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Community Forum: Stop the hemorrhaging of Lake Lanier
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A plea to state and federal officials now that the election is behind us: What are you going to do to fix Lake Lanier's sinking water level?

Since Gov. Sonny Perdue is missing in action on this vital issue for Georgians, I'm again asking for leadership from somebody, anybody.

I attended the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' "dog and pony" show at the Georgia Mountains Center on Oct. 29 and was very disappointed with what I heard. The meeting was crowded (a good thing) and the format difficult to follow since we had to rotate in groups around tables for discussions (a bad thing).

One corps member told me they're mandated for 650 cubic feet per second on releases, but the higher releases that are actually being done are requested by the state Environmental Protection Division. So if my understanding is correct, Lanier is being used for the big flush of Atlanta's broken wastewater system as its stink is dumped into the Chattahoochee River. Poor Lake Lanier is getting a double dipping of its resources since it is being held hostage by the Florida fishing industry with its abuse of the Endangered Species Act, too.

The rest of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint basin is at or near full pool since last spring, but Lanier is going on another year of being far below full pool. Normally Lanier's at a 1,071 feet above sea level at full pool and can recover a 8- to 10-foot drop, but 20 or more feet, no way. Since we're at 1,052 now and sinking fast, the lake is doomed. How can the lake recover since it's mandated by state and federal officials to release huge amounts of water that don't even come close to the amounts that flow in?

So thanks to the mismanagement of Lanier and the frivolous lawsuits by neighboring states, we're drying up here on the lake and Georgia is losing one of the most beautiful resources of water, natural beauty and billions in revenue.

The irony for the powers-to-be in our state government is that Atlanta can mandate funds to enhance its airport, but not its sewer system. So as you guys flush at the governor's mansion and the Capitol, you're part of the problem, not the solution.

We have heard nothing about additional reservoirs being developed to supply water for North Georgia, especially Atlanta. The Flint River is getting a pass due to farmers, but should be dammed and reservoirs built to take the load off of Lanier for Florida and agricultural use. Jimmy Carter killed this issue in the 1970s, but now it's time to rethink this and act upon it.

Instead, our state government is silent on this vital issue, as we suffer up here looking for answers. I guess it's going to take drying up Lanier and stopping the flow to Atlanta to get action out of Perdue and the boys in our Capitol.

Thanks for hearing me out again on this No. 1 issue for our future here in North Georgia. Now please contact your representatives and let's work to solve this before they waste any more years as inaction slips by.

Just as our political talking heads jerk us around, so, too, does Mother Nature with her fickle ways. Or is she testing them? You know the old saying, "It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature," boys.

Jane Browder
Gainesville

We should take our lessons from Rome
I am by no stretch of the imagination a history buff. However, while looking through the DVD selections at the main library a two-disc series about ancient Rome caught my eye. Basically the series is a brief synopsis of the major factors which contributed to the rise and fall of the mighty Roman Empire.

From all indications, the rise of the empire was due to the unwavering allegiance to the state by the ruling class, free citizens and the famous Roman legions. The beginning of the demise of this mighty empire appears to have started with the wide spread apathy and moral decadence of the leading politicos and their desire to satisfy the blood and gore appetite of the citizenry.

The straw that broke the thousand-year-old empire occurred when the commanding generals of the various legions begin to jockey for position for ultimate control of the Empire. Not only did these military leaders put personal gain over the welfare of the state they used their 5,000-man strong legions to ensure success in their quest.

To date, the U.S. has not produced a leader with enough charisma to instigate a coup d' etat. But you people who are looking for major changes take heart. Don't give up just yet. Remember that Rome didn't fall in a day.

In my opinion, deja vu would be on the lips of ancient Romans should they have the opportunity to visit and observe our present political, religious, and moral condition.

William P. Clark
Flowery Branch

American highway system is our Utopia
With all of the promises that are made and all the hopes that were inspired by the political candidates, it's nice to know there is a small slice of Utopia in the United States.

The problem is that it is only a small place and all the people are there in order to go somewhere else. At this place, everyone is equal, and all the taxes assessed for being able to be there are also equal and no one is behind the other unless they choose to be.

Most everyone is proud of what they have and thinks it is equal to or better than the people who are side by side with them. Whether little or big each has equal access to the all of the benefits of being at this place. You can show off or display what you have without feeling guilty and everyone allows the other to move past them if they have that inclination.

President Eisenhower, a military man, created this for all of us without fanfare or political contributions to get him to act. It was his vision, without fanfare or praise, which created this perfect place and put a piece of it in every state of the union. It created jobs, improved the area, expanded the ability of America to visit its neighbors, brought the country together and continues to unite and hold together all the states in an unified manner.

This is without mention of how it permits the Bulldog Nation to spread its unique culture and way of life all across the Southeast.

This Utopia is the interstate system, funded by a fair gas tax (only users pay) and where all Americans are welcome, most also drive beautiful trucks or cars with bumper stickers to educate their neighbors (latest example: No one died when Clinton lied) and flags to support their college affiliation.

All across America, in four to 12 lanes, allowing everyone fast and free movement from the Pacific to the Atlantic at a fast pace. This is a perfect place to be and as we enjoy our highways we need try to make other places just as open, hospitable and fair to all.

Troy R. Millikan
Gainesville

Student shares lake worries with president
Dear Mr. President: My name is Mason S. Moore and I think there should be a new law! I live on Lake Lanier and it is almost dry. I think it should be a law not to take water out of all lakes! The bad thing about the lake going down is people can't swim and we can't go out on the boat, and the fish will die if they don't have water.

Mason S. Moore, age 8
Gainesville

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