Three years ago this summer, Gainesville's school system was in a state of chaos.
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"Read my lips ... no new taxes!"
Now that the smoke has cleared from all the last-minute wheeling and dealing that resulted in a county budget for the coming year, a couple of things seem obvious.
Two federal court rulings last week have had a major effect on Georgia's future, and our area's, on two key issues: immigration and water.
Here's the question for the gang of three that is in control of the Hall County Board of Commissioners: What's the plan for adopting a budget that makes sense for the county before Thursday's deadline?
The General Assembly is about to embark on a task undertaken every 10 years that is the political equivalent of cleaning the garage: messy, but important.
A treasured summer tradition is in limbo these days: the annual July trek of football fans to watch the Atlanta Falcons' preseason camp.
We have reached a critical juncture in determining the future of Hall County, and local residents have to speak up now if they want a role in deciding what the county will become over the next few years.
The bands will play, the veterans will bask in the applause and visitors to Monday's Memorial Day parades in Gainesville and elsewhere will wave their flags with patriotic fervor. A few then may visit loved ones at local cemeteries and pay respects to those who were lost in battle.
High school seniors across the region soon will be walking across a stage, grabbing a piece of paper and throwing a cap in the air.
It's a look we see in the faces of others, likely reflected back to them by our own.
When you are a candidate for public office, caught up in the often heated rhetoric of the campaign trail, it's easy to promise sweeping changes. From the outside looking in, problems seem obvious, solutions are crystal clear and strategies for action easily formulated.
As legislative sessions go, this year's General Assembly gathering ranks as useful and effective compared to past years, when too much time was spent on hot-button topics with little real impact, at the expense of more serious issues.
At the end of the year, the United States will mark the end of its longest war when the last troops are scheduled to return from Afghanistan. If that occurs, the U.S. will be at peace for the first time since 2001.
It's time to put away the snow shovels and the sleds for now, and get ready for some March Madness. Not basketball, in this case, but a sport with even harsher rivalries and more contact: Election season.
When it comes to nailing down weather forecasts, the big loser this month isn't the National Weather Service, the TV weather experts or the Farmers' Almanac. It's Gen. Beauregard Lee, the state's official furry Groundhog Dog prognosticator, who saw no shadow and foresaw an early spring two Sundays ago.
For those whose trust in government has dropped as low as recent temperatures, the arrival of this year's session of the Georgia General Assembly is welcome as an annual trip to the dentist.
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