Last week, Dahlonega’s Mayor hosted a meeting with the State Director of Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites to discuss keeping the Gold Museum open every day, rather than having to close it Mondays and Tuesdays to meet DNR budgetary requirements.
Options were discussed, but it boiled down to Dahlonega and Lumpkin County having to fund part-time help and furnish volunteers to assist with the Gold Museum programs.
All of us at the meeting agreed to help. Friends of the Gold Museum, Historical Society, Downtown Development Authority, merchants and others are preparing to support this effort. We will need your time, money and moral support to make it work.
With the prime tourist season upon us, it is imperative that we keep the Gold Museum a focal point of downtown Dahlonega and not just another place to visit. While the Gold Museum is the third most visited historical site in the state, we need to make it number one and more self-sufficient. We can do that by working together to help one another. When you talk to customers and tourists, ask if they have visited our Gold Museum and encourage them to do so.
The Legislative session may be over, but the work has only slowed a little bit.
I recently attended the Bio 2009 International Convention in Atlanta. One of the interesting features of the convention was the number of foreign visitors and their exhibits.
For example, I have always associated Bayer (Germany) with aspirin, but I discovered that Bayer is a world leader in the areas of crop protection, pest control and seeds and plant biotechnology. The company is also a leading manufacturer of polymers and high-quality plastics.
All of my life I have heard of the three R’s, but at Bio 2009, I heard of the three P’s-Pig Parts for People. It reminded me of Lewis Grizzard telling about his heart valve replacement with a pig valve. Pigs are being genetically engineered to provide parts that may save human lives. If it was good enough for Lewis, it is good enough for me.
Several sessions explained that animal biotechnology can provide practical benefits to mankind. Genetically engineered agricultural animals are being developed to transform and improve public health.
There were several sessions dedicated to biofuels, mainly discussing methodologies and costs. Biofuel companies face two fundamental challenges: The food-versus-fuel debate and volatile fuel markets.
To resolve the first, biotechs are now using low-value biomass products like switchgrass, algae, and trash rather than corn and sugarcane. Using corn and sugarcane as the primary product in biofuels was a major cause in the price of corn, wheat and other grains doubling in the past three years. Much of the biofuels research is being done at Georgia Tech and UGA.
Biotechs must question whether they can prove that their technology works economically, and if they can find the financing to scale up the process. Even if you have an interesting technology, you still have to build that first $20-50 million plant.
Volatility in oil prices is a huge problem for development of biofuels. Biofuels must be cost competitive in the market —at what price a renewable solution can compete with current oil prices. For now, investors, scientists and the public wait to see which renewable biofuels will pull ahead, relieving our dependence on fossil fuels.
Rep. Amos Amerson can be reached at 689 N. Chestatee Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533; phone (706) 864-6589; e-mail email@example.com. Or, contact Gerald Lewy at (706) 344-7788.