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
 
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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.
 
Is This Election About “America’s Second Civil War?”

10.30.18

Dear Editor,

Four days after Trump’s inauguration Dennis Prager wrote an article titled “America’s Second Civil War.” What has happened is proving such is true.

For 50 years the Left has been growing with academia, press, entertainment industry, liberal Democrats and some judges. Add to this an infusion of socialism. This results in erasing some of America’s Judeo-Christian foundations and increasingly disregarding the rule of law.

As soon as President Trump was elected the Left increased its unprecedented resistance including Antifa. Most disturbing is that some senior unelected FBI, Justice Department and a few upper intelligence community employees/ex-employees began to act as a 4th wing of government which is how “banana republics” start.

For a very disturbing revelation about this I highly recommend legal analyst Gregg Jarrett’s book “The Russian Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump.” It is very readable with the 793 footnotes at the end.

Due to a lie a FISA Court permitted wiretapping of some of Trump’s people. Next a leak by Comey wove its way to Rod Rosenstein who appointed their mutual friend Robert Mueller as Special Counsel 17 months ago. So far there is zero evidence about Trump colluding with the Russians.

I find it mindboggling that the Left supports open borders, doing away with ICE and 550+ cities/states supporting Sanctuary areas hindering federal law enforcement from arresting illegal immigrants with felony charges. Has the Left thought through the unintended consequences of this?

Trump was elected with 304 electoral votes versus Secretary Clinton’s 227 so Donald J Trump is our president!

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House. says, “Trump’s greatest strength has been his ability to understand that clearly confronting an unacceptable reality and articulating its failure with passion and conviction can change history.”

The Administration and Republican majorities in the House and Senate are making excellent progress despite all of the aforementioned resistance. To see a list google “289 accomplishments of the Trump administration.”

I will mention but three accomplishments. By far the most consequential is the confirmations of Groesch and Kavanaugh which will influence Supreme Court decisions for decades. That is why the Left viciously attacked Kavanaugh.

Second is the strength of the economy which has resulted in record employment for African-Americans, Hispanics and all others.

Third is what the Trump administration is doing internationally such as defusing possible nuclear attacks by negotiating with N. Korea and cancelling the “peace through cash” Iran Nuclear Deal; withdrawing us from the one sided Paris Accord and Trans-Pacific Partnership; and working with China and our allies to change China’s growing but unchecked domination.

There are many problems where Democrats and Republicans have “kicked the can down the street” for decades such as immigration, health care, climate change, debt of $21.5T, opioid crisis and underfunding Medicare by $37T. Despite this the Left wants “Medicare for all” which is estimated to cost $32.6T in the first 10 years!

The synagogue killings and pipe bombs once again alert us to the mentally deranged in our society and what we can do.

If the Republicans maintain control of the House and Senate I am confident the economy will continue to grow, the size of government continue to get smaller and the aforementioned problems being addressed. If the Left wins the House they will be preoccupied with impeaching Trump but the Senate will not find him guilty just as they did not with President Clinton.

I’m not here to defend some of Trumps words but I find what he has done and will do to be much more consequential! Republican and Democrat presidents, with the exception of Reagan, over the past 50 years were no doubt “more presidential” but look where that got us.

We are at a fork in the road and depending on how the midterm elections go will significantly impact which fork we as a country take.

Rep Jeff Brown (Ret)
LaGrange, GA

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Rise and vote

10.30.18

Dear Editor,

As a life-long registered voter it is my hope that the citizens of the United States will make the effort to vote in what many consider to be perhaps the most important election in the history of this country. Just as with my fellow countrypersons I am not satisfied with the direction our nation is going specifically when it comes to healthcare {pre-existing conditions}, the economy {stagnant wages}, immigration {bias}. education {teacher pensions} and gun regulation {AR-15 and bump stocks}. We as a society have also seen a rise in sexual harassment and abuse as well as hate of African Americans, Hispanics and Jews. Frankly, this election is a clear choice between those who have never had it so good and those of us who know we can do better.

Members of the Republican Party, you have had plenty of time to help the American people and have failed them by your own choosing. The one thing that trumps capitalism and political correctness in the United States is the right to have one's voice heard. This is the foundation of which our democracy is built on.

Accordingly, let the call go forth among all citizens of this country that as brothers and sisters of democracy voting is a start to dealing with every trial and tribulation you may encounter during the crisis facing this nation. To the people of the United States, the trumpet of freedom beckons you to exercise your suffrage and ensure your vote to preserve your sacred freedoms, promote your children's future and retain the blessings of liberty we all cherish.

My fellow Americans the hour of your redemption is at hand. As you the rightful citizens move forward to reclaim your country, rise and vote! In the memory of those who died fighting for everyone's rights, rise and vote! To restrain the excesses of the current occupants in the White House, rise and vote! Let no one continue to fear. Let every person be strong and push on for their freedom. Rise and vote!

Never let it be said that this was the time when the tide ran out on the United States but rather was the time when the tide came in to restore justice and fairness.

Rise and vote!

Joe Bialek
Cleveland Ohio

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Call for Action on Marijuana

10.30.18

Dear Editor,

“Make any popular soft drink illegal and it will become a ‘gateway drug.’ Narcotic addicts do not start with marijuana, they start with milk!” ~ Dr. Doug Skelton, Chancellor of Trinity Medical Sciences University

Not surprisingly, 62 percent of the American public believes marijuana should be legalized (Pew, 10-10-18). The figure is even higher for Millennials at 74 percent. It will eventually be legalized nationally, period.

Let’s be clear, that is not the point of this column. I am only addressing medical use.

Most Georgians that I have spoken with, conservatives included, believe that marijuana should be legally available for approved medical use. Widespread acceptance is why in early 2015 our legislature approved, and our Governor signed, “Haleigh’s Hope Act” legalizing up to 20 ounces of infused cannabis oils for patients having specific diagnoses such as: Autism, Cancer, Crohn’s, and Parkinson’s.

Illogical though it may be, our legislature did not provide for any way for these sick individuals to access it. They are prohibited by state law from growing it and by Federal law from importing it. There are no licensed dispensaries, and hardly any MDs will prescribe it due to fear. Crazy, right? Our national and state governmental policies toward cannabis have been irrational from the start. It’s Class I classification by the Federal government makes no sense.

Per Dr. Doug Skelton, a respected psychiatrist who was once over all of the State of Georgia’s mental health and substance abuse programs, “As a ‘dangerous drug’ it has resulted in thousands of needless arrests and even seven-year sentences for college students who sold some to a friend. It is a ‘gateway drug’ solely because it is illegal.”

In 2015, there were over 640,000 arrests nationwide related to cannabis. Further, penalties are severe. In our own state, cultivation of less than 10 pounds can get you up to 10 years. No wonder our costly prisons are overcrowded.

We have put cancer patients, autistic children, and their parents and others in one heck of a position. Break the law and risk substantial jail time or don’t use cannabis to treat your disease, even though it’s technically legal for medical use in Georgia and has been for three years.

It is unconscionable that our legislature has not fixed the problem. Conservatives appear especially reticent to come up with practical solutions.

For example, take my own State Senator, Marty Harbin (R- District 16). His clearly evasive position is that the state needs to form a medical commission to evaluate medical marijuana and the Feds must first reclassify it from Class I to Class II.

When slippery politicians don’t want to make a politically delicate decision, they just form study groups to endlessly look at issues that have been studied to death elsewhere. These swamp creatures kick the problem somewhere else, to the Feds in this case

In other words, Harbin is refusing to endorse rational legislation which would permit cultivation and legal dispensing of medical cannabis, despite the Haleigh’s Hope Act. He just doesn’t want to clearly say so because it might hurt him politically. What happened to conservatives believing in states’ rights and individual freedom?

His opposition in this election, Bill Lightle, has come out strongly in favor of legalization of controlled medical marijuana growth and dispensing in Georgia. The difference in their positions is stark; one is honest, the other evasive.

On a more personal level, I would encourage each reader of this column to go on YouTube to hear the testimony of Jennifer Conforti, the compassionate mother of an autistic child, speaking to a Georgia House Committee. Her three-year-old, Abby, had uncontrollable rages, hurting herself. A few years later, Abby is now doing well on cannabis and her frightening episodes have abated. However, Jennifer, a typical caring suburban mother, has had to obtain the cannabis illegally.

Sen. Harbin said to Jennifer in a one-on-one conversation, “If my child were dealing with the issues yours is, I’d do the same thing you are doing. I’d break the law and do anything to help my child. I applaud you.”

Senator, that is just not right. Be a compassionate person, not a slippery politician. Jennifer’s daughter does not need your empty words, she needs action. Please, before casting your vote for your Georgia House Representative or Senate Senator, learn their position on medical marijuana cultivation and dispensing. It may be your child, spouse, father or mother who end up needing cannabis next time.

Jack Bernard
Jasper County

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Consider Charlie Bailey for Attorney General

10.11.18

Dear Editor,

Recently, someone on Facebook asked a friend of ours here in Pine Mountain, Georgia, what makes Charlie Bailey, a native of Harris County running for state Attorney General, “special.” Because our friend could not immediately reply, I jumped in to answer:

Many things make Charlie the ideal person for this crucial post: (1) his ability to connect with people from many different backgrounds, (2) his sense of justice and his desire to obtain it for everyone, regardless of class, race, age, sex, or faith; (3) his willingness to listen as well as to talk; (4) his evident intelligence; and (5) his unassailable competence.

Years ago, I wrote Charlie a recommendation letter to the Honors Program at the University of Georgia, as did many others. Charlie got into that program and did well at UGA as an undergraduate. Then he excelled in its law school, where his classmates elected him student-body president.

Later, he paid his professional dues as a lawyer in private practice in Atlanta, often as an advocate for victims of fraud and predatory lending, and, in a selfless shift with a built-in pay cut, as a dedicated senior prosecutor in Fulton County.

It’s little surprise, then, that Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley, a Republican, has endorsed Charlie for the Attorney Generalship, noting that what most matters is not the candidate’s party affiliation (Charlie is a *gasp* Democrat), but instead his ability to do the job.

Meanwhile, associates of Chris Carr, Charlie’s opponent, run negative TV ads claiming that Charlie is to blame for dramatic rises in Fulton County crime, with no source for this false assertion but a 2016 ad on Atlanta’s Channel 2 Action News.

In fact, Charlie is an ace prosecutor, bringing preparation and bulldog tenacity to every case. Further, the claims in the Carr ad inadvertently stigmatize law enforcement officers, not Charlie, who points out that the AG must work closely with police departments and sheriffs’ offices to achieve real success for all Georgians.

Others of Charlie’s virtues include his work ethic, his commitment to consumer protection, and his firm intent to develop a statewide organized-crime-and-gang division as well as an organized-crime database: law-enforcement tools that Georgia sorely needs.

In contrast, Chris Carr hasn’t practiced law in 17 years, nor has he tried or prosecuted a case. That he’s held the Attorney Generalship for two years might lead some to argue that he’s had on-the-job training. But two more years of such training, without trying a case, still won’t make him a trial attorney or a tested prosecutor.

So, when you vote, consider Charlie Bailey for Attorney General. He doesn’t need on-the-job training because, even at the young age of 35, he’s been in the arena for years.

Michael Bishop
Pine Mountain, Harris County, Georgia

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NCPA Leaders Attend White House Signing of “Gag Clause” Ban

10.10.18

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 10, 2018) — Four National Community Pharmacists Association leaders joined President Trump at the White House today as he signed legislation prohibiting so-called pharmacy “gag clauses” that may result in patients being charged inflated prices for their medications. Attending were newly-installed president Bill Osborn, PharmD, owner of Osborn Drugs in Miami, Okla.; NCPA board members Michele M. Belcher, RPh, owner of Grants Pass Pharmacy in Grants Pass, Ore., Hugh M. Chancy, RPh, owner of Chancy Drugs in Hahira, Ga.; and NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA. NCPA strongly advocated for these pieces of legislation and recently sent a letter to President Trump urging that he sign them into law. Photos available upon request.

The president signed S. 2553, the Know the Lowest Price Act of 2018, and S. 2554, the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, which give community pharmacists more flexibility in informing patients they could pay less out of pocket for a prescription than by using their health insurance.

“The signing of these bills is a victory for patients, and for pharmacies worried that a PBM will retaliate against them for disclosing the most affordable health care options to patients,” said Hoey. “Everyone agrees – prescription drug prices are too high. By empowering pharmacists to act in patients’ best interest in sharing lower-cost alternatives, we are increasing patients’ ability to afford the medications they need to get healthy and stay that way.

“Today’s signing ceremony follows more than six months of hard work by many community pharmacy supporters, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Reps. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who led legislation in the Senate and House respectively. We are grateful for their efforts and for those of the bills’ co-sponsors in keeping this issue in the public eye. We also applaud President Trump, HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and CMS Administrator Seema Verma for their support of legislation to prohibit ‘gag clauses’ and for their broader work to lower drug prices and reduce patients’ out-of-pocket costs. This is a positive first step for consumers.

“Federal law will now state that pharmacists cannot be prohibited from discussing the most affordable medication payment options with their patients or be retaliated against for doing so. We believe this will help unshackle pharmacists so they can use their expertise in conversations with patients, helping them receive the most appropriate medication at the lowest cost without fear of retribution.”

Belcher and Chancy, both of whom attended today’s signing ceremony, had recently spoken out after helping patients obtain their medication. Belcher, as quoted in a news release from Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), “once received a cease and desist letter for trying to help a child with a terminal disease access his medication.” Chancy testified in September before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health about his experiences, saying that his pharmacy was issued a verbal warning by a PBM after having discussed with a patient the cost of a drug off insurance.

The new laws pertain to Medicare Part D, which will take effect in 2020, as well as ACA exchange and private insurance plans, which take effect immediately.

####

Founded in 1898, the National Community Pharmacists Association is the voice for the community pharmacist, representing 22,000 pharmacies that employ 250,000 individuals nationwide. Community pharmacies are rooted in the communities where they are located and are among America’s most accessible health care providers. To learn more, visit www.ncpanet.org.

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Climate change: Bi-partisan action required
By Bill Lightle, Ian Flitcroft and Jack Bernard

10.10.18

“Oh, a storm is threat'ning my very life today; If I don't get some shelter,oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away”- Rolling Stones

It isn’t simply storms that are threatening our lives, Mick. Climate change is the underlying reason for storms increasing ferocity and unless we act there will be no shelter for humanity.Human induced climate change is completely settled science, as uncontroversial as the germ theory of disease…although when browsing the internet and some media you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

The increasing number of strong Atlantic hurricanes is a continuing trend that started in the 1980s. Georgia was spared this time… but stronger, more frequent hurricanes are coming.

Hurricane Florence dumped enough water on the Carolinas to fill Chesapeake Bay. There is now 7 % more moisture in the atmosphere…moisture Florence turned into low country rain. For Americans to prosper, we must understand how Florence’s record rainfall fits into the bigger picture of global weather and climate.

Why is the atmosphere becoming more moisture laden and hurricanes more powerful? The answer is climate change, a phrase conspicuously absent from the otherwise plentiful media coverage of Florence.

As the atmosphere and oceans warm through the heat trapping effects of the greenhouse gases we are emitting, the atmosphere holds increasing amounts of water vapor. Warmer sea surface temperatures result in increasingly violent future hurricanes.

In 2017 we witnessed an Atlantic hurricane season like never before, including: a. Irma, the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever; b. Harvey, causing devastating flooding in Texas; and c. category 5 Maria, tearing through Puerto Rico, killing thousands. But what was an exceptional year will become the new normal as the earth continues to warm.

Given the fog of confusion and disinformation that surrounds climate change, it’s worth noting that the US Department of Defense (2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap) spends resources to protect its bases and other assets from the threat of rising sea levels, not something they would do if there was doubt about the science. Per the National Defense Authorization Act, ourmilitary explicitly recognizes climate change as a direct threat to national security.

Americans living in Atlantic seaboard coastal communities are also dealing with the direct effects of sea level rise, caused by global warming. According to a Forbes magazine article (July 31, 2018), home values in Georgia and four other Southeastern states, have taken a $7.4 billion hit from sea level rise induced flooding. The impact on the property market is a direct result of increased risks of flooding and rising seas levels. As the sea level rises by three or more feet, by the end of the century many coastal properties will be underwater during storms.

Beside increasing damage from hurricanes and rising sea levels, what else can Georgians expect due to changing climate? The Obama Administration enacted strict car emission regulations, rescinded by Trump. With Trump’s emission policies, temperatures are expected to rise more rapidly, causing more prolonged and hotter heat waves.

Periods of extreme heat and higher temperatures increase heat stress, respiratory illnesses, and heat-related deaths. High temperatures also contribute to poor air quality, particularly increased ozone in urban areas, posing a risk to people with asthma and COPD. Georgia’s rural counties will be hard hit as heat waves damage crops and stress livestock. Warmer temperatures will also increase the risk of fires and cause an increase in agricultural pests and disease.

That’s the bad news, the good news is that we can take steps to avoid the worst scenarios. And that first step is to recognize and depoliticize the problem. Remember, the EPA was started by Nixon.

Climate change is harmful to both Democrats and Republicans, evangelicals and atheists, conservatives and liberals. Now is the time to take specific measures to control emissions, find alternatives to mining and limit pollution of our air and water… if not for our sake, then for the sake of our children and grandchildren. It is imperative you hold your elected officials accountable in 2018 and 2020 for their track record and commitment to addressing climate change.

####

A retired Fayette County teacher, Bill Lightle is a candidate for Georgia State Senate (District 16). Dr. Ian Flitcroft taught climate science at UGA-Griffin Campus and managed the Georgia Weather Network. Jack Bernard, a retired SVP with a healthcare firm, is the former Director of Health Planning for the State of Georgia.

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Need Help! Looking for WWI Hero Descendants

7.7.18

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

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Local Ministry Has a Need and It Is You

6.1.18

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
Zebulon

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