March 12, 2009 Issue


The importance of community newspapers

Dear Editor:

The community newspaper you hold in your hand plays an important role in your quality of life. Weekly, non-daily and other local publications help strengthen the communities they serve. Community newspapers boost the local economy – both through advertising and in news coverage. They showcase community businesses at a time we need to be shopping locally, investing in the community and protecting local jobs. They allow “mom and pop” businesses to reach their most likely customers. Community newspapers bring us “good news” -- news of Scout projects, civic club fundraisers, little-league registration, chamber of commerce happenings, church bake sales and students who make the Honor Roll or Dean’s List. They help neighbors get to know each other a little better. They often report on anniversaries and family reunions, reminding people of the things they like so well about their community. Community newspapers provide a forum for expression. They allow readers to make their voices heard, and they enable ordinary citizens to deliberate on the future of their community. Community newspapers encourage civil, issue-oriented discourse and they often set the stage for it. Some community newspapers serve as “watchdogs” to hold elected leaders accountable. They shine a light on local government, sometimes using “Freedom of Information” laws to get public records and make those records available to citizens. They keep voters informed. They let people see how their tax dollars are being spent. During an economic downturn – when tax dollars are scarce and the demands on them increased – that’s important. The people who operate these newspapers work and live in the communities they cover. They’re your neighbors. They share your values. They understand your community because they’re a part of it. With the nation plunging into recession and with the never-ending stream of bad economic news, there’s much focus on the decline of newspaper circulation in most of the major markets across the country. Newspaper stocks have been taking a beating, and news reports tell us these are dark days for their industry. On Friday, Feb. 28, the national media carried reports of the closing of yet another daily newspaper. But community newspapers are much more than paper and ink. Community newspapers pull communities together. They help connect people with those around them. In this way, community newspapers provide a valuable form of public service. Amid uncertainty over the quality of our daily economy and the direction of our nation, their role is more important than ever. Let’s hope the outlook for community newspapers is much brighter than what is being reported in the national media. If you want to be encouraged, read your community newspaper.

By Richard Eckstrom
Comptroller General
of South Carolina



Crawford upset by insurance carrier’s policy on claims

Dear Editor:

This is a letter of complaint about the Georgia Farm Bureau insurance company and its policies. In light of the recent weather related claims being filed by many homeowners, I thought many of them might like to be informed.

First let me state that I have had home owner insurance, rental property insurance, and vehicle insurance on as many as four vehicles at one time with Jefferson County Farm Bureau for well over twenty five years.

In January of 2008, my husband and I had pipes to freeze in our upstairs bathroom. Upon thawing out, the water damage caused a major disaster. The local office handled the situation in a very timely manner by getting a claims adjuster to the house within two hours. A work crew began work immediately and by the end of the week, my nightmare was just a memory.

The spring of 2008 brought more damage to my house on two separate occasions due to the tornadoes and high winds. Again, claims were filed and handled in a timely fashion. At that time, my husband had the forethought to ask if filing so many claims so close together would endanger our insurance with Jefferson County Farm Bureau in any way. He was assured that it would not.

Both my home owner insurance for my residence and my insurance on my rental property are due at the end of March every year. About three weeks ago, I received a notice in the mail stating that due to having three home owner claims within the past two years; my home owner insurance at my residence would be cancelled. No mention was made of the rental property insurance.

Needless to say, both my husband and I were very upset. After all, what else is the money that you pay out for insurance for if not to assure you that you have coverage should you ever need it? Remember, we had insurance for over 25 years and had never had a claim prior to January 2008.

In the meantime, I was waiting to receive a renewal notice about my rental property insurance in order to pay that. As of today, March 6, I still had not received any notification on a policy that will soon be due, so I e-mailed both the Macon and Louisville offices of Georgia Farm Bureau. I then faxed the local office. I still had to call the local office to find out what was going on.

That is when I learned that the rental property insurance was also to be cancelled at the end of March. Please note that I have NEVER had an insurance claim on that property.

You can bet that as the time comes for the insurance coverage on our vehicles to be due, my husband and I will be looking into other options.

Homeowners---BEWARE---if you have to file “too many” claims for insurance that you pay dearly for, your insurance may well be in danger of being cancelled---especially if it is with Georgia Farm Bureau!

Thank you,

Peggy Crawford

Gaskin seeks help for friend in need of medical assistance

Dear Editor:

My name is Tamera Gaskin, I am writing this letter on behalf of a woman named Sherry Denise Wilcher who is a wonderful woman that has been my best friend since 1965, and we are now in our late 40’s. In 2001, while working for Thermo King Corporation, she got severely ill and was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. In 2001 alone she was admitted to the hospital 11 times, at her lowest weight she was down to 87 pounds. Her pancreas was leaking poisons into her body, which caused even more problems to include causing her ovaries to attach to her intestines, and severe nausea and vomiting. She never knows when an attack will come or how long it may last or how severe it will be. Since 2001 she has been in and out of the hospital numerous times and last year after one of her 3 hospital visits she was also diagnosed with congestive heart failure-as if she wasn’t already going through enough with her pancreas.

Three weeks ago she was admitted to the hospital once more and is back down to 90 pounds and suffering from malnutrition. They found from an Upper GI that the opening from her stomach into her small intestine is blocked (also caused from the pancreas leaking poisons) and that no food could pass through. They tried to dilate it with very little success. She was sent home and told that there was nothing more they could do because there was no doctor there qualified to do the surgery, and also, she has no insurance .

When Sherry got sick in 2001 and was forced to leave her job she lost all of her health insurance, now she can’t get the care she so desperately needs because of this reason. Just her hospital bills alone have now totaled over $500,000.00; this does not include medication which she has to take or diagnostic procedures that have been done. This is hospital stays only. God only knows what the actual total from everything may be. She has to take 9 different prescription drugs, only 4 of those are covered under Wal-Mart’s $4.00 prescription plan. One prescription is an enzyme for her pancreas that she needs but can’t take because she can’t afford it because that one alone is over $100.00 a month and she is already spending about $200.00 a month on medication already.

She applied for her social security disability after her initial illness and about 3 years ago they did agree to pay her for the first year of her illness but turned her down for permanent disability. She just received a letter two weeks ago from Social Security turning her down once again. She was told that even though she may not be able to do factory work again (which is the only work she had ever done) she could do office work. She did get a job in a local department store for 8 months but stayed too sick to work and had to quit. She has no qualifications to do office work, and even if she did, who would hire her in her condition knowing she will be out sick all the time?

I don’t understand how a person in her condition can be allowed to suffer the way she has. It breaks my heart how she has been treated by the Social Security Administration, the judge, and by the doctors and hospitals. I know personally people, who are drug addicts that get disability because they are drug addicts. I watch commercials from attorneys trying to get people who are addicted to pain killers to call them to get their disability started. There are so many people drawing disability and there is nothing wrong with them, yet my friend who has been so sick for so many years can’t get help.

What kind of system do we have in this country? This is an honest woman who has broken her back her entire adult life working in factories to help support her family, yet she can qualify for no help. I’m sorry but there is something very wrong with this picture.

We allow illegals that come into this country to get better health care than US born citizens get. They come here pregnant. We put them in the Baby’s Born Healthy Program which covers their care during pregnancy then the babies are born US citizens and then we put the babies on Medicaid. I see them getting care in the ER’s all the time. Who is paying for that? Taxpayers that is who! Well as a taxpayer I want my tax money to go to people like my best friend, Americans who are sick and need medical care and can’t afford it and are suffering because of it. I am not trying to put anyone down but I am trying to bring attention to this situation and the unfairness of our Government and the Social Security system which in my opinion is not only broken but also very unfair. When a truly sick person can get no help but a drug or alcohol addict can then there is a problem. I hope that this letter will bring attention to my friend’s problem and also others like her, I invite everyone in similar situations to hers to get the message out that something needs to change, that our government needs to step up and do something about the healthcare situation in this country. And last, the Social Security Administration needs to stop giving out checks to all these people that nothing is wrong with them and then maybe there would be money for people who really need it. If anyone reading this knows any way for my friend to get help please contact her or her husband Danny Wilcher at (478) 625-8488.

Tamera Gaskin

McDermott on the bailout

Dear Editor:

GM, Chrysler and various banks and mortgage companies are not too big to fail. They’ve already failed once, gotten a bailout and failed again. Now they want a second bailout in preparation for a third failure.

You can perform emergency medical care on a dead body, but its already dead. Let it go. Keeping these companies in existence just so the taxpayers can pay their employees salaries is the new socialism. Business doesn’t need to make a profit to survive, the taxpayers provide the profit.

The only real failure we have to worry about is the government. The CEO’s of America, congress and the president, are mismanaging the government and losing money on a scale never before seen in the history of America. A depression doesn’t just happen by chance, its created by incompetent, arrogant leadership pursuing a secondary agenda. The insanity is just beginning.

Dan McDermott


The News and Farmer P.O. Box 487 Louisville, GA 30434
(478) 625-7722 or (706) 547-6629 - (478) 625-8816 fax
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