THUMBS DOWN to those who waste thousands of gallons of water on shrubbery during the worst drought Georgia has faced in decades. The blueberry crop is devastated and cattlemen are struggling to feed their herds. Our flower gardens can stand to suffer a few days a week. Buy some mulch; it prevents evaporation.
THUMBS UP to everyone who celebrated Independence Day responsibly. Officials responded to the drought fire risk by limiting the height of fireworks displays, while American patriotism roared full steam ahead. The support for Lance Cpl. Will Chambers family was especially moving.
THUMBS DOWN to local churches that used Independence Day and/or Memorial Day as an excuse to bring political agendas into the church. Patriotism is good and proper but the stock slideshow a Republican-affiliated prayer group sent out for churches to show on Sunday morning was not proper. Aside from the fact that it is illegal for nonprofits to engage in party politics, the content itself was inappropriate. Tanks and rocket-launchers should not be splashed across the sanctuary walls coupled with music and text designed to instill feelings of triumph. The faces of victims are decidedly absent from these deceptive displays.
Some politicians pretend that American soldiers are in Iraq by invitation, opposed only by a handful of insurgents. Yet even this week, a Marine testified in a court martial that his unit routinely beat Iraqi civilians when told to crank up the violence. Marines executed the wounded to avoid offering them medical care. Shooting an unarmed Iraqi man and planting an AK-47 near his body was a standard procedure in a venue where all Iraqi men are considered insurgents.
THUMBS UP to Wes and Scott Smith at Northwest Georgia Bank for giving Catoosa County the beautiful new amphitheatre at Benton Place. Last year it seemed half the county wanted to burn the Colonnade, and I wondered how Catoosa would ever regain some kind of cultural credibility. Its wonderful to see local business step up to the plate. Thanks also to the unnamed individuals who worked behind the scenes to make this happen including Georgia prison crews.
THUMBS DOWN to the Catoosa County commissioners for their unilateral decision to advertise for a county fire chief and combine two or three local fire departments into one -- without consulting those departments. Good thing they still know how to backspedal and utter, Nothing is set in stone.
Apparently their standard operating procedure is to make decisions without consulting those who are affected by the decision. The fire department faux pas is just another example of this isolationist mentality. It was bad enough when the commission threw away $19,000 for a fire study that yielded the same results Chief Chuck Gass and Chief Bruce Ballew had already worked together to provide. Do we really need to add insult to injury by putting out an ad for a new fire chief? Personally, I dont think the commission will find better leadership than we have now.
THUMBS UP to Whitfield and Catoosa County law enforcement for protecting our children. It is wonderful to see the sheriffs of neighboring counties working together. Thank you for arresting the 1890s Days attacker and also cleaning up Stephenson Park. We know that creeps lurk where children play, awaiting an opportune moment to make their move. Safe parks and safe festivals require the vigilance of citizens and law enforcement alike.
THUMBS DOWN to the slack attitude of officials in surrounding counties. Corruption has become a regular scandal in these parts. One police officer was arrested for false statements regarding a murder, while another officer was fired after explosives were reportedly found in his locker. An off-duty officer, and city police chief and a judge have all made recent news for driving drunk. Those who are trusted with enforcing the law should also remember to obey the law.
Jeannie Babb Taylor is a local business leader and author. She also teaches Sunday school, educates her children at home, and engages in Georgia politics. To contact Jeannie, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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