust pipes. It seems to me in this day of budget shortages that issuing of traffic citations (certainly a responsibility of the sheriff's and police departments, as well as, returning phone calls by the folks that help pay his salary) could produce a stream of funds and make up some of the shortfalls without increasing taxes. Plus, it would help provide a safer area to live. That sounds like the 'Protect and Serve' creed of law enforcement to me. I feel very confident this situation also exists in other neighborhoods."

"After reading the July Fourth Citizen Poll, I want to be one of the first to thank this dedicated teacher for his/her honesty for calling a spade a spade. Parents, ask yourself why we have 85 to 90 percent students receiving free or reduced priced meals. Plus some 30 percent with some sort of disability. Poverty does not remove any parent responsibility from teaching certain basics before you turn them over to the school system, like good manners, personal pride, reading, flash cards for multiplication, proper dress, simple add, subtract, multiply, divide using their brain and not counting on fingers. Parents, go back at your responsibility of being a good parent and role model. Stop complaining about those who are hard at work doing what you should have done a long time ago. Stop complaining about our school system, but rather step up to the plate and help those who are doing a good job. Make a difference."

"As a city of Covington employee, I'd once like to get a 'raise' without having my health insurance raised to the point that I make less after my raise than before. I don't do the job that I do for the money, but come on. Why should anyone have to pay $411 a month for health insurance."

"I have missed two Saturday papers in a row. I have had the news subscription for several years now without missing a delivery. I am hoping it is not someone helping themselves to my weekend paper since I have a business in town and easy to pick up while walking by. I actually do come into my place of business over the weekend and would like to read the paper that I pay hard-earned money for. I know I could call the newspaper for a missing paper but feel I shouldn't have to take the time to do this. I would probably give it to them if they would just ask before taking."

"I saw Janet Goodman on Channel 2 saying how she didn't agree with Avery King's family protesting Lanny Barnes' funeral and I pray to God that if she runs for office again that all of her supporters remember that. Lanny will finally get his punishment in death that he didn't get in life and for Ms. Goodman to represent the citizens of Covington she made the entire council and city look bad by attending Lanny Barnes' funeral. I think this was one funeral that Stacey Cotton and Ezell Brown should have denied police escorts for based on morals alone. He didn't deserve the respect of having people pull over as the hearse passed by with his body. He will always be remembered as a murderer no matter how anyone tries to sugar coat his life story."

"How dare those people protest a funeral, then have the nerve to follow the family to the grave site! They should be ashamed! A funeral is not for the dead but for the living. I can't see any justification of why they felt it to be appropriate to harass the Barnes family as they tried to bury their family member. Lanny Barnes committed the crime against them, not his family. Shame on them! Shame, shame!"

"I have a gripe. Why does Newton County Public Works 770.784.2097 need my name and life history to report a pothole? Apparently they can't submit a work order without my personal information. We have had identity theft in our family and I'm not giving out any personal information. This is nuts to require my life history for doing my civic duty and reporting a pothole!"

"Newton County water is the only local (utility) that is still not set up to receive my bank's online bill pay electronically. So my bank has to cut a check and mail it to Newton County Water and Sewerage. I don't think they are set up to receive any electronic payments. Instead, they have a Web site where they accept payments ... for a $3.50 fee. That $3.50 fee works out to be 17.07 percent of my bill. I sure wish they would get with the 21st century!"

"This is in response to the ridiculous comment regarding the nomination of Judge Samuel Ozburn printed in the July 4, 2009, edition of the Newton Citizen. Having known Judge Ozburn, his wife and sons, for over 20 years, it is inconceivable that such an insulting letter would be published. Anyone who knows anything about this man is well aware that he is one of the most knowledgeable, conscientious judges serving our district. Judge Ozburn would be a great asset to the Supreme Court of Georgia and such a well-deserved appointment would be a great loss for Newton County."

"Wow, Porterdale had one of the finest fireworks shows around and none of it was covered in any of the local newspapers! There were many vendors, several businesses open for the public to enjoy, not to mention great entertainment all night long. Everyone please come out and support your local events."

"Listen up citizens - not only do we have to be afraid of neighborhood gunfire but now on the horizon we have vampires moving in. Whoopee! What else will come to Covington?"

"I work in a low-income school, and I do it because education is the best way to break the cycle of poverty. That means that I get little if any parent support. PTA in our school is the teachers. I can count on spending about $500-plus a year on school supplies and more. The extras that teachers in more affluent and higher performing schools count on don't exist at my school. I teach there because I know that we are here to raise the level of humanity. I teach there because I know that all it takes is one person, one moment to make a difference in a child's life. The problem is not the teachers, or the parents. The problem is poverty. You want to fix education? Fix poverty. One of the worst things about NCLB, and there are many, is that it creates the myth that low-performing schools have bad teachers. It takes a teacher with a strong heart to stay the course in a school that the community has written off. Do me a favor; don't be so quick to write off my school and schools like mine until you know the facts about NCLB and how poverty influences education and family."

"I am responding to the person concerning restaurant scores that lives in Gwinnett and works in Newton ... first of all, when a restaurant has been in business for 20-plus years with a consistent A score and no sickness reported, then all of the sudden receives a U and loses $6,000 per week and is left unable to pay rent, I hardly call it crying and sour apples. When your livelihood is attacked for bogus and untrue claims, it us unfair to the restaurant owner. However, when this happens, it leaves the public not really knowing what is safe and what is not safe. If you care and would like to voice your opinions, you are more than welcome to come to Debbie's Deli on Monday nights between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. to hear the restaurant side of the matter. ... (a local restaurant) received a 44 score, a 66 score and 79 score. According to the rules, (it) should have been shut down; however, there were no real reasons to do so. (The restaurant was) never shut down. But, for every reinspection, there is a $300 fee. You also brought up peanut butter. There were a lot of breakdowns in communication with that. This a totally different situation. We do not grind rats in our mashed potatoes ... . Please, come to the meeting and get your facts straight. Maybe you will see things in a different light. Do you not think it is possible that the inspector could be unfair? Why is he perfect and restaurant owners totally wrong? ... Don't put so much trust in someone just because of the title. ... Don't be so judgmental and take a minute to hear both sides. Thank you."

"What is it going to take for our restaurants to clean up their act? Yes, sometimes it seems strange when scores are not consistent. When a business gets 50 or below it is time to close the doors until it is cleaned up. I guess when someone dies from one of these poor health score places, then something will be done. No need to lock the barn door after the horse is out. ... I know one thing: I will be eating at home. It is at least in my kitchen and my clean hands that I don't worry about possible junk in the food. Here's to the good old days of Mother Knows Best."

"I note that a writer to the poll would like some street lights on Lazy Lane and Lang Roads. There is a procedure by which residents may petition the county commission to have lights installed. The county will arrange with the utility, in this case I believe it's SSEMC, to install the lights in return for which the residents reimburse the county for the annual cost as a special tax district. If the caller will contact the county via the listed number for the Board of Commissioners, someone can give him/her the details."

"I am glad to know Paul Casola forgave Lanny Barnes. As a mother I feel Stephanie and Anita's frustration and hurt; however it's been three years since the tragedy. It is one thing to protest at Barnes' funeral but to see signs placed on Lanny Barnes' grave slated 'Child Murderer' and 'Today is a better place,' the same signs held by those young ladies, that is cruel and wrong. I pray for the Casola and King families to find love, peace and forgiveness in their heart. God blessed Anita with two beautiful children after the tragedy, so don't let the hate and anger you carry ruin you and your relationship with others. Remember Jesus forgave us ... "