Reading the article in Wednesday's paper set me to thinking. There is such a thing as international signage. I'm sure the airport in Atlanta uses it, and I'm sure we used it here during the Olympics.
A selection of international languages is used that should help most anyone to understand the message. Plus, simple-to-understand pictures accompany the words. My suggestions for Hall County and other counties bordering on Lake Lanier:
1. Brochures in all the languages used in international signage be made available in all hotels, motels, boat rental facilities and convenience stores outlining the safety issues for users of Lake Lanier.
2. Large signage at all parks along the shores of Lake Lanier which have DANGER! written in the same set of languages and pictures of the drop-offs just beyond the edge of the lake, indicating that a fall over a ledge will result in death. Subtlety is not useful here; it needs to be big and blunt.
Signs should also show a swimmer wearing a flotation jacket with the word "YES" in all the languages, and a picture of a swimmer without a flotation jacket with the word "NO" in those same languages.
3. Smaller but visible versions of these signs should also be posted throughout the town.
4. You can't cover every possible place where people access the lake to swim, but where it is known that people use a given area, signs should be posted there as well. That, plus the written material available in all places indicated in item No. 1, should be a really big help in getting the word out about the serious dangers involved in Lake Lanier during drought conditions to the people who need it most.
Signage and printing brochures won't be cheap. But we benefit as communities from the tourist draw of this area. We should make every effort to keep these visitors, and our own citizens, safe while they are here.
Common sense can avoid more tragedies
Reading The Times' article on the dangers of being on or in the waters of Lake Lanier as it hits historic lows this summer season was curious. It explained how the Corps of Engineers tries to get word out on the risk. Yet still, over the July 4 holiday weekend, we had four deaths.
Most of the deaths on Lanier are due to tragic stupidity, and no one can fix stupid. I feel sorry for the families, but let's face this in a realistic manner. If you can't swim, wear a life vest, or don't get on or in the water.
Why should this be an issue for others to deal with? Common sense must prevail, but if you are too foolish with your life and safety, just be sure you don't take others with you as you drown. Adults should know better, but sadly, now their families have to deal with the grief of a lost loved one.
We should not have to spend more taxpayer money for signs in a zillion different languages. I don‘t care if you can't read a sign in English; you still know you can't swim. If you want signs, do what bathrooms do: Design them with pictures that even a child will understand.
As for the pontoon accident, why was this boat out late at night? I'm sure this was a frightening time on the water, especially during a storm. But even seasoned boaters know that during a storm, you hunker down in a cove and wait it out.
Even if you know the lake well, you need a GPS to get around at night. We have hilltops exposing themselves as reefs, so the drop-offs are deep going into them. So you can't always rely on your depth finder. Seasoned or weekend warriors on the lake need to be more careful and also lookout for one another.
The need to be a good boating buddy is seen all the time on the lake. When you're tied up in a cove with other boats and someone comes into the cove too fast, it creates a huge wake that can throw people into things or cause thousands of dollars of damage to your boats. Careless boaters are a menace and put others in danger. We need to be extra careful.
I would like to see the corps put more areas under the no-wake rule. Two examples of areas would be Cocktail Cove and the whole area going into Holiday Marina and other marinas. In fact, all coves should be no-wake, but part-time boaters or personal-watercraft users often don't care about other boaters or their docks. The damage can be costly, and if you have kids in the water, very frightening.
We need more common sense, but as in everything else we deal with, it is lacking in most these days.
Minister owes board an apology for comments
Recently, a local minister called the Gainesville school board's decision to fire the superintendent, who is white, racist and evil.
While reasonable people can disagree, it is disturbing to hear comments of this nature. It is absurd to believe that a decision to fire the head of an organization is racist when the organization has produced a deficit of almost $6 million. No major company of any size would fail to consider firing its CEO if such a deficit were produced.
I have disagreed with the different members of the board from time to time, but all of them are decent, conscientious people, particularly the chairman, who is one of the finest men in the community.
To make all allegations of this sort, particularly since the gentleman has never met the chairman, is wrong. These kinds of comments are why people are hesitant to enter public service.
The board members the minister referred to are due an apology.
Questions remain over deported husband
I was appalled that The Times would give so much space to Ms. Gonzales' sad sob story. I also think the reporter should have dug further into the circumstances.
Don't you have to get a marriage license to get married? Was he driving a vehicle? Did he pay tax on the vehicle? Was he having taxes come out of his paycheck while being here? Who was this employer that hired an illegal immigrant?
How many laws does Ms. Gonzales think that her husband could have broken before he rightfully would be considered to be a criminal? How would she be taking care of herself if she wasn't married?
I think she should jump on the next bus headed to Mexico since she misses her husband so much. I wouldn't hesitate to go anywhere to be with my husband if any circumstances separated the two of us.
Mercy, kindness are lacking
Dear God: Please check my heart to see that a seed of bitterness, greed or self-righteousness doesn't take root in my soul and cause me to find joy or satisfaction in the event of a poor, laboring immigrant being taken from his wife, jailed and deported. Amen.
P.S. Spare me from ever finding myself in a situation in which my welfare is dependent on the mercy and kindness of your children.