Arbor Day in Georgia 2008 will be observed 10 a.m. Friday at the Northeast Georgia History Center. It has been a year since we last honored our Champion Tree owners, recognized the student winners of tree related art competitions in our schools, received the Tree City award, acknowledged the garden clubs of our area for their tree and shrub memorial contributions and were updated on the Urban Forestry Project.
This year, the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce teamed with the Georgia Forestry Commission, the National Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota for the art focus. "Trees are Terrific, Inside and Out" was the poster contest theme for area fifth-grade students.
The student art winner and two runners-up were chosen by a panel of experienced art specialists; Sandra Bailey, Joan Hopkins, Jane Hemmer and Mary and Gene Brennan gave their time to judge the entries and select the poster entered by Lailia Hasnain of Mount Vernon Elementary School to go to the National Arbor Day competition.
Several entries will be on display at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center following Arbor Day. The winner and two runners-up will be presented at Arbor Day.
There will be much more on the program this year: garden club recognitions, Junior Master Gardener program in the schools, more awards, proclamations, recognitions and a special report from the chamber. This year will be another entertaining and informative morning for those attending.
The public is cordially invited to join in this special Arbor Day 2008 event sponsored by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce's Beautification Committee and the Northeast Georgia History Center, with support sponsorship from Georgia Power Co., Keep Hall Beautiful, Georgia Printing Company and U.S. Forest Service.
Hope to see you at the History Center on Friday morning.
Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, Gainesville
Court was right to ban school funds for TADs
The Georgia Supreme Court on Feb. 11 struck down a scheme called a Tax Allocation District, designed to use future real estate taxes, the schools portion, for various nonschool projects. The most notable of these projects was the Beltline project in Atlanta. The court says this is unconstitutional.
Time and again, we have seen Georgia governments gamble future tax revenue to assist developers with projects that developers are unwilling to build with private funds. At least school tax revenue will no longer be available.
Of concern, however, will be the attempt to pass bills in the legislature that will allow local governments to do an end run on the Constitution. What comes to mind is the flood of bills that the chambers of commerce lobbied for that finally allowed counties and municipalities to contribute to the local chamber of commerce, originally unconstitutional.
It was particularly painful to me to see Hall County make its annual contribution.
Bruce W. Hallowell