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Newton Poll - 05/01/2010

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.

"Newton County is already about 20 years behind in their special education services in the school system. The system is graduating young adults who have zero job skills, zero life skills, and zero chance of finding or holding a job. I noticed that the superintendent chose to further cut special education services, by eliminating teachers and parapros, and left the gifted program untouched."

"After reading the NCSS superintendent's educational cuts for next year, I can understand why there are waiting lists for the quality home school academies in our area. Now, more than ever, it is time for parents to step out of their comfort zone and stop settling for mediocre -- take charge of your child's education and help them meet their potential."

"As I watched the news tonight, I see that Newton County is going to cut teachers and anything else they can. They should start at the BOE from the top paid salaries to the least paid. Who is approving these raises they are getting, expenses to move here and run the show -- come on. I'm sure there's a lot of dead wood up there we could do without. This is getting out of hand. I haven't had a raise in two years, why should they? Times are still hard. I hope the board looks in the mirror to see whose jobs they are going to cut. People it starts at the top!"

"As a concerned citizen of Newton County and seeing our school system going through so much, I am appalled at some of the situations. I understand that cuts have to made and I think the citizens know this. We may not like it, but it's happening. I know that our superintendent Dr. Whatley as well as three board members are leaving, so in turn they really don't have to worry about it so much. The new board will have to field the complaints of decisions which were not theirs. ... I do have one problem -- Why or how can we bring in a new superintendent who may be great for our county but before even working a single day, he gets over $20,000 raise. That's not right to the others in the system. He should have to take what Dr. Whatley is making ... If everyone else has to take cuts he should also. This is no means any disrespect to Dr. Mathews who I haven't met but right is right and we have no right giving raises when people are losing their jobs and benefits and struggling to make it. Let's do the right thing."

"A big thank you to both Keith Dalton and Chris Smith for leading the way to close the long-standing discussion about the rails to trails purchase. Mayor Kim Carter needs to open her eyes and quit letting her (and her husband's) personal agenda get in the way. It's a well known fact that her husband is pushing for the trails project and clearly she is trying to get it done from her position as mayor. Newton County has bigger and much, much more important issues to address than this project, including jobs, retail growth, and NC school system issues."

"I am writing in response to the reader who wonders why special ed is being cut in schools, but the gifted program has been left untouched. Let me start by saying that the gifted program technically falls under the special ed umbrella, so it would not be impossible for a gifted teacher to lose his/her job. I am a parapro in special ed, and I work with second and third-graders. I also have a son of my own who is in third grade, and he is in the gifted program. While I see how badly my students need to be taught on a lower level, I also see that my son desperately needs to be taught on a level higher than his current grade. Gifted programs are just as important as programs geared for those who struggle. When you get down to it, no department should be cut in our schools ... period. Each program of instruction is of the utmost importance to each of the students it serves, regardless of the level on which they function."

"What a cowardly move by Keith Dalton and Chris Smith to sneak a surprise vote on the railroad into Monday nights City Council agenda and push for a vote with no discussion over a week before the planned public information meeting. Your lack of courage is surpassed only by the depths of your ignorance and the extremes of your arrogance in feeling you need no facts and owe no allegiance to those who have labored for years to bring our community to an opportunity like this. By the time you're done with our city, you'll have set us back decades. But, then, that's probably part of the plan."

"I would like to know what the meaning of roadside memorials are. I mean, they are against the law in the state of Georgia and they are disturbing, disgusting and distracting. Why would anybody want to memorialize a place where somebody got killed? Where you know someone took their last breath and build a shrine to them. If anybody knows the answer to this I really would like to know."

"My comment today is, first of all, anything that has to do with the AJC is a mistake in the first place. We just don't know what to do about our paper anymore. Whether we should cancel it or what do you suggest? Tuesday late delivery, Wednesday OK, got it at 6:30. I leave for work at 7 had a chance to glance. Thursday no delivery, my wife called and said we got our paper after 10, Friday no delivery at all. called. left message. Saturday about a 7:15 delivery. You have to realize that you have made a mistake combining delivery service. Someone is not thinking about continuing success of your paper. It is not acceptable. You say call the delivery department, tell me why that does not work. Remember Internet is available at no charge. Please publish this."

Editor's note: We understand your frustration with erratic delivery and thank you for your patience as we work through this transition. Service is improving and will continue to improve as we go forward. Prior to the change in delivery service, the Citizen promised delivery by 6:30 a.m. weekdays. That is also our contractual agreement with the AJC. Please call publisher Alice Queen at 770-483-7108, ext. 226, if your delivery does not improve.

"I am outraged at the recent decision of the Covington City Council to try and squash any hopes of purchasing the Norfolk Railroad and transform it into a highly beneficial walking/cycling trail. A trail of such magnitude would be a boon to this area by bringing in much-needed business as well as offering a safe way for citizens to participate in aerobic activity. Not all walkers, runners, roller bladers and cyclists enjoy riding on 55 mph roads with no sidewalk, bike lane or shoulder."

"I fully support the drive to acquire rail trails!"

"The Covington City Council by a 5-1 vote has inexplicably reversed itself after calling for a public hearing to gather more information about the possible purchase of railroad right of way with federal grant funds. Now they simply don't want to hear anything more about it. Next the apparent leader of the Posse of No, Keith Dalton, doesn't want to spend agreed-upon money to continue the strategic planning process undertaken at their recent retreat. I can think of "no" group more in need of facilitated planning than this council."

"The action by the Covington City Council on the railroad right of way is an embarrassment to the community. I support trails and most of my friends do as well, but yet the City Council members do not want to know the facts. Most said they will not attend an informational meeting to learn the facts about the railroad right of way project on April 29. This a classic case of let's don't confuse the issue with facts because I already have my mind made up. It is my understanding that the railroad line can be purchased with funding that Congressman Jim Marshall made available to our community. There is also a company that will remove the rail, crossties, grade the line, top with gravel, pave the road crossings and provide an environmental insurance policy at no cost to the city or county. They will do it for the rails and crossties. This would mean that the city or county would not have spent any money on this project. Is this a no-brainer or what? Yet the City Council votes 5 to 1 against discussing the railroad line. What are they thinking?"

"It is disappointing to know that when teachers/parapro positions are cut in Newton County, they will be basing it on seniority. Wouldn't it be more comforting to know that only the best teachers and paras will be working with our children and not just those who have been in the system the longest?"

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"I made a pass to the dump or the recycling center over the weekend and to my surprise I couldn't dump anything I had. (yard waste) 'Quote' -- Heckel and Jeckel said it was full and we ain't gonna lose our job cause it gets too full. So let me get this straight: If the dump or recycle center is full, why is it still open and Heckel and Jeckel are still getting paid. This is the McGibony Road center. I have problems every time I go there. If the county can't get enough Dumpsters, they should close the ... thing. I'm not the only one who has problems there, either. Most people I encounter have the same issues I have. Newton County please do something. This has been going on for years!"

"I would like to know why the citizens of Newton County have to keep stopping at a number of different railroad crossings when there is no longer a train running on these tracks. Every day during the week on the Bypass the traffic backs up four times a day. What is the point of causing traffic jams when there are enough of them already in the county. As Moses once said, 'Let my people go.' I say let the traffic flow. Thanks, commissioners, for another fine job. Signed: Stuck in traffic."

"I support Mr. Dalton and Smith in their effort to curb wasteful spending on the old rail line. Mayor Carter seems to be acquiring her tax and spend skills from Obama, 'tax and spend.'"

"Are all Democrats natural born liars? I heard Bill Clinton spouting lies on the news a few days ago, mentioning that members of the Tea Party were going to cause another Oklahoma City bombing. Is he all that stupid? Did he not realize that him and Janet Reno caused the bombing. Look at all the innocent children and women that were killed at Waco. That is the reason that Tim McVeigh bombed the federal building in Oklahoma. I once saw a poem published in another newspaper that stated 'Tim McVeigh died a hero, murdered by Janet Reno.' Yes, I was once a loyal Democrat until I saw what happened at Waco. I then swore that I would never vote for a Democrat again."

"Why doesn't Mayor Carter try to get funding to use the existing railroad for a high speed commuter train to Atlanta? Wouldn't that make more sense?"

"This is in response to the comment this week about the school system cutting special education but not the gifted program. You might consider that if there was anything to cut from the gifted program to start with, it would most certainly be cut. I'm not sure what type of funding people believe the gifted kids get, but it isn't enough to inspire any jealousy. Gifted children are woefully underserved by our county school system. There is one gifted teacher in my local elementary school for the entire school. When you get to the middle school level, just forget it. There is a bias against gifted children as if because they are gifted they don't deserve or need to be educated at their academic level. The gifted child is entitled to a tax-funded-academic-level-appropriate education just as much as a special needs child, just as much as every child in our school system. Also, the budget shortfall we have in the school system can be railed against and blamed on others, or it could be seen as an opportunity. When before have so many people in our county been so concerned about our education system? Let's all get more personally involved; volunteer to help these teachers who will be without parapros next year, get some fundraising started to get our sports programs back as soon as possible, etc. Let's get busy on behalf of our kids. Complaining doesn't change things, action does."

"I object and take exception to everyone saying that Obama and Congress are spending money like a drunken sailor. As a former drunken sailor -- I quit when I ran out of money!"

"New light at 212 and Highway 20. New park across from Oak Hill Elementary. New library at Oak Hill, new Wal-mart coming at Salem and Brown Bridge. Earnest Simmons is by far the best District 2 commissioner in my 40 years living in this county."

"Hard to believe Covington Council refused to even investigate the rails-to-trails option. What a gift it could be to the community -- great for residents, for health, for increasing property values, for attracting good folks and good development. Guess we like being a second-class town."

As a city of Covington employee, I find it to be a slap in the face when I see a lawn service cutting the grass at City Hall and then I'm told that the city can't afford to pay me for overtime hours that I'm required to work. I've had a 'little bird' tell me that this can't be done. Citizen, can you look into how the city employees are compensated for overtime hours."

"I am writing to ask who in the world would go and break into sombody's vehicle and steal someones's stuff out of it? We have to work a hard, long day to pay for the items and somebody can just walk up to that vehicle and bust the window out and take it, and this person or persons did this on school grounds and got away with it. I hope you are found and put away for a very long time and maybe that will change the way you are, I hope."

"Listen up fellow senior citizens and all those who care about us ... Obama is getting ready to cut funds to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. He cares nothing for the Americans who make up this large percentage of the population. He is much more concerned with the illegal alien situation. He is looking ahead to 2012 and how indebted to him these people will be if he gets the Amnesty For Illegal Aliens Bill passed. This is his plan to get re-elected. It is pathetic when the American elderly are considered by this president and his administration to be second-class citizens and expendable. If he were to cut all the pork for his special interests, the debt could be lessened considerably. He still blames the former administration for the problem. Doesn't he realize that his Obamacare will only maximize our debt? I am sure he does, but his agenda must prevail at all costs! The November 2010 election can make the difference. We need to vote out all those who stand behind Obama and his quest towards Socialism and the removal of our freedoms. The choice is ours and the time to act is Nov. 9, 2010! We will be heard!"

"To the person I followed on the Covington Bypass Sunday a.m. that decided his dog rides so much better on top of his tool box of his pickup rather than in a crate or inside the cab. I followed this person for several miles afraid this dog was going to lose balance and fall. I am not sure what the laws are here for carrying a pet, but I would love to post the pic of your stupidity I have for all to see how smart you really are."

"I want to encourage you to thank your teachers this week since it is National Teacher Appreciation week. Mrs. Strickland, Miss. M, Mrs Nix, and Mrs. Alexander, you guys are awesome. You not only have loved and nurtured my children but you have touched their lives in so many ways. I could never thank you enough. Also, to the rest of the staff at Palmer Stone Elementary, thank you for making us feel like we are a part of your family and not just a number. All of you do an awesome job and we thank you for all you do."

"I want to encourage everyone who can to come down to the Square on Monday at 10 a.m. to cheer on our Special Olympians as the parade around town in start of Special Olympics Week. Good luck to each and every athlete and I'm so proud of you all!"

"Could someone please tell me how the people on Creekview Boulevard got the commissioners to deny a petition for a group home in their area and we on Alcovy Trestle Road have no choice about the halfway house for convicted criminals in our neighborhood? When I called planning and zoning I was told that if the gentleman had all the proper permits there was nothing I could do to stop him. You would think that a group of convicted criminals would pose a greater threat to the community than a group of rowdy teenagers. I bet if it was in the commissioners' neighborhood they would not allow it."

"I know a way that NCSS can save some money. They can save money by not allowing the school bus drivers to let their buses run for 30 to 60 minutes in the morning. There is no need for this."

"Let's all thank Doug Holt for his recent vote of yes to Senate Bill 346. Yes, it requires an assessment notice to all property owners each year now. Keep in mind this includes commercial and industrial properties who can afford legal representation to fight and have their assessment lowered. What about us residential homeowners who cannot afford a legal team? Once again, the state Legislature has helped the big guys who will ultimately have their assessment lowered and the rest of us regular homeowners will end up paying more because of this."