“House cleaning” for the holidays

Published 2:11 pm Friday, December 23, 2011

Today is Christmas Eve, my second favorite holiday of the year, trailing only Christmas Day. By now, most of us have shopping done, grocery lists marked off, and are making plans for celebrating Christmas with our families.

Christmas Eve has always brought a sense of peace and appreciation, the day before Santa Claus visits and gifts take center stage. It’s a day that we can take a deep breath, relax, enjoy our families and friends, and truly reflect on the blessings in our lives.

Here are some items that have come across my desk, or simply thoughts on various subjects, kind of a house cleaning list:

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• While, admittedly, I need more information and to learn more, I have serious reservations on the upcoming T-SPLOST initiative, the statewide one-cent sales tax for transportation. If passed by the electorate next year, the new tax will generate roughly $20 billion over a 10-year period for transportation projects and roadwork. Projects were submitted and will appear on the ballot on a regional basis. Decatur County is included with 13 other counties in the Southwest Georgia region. Sounds like a prime opportunity for Decatur County to get the short end of the stick. We’ll provide you with more information and more opinion as we get closer to the vote next November.

• With the “Great Recession” officially declared over, we still are in serious need of jobs in Decatur County. A new year brings renewed energy, optimism, and outlooks — I certainly hope new opportunities come our way that create jobs. I look forward to Corrections Corporation of America breaking ground on the new facility, whenever that may be. The Industrial Development Board and its executive director Rick McCaskill have positioned us to be ready for any opportunity. I look forward to that continuing under new IDA chairman Keith Lyle.

• I am proud of the Bainbridge High School Bearcat football team. On the sidelines taking photographs for almost every game, I noticed a new attitude, a different feel, and a better sense of team oneness than the previous three years that I have been exposed to Bainbridge football. Next year’s team appears to have the opportunity to have a very special season.

• Despite some feelings to the contrary, I believe the Bainbridge City Council made the sound, correct decision to remodel city hall. The condition of city hall had deteriorated to the point that it would be been extremely irresponsible to not take action, and I think it would have been just as irresponsible to move city hall from downtown. When finished, we will have a facility that will serve the citizens of Bainbridge for decades to come. And, of the $4 million spent of the project, not one penny will come from operating funds or the current budget. The project was approved by voters via the last SPLOST vote.

• I believe that the University of Alabama will win, by a surprising margin, another national championship on January 9 in New Orleans. Maybe then, the argument about whether or not they should have been in the game against LSU to begin with will be put to bed.

• I hope to see you at Willis Park on the square downtown tonight at 6 p.m. for the 36th edition of Caroling in the Park. For 30 minutes, we can be together as a community to experience one of the great traditions of any town in this state. If you have never come, please try and make it tonight.

From The Post-Searchlight family and from my family—Stephanie, my wife, McKenzie, our daughter, and Judson, our son — have a very blessed and Merry Christmas.

Jeff Findley is the publisher of The Post-Searchlight. Email him at jeff.findley@thepostsearchlight.com.