Georgia editorial roundup
Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
The Brunswick News on heeding evacuation warnings as Hurricane Dorian approaches:
Watching Hurricane Dorian slowly churn in the Atlantic has been a frustrating process. The storm has taken its sweet time, stalling out to the point where it was moving at 1 mph at one point Sept. 2.
The big problem is that pace makes it hard to predict what Dorian is going to do. Forecasters have done a great job in projecting where they think Dorian will go, but not even the best forecast is exact when it comes to a storm this big. That can lead to fatigue from those who may be in the path of the storm, and storm fatigue can lead to complacency when it comes to evacuating.
That’s why it is important for all Glynn County residents to take evacuation orders seriously. As of Sept. 2, an evacuation order has been issued for Glynn, Camden and McIntosh counties for residents east of Interstate 95.
We encourage all residents who are able to heed the evacuation order to do so. The unpredictability that Dorian has shown could mean the Isles is in for a rough couple of days. Even if Dorian’s eye wall stays offshore, there is still a good chance the Isles will face significant danger.
The storm has been compared to Hurricane Matthew, which didn’t make landfall in the Isles but managed to do significant damage as the storm’s eye passed offshore in 2016. Matthew was also the first significant Hurricane to affect the Isles since Dora in 1964.
Now that we are looking at our third hurricane in four years, citizens should have an institutional memory of just how bad things can get.
If you want to leave but aren’t sure where to go, please contact the Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767 to find a shelter location. It’s important to note what you can and cannot bring to shelters.
We are praying that Dorian tracks further east and spares the Southeast coastline too much damage. But with all that is uncertain, it is time to take shelter elsewhere until the storm passes. We will be updating the situation at www.thebrunswicknews.com and on our social media platforms on Twitter and Facebook. Stay safe out there.
Savannah Morning News on the sudden retirement of Sen. Johnny Isakson:
Sen. Johnny Isakson’s surprise retirement announcement has more layers than a Labor Day weekend party bean dip.
Who will Gov. Brian Kemp appoint to fill Isakson’s seat until a successor is chosen in the November 2020 special election?
Who and how many will be in that 2020 Senate race?
Does Isakson’s retirement put the Republicans hold on that post — and possibly majority control of the Senate — in jeopardy?
Does it make Sen. David Perdue, whose first term is up next year, more vulnerable?
All are valid discussion points, and the debate has been raging since Isakson made public his plans last Aug. 21. But we must look back before we look ahead — and hopefully take away a few lessons in the process.
Georgia is losing a superb leader, a man who has served the state with courage, wisdom and an extraordinary sense of decency. He is among the architects of the rise of the Republican party in this state but is that rare politician who has always sought to represent all his constituents, regardless of their political affiliation or who they voted for in the last election.
Isakson is unafraid to speak truth to power, as President Donald Trump learned earlier this year. He’s unwavering in his pursuit of what is right and has earned the unilateral respect to produce results.
At a time in American politics when it’s unfashionable to seek common ground with peers from across the aisle, he’s done so in the name of legislative compromise. Our military veterans in particular have benefited from his efforts. And he’s lobbied, albeit unsuccessfully, for an immigration system overhaul and for ways to end or avoid government shutdowns.
Isakson is a quiet influence within his own party and has stood for pragmatic solutions on divisive issues. He’s been a source of hope for centrist voters discouraged by the political polarization of the last decade.
Within Georgia’s Capitol Hill delegation, he’s been a bridge across a deepening partisan chasm and in doing so has protected the state’s interests. Sen. Perdue and several GOP House members, particularly Doug Collins, have embraced Trump’s policies and shown reluctance to criticize the president’s behavior.
On the other side of the political divide, Reps. Lucy McBath and John Lewis are among the nation’s more partisan Democrats.
Isakson’s steady head balances those two extremes.
DELIVERING FOR SAVANNAH
Isakson’s legislative gravitas has long been a boon for Savannah.
He was the linchpin a deal with the Trump administration that secured record funding for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. The deepening should be completed by 2021 because of it.
Isakson has also been a key player on defense issues and helped shield Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, not to mention other installations around the state, from deep cuts and even closures.
As the chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, he’s shepherded more than two dozen pieces of legislation into law. Those reforms have benefited thousands of former military personnel living locally.
Isakson likewise leveraged his influence to ensure a professional administrator became Secretary of Veteran Affairs rather than see the post be filled by a lesser qualified individual who was owed a political favor.
AN INEVITABLE END TO A GREAT CAREER
Isakson’s pending retirement is a bitter reminder of human mortality.
He is leaving the Senate over concerns for his health, not out of frustration with the political climate or a sense that he’s accomplished all he’d wanted for Georgia’s citizens. Leaving “goes against every fiber of my being,” he said.
Yet Isakson’s retirement announcement was shocking only in its abruptness. He is 74 years old and is increasingly plagued by the effects of Parkinson’s Disease.
He fell at his Washington, D.C. residence earlier this year, breaking four ribs and tearing a rotator cuff. We learned ... that he’d recently had a malignant growth removed from a kidney.
We knew Isakson’s end as a public servant was coming. His term was set to expire in 2022, and while he’d expressed interest in running for re-election, few expected him to do so. But then Washington needs statesmen like Isakson, so we all rooted for him — rooted for us.
Now, we can only hope Isakson’s successor embodies some of the senator’s qualities.
The (Dalton) Daily Citizen-News on an educational program for academically “at-risk” students coming to the community:
We hear often about how government is the problem, and it certainly can be.
But in Aug. 30′s newspaper we reported on a partnership between Dalton Public Schools and City of Refuge, greatly assisted by funds from the state Department of Education, that should bring about long-term benefits for the youth of our community and, by extension, the community as a whole.
The story outlines how the school system and City of Refuge, which provides multiple services to low-income families, have joined together for an after-school program that will focus “on the whole child,” as Whitney Cawood, director of marketing for City of Refuge, said. City of Refuge and the school system have partnered for the past four years on summer educational programming.
Academically “at-risk” elementary school students in the Dalton Public Schools system will benefit from a four-day-a-week after-school program that ... will include not only educational instruction but also what are called “enrichment activities,” such as in the fine arts, student clubs, social and emotional learning, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
Many other local organizations will assist with the programming, including the Creative Arts Guild, Dalton State College, the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership, Rock Bridge Community Church and Dalton First United Methodist Church, so it can be seen that this is an effort that combines the best of both government — the school system and its dedicated educators, and a five-year, $1.6 million grant from the state — and non-government entities, such as the churches and City of Refuge.
The end goal?
In addition to helping with the education of our precious youth and their parents, who can also benefit from classes, there is a larger picture.
“This is an exciting partnership for Dalton Public Schools,” said Caroline Woodason, director of school support. But, she noted, “This is an opportunity not just for Dalton Public Schools and City of Refuge but the entire community.”
As these current and future students benefit from the after-school program and find success in their educational endeavors — Cawood said research has shown a strong connection between children who take part in extracurricular activities and those who go on to college — they will most likely become engaged and vital members of the community, strengthening the community thanks to this valuable collaboration between public and private actors.
We commend all of those who are responsible for putting this program in place, and celebrate all of the hardworking educators and others who will assist with the programming.
The community thanks you.