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You Heard It Here: Deal responds to letter writer
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Here are a few things we heard this week that we thought you might find interesting.

Readers who submit letters to the editor to The Times don’t always expect a response, especially from the subjects of their letters. One Hall County woman had a different experience.

Brenda Brothers of Gainesville sent us a letter last week taking Gov. Nathan Deal to task for his state transportation plan, including the creation of more highway toll lanes. Her letter appeared on the Opinion page last Saturday. She ended it by saying that as a registered nurse for 42 years, she had ideas to share, and she invited the governor to call her.

Well, the governor, a Hall County native and longtime Times reader, read her letter and did just that. Jen Talaber of Deal’s office confirmed he had to try a couple of times before he reached Brothers, but finally was able to get her by phone. They had a long-ranging conversation about state roads and she told the governor or her ideas, which he promised to consider.

And he clearly won her over. “Thanks, Gov. Deal, from my Gainesville, for promptly calling me back,” she wrote in a follow-up letter that appears today.

Cameras flash as the ‘poporazzi’ hits streets

Out and about on the streets of Gainesville, officers of the city’s police department see smartphones flash.

But it’s not a photographer from The Times. It’s the “poporazzi” striking again.

“This is a way for the community to follow the ‘popo,’” Sgt. Kevin Holbrook said.

The community relations unit of Gainesville Police came up with it as a way of “still being professional but having a little fun” while out on patrol. Modeled after the celebrity-following paparazzi, officers will snap a picture of their colleagues while in the community.

“It humanizes us as law enforcement to the community and it’s a program that the community will start seeing a little more of on our social media outlets,” Holbrook said.

Holbrook said the idea pairs with Hall County’s recently created “Back the Badge” program, where members of the community show their support for law enforcement.

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