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Sharing some concerns for better, for worse
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As a former educator, an environmentalist, a Christian, and a (very) senior citizen, I have been concerned about a number of recent news items on national, state and local levels.

Most of you know that I vigorously opposed a proposed amendment to the Georgia Constitution dealing with public education. I was happy to see that proposal defeated. And I am delighted to read Rep. Kevin Tanner's outline of his bill to improve the state's "failing schools."

That bill uses Georgia educators to bring resources where they are needed. Although a school cannot control the caliber of students or parent involvement which it serves, it can use methods that have proved successful in similar situations.

For several years I attended Rep. Amos Amerson's Saturday morning meetings with his constituents and some of Tanner's earlier ones. For the last few years, however, my inability to drive has prevented those trips.

I receive his newsletters and read reports in the local paper, and occasionally send messages to his office. Ever since Kevin was in high school, I have admired his abilities, public service and integrity.

Now, I am especially proud of these actions, and hope his bill passes and is put into effect immediately.

Dawsonville's proposed Main Street Park brings another positive reaction.

It looks almost too ambitious in the overall plan, but can certainly be an asset even as it moves into completion.

We are more accustomed to seeing overviews of retail complexes than of green spaces and playgrounds. So it is good to see that growth in our community can include several aspects of our lives. It is also good to see that the newly revived Homeowners Association is planning its annual meeting for March 4.

It is heartening to learn that a local corporation is giving a substantial grant to No One Alone, as that agency serves parents and children who are victims of domestic violence. Having been on the NOA board for several years, I know how such donations are needed and appreciated.

Although some of President Donald Trump's new cabinet members are beginning their service with apparently positive actions, I do have serious concerns about some others.

I have grave reservations about one who has sued the EPA and seems to want to strangle or even eliminate it being in charge of the agency.

I am somewhat appalled at a Secretary of Education who has no experience with public schools.

I have already expressed fears about former Georgia state Sen. Tom Price who has openly advocated for privatization of Social Security and vouchers for Medicare and who is now in the Health and Human Sources post.

At my Methodist church, we have a motto about "open doors, open minds and open hearts."

I hope that all of us can apply that concept as we watch and listen with open eyes and ears.

Helen Taylor is a longtime Dawson County resident, whose column appears periodically in the Dawson County News.