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 firstname.lastname@example.org. This week's poll was an open line.
"If Elvis didn't roll over in his grave when Lisa Marie got married, he certainly did when he saw Wednesday's Citizen headline 'Remembering the King.'"
"It is hard to believe the D.A.R.E. program has been dropped. Shame on you! This is a much needed program in our schools. Congratulations to the D.A.R.E. police officers who gave of their time for our kids - you deserve a great big thank you from every parent and grandparent."
"Beware citizens of Covington: My mom was severely injured on the Square in Covington. She fell over a raised cobblestone and hit her arm on the metal that surrounds a tree. The city of Covington's insurance says that someone else would have had to fallen there first and the city would've had to have a chance to fix the problem before someone can claim that the city is liable. I was told by (a city employee) that I was trying to get money out of the citizens of Covington. In reality, their insurance would cover it and on top of that my mom is a citizen of Covington. Be careful where you walk because you are on your own if you are injured!"
"My first encounter with a roundabout took place in Killarny, Ireland, while on vacation. We were driving a rental car with the standard right-hand operation, left-hand side of the road drive. After several trips around the roundabout we escaped with our lives intact due to the largess of a cement truck driver, who laughed as he blocked traffic enabling us to get off the thing. My next encounter with said roundabout occurred in Paris; the Etoile, at the base of the arc de Triomphe, the mother of all roundabouts. My son was insistent on doing this for the challenge, something akin to one's first free fall parachute jump. Fortunately, it was after midnight and the traffic was light. After several go-arounds we exited onto the Champs Elysees and became hopelessly lost for an hour or more. Street signs are posted on the side of buildings and barely visible even during daylight hours. It was an adventure! So, I ask why are we about to put one of these antiquated dangerous roadways at Turner Lake intersection? Is this some form of population control? Think of all the old people going to the Senior Citizens complex. We could count on losing two or three a day initially. Seriously, I think the road czars need to rethink this hazardous traffic solution."
"I was in the express lane at the store quietly fuming. Completely ignoring the sign, the woman ahead of me had slipped into the check-out line pushing a cart piled high with groceries. Imagine my delight when the cashier beckoned the woman to come forward, looked into the cart and asked sweetly, 'So which 10 items would you like to buy?' Wouldn't it be great if that happened more often?"
"The reason congressmen try so hard to get re-elected is that they would hate to have to make a living under the laws they've passed."
"I just moved to Westminster, S.C., after living in Covington since 1996. Every restaurant in other cities near here (Clemson) all have an 'A' rating. They are very clean. Maybe Newton County ought to pay this place a visit."
"I have lived in the county for years. The bypass road is great, but I have one question: Why doesn't the county use the bypass for an alternate for the tractor trailers for Highway 36 instead of having them to drive through downtown Covington and having them to drive around the Square with the short turns. Not to mention avoiding Emory Street at 278 to get onto 36. Wow, that would be an idea to actually have the trucks to drive an easier route."
"In response to the victims leaving signs on Larry Barnes' grave: I understand that your family hurts, your daughter will never be replaced, but at some point, you have to let God do his justice and let go. Barnes served his time in jail and has now passed away. It was a horrible thing to happen, but all of us Christians know that we live on Earth, which has evil and evil people in it. People do wrong and have no remorse; we cannot change that. But what you need to do is please stop with the signs on the grave site. In reality, the grave site is not for Barnes, its for his family. For the dead shall die and know nothing. You're too busy mourning your own loss to realize the Barnes family has a loss also. His mother carried him in her womb, just like the victim was, and she raised him ... and she too is hurting. She is hurting not only for losing a son, but hurting for what her son did to your daughter also. God will handle Barnes. It's not your place to."
"I was calling about the (suspect) that the Atlanta Police force had him shackles and he still got away from them. This is the second time this has happened. You figure they should have learned their lesson from the first time. I don't know, it sounds like Barney Fife to me."
"I got a way to straighten the economy out and all these politicians out. I know it won't happen, but it was just an idea. Make the politicians that are blowing all this money work for free for two or three months instead of raising all these taxes. Even Obama could work for free, take all their big old salaries that they make and fix all these crumbling bridges and crumbling pipes that run underground that bring our water. They need to find out how it is to be in a financial crunch. The way the economy is now is because all those people have turned from the Bible's way and living by the law of the jungle instead of the law of the land."
"I want to say what is wrong with people now days? All I hear is they got a new Harry Potter movie out. Harry Potter, Harry Potter, is a bad influence on kids. If I was rich I would buy up every Harry Potter movie in the whole wide world, dig a great big hole, soak them with gasoline - movies and books - and set fire to them. That is about all they are worth. I got picked on too when I was a kid, but I didn't try to cast no spells on nobody. I still get picked on, and I am a grown man ... wake up people, get it together. Forget about Harry Potter; read something nice and decent like kids' stories."
"I was calling about the article in Saturday, July 4th poll, the special education teacher's comments, well giving excuses, about why Newton County scored so low on the test. I think you can slice it up any way you want to, but I think the problem is it is not the facility, or whatever. It is the students. They study, but they study more about having parties than reading books."
"I would like to commend the city of Porterdale for the Fourth of July festival and fireworks. The festival was well attended, yet the crowd was well-behaved. There were plenty of affordable refreshments, free parking and entertainment. The police had everything under control so that families could enjoy the Fourth. It was an 'old-fashioned' celebration - Americans enjoying Independence Day in a very pleasant setting. The fireworks were excellent! I commend the city of Porterdale for providing this celebration. (I am sorry that this is a little late in coming!) Thank you for a job well done."
"I, too, was very disappointed to read about the harassment of Lanny Barnes' family during his funeral and about the signs placed on his grave. Lanny Barnes committed a hideous crime, and he was serving his sentence for this crime when he died. I have no sympathy for Lanny Barnes, but his family did not commit the crime, and they deserved to have respect and privacy for his funeral. I understand what the Avery King families were going through. I had a family member murdered over 30 years ago, and even today when I think of it I am just as devastated as I was then. It is a pain that never heals. The man who killed my dad has long ago died. I wanted to harm him while he was living, but I never blamed his family, even though they went to court with him and supported him in spite of what he did. I will pray for the Avery King families and hope that they may find peace. I am not so sure about forgiveness, as I have not been able to forgive my father's murderer. I would like for the Barnes family to know that most people did not agree with what happened to them during and after the funeral."
"After reading the comments in this past week's Citizen Poll, I feel compelled to tell all of those saying how 'tacky' it is to protest at a funeral that yes, it is a little 'tacky.' However, it might seem less so to you if you watched the deceased murder a young child in your family right in front of your eyes. These people are still hurting far more than most of us can imagine and they will hurt for a long time ... so if they are a little 'tacky,' some of us understand."
"Our entire household was woken up Saturday morning at 7:15 by a grass blower. I called Newton County Sheriff Non -Emergency phone number (answered as Dispatch) the lady was very nice and offered to send an officer. I did not know who or the exact address and she did not know the times for the noise ordinance. Would the Citizen write an article about Noise Ordinance hours? Also, what is the pet and leash law and how far from houses can someone shoot a firearm? Maybe our sheriff will let us know our rights and responsibilities! Thank you!"
"It seems this weeks' poll is about lack of respect for your fellow man. The Barnes family could not help what he did, but you could have helped the way you treated his family. Please find a way in your heart to ask forgiveness for what you did to this family. You are to give Christian love to all people, and you showed pure hate and hurt. Yes it is terrible what he did, but sin is sin! You need to give this family an open apology."
"This is in reference to the post about the Covington YMCA. Considering that the YMCA is a non-profit organization, it does not have the funds needed to expand the facility. Also the Y does have activities for kids such as: soccer, flag football, basketball, cheerleading, swim lessons, swim team, summer camp, and an after school program. Plus, if you have a membership, they also have a kid zone are where your children can play while you work out. No, they do not have rock climbing walls and such because of the fact that they are located in a smaller community. If you would like to go to the YMCA and make a donation to them so that they can afford to expand, I'm sure they would appreciate it. Most of the money that they raise goes to a Partner with Youth program that allows underprivileged kids to be able to attend the programs listed above, as well as underprivileged families to be able to attend the YMCA for fitness. So please don't judge the Covington YMCA by other Ys. Yes, they are smaller, but do have a lot to offer."
"Hats off to Jeff Gillespie for being so honest in 'Finally feeling like I'm back to being me.' I wish him the best of luck as he continues to recover and appreciate his commitment to recognizing all of the local athletes."
"Has anyone noticed the dark charcoal investigator's car that travels at warp speed down I-20 from the Madison direction that belongs to Newton County and is above the law when it comes to speed? Well I have many times and haven't said anything until now, and the reason I am is because of all the conflict we have had with layoffs, cutbacks, and empty budgets for the county to work with. Yesterday, I drove my car to Wal-Mart in Madison to do some shopping and lo and behold there in the parking lot next to where I was fixing to park was the same car. I thought to myself, 'Our budget must not apply to (this person) along with the speed limit.' I just don't believe as a citizen I want to pay for (this person's) gas to shop, do you?"
"This is in response to the signs placed on Barnes' grave and the police saying no crime had been committed. I am sorry but I believe posting signs of protest on a grave site is an act of desecration in itself! No one can argue the pain the Stephanie Casola family and King family have gone through, but nothing gives them the right to stoop as low as the criminal. And in my opinion they have! Being a Christian is what is in the heart, not acts people perform! The criminal said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,' and Jesus replied by offering him hope for the future: 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.' No one in this county has the right to degrade Larry Barnes's family like they have! What he did was indeed a heinous act, but it is still not our place to try to pass or assume judgment on him. He is still a child of God!"
"Every time I go to our Newton County Library I'm impressed. The newest books are always available. There are interesting CDs and videos. The computers are working overtime with people seeking jobs, etc. The staff is always helpful; the displays attractive. The proof is in the pudding. The parking lot is usually full. This is one county-supported service that is efficient, attractive and runs like silk."
"Why are the health inspections published on Tuesday almost two months old?"
Editor's note: The Citizen obtains the printed health inspection reports as soon as they are available, which is sometimes two to three weeks after the inspections are completed. We publish them on a regular basis according to the space available.
"I think putting protest signs on someone's grave is disgusting. I mean really? Do you really think Lanny Barnes is aware of it? Time to move on and stop letting this bitterness and hatred consume you. It's very ugly."
"Mercy! I wonder when the geniuses with the Newton County School System are going to figure it out! When students are out of school for a week every eight weeks, it takes forever to get their minds back on school work. We are not meeting the Adequate Yearly Progress for the second year in a row. Whatever happened to the old school system schedule of starting school the day after Labor Day and not all this 'progressive' baloney some desk jockey dreamed up trying to justify the existence of their job. It it ain't broke, don't fix it! It's obvious the progressive schedule is not working. How much more money, how many more wasted hours of deliberation will it take to get it right? Mercy! It ain't rocket science, y'all!"
"What is the great one of 'change' trying to pull now? Government takeover of health care is a power grab. Obama's proposed health plan means unions will be exempt from the health benefit tax until 2013. Does anyone think of the word 'pay-back,' since the unions had a lot to do with Obama getting elected. Obama is saying the money needed to pay for his health care plan will come from the wealthy. When has that ever happened? It is usually the middle class that gets hit the hardest with increased taxes. A lot of the administration would be considered wealthy and some of them already have trouble paying their taxes as it is. When is this insanity going to end? We are living in a time where action is required. We need to rally the good people of America to stand up and be counted. Patriots, the time is now to let our voices be heard. It is now or never. If we don't let Washington know we are unhappy with their decisions, we have no one to blame but ourselves. It will then be too late to act."
"I am calling about the Lanny Barnes funeral protest that was in the Citizen Poll on Saturday. I agree that it is not proper to protest this gentlemen passing, and I certainly understand both sides, especially the families that had a loss, but I am disturbed though when the paper gives so much time to these types of comments when we had a Vietnam veteran medal of honor winner pass away and had it not been for a citizen writing an article the paper I am sure wouldn't have even covered it. An then on the Fourth of July we lost an Army lieutenant and all the coverage dedicated to both to Michael Jackson was either the paper and or the news media. I think it is a sad, sad state when our veterans are out here passing, true heroes and all we get are these snide comments concerning these individuals who don't really deserve the amount of ink it takes to write these articles. I think it is really sad. If you recall last December the Citizen as well as some of the other local papers didn't even remember Pearl Harbor. It is really sad."
"I am calling in regards to a comment in July 11th paper from the city of Covington employee about the health insurance and the raises and all. I, too, am a city of Covington employee and our raises every year are took from the insurance. The insurance goes up every year and we don't actually get no money. So, I go along with this person 100 percent. It is senseless for us to keep having our insurance raised once we get a 25-cent raise ... "
"The big old city of Covington couldn't spend $30,000 for fireworks, but the little old city of Porterdale spent almost $9,000 from private donors and put on an amazing Fourth of July fireworks celebration. Thank you, Porterdale. Seven thousand people came from the county to enjoy it; next year it should be even better."
Editor's Note: The cost of fireworks usually sponsored by the county and city was $7,580. The county and city would have split that for a total cost of $3,790 each. However, county commissioners opted not to fund the fireworks this year due to a budget shortfall, and the Covington City Council, which made its participation contingent upon the county's, backed out as well.