Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Friday, April 17, 2015

Preserving the land

Being in the South in spring is a sight -- and a sound -- to behold. Bright green growth is bursting from the earth and vivid buds pop from mid-story branches up into the tree tops, all backed up by birds singing a score that only nature can compose. Yes, I’m an unabashed fan of the natural world. I’m also a devoted environmentalist, a musician and a forest manager who’s been fortunate to see how harmony not only feels good but makes good sense.

On our family farm, we grow trees that are part of Georgia’s 24 million acres of sustainably managed forestland; trees that filter our air and water, provide homes to wildlife and give us beautiful views and places to play. Using time honored methods and modern scientific tools, we nurture our trees. We plant them one by one, tend them, groom them and selectively harvest them so that the whole grows on, so that our children, grandchildren and kids yet to be dreamed of will know the riches of this amazing, renewable resource.

I’m proud to say the trees on our land go on to serve in some very noble ways. They become lumber for homes and churches, paper that gets printed so we can learn more about everything, even pencils and pianos so music makers can write lyrics and create melodies that touch other folks’ souls. To sustain that success story, tree farmers need viable markets to keep their working forests in trees.

Processing wood waste and thinnings for biomass products is one of those markets we welcome. Today in Georgia, we’re planting and growing 40 percent more than we’re harvesting, and we pride ourselves on utilizing every tiny by-product of the process. And we’re doing it while struggling with encroaching development, invasive species and the many effects of changing ownership.

You won’t find many Georgia forest landowners who want to pave paradise for parking lots. We love the land and know how to do our jobs. But we do need everybody to understand the real facts and to support the good work forest landowners are doing in utilizing and conserving a most precious resource. Now that’s a sound approach.

-- Chuck Leavell

Twiggs County


On behalf of the State Bar of Georgia, I would like to offer condolences to the family, colleagues and many friends of attorney John E. James of Macon on his recent passing. James’ distinguished 45-year career in the practice of law included many avenues of leadership and service to the legal profession and the public. He chaired the General Practice and Trial Section of the State Bar of Georgia as well as the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission. He also served as president of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and sponsored the annual John E. James Distinguished Lecture Series at Mercer University with Lord Gordon Slynn of Hadley, suggesting international legal luminaries to serve as lecturers.

James’ lifetime of service is an inspiration to all Georgia lawyers. We are grateful for his many contributions toward ensuring justice for all citizens and for his dedication to the practice of law.

-- Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker

President, State Bar of Georgia

Volunteer week

The week of April 12-18 is recognized nationally as National Volunteer Week, a time dedicated to demonstrating the value of selfless service -- particularly to nonprofit, charitable organizations.

At Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia, it’s also a time in which we celebrate the tremendous value we receive from our GForce volunteers, who last year were nationally recognized for serving in the best Goodwill volunteer services program in the nation by Goodwill Industries International.

What made them so special? More than 4,000 GForce volunteers provided more than 45,000 hours of service to Goodwill last year -- including processing donations, teaching GED classes, helping with job fairs and assisting with clerical duties.

They include people like the many volunteers at Carlyle Place, our Goodwill’s Community Partner of the Year. Residents of Carlyle Place spend several hours each month sorting jewelry donations in preparation for sale in Goodwill retail training stores. Service from such volunteers allows Goodwill to derive maximum benefit from paid staff members, thereby yielding the greatest return on the generosity of the many donors who fuel the organization’s mission of providing job training, education and career advancement services.

We at Goodwill are thankful for our volunteers year-round, but are especially grateful during this national week of recognition.

-- Ivey Hall

Director of Volunteer Services

Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia, Inc.


New TV listings

Many of us who look to The Telegraph TV listings each day no longer pay to subscribe to a long list of cable channels. With Macon stations now broadcasting two or three digital signals each, reconnecting and aiming the old rooftop antenna brings a couple of dozen HD channels for free.

I’d like to suggest that, especially since Georgia Public Broadcasting replaced PBS Kids with PBS Create (cooking, home improvement, etc.) on one of its digital channels, the listings for the ME-TV Network, carried on Channel 58.2, be added to The Telegraph’s TV listing page. It is my children’s favorite channel now, with everything from “Leave It To Beaver” to “Wonder Woman,” to “Lost in Space” and “Get Smart!” Many readers would appreciate a review of the new offerings, including Mercer’s new TV channel 38.1 in conjunction with its Center for Collaborative Journalism, and a revamp of the TV listings page, to reflect the real choices all of us in Macon now have.

-- Fred Brown


Bad customer service

As one of the most disastrous financial divisions of government, I now understand why. I like many others use Federal Express and UPS for delivering packages. Is it feasible they could or would handle the mail? Face it, junk mail is just junk. I recently placed a priority order through the U.S. mail from California. That meant two-day delivery. The package reached the Zebulon Post Office on March 28, at which time it was given to my carrier.

Having not received it by the March 30, I continually called the shipper for several days. Now I requested relief for the blunder, $17 in postage, not the loss of the sale. I was told by the superintendent’s secretary (highly paid) that the mail carrier had it that day until Friday in her truck. No notice was ever left and I had spent a lot of time for nothing.

-- Joe Hubbard


Illegals driving

I was pleased to read in D.A. King’s Sunday column that our state government: ”is still issuing driver’s licenses, official Georgia ID cards and public benefits to illegal aliens. Also eligibility for public benefits for unemployment compensation.”

It’s time for everyone to realize and accept the reality that our illegals are here and that most are gainfully employed in jobs that most of us don’t want, like roofing, agriculture, construction, etc. We want them to have licenses and be insured.

-- Frank W. Gadbois

Warner Robins