Editorials

Editorials

A good week for Georgia’s military facilities

There was good news for the Hinesville-Savannah region of the state last week as the Pentagon announced the Army’s decision to create a new Armor Brigade Combat Team at Fort Stewart, a conversion of the 3rd Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team. This will be Fort Stewart’s second Armor Brigade Combat team.

Editorials

The water wars continue — for now

It’s hard to get excited about water in Macon-Bibb County. We mean that in a positive way. When the rest of the state was parched because of weeks without rainfall, we hardly batted an eye, even in the midst of a declared Level 1 Drought Response imposed on Nov. 17, by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division for 58 counties, including Macon-Bibb. Why were residents so nonchalant even though the declaration put some restrictions on water use?

Editorials

Once again, the South is leading the way

A just released study by Gallup-Healthways, part of its “State of American Well-Being” series, looks at diabetes and obesity. No pun intended, but the two maladies are tied at the hip. The study looked at 190 communities and across all 50 states. No surprises, the study just confirms what we sorta, kinda already knew by looking around at many of our friends and neighbors — or maybe looking at ourselves in the mirror.

Editorials

Don’t spend what you don’t have

As the Christmas shopping season of 2016 gets underway with a vengeance, it’s easy to lose equilibrium. Our senses are overloaded with messages that say “buy, “buy,” reinforced by our own wants and desires. We run around in a frenzy trying to get this or that perfect gift, blindly handing over our plastic cards stamped with Mastercard or Visa or American Express without really thinking about the consequences. And in our Eggnog blurred state, we forget about the real green dollars we’re spending through those cards — and what’s tacked onto those dollars: interest.

Editorials

‘Let’s be careful out there’

As we quickly reminisce about the happiness of our 2016 Thanksgiving and the turkey sandwiches to come, some of us are waking this morning thinking about the long drive back home. Not meaning to put a damper on any travel plans, but here are a few reminders: You are not alone. As you will soon see, the highways and byways of this nation are crowded this weekend for a variety of reasons. First, it’s Thanksgiving and gas prices are low. An expected 50 million people are on the roads traveling an average of 600 miles from Wednesday until midnight Sunday. Well over a million will be traveling in Georgia.

Editorials

Even with turmoil, many reasons to give thanks

There are some who would say we don’t have much to give thanks for this Thanksgiving season. These naysayers couldn’t be more wrong. Though it wasn’t an “official holiday” deemed so by any government when the Plymouth colonists sat down with the Wampanoag Indians in 1621 for the first Thanksgiving; it was also a time of great stress.

Editorials

Pandering attempt ends in the woodshed

It didn’t take long after the Nov. 8 general election for over-reachers to overreach. It’s just too bad some of the over-reachers are here in the state of Georgia. On Monday, State Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, (between Brunswick and St. Marys) pre-filed House Bill 3. The measure would bar applicants from wearing masks or veils while posing for their driver’s license picture. You can see where Spencer was going with this. It would also appear to make wearing the Muslim burqa and veil subject to the state’s anti-masking law, which would prevent wearing burqas anywhere on public property.

Editorials

Good news, but it will be a long time coming

There was a lot of backslapping going on when news that the Georgia Department of Transportation was planning on spending $880 million on transportation projects in and around Interstate 75 and Interstate 16 in the next two decades. That’s a lot of money, and while there is celebration now about the idea of it, the reality will soon start to hit right between the axles.

Editorials

Voters content with the SPLOST — for now

It’s quite possible the most important vote taken in the Nov. 8 general election was not the ballot for who would sit behind the desk in the Oval Office. At least in Middle Georgia, and for Macon-Bibb County in particular, the most important vote was the approval of the $280 million special purpose local option sales tax.

Editorials

In today’s world, danger lurks in every corner

It’s almost more than a community can bear. On Thursday, Peach County sheriff’s Sgt. Patrick Sondron, 41, was laid to rest after he and his partner, Deputy Daryl Smallwood, 37, answered a call in Byron on Sunday afternoon in a dispute that remains unexplainable. All we know is the suspect may have been upset because of neighbors riding motorcycles and four-wheelers in the area of his home.

Editorials

Our veterans deserve more than just a ‘thank you’

The public sometimes gets a couple of observances confused — Memorial Day, that was observed May 30 — and Veterans Day that we celebrate today. There is an easy way to distinguish between the two holidays. Memorial Day is in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. Veterans Day is for those living veterans of our military services.

Editorials

The 2016 election is over. What now lies ahead?

Donald Trump traded in his Republican nominee title for the one bearing the moniker of president-elect. To say his election is a stunning surprise would be an understatement and the autopsy of the 2016 campaign will continue for the foreseeable future. What’s in question now is simple: Will President Donald Trump attempt to carry out his many campaign promises — some positive, some negative and many constitutionally questionable.

Editorials

Endorsements for U.S. Senate, Houston County races

One of the most contested races this election cycle has been that for the Senate. The seat is presently held by Johnny Isakson who is seeking his third six-year term. First elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 when Zell Miller retired, he won with 57.8 percent margin over one-term congresswoman Denise Majette. By that time, Isakson was a seasoned politician having served seven terms in the Georgia House and one term in the Georgia Senate with a run for governor in 1990, which he lost to Miller. In 1996, Isakson made a run for the U.S Senate and lost in the Republican Primary to Guy Millner.

Editorials

Total team effort to raise graduation rates

Some will look at the small increase in graduation rates from the Georgia Department of Education — from 78.8 percent in 2014-15 school year to 79.2 percent in the 2015-16 school year — and say, “What’s the big deal?” But let’s reverse the question: What would be the topic of conversation if the grad rate had dropped by 3 percentage points? You guessed it. The pitch forks would come out and education naysayers would be on the stump.

Editorials

Newspaper to Roberta: Follow the law

There is an oft-used saying, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” That phrase generally comes up when some poor bloke has violated a law he may or may not have known about, but it also applies to city and county officials who are supposed to know about a set of laws that govern how they are supposed to conduct the people’s business. They are called the Georgia Open Meetings Act and the Open Records Act.

Editorials

Congressional district endorsements

There has been a lot of angst about the way Washington, D.C., works, or rather, doesn’t work, during this election cycle. Both presidential candidates have promised changes, but no matter which candidate wins, the landscape of Congress could look vastly different Jan. 20 than it does today. While the overall approval rating of Congress, according to Gallup, is at its highest level in 2016, only 20 percent of the American public approve of the job Congress is doing. In November 2013, only 9 percent of Americans approved of Congress’ work. Still, when asked about local congressional representatives, voters respond positively.

Editorials

Is heavy early voting a sign of voter fatigue?

We can’t be sure of the cause, but early voting is up across the nation, the state and particularly so in Middle Georgia. Early voting started on Monday, Oct. 17, and as of Wednesday (Oct. 26), 11,640 voters had already cast ballots in Macon-Bibb County. It also seems that the early voting site at Terminal Station — which was a well-kept unintentional secret — is secret no longer. Of those 11,640 ballots, 3,286 were cast at that downtown location. And what started off as a dribble — only 266 voters the first day compared to 1,165 at the main office, grew to a Wednesday total of 592.

Editorials

Gov. Deal takes off the gloves

Gov. Nathan Deal is accustomed to getting his way. He’s used to browbeating legislators into submission. In part, that’s what governor’s do to fullfill their visions for the state. However, there are times when people in powerful positions start to, as the old folks used to say, “feel their oats,” and forget where the real power lies.

Editorials

Vote ‘no’ on Amendment 1

The most contentious issue on the ballot this election cycle with the exception of the contest for president is the question of Amendment 1 that Gov. Nathan Deal is sponsoring that would give the state authority to take over local schools.

Editorials

Extreme tragedy can strike anywhere

It’s incomprehensible that the life of a young man just beginning his journey would be snatched away from his future, yet, we see or hear about it almost everyday. Sometimes it’s due to an automobile accident or some other misfortune. What we don’t hear about daily, at least in this part of Middle Georgia, is a life being taken by a victim’s peers and — possibly — his friends.

Editorials

Endorsements for Amendments 2-4

The last items on the Nov. 8 ballot are the amendments to the Georgia Constitution and the the Macon-Bibb County extension of the 1 penny special purpose local option sales tax. We endorsed the SPLOST last Sunday and with the closing of the Boeing plant, one of the items the next SPLOST will fund is the extension of the runway at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport, which will allow larger aircraft to land and take off, some carrying freight and others coming here for maintenance. With established companies already at the airport providing maintenance, this opens up an entirely new window for them and for the workforce they will need to complete the additional work.