Graduates: Good luck, work hard and follow your dreams

Congratulations are in order.

Another group of young Rome and Floyd County residents has taken a big step toward bright futures as they graduate from our local schools. This is an important accomplishment and we thank diligent parents, teachers, bus drivers, custodians and coaches who have helped to shape our young people’s future.

To our local graduates we say good luck. Follow your biggest dreams, work hard in whatever endeavors you pursue and make your community proud.

Be upfront with taxpayers

A series of public hearings concerning what will be a new taxpayer-funded Rome Middle School felt more like a cheerleader session to construct a new baseball field.

There’s no question that the city school system has what the county school system needs — students. The contrast between the problems faced by our two school systems is stark.

At the same time the county system is being essentially forced to close community schools, the city school system is seeing rapid growth. The newest plan they’re pitching is to construct a new middle school across the highway from Rome High School.

Sure, there’s that OTHER plan, the sixth grade academy they’d talked about before. But this new plan offers something extra, reminiscent of the CCA’s indoor football field, and that’s a brand spanking new baseball field for the high school.

A cherry on top, if you will.

We’re 100% on board with supplying school systems with the tools they need to educate Rome and Floyd County’s children.

It’s more cost effective to build a new middle school rather than several new elementary schools, which, let’s face it, are very old buildings. It’s an understandable plan to seek to keep down class sizes — which, at this point, are often bursting at the seams — by moving sixth graders to the middle school. But, honestly, the thought of having sixth graders entering the chaos that is middle school is ill considered.

There are a lot of advantages for school systems with new buildings, ones they don’t get when refurbishing an old facility. However, let’s be upfront with what you want us taxpayers to pay for.

Are you kidding me?

It’s been unfortunate to watch this week as political factions in Congress continue to forget their true purpose in order to argue over nonsense.

This hyper partisanship is destructive and the fact that many elected officials are attempting to change the topic — and even sympathize with those involved — is merely yet another disinformation campaign.

Comparisons between the riot at the U.S. Capitol and others after George Floyd’s death, like the one made by our Congressional Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, fall flat.

The people who busted their way into Congress came for one purpose and one only — to stop the lawfully elected president from taking office. This isn’t a right or a left argument; that’s just a fact.

The U.S. Capitol riot flies in the face of everything America stands for. We are who we are because of the peaceful transfer of power, and falsehoods crafted to keep any person in power should be called out at every opportunity.

Look, we’ve all seen the person we wanted in office lose. As Americans we accept it and move on. We work harder to make our community and country a better place, not break it down like a small child pitching a fit.

Surely not

Will the potential for economic expansion in the River District interrupt Rome High School football?

What has been a largely rubberstamp vote in the past came to a halt when Rome city commissioners said they want to think about a contract between the city and the school district going forward.

While commissioners are right to consider any contract before just signing on the dotted line, it’s hard to believe that anything will interrupt the Wolves from taking the field at Barron Stadium. A raging pandemic barely caused the past year’s football season to briefly hiccup.

The tradition of — and, frankly, taxpayer investment in — football (and other sports) at Barron Stadium is so longstanding that the thought of a change is difficult to fathom.

We’re betting the small hiccup at this past City Commission meeting is largely much ado about nothing.

Above and beyond

Recently a Rome resident posted to social media that a local law enforcement officer saved the day by changing her tire on the side of the road. That officer was identified as Austin Webb with the Floyd County Police Department.

We thank Officer Webb (and those like him) for going beyond his assigned duties to assist someone in a predicament. Small acts of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s day.

These things do not go unnoticed.

Play ball

We’re glad that our Rome Braves have started their season and that local families are once again going to the ballpark to have fun and to enjoy the great game of baseball.

We’re also happy to see that many other community activities and events are once again opening up after what has been a frustrating 12 months. Let’s hope things continue to be better and brighter.

Thank you for reading.

Rome News Tribune

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The county wants your input, give it to them

“We want the public’s input on this,” said Whitfield County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jevin Jensen.

The “this” is zoning changes being considered by the commissioners.

Changes that could affect your life.

We focus repeatedly in this space on the importance of residents participating in both the workings of their local governments and voting in local elections.

We have to do this repeatedly because in aggregate the participation is just not there.

Few people attend city of Dalton and Whitfield County governmental meetings other than the elected officials and government staff, and turnout for a special election in April for one of the county commission seats was 6.78%.

6.78%.

It has been said you get the government you deserve, and if you won’t participate in government then there’s no telling what kind of government you will get.

Here, the chairman of the county Board of Commissioners is asking for your help. He has also asked for your help with how the county should spend American Rescue Plan of 2021 money from the federal government.

“We welcome input from any citizen of Whitfield County on their ideas,” Jensen said.

On the zoning changes, should rabbits and chickens (but no roosters) be allowed to be kept by residents in some county areas?

Should workers able to store tools and work vehicles in their garages at home?

Residents can find all the proposed changes as well as a link to send your feedback on the county website (whitfieldcountyga.com).

They’re asking for it. Give it to them.

Dalton Daily Citizen

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Racism exists

Racism exists.

Systemic racism exists.

Institutional racism exists.

Racial profiling exists.

Denying it is senseless, fruitless and disingenuous.

It is not an American problem, it is a human problem that has existed throughout history and throughout the world in all its ugly forms.

Racism, tribalism, nationalism, xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, chauvinism, apartheid, sectarianism and, in general, hatred and discrimination toward other people because of race, ethnicity or some other identifying characteristic is a horrible stain on the human condition that is not going away.

People never admit to being racists and are offended at the very suggestion that their words or behavior are offensive.

Of course, we all know the first step toward recovery is always admitting the problem.

Anyone who thinks racism disappeared in 1964 is in denial.

Changing laws does not change hearts.

In many ways, racial tensions in this country are no better than they were in 1964. Laws have just changed.

When Black mothers and fathers must teach their young boys things that white parents don’t ever even have to think about, it is quite obvious we have two systems of justice with completely different standards, expectations and rules.

Don’t hang out with friends after dark. Don’t wear a hoodie. Don’t look at white people, especially those in authority, directly in the eyes, look down. Don’t play your music loud. Don’t play pranks. Don’t go for a run in a predominantly white neighborhood. Don’t fidget. Don’t put your hands in your pockets. If questioned, don’t mumble and don’t talk too loudly. Don’t make any sudden moves but don’t act lethargic. These are some of the talks people of color have with their children out of fear for their safety and well-being.

White people must understand that having a Black, Latino or Asian friend does not mean the world around you is suddenly OK and you have done your part to end racism.

It is not enough to just not be a racist yourself.

We must be anti-racists and raise our children to be anti-racists.

We must be allies.

We must have the uncomfortable and difficult conversations.

We must be honest.

We must admit the problem.

We must admit racism exists.

That’s the first step.

But, it is only a first step in a very, very long and difficult journey.

Valdosta Daily Times