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Georgia editorial roundup

July 24, 2019

Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

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July 23

Savannah Morning News on a historic day for Georgians:

On July 24, 1774, a legendary meeting took place at Tondee’s Tavern, an iconic establishment once located at the corner of Broughton and Whitaker streets in colonial Savannah. The topic was whether or not to rebel against the British.

Savannah was, of course, founded as a British colony in 1733, so the decision to break away and fight for independence was a major one. Founded by British Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe, Savannah originally served as a remote outpost in its early decades, conceived largely to defend successful British colonies to the north, including Charleston, South Carolina, from the Spanish to the south in Florida.

Savannah’s Sons of Liberty, an early American group of patriots and soldiers, met regularly at Tondee’s Tavern. Legend has it that the Declaration of Independence was read aloud in Georgia for the very first time at this legendary pub.

Although the exact identity of the 50 members of the Sons of Liberty remains uncertain, historians have reason to believe the roster included esteemed colonists like Noble Wimberly Jones, Archibald Bulloch, John Houstoun, George Walton, Joseph Habersham, Edward Telfair, John Milledge, Joseph Clay, William Gibbons and Mordecai Sheftall. And, of course, Peter Tondee, the proprietor of Tondee’s Tavern.

NOT GIVING UP WITHOUT A FIGHT

A few weeks after the July 24 meeting, the Sons of Liberty planned a follow-up meeting at Tondee’s Tavern to vote on eight resolutions and to discuss the possibility of sending representatives from Georgia to the First Continental Congress. Gov. James Wright issued an order to try to prevent the meeting, but the Sons of Liberty ignored his decree.

The British were not going to give up Georgia without a fight — something the colonists meeting at Tondee’s Tavern 245 years ago today surely must have known. Their initial plan was to cause trouble, somewhat surreptitiously, without starting an outright revolution.

In 1775, the Sons of Liberty rolled 21 cannons down the bluff in Savannah in an effort to prevent the ceremonial firing of the cannons to celebrate King George III’s birthday. They also erected a Liberty Pole and seized, tarred and feathered British loyalist John Hopkins, parading him through the streets of Savannah.

The revolutionary group even seized gunpowder from the royal magazine and from English vessels — a bold move, by any standard. However, the Sons of Liberty ultimately set in motion a plan that would culminate in the Siege of Savannah, one of the American Revolution’s bloodiest battles.

On Sept. 16, 1779, the Siege of Savannah rocked the city with gunfire. The death toll ultimately included more than 700 anti-British casualties, including Polish Gen. Pulaski and American patriot Sgt. William Jasper.

Part of what made the Siege of Savannah unique was the alliance between French and Haitian soldiers, who came to Savannah to support their American allies in the fight against the British. African-American and Native American soldiers also participated in the deadly conflict.

Although the Sons of Liberty won Georgia’s freedom, the price was steep.

CHANGING TIMES

Today, Tondee’s Tavern has re-opened and relocated within a former bank on Bay Street. It’s a popular place to relax and enjoy a burger, a craft beer or a cocktail. There’s no hint of the political foment that once defined Britain’s 13th colony, no whiff of the revolutionary spirit of the Sons of Liberty.

What would the Sons of Liberty think about our 21st century Savannah? Would they be impressed by our all-American spirit and our refusal to bow to kings, queens or loyalists? Would they approve of our political system, our values and our way of life? Do we adequately honor their spirit of independence and their commitment to liberty?

History has enshrined the Sons of Liberty as a pivotal group that helped Georgia win its independence from the British crown. This dedicated group of revolutionaries understood that nothing is more important in Georgia than freedom. And to think that it all started at a little pub in Savannah, exactly 245 years ago.

Online: https://www.savannahnow.com

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July 19

The Brunswick News on good Samaritans helping a pod of whales at a Georgia beach:

The scene that took place ... on the beaches of St. Simons Island was as surreal as it was chaotic. A pod of pilot whales, who are supposed to be a lot further offshore, had managed to beach themselves.

First responders and staff from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources were quick on the scene to help out the struggling whales as much as they could. They also had help from dozens of beachgoers who were lending a hand to try to save the whales.

While many of the whales survived the event, three of the more than two dozen whales in the pod died. Hopefully, necropsies on the whales will identify what caused the pod to be in such a perilous situation.

While you never want to see such a situation happen, we are extremely proud of how everyone handled the situation. The DNR staff sprang into action quickly to help the whales, as did several people who were just there enjoying a weekday afternoon on the beach.

The compassion demonstrated by Isles residents never ceases to surprise us. We’ve seen it time and time again — whether it is supporting each other through natural disasters, raising money for charity or just helping people get a hot meal.

To see dozens of beachgoers see the whales in distress and dive in to help was an awe-inspiring sight. Nobody likes to see a living thing suffer, and total strangers worked with DNR staff and others to do what they could to help out the beached whales.

Clay George, a whale biologist with the DNR, didn’t get a chance to see all the clips floating around social media of people trying to help the whales get back into the ocean.

He said that assistance helped prevent an even bigger loss of marine life.

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If any Isles resident has seen a lot in their time here it is Bob Torras, who’s father engineered the first causeway connecting Brunswick and St. Simons Island. From his home on St. Simons sound, he had a front-row seat for the commotion. Like the people on the beach, he had no problem helping out.

“So many people just showed up and wanted to help,” Torras said. “Women and men out there trying to push whales back into the water, trying to help however they can. The general public got out there and got those whales back out in the water. I think that’s great.”

We couldn’t agree more. ...

Online: https://thebrunswicknews.com

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July 17

The Augusta Chronicle on a pill mill busting court case:

In health care, pain generates big business — which means it also can generate big problems.

One of those problems wrapped up in court ... after knocking around the local criminal justice system for about five years. We wish it were the last one anyone will see involving an alleged “pill mill,” but at least for now it won’t. Pill mills — pain “clinics” that dole out prescription painkillers without legitimate medical purpose — are a growing problem in Georgia.

Imo Nden entered an Alford plea in Columbia County Superior Court on a felony charge of operating an unlicensed pain clinic. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency said at the time of Ndem’s arrest in 2015 that his practice had been under investigation for more than a year.

It’s likely Ndem was one of the first in the state to be charged with a violation of the Georgia Pain Management Act, which was enacted in 2013. The law was designed to crack down on pill mills. According to the district attorney’s office, just 13 of Ndem’s 165 clinic patients were not being prescribed pain medication.

Ndem’s Alford plea means he acknowledged that there’s enough evidence for a jury to find him guilty — but he’s not admitting guilt. As a result, he was sentenced to time served since his arrest in late 2018 for failing to appear for his original trial last November. Also, the felony gets wiped from his record.

According to the article in The Augusta Chronicle, the plea also restores Ndem’s ability to practice medicine and perform other occupations. Possibly. The last time we checked, the Georgia Composite Medical Board in 2016 upheld the revocation of his medical license.

Ask primary-care doctors about the biggest complaint they hear from patients, and a top answer will be chronic pain. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies reported several years ago that about 100 million Americans are affected with chronic pain - more, it said, than diabetes, cancer and heart disease combined.

People in pain, real or imagined, will go to extraordinary lengths to seek relief. And too many medical “professionals,” with lots of prescription pads but no scruples, will be happy to ease your pain for a price.

Pain management intersects prominently with medical ethics — and it’s a busy intersection for caregivers. What medicine do you give patients? How much? Will a patient become addicted? Or by giving certain drugs, are you merely enabling an addiction that’s already taken root? Honest medical professionals ask themselves these questions every day.

Meanwhile, government and medicine continue to navigate new, largely uncharted territory to determine what relief is right and legal and safe when coping with pain.

As of July 1, it’s now legal in Georgia to grow medical marijuana, and produce and distribute CBD oils containing low amounts of THC, which is the substance in marijuana that produces the “high.” Not only can it successfully treat chronic pain, it also yields solutions for patients with epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease.

Especially with America’s growing opioid crisis, patients need better, less addictive solutions for their pain. Hopefully in Georgia those answers can be found in a new regulated free market, and not at the bottom of a pill bottle doled out by a shady doctor.

Online: https://www.augustachronicle.com

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