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Newton Poll - 01-29-11

"I think our Newton County Fire Department personnel do an outstanding job. It hurts me to hear our that county firefighters are quitting because they are paid a sub-standard salary compared to other departments, and state and federal employees. They can go to work for the city of Covington and be make better pay starting off, and be making twice as much as a Newton County employee is in a few years."

"The Newton County Commissioners wants to spend your Special Option Local Sales Tax Option money on a ... proposed ag. center. While today, our Newton County Sheriff's Office cannot open an already-built jail pod .... That's right ... taxpayers have paid millions to have 70-plus jail bed space constructed only to have our county commissioners cut funding and close the already built bed facilities."

"A Newton County firefighter friend I have known for years said that this week, 01-21-2011, they had four Newton County firefighters quit. He was frustrated because they were all good employees, whom Newton County had paid thousands and thousands of dollars to hire and train over the past five years to the point that other agencies were hiring them up wholesale at bargain prices."

"The city of Porterdale serves less than 4,000 people. The Newton County Sheriff's Office serves over 100,000 people. The city of Porterdale pays police officers more than the Newton County Sheriff's Office starting pay. Our Newton County commissioners have turned the Newton County Sheriff's Office into the McDonald's of police jobs in Newton County."

"Just a couple observations after the snowfall of last week. As I drove around the new Turner Lake traffic circle 1.) I did not see one foot print in the snow, from a human or animal, on the 'sidewalk to nowhere' that goes through the tunnel; 2.) but did observe a fair number of tire tracks on the brand new curbs. Guess all that inconvenience was worth it!"

"I would like to thank all my Facebook friends for telling me all about their wonderful children and grandchildren. I , too, have wonderful children and grandchildren, but I will not bore you with the details. You see I raised my children to be independent and strong. They do not have to stay attached to me at the hip. I do not wish to be in their back pockets as I know they have lives of their own, as do I. I believe in the 3G theory. Grown, gone and I am grateful. I love them very much, but do not live my life through them nor them through me. Have a nice day."

"I for one am glad that Chairman Morgan didn't clear Commissioner Sims' driveway. I live on the west side of Newton County, and can tell you that it is turning into a DeKalb county dump. I made a suggestion to the commissioners through the poll about figuring out a way to take our taxes that are used to run and maintain these recycling facilities, and put them toward a waste management system that uses dump trucks to pick up garbage from residences. It could be done one district at a time until all the trucks are paid for by our taxes. The days of people driving up the road with garbage bags on their hoods needs to end."

"Perhaps the ease with which the air conditioners were stolen in the Conyers area was due to the thieves knowing the police were drinking and fighting in a local bar."

"To the person that wrote 'Clements Theme School -- because the county thought it was a failure -- funny, that the state recognized it as a success.' Clements was closed because the county needed the building and at the time we did not have the superintendent that we have now. I am sure that Dr. Mathews and the current BOE would have handled things completely differently with Clements than the previous superintendent of BOE. The school at large was not a failure. The failure was the BOE's lackadaisical manner in overseeing Clements."

"Cannot let this go by -- Kudos to the person who suggests that helping instead of complaining will make you feel so much better! I could not agree more."

"Wow! Seems there are many who need to move out of Newton County because to them, there is nothing very good about it. I'm almost inclined to say I want to move to get away from such negative people. So, I have decided to do a bit of venting about the posts in 1/22/11 news. To those who have commented on the Doug Holt issue ... I can only say 'jealous!' Is this really a priority in your life? Or are you really paranoid about who might be 'trying to pull the wool?' To the person worried about Mr. Sims not being on the Web site ... has Mr. Sims taken any initiative to finding the person who updates the site? I feel quite certain Ms. Morgan is not the one to do it and, quite frankly, I would like to see her work productively on more important issues like economic development. Regarding Academy Springs Park -- are you saying the Lions Club, Boy Scouts, Garden Clubs and people go to this park and no one is willing to give a bit of volunteer time to do a bit of clean up ... since it bothers you ... I bet you would feel better if you pitched in an hour. And now the big one -- SPLOST/politicians -- First of all, the 'list' has become 'Mr. Ewing's List' because when the chair did not put a list together in a timely manner (no surprise) and there must have been time constraints, he stepped up to the plate and did it (no surprise there either). Now, you will read over that list, yes, there are projects that are, by no means, needed, but ... let a 'list' be developed without something for everyone and it most certainly will be doomed ... after all, if District 5 gets a park, by golly District 2 better get one, too ... Oh, and as for the 'project' that everyone seems to think is Mr. Ewing's, the agriculture center, it is not planned to be in his district. It is, however, predicted to be a revenue (that's money!) producing facility and will draw folks to the county to spend. I feel certain there will be much information coming out about SPLOST, how it is not a tax increase but rather an extension, how it will be a deficit reducer, etc. and I, for one, hope people will relate to it in an intelligent manner. ..."

"Please note that the parents of children at the theme school were not asked to sign a contract; they chose to sign the contracts by sending their children there because of all the contractual measures. I know from the outside looking in the parental involvement theme seems like what takes place at all other schools. Trust me in saying that the level of parent, grandparent, neighbor, aunt, friend, sibling and extended family involvement by far goes way beyond the 20 hours that each family is contracted to complete. I would also like to state that the BOE is not begging for applicants. In fact, the BOE and Fairview are simply making sure that everyone knows about the upcoming application season. There is, in fact, quite the possibility for a lottery to take place with the upcoming applications. I do agree that this concept can and should be shared amongst other schools. Yes, I agree that all parents should show and interest in the child's school, but the reality is that they do not and this school works because our parents are not just volunteering in their child's classroom but all over the school. Please consider coming and touring the school so that we could have a chance to answer any other questions or misknowns you or anyone else might have about the school."

"I am one of the many volunteers who support and do charity work at Solid Rock Baptist Church on Brown Bridge Road. Recently Solid Rock's three passenger vans and a trailer were torched and burned to a crisp in the middle of the night. Also, last year a friend of mine who lives on the Jackson Highway inside of Covington came home in the middle of the afternoon and found his house had been ramshackled and burglarized. This burglary is very disturbing too because around 15 guns were taken. The burglars were believed to be juveniles who had stolen three ball bags from Indian Creek School to hide guns. It was believed they carried the guns to one of the apartment projects behind Newton Federal Bank. They came through the woods next to Indian Creek. These types of crimes along with murders, robberies and drugs now seem to define Newton County. I think that all of my wife's and my friends have been a victim of some sort of crime. We do not go into a restaurant anymore. We use the drive through. We do the same thing at our bank. I agree with the many comments in your polls where the people say there is too much crime, and very little seems to be done about it. We even now have to count the number of pills in our prescription refills. I am puzzled as to why the Covington Police released a press release type article to the paper where they warned people of possible prosecution if they gave unverifiable information to them. You would think they would be releasing articles begging people for information and offering rewards, not punishment. God help us."

"What a surprise when I turned to page 3A of the Citizen this morning! Who knew the man who proposed ... to add a $1.1 million agricultural center to the 2011 SPLOST was a cattleman, candidate for, and now recipient of the Piedmont Cattlemen's Associations 2010 Commercial Cattleman of the Year Award? In my opinion, he should have disqualified himself from voting on this project. One more, of many, reasons to Vote no on SPLOST 2011!"

"I would totally be in favor of reduced days to our school year, if that meant teaching and learning actually went on during the regular school day. I am so tired of my children coming home from school and finding out that they watched another Disney movie, or played board games, or had assembly, or had 'quiet reading' time, or just were given crossword puzzles and word searches. Our schools are failing, children aren't learning, yet my child knows Disney movies really well."

"Did I hear correctly, we had another Newton County Sheriff's deputy investigator with seven-plus years service and training .... resign because of poor pay and benefits ... only to have that same officer start working for the Avondale Estates Police Department as an entry level officer at a higher salary than what Newton County pays at seven years."

"Just took the BOE survey. From the questions on the survey it looks like they are taking a bottom up look for the cuts. Cuts should start at the top. The superintendent and the BOE should take the same cuts of pay and benefits that a teacher or custodians would take. Staff at the main office should be cut deeper than at schools. This may be small cuts compared to what they want to do, but a true leader, someone who cares about education of children would. (And that is what they were hired by the people of Newton County to do.)"

"President Obama's proposed 'budget freeze' sounds good until you read the fine print. Only 17 percent of the budget is included in the freeze and those items were already given 22 percent increases. Nice idea -- raise the budget then announce it is frozen. Wow."

"Why can private schools build wonderful cost-effective buildings, whereas public school must have the latest and greatest all brick buildings with atriums? When are the public schools going to take a lesson from private and stick to a reasonable budget?"

"Today is Monday, Jan. 24, and I am writing this for your Opinion Poll. We (my wife and I) went to Turner Lake Park this morning for our routine walk. While we were there the parking lot become full of 'high end' expensive vehicles. All of the drivers seemed to be well-dressed and well-groomed. Their vehicles consisted of Cadillacs, Mustangs, BMWs, Mercedes-Benzs, along with expensive trucks and SUVs. The only clunkers we saw were ours, a few people there to fish, and some employees from the Recreation Department. When we asked who all these people were, we were told they were special education teachers from the school system holding a meeting. I wonder why Newton County needs so many of them? The point I want to make here is that most of us are sick and tired of hearing how teachers and policemen work for low wages and peanuts. The Turner Lake parking lot at this time in no way resembled the Pactiv or Walmart parking lots. Why don't those people who continuously say they are working for peanuts send a comment to this poll showing their pay scales, fringe benefits, such as vacation time, sick leave, medical insurance, etc. I also wonder why these people lowered themselves by going to Turner Lake to hold a meeting when they have the Taj Mahal on Newton Drive? ... It seems to me that all of these people are overpaid for the work they do when compared to the results they produce."

"My comments pertain to the recent Newton Citizen article where several Covington Police Department detectives extensively elaborated on the possibility of prosecution if a citizen gave a report or information to them, and they later declared it to be false. These detectives exercised extremely poor judgment in this article. ... All law enforcement agencies plead for help from the general public. The detectives in Covington seem to be unable to 'see the big picture' or 'think outside the box.' Don't they realize that Covington citizens give reports and information to federal, state, and generally to Covington detectives seem to think they are the only kids on the block. Their article would make many people think twice before they would report anything to any agency. Not only do they not seem to care about reducing crime in Covington, they don't seem to care about the stumbling blocks and problems they probably caused other agencies. If they receive a false report they need to 'lump-it-up' and 'get-over-it,' Only a fool would bite the hand that feeds it. ..."