- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

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May 25

The Macon Telegraph on Atlanta being selected to host the 2019 Super Bowl:

Some will say it wasn’t worth it. Some will say the state sold its moral soul to the devil to get it, but the news that Atlanta will host the 2019 Super Bowl is welcome in most quarters, but particularly welcome around the new $1.4 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium that will be home to the Atlanta Falcons.

Supporters, though, of the so-called religious freedom bill that was proposed in 2015 and in 2016 would probably have a dimmer view. In 2015, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau came out with studies showing Georgia could lose $600 million in convention business and Georgia stockholders could lose an average of 4 percent on investments in companies that could be targeted for boycotts. The CVB study said Atlanta would lose 2.5 million hotel-room bookings over four years if a religious freedom bill passed without certain anti-discrimination language.

The CVB study also said $450 million would disappear in direct spending every year along with 4,000 jobs; $400 million in lost business sales and $50 million in lost state and local taxes - all totaled a $2 billion hit to the city’s tourism industry.

What a difference a year makes. While the bill died in 2015, it passed both the House and Senate in 2016, an election year. In April, Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed the measure saying, “House Bill 757 doesn’t reflect Georgia’s welcoming image as a state full of warm, friendly and loving people.”

It’s safe to say that if the governor had allowed the religious freedom bill to become law, Atlanta wouldn’t be hosting the Super Bowl in 2019. The league had made that point perfectly clear. A number of other companies - from Disney to Apple - called on the governor to veto the bill as well.

Will a version of the bill likely surface next session? It could, but what the NFL giveth it can taketh away, and there are plenty of cities ready and willing to host a Super Bowl, including one fan of Atlanta’s - Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones. “They are deserving of having this Super Bowl,” Jones said. “Obviously it’s a great stadium; a state-of-the-art stadium. But it’s the entire aggregation with what’s happened with the College Hall of Fame, and that whole picture down there is just something that not only Atlanta is proud of, but I’m proud of. It was a big deal to this ownership for Atlanta to have this Super Bowl.”

However, let something go south during the next session and Jones will be first in line saying “Come on down to Arlington, we’ve got a little stadium we can rent ya.”

Online: http://www.macon.com/

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May 26

The Newnan Times-Herald on the death of Chase Sherman while sheriff’s deputies were trying to subdue him:

The hardest part about watching the video of deputies with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office trying to subdue Chase Sherman in the back seat of a vehicle is we know the outcome.

Within an hour, of the No. 20 incident on Interstate 85, Sherman will be pronounced dead at Piedmont Newnan Hospital.

The story - and publicly released law enforcement body and dash cam videos - have been seen across America on national network news shows.

The family of the 32-year-old Destin, Fla., man are planning a lawsuit.

According to various records, Sherman had apparently smoked “Spice,” a quasi-legal drug sometimes called synthetic marijuana, several days before. He, his girlfriend and parents were in the Dominican Republic, where he had some type of episode and they decided to return home.

Sherman apparently was not getting better once they flew into Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, so much so they decided to drive home rather than risk another flight.

That’s when Sherman apparently started hallucinating again.

On the 911 call requesting help on the Interstate, Sherman’s mother, Mary Ann Sherman, could be heard saying “He’s going to cause us to have a wreck.

“He’s crazy, he’s on some kind of drug,” she says, and then screams can be heard. “He’s hallucinating. He needs help, he needs to be taken to a mental hospital . He’s going to kill us all if we don’t.”

This is the situation that sheriff’s deputies faced when they arrived.

The Coweta Circuit District Attorney’s Office continues to investigate the case to determine whether charges should be filed against the law enforcement officers involved.

Sherman was tased repeatedly, the video and Taser logs leave no question there. One device was deployed nine time for a total of 47 seconds, including one stun of 17 seconds. The other Taser was fired six times for a total for 29 seconds.

The question is whether that was excessive.

Just reading those numbers would leave one to think so. But the video shows that those strikes had little impact on Sherman until the end, when an EMT came to help the two deputies and got Sherman on the floor.

Furthermore, Sherman is very combative at times with the deputies. He bends his handcuffs, deputies said he broke one of their radios. And he is seen trying to gain control of the Taser. He is repeatedly warned to calm down, to stop resisting.

One issue we take with the national media is their failure to include the herculean attempts by EMTs to try and save Sherman’s life once he is removed from the vehicle. That video is on our website.

The district attorney’s office has a tough decision.

But we would be remiss in not pointing out one simple fact. And that is none of this would have happened if Sherman had simple not smoked Spice.

People need to realize they are responsible for their actions.

Online: http://times-herald.com/

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June 1

The Brunswick News on erosion at St. Simons Island beaches:

Time and tide wait for no man.

The old saying holds true on St. Simons Island, where time and tide have been shaping the shoreline since long before houses were built along East Beach or condos were constructed between the King and Prince Resort and the Old Coast Guard Station.

But while the tide does not wait on man, man waits on the tide, and has been quite a bit lately.

Waves washed over spots in the sand staked out by residents and visitors alike on what is currently a thin strip of beach near Massengale Park this past holiday weekend, proving yet again that Mother Nature has little regard for the best-laid plans of humans.

It was the afternoon tide schedule that prompted Glynn County Commissioner Dale Provenzano to ask residents to avoid that area at high tide so visitors - tourists who pour millions of dollars into the local economy every summer - would not be scared away in the years to come when planning their vacations.

But the fact that he felt strongly enough about the erosion to make the request shows just how seriously some officials consider the shifting sands to be.

Other officials, though, like county commission chairman Richard Strickland, see the current erosion for what it is - a stop along the way of a cycle that will eventually reverse again.

There have been calls for a beach management plan - or at least a study to figure out if it would be feasible here - and for renourishment projects to ensure the beach here is always wide, sandy and ready for tourists.

Unless the people of Glynn County want to stack their tax dollars on the sand bar at low tide and watch it get swept away with high tide, attempting to alter nature’s way seems ill advised.

The beach here is still more natural than most. Sure, there are houses built behind the dunes, the Johnson rocks and a jetty to the north on Sea Island that impact sand flow and retention. But from Gould’s Inlet to The King and Prince Resort, the beach on St. Simons Island is allowed to accrete and recede with the natural ebb and flow of the ocean.

It is part of what makes the beach there so attractive. It is hard-packed enough to support bike riding and jogging. Its slow sloping entry into the water allows for even the smallest children to enjoy it. When they play, they can also find a new world of wonder in the water that is teeming with life.

An altered beach may lead to a sharper drop off into the water, less sand properly packed for various activities and potentially negative impacts on wildlife.

None of them sound like the St. Simons Island that has attracted nature-loving tourists for decades.

Additionally, the cost expanding, rebuilding or managing the natural flow of sand sounds like an endeavor far too expensive to support long-term. We would have to build a beach extending for miles into the ocean to fit enough people - tourists and residents alike - to pay for its regular maintenance.

If the tide will not wait for us, we will wait for it and enjoy a wide beach again when Mother Nature brings it back.

Online: http://www.thebrunswicknews.com/

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