Itís as crucial as ever to invest in literacy
For the last three years, public libraries and schools, as well as other agencies in Georgia, have had state funding reduced each year. These reductions have affected and will continue to impact our ability to meet the needs of Jefferson County citizens.
Last summer the Ferst Foundation of Jefferson County was organized to provide free age appropriate books to children 5 and under. Due to the poverty and literacy levels within the county, it is essential that we assist young children to develop pre-literacy skills and be ready to enter school. Far too many of our children are already behind when they begin school at age 4 or 5.
Statistics have shown that a child who is behind at school entry will likely remain behind for his entire life. This has a large economic impact and affects the quality of life for the child, his family and his community. The success of increasing pre-literacy skills through placing Ferst books in a childís home has been proven.
The subject of a recent editorial was the loss of lottery funding for the HOPE program in Georgia. This means that pre-k children will attend school 20 fewer days and their teachers will have a 10 percent pay cut and have their salaries frozen. Also, the Georgia Health Department was providing Ferst books for about 40,000 Georgia children in subsidized day care or foster care. Some Jefferson County children were receiving these books. With the funding reductions, these children will no longer receive books unless the Ferst Foundation of Jefferson County can fund them.
The state funding reductions clearly indicate that it is even more imperative that the Jefferson County community support Ferst Foundation of Jefferson County. This program is a real bargain: $36 provides a preschool child with one book per month for a year. In order to continue support of our children through this program, ongoing contributions from the community will be required. I encourage everyone to consider making a donation so that all of our children will be ready for and successful in school. A donation can be left at any Jefferson County library. Checks should be made out to the Ferst Foundation with Jefferson County on the memo line. For more information about the Ferst Foundation visit one of the Jefferson County libraries or call 478-625-3751.
Patricia Edwards, Chair
Ferst Foundation of Jefferson County
Time to review license policy
When Sonny Perdue became Georgia governor, he initiated a change, a short-sighted way citizens got their driversí licenses.
We are now having to drive to State Patrol posts to do this.
Not only are we wasting gas to do this, but the government is defying the traditional role of providing a service to the people.
Before Perdue, a small contingent of patrolmen periodically traveled to county seats to issue driversí licenses.
By doing this, only a small amount of gas was consumed compared to all drivers having to go to posts.
True, the state was the one which saved energy, but citizens are not being served.
This writer hereby calls upon Gov. Nathan Deal to go back to the old method of renewing licenses and issuing new ones for first-time drivers.
Gough Road needs paving
We have had the pleasure of having a ministry here in Jefferson County. Over the past five years thousands of people have come from over 18 surrounding counties in Georgia, as far away as China, and the surrounding states to our corn maze and other events. We feel that we have been blessed to be able to have a farm where parents can bring their children, spend the day as a family and learn about agriculture. This year we are also expanding to offer spring field trips and events at Easter and Christmas. We feel that we have brought something positive and productive to Jefferson County.
One of the concerns that we have is the road that leads to our farm, Gough Road. Over the past five years the county has tried to keep the road in shape by scraping the road. However, with the amount of traffic that Gough Road has, scraping has not been enough. We contacted the county commissioners in January and had a meeting with them. They instructed us to get ideas from other counties and private excavating companies for suggestions on what to do to effectively improve the condition and safety of the road. We submitted the proposal on Feb. 8. We then attended the commissionersí meeting in February and voiced our concerns.
We did not hear anything for a few weeks and we again attended the meeting in March. There were talks during the meeting to pave from Blackjack Road to Lockhart Road. I then questioned the commissioners about taking care of Gough Road from Middleground Road. They assured us that it would be taken care of as well. However, we had to contact them to find out what was going to be done. They only want to fix the road from Blackjack to Lockhart. Ninety percent of our patrons come down Middleground Road. We are now less than two weeks away from field trips and the road is in the worse shape it has ever been because of rains and no ditches for the water to travel.
We feel that the Commissioners of Jefferson County, along with Paul Bryan, have ignored the significance of our ministry and the impact it has had of Jefferson County. Gough Road is unsafe and continues to create a burden for our patrons who come to Kackleberry Farm. We thank our sponsors and our patrons for your continued support.
Mitch and Lisa Vaughn