Current editorials from Georgian newspapers:

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April 21

The Brunswick News on vaccination fraud:

Most people have no problem having a hard day at work and being rewarded for their efforts. It’s what this country was founded on in many ways – a can-do attitude that is determined to get the job done no matter what.

Then there are others who want to shake off those who got things right. They try to deceive their way into the money by taking it from individuals in shameful ways.

Scammers have always been around, but their methods have evolved. Our technologically advanced times have made it even easier for these villains to hunt down their prey. Some have even used the pandemic to try to separate citizens from their money.

In early April, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and the Department of Health sent a statement warning of scammers trying to take advantage of people looking for the COVID-19 vaccine. These scammers sought payment for promises to get the vaccine, plan the vaccine, or get on the waiting list.

If you get a call from someone who claims they can list you for the vaccine for a fee, it is a scam. You can’t buy a vaccine online or through the mail, and legitimate vaccine outlets won’t call to ask for your Social Security number, bank account, or credit card number. These are scams too.

Of course, some scammers prefer to play the hits before the pandemic. Glynn County Police Department sent out a release in March telling residents that someone was posing as a GCPD detective in order to obtain personal information. The department reminded people that GCPD officers will never call unsolicited to ask for personal information. If you receive a call from someone who claims to be a civil servant, call the department on their official line to see if someone can verify that a civil servant has reached you.

The department also provided advice that everyone should remember – under no circumstances should you give personal information over the phone to someone you do not know.

For extra advice, don’t click on weird links sent through email, especially if they haven’t been requested and are from someone you don’t know. Email scammers are good at making their scams look official on the surface, but they often don’t measure up to close scrutiny. It is always good to double-check the email address the sender is using as it usually does not correspond to the actual deal.

Scammers will always exist as there will always be unscrupulous people trying to get their way into other people’s money. But with a little knowledge of their methods and a little common sense, you will be able to protect what you deserve.

Online: https://thebrunswicknews.com/

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17th April

The Valdosta Daily Times on Mayor Scott Matheson and the city’s ethics committee:

Ethics are important.

The city of Valdosta convened an ethics committee to review complaints against Mayor Scott Matheson from several community groups.

In a separate decision, the ethics committee rejected these complaints.

We asked the three-person committee to allow those affected to have a fair hearing.

It’s too hard to tell how fair or unfair it was for them to hide behind closed doors.

Even so, the panel made its decision and it is time to move forward.

We firmly believe that the time has come for Valdosta City Council to reconsider its policies and procedures in relation to the city’s code of ethics, to select an ethics committee and to hold hearings.

Appointing a standing ethics committee would make much more sense than that quick ad hoc panel that allows the person under investigation to appoint at least one of the three-member panels and potentially influence the other appointments.

To make it clich├ęd, that simply means that the fox takes responsibility for the hen house.

A standing commission of no fewer than five members would make much more sense.

This commission should be representative of the whole Community. The faces on the panel should look like the faces of Valdosta, with diversity, inclusion and equality.

The ethics committee should be completely independent of the city government without any conflict of interest.

It should convene and function independently of the city council and not at its behest.

She should accept her mandate and interpret the provisions of the regulation herself and not take her marching orders from the Council.

Finally, any testimony or receipt of evidence should be made in an open, public session and should be in full compliance with the sunshine laws of the state.

Indeed, an ethics panel should go beyond the minimum required by law and avoid any appearance of inappropriateness.

At the very least, an ethics committee should be ethical.

Councilor Eric Howard voted against this latest ethics panel. Among other things, he said that there should be gender differences. He was right about that. Now we encourage Howard to initiate a discussion and lead the way for new ethical laws, processes, and procedures.

Online: https://www.valdostadailytimes.com/

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April 13th

The Newnan Times-Herald on Tornado Recovery Efforts:

Since the tornado struck our community a few weeks ago, it has been amazing, but not surprising, how much reach and support has been given to the victims.

From those chainsaws the next morning looking for people to help, to local organizations working together to provide resources for those in need, our community has once again shown its true colors.

Since then we’ve been asked by friends and family, both locally and outside of town, how they can help.

At this point in time, immediate relief after a natural disaster seems to be over.

After the rubble is cleared away, the long game begins to make sure people don’t fall through the rifts.

Right now, our community’s primary need seems to be money.

Where can you send it?

There are several options, each of which will benefit a wide variety of those affected by the disaster.

The Coweta Community Foundation recently launched Hope Has No Deductible, their first program to help victims of the tornado.

The program provides financial support to both homeowners and tenants and is funded through the EMA / 911 Disaster Relief Fund.

The Hope Has No Deductible Fund helps pay deductibles for homeowner insurance and auto insurance for damaged vehicles. The program can also pay deposits to move tenants to new homes.

Online applications can be found at cowetafoundation.org. Printouts are available from Bridging the Gap, 19 First Ave., and the Newnan Coweta Chamber of Commerce, 23 Bullsboro Drive. The current application deadline is April 15th, but it can be extended.

ELEVATE Coweta Students and Backpack Buddies work together to ensure that students at risk are not forgotten in Newnan. According to Kevin Barbee, Executive Director of ELEVATE, the partnership is a given. The donations they receive help students and their families provide resources they may not otherwise have.

Backpack Buddies packs bags for those receiving a free / discounted lunch that parents or caregivers can pick up weekly for students who are currently only virtual.

To learn more, visit liftatecowetastudents.org or backpackbuddiesga.org.

St. Vincent De Paul, a ministry of the St. George and Mary Magdalene Catholic Churches, has focused its efforts on ensuring people have shelter, including extended stays at local motels.

The group also works with Bridging the Gap to provide food to the needy and supports the students of the Ruth Hill Elementary. To make a cash contribution, send a check to St. Vincent De Paul, 3 Village Lane, Newnan, GA 30263.

It’s inspiring to see so many nonprofits work together to help local residents get back on their feet. While this is not an exhaustive list, we hope it is enough for you to easily give back.

Online: https://times-herald.com/