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. [Remove the () after you cut and paste.]

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.

Deep But Very True Thought

"Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot." - Justice Clarence Thomas

Retired State Employees Speak out on New Economic Hardships They Are Facing


Dear Editor,

Responding to a survey by the Georgia State Retirees Association (GSRA), large numbers of retired state employees responded that they can no longer live in dignity and with comfort on their hard-earned pensions. The response to the survey was overwhelming. Out of the 4,400 surveys distributed, more than 1,100 recipients responded. 471 also wrote narratives describing their day-to-day challenges in more detail. More than 96% reported experiencing at least one of twelve hardships queried in making ends meet; almost half reported they were experiencing at least six different types of hardships. Examples of hardships include stopped buying certain foods; delayed paying utility bills(s) on time; delayed paying rent or mortgage on time, delayed getting routine or specialized healthcare including dental and vision care, and delayed filling prescriptions or split medication dosages to make them last longer.

A large number of retirees, many of them among the older members, have had to return to work to make ends meet and even so are still struggling. The loss of income is impacting entire families, not just retirees individually. Other themes include pride in state service, food insecurity and even hunger, the challenge of managing healthcare needs on limited incomes, caregiving, social impacts, a sense of loss, and for some, being in a downward spiral.

Retirees reported doing everything they could have done to prepare for retirement, but now are doing everything they can just to survive.

While most respondents fell into the 66-75 age group, the comments illustrate that retirees of all ages are feeling the impact of inflation exacerbated by erosion of retirement income. About 30 percent of our respondents are uncompensated family caregivers. Some are caring for a spouse or an adult child. Others provide care for more elderly relatives which often entails travel that they can ill-afford. Some older, single retirees report having no family support systems and express concern for being able to maintain their independence. Some younger ones relate the impact of declining resources while trying to provide for their minor children.

GSRA continues to advocate for the return of Cost-of-Living Adjustments for retirees that faithfully served the state of Georgia and its’ citizens. Many worked at below market salary with the understanding their contributions to the Retirement System would afford a secure and dignified retirement income. Unfortunately, that understanding for most has not come to fruition with 14 years of no adjustments to keep pace with the cost of living.

GSRA President, Beverly Littlefield
Legislative Liaison, Chuck Freedman

GSRA is an organization established and maintained by state retirees for state retirees. We advocate for retirees as well as active employees to keep them informed about any changes or impacts to our retirement benefits through monthly newsletters, media sites, annual statewide meeting, legislative liaison team, action alerts, and local chapters with regular meetings. Readers can find out more about GSRA at https://www.mygsra.com.

A Beloved Community


Dear Editor,
[Note from the Editor: Mrs. Beckham spoke before Kiwanis of Pike County in recognition of Black History Month. Her speech has been reproduced as a letter to the editor to share it with the community.]

I’d like to begin by saying how pleased I am to have been invited to speak here today. It’s truly an honor to join all of you in recognizing Black History Month.

A wise person once said that a good speech should be like a comet: Dazzling, eye-opening and over before you know it. I don’t know how well I can do on the first two so I’ll try to achieve the third!

Pike County celebrated its Bicentennial on December 9, 2022. After two hundred years, growth and development can be seen throughout the county. Along with growth and development, our county’s population has become more diverse. Our county and the nation have been well documented with war, slavery, depression, civil rights struggles, women and voting right’s struggles, and segregation. I am not here today to give a history lesson, but to have your attention on how to build a beloved community in Pike County.

With all of the aforementioned struggles the best way to build and maintain a beloved community, in my opinion, is Integration. Integration is much more inclusive and positive than desegregation. Desegregation eliminated discrimination against people of color in public accommodations, education, housing and employment aspects of social life that can be corrected by laws.

INTEGRATION however is “the positive acceptance of desegregation and the welcomed participation of Black Americans and minorities in the total range of human activities through changes in ATTITUDES. It involves personal and social relationships created by Love and acceptance-and these cannot be legislated.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. concepts of a beloved community lay in his assumption that human existence is social in nature. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in “an inescapable network of mutuality.” In other words communities and people are dependent on each other. We as Citizens of Pike County Must learn and accept Integration as part of our daily lives because we all share the same values: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Dr King’s vision of a completely integrated society was a community of Love and Justice for ALL of its constituents no matter the race, religion, or social status. In his mind such a community would be the ideal corporate expression of the Christian faith.

Dr King stated that, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Let us all work to be the light that drives out darkness. If we work together, we can continue to make great strides to a better Beloved Community. In closing, to have a beloved community we must have communication built on Christian Faith which is built on Love. The BEST example of Love is shown in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. I will leave you with this scripture: John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

Patricia Beckham
Pike County



Dear Editor,

I am not a political person; I do not care for politics. Making sure I know the candidates well enough to make an informed decision when I vote is as deep as I get.

Over a year ago, I got involved in a conflict with the Pike County Manager, which was an attack against my wife. Hopefully the issue has been resolved, but the scars remain. Because of what happened and what I found out about the County Manager, I have become very interested in the actions of the County Manager.

I think it would be advisable if everyone in Pike County would make an effort to get to know the County Manager's job description and how he is fulfilling those functions. Everything the County Manager writes or says is a matter of public record; all citizens have access to public records.

I must state that I do not have first-hand knowledge of all these events, so I must say yes, they are my opinions, and it would be advisable for each of you to find out the truth for yourself.

Over a year ago, I made a written charge against the County Manager for public endangerment and unprofessionalism regarding a dangerous road condition that he refused to remedy. The conflict began.

The County Manager decided to establish 36 hours of work per week as the requirement for full-time employment, which he has the right to do, with the approval of the Board of Commissioners. What he does not have the right to do is tell the county's Constitutional Officers what to do.

The County Manager tried to force a Constitutional Officer to make one of their employees part-time; The County Manager failed.

Not having been able to impose his will on the Constitutional Officer, the County Manager changed the newly approved retirement plan to require a 36-hour workweek to qualify for retirement. The only person in the county who was going to retire was the same person The County Manager tried to force her to work a 36-hour workweek. I wonder if there could have been some leftover resentment from his failure to get his way? By the way, it took a vote of the County Board of Commissioners to ensure the thirty-one-year employee got the retirement she deserved. Unfortunately, it took this same employee four months to get a penny of her money after she retired. There has been no explanation from the County Manager why such a delay.

The infamous boat dock/rock issue. I have no opinion on this matter, but how the county manager deceived people to have the rocks removed shows me immaturity and a lack of integrity.

There appear to be several other issues, such as withholding money from a department budget because the County Manager did not think they needed the money the department asked for in their budget. It would appear the County Manager believes he knows best in all things.

I have spoken to several county employees and have only found one person who has anything nice to say about the County Manager. I have heard words like chauvinist, narcissist, and bully, which are the nice words.

My point is, do we want or need a person who will defy even the County Commissioners to get his way. A person who seems to act as if he was the ultimate authority and power in Pike County. I strongly suggest that every citizen start paying attention to what is happening in Pike County and contact your Commissioner when you see something wrong.

Ben Maxedon

[Note from the Editor: Pike County Times has been covering the actions of the county manager for some time including each of the situations named above.

The story behind his attempt to force a constitutional officer to bend to his will during a retirement discussion can be found here: www.pikecountytimes.com/secondary/BOC9.28.21.html.

Click here to read how the rocks were moved at the Shoals prior to a meeting with the county manager to discuss removing the rocks: www.pikecountytimes.com/secondary/BREAKINGNEWSflatshoals3.15.22.html

Withholding money from a budget could refer to the $16,000 that the county manager removed and refused to put back into Superior Court's budget last year (www.pikecountytimes.com/secondary/BOC9.28.21.html) or the reduction in the J. Joel Edwards Library budget this year (www.pikecountytimes.com/secondary/BOCSCM4.21.22.html). Does there seem to be an unfortunate pattern here?

Pike County Times wrote an article on county manager's contract which can be read here along with a link to a copy of his contract which requires annual evaluations that have not been done to date over the two years that he has been employed here: www.pikecountytimes.com/secondary/brandonrogers2.26.22.html. The evaluations by county commissioners are in the process but have still not been completed, and there is a 30 day window from June 30, 2022 in which to renew his contract. And there is also the matter of a $5,000 raise that he wrote for himself in the upcoming budget.]

Numerical Placards Help In Emergency Situations


Pike County Residents,

I am an emergency medical services worker whose service includes all of Pike County. I am concerned about our ambulances and the rescue vehicles struggling to locate residences that are not clearly marked by a numerical address.

When a resident is having a heart attack, stroke, or serious bleeding issue, seconds may mean the difference in a resident’s survival or demise. If our vehicles lose cell and radio signals in a rural area, we could arrive at the scene much later than desired. A simple numerical placard near the roadway would be the perfect solution to aid the police, fire, and emergency services in completing their roles successfully.

This has been done in many rural counties for the same reasons and has been a success for the first responders and delivery vehicles, mail carriers, and passers-by. A second suggestion would be to keep the trees and bushes surrounding street signs that are already in place to ensure that their visibility is 100% from the roadway.

Tonie P. Biles
Pike County

[Note from the Editor: The Pike County Emergency Service Auxillary is selling reflective address signs to Pike County citizens. Proceeds benefit all emergency services personnel with disaster assistance in the form of gatorade, water, and other necessary items. Green signs are 6 inches by 18 inches with 4 inch reflective numbers on each side. To order, call 770-468-8633 for more information. All orders for reflective address signs must be made in writing.]