DEC 1-14, 2011

VOL. 01 NO. 23

EDUCATION SPOTLIGHT: PG 2

Budget woes: Five committees brainstorm ways to cut costs School SPLOST #4: Will cover tech upgrades & building maintenance Bullying: How one student's stand against bullies helps others

PG 3

Surplus funds used to reimburse city employees increased health insurance premiums
SHEILA MARSHALL
Employees of the city of Griffin will benefit from fuel cost savings, as City Manager Kenny Smith proposed, and commissioners agreed, to refund a portion of this fiscal year’s increase in health insurance premiums. The Board of Commissioners vote was 6-1 in favor with Commissioner Ryan McElmore casting the lone dissenting vote. The reimbursement resulted from a savings of approximately 25 percent on fuel, which had been budgeted at $4.25 per gallon for regular and $4.50 per gallon for diesel for FY 20112012. “The price was pretty volatile, so we budgeted at $4.25 a gallon,” Smith said. “Based on the price not being anywhere near there, it was my idea to reimburse the money to our employees.” The resulting savings from July 1 through what officials estimate will be spent through Dec. 31 amounted to $117,710. He said that this decision was based upon his belief in the importance of a quality municipal workforce. “I think our employees are our greatest resource,” he said. “They’ve had only one two percent raise in the past four years, while their health insurance premiums have continued to rise.”
CONT, SURPLUS, Pg 7 »

Thousands brave "snow" to carry letters to Santa at the North Pole
JESSICA GREGORY
On November 22, thousands attended The Festival of Lights at the Airport Road Walking Track to usher in the Christmas season. Despite a light, but steady rain during the event, this year marked the largest turnout ever for this what is the largest event hosted by the Spalding County Parks and Recreation (SCPR), and all the lights were LED display for the first time. While there, children could roast S'mores over an open fire, meet Frosty the Snowman, Mrs. Claus and Rudolph, attend Elf Training School, and win prizes in the reindeer toss and penguin picking pool. The crowd was so large, most stations were running out of prizes to give away, say SCPR officials. The most popular event by far, however, was walking through the "North Pole," with bubbles of "snow" blasting from a crane to get a letter in the mail to Santa. Representatives of the Post Office were there to help children write and address their letters, which Santa will personally answer with a return letter through the postal service. Ω

Experienced actress chooses Griffin as home for acting studio
JESSICA GREGORY
With Atlanta quickly becoming the "Hollywood of the East," and Griffin being used as set locations for several television shows and movies, it's no surprise that Roslyn Evans, actress, talent manager, film producer and acting coach, chose to locate her studio in the Old Coke Building on Taylor Street. resembled her hometown of Perry, Florida. She was also familiar with Griffin from when she produced a pilot television show at the Griffin Airport in 2007. The show is still being pitched to BET. Evans knew she wanted to be an actress at age 13, when she starred in community and church plays, and pretended to do Colgate commercials in the mirror. She trained at Norfolk State University in Virginia, where she also earned a degree in business. Her acting school, Wings for Dreams, opened in the Old Coke Building in September and currently has eight attending students, ranging in age from 4 to 50, some driving from as far away as Smyrna. Along with Wings for Dreams, Evans runs a talent management firm and production company. She began the acting studio because she believes training is very important in this field. "The first 60 seconds in a room will tell me if you're trained," said Evans. Being trained includes knowing how to "slate," or find the mark and state your name, age, and monologue or audition part. Evans teaches slating, along with theatre basics, stage direction, and audition basics in her ninemonth program. She also trains for sitcoms, siting the genre's rising popularity. "We have just as much of that as anything else," said Evans. For more information, contact Evans at 678-5256360.

Griffin enacts several projects to reduce fecal pollution in Potato Creek Watershed

Pet waste stations
The city of Griffin, in conjunction with Three Rivers Regional Commission have installed 10 new dog waste pick-up stations within the Potato Creek Watershed in the area near E. College St. and Maple Dr.

are additional projects dealing with septic tank maintenance, livestock watering and dog kennels along Potato Creek from Griffin to where it enters the Flint River. The Public Works Department urges everyone to remember proper pet waste disposal: bring plastic bags along with you when you walk your dog; use the bag to pick up the dog waste, tie the bag closed and place in garbage can; and clean up after your pet even in your own backyard. Bag pet waste and place it with your household garbage or bury it in a hole at least five inches deep and cover with soil. Ω

Above: Roslyn Evans on set Evans, who has worked with big names such as Alfre Woodard, Tyler Perry, Charles Dutton, and Greg Alan Williams, says Griffin appealed to her because it EVENT PREVIEW

BMP design study
SHEILA MARSHALL The city of Griffin will pay $18,000 to Tetra Tech for design services of the Oak Hill Cemetery Better Management Plan (BMP) in relation to the Potato Creek Watershed Implementation Plan. These dog waste stations were paid for in part by a 319(h) grant that is aimed at reducing fecal coliform pollution within the Potato Creek Watershed. In addition to the dog waste stations, there Dr. Brant Keller, Griffin Public Works director, said the BMP will identify the different types of practices needed to reduce the identifiable pollutants being put into Potato
CONT, BMP STUDY, Pg 7 »

One amateur writer shares her experience of participating in NaNoWriMo pg 4

Southside Santa providing toys for 9th year in a row
JESSICA GREGORY On Saturday, Dec. 17, Southside Santa (who prefers his real name not be revealed), will appear at Griffin's Dawg House for the final day of collecting toys for families in need. Nine years ago, Southside Santa began collecting names of families who needed a little help around the holidays, getting tips from hospital workers, teachers, and law enforcement officials. Working with several motorcycle groups in the region, they would doublecheck that these were families truly in need, and then proceed to collect toys for the children. "I used to be the biggest Scrooge there ever was because no one knew the true meaning of Christmas," said Southside. Until one day in a department store, a little boy asked him if he was Santa, "because he sure looked like Santa." That year, Southside Santa began his own toy collection program. Last year, Southside Santa and his various elves helped seven families and 53 children. This year, Griffin's Dawg House and 92.5 FM he Bear have teamed up with Southside Santa to help promote the cause. Griffin's Dawg House and The Bear will host a car show, bouncy houses, and live entertainment on Dec. 17 in the Roses Shopping Center. Southside Santa will be posing for photos, asking for the donation of one unwrapped toy. Southside Santa will then personally deliver the toys on Dec. 24 and 25. Ω

Holiday events, community updates, and the cutest pet of the week ever. pg 6

Introducing the arrest blotter - a list of arrests during the past two weeks. pg 7

2

Dec. 1 - 14, 2011

EDUCATION
GHS student creates anti-bullying group
JESSICA GREGORY
Amber Jones, Griffin High School junior, has been bullied since she was in the sixth grade. Jones has endured rumors about her sexuality as well as more physical bullying of having her hair pulled and being slapped in the face. When Jones began her freshman year at GHS, the bullying intensified to the point to where she skipped school for two weeks to avoid the bullies, and she began cutting herself. "I commend Amber for being a voice for her peers, but I’m not sure she needs the school to do that. We don’t have any more or less reports of bullying, with or without the group at this point. If her desire is to either make sure that kids have a sounding board or something to that fact, all those possibilities are still there, it doesn’t necessarily need the stamp of approval from the school," said Simmons. adjusting the calendar to a 170-day model and raising the millage rate, which still leaves a $2.25 million shortfall. "Those that have been critical [of the 170-day school calendar model] don't really understand the severity of our budget cuts. The few minutes added to each day is seat time. If it's done properly, the instructional value can be maintained," said Benz. "And we encourage those people to be involved in this process," she added. "It's astounding how much money we've lost through these cuts - it's roughly $35 million in cuts. The state basically told us they didn't have enough money to cover what we should receive," said Benz. "They expect us to operate at full capacity while not funding us at full capacity." The board of education in October told Dr. Jones that "everything was on the table," in terms of what can be cut to reduce costs. The five committees formed will also consider certain administration consolidation or elimination, reducing or eliminating middle school athletics, increased usage of virtual school environments, among many others. "The ultimate goal is to find the balance in adjusting the budget while preserving the instructional program," said Benz. The school system encourages anyone with comments or suggestions to bring them to the table as well. Ω A photo of Someone, Somewhere's first project, a photo collection of students holding an envelope that promotes sending love, not hate. After a year of home schooling, Jones returned to GHS with a renewed sense of self. "I got over the fact of letting them get to me," said Jones. She submitted a request to create an anti-bullying club at GHS in September of this year, which has not been approved. Keith Simmons, GHS Principle, stated that since all the current clubs fall into either a service, academic or athletic category, there is no precedent for an activist/advocate group such as anti-bullying. Simmons also expressed that since teachers are already equipped to handle reports of bullying and much of bullying occurs off campus at home or in a cyber world, an antibullying club at school may not be the right avenue. He urged the importance of reporting bullying directly to a teacher or administrator: "I understand that it's easier to go to a peer, but there's not going to be as much response if that's as far as you can take it," said Simmons. In the interim of waiting for her club to be approved, Jones created an online group called "Someone, Somewhere," a Facebook group dedicated to spreading the idea that no matter what students and young people are currently experiencing, someone, somewhere has experienced the same thing and cares. The group currently has 170 "likes," and several members, including Amber, have created videos sharing their experiences of being bullied at GHS and other schools. Jones has plans to begin various anti-bullying projects through this group, but still feels that GHS should be doing more to prevent bullying. "I feel that everyone should have a meeting that shows what happens when someone doesn't want to be on this earth anymore. because they feel like the bullies have control over them. I don't think the school is going to do anything about it until something dramatic happens." Ω

'Everything on the table': BOE examines all avenues to cut budget
JESSICA GREGORY
Over the last few months, Griffin-Spalding County School officials have been focusing on ways to reduce costs for fiscal year 2013, when at least a $6.3 million shortfall is the general fund budget is projected. Teams of volunteers, including school and district administrators, teachers, parents and community members have formed committees to study potential cost reductions. Among the many ideas being studied is the decentralization of the gifted program - and idea that has garnered recent feedback in the community. School officials emphasize that cutting the gifted program itself is not being considered, merely keeping the gifted students in their home school to receive their gifted curriculum. "A lot more teachers are now qualified to teach gifted students," said Elizabeth Benz, communications specialist for GSCS. "The gifted curriculum would be integrated into the coursework and classroom. It would also be a good for other students not in the program to be exposed to gifted curriculum to stretch their capacity a little bit, " she continued. "We're not limiting gifted instruction by any stretch of the imagination. If anything, the program may be improved due to no instruction time lost in transportation." The system has already addressed shortfall by

Tech updates, building maintenance included in 4th SPLOST proposal
JESSICA GREGORY
As the school SPLOST that brought the complete renovation of Griffin High School and other schools is expiring, the Griffin-Spalding Board of Education on Nov. 29 voted to approve a resolution that will place a new School SPLOST on the March 6, 2012 election ballot. If approved by the voters on that date, this will be the fourth school SPLOST funded by Spalding County since 1996. Included projects would be technology infrastructure, hardware, and support; and maintenance of facilities that have been built or renovated with past SPLOSTs. The School SPLOST resolution passed with a 3-2 vote, with Michael Kendall and Zachery Holmes dissenting. Kendall spent a length of time addressing his concern over the SPLOST project list, stating that prior to the meeting he had no knowledge of the list and how the project priority list was determined. He also expressed concern over the publication of this specific list if it may be changed at a later date, calling the explanation of the project list an "academic exercise" if they planned to discuss and change the list at a later date. Holmes emphasized that his dissension was not over the SPLOST itself, but rather because the list had changed slightly since it had been disseminated to the board on the Friday before the meeting, expressing concern about the omission of several schools. Jim Smith, Assistant Superintendent and Chief Finance Officer, said, “Currently SPLOST dollars fund technology in the classroom. If we let the current SPLOST lapse in June when it is set to expire, we will not have funds for replacement of computers, upgrading our network to handle more and more users and mobile devices, and the infrastructure to prepare for a 21st century classroom. “The technology projects that are needed would bring a quality of environment that employees and students would feel and use – but not necessarily see: infrastructure making high-density wireless systems work in schools and cloud technology. This is the behind-the -scenes, in-the -walls equipment that supports teaching and learning for our students and employees.” Currently first generation wireless access points support a handful of computers in classrooms. High density wireless systems would support hundreds of computers and mobile devices throughout schools. Rod Smith, Director of Technology, also mentioned the school system at a future date allowing students to bring their own mobile devices to school to be utilized for educational purposes. On the facility side, Bruce Ballard, Director of Maintenance and Facilities, said, “From the time of the first SPLOST, we promised our community that we would never let our facilities get in the state of disrepair we found ourselves in 1996. It’s hard to believe that schools built in the late 1990s need renovation. Projects would provide additional classroom space at three schools and renovate the current Enrichment Center to house a pre-K center, freeing up class room space at all elementary schools.” The recommendation that the board of education would consider would be a three-year school SPLOST set to raise a projected $25 million with no bonded indebtedness. Projects would be on a pay-as-yougo system. The current school SPLOST is on target to complete the projects underway and meet debt service requirements. The average monthly collection is $711,539.01. Ω

For more information about Someone, Somewhere, visit www.facebook. com/SSVoicesUnheard

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WATCHDOG
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city funding despite also operating at an ongoing annual loss. “It serves a very, very small group of people, primarily recreational pilots, and we lose money on the airport every year,” she said. Todd referred to the golf course’s “rich history,” and said it is an amenity that draws people to Griffin. “I’m a firm believer in giving people reasons to want to move to your city. The golf course is an asset to the city of Griffin and you don’t get rid of assets,” she said. “I think the strength of any community is what you offer its citizens.” Todd also addressed a frequent argument against continued financial support of the City Golf Course. “Sure, we have other golf courses, but they’re private. We have a strong group of women golfers, senior golfers and minority golfers who would have nowhere else to play,” she said, citing transportation needs as one factor that would prevent these demographics from utilizing local private golf courses. “Also, if a course is private and accepts no public money, they can make any rules and regulations they want. They can allow only the people that they want to play.” Despite consistent opposition, Todd maintains her support for funding the golf course. “That $300,000 is actually a paper figure. Well, it is real money, but they’re doing everything they can to make money by selling shirts, golf supplies and money,” she said. “Even with the loss we take – if you want to call it a loss – it’s still recreation. I don’t think I’ve ever voted against recreation. It’s just one of those things you suck up and go on with.” Although Todd’s support of the City Golf Course is unwavering, equally adamant opposition comes from other officials, such as Commissioner Dick Morrow. “I pressed the last two budget cycles to close the City Golf Course. Two years ago, I was outnumbered 6-1, and this year, I believe it was 5-2,” he said. “I think it should be closed to save the taxpayers that quarter of a million dollars.” He said many of the expenses involved in maintaining a golf course cannot be trimmed, such as greens maintenance and chemicals. “The costs of operating the City Golf Course have been cut tremendously, but golf courses are very expensive to maintain. It’s still losing $250,000 each year and that isn’t going to get any better,” he said. “It is a terrible waste of taxpayer money.” Furthermore, Morrow said the majority of those who do utilize the City Golf Course are not city of Griffin residents. To the contrary, he alleges supporting officials continue to fund the course to serve a small, but very dedicated group of local golf enthusiasts, which presents a situation that should be rectified. “The taxpayers are subsidizing this course for that small group,” he said. “There are other local golf courses where these residents could play – the Griffin Country Club is now open to public play and there are other private courses struggling to remain open in this tough economic climate. I would much rather see free enterprise work properly than have the city subsidize this public course at such a huge loss.” Ω

Dec. 1 - 14, 2011

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City golf course: Steep financial losses stir controversy
SHEILA MARSHALL
Despite a projected operational loss of approximately $250,000 for Fiscal Year 2011-2012, city of Griffin officials have approved a new four-year lease for 55 golf carts to be utilized at the City Golf Course located in City Park. According to Public Works Director Brant Keller, the city routinely contracts a lease for these carts through the Yamaha Corporation. He explained the previous lease was set to expire, and as is routine, officials opted to lease new carts rather than purchase the carts associated with the expiring lease. “Basically, what we do is trade them back in for new carts because these have four years of use on them,” Keller said. The terms of the upcoming lease, which will run from December 2011 through November 2015, will cost $3,327.50 monthly. “It went up just a little bit financially,” he said. “I think it went up just a couple of hundred dollars each month for all of them.” In response to questions regarding city of Griffin residents who stand in opposition to funding a public golf course that has historically generated significant annual losses, Keller said the City Golf Course simply does not generate enough rounds of golf to meet operational expenses. He did explain that the annual decision of whether to fund the course is made by the city board of commissioners. “We use to average around 2,100 rounds of golf played each month. This recession has done a pretty good number on us,” he said, adding that the city course now averages approximately 1,425 rounds monthly – or 17,000 rounds – annually. However, Keller said if the golf course was currently achieving its previous usage level of 2,100 monthly rounds – or just over 25,000 rounds annually – it would remain insufficient to bring the course into the black. “You need to have 28,000 rounds per year to make money on a golf course,” Keller said. “This year, the golf course is going to cost approximately $525,000 to operate and we’re projecting $305,000 in revenue.” Although it currently fails to break even, and projections do not differ for future years, the City Golf Course continues to have strong proponents among the Griffin Board of Commissioners. “You have a lot of things that cost the citizens money. Take the police force. Take the fire department. Take the airport. All these cost the taxpayers money, but they are things you must continue to fund,” said Commissioner Joanne Todd. She went on to say that the airport continues to receive

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Pocket park intended for limited residential use
SHEILA MARSHALL
space.” In response to resident complaints concerning the pocket park for residents of Ashton Place – consisting primarily of retirement cluster homes – Griffin Public Works Director Brant Keller said he believes much of the criticism is based on a lack of knowledge regarding their design and intended use. “I think some people have misconstrued how we do green parks,” he said. “Some people don’t understand how they’re developed, but we go through the same process each time.” That process begins with the design development phase after which officials meet with residents to discuss their specific desires for the green space. Keller said Ashton Place Park development resulted from the city taking ownership of the land. “We were maintaining it anyway because it went into foreclosure, and if you’re going to maintain it, you may as well own it,” he said. “We thought it would be a great opportunity to give people more green Upon meeting with area residents, city officials learned the only need residents expressed was for improvements to the existing walking trail. “Each neighborhood has a unique demographic, and that is all these particular residents requested,” he said.

City golf cart ordinance response to state’s “un-funded mandate”
SHEILA MARSHALL
State legislation set to be enacted Jan. 1, 2012, will allow the use of golf carts on some public roadways, and city of Griffin officials have responded by proposing changes to existing local ordinances. or on certain streets in your neighborhood,” Strickland said. He said he has designated three potential golf cart crossings at the intersections of W. Taylor and S. 18th streets; S. Sixth and E. Taylor streets; and S. Hill and both East and West College streets, all intersections marked by traffic control devices, which is a requirement of the state law. These crossings are pending state Department of Transportation approval. In addition, Strickland said these carts must be registered at a cost of $15, maintain a current tag and be operated by a licensed driver, with minimum state insurance coverage also required. Strickland said he does not believe the addition of golf carts will impede local traffic due to the designated roads on which they will be allowed to operate. He reiterated that the local ordinance is necessary due to the vagaries of the state law. “A lot of it the state left up to municipalities,” he said. “It’s another un-funded mandate.” Ω

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“If we don’t pass a new ordinance, it will revert to the state law and there will be no local control,” said Griffin Police Department Chief Frank Strickland, who described the state law The resulting project will include re-grading the area, as very general. “We have proposed certain streets resurfacing the walking used trail and the installation of that golf carts may be they’ll on and certain streets several benches. be restricted from. We’re just trying to control what Keller said he understands happens. It’s either this or some residents have no control whatsoever.” expressed dissatisfaction The local ordinance states with the lack of public the motorized golf carts parking at the park, but said the intent of this green may be operated on all public roads with a posted space was to be used by speed limit of 35 mph or those living within its less, with the exception vicinity. of Crescent Road, E. College St., E. Poplar St., E. “It wasn’t designed for Solomon St., Experiment people to drive in and St., Hamilton Blvd., Kincaid Ave., Maddox Road, Maple sit,” he said. “It’s a pocket Drive, Meriwether St., N. park for people who live Hill St., N. Pinehill Road, S. nearby to walk or ride a Pinehill Road, W. Broad St., bike to, which reduces W. Ellis St., W. Poplar St. and environmental pollutants. W. Solomon St. As more land becomes available, we’ll look at “We’re trying to keep it the creation of additional simple. You’re pretty much pocket parks in other areas only going to be able to ride of the city.” Ω them in your neighborhood,

4

Dec. 1 - 14, 2011

LIFESTYLES
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This is a semi-regular column devoted to addressing issues, tackling problems and giving allaround good advice to the leaders and citizenry of the greater Griffin-Spalding County area.

DIRT MCGIRT
The day after Thanksgiving used to be a day devoted to sleeping and finding creative excuses for sending in-laws on their way a couple of days early. Despite the historical purpose of that day, many women will shake off their tryptophan-induced comas and voluntarily get up before dawn. This is done so that they may spend the day in battling traffic, searching for parking spaces and fighting huge crowds all while carrying quite a bit of baggage. While it may seem like these ladies are trying to catch a plane at Hartsfield Airport, they are actually out shopping for Christmas gifts on what has come to be known as Black Friday. Stores lure shoppers on Black Friday by offering huge discounts on popular items. The problem is that the sales only lasts for a limited time and there are only a limited number of items available. For example, an electronic store may offer a 50 inch big screen T.V. for $11. However, the sale may only last from 3:00 a.m. until 3:06 a.m. and there may only be one T.V. offered at

that price. As is so often the case, the combination of large crowds, estrogen and cheap electronics will lead to irrational behavior and rioting. This year has been no exception. A woman in Los Angeles, California decided that she really needed an X-Box. In fact, she determined that she needed an X-box so badly that she had to find a way to beat out the other potential X-Box owners who were waiting for the store to open. Rather than stretching her calves and hamstrings for a sprint to the electronic aisle, this intrepid shopper pepper sprayed the crowd. This resulted in a stampede that injured 20. It is not yet known if the woman has an X-box under her tree. In perhaps the best example of Black Friday savings insanity, patrons of a Little Rock, Arkansas Wal-Mart rioted over an unbelievable deal in the kitchen appliance department. These patrons were fighting for the chance to purchase a $2.00 waffle iron. Arkansas’ status as the state most likely to erupt into violence while trying to buy items they use every day at work is now secure for the 99th year in a row. While the deals may seem too hard to pass up, a little common sense would tell most people to avoid Black Friday. Most people drive carefully to avoid black ice. Many people will not loan money to the black sheep in the family. And it is always a good idea to avoid contact with a person suffering from the black plague. It is only natural then that people should avoid shopping on day known as Black Friday. So ladies, next year when the Black Friday advertising inserts come in the paper and the commercials air on television, follow your husband’s lead and ignore them. After all, no one has ever been peppered sprayed ordering a gift card online three days before Christmas. Ω

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NaNoWriMo comes to a close
On November 1 of this year, more than 250,000 people around the world set out to write 50,000-word novels during the 30 days of November for NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. St. George's Episcopal School Chaplain Diana Pearson was one of them, and she shares her experience here. 1. How did you first hear of/ participate in NaNoWriMo? I first learned of it in 2009 from an online friend who lives in Texas. I visited nanowrimo.org, and after looking around their site, I decided to give it a shot. 2. Did you finish your novel this year? It depends on what you mean by finishing. Anyone who reaches 50,000 words within the 30 days of November is technically a winner, and I have won all three years I have participated. Sadly, while this year's novel is of a winning length, the story line isn't quite complete. I'm okay with that, though, because it gives me a reason to stick with it even once November has passed. 3. Tell us a synopsis of your novel. Each of my NaNo novels is very different. The first one is a childhood adventure story. The second is the story of a life-long romance. The third one is a fantasy story that follows a somewhat antagonistic and rather misanthropic duo who find themselves responsible for saving the world they so love to hate. Perhaps predictably, they fall in love, and it is their connection that powers them to become a force for creation and healing. (It is always good to remember that NaNoWriMo's slogan is Thirty Days and Nights of Literary Abandon--there's no rule that the story has to be good!) 4. Why participate in NaNoWriMo? Simply put, I do NaNoWriMo because it frees me from all the excuses I make for not writing. There is never time to write a book unless I decide that there is. I think my experience is common. People who like to write make all kinds of excuses for not doing it--I'm too busy; I don't have anything to say; my story isn't really clear in my head yet; I'll do it when there's less going on. People who love to write actually love to write well, and we feel this pressure to make anything we produce remarkable; that stops most of us from ever even starting. NaNoWriMo breaks all of those rules. The only way to win is just to write, to keep writing, to shut down the inner editor that tells you your work isn't good enough to bother. My NaNo novels contain some truly atrocious writing, some horribly drawn characters, some ridiculous turns in their plots. But all of that is fixable. What isn't fixable is a novel that never finds its way out of someone's head. 5. Seems like a big commitment. 50k words? Almost 1700 words per day? What was your daily writing experience like? It is a big commitment, but it also an attainable goal. If I miss a day, it's not a deal breaker; I can still recover. There were days (around 10K and 30K) when it seemed that the book would never happen. Then there were days where I'd pop out over 3,000 words out with almost no effort. My characters have the obnoxious habit of making decisions that run completely counter to who I think I want them to be; those odd turns are often the best sources for a word count. I find it particularly helpful that the website allows registered participants to update their progress at any time, so each day comes with its own sense of accomplishment. I have also learned that it is as important to allow myself to skip days as it is to keep on top of the daily goal. As long as it's fun, I'm doing it right. 6. Plan on doing it next year? Would you encourage others to do the same? Sure. I encourage anyone who has wondered if they have it in them to write a novel to give it a try. No, it won't be a masterpiece, but it will be out of your head, and that's a start. Ω

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LIFESTYLES
Much has been said and written about the debacle known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare. It sparked a feeding frenzy of lobbyists who represent the full gamut of health care from providers to patients to payers. The lobbyists agree privately that Obamacare is fatally flawed, cannot be sustained, will ruin all of health care, will speed the bankruptcy spiral for America, etc., but they will all fight valiantly to be sure their constituents are not left out. In some cases, lobbyists are further attempting to be sure competitors are left out. Bachmann who will stop it altogether before American collapses under its weight. Considering the likelihood of one of these scenarios, composing an essential benefits package for a plan that will not emerge from Congress seems to me like refueling the Titanic so that it can sink well provisioned. of my fellow Griffinites is uninsured. One third of those, related to the socioeconomic and cultural issues of poverty, are clinically obese. Twelve percent of them are already diabetic. Given these realities, I shudder to think what the aggregate future cost might be in treating illnesses in this population. Strategies and methodologies aimed at helping our citizens to regain their health offers more hope for them and for the economy. Indeed, if we could eradicate obesity, perhaps the Affordable Care Act would actually be affordable. I asked the Committee to consider common conditions that are operant in America. They had heard much about obesity already, but 80 percent of Americans will experience back pain in their lifetimes and seek care for it. This is an incredibly expensive condition when treated pharmacologically or surgically. I urged HHS to listen closely to patients’ wishes. The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has their fingers on the pulses of patients and gathers data about what consumers really want in health care. The patients I serve are not the ones of 50 years ago who visited Dr. Welby. They are savvy. They know what they want and how to get it. The internet has had a huge impact here. The result is that the patients I serve do not want to be drugged, and they do not want debilitating surgeries. They want non-drug, non-surgical answers to their issues, and they are turning in ever-increasing numbers away from what

Dec. 1 - 14, 2011

5

Socialist approach to health care would be like 'refueling the Titanic"
they do not want in favor of treatment modalities that are natural, holistic, user-friendly, and patientcentered. I left the committee to get back to seeing patients here in Griffin. I wish HHS

great success, but I don’t have much optimism for a socialist approach to health care that Obama designed to eliminate the private sector. I felt good about taking fuel to the Titanic. Ω

He will gather of the pieces and mend
DUSTY TAKLE
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 We carried the boxes down from the attic and placed them in front of our tree. My seven year old daughter rushed to crack open the first bin filled with ornaments. Ornaments from my childhood. Ornaments accumulated through travel. Handmade ornaments by friends and family. Faded red construction paper ornaments that have still somehow survived more than one Christmas. "Look, Mom! It's the ornament from my very first Christmas!" she yelled with contagious excitement. Then, there were ornaments that didn't make the voyage to this season in as good of condition as some of the others. Some of them were broken, their pieces held together by tissue paper. The excitement seemed wane. "I bet we can glue these," I tried to assure her. A few days later, I ventured up into my parents' attic in search for the nativity scene from my own childhood. I was relieved to find most of the pieces still intact. Most. It seemed the shepherd boy had been glued a time or ten and a camel had chipped a hump. But, I carefully placed every single piece on my mantel in the place where I imagined they stood on that silent night. I no longer saw the crack around the little shepherd boy, and the camel blended right in with the other animals. Instead, I saw a reminder of the beauty of the season. And, I saw a reminder of how God restores broken things. How He can take the most broken of hearts and mend them. How he can take the most shattered of lives, gather the wayward places, and mend them. Micah 2:12 says, 12 “I will surely gather all of you, Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel. I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people.” He’s talking to Israel. He’s talking about people who have been scattered. He will gather all of you. All of the broken pieces that have been scattered to the wind. He will place you back with care and gentleness. He will mend you. He will be the paper, that even when you shatter, will hold you together. Glass shatters as easily as the human heart. But, God can gather all of the shattered pieces of your heart, even the ones you thought were lost forever, and restore them. And, the amazing thing about God’s restoration is that He never restores something to what it once was. Instead, He restores it to what it was created to be, and He makes it better than new. Ω

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has sent a committee on a “listening tour” across the country to gather input directly from stakeholders (aforementioned providers, patients, and payers) on what services should be considered “essential” as a benefit package is constructed for Obamacare implementation. I was honored to represent the other ACA, the American Chiropractic Association, and Griffin citizens as I testified in the recent HHS meeting in Atlanta. Many believe, and many hope, that the mandatory insurance portion of Obamacare will be struck down by the Supreme Court by June in time for the next election. If it is not, the same people hold out for a President Gingrich, Romney, or

DR. BOB HAYDEN DC, PhD, FICC
I went to the Federal Building in Atlanta on the 17th of November to participate, armed with a few facts and thoughts to share with the committee. There was a long line inside the front door where only one metal detector was present, and there was no “frisking” option. Had I been in charge, I would have installed a separate line for people to frisk themselves and labeled it the “express lane.” I told the committee that I also represented the citizens of Griffin. Our unemployment runs in excess of 13%, and the per capita income is about $18,000. One in four

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6

Dec. 1 - 14, 2011

COMMUNITY
December 1; Thursday; Arts Association Open House Downtown Griffin Tree Lighting; 5 - 7 p.m.; Griffin City Hall.

FOUND: YOUNG LAB IN DOWNTOWN WILLIAMSON AREA ON 11/25. CALL 770366-7513; WILL ASK YOU TO IDENTIFY COLOR AND COLLAR

« « « « « « BUBBA'S HOMETOWN BULLETIN BOARD » » » » » »
and more. December 4; Sunday; G-S Chamber Christmas Parade; 2:30 p.m.; Route along Taylor Street, starting at Chick-fil-a to the old Taylor Middle School; Registration accepted through Dec. 2nd for $20. Contact the Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce at 770-2288200. December 6 - 31; A Country Christmas in Lights; This event, featuring more than one mile of Christmas lights at The Rock Ranch; 6 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays; The light display is free to the public, but donations will be accepted. December 6; Tuesday; Ceramics classes; Spalding County Parks and Recreation main office; 5 - 9:30 p.m.; for additional information call 770-4674750. December 6; Tuesday; GriffinSpalding Toastmasters; 7 p.m; University of GeorgiaGriffin campus, Stuckey Auditorium, Room 202. December 8; Business Networking Group; 5 p.m.; Dunkin’ Donuts in Griffin; Call to R.S.V.P 678-4614580. December 8; Flint River Astronomy Club; 7:30 p.m.; Flynt Building on the University of GeorgiaGriffin campus; For more information call Bill Warren at 770-229-6108 or visit www.flintriverasronomy. org. December 10; Griffin Bicycle Club; 8:30 a.m; 40-mile group ride leaves from First United Methodist Church, 1401 Maple St. December 15; Thursday; Flint

River Regional Library Book Club will discuss Carol McCleary's The Illusion of Murder; 6 p.m. December 15; American Business Women’s Association; 6:30 p.m.; Christian Enrichment Center of First Methodist Church; for more information call 770-4678752. December 15; Spalding County Democratic Party; Spalding County Courthouse Annex; 7 p.m.; meeting is open to the public. To view more local events visit the calendar page at www.the-grip.net.

Boarding & Grooming
Whether a short visit or extended stay, our four-legged friends will always have a place to hang their collars. FREE BLUEBERRY FACIAL Blueberry facials clean tear stains and provides anti-oxidants while smelling great! Safe for cats and dogs. Must bring this coupon. 1550 A. Flynt Street, Grif n

December 1; Thursday; "Christmas with Griffin Choral Arts"; 7:30 p.m.; First Baptist Church of Griffin; www.griffinchoralarts.org December 2-11; "A Tuna Christmas"; Mainstreet Players; a withering satire, notable in that two men play the entire cast of over twenty eccentric characters of both genders and various ages; www. mainstreetplayers.org December 3; Saturday; Mistletoe Market and Downtown Open House; noon - 6 p.m.; Griffin Regional Welcome Center; Purchase unique gifts, enjoy old fashioned mule cart rides, photos with Santa, kids activity area,

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Community briefs
To have your information appear in the this section of The Grip, (space permitting) e-mail a press release to sheila@the-grip.net.

PET OF THE WEEK: Maggie Lane
Blue Pit Bull Mix • MEDIUM | ADULT | FEMALE
Maggie Lane (roughly 3 years old) was found in the Magnolia Lanes Bowling Alley parking lot in midNovember, very emaciated and scared. After a few minutes of sweet coaxing, she was laying her head in her rescuer's lap, and allowed herself to be carried and placed in the back of the car. She has checked out completely healthy at the vet, and has received all her shots and will soon be spayed. Her foster home has a male dog her size (black dog pictured) and they get along

The Griffin Exchange Club presents Exchangite of the Year
The Griffin Exchange Club is a dynamic, caring group of volunteers whose fund raising efforts a designed to target specific needs throughout the community. Service is at the heart of the Exchange Club, but there is more to being an Exchangite, a great deal more. Throughout the years, Exchangites have served their communities in important ways, this year the Griffin Exchange Club was proud to present the Exchangite of the year award to David Dunson for his above and beyond efforts in helping with the disaster relief after the tragic tornadoes in April of 2011. Mr. Dunson was on site at the Christian Women’s Center in Sunnyside, Ga the morning after the tornado destroyed the facility. From that moment on Mr. Dunson organized a cleanup crew of over 50 relief workers, set up a Facebook page to get the public involved though social media and also orchestrated a donations headquarters directly out of his office (Direct Alarm) where the community could drop off dry goods and clothing, make monetary donations and also sign up to help with the cleanup process. As a result of his efforts donations were made from all over the country as well as 104.7 The Fish helped with a fund raiser for the people who were affected

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The Tiger Lily

by the storm.“Dave Dunson demonstrates the ideals of the Exchange Club in his everyday life and is a model example of what Exchange is here to do in our community” said Kyle Greer, President of the Griffin Exchange Club. “For this we are fortunate to have him among our members.” Ω

great; Maggie even loves Noodle, her sister foster kitten. The stereotype of pitbull aggression does not apply to Maggie. She is definitely an inside dog that needs a lot of love, snuggles, and patience. Please email jessica@the-grip. net if you are interested in adopting Maggie Lane.

G-S Library now offering fax services
The Griffin-Spalding County Library is now providing an affordable public fax service. Rates are $1.50 to send one page and $1.00 for each additional page sent within the U.S. International rates are available at the library. Debit and credit cards are accepted or pre-paid fax cards are available for purchase. The self-service fax kiosk will provide the public a fast, safe, secure, and reliable way to send documents. Ω

three City Fire Stations until Monday, December 19th, 2011. Station One is located at the corner of North Hill Street and Chappell Streets. Station Two is located at 401 North Expressway. Station Three is located at South Hill Street and Crescent West. "Children Giving to Children" has always been our theme. The firefighters wish to encourage parents to demonstrate the joy of Christmas giving by making their donation a family event. They suggest bringing a camera to create a lasting memory of their child fulfilling the true meaning of Christmas. Toys for girls and boys of all ages will be accepted until Dec. 19, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Checks are also accepted and 100 percent of the money received will purchase toys. Please make

checks payable to: Griffin Firefighter’s Toy Round-Up C/O Fire Station #2 and send to 401 North Expressway Griffin, Georgia 30223. Griffin Firefighters ask that all new toys remain in their original packaging and should not be wrapped, and will not accept toys that cannot be used without adult supervision. These include guns, darts, knives, etc. Anyone wishing to receive toys must register with the Department of Family & Children’s Services or the Salvation Army. For more information, or any business or organization wanting to help the Griffin FireRescue, please call Captain John Hamilton or Captain Mitchell Cardell at (770)229-6415 Ω

HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE Saturday, Dec. 3 12 - 4 p.m. COME SEE OUR NEW RETAIL PRODUCT LINES!
103 S. Hill Street, Downtown Griffin

Griffin Fire-Rescue Toy Drive 2011
It’s that time of the year again. The Griffin Firefighter’s Annual Toy Round-up has gotten off to a great start. Firefighters are busy collecting toys at the

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GOVERNMENT
Kindle Fire and an iPod Nano to be given away by Work Ready Committee
STAFF REPORTS The Griffin-Spalding County Work Ready Committee has announced they will be giving away to two lucky people a Kindle Fire and an iPod Nano. All individuals who take the work ready assessment test during the next few weeks will be eligible to have their names in for the drawing. Griffin and Spalding County have been going through the process to meet the state of Georgia Work Ready requirements to become designated a certified work ready community.
of the fiscal year, which ends June 30. Even with seemingly constant Mid-East political volatility, Smith said he does not expect gas prices to rise beyond the budgeted amount. “I wouldn’t think that it’s going to go above $4.25 per gallon. Pump price and our price isn’t the same because we don’t pay taxes, and we also buy wholesale because of the amount we use,” he said. “If our price was $4.25, pump prices would be around $4.75 a gallon, and I just don’t see it going that high.” Because of these factors, Smith said he did not feel it was necessary to leave the surplus funds in the general budget to guard against the possibility of future fuel price increases. He said it is not a large sum of money, but he believes it may be particularly useful to employees during the Christmas season. Commissioner Joanne Todd, who voted in favor of the measure, said she has received several notes from employees thanking officials for the reimbursement. Ω

Dec. 1 - 14, 2011

7

Arrest Blotter: Arrests Nov. 22-28, 2011
Derrick Bennett, 1009 Meriwether St. Misdemeanor theft by receiving Misdemeanor criminal trespass Daniel Skinner, 917 Broad St. Misdemeanor theft by receiving Misdemeanor criminal trespass Felony driving without a license Misdemeanor driving without insurance Stanford King, 1009 Meriwether St. Misdemeanor theft by receiving Misdemeanor criminal trespass Curtis Dennis, 119 Crawford St. Simple battery, Family Violence Act Cruelty to children Michael Kirkpatrick, 701 Kingston Road, Thomaston Child support violation Patrick Ross, 408 Chappell St. Child support violation Jakerria Harris, 156 Pecan Drive Battery – Family Violence Act Patsy Middlebrook, 156 Pecan Drive Battery – Family Violence Act Dawanda Roberts, 156 Pecan Drive Aggravated assault Battery – Family Violence Act Ashgar Habib, 2001 Cobblestone Blvd., Fayetteville Theft by taking David Woolfork Jr., 590 Lakewood Drive Expired tag Driving with no insurance Michael Shea Croas, 145 Spalding St. Obstruction of a 911 call Battery – Family Violence Act False imprisonment Todd Michael Lehman, 851 McLarin St. Battery James Resharn Williams 2090 Haven Chappell Church Rd. Aggravated assault – Family Violence Act Battery – Family Violence Act

Testing can be done at Southern Crescent Technical College. Test times may be scheduled by calling the school at 770228-7364. Being certified work ready is an important asset when it comes to attracting business and industry.

Taking the assessment is an important asset for employees when seeking a job and for the employer to know the skill level of applicants for open positions. To learn more about Work Ready www.Gaworkready. org.

« surplus, cont.
Smith said the refund will be based on workers’ hire date and employment status, with 440 full-time employees hired before July 1, 2011, receiving $250 each, and the 33 employees hired after that date will receive $150. The one-time pay supplement required approximately $123,858, of which $6,148 was derived from the commission’s Contingency Fund. In addition to the overall value he places on city employees, Smith said another factor that led to his decision to request the pay supplement was a reduction in fuel consumption by workers. “We challenged them to conserve fuel and watch their vehicles – not leave them idling or running excessively – so their efforts contributed to the savings,” he said. “This is only the conservation we’ve had from July 1 through what we estimate we’ll use through December 31.” Smith said officials anticipate additional savings throughout the remainder

« BMP study, cont.
Creek. The two primary types of pollutants found in the Potato Creek Basin are sediment, specifically urbanized runoff – which is basically sediment – and fecal matter. According to Keller, the fecal matter can be classified as either human waste, indicating a leaking pipe or a treatment plant release, or animal waste – that of either domesticated animals or wildlife. Keller said multiple locations along Potato Creek have been identified as areas in need of attention, but the Basin at Oak Hill Cemetery was selected first. “In a perfect world, where you have plenty of money, all the problem areas can be addressed at one,” he said. “Unfortunately, that’s not the reality, so we’re beginning here at Oak Hill Cemetery. The banks are sloughing offing off and as that continues, it will contribute to the urbanized runoff.” This is all necessary, Keller

said, due to the federal regulatory statutes of the Clean Water Act, which establishes a body of water’s TMDL, or total maximum daily load, of various pollutants. “That represents the total amount of a system’s sustainable load without creating unbalance I the ecosystem,” Keller said. “There’s a 10 percent safety factor in there and that’s what gives you your TMDL. These materials originate from one of two sources – non-point sources, which are storm water runoff and point source, or wastewater treatment plant releases. Specifically related to the Potato Creek Basin, Keller said testing has shown the fecal matter to be primarily related to animal waste. “This BMP is for the design work and construction work, so we can bid it out and have the problem corrected,” he said, which follows the mandated precursors of watershed assessment, or an analysis of the basin and monitoring through sampling and evaluating. Ω

December 5th, 2011 Croissants, Danishes, Muffins Come to Safehouse
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