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Throwing some bouquets and a boo
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If you are a news-watcher at all, especially if you watch any or all of the 24-hour television news channels, you are probably sick of hearing about elections.

But don't tune out completely. Too many citizens have apparently done that. And that's my "boo."

I don't know the exact figures to quote, although we've seen them several times, but the percentage of possible voters, even registered voters, who actually vote in primaries and general elections is far too low. When so many people around the world don't have the opportunity to choose their public officials, it is disgraceful that so many of us here in Dawson County, in Georgia, in the U.S. refuse to use that opportunity -- which is really also a responsibility.

True, an ignorant voter can be a dangerous one: admittedly it is difficult to learn all the needed information about a wide field of candidates such as we had this year in our local primaries. But we can be alert, pay attention to past records, talk to others, and become reasonably informed. With early voting access and absentee ballots before actual voting date, there is little excuse for avoiding that duty. So those who fail that test of citizenship should indeed be ashamed.

Now I'd like to hand some bouquets to the ones who are willing to work as candidates for all the positions of public service. It is not an easy matter to put one's reputation on the line. Congratulations to both the winners and the losers. And to voters, remember we have some local run-offs coming up, even before the November elections.

Gratitude is also due to our local officials who are retiring from their particular places of service, especially long-time servants such as Linda Townley, James Swafford, Billy Carlisle and Mike Berg (and even the pastor of my church, Orin Sampson).

We hope you all will continue to be active in our Dawson County community. Many thanks.

Another bouquet goes to the county for the preservation work being done on the Historic Old Courthouse on the Square.

It is particularly difficult to preserve because it is constructed of handmade bricks, said to have been forged in a kiln at a spot called Rockpile, near the present city limits of Dawsonville, which had been designated to become the county seat of the newly-formed county.

Not only is this building considered the oldest working courthouse (in a limited sense, of course) in Georgia, the structure itself is of historic interest and should be preserved as long as possible.

By the way, I understand the reason some people were alarmed when they thought it was being painted white. That really happened some years ago, and when the building was being restored, getting that white paint off those crumbly bricks was a precarious undertaking. So those of us who worked hard in the 80s to have that restoration accomplished are especially grateful for the present carefully done preservation. (And thanks for the explanation about the white primer and red-brick finish.)

If I were younger and more involved in current activities, I would probably have many more reasons to hand out bouquets.

I will, however, toss one to young Chase Elliott.

It is a pleasure to watch him follow in his father's racing footsteps.

May he become even more "awesome."

Helen Taylor's column appears periodically in the Dawson County News.