Pike County Times
The Pike County Times, PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. Click here to donate through PayPal. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor@pikecountytimes.com
Welcome to the Pike County Times.com Letters to the Editor Page.

These editorials reflect the opinions of their authors and don't necessarily reflect my personal opinions. Feel free to express your opinion with a letter to the editor to: editor@pikecountytimes.com.

Letter writing guidelines are as follows: I do not have a word limit. However, all editorials must be respectful even when hard points are made about any topic including local, state, or national politics.

If I have a problem with an editorial, I will let you know by email and it can either be resolved or not printed because I will proof your letter for grammatical errors, but I do not edit letters based on content. And last but not least, your editorial must be accompanied by your name and a county or city of residence.

Thought for the Week

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Higher Education - A Bipartisan Issue


Two of the authors are Democrats and the other is a Republican. We all agree that adequate funding for higher education should not be a partisan issue. Here is why.

By any measure, higher education offers pathways for career opportunities and a more financially secure life style. In our immediate area, Fayette, Spalding, and Lamar counties are particularly fortunate to be the home of several solid public higher education institutions: The University of Georgia Griffin Campus and Southern Crescent Technical College in Griffin; Gordon State College in Barnesville; and Clayton State University in Peachtree City.

These institutions of higher learning play pivotal roles in community workforce development, enhancing community economic development and enabling higher incomes. Workers with a college education make $1,173 on average weekly while those without a high school degree average only $520. With our increasingly technological society, this salary differential will only increase.

And, benefits are not just financial. These educational institutions also offer venues for life-long learning, arts and culture. Public colleges and universities clearly make life better for all of us…black or white, Democrat or Republican, rich or poor.

For these higher education institutions to best prepare our students, they must provide contemporary and state of the art facilities and equipment, and competitive staff and faculty salaries to attract and retain world-class educators. Additionally, budgetary investments in these institutions have high monetary returns on investment via helping attract and launch new businesses, creating jobs, and bringing vitality to the community.

However, access to these institutions has become ever more difficult for many as the cost higher education has become out of reach for many Georgians. Others have ended up with burdensome student loans that drain student’s finances for years after graduating. To a large degree, these rising costs are a direct result of state legislative budget cuts during the recent recession years that have not been fully restored by the legislature and have been passed on to students through tuition increases. These political actions did not make higher education more efficient, the Georgia Legislature simply transferred the burden to our younger citizens.

Forcing students to pay more is counter-productive for Georgia and society in general. Making higher education more affordable is central to having a better educated citizenship equipped for tomorrow’s workforce demands, a strong and vibrant democracy and a better quality of life for all Georgians. Specifically, if we look at national figures, it is obvious that the better educated states have a significantly higher family income versus less educated states.

For example, according to US Census data (2011-2015, American Communities Survey): a. Maryland, the state having the highest Median Family Income, is also the state with the third highest percentage of bachelor’s degrees; b. Arkansas and Mississippi have the lowest income (49 and 50) of all states, and also have among the lowest educational college graduation rates (48 and 49).

Georgia is 32nd on income, 23rd on college graduates, but 40thon high school graduation rates.We can do better. Now is the time to recognize the value and importance of education for Georgians. The solution to the financial dilemma is twofold: a. make higher education more efficient/effective and b. return state investment to pre-recession levels. State higher education funding has decreased from $8,500/student in 2008… versus a little over $7,000 now.

Some options to cut costs for higher education can be enacted right now by the educational institutions themselves. Actions that can be taken immediately include: a. expanding high school student dual enrollment programs, b. transferring Technical College courses to two- and four-year degree program offering institutions; c. transferring courses from a two-year associate’s program to a four-year degree program; and d. providing for ease of course transfer from one 4-year state college/university to another.

Educational investment will bring knowledge, enlightenment, and life changing opportunity to our communities… while increasing income levels substantially. Higher education committees of our legislature must strengthen budgetary investments in our higher education institutions, especially in view of our currently booming economy.

Cut-backs may well be necessary in times of recession, but now is the time for state investment in our younger generation. If not now, when?

By Bill Lightle, Jerry Arkin and Jack Bernard
Bios: Bill Lightle, a retired Fayette County school teacher, is the Democratic candidate for State Senate District 16. Dr. Jerry Arkin, retired, was the UGA Griffin Campus administrator. Jack Bernard is the former Chair of the Jasper County Commission and Republican Party. All three are Fayette County residents.

State Senator Marty Harbin - an activist rather than a conservative?


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” -Constitution, First Amendment

Senator Harbin has been actively promoting the role of religion in politics since his election awhile back. He does not seem to understand either how this nation was formed during the “Age of Enlightenment”…or that the Constitution, Article 6 states: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Is Harbin trying to rewrite the history of the nation, turning us into a theocracy? From his public stands, one has to wonder. For instance, let’s examine his July 4thads in various local papers. He heads the ads “In God we trust”, a phrase that no founding father ever asked to be on our coins. These words were not put onto American coins until the Civil War and then only because a misnamed lobbying group called the National Reform Association wanted to rewrite the preamble to the constitution and include God and Jesus… which Lincoln rejected. Then, Harbin’s ad shows four founding fathers and their quotes discussing the role of God. The four he shows are Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and Adams. He also shows Ronald Reagan. Weirdly, that picture and quote are twice the size of the others. Despite Harbin’s beliefs, no recognized historians put Reagan on the same level as the four others, and for good reason.

Ronald Reagan accomplished some positive things, like lowering the inflation rate and being generally a genial person when dealing with opponents. He also did some very bad things, like pushing through tax cuts without corresponding expenditure decreases, increasing the national deficit substantially and trading guns to Iran for hostages (Iran-Contra).

So, why did Harbin make Reagan out to be more significant than the others? Is it his eagerness to play the “See, I’m a real conservative card?” …or, his lack of historical knowledge?

In any case, what Harbin did was to cherry-pick what he wished to convey, regardless of history. And, that is the mark of an activist trying to rewrite history, not a conservative trying to preserve it.

For example, in 1787 Jefferson also wrote:"Question with boldness even the existence of a god.” And, in Notes on the State of Virginia: “But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god.” And, in a letter to John Adams:“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”

Adams was a Unitarian who also did not believe in the Trinity, stating: “The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” And: “This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.”

As for Franklin, he wrote:“Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.”; “The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason”; “I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life, I absenteed myself from Christian assemblies.”; and “To Follow by faith alone is to follow blindly.”

Washington was somewhat more religious than the rest, stating: “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God.” In other words, God helps those who help themselves. Washingtonalso instructed his agent when hiring people to build Mounty Vernon: "If they be good workmen, they may be from Asia, Africa, or Europe; they may be Mohammedans, Jews, or Christians of any sect, or they may be Atheists."

Harbin also did not choose to pick out quotes from founding fathers like Thomas Paine and Ethan Allen who were not believers in traditional religion or Christianity. Paine wrote“The Age of Reason” and Allen wrote “Reason: the Only Oracle of Man”. Both promoted deism.

But, let’s get back to the Fourth of July. Jesus once said : "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's". That same thought is incorporated into our own Declaration of Independence which says: “to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Senator Harbin needs to read both documents more closely and stop his religious activism.

Jack Bernard
Peachtree City
Jack Bernard is retired business executive. He is also the former Chairman of the Jasper County GOP and the County Commission.

Need Help! Looking for WWI Hero Descendants


To the Pike County Community and Surrounding Areas,

I am looking for a relative/family contact for each of the WWI killed in action names listed on the Pike County Veterans Memorial located on the Courthouse Square in Zebulon Georgia.

The names are Arthur Roland Ballard, Herman K. Davis, Leon Rupert Davis, Roswell D. Hooton, John G. McLendon, Henry Alvin O’Neal, Solon S. Self, Vernon Ellis Slade, and brothers Lawrence Grady Sullivan and Pierre M. Sullivan.

These ten Pike County heroes who died while on military orders to France or while fighting in France will be honored during this year’s Pike County Veterans Day Observance Program (11 November, 2:00 p.m. at the Courthouse Square) and inducted into this year’s Pike County Memorial Annex Induction Ceremony as part of the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI. The Induction Ceremony will take place on 1 December 2018 at 1:00 p.m. at the Pike County School Auditorium.

The Pike County Board of Education dedicated a portion of its school facilities to be used as the Pike County Memorial Annex Building to be further used as a general memorial for all those in Pike County who have given the ultimate sacrifice while serving the community. The program nomination candidates can include first responders such as paramedics, Sheriff’s Office and City Police Departments, County Fire Department and City Volunteer Fire Departments, as well as military service members. On 28 September 2013, The Pike County American Legion Post 197 hosted the Pike County Memorial Annex Dedication and the first Induction Ceremony. Since then, there have been 12 Pike County heroes inducted into the Memorial Annex representing WWII, Vietnam, and Iraq. There will be ten WWI service members inducted this year who died in the line of duty.

For those of you who have not visited the Pike County Memorial Annex, it is the school building next to Ruth’s Restaurant. The A nnex is open during school operational hours.

Please help me if you are related to or have any information on the list of names provided above. I can be contacted at the phone numbers or email provided below.

Thank you,
Bryan Richardson
Pike County Memorial Annex
Cell: 678-764-2611
Email: rich5060@bellsouth.net

Thank You for Supporting the National Flag Day Observance and Flag Retirement Ceremony


To Our Community:

For those who showed up to the 14 June 2018 National Flag Day Observance and Flag Retirement Ceremony, THANK YOU! I also thank those of you who gave up your faded, worn, and tattered flags to be properly retired. For those not present and who provided their flags, I can assure you that your flag was respectfully retired and individually honored. Approximately 100 flags were retired. If you missed out on dropping off your flag or flags, in the future, you can drop it at the Post 197 Flag Drop Box (repainted mailbox) in front of the American Legion Post facility on Meansville Street in Zebulon or the Boy Scout Troop 37 will accept your flag to be retired.

I especially want to thank Boy Scouts of America Troop 37 for co-hosting this event along with the Pike County Legion Family 197. We also enjoyed the participation of Cub Scout Pack 103. Again, thank you to all who attended and to those who allowed us to respectfully and honorably retire your flag.


Bryan D. Richardson
Pike County American Legion Post 197

Join the Fight against Alzheimer’s disease


Dear Editor,

Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease every 65 seconds. The month of June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. Today, 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and by 2050, it is projected that up to 14 million Americans will have the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and one in three seniors die with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that kills nerve cells and tissue in the brain, and this disease affects an individual’s ability to remember, think and plan. As the disease advances, the brain shrinks dramatically due to cell death. Individuals lose their ability to communicate, recognize family and friends and care for themselves. Currently, there is no way to prevent, cure or even slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.

In addition to the toll the disease takes on individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s, the disease exacts a heavy mental, emotional, financial and often physical toll on caregivers and families. The numbers on the financial costs of caring for people with Alzheimer’s are staggering. In 2018, caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in the United States will cost an estimated $277 billion. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, by 2050 the cost of care for Alzheimer’s patients could rise as high as $1.1 trillion.

As the numbers above make plain, without a change, the number of people with Alzheimer’s and the costs of care for individuals with Alzheimer’s will rise dramatically within the next decade. Everyone with a brain is at risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease, but everyone can help to end this epidemic — especially you. During the month of June, which is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, the Alzheimer’s Association asks people around the world to take the Purple Pledge and use their brains to help fight Alzheimer’s disease. You can join the Alzheimer's Association on June 21 and participate in The Longest Day, a sunrise-to-sunset event to honor those facing Alzheimer’s with strength, passion and endurance. Find out more information about Alzheimer’s and join the fight at www.alz.org.

If you are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or have a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, there is a 24-hour telephone support program that offers specialized information about Alzheimer’s disease, community resources, emotional support, referrals and follow-up counseling services. The Helpline Number is 1-800-272-3900.

On June 21, let’s join together and show our love for all those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

By State Representative Bob Trammell (D-Luthersville)
Representative Bob Trammell Jr. represents the citizens of District 132, which includes portions of Coweta, Meriwether and Troup counties. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2014 and currently serves as House Minority Leader. He also serves on the Ethics, Governmental Affairs, Information and Audits, Judiciary Non-Civil, Motor Vehicles, Rules and Ways and Means committees.

Rebuilding our Communities and Combatting the Opioid Epidemic Together


Dear Editor,

With every passing day, our nation’s opioid crisis claims 115 more lives. Each of these victims leaves behind devastated loved ones and a community weakened by their loss.

In Georgia’s Third District specifically, we see the damage created by this epidemic on a daily basis. According to a 2017 study by Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Third District has counties with some of the highest levels of opioid abuse in the state.

The harm created by this misuse is not just limited to an individual’s health. The damage done to the family structure is tragic. Outside the home, the opioid epidemic has a negative impact on local businesses, our children’s education and our entire healthcare system.

In Congress, we are working to combat this crisis. In fact, there are eight different committees in the House of Representatives are working on bipartisan bills to prevent addiction, increase treatment options and outcomes for those in recovery and assist first responders. There is no single legislative fix to end addiction, so we are putting forth dozens of bills designed to tackle the opioid epidemic from all angles. The Committee on Energy and Commerce alone has voted nearly sixty bipartisan bills out of committee.

In the Education and the Workforce Committee, we have crafted a number of bills that would focus on ways we can help families and employers combat opioid addiction both at home and in the workplace.

The Improving the Federal Response to Families Impacted by Substance Use Disorder Act would focus on the impact of opioid addiction at home. This bill would establish an interagency task force to develop a strategy to help federal agencies respond to the opioid epidemic, prioritizing existing programs that assist infants, children and their families. No family should have to suffer through addiction alone. This task force will help target current resources and examine new ways that we can help victims and their loved ones fight back against this disease.

I have also heard from employers across Georgia’s Third District that they need assistance to help combat the effects of opioid abuse on their workforce and their business. That is why H.R. 5892 would create an advisory committee to counsel the Secretary of Labor on actions the Department of Labor can take to address opioid abuse in the workplace. This advisory committee would make recommendations on appropriate workplace policies, such as early identification strategies and employer substance abuse policies, to help employers consider best approaches to combat opioid misuse in the workplace.

These are just two of the dozens of bipartisan bills that the House will have the opportunity to consider in the coming weeks. While this is undoubtedly the largest legislative initiative to fight opioid addiction that Congress has undertaken, it is just the beginning.

This massive effort reflects the hard work of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find ways to fight back against the ravages of this disease. There is no congressional district that has not been touched by opioid addiction. We cannot ignore the growing epidemic of opioid abuse. We must face it head on.

I will continue working with my colleagues to find innovative solutions to ensure everyone has the opportunity to live a full life and seize the American dream.

We must also recognize that there is another aspect of this crisis that goes beyond legislative action. Every American must show compassion and empathy as individuals and support individuals and their families throughout the recovery process. The best legislation can never replace a kind, supportive heart and, most importantly, prayer. If we fail to love, support and pray for those suffering from addiction, then we will all fall short.

Congressman Drew Ferguson, 3rd District
Congressman Ferguson serves on the Committee on the Budget, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Education and the Workforce Committee and is the Freshman Policy Representative for the 115th Congress.

Local Ministry Has a Need and It Is You


Dear Editor,

The Pike Outreach Transportation Ministry needs drivers. No CDL is required. No medical degree necessary.

If you can drive one day a week or one day every two weeks you will do. Most important is faithfulness because a dialysis patient can't wait. The van has a chair lift and instruction will be provided. The head of the program passed this need on and I am passing it on to you. Dedicated drivers are needed. Jesus will have your paycheck when you get home.

For more information, call Ann at 678-642-9800 and leave message with your name and phone number.

Steve Hicks