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Georgia editorial roundup

By The Associated PressSeptember 18, 2019

Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

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Sept. 17

Valdosta Daily Times on the celebration of U.S. Constitution week:

This is U.S. Constitution Week.

As historian Paul Johnson notes in his book, “A History of the American People,” ″The (Constitutional) Convention met in Philadelphia again and sat for four months, breaking up on Sept. 17, 1787, its work triumphantly done.”

Developing the Constitution among the original states was far more difficult than Johnson’s lone sentence makes it sound.

Essentially, after winning the American Revolution, Founding Fathers set upon a course to overturn the revolutionary era’s Articles of Confederation and establish the principles of a new government — even more difficult, a new type of government.

Among the ranks of the Constitutional Convention were men such as George Washington, who presided over the proceedings, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison, who is often called the “father of the Constitution” for his role in developing the document, and Alexander Hamilton, who along with Madison formulated the arguments for the Constitution in the series of letters commonly called today The Federalist Papers.

They were among 55 delegates who signed the Constitution in 1787.

The Constitution established the nation’s Bill of Rights (though later in 1791), and the balance of power throughout three branches of federal government: executive (President), legislative (Congress) and judicial (Supreme Court).

Though in commemorations it often falls under the shadow of the Declaration of Independence’s popular appeal, the Constitution is often referred to as a “living document” because Americans still live by its principles and it has the ability to adapt.

When times and attitudes change, amendments have been added to the Constitution to reflect new national and societal issues, but the core values and established rights stated in the document remain intact.

The Declaration stated that men are equal and should be allowed to live freely. The Constitution is a guide for how to govern while retaining the concepts of equality and freedom.

National Constitution Week is commemorated throughout the week.

Online: https://www.valdostadailytimes.com

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Sept. 14

The Brunswick News on the Environmental Protection Agency choosing not to move forward with a full creek cleanup plan:

It can be disheartening when you feel like no one is listening to you. There are plenty of people in Brunswick who probably feel the EPA didn’t listen to them when it comes to the Terry Creek cleanup plan.

There were 67 private citizens who commented on the plan by supporting a full cleanup of Terry Creek instead of the EPA and Hercules’ proposal. The city and county commissions, and other groups in the community also felt the same way.

In fact, the only people that really didn’t support a full cleanup turned out were the EPA and Hercules, which is why the EPA is trying to move forward with that consent decree. The court has yet to approve the decree.

With that as a backdrop, you may just ask yourself what’s the point on commenting on such things if the EPA isn’t going to listen.

The Terry Creek result, combined with the restrictions the EPA has put on making a Freedom of Information Act request, makes it easy to infer the agency doesn’t really care what the public thinks.

The simple answer is it’s the right thing to do. When we don’t take advantage of our opportunity to participate in such decisions, we will eventually lose that opportunity. Whether or not the EPA listens to it, it is important for those who believe in their position to have it on the record.

The EPA is currently taking public comments on the LCP Chemicals Superfund site. While the proposal for the LCP site hasn’t been as controversial as Terry Creek, it is important that people who live here in Glynn County express how they feel about the plan.

We encourage all who are interested in the future of the LCP site to educate themselves on what the plan is and send their opinion to the EPA by emailing Pam Scully, remedial project manager with the EPA, at scully.pam@epa.gov or mail her at Pam Scully, US EPA-Region 4, 11th Floor, 61 Forsyth St. SW, Atlanta, Ga. 30303, by Dec. 2.

Don’t let past decisions keep you from making your voice heard.

Online: https://thebrunswicknews.com

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Sept. 11

Savannah Morning News on a state program to help address a shortage of rural doctors:

Discussions about our state’s health care crisis tend to center on uninsured and underinsured Georgians and financial difficulties faced by rural hospitals.

Less acknowledged but just as dire is Georgia’s primary physician shortage.

Eight rural counties have no doctors. Several more have zero family medicine practitioners. More than a third lack a single pediatrician.

To address this health care crisis, Georgia’s taxpayer-supported medical school, the Medical College of Georgia, is developing a tuition forgiveness program dubbed the “3+3+6” initiative. The math works like this: students complete four years of medical school on an accelerated, three-year track; serve three-year residencies focused on primary care; and spend at least their first six years practicing in rural Georgia.

The Medical College of Georgia, based in Augusta, operates a Savannah campus at St. Joseph’s/Candler.

The program is similar to the Nathan Deal scholarship offered by the Mercer School of Medicine, which operates a Savannah campus on Memorial Health. Deal scholars must work for four years in underserved Georgia counties upon completion of their residency to erase their tuition obligations.

The initiatives are meant to keep more med school grads in the state and provide incentives for them to pursue primary care areas rather than more lucrative medical specialties. Estimates are that 75% of Georgia medical school grads leave the state to practice elsewhere, and most enter the field with $150,000 to $200,000 in debt.

The Medical College of Georgia’s program is meant to get physicians into the workforce quicker and both the Medical College of Georgia and Mercer initiatives allow new doctors to be free of student loan pressures.

The Georgia General Assembly and Gov. Brian Kemp supported the Medical College of Georgia program in this year’s budget, allocating $500,000. The state also added dollars for more residency spots, and increased the school’s funding formula by 10% over the next three years, which should equate to a $20 million boost for the Medical College of Georgia’s educational programs.

This commitment has allowed the school to move forward in overhauling its curriculum and transitioning to a three-year model. Beginning in 2021, all students, not just the 3+3+6ers, will complete med school in three years. By then, the school’s leaders will hope to have secured an additional $5 million a year in funding to cover the tuition waivers.

The 3+3+6 initiative is the linchpin of state’s efforts to address the physician shortage but is far from a panacea, said Brooks Keel, president of the Medical College of Georgia and Augusta University. He suggests what is best described as wraparound services for doctors coming off the program: grant programs to assist these young people, trained to heal the human body, with the business side of establishing and operating medical practices; community investment in terms of free or reduced housing or a courtesy car.

“We are about to the point where I don’t see how we can afford not to do something like this if we want to make a difference,” Keel said.

Georgians won’t see results from these efforts for almost a decade. However, the prognosis for the future of Georgia health care is already improving.

Online: https://www.savannahnow.com

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