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Random holiday ramblings

    • It seems that after the lights were re-arranged on the downtown trees, and perchance people got more in the Christmas mood, opinions on the new streetscape have greatly improved. Judging by online comments, the arborvitae trees and a handful of hollies now lining our Main Street have been judged to look a little better than the initial reaction indicated – at least at night.
    What has been good to see is that even if the trees still are not meeting some expectations, the hard work of the city crews has been recognized. Good job to those who have gotten the trees and lights ready for the holiday season.
    If you are still unsure, come see for yourself at the annual Christmas celebration this Saturday evening.
    • Speaking of coming to town, it’s time for us to urge you to support our local businesses and Progress advertisers. As we point out every year, the people stocking shelves, and running the cash registers are the same ones who live next door, attend your church and whom you mingle with at parents’ night at the schools. Let’s see that our Christmas spending stays here, rather than filtering back to some giant online corporation that surely isn’t going to write a check when you are asking for donations for your kids’ sport uniforms.
    • Speaking of sports uniforms, the reaction to the University of Georgia’s separation with Bulldog coach Mark Richt has been interesting. Many of the Dawg faithful were mightily disappointed with another good but not good enough year, yet when the coach stepped down, apparently with some encouragement, you’d have thought the Bulldog Nation was shocked to hear there were problems.
    Much of the wailing and moaning over his departure was how could they do it to such an upstanding Christian role-model? And it’s true that Richt, by all accounts, is someone you want influencing young people. But, in this situation, he wasn’t at a community center program and, Georgia fans aren’t going to be satisfied until we compete with our neighboring SEC schools, especially one to the immediate west. Year after year, other SEC schools are in the hunt for a national championship, while the Dawgs are resigned to some consolation bowl.
    No hard feelings against Richt, but some times you have to shake things up.
    • And speaking of football, it stinks to high heaven of hypocrisy for any state that has a legal lottery to target fantasy football sites, like FanDuel and DraftKings, over any moral objection to gambling.
    Georgia and any other state that tolerates, endorses and abides convenience store gambling has surrendered the high ground to criticize other types of gambling. No one should offer any criticism of online gambling if they are connected to a state government that sells scratch off tickets to those who can least afford them and to many who lack the financial understanding to realize spending hard-earned money on instant “games” is not considered good resource allocation. Studies show that convenience stores in the poorest areas see the most lottery/scratch off ticket business.
    If they want to stop online gambling, states need to shut down their lotteries at the same time.
    •And finally, speaking of crime. We encourage you to take a realistic view of dangers in the holiday season. You should be relieved to know that the chance of someone mugging you or an armed residential robbery in Pickens County are mighty slim. But, at the same time, there are always homes burglarized during the holidays, typically during daylight hours when no one is home.
    One of the best ways to protect yourself and your neighbors is y being observant and making a 911 call if something, like a car parked somewhere odd, seems suspicious. Law enforcement officials regularly stress they had rather people call and it turn out to be nothing than to see someone’s Christmas gifts cleaned out because no one reported that strange person at their neighbor’s door.