June 21, 2012 Issue


Paul feels biomass is no sustainable energy source

Dear Editor:

During the past 10 years, research has consistently shown that world populations are increasing faster than the production of food products. In addition, other reports also indicate that urbanization and industrial developments are reducing farm lands at a rapid rate, and soon there will not be enough arable land to sustain world populations.

Large portions of the world are already suffering from famine and related diseases. My reference shows that in 1959 there were 12 acres per person worldwide, but in 2006 there were only 5 acres per person. In 2039 the acres per person may be as small as 3 acres per person.



The beautiful and productive farmland such as we have in Jefferson County, therefore, may be the most valuable resource of the region. Protection of this land from encroachment and bad economic decisions of all kinds is essential.

In fact, protection of these and other resources along with assurance of wise development are among the goals of a Comprehensive Land Use Plan for every county in Georgia. However, these plans become useless paper when administrators and commissioners fail to protect the integrity of the documents.

Random changes in zoning designations that erode farm acres and increase lands for industrial development contribute to bad policy. As time passes, the consequences of erosion and corruption of the land use plan will become more and more significant and complex -- especially if there is resulting duplication of infrastructure costs, contamination of the air and depletion of water resources.

Recent changes in zoning of lands for a biomass and tire derived energy plant between Wadley and Bartow removed farmland from our primary resources. In my opinion this loss cannot be described appropriately as renewable. And this project cannot be described as sustainable either.

A recent and controversial proposal recommended by certain Jefferson County officials and other entrepreneurs is the North Star Jefferson Renewable Energy Facility near Wadley. This plant will use steam to produce electricity. The company will burn trees and rubber tire chips twenty four hours a day, seven days a week except for about ten days a year.

Hereís a major question! Is there really enough timber available in this section of Georgia to keep the wood fires burning continuously for five or 10 years? I would guess not! But, when the land is barren and cannot supply any more wood for the furnace, perhaps garbage from New York, Chicago, Atlanta or Birmingham can be shipped to Jefferson County to keep the home fires burning.

Old fashioned (some might consider it archaic) technology will be used to convert water to steam by burning waste products at this plant.

The figures may not be accurate, but we have been told that the plant will use 500,000 gallons of water a day. (On the other hand, at the present time, the City of Wadley uses only 415,000 gallons a day.) But do not worry! Planners say that much of the water for cooling will come from Wadley waste water. That means that the Wadley folks will need to do a lot of flushing in the future if the steam and the hot air are to continue for any length of time.

Also, for this plan to be implemented, another federal grant will be needed to run water lines from the Highway 1 Bypass South to the plant on the west side of town. Nice infusion of cash! Right? Letís see: thereís one million from a SPLOST account, 53 million from revenue bonds and, maybe, 20 million from a special federal grant. Nice! This is about to become high cotton finance -- even without the farm land.

Advocates of the North Star Jefferson project say that the creation of jobs is a major justification for their support of this project. But, in fact, the question of jobs has yet to receive appropriate sunlight or public discussion.

Will the employment procedures comply with the Davis-Bacon Act which assures larger cost-of-living wages for the lowest paid on a project involving federal funds of any kind? What kinds of JOBS and how many of them will be created? What annual salary rates will be generated? What will be the range of these rates? And where will the workers come from? Does analysis of the work force include truckers and railroad workers? What kinds of health and insurance benefits will be offered to the workers? Will these benefits be on a sliding scale -- less for the lowest paid and greater for the high-dollar workers? What will be the impact of all the jobs for Jefferson County? How much revenue will they generate per day or year?

Of course, when and if the garbage from New York is delivered to the Savannah docks for transfer to Jefferson County, there might, indeed, be a substantial increase of jobs in Chatham County. Even the Central of Georgia Railroad might see some benefit, too.

Bill Paul
Bill Paul is a 5th generation native of Jefferson County and he is an artist who lives in Athens.

Think twice before approving T-SPLOST

Dear Editor:

The July 31 referendum on the proposal to hike the Georgia sales tax a penny to build and repair roads is taking a step backward and is regressive.

For one thing, it would hurt business. The current sales tax is 7 cents. That is high enough!

For instance, take the tax on gasoline, there is a big tax that goes into the highway trust fund to build and repair roads and bridges. Thatís good. All share the load.

Already the government big shots have resurfaced the U.S. Highway 1 bypass here in anticipation of the approval of the extra penny sales tax, so they would have us believe.

What they arenít telling us is the highway trust fund is probably paying the cost.

What with gasoline already bearing the regular sales tax, along with the highway trust fund (a federal tax), we are taxed to the gills on petroleum.

When you go to the polls on Tuesday, July 31, think twice when you come to the sales tax proposal.


Bob Gordy

Itís more the Houseís fault than any one presidentís

Dear Editor:

I was reading a newspaper the other day and I remembered something I saw a few months ago in a weekly country newspaper. This person had written to the editor with his opinion of Congress, and I think he hit the nail on the head, and Iím in total agreement with what he written. Below is the short, but very well put letter.

The members of the U.S. House of Representatives have been working in Washington on 41 of the first 127 days of this year. They are planning to be in session half of the remaining weeks. How long would you keep your job if you worked like that? Even when they show up they fail to address the biggest problems facing the country. It would take a 50 percent tax increase in order to balance the so-called budget yet they are avoiding the problem while the debt grows by $1,200 billion per year.

The real problem is you and I let them get away with it. They work for us and we pay them $174,000 per year to do it. Make a commitment to write or call your representative once a week and express your views. See how they respond and let that be your guide to voting this November.

Irving B. Welchons III
Charlotte, NC

That my friends says it all. There are those who would like to dump all of the bad thatís happening in the American peopleís lives on the president, but I will tell you this, if anyoneís the blame itís the U.S. House with their stupidity, and lack toward the American public, especially towards women. Obama has disappointed me a few times as he has disappointed others, but all in all heís done what some of our most popular presidents could have, didnít, or just wouldnít do. And if you didnít read between the lines on that statement, try reading this list below and tell me what you think.

1. Unemployment: As I write this itís 8.2 percent. Some will say thatís high and the president is to blame. True that is high, but it was much worse back in November 2010, when the republicans asked America to put them back in control of the House. They said job creation would be their number one priority. My question is: Mr. Speaker of the House, where are the jobs you and the Tea Party promised? I believe they wake up every morning just to say no to every job bill the president sends them.

Not only that, the attack on women have increased in the last 17 months like I have never seen. Iíve been on this earth almost 68 years, and as a man, what do I look like telling a woman what she can and can-not do with, and for her body. In fact, they just shot down a Fairness in pay for Women in the work place last week. Women of America, are you awake? If not, will you still be asleep come November?

2. Jump start Job Creation Thereís no doubt that President Obama has done this. He saved the auto industry, when most on the right said let it go under, and he kept other auto related Jobs from going under as well. Since he took office, employers have added 3.1 million Jobs. A claim fact-checked and verified by ABC News, which also points out that there has still been a net loss of more than a million jobs since Obama began his term. In other words, job loss under Obama, who inherited a recession deeper than any seen in generations, followed by a recovery that most would describe as modest, has done a good job, especially considering Congress fighting him both tooth and nails, on the subject of (JOBS),

3. The Health Care Bill passed and would you believe it, there are some that donít want it because we are told we have to pay for it. Maybe, just maybe, mind you, someone needs to tell us that we were already paying, before the bill was passed, and will be paying even if the Supreme Court strike it or part of it down. In other words, when someone goes to the ER of any hospital in America, and donít have any Insurance, the hospital canít turn them down. They pass this cost on to the Government in one form or another, because their bottom line, like any other business is (MONEY).

4. Got us out of Iraq President Obama made that promise, and kept it. What a great waste of Money and untold Lives. We the people were fed LIES, by President Bush, and especially Vice President Chaney, that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9-11 and he had Weapons of Mass Destruction. We the people wanted our pound of flesh, so we believed those Lies and gave our approval to invade Iraq. The sad part here is, when we found out that we had been lied too, we the people didnít ask our government to bring our troops home. Instead we put the same Idiots, back in office for a second term. Are we the people woke yet?

5. Getting us out of Afghanstan Another promise made and will be kept. This is where we should have put our resources from the beginning, and where President Obama did, once he took office. Most if not all will be out of, and will not be engaging the enemy after 2014.

6. Osama bin Laden (DEAD) As Bush joked one day at a news conference that he wasnít losing any sleep over NOT catching the #1 most wanted by America. I felt sad for the Mothers, Fathers, Siblings, Wives, Husbands, Children, and others who had lost love ones, fighting a war for this Liar. As we found out later, this was on the top of President Obamaís list, when he took office.

7. Obama has bolster a positive image of America around the world Something that Bush and Chaney had destroyed. The people of the world look up to our nation, but invading Irag did us a lot of harm in the world eyes. They say that being President of America is the most important job in the world. I sometimes wonder why anyone in their right mind would want the responsibility that falls on a Presidents shoulders. Iíve also noticed that those that win the office, even for four years, that have a head full of black hair, when they leave it, their heads are grayer than mines. But thatís another subject I will touch on in a feature letter.

Finally, the grade I personally would give the President for the time he has been in office, is B+. And if the Majority of the American electorate grade him as I have, theyíll give him a B+ as well. Just thinkÖ heís almost done with his term! My question to AMERICA is: Does he deserve, four more years? You tell me.

Future Wadley Resident
Clyde DíAntignac


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