To prevent the worst
By Carol McLeod
“My ob/gyn told me the surgeon she was recommending does not jump into double mastectomies as a preventive and I’d have to have some good, concrete evidence before she’d recommend it,” Breland said.
“Anyway, I went to see this surgeon. I was prepared to have to justify my worry. For years, every doctor I went to thought I was overreacting with the fear I had about getting breast cancer.
“So, the first thing the surgeon did was ask me my family history – who had breast cancer and what were their ages and if they were still living,” Breland said.
Breland told the doctor about her sister who was 37 when she was diagnosed. She told the doctor about her mother and her mother’s aunts, one was diagnosed at 37, one at 38 and two at 39.
“However, back then, in the late ‘40s, there wasn’t much treatment and they died very young,” Breland said. “Even when my mom had it, there were no mammograms or talk about self examination. My mom couldn’t even tell me she had breast cancer. Just not something she spoke about.
“I am proud how far we’ve come; however, we have a long way to go,” Breland said.
“First, we rely heavily on mammograms and they are not great detectors. The ratio of how many tumors are missed by a mammogram is just too great in my eyes. Diagnostic mammograms are better but doing it in conjunction with sonograms and MRIs hold the highest chance for catching tumors. But because it is considered too expensive, many women’s tumors are found way too late even when they receive yearly mammograms,” she said.
Breland said she discussed her family history with her surgeon, including the information that her sister’s genetic test was negative, the surgeon felt a double mastectomy would give Breland the highest chances of not getting breast cancer.
Breland said she did not take the genetic test because she had already decided to have the surgery regardless of the results of such a test.
There is still a small chance that she will develop breast cancer because the outer tissue of the breast is left. Breland said tumors in that part of the breast should be easier to detect.
Two days before her surgery the love of her life painted the Hamsa, a hand symbol used in Middle Eastern cultures to represent good luck, across her chest.
“For me it was the perfect image to give me the strength to get through a difficult surgery,” she said. “After I took the photos and as I wiped away the painted Hamsa from my chest, I mentally wiped away my fears.”
Census meeting planned for Oct. 14 at 6 p.m.
By Carol McLeod
Workers with the U.S. Census Bureau will hold a meeting at the library in Louisville Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 6 p.m.
Henry Armstrong, a partnership specialist with the bureau, has visited city councils and churches in the area explaining the importance of the census.
Response in the last census, which was in 2000, was 67 percent across the country, he said.
Georgia’s overall response was 65 percent and in Jefferson County, it was 44 percent.
Some of the reasons an accurate census matters are the ways the LOST taxes are distributed, the number of representatives an area has and eligibility for some grants.
One city official said revenue from LOST tax is state collected and distributed among the county and the cities in that county by population. The amount sent would be the same regardless of the population; but, it would be divided differently based on population.
A city with a higher population would receive a larger portion of the funds than a city with fewer citizens.
Additionally, the 4-cent tax is paid out based on population.
Lt. Robert Chalker, an investigator with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office who writes grant applications for the JCSO, said all the grants for which he applies ask for the population of the county.
“Most of the grants we apply for also request information about the land size, the county’s square miles,” he said.
Chalker said most grants also have a minimum or maximum population requirement.
“Usually, it doesn’t affect anything until you have more than 50,000 citizens,” he said. “If your population is more than 50,000 people, you’re competing with larger cities.
“In the whole scheme of things, they ask a lot of questions about infrastructure to gauge your needs to protect the citizens of the county and the assets of the county. So they ask about highways, bridges, pipelines, railroads, airports, all those things,” he said.
“Without a high census, major industry and commerce is not willing to come here. The more infrastructure we have, the more infrastructure we have to protect. The more people we have, the more infrastructure we have to have. Without population, you don’t have assets. You have to be able to justify what you’re trying to protect and who you’re trying to serve,” Chalker said.
The lieutenant agreed that an accurate count of the population is important.
“A decrease in the number of people living here would not look good, I would think,” he said, adding it would indicate people are leaving the area.
“Everything that the county receives from outside its jurisdiction as a rule is based on population,” said Jefferson County Administrator Paul Bryan.
“It increases the financial support we receive from outside our boundaries. It’s based on our census compared to what it was last time as well as to other counties. Every county is actively working on an accurate census count,” he said.
The upcoming meeting is for anyone who wants to help ensure the Census in 2010 runs smoothly and is accurate.
Louisville gets grant for new fire station
By Carol McLeod
A Department of Homeland Security grant will service the city of Louisville by giving it the funds to build a new fire department.
The Volunteer Firehouse Construction Grant for $858,673 was awarded to the city of Louisville in late September. City Administrator Don Rhodes said the money is a part of the stimulus package of $200 million set aside for fire station construction.
“This is certainly a blessing for our county,” Louisville Mayor Rita Culvern said.
She noted that since 1974 volunteer firemen have been dispatched out of a circa 1946 building originally designed as a hospital. The station is located behind Louisville City Hall.
“This will give them an opportunity to have a state of the art fire station that will serve the community for many, many years,” Culvern said.
Of the 4,016 applicants, Rhodes said only 98 grants were awarded and the city of Louisville was one of the only two in the state of Georgia to receive the stimulus funds. He said the other station was near Atlanta in Smyrna.
“This was a lot of work from a lot of people’s efforts,” Rhodes explained. “We didn’t have any idea how to come up with the funds for a new station, but we knew we needed one.”
Rhodes said that the Louisville City Council had been considering a new fire station for the past three years, but did not have the money to construct one.
“This is a testament to the talents of City Administrator Don Rhodes and grant writer Ann Floyd of the CSRA RDC that we succeeded and were part of the awardees,” Culvern exclaimed. “The city council and I are very proud of their effort. The Louisville Fire Department responds, not just to fires within the city limits, but to a large portion of county fire calls.”
Rhodes said the new fire station will be built on Oak Street, adjacent to the closed dialysis center on property the city already owns. He noted that it was more centrally located in town.
“We have some preliminary estimates, which were sent in with the grant,” Rhodes said. “The city also has $20,000 going into it.”
The city supplied funds will be used for furniture, a telephone system and other items. Rhodes said the city has already begun some of the environmental work that needs to be done before construction can begin. Bidding for construction will begin in coming months.
Though the grant is for a three year period, he anticipates construction to be completed within a year.
SPLOST could fund new annex in Glascock
By Faye Ellison
Glascock County may be small, but the county’s leaders have big plans for their community. With a small population it is hard to find money for their endeavors, but one way County Commission Chairman Anthony Griswell believes has helped in the past and he hopes in the future will be the SPLOST, a local one cent sales tax collected when anyone local or not purchases something within the county.
Though commissioners said they would liked to have had a straw poll to determine where the SPLOST funds should be allocated, taking recommendations from the county’s three towns and input from the public attending meetings, they have narrowed the choices.
With the five-year SPLOST running out next year, Griswell said the new SPLOST will be on the ballot for voters to approve or deny. The funds collected from the current SPLOST are anticipated to be $900,000 at its end.
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Griswell noted that past SPLOST funds have gone into renovations for the Peeble’s House, the Glascock County Courthouse, Senior Center, Brassell Park, a new culvert and the Griffin Pond project.
“This is just like when we redid the courthouse, even the child who bought a Coca-Cola and some crackers after school contributed,” Griswell said. “This is the only way a small county like ours to get anything besides the bare necessities. It is the fairest tax there because everybody gets to pay some of it. Hopefully, it will pass.”
The upcoming SPLOST funds will be used to build a new facility to house the Sheriff’s Department, Tax Commissioner and Tax Assessor’s offices; repairs, improvements, enhancements and construction of new and existing county facilities and land required; improvements, enhancements and repairs to recreational facilities, roads, bridges and culverts, and the cities’ of Gibson, Mitchell and Edgehill sewer and water systems; and the purchase of capitol equipment such as vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department, equipment for the Road Department, garbage trucks, ambulances, Fire Department equipment and recreational department equipment.