Georgia editorial roundup
Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
Savannah Morning News on the manhunt for two escaped Georgia inmates:
Georgians can breathe a little easier now that two desperate and dangerous escaped prison inmates who had been on the run for three days are now back where they belong — behind bars.
Authorities confirmed Thursday that two men who were arrested earlier in the day in Tennessee after tying up and robbing a couple there were the two Georgia escapees who were wanted for killing two Georgia corrections officers.
Law enforcement officials in Shelbyville, Tenn., where the arrests were made should be credited for their quick actions and getting these stone-cold killers off the street.
These killers who had been on the run for three days could have been almost anywhere. Indeed, around lunch time Thursday, officials in Jasper County, S.C., went on high alert after getting reports that the escapees may have been seen at a rest area along Interstate 95 near mile marker 17 trying to steal a vehicle.
Jasper County Sheriff Chris Malphus later said that these reports were unfounded and his deputies were allowed to stand down. While that was a relief, the public couldn’t rest easy until these murderers were in custody.
Authorities were vigilant and did a good job of spreading the word about the escapees. On Thursday, authorities got what first seemed to be a break — a trucker said two men matching the descriptions of the two escapees were spotted in Switzerland, S.C., at a rest area near Interstate 95 mile marker 17 around midday. The trucker said that he saw two men who looked like they might be trying to steal vehicles. He said one of the men had tattoos on his face. The men ran into the woods.
One of the escapees, Ricky Dubose, is heavily tattooed with tattoos across his neck and above both eyebrows.
And the trucker wasn’t alone in seeing these two men. The sheriff said that a work crew saw them, too.
Later in the day, the focus shifted north to Tennessee, where police in Shelbyville, between Nashville and Chattanooga north of the Georgia-Tennessee state line, confirmed that a couple there was found tied up. Their vehicle and guns had been stolen.
They were lucky they were not killed. Police later stopped this vehicle on nearby Interstate 24, when the two men inside tried to run, officers gave chase and Rowe and Dubose were captured.
A statewide-turned-nationwide manhunt had been underway since Tuesday, when authorities say Dubose and Donnie Russell Rowe, who were being transported on a Georgia Department of Corrections bus filled with 33 prisoners, overpowered and killed two officers and fled.
Veteran correctional officers Christopher Monica, 42, and Curtis Billue, 58, were killed near Eatonton, Ga., around 6:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Dubose and Rowe then stole the Honda Civic of a man who happened upon the scene and fled. Hours later, authorities said the two broke into a home in Madison and stole clothes and food. Sometime that night, a Ford F-250 was stolen in Morgan County.
This manhunt could have ended tragically with a lot of people hurt or killed. Fortunately, it ended relatively peacefully.
This is a good time for all area residents to again thank all law enforcement personnel for the job they do in keeping the public safe from hardened criminals like Dubose and Rowe and in bringing them to justice. It was a great job, all around. Let’s hope their brief undeserved taste of freedom is their last.
The Dalton Daily Citizen on summer food programs:
During the summer months, some area children often have a difficult time finding a meal.
But a federally funded program is attempting to close that food gap.
Dalton Public Schools and Whitfield County Schools are in the middle of their summer feeding programs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture funds the efforts to ensure low-income children receive nutritious meals when school is out for the summer.
“We have so many children in Whitfield County whose parents are blue collar and they are latch-key kids,” said Annette Palmer, Whitfield County Schools summer coordinator for the nutrition program. “This program fills the gap when parents are at work or when they can’t financially afford the nutritious meals we offer.”
In Dalton, the program is feeding about 2,000 daily; organizers expect that number to rise. In Whitfield County, the program is giving meals to about 7,200 children each day.
The children do not pay for the meals. The Dalton program is open to anyone 18 and under and those with a disability. All food must be eaten at the site. Whitfield County Schools’ Seamless Summer Nutrition Program provides free meals and snacks to children under the age of 18.
Lunch is served at a number of locations in Dalton and Whitfield County. Breakfast is served a few spots.
We encourage children of families that are struggling to make ends meet to take advantage of the summer feeding programs.
The Brunswick News on Jekyll Island:
Roughly 10 years ago, plans were being laid to reimagine Jekyll Island.
Hotels, the convention center and other amenities that once made Jekyll Georgia’s jewel had lost their luster. It was time to inject some new life and think about how the self-sustaining island state park would be viable for future generations.
After a bit of a bumpy start with plans many people thought were too big, things worked themselves out and have become something that suits the island well.
This week, we were pleased to see yet another hotel on the island nearing completion that will create a more robust set of options for tourists. Jekyll Ocean Club, situated near The Westin and the Beach Village, is another hotel offering from the Jekyll Island Club.
It is another modern, beachfront hotel sure to fill up each summer.
Near it, the Jekyll Island Seafood Co. restaurant will also open in the Beach Village.
The best part is that both of them, as with the other new amenities on the island, are not growing the footprint of development. Instead, they are using that footprint more wisely.
Jekyll Island is one of the most unique and special places on the East Coast. It provides visitors a chance to not only enjoy a beach vacation, but also to enjoy the natural world of Georgia’s coast in a way not possible on most of our barrier islands.
Jekyll’s uniqueness has attracted folks from all over the country and the world since the gilded age of millionaires, whose cottages still stand and offer a glimpse into history. But as of 10-15 years ago, many of the amenities had become dated. They weren’t quite attracting the crowds they used to and something had to be done.
The opening of the Georgia Sea Turtle Center a decade ago may have been the first sign of what was to come.
Following that, the convention center was torn down and rebuilt as a state of the art facility. The Beach Village was constructed, offering visitors and residents alike a central location for attractions like restaurants and shops.
Since then, new hotels, restaurants and shops have come to Jekyll Island that have helped to increase the number of people entering through the pay gates every day.
That is a good thing. To remain a state park that is only 30 percent developed, Jekyll needs visitors coming through those gates because the parking fee is a primary revenue source for the island.
With all of the new, modern hotels, places to live near the beach and places to eat and shop, Georgia’s jewel seems poised for its second golden age in the Golden Isles.
We look forward to seeing that happen.