I feel like a failure. For years, I have told you what a privilege it is to live in the great state of Georgia. We have beautiful mountains; pristine beaches; the oldest state-chartered university in the nation, located in Athens, the Classic City of the South; as well as Vidalia onions and more concrete fishponds than you can count. And we are unhappy. Where have I gone wrong?
It was a successful 2011 legislative session for my colleagues and me at the Georgia General Assembly. We accomplished many items on our agenda for this year, and some will be worked on and tackled during the next legislative session.
About the best possible outcome from the latest session of the Georgia General Assembly was that lawmakers would, for another year, find ways to keep the state treading water until better times take firm root.
Under the laws governing the federal highway program, the federal fuel taxes paid into the trust fund by motorists (18.3 cents per gallon) and truckers are returned to the states by a series of mathematical formulas that attempt to match the scope and usage of each state's surface-transportation system with payments received from the trust fund. These formulas, however, embody a number of serious flaws that cause many states (called donors) to consistently receive shares that are less than they pay in, while others (called donees) consistently receive more.
San Olens, Georgia's new attorney general, has hit the ground running and he's making great strides in the matter of transparency in government.
The size of government threatens the American way of life as we know it. The solution is straightforward - cut government. A vibrant grass-roots movement insists that it happen, and Washington is lousy with rival plans for how to go about it.
I was sitting in the backseat of my car with a lifelong friend, waiting for my husband to finish his quick trip inside the store. My small Iowa hometown looked just like it always had, no stoplights and no traffic.
As its unanimous vote tends to reflect, the state school board was right in deciding to phase out administration of the Georgia High School Graduation Test, a battery of exams in English, math, science and social studies that includes a writing assessment.
Last week U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a long-anticipated round of funding, designed to spur economic development in rural areas while providing a much needed upgrade to dated electric transmission infrastructure.
That's just like the federal government – instead of assigning blame, instead of acknowledging that there is really such a thing as intentionally underperforming individuals, it overlooks the obvious. These slackers, people who don't do their jobs because they don't want to and feel they don't have to, are often fodder for deep analysis that often has citizens of this nation wondering if they and their government are from the same planet.
Sine die! It is now official, the Georgia General Assembly has completed the 2011 legislative session. The session began on Jan. 10 with an icy snow storm that blanketed much of our state, including the Capitol. However, that did not deter the members of the legislature from doing their job and serving on your behalf. Forty legislative session days later, the adjournment of the 2011 session ended at around 11:40 p.m. April 14.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company in Greater Garfield is pleased to recognize members of the 2011 General Assembly who gave so much so that we could get so little. Please hold your applause until all our honorees have been recognized. Otherwise, we could be here until the Legislature returns in August. Nobody wants that.
That's just like the federal government - instead of assigning blame, instead of acknowledging that there really is such a thing as intentionally underperforming individuals, it overlooks the obvious. These slackers, people who don't do their jobs because they don't want to and feel they don't have to, often are fodder for analysis that has citizens of this nation wondering if they and their government are from the same planet.
• Day 38 (Monday, April 11): After a week off for spring break, we returned to work this morning knowing full well that these final days of the session would be a sprint to the finish line. We didn't go in until 1 p.m. this afternoon, which is normal for Mondays but especially was necessary today because all bills had to be approved through committees before the start of the 38th day.
Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Sure enough. I have no idea how it got that way, but I looked it up, and someone has proclaimed it thusly.
While most voters are familiar with the candidates on the Nov. 4 general-election ballot, many are unaware of the ballot's three referendum questions.
Editor, Our country is in a precarious position. Our government is intruding in our personal lives, and our religions are under attack. The government is ignoring the invasion from south of the border, as well as the dangers imposed by ISIS and other terrorist groups.
Last week, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter shared via this column his vision for public education in Georgia.
Editor, Those of you familiar with the Long County School System are aware of the student growth and financial struggles faced by our system for many years. We are a low-wealth system, ranked 171st out of 180 school systems. Our students and teachers presently occupy many classrooms built in 1951 or earlier. The hardships we have faced have been many, but with the dedication of previous and present boards, superintendents, administrators, teachers and staff, we have survived.
Yes, I know that I am, occasionally, prone to embellishment. But trust me when I say this is the law and the gospel: I have a longtime friend who only calls me when someone dies. Most times, I know the person, but sometimes I don't have a clue the person ever existed.
Go get a flu shot. Also, make sure you're children get flu shots. It's a plain and simple set of instructions, but following them could save a life. Please, go do it.
Editor, Watch out, Bryan County, in case the Sunday-voting issue rears its head in your neck of the woods, just as it has in Liberty County. This is something I think everyone in our region needs to be aware of, because it involves something greater than just run-of-the-mill politics.
I have asked the two major gubernatorial candidates to talk to Georgia public-school teachers about their respective education platforms. This week, the floor belongs to Jason Carter, the Democratic challenger. Next week, it will be Republican Gov. Nathan Deal's turn.
The talking heads and politicians love to use the term, "boots on the ground." It sounds macho.
A friend of mine, long embroiled in upsets, distractions, problems and tribulations, called one day to announce happily that she was learning to let things roll right off her back.
Letting a child watch too much TV may be as bad for parents as it is for little ones. In fact, depending on which shows a child is allowed to watch, it may be worse for parents.
Last week, the Georgia Ports Authority approved allocating up to $3 million for maintenance of the shipping channel to the Port of Brunswick, marking the second-straight year the GPA has had to supplement federal funds for this project.
I talk to a wide variety of people throughout the week. The topics of our discussions vary greatly, but it is safe to say that many of my conversations deal with aging parents and aging issues in general.
Over the next three years, as many as 60,000 military members are expected to return to Georgia. Already, 770,000 veterans call Georgia home. In fact, the Peach State is home to the fourth-largest population of veterans nationwide. In addition to those returning to Georgia, more than 10,000 service members will be transitioning from the state's Army installations - 4,000 from Fort Stewart alone.
If I die anytime soon - and I have no plans to do so at the moment - please see that the first paragraph of my obituary reads, "He was past president of the University of Georgia National Alumni Association." You can save for later paragraphs the part about my being often mistaken for Brad Pitt and my uncanny ability to put commas where they don't belong.