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. Please remember that the Citizen Poll is not a forum for comments about candidates seeking elected office.
"OK. I have been reading what is going on with the bike trail issue. I grew up with Keith and Chris. I think they are great people. They are looking out for what is best for our city and county. Bikes this, bikes that. You cannot promise there will be enough traffic to pay for anything. Plus, the foot traffic of the trail 'will' cause crime issues. However, I have been thinking of a good use for it. If we just have to have it, put a small two-car transit train on it. The tracks are there. That way the people could get from Covington to Newborn and save money. This would benefit many more Newton County people than a dumb bike trail. It would save a lot of gas for people who work in town. People could ride it to the doctor, store, and hospital. It's very close to all that. (Within walking distance). Everyone moves out here because they are tired of the Atlanta, Rockdale, crowds and traffic, and want to get into the country. Yet when you get here, you want to build stores and bring in all this mess because you don't want to drive so far. We have been fine out here for a long time without any of this. That's what living out here is all about. We don't need a trail that brings in riffraff from outside this county. (And it will happen). Leave well enough alone."
"In all the talk about the cuts in the Newton County School System, one thing seems to be underreported: teachers are going to have to pay for their own insurance, at the rate of $300 to $700 per month. I also wonder if many people realize the county is operating without substitute teachers, which requires classes to be split among other classes if a teacher must be absent. I realize that times are difficult, but many of the teachers I talk to are exploring the possibility of moving to another county where they are duly compensated for their time and talent. We currently have some excellent teachers. Do we want to lose them permanently?"
"The elimination of middle school sports in Newton County is a smokescreen to draw attention away from the problem of unleashing larger class sizes on elementary teachers at the same time para-pros are being removed from the schools. There is the real problem. How are schools going to improve the delivery of education to the children when the system is simply further increasing the burden on the classroom teachers? This is a perfect example of a lose-lose situation."
"I live in the eastern part of Newton County. I have two grandchildren who attend Indian Creek Middle School. This morning they missed the bus, so Granddad took them to school. Something really needs to be done with the railroad crossing on the bypass road. Does anyone know how much fuel is wasted just by the school buses that have to stop and go at that crossing? Why can't the city of Covington, or Newton County, put an officer at the crossing for a couple of hours each morning and evening to direct traffic? Newton County schools could even put someone there. Am I wrong to think this would make more sense that to waste fuel and time? Maybe Norfolk Southern should be required to put up automatic arms at this very busy crossing, so people will not get hit by all those trains that go by."
"Hurrah for Arizona from all Americans whether you are black, Caucasian, Oriental, Latin or whatever race and legal Americans. It is time we stood up for our country. People have a right to become Americans -- Greatest Country in the world -- as long as it is done legal. Illegal aliens need to be deported along with people who hire them. Americans need their jobs. Hire legal citizens only and send illegals packing."
"I was driving through Porterdale and had about a 15-minute wait for traffic. I just looked over to see the cemetery coming into town and the one going further out of town. They were in such a derelict shape. I sure wish somebody would figure out a way to get them cleaned up. It is so embarrassing to think that we let our dead not rest in peace but in weeds."
"This is in response to the citizen who is concerned about Obama cutting funds to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. I am not sure where this person's information is coming from, but it sounds real Fox News. Here are some facts. Effective Jan. 1, 2011, Seniors will have a new annual wellness visit, provided under Medicare. They currently do not have this. Benefits are not being cut. In fact, the benefits are actually increasing. Preventative services like cancer screening at no cost, substantial reduction in prescription drug prices if you fall into the gap, the donut hole. Over time the bill closes the donut hole. A trust fund will be extended for nine more years to make sure that the Medicare program is there for seniors now and in years to come. Incentives for providing care that has teams of care doctors, nurses, specialist working together to coordinate and monitor care more effectively. Incentives for better care, cut down on medical errors and prevent health care acquired infections that happen in hospitals. In 2011, seniors will receive 50 percent discounts on prescriptions and the Medicare share (payment to the pharmacy) will increase, if they are in the donut hole. Now they can keep taking their medications. So, I don't know, maybe it's just me. But it sounds pretty good to me. It sounds like they really DO care about the people. I don't see anything resembling socialism. Take it easy and do your homework. It will keep your blood pressure down."
I would like to give kudos to Heckel and Jeckel for revealing yourself to the public. Because you are the employees using the tactic called self- promotion. And wow it's working. I just want to say. You deserve pink slips. I have been to other dumps around the county and this is the only one where the taxpayers are treated horribly. You need to realize this. And also next time you tell me a bin is full and let the person behind me dump his trash, I'll dump mine and give you my name, address, telephone number, and any other information you might need to get me issued a citation. Now Heckel and Jeckel this might not be the best article or grammatically correct one. But it gets my point across."
"To the person who made the comment about the school buses running for 30-60 minutes in the morning. This is necessary to make sure the bus has enough air pressure to operate the brakes and other air powered parts. And during the winter if you want your child to freeze then, yes, tell them not to crank the buses early. But don't complain when your child is standing in the cold for longer because it's your mouth's fault."
Teachers are going to have to pay for their own insurance. I appreciate the teachers of Newton County but I've been paying for my own insurance for as long as I have been working. The truth is that I agree teachers are hard-working and I truly appreciate them for the job they do with our children (at least for most of them). However, they get an entire summer paid without being made to work. They are able to work a part-time job in the summer; many choose not to. Just look at it this way: times are tough, at least they still have a job. Pay cuts and paying their own insurance is better than losing their jobs."
"If you want your child to play middle school sports, pay for them to play at the recreation department. Either way you look at it, you will have to pay. Do you know how much it costs to have your child in sports in school? It's actually cheaper to put them in sports with the YMCA or recreation department. Maybe not better, but cheaper."
New superintendent: Paying the new guy an extra $10K to take the job? Who decided this???? We are taking money away from teachers and sports away from kids and fattening an already fat pocket of a man that hasn't even proven himself yet (no offense to him). I am SURE there are qualified individuals in our great state of Georgia. Could we not find someone here to take a job for less money? Like a lot of others have said, get rid of the ones on the top of the food chain first, then go down from there! Now on to rails to trails ... what?? Do you not realize we are in almost a depression? We can't afford to keep teachers or sports, yet the city of Covington can afford a trail to walk on? Do you not know how to use the sidewalk? Do you not know how to use the Turner Lake Park? Do you not know how to use the high school football field? Seriously we need to vote all the idiots we have put in our offices out!!!
"In the Citizen Poll, one interested voter asked why the Newton County Sheriff's Office budget had increased by 12 percent for fiscal year 2011. The question asked was where Sheriff Brown intended spending $2.3 million more. The observer has no inside knowledge with which to answer such a question, but isn't that obvious? State budget cuts have had a ripple effect on communities. Many costs have been passed on from states to cities to counties. Violent crime and terrorism have risen. The economy has brought job losses, unemployment and increasing crimes against persons and property. Jails are full and inmates are sleeping on floors. Expansion is needed and costs of staffing, feeding and providing medical care have risen. Any community has a choice. Either pick up the slack and provide necessary law enforcement or place the entire community at risk. Do people want less patrolling on their streets? Do they want jail overcrowding and the problems with it? Costs have risen across the board. It is expensive to hire, train, equip and keep certified the necessary personnel. Police have to have the resources to do their job. Certain standards are required by state and federal laws and costs must be met."
"Kim Carter is certainly watching out for her friends! She wants trails for her husband, appointed Randy Vinson as zoning director and now she wants to give her good friend Josephine Kelly a 20 percent raise. All this on top of trying to sneak in an elaborate redecoration of her office. Does she not realize that we are in a recession in this area. Obviously we need a mayor who is more fiscally responsible. Hopefully, the City Council can keep her reigned in until election time."
"I would like for managers or HR people from local companies to explain why so many of you will not consider an applicant without a college degree, even when the job doesn't require one in order to have it done well. Not only that, but you don't even specify a particular degree! I have an I.Q of 152 and work experience as well. All of my bosses have loved me because I do such a great job and need no supervision. Yet jobs noting duties that I have actually done will not consider me because I don't have a piece of paper saying I went to college for four years. Someone could have a degree in liberal arts, a degree that in no way qualifies one to work in accounting support, yet you would consider that person over me, someone with actual experience in that area! How ridiculous! Here's something for you to think about: Bill Gates doesn't have a college degree, but I can't imagine any company that wouldn't consider itself fortunate to have such an intelligent, successful person on its team. Remember that and all the wonderful applicants that you are ignoring the next time you post a job opening."
"I have very mixed feelings about the closing of Clements Theme School. As it existed this year, closing it is a better option for the children. ... The superintendent and the BOE have completely let down the families who committed to the theme school by not following through on their promises of zero tolerance and higher academics. It became obvious, very early, that the administration and some of the teachers, were not the best fit and should not have been hired for the positions they were in. Instead of taking action to correct the hiring mistakes, a decision was made to ignore the problem and let more and more good families leave. Once again, Newton County schools have shown that they are not willing to look outside the box for solutions to our educational system which continually fails our children."
As a former merchant of the Square, the Main Street Manager has not done her job in years and years. Nothing has changed since I was a merchant. The current merchants never see her in their stores. If it was not for the Art Association putting on the concerts there would be nothing. The Lions Club does the Christmas parade and the Humane Society does the Mutt Show. Main Street is a national organization with specific job description and the Mayor and Mrs. Kelly deciding to rename it and add to it is not honoring the charter of Main Street. Covington is a beautiful historic town. It is a part of the history of the South. We should have quaint little shops and restaurants. Lovely sidewalks. Yearly tour of homes. Activities downtown that promote the community and provide families a place to come. Ms. Kelly is not concerned with Southern tradition, preserving our heritage and keeping Covington a place to raise our families and welcome tourists. Obviously, our Mayor is not either!