Opinions

Thu
10
Mar

A look a various Putnam goings on

Don Richeson

By Don Richeson / Ripples Across the Lake

Congratulations, Gatewood School. Winning a state championship is rare. But the Eatonton private school won two such championships this past weekend in Macon -- both its boys and girls basketball squads finished No. 1 in Georgia, within their classification.

And get this: it isn't even the first year this has happened at Gatewood. Both the girls and boys basketball teams also captured state crowns in 2001, longtime Gatewood School Athletic Director Buster Douglas (who also coaches the boys basketball team) said Monday. In looking back through the history of the school's basketball program, it's the second such title on the boys side and an incredible ninth on the girls side.

"It's fantastic," Douglas said of the teams' experience this year. "It's been great for the kids."

Sat
05
Mar

Putnam Pete on target spotlighting Putnam's 'dang' litterbugs

Rockville “Trash-Trackers” volunteers show off the bags and bags and bags of litter dumped on their community’s roads that they routinely collect. The group includes, front, from left, Dave Ludewig, Libby Chapman, Merie McMichael’ Randy McMichael; and back, same order, Liz Ludewig, Bill Wallick and Ron Gilpin. (Contributed photo.)

Editor:

Hey, there Putnam Pete!

Thanks for your Feb. 18 blurb bringing attention to the deplorable litter problem in Putnam County! Your "Dang litter bugs!" comment is a bit mild, but it's a start!

As a member of one of those local community "adopt a road" programs you mention, I agree that those programs are definitely needed and worthwhile -- however,  they are not really the "solution" to the problem.  The answer is in educating the inconsiderate, careless people who continue to think Putnam County roads are their wastebaskets!

Rockville's "Trash-Trackers"  is a group of neighborhood volunteers who pick up every eight weeks from a (lightly traveled!) three mile stretch in our community. Yet each and every time we do a road cleanup, we fill an average of 35-40 litter bags!

Sat
05
Mar

Putnam has long road ahead in learning how to be bike friendly

Editor:

I read (Don Richeson’s recent editor’s column) about the number of uncontrolled dogs on his bike route.

I wanted to offer a more disturbing barrier to biking in our community: out of control people. I was a short distance from my home riding my bike on a beautiful February weekend when passengers in white Ford pickup threw their half full beverage drink at me.

While I was surprised by this purposeful near-miss, I was dumbfounded when a few miles later, the passenger of a red Camaro just missed hitting me with their half-eaten sandwich.

You could blame me for wearing an orange jersey, which could have inspired a rabid “Dawgs” fan to take such action, but I wear the orange for visibility on the road rather than collegiate loyalty.

Thu
03
Mar

Support literacy event, downtown art

Artisans Village President Kevin Tomson-Hooper shows off art by Georgia College students in the 100 block of Eatonton's West Marion Street. The free display continues through June -- check it out! (Photo by Don Richeson.)

Two special programs being offered by separate nonprofit organizations are making strides improving life in Putnam County. They can use your support.

The first program is the Putnam County Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy and its two big March 5 fundraisers. Your backing of its fundraisers -- a 9:30 a.m. one-mile fun run at Putnam County Primary School and a festival that follows the run -- will offer a much-needed financial boost to the nonprofit organization. Plus, the run and festival's games will provide a lot of family enjoyment.

Sat
20
Feb

Commissioner Reid wrong to interfere in city’s business

A packed audience applauds during the Feb. 15 inaugural Eatonton City Council meeting in the Putnam County commissioners meeting room. The scene is in sharp contrast to the council meetings in the cramped meeting room at Eatonton City Hall, where there were few if any seats for the public -- which often had to struggle to hear from a lobby area outside of the room. (Photo by Lynn Hobbs.)

Editor:

This is an open letter to the mayor of Eatonton, Walter Rocker Jr. , and the members of Eatonton City Council.  At our last commission meeting , and as reported by your newspaper, our county manager asked the commissioners if there were any objection to the City of Eatonton using the county administrative building to hold their council meeting.  The only objection offered was by Commissioner Janie Reid. 

Commissioner Reid, inappropriately I believe, used her official position as a commissioner during the conduct of an official board of commissioner meeting in an attempt to interfere with the business of city council. Specifically, she called moving the city meetings to the county building as “deplorable” and outlined actions that city council needed to consider or take, even though city council voted on Feb. 2 for the meeting change.

Wed
17
Feb

Vote for Freeport expansion March 1

In addition to being asked to help pick their party's presidential candidate in the March 1 primary election, Putnam County voters are also being asked whether or not the county should enact a Level 2 Freeport Expansion. Because we believe enacting such a measure will bring needed jobs to Putnam, we encourage voters to mark yes on this referendum.

Like the majority of other counties in Georgia, Putnam is already a Level 1 Freeport location. This means it offers tax exemptions to manufacturers and warehouses on inventories of goods used in manufacturing and finished goods destined for shipment outside of Georgia. However, an existing loophole prevents this tax exemption from being extended to retail merchants on their inventories of finished goods held for retail sales within Georgia.

Giving Putnam Level 2 Freeport status would close this loophole.

Thu
11
Feb

Tell commissioners to halt Fish Tale expansion

Editor:

I recently became aware of a rezoning request for the two lake front residential lots adjacent to Fish Tale Marina just off Highway 44 at the bridge over the lake at Lick Creek. The corporation that owns the gas station and Marina has applied for the rezoning so it can build another boat storage building next to its existing one.

As a resident of Putnam County and the Carriage Cove community on Lick Creek cove for almost 10 years, I am familiar with the road and lake traffic in that area, and I am concerned that the additional storage building will translate into more traffic on Highway 44, as well as heavy boat traffic under the bridge and the area around the marina. I believe this additional traffic poses safety and pollution issues that should be avoided if possible.

Thu
11
Feb

Sprawl a threat to lake residential area

Editor:

Protect Putnam County residential areas!

I have lived and worked in Putnam County for more than 10 years and love its natural beauty and rural feel. I would like to see our community protected from unnecessary commercial sprawl. It can be stopped now!

A gas station located at the top of our quiet and peaceful cove was suddenly torn down in 2011 and that local small “business” was enlarged. Most citizens in the area were not aware of what was happening at that time and now wish they had been better informed.

This one-time small gas station now houses a large, 10-pump gas station, convenience store, fast food restaurant (Subway), Oconee Outdoors Store, a jet ski and boat rental business, Freedom Boat Club, and in addition, added a storage facility known as Fish Tale Marina that houses 200 boats. This boat storage property fronting the lake was once residential. How and when that rezoning changed is a mystery.

Thu
11
Feb

Putnam commissioners must stop rezoning

Editor:

The Putnam Board of Commissioners should deny the request by Fish Tale Marina to rezone the adjacent properties to commercial use. Rezoning residential property to commercial use is inconsistent with the land use on the lake, no properties that do not directly front a major artery are commercially zoned.

Yet, Fish Tale proposes to rezone the properties adjacent to its dry stack marina, claiming that the property is no longer suitable for residential use. The reason they cite is due to the large non-conforming structure that they themselves erected a few years ago.

Putnam County erred in allowing the current dry stack building as it exceeds the county’s current lot coverage and height restrictions. Fish Tale argues that since their building is so tall and unsightly the adjacent land that it recently purchased should be rezoned for commercial use.

Sat
06
Feb

State Rep. Rhodes meets with Putnam school officials in Atlanta

State Rep. Trey Rhodes, R-Greensboro, far left, greets a delegation of Putnam County school officials as they visit him under the gold dome at the state capitol in Atlanta last month. The delegation includes, front, continuing from left, Steve Weiner, Tom Lawrence, Burt Jones; second row, from left, Eric Arena, Kathy Smith, Barry Lollis; third row, from left, Susan Usry, Laura Melton, Beth Bacon, Derick Austin; and back row, from left, Cindy Weiner, Kelly Roberts, Scott Sauls and Keith Ellenberg. During its Atlanta visit, the Putnam delegation additionally met with State Sen. Burt Jones, R-Jackson, and State Rep. Rusty Kidd, I-Milledgeville. Its members also received a Georgia Senate award honoring the Putnam school system for its innovation.

State Rep. Trey Rhodes, R-Greensboro, represents District 120, which includes most of northern and western Putnam County, in the Georgia state legislature.

By Trey Rhodes / Guest Columnist

ATLANTA -- Following the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the House and Senate appropriations committees and subcommittees gathered for a series of joint budget hearings to review Gov. Nathan Deal's budget recommendations and start the process of crafting the Amended Fiscal Year 2016 and Fiscal Year 2017 budgets.

As mentioned in his annual State of the State address, Gov. Deal's priorities for the upcoming year include a continued focus on improving outcomes for students, reforming the state's criminal justice system, and investing in the repair and maintenance of important roads and bridges throughout Georgia.

I look forward to reviewing the governor's recommendations and vetting the budget once it arrives on the House Floor to ensure that it reflects our priorities in District 120.

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