Editorial roundup: Views from around Georgia

Valdosta Daily Times: South Georgia must remain vigilant for Moody

Moody Air Force Base is inextricably tied to the economy, culture and quality of life in Valdosta, Lowndes County and South Georgia. It is difficult to imagine what our community would be like without Moody. It is still nearly unbelievable that 30 years ago we almost lost our base.

We encourage city and county government, the General Assembly, Georgia’s federal lawmakers, our local chamber of commerce and the entire community to remain ever vigilant.

No, we do not believe there is a present danger to losing Moody, but we also know that 30 years ago Moody had been recognized as the best air base in the world and was seen as a crucial part of the U.S. military’s arsenal of bases just months before it was placed on a federal list of base closures.

What saved Moody, more than anything, was the community. Delegations from Valdosta, Lowndes County and Georgia strategized, lobbied and leveraged their influence and connections all the way to the Pentagon.

At the time, it was estimated the loss of Moody could have meant the loss of $150 million or more annually, in 1991 dollars to South Georgia’s economy. And it would be near impossible to measure the loss to our community beyond the dollars and cents.

Jimmy Rainwater, Troy Tolbert and Parker Greene are generally credited with saving Moody Air Force Base. They certainly deserve the credit. But they were not alone. There were others, including Joe Prater, Gill Autry, Dan McIsaac and Bob Ator.

And then there was Chandler Carter, Dean Failor, Dick Clark, Leigh Dominey, Norman Huggins and Bill Amos. Other Moody Support Committee members included Southern Circuit Judge H. Arthur McLane, Lowndes County Commission Chairman Fred DeLoach; Jewel Ivey, Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce president; Curtis Crosby of Atkinson County; Bill Perry of Berrien County; C.J. Keel of Brooks County; Wallace Jernigan of Clinch County; Max Lockwood of Coffee County; J. Hinton Reeves of Colquitt County; Jim Paulk of Cook County; Jack Carter of Echols County; Orton Bryan of Hamilton County, Florida; Emory Walters of Irwin County; Larry Lee of Lanier County; Cary A. Hardee of Madison County, Florida; Jerry Rainey of Thomas County; Jimmy Allen of Tift County, rounding out the Moody Support Committee.

The point is, it took people, a lot of caring, passionate, hard-working people. It also took money, lots of money. It took a plan, a well thought-out plan. And — perhaps most importantly — it took an entire community.

On June 30, 1991, in a 5-2 vote, BRAC commissioners voted to keep Moody AFB open. “I believe the Air Force has underestimated the overall military value of Moody,” said BRAC Commissioner William L. Ball III, who was the commission member who personally toured the base. “It is a highly efficient base. … It affords really ideal training.”

The Air Force probably also underestimated the passion of a community for its base.

Again, we do not see any present danger, but what we wanted to say today — as we look back on what happened 30 years ago — is that the people of Valdosta, Lowndes County and South Georgia must never lose their understanding of and appreciation for what Moody Air Force Base means to our economy, our culture and our quality of life.

We can’t help but remember what Mayor Rainwater said as he reflected on that day when Moody was saved 30 years ago, “It was the most gut-wrenching thing I’ve ever sat through. … It is such a tremendous victory, my heart almost stopped.”

We don’t ever want to come that close again.

The Tifton Gazette: Recognize the signs of domestic violence

October is recognized nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence is a problem everywhere, including Tifton, Tift County and South Georgia. A large percentage of 911 calls and law-enforcement responses are the result of domestic violence.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

• Every nine seconds, a woman is assaulted or beaten in the United States.

An average of 20 people are physically abused by intimate partners every minute in the U.S.

One in three women and one in four men have been physically abused by an intimate partner.

One in five women and one in seven men have been severely physically abused by an intimate partner.

One in seven women and one in 18 men have been stalked. Stalking causes targets to fear they or someone close to them will be harmed or killed.

On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines nationwide receive approximately 20,800 calls.

The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.

Domestic violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.

Domestic violence is most common among women between the ages of 18-24.

Nineteen percent of domestic violence involves a weapon.

Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.

Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.

We are fortunate to have organizations such as The Haven, along with local churches and faith-based groups to provide services to area women who have suffered from domestic violence and important educational programs.

Schools in Tift County and adjoining school districts have trained counseling professionals on staff to help young people address issues associated with violence in the home.

We also commend law enforcement in both the county and city for trained professionals who are often called upon to diffuse dangerous situations and to deal with victims in caring and sensitive ways.

Domestic violence knows no socio-economic, racial or geographical boundaries. It exists among all social groups and in every community. Domestic violence within families is something no one wants to discuss. However, it is a conversation that must take place. The culture needs to be changed and the cycle needs to be broken.

We encourage more public dialogue and more conversations among families, especially children, to make it clear that violence is not a solution to problems in relationships and is never the right way to express frustrations or anger.

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