On Saturday, the Town of Lee was host to a huge crowd and seemed to thoroughly enjoy a festival not seen since its centennial in 2009.
The idea for the festival was presented to the Lee Volunteer Fire Department by its chief, Jim von Roden and the department enthusiastically followed through.
Though Jim was not physically present, his spirit could be felt by all who knew him, so dedicated to his family, his town, his work and to his men in the LVFD. His sturdy body was struck down by a massive heart attack as he neared Big Red, the truck he drove in answering the fireman’s calls. One had just been received. Such a tragedy that no one who heard could believe it. Jim was only 49.
But Saturday, he would have been proud of his men and women as they followed through beautifully on his plan. They were everywhere, doing everything possible to make sure the event was a success and it certainly was.
Thank you, Jim – we loved you and we still do.
Archive for Letters To The Editor
I think it is all too easy these days to complain when someone does something wrong and I myself am guilty of this as well. But recently I had something happen to me that not only touched my heart but again made me proud to live in a small town. My brother was killed almost a year ago (April 16, 2010). During the past year we have been going through his things with much hesitation as we all struggle with what is proper or what would he have wanted us to do with it? During one of our attempts to determine where his items could be best used my son found some dress slacks that if hemmed up would make good slacks for him to wear to work. So we took them into the local family owned cleaners here in town to have them hemmed up. Well, I took them in back in January before my brother’s murder trial began and as you can imagine I completely forgot about them until one day recently my son inquired about them. The next day I phoned the cleaners embarrassed that I had forgotten them there for so long. They said they were there and ready for pick up. During my kids spring break my family and I went by to pick them up and when the girl from behind the counter brought them forward I was curious when I saw a $5 bill attached to them. She slid the money across the counter and with an eye brow raised I questioned what is this for? The owner replied we found it in one of the pants pockets and we thought it might be your brothers and you would want to keep it. As my eyes teared up, I couldn’t believe she remembered that they were my brother’s pants. I was very touched that they would do such a thing and that the money would still be attached after sitting there for over 2 months. She was right it did mean a lot to me. Recently my mother thought she lost a very special family ring and I was able to use this $5 to barter with my mother that if she emptied out her purse to look for it that I would give her the $5 of David’s that the cleaners saved for me. She cleaned out her purse and there hidden within the torn liner was the family ring. Needless to say we are still healing from our loss & yes my mother now has a new purse. This is just one of the many reasons why I am proud to live in a small town. Thank you Debbie for thinking with your heart! Another thing I love hearing “You have a blessed day” when I call their place of business. We love you David and you are in our thoughts daily.
There is really no way to tell this story without a little history first. We, as human beings, have always struggled to understand and cope with people with disabilities. We’ve seen them as signs of God’s displeasure, as demonic or possessed, as causes of shame. We’ve banished them to unseen places and abhorrent conditions. We’ve been told we’d be better off to forget them, that they’d be better off with “their own kind”.
We even invented special places for them. We gave these places names that made them sound like happy places, names like “Sunland”. Sometimes we called them “farms” But happy names could not disguise what they really were. They were institutions, and if that name doesn’t conjure up large, impersonal, often cruel places, where people lived in large congregations of the tragically needy, the violent along side the vulnerable, then you’ve never been to one. They were places whose main goal was to isolate people, to serve the need for “out of sight, out of mind”.
Institutions exist today. There are several here in Florida.. They are far different now. They’re staffed, for the most part, by caring and dedicated people. They have made attempts to eliminate abuse, to provide more humane living conditions, to treat people like people. They are far less crowded, now. But there are vestiges of those old institutions that remain. One is that they still separate people from the communities in which they truly belong. And another is that they are enormously expensive.
It was a combination of the cruel conditions institutions fostered and their enormous expense to tax payers that led to the demise of most and the reform of others. And the evolution of thought that accompanied their demise produced a couple of landmarks particularly notable to Floridians.
The first was a series of legislative initiatives begun in the early to mid 1970’s. Among them was the “Bill of Rights of Retarded Persons” in 1975. Its very existence underscoring the Constitution’s failure to assure the “inalienable rights” it purported to define, this Bill of Rights included the rights to humane discipline, the right to personal possessions, freedom from restraint, the right to medical care and treatment, the right to an education, and the right to physically exercise, among others. In hindsight, it is a disturbingly telling document, but at the time it was new and progressive.
Another initiative of the time was the “deinstitutionalization movement” which sought to place people with disabilities in their own communities. It was demonstrated then as it can be demonstrated now, that the same services provided in an institutional setting can be provided more humanely and far less expensively in a community setting. This movement was an unmitigated success but it was first met by many with trepidation. Among the fears, especially among family members who had grown accustomed to institutions, was that communities did not have the capacity to provide the same services that institutions provided such as training centers, appropriate residential settings, and specialized medical and behavioral supports.
So we, through our elected officials, made a promise to our fellow citizens with disabilities. We promised them that if they would give up their institutional placement and move back to the communities to which they belonged, that we would see that they had the services and supports they needed.
In 1981, President Ronald Reagan initiated the first Medicaid Waiver. This too was an important landmark. President Reagan had become aware of the case of a little girl from Iowa named Katie Beckett. She spent the first 3 years of her tragically impacted life hooked up to breathing machines and other life sustaining equipment in an exhaustively expensive institutional setting. The same supports could have been provided to her in her family home with the necessary medical supports for a fraction of the cost incurred at the institution. Her family wanted her home but they could not care for her there because they could not meet the income requirements for Medicaid, which had the primary purpose of serving the poor. President Reagan initiated a program to “waive” the income requirement for people with disabilities. It soon became known as the “Katie Beckett Waiver”.
Today, thanks to President Reagan, all fifty states have Medicaid Waivers. These waivers are different in different states, but in Florida, as in many other states, they provide the basis for those community based services that have largely replaced the institutions. In terms of quality of care they are by all accounts an enormous success. And they still cost significantly less than the institutional alternative. President Reagan, as well as the first President Bush, both championed bright futures for people with developmental disabilities.
Until today, it was a promise kept.
The economic crisis affecting our state and nation is undeniable. Services for people with disabilities have suffered along with every one else. In the state of Florida, despite the rising cost of living and out of control medical costs, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities’ budget is actually smaller than it was in 2005. Show me another government agency that can say the same. And keep in mind, with every dollar of reduction in state funding, our state forfeits a dollar of matching revenue from the Federal government, a dollar of your taxes and mine that goes somewhere else. And while funding for community based services under the waiver has decreased, the list of people with disabilities waiting for those promised services has ballooned to over 19,000 people.
Florida now ranks 49th among the 50 states in funding levels for people with disabilities when measured against per capita income. For every $1000 of personal income enjoyed by Floridians, a scant $2.14 is devoted to services for the developmentally disabled. Compare that with New York’s $9.53 or Louisiana’s $7.43. In fact, of all the states in the financially strapped Southeast, Florida is dead last. All 48 states that rank above us have economic crises as well, but this is not just a matter of economics, it’s a matter of values, abandoned in our rush to give tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy.
And now, our current Governor, by Executive Order, has imposed an immediate 15% cut to all rates paid to service providers and threatened to extend the cuts into the coming fiscal year. For a service system already on life support, these cuts may prove to be fatal, leading many to stop providing essential services all together. And it’s being done with no serious reflection on the lives of Floridians, the most vulnerable Floridians, for whom it will be so destructive. There are others in the Legislature who are opposing these devastating reductions, but in the din for lower taxes and smaller government, their compassion and advocacy is struggling to be heard. You have to wonder how many of those who voted for this Governor and the Legislators who support this move thought they, like Reagan, would protect the truly vulnerable as they whittled away at government waste. How many of those who voted for them believed they would turn their backs on the Katie Becketts of our state? How many believed that this new conservatism would be so devoid of compassion?
President Reagan made a promise to all our fellow citizens with developmentally disablies. And he backed it with action. How ironic that he is lionized as among our greatest Presidents by the same people who now seek to undo his work.
And that is a promise broken.
To The Citizens Of Madison County:
It is with a lot of pride and appreciation that Richard and I absolutely recommend the Madison County Memorial Hospital to all of the citizens of Madison County, and anyone that needs the service of our hospital. We are extremely proud that it is here, and we are anxiously awaiting the opening of the new facility.
MCMH may not be able to do major surgeries, or glamorous procedures, but I can assure you that they can stabilize a serious heart patient and keep them alive while they are waiting to be transported to a neighboring trauma hospital.
Madison County Memorial Hospital has saved Richard’s life on more than one occasion, and we are truly thankful that they are here and fully operational. He has heart problems and diabetes and they have stabilized him on two separate occasions in 2008 and again in 2010, and kept him stable until he could be transported to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital for further treatment.
We all know that Madison County is hurting for more physicians, but you cannot go anywhere and get kinder, more caring service than you get from the nurses and aides at Madison County Memorial Hospital. How are we ever going to have industry come into Madison County if we can’t offer them a hospital for their employees. It is essential to the existence of the county.
Once again, there are not enough words to express our appreciation to Madison County Memorial Hospital for all they do for Madison County.
I would like to address the issue of motor vehicles on the bike trail in Pinetta. This trail was put there for the use of cycling, hiking and horseback riding. I personally am on this track 4 to 5 times a week and have met with all sorts of motor operated vehicles so as fair warning I am letter the drives know I will start getting pictures of vehicles and tags to turn over to the proper authorities.
Second issue is trail etiquette.
Bikers yield to hikers and horses.
Hikers yield to horses.
The concept is bikers are fast and can stop and go easily so they let everything else have the right of way. Horses are big and unpredictable so they get the right of way.
This info can be found @ www.hikingdude.com/hiking-etique.
Here’s to all – happy cycling, hiking and riding.
For all they do
In this drought season when we rely on our firefighters to protect life and property, I would like to take a moment to thank the Madison Professional Firefighters.
The firefighters who serve the Northwest Florida provide a valuable service to its residents, not only through fighting fires but also emergency medical care, assistance in hazardous weather, carbon monoxide response and, yes, the occasional citizen locked out of their car. I’m humbled by the stories of countless Firefighters that risks their own lives for the citizens of Madison.
I am most thankful for the donation of their time and effort to help raise money to provide help and hope to the individuals in Northwest Florida affected by muscle disease. The funds raised through their Fill the Boot campaign provide services such as specialized clinics, repairs and loans of medical equipment and MDA Summer Camp, as well as funding worldwide research to find treatments and cures for the 43 neuromuscular diseases that fall under MDA’s umbrella.
I urge everyone to thank the firefighters for all they do for the residents of Northwest Florida.
For more information about the “Fill the Boot” campaign or MDA, please contact Crystal Lee at the Tallahassee District office at (850) 681-6763, or visit the Web site at www.mdausa.org.
1574-B Village Square Blvd
Tallahassee, FL 32309
I would like to take this opportunity to commend Greene Publishing’s Reporter, Lynette Norris, for a job well done! For the past couple of months, early in the morning, Lynette scheduled interviews with employees of the Madison County Road Department. The purpose of these sessions was to “spotlight” our work crews in an effort to discover how this Department operates, and to better inform the public of how we maintain, repair and construct Madison County’s roads for the improved safety of our driving public. Different crews were featured each week, as Lynette conducted her interviews in a candid, relaxed manner, reporting her findings with honesty and integrity. Those interviewed were allowed to share information without being rushed or pressured for a response, and each employee was addressed with the greatest of respect.
Lynette Norris is a very genuine person and the Madison County Road Department feels privileged to have been the subject of Lynette’s “Road Warriors” series. When folks are provided with correct information about a subject, improved understanding evolves.
THANK YOU so much, Lynette Norris and Greene Publishing, Inc. for presenting your “Road Warriors” articles in such a positive manner.
Robert E. Henderson (“Red”)
Madison County Road Department
Just in case that anyone missed reading Joe Boyles’ column in the Carrier on Wednesday, Feb. 23, I hope they will get a copy and read it.
He called everyone’s attention to the lack of attention being given to the Four Freedoms monument and its present deterioration.
Besides describing the history, both of the monument and that of Colin Kelly, World War Two’s renowned courageous first hero, Joe asks, “What can be done to preserve this important and priceless treasure, the very symbol of our community?”
Then answers his own question by giving a step-by-step plan to “protect and preserve this iconic symbol of freedom and sacrifice,” and added, “Are we willing to make a modest sacrifice of time, resources and energy to honor our legacy?”
Are we, Madison County, leaders? Joe has shown us the problem – he has even given us the answer. Has anyone called and thanked him – has anyone said, “Thank you, Joe, lead on – we’re behind you!”
I don’t believe Joe wants to lead but I’ll bet he would be willing to be one of the crew if needed. I’ve found Joe to be one of the erudite men I know. Greene Publishing is fortunate to have him as a columnist when he could be one of those making big money writing for the New York Times or Jacksonville Times-Union.
Please stay with us, Joe – I save all of your columns!
1. How did the hospital spend the $1,000,000 of sales tax revenue which was voted on by the taxpayers to be used only for the constructing of a new hospital and equipment?
2. Why were some County Commissioners told, before the meeting in which the hospital made their request, that they were there for a loan of $250,000 and yet they really were there for a sum of $1,000,000 which didn’t have to be repaid?
3. When is the constant polling of County Commissioners going to stop and who is gong to tell the one doing the polling that it is illegal?
4. Did the hospital borrow monies from a local bank using the Middle School property as collateral?
To The Voters of Madison County:
Have we been fooled into voting to raise sales tax to build a new hospital and now the money is being spent elsewhere?
The following is the exact verbiage that “us,” the voters were given to vote on:
NEW HOSPITAL CONSTRUCTION SURTAX REFERENDUM
(As authorized by Section 212.055(7), Florida Statutes)
Shall a one-half cent sales surtax be imposed in Madison County for the purpose of constructing, improving and paying the indebtedness to be incurred to finance the construction of and capital improvements for a new public or not-for-profit hospital facility in Madison County? The surtax shall not be used to pay the salary of hospital staff or the other day-to-day expenses of the hospital facility.
FOR THE HALF-CENT TAX ___
AGAINST THE HALF-CENT TAX ___
The $1,000,000 the hospital got out of this money pit…What was it spent on?
This wording clearly states what it is to be used for and what it is NOT to be used for!!
I am very familiar with “good ol’ boy, closed-door” politics.
If the $22,000,000.00 hospital is built, several million dollars will go to the architect and the engineer, the electrical contractors, the plumbing contractors, etc., etc., etc,. etc. for their services and this alone is enough motivation for some people to build a facility that I am afraid debt retirement will be inconceivable without an additional burden on the taxpayer.
We now have an add-on tax for the fire departments and for the Solid Waste Department.
If this overrated hospital is pushed through, the hospital tax will become an add-on.
We need a first class emergency facility, not a huge blunder, as Perry now has.
I hope to see you at the Friday county commission meeting at 5:00 p.m.
I, Monroe Lee, have worked for over 52 years, from age five at Fraleigh Shade Tobacco Farm to surveying the largest volcano in the world then serving the nation with designs at Walt Disney World, Tampa Stadium, St. Pete Library and many schools and university buildings. Since my retirement, I have given to college students nationally and encourage them with motivational speaking as I travel the nation. By act of fate, a bank in my hometown orchestrated The Treasures of Madison County (photos) in the rural county, going back over 100 years pictured on the a 12-month calendar. As I looked through the photos with months, there was this picture of the Old Madison Range Street Hotel built over 100 years ago which had a swinging partition wall for making more room for large dances, the wall could be pushed back. After being destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt to its present state with the exception of a project that I executed for Mrs. Virginia Rowell of Key West. I renovated it to house apartments and business shops (offices). The year was 1979, 32 years ago. I was pictured in the Madison County Carrier 12-10 and 01-11Reflections. Well, that is a few things I have done, not to mention invention of the shock absorb tripoid instrument, mail truck electric seat, NOAA modified rod flag invention and many other inventions. Since 1968, at my conversion, I volunteered to follow Jesus’ example wholeheartedly. It truly paid off to the max. However, as I reflect on my earthly accomplishments, I received help from a cross-section of society, meaning I didn’t see it as an all-black thing. America was built by many. As a matter of fact, it was people like Mama King of Madison High School/NFJC in the 1970s; Lewis Tucker, Dean of North Florida Junior College Technical Center; James Brown; Mr. Charles Swain; and Mr. Harper of drafting. Looking back to WW II, when my dad was being prepared to go overseas to war, he said a white man said to the draft board, “Don’t take him” because he was up in age and if my dad was sent, he couldn’t make it without my dad. So, if it was not for that man, my dad would have possibly been a casualty of war and I would not exist as me. Therefore, black history is still American history. I today thank God for being God and putting people in the right place to assist me in my endeavors. Even Mr. Harvey Greene and his offspring who demonstrated business opportunities to me from the purchase of the log chain that I sold him in approximately 1962 at rent pickup. Mr. Harvey was sitting on the passenger side and his wife was his driver. Boy, that big money motivated me to be a hardworking business man who does what is right and acceptable to God, making a living with my hands and mind. Even when I am being hated by my neighbors and fellow man, I leave it in God’s hands and live until I die.
This is my first letter, ever, to the Editor of a newspaper. However I felt it necessary to address the expression that Mr. Pouliotte used to let the readers know his level of poverty as a boy. There are many analogies he could have used that would not have been crude or offensive. And, by the way, Jesus was not Mary’s “only begotten son”. She was chosen by God to be the vessel for God’s “only begotten Son”.
This past Friday, my husband and I attended the funeral service for someone we both love; not only as a friend, but more like a brother, Keith W. Newman.
We enjoyed listening to his brother Claude speak of his life as a man who “Walked the Walk” and was a true soldier. We really enjoyed the musicians performing with a touch of bluegrass twang, and the sermon as well. However, had we been two strangers looking in, we would have thought his life ended 12 years ago when in fact it was very much alive.
Compelled to share some of his life that wasn’t mentioned at his service, I write this knowing he looks down on me and smiles peacefully.
Keith and Franny have been in our lives for more than a decade and they have been considered family in our home. They were to be married March 12th on our riverfront property. As her Matron of Honor, I had already taken her and her bridesmaids dress shopping. My husband had created the future altar and isle all the way to the water so they could exchange vows on the river they both loved. My mother had already custom made her wedding garter to match all our dresses.
All these things were done because Keith Newman asked Frances Butler to be his partner for life and take his last name, after spending 11 years with her.
He raised her three children, Ronnie, Christopher and Victoria with heart and soul. His love for them was undying. As with all teens, he dealt with them, but as they grew into young adults, they each became completely respectful as they looked to Keith as a father. They all greive for their loss and they will never be the same without him.
Keith and Franny trucked and motorcycled together, and have had many great trips to Mardi Gras, and other festivals of that sort.
His unmentioned partners on the road, Billy and Micky Pridgeon, were his family as well and Keith would’ve wanted that to be acknowledged.
In conclusion, I say to Keith from the heart, “Farewell my brother; you will be missed forever, as you were the best of all of us.”
Kimberly Ann Angel
Memo: There will be a future memorial for Keith at our home on our riverbank. All who knew and loved Keith are invited.
Take a hike, or a stroll, on SRWMD lands
LIVE OAK, FL, February 3, 2011 – Sylvia Dunnam found solace from the hustle and bustle of the city when she moved to Suwannee County from West Palm in 1986. It was nature that drew her to north Florida.
“I wanted to be closer to nature and I knew I would have access to the Florida Trail,” she said.
After Dunnam made her home in McAlpin she discovered that her hiking opportunities were not limited to the Florida Trail – one of eleven National Scenic Trails.
Dunnam, who founded the Suwannee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association, helps organize guided hikes and camping and canoeing trips, some of which take place on lands owned by the Suwannee River Water Management District (District).
“We enjoy bird watching and admiring the flora and fauna along the way,” Dunnam said. “One unique feature of this area is the different types of geology.”
On a recent hike on the District’s Jennings Bluff Tract in Hamilton County, Dunnam was among a group of 19 who observed the Dead River, a winding creek that takes water from the Alapaha River and funnels it into a sinkhole.
“This is a spectacular place to visit,” said Megan Wetherington, District senior professional engineer. “The river reemerges 16 miles downstream as the largest single freshwater spring in the state before flowing into the Suwannee River.”
Wetherington said the karst geology in this part of Florida causes many rivers and streams to flow underground through sinkholes.
Edwin McCook, the District’s land management specialist, said other interesting features that hikers may encounter on District lands include unique wildlife, whitewater rapids and champion trees – the largest of trees within a species.
In addition, more than 50 miles of the Florida Trail traverses District land.
The District invites the public to explore nature by hiking on District lands during the month of February to celebrate Florida Hiking Trails Month.
“The District encourages hikers and others to take advantage of the 183 miles of trails that provide hiking, biking and equestrian opportunities on District-owned lands,” said McCook.
The Florida Trail Association provides ongoing planned hikes and other recreational opportunities, some of which take place on District lands.
“If you are unable to participate in a guided hike sponsored by the Florida Trail Association, you may take a self-guided hike on District property anytime,” said McCook.
All District hiking trails are free and open to the public every day of the year. Following is a list of some of the best hiking opportunities:
• Bell Springs, Columbia County
• Big Shoals, Hamilton County
• Holton Creek, Hamilton County
• Falling Creek Falls, Columbia County
• White Springs Tract, Hamilton County
• Little Shoals, Columbia County
• Gar Pond, Columbia County
• Stephen Foster Tract, Hamilton County
• Camp Branch, Hamilton County
• Ellaville Tract, Madison County
• Anderson Springs, Suwannee County
• Black Tract, Madison County
• Mill Creek North, Madison County
• Mill Creek South, Madison County
• Owens Spring, Lafayette County
• Cabbage Grove, Taylor County
• Steinhatchee Falls, Taylor County
Maps to each of the above tracts are available under the Best Recreational Opportunities link on the District’s website. It can be accessed at www.mysuwanneeriver.com/recreation. For more information contact Edwin McCook at 386.362.1001 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about planned hikes and other recreational opportunities hosted by the Suwannee Chapter of the Florida Trail Association call Sylvia Dunnam at 386.362.3256 or visit www.suwannee.floridatrail.org.
The District acquires and manages lands for flood control, water quality protection and natural resource conservation. District lands are open to the public for recreational activities, such as hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and horseback riding.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the God of the Founding Fathers’ Natural Law, calls us to “Come, now, let us reason together.” (Isaiah 1:18).
The logic (?) of one George Pouliotte does not sound like reason because he leaves questions unanswered about the issue of wet and dry in Madison County. (High Business Turnover in Madison, 1-7-11, Madison Enterprise-Recorder).
If Mr. Pouliotte did his research, he’d find that for every $l.00 of liquor tax received, it will cost taxpayers (and the County) a minimum of $3.00 for extra law enforcement, court costs, lost hours at work, family problems, health care, etc.
There is nothing illogic about wanting Madison County to grow and prosper…but at the expense of social problems, and the extra tax dollars…just so Mr. Pouliotte can wine and dine his bureaucrat friends in town, rather than cross the County line?
It is a given that the more proliferated the liquor outlets, the more liquor is consumed.
In one study, we learn that more than 18 Million people live in about 10% of the U. S. that is dry, (forbids the sale of alcoholic beverages in some form). Almost half the counties in Mississippi are dry. Alabama has at least 13 counties that are dry. And other states have dry jurisdictions. Many are dry on Sunday. (Prof. David J. Hanson, State Un. NY, Potsdam).
The people of Madison County have already demonstrated from a recent failed attempt to put the issue on the ballot, and a failed wet-dry election some 30 years ago, that they want their county to remain dry – thus safe for their families. They should concentrate on those politicians and elected County officials who support the wet law, by removing them from office.
Years of working at the Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce revealed that the very first question asked by those wishing to relocate to the area is: What is the quality of the schools? Madison voters would do well to concentrate on improving the quality of education instead of depending on booze to “improve” the County.
Tax breaks to businesses that want to relocate to Madison County is another incentive.
Mr. Pouliotte bragged about bringing a company “…from a mere twenty million dollar a year to over a hundred million dollar a year.” Why did he leave such a successful career? Why didn’t he stay with “prosperity?”
Mr. Pouliotte says welfare is a problem with the County. I challenge him to go to any County and check out the massive welfare there. It doesn’t seem to keep those Counties from doing better than Madison. “We’ll always have the poor with us.” Welfare, he says, is the reason there are no “customers” in Madison.
This is just another distracting excuse to say that alcohol will cure all evils. It won’t!
He asks: “Where does one go for entertainment?” The easiest answer is to move to an area where the “entertainment” (alcohol, to Mr. Pouliotte) is readily available.
Proliferation of alcohol outlets (wet laws) will not reduce crimes that are alcohol-related.
The Prohibition Party of Florida is ballot-qualified in this State. Visit our web site at: prohibitionparty.org .
Bill Bledsoe, Chairman
Obviously Mr. Glaser misunderstood or misread my article on High Business Turnover in Madison. I don’t need a place to have a drink; I had a whole beer at home last year. With that said, I’ve played the business game for better than fifty years. Oh yes, I’ve been to bars. I’ve been to bars located in Hotels, Restaurants, Sports bars etc. These are the places that business is often times finished. I’ve taken orders worth hundreds of thousands of dollars written on the back of a napkin in some of these bars. However, bars are not what I tried bringing up.
Business Men/Women need a place to go after the day’s work to go over the day’s accomplishments, problems, planning a five-year program on where their company plans on going. Some call this entertainment, bonding, feeling one another out, etc. I have never seen anyone intoxicated, at these business gatherings, ever.
The businesses I tried enticing to Madison, are not new start-up companies. All have been in business a minimum of thirty years. I do not have permission to use their names therefore they will stay anonymous at this time. The company I mentioned that decided in moving to Idaho Vs. Madison has an employ of 436 people. This company ships their product to countries all over the world, and including our Armed Forces. This is a manufacturing company with high excellence in their products. In order to produce these products, one must have skills in Laths, Milling Machines, Jig Bores, Bore-Matics, Computers, CNC Automated Machines, and the list goes on. These skills are not found on street corners, I know of two people here in Madison that could walk in and perform this type of work and I am one of these people. One must train their personnel to fill these jobs. Thousands of dollars are spent on training per person, just for the very basic operator. Companies wish to keep these people happy, and working. Good restaurants with a bar in house are places that attract these highly paid personnel.
Madison County is known for four things, and I am proud of three. The Sheriff’s department is known all over Florida for giving out speeding tickets and one gentleman in Fort Myers told me the “Deputy was so nice he was almost happy to pay the ticket”. The second is, “the Cowboys beat the pants off us every year” Go Cowboys. The third, “Madison people are all so nice and friendly”, and lastly, “why are your gas prices so high?
Our town is drying up, and it breaks my heart. We talk of bringing businesses to our County; yet do little to entice the businesses to come here. I spoke of forgiving taxes for a few years, in order to perhaps bring in a prospective company, of course that was like bringing the 800-pound gorilla in the room, or worse yet, your Mother In Law to live with you. The answer by our City Commissioners was a “NO”
We spent eight million dollars (grant money) for a water tank on I-10 in order to bring in new businesses; two Restaurant/Gas facilities burned down and were replaced by, two Restaurant/Gas facilities. We just spent a “gazillion dollars re-surfacing State Road 53 but didn’t fix the really bad area of Intersection US-90 and SR-53. Why not finish the job?
There are hundreds of businesses all over the United States that are unhappy with where they are, perhaps with a little enticement, a little encouragement, a little push in the right direction; one would move to our County and bring in good paying jobs?
Oh! And before I forget, “the no booze thing” Mr. Glaser mentioned we should advertise in order to bring in businesses, haven’t we done this since prohibition?
Our county is dying, and we need help. We need to cut our operating budgets; I honestly think we should try the following.
Dump the City Commissioners, Mayors, Managers then merge one each representative into the County group from Lee, Greenville, and other townships. We certainly don’t need all these different groups, making demands from we tax payers. Do we?
Dump our County manager, that’s what we pay our Commissioners for. If the commissioners can’t handle the job, then get out and we will get someone that can.
Bring the Police department, into the Sheriff’s office. Why do we need two different groups doing the same job? Of the duplicity jobs, keep the best and let the others go. The money saved in this action should go to the remaining Deputies/Police. The pittance we pay these gallant Men and Women is absurd. Wal-Mart pays more than we do.
Our road department; other than routine repairs, why not go to the open market and bid these jobs out?
These actions would save us hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, in taxes.
Last Friday I read George Pouliotte’s letter to the editor titled “RE: High Business Turnover in Madison,” and thought, “Man, that guy needs a place to drink.” Like Mr. Pouliotte, I’m new to Madison, but unlike him, Madison being a dry county was one of the things that drew me and my wife here.
I am not against drinking, but I have seen its evil side. My father and mother owned a bar in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where I grew up. When I returned from Vietnam, my dad wanted me to come to work for him and eventually take over ownership. I only lasted a few weeks. I just couldn’t keep selling a drug – alcohol – to all the addicts (alcoholics) who came in every day.
Yes, there are millions of Americans who drink responsibly, but the truth is there are also about 15 million who are addicted to drinking, and if you check world-wide statistics, about 5% of the world’s population have that same problem.
So, I got on the computer and was going to find all these evil things about wet verses dry counties, but in all honesty, there are pros and cons either way a county goes. Yes, Bars and liquor stores do bring added business to a town or city, and yes I believe Mr. Pouliotte, being the astute business man he is, could help bring new business to Madison County if we had liquor sales.
However, by his own words, Mr. Pouliotte would be bringing start-up companies here that were owned or run by people who needed to drink. Let’s face it, if they will not look at Madison County as a potential site for their business because we don’t have liquor, these people must need liquor in order to function.
Anyway, back to the research. Dry counties have more DUI arrests and drunk driving accidents, because people have to drive to find a place to buy or drink alcohol. I guess that fact would be on the side of those who wanted Madison to have liquor, and yes, liquor does bring more commerce, and that would be a plus for those wanting liquor also.
There was one thing that really jumped out at me though, and that is the fact that the “domestic violence rates in wet counties are nearly double the rates in dry counties.” So, I guess if you want safer streets to drive on, but you don’t mind having local women and children being batted around and scared for their lives in their homes, then push for liquor here if you want.
Also here is a surprise I found when looking on the computer.
More people are moving into dry counties in Arkansas than the wet ones. Dry counties have grown at an average rate of 22% while wet counties have grown at an average rate of 7.4% (US Census 2000).
Let me ask this question. Has Madison County ever used the fact that it is a dry county in order to attract business? In my research, I found that the vast majority of dry counties are in the South, in the traditional Bible Belt. That is no surprise, and it was also no surprise that the higher a county’s Christian population was, the better chance that that county would be dry.
There are millions and millions of Christians in America, and to many of those Christians, a dry county would appear to be a good place to raise their family, and to some, a good place to move their business,
Just maybe, using the asset of Madison County being dry to attract business would be a good idea. Right now Madison is dry, and maybe we should wear that on our sleeve with a bit of pride and see what happens. Perhaps, the high population of Christians in this county is also something many people would find attractive, and an asset that could also be used to entice new business to Madison County.