August 26, 2010 Issue


Gordy pleased with interim running of local hospital

Dear Editor:

Patrons of Jefferson Hospital can relax, according to Mr. Mike Sombar, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the local health care facility, the hospital tax will not be passed along to patients.

When you read this I believe you will agree the tax is a prime example of ďpolitical smoke and mirrors.Ē



When the tax was debated by the last session of the Georgia legislature, many members suggested a half-dollar tax hike per pack on cigarettes be passed in place of the hospital tax. However that idea fell by the wayside. Many members, it seems to me, were fearful of their political futures.

Mr. Sombar said the first quarterly tax payment for Jefferson Hospital amounts to $32,461. It will come from hospital reserves, according to the CFO. However, that amount will be offset by an 11.8 percent hike in Medicaid payments which will be due the local hospital.

Medicaid is paid for treatment of persons whose income falls below the poverty level and comes from state and federal coffers.

Since Mr. Heyward Wells III resigned some months back to take a position, ďI canít pass up,Ē the local hospital has been without an administrator.

It is being capably run by Mr. Sombar, Patricia Salter, director of nursing, and Tina Biggers, assistant administrator.

Mr. Sombar said subsequent tax payments are due the state by the last day of the next three quarters.

Mr. Sombar didnít say so, but this writer thinks the taxís future will be a hot topic of debate in the 2011 Georgia Legislature.

Mr. Sombar said the search for a replacement for Mr. Wells is ongoing.

The CFO has been with Jefferson Hospital for 18 years.


Bob Gordy

Statewide crackdown targets drunk drivers

Dear Editor:

Our summer holidays are always something to celebrate. But we also know they have a deadly reputation on the road. Because too many summer celebrations end with designated drivers left behind at the barbeque. And that means too many Georgians will die in alcohol-related crashes this Labor Day weekend. Thereís a traffic fatality every fourteen minutes on Americaís crash clock with no time off for holidays. As the Crash Clock ticks off the deadly seconds this summer, it will record eleven traffic crashes every minute, with a traffic injury every thirteen seconds.

When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration re-set the National Crash Clock this year, they found time is running out for drunk drivers everywhere. On an average travel day, the National Crash Clock is recording an alcohol-impaired driving death every 45-minutes in 2010.

Georgiaís crash data calendar shows the summer travel period here is one of the most dangerous times on our highways. Georgia DOT reported 2,401 traffic crashes last Labor Day just during the 78-hour travel period around the holiday. Nineteen people died and another 1,069 Georgians were injured. In 2008, more than a thousand people were injured while traveling on Georgia highways during the same Labor Day holiday period.

To Georgiaís highway safety professionals, the causes behind those Labor Day holiday fatalities sound all too familiar: Alcohol and drugs are usually identified as major contributing factors and about half the crash victims are unbuckled when they die.

The sad fact is three-out-of-ten of our fatal highway crashes in Georgia each year are caused by impaired drivers. And every one of those tragic alcohol-related deaths is completely preventable! Impaired driving is no Ďaccidentí. Itís one of Americaís most often-committed and deadliest crimes. Imagine the public outrage if twenty-nine jumbo jets -- each carrying about 400 people --crashed every year in America, killing all on board. Thatís the equivalent of the death toll our country suffers due to drunk driving each year.

How can we stop these needless fatal crashes? Every Labor Day Georgia mobilizes thousands of traffic enforcement officers to conduct high visibility sobriety checkpoints and concentrated patrols throughout the state. The mobilization is called Operation Zero Tolerance (OZT) because even first time violators go to jail. In Georgia OZT means you never receive just a warning or citation. Impaired motorists caught driving at or over the 0.08 (BAC) limit are arrested. Itís part of a national DUI enforcement campaign called Over the Limit, Under Arrest.

Georgiaís statewide Operation Zero Tolerance holiday enforcement crackdown begins Friday, Aug. 20, and runs through Monday, September 6, 2010. You see, we even warn motorists what days to watch out for blue lights because in Georgia, itís not about writing more tickets.. Itís about saving more lives. And we hope every driver will pay attention to our enforcement warning.

Remember to designate a sober driver in advance Ė Before the Labor Day festivities begin. Friends should never let friends drive drunk or distracted. So, Buckle-up. Hang-Up. Slow Down. And Drive Sober. Labor Day weekend is every Georgianís last celebration of summer. Donít let it be your very last.

Bob Dallas,
Director of Georgia
Governorís Office
of Highway Safe


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