- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:


Dec. 6

The Augusta Chronicle on the Georgia Bulldogs in football final four:

This is a fun time of year anyway, with holidays and parties and food and cool, wistful fall weather.

But it’s even more fun when your team does well - and few college football teams in the nation have done as well as the Georgia Bulldogs.

Having captured their first Southeastern Conference title since 2005 with a runway win against Auburn last Saturday, in only Coach Kirby Smart’s second year, the 12-1 Dawgs now are in the football Final Four with a New Year’s Day date against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl - and a chance to play for its first national championship since 1980.

National broadcaster Brad Nessler called Georgia’s win against Auburn - avenging the Dawgs’ only loss of the season - the school’s biggest game in decades. He’s right. Now, the next one will be too.

It was a controversial call to hire Smart, a former UGA defensive back, and to fire former coach Mark Richt, who immediately landed at his own alma mater, Miami. But it appears to have worked out swimmingly for both, as Richt took Miami to a 10-2 record this year and the threshold of a Final Four berth.

The amalgamation of Richt’s and Kirby’s recruits has become a special squad indeed - featuring some of the best running backs in the sport, freshman phenom QB Jake Fromm, and the nation’s top linebacker in 2017 Butkus Award-winner Roquan Smith.

Win or lose on New Year’s, it’s already been a terrific “old” year.

Online: http://chronicle.augusta.com/


Dec. 5

Savannah Morning News on a school bus accident:

School bus drivers are responsible for transporting our most precious cargo. But too often, these drivers and the important jobs they do are taken for granted.

Tuesday morning, the tragic news that a loaded school bus in Liberty County struck a tree on a dirt road while on its way to Taylors Creek Elementary School, killing one child and injuring more than 20 others, including the driver, sadly jolted the community.

Pray for the children, and for the family that lost a child. While such accidents are rare, as thousands of children are safely bused to and from schools each day in this area, they drive home the importance of safe and professional school transportation systems.

It was unclear after the accident what may have caused the crash, which occurred about 7:10 a.m. Tuesday after the school bus traveled about 100 feet with its right-side wheels in a ditch before striking a tree.

The Georgia State Patrol, which is investigating the accident, is trying to determine if the driver, identified as Eveyln Rodriquez, 62, a seven-year driver, might have suffered from a medical condition that caused the crash. While there apparently were no witnesses to the crash, the bus did contain video cameras that could be utilized to hopefully retrieve information regarding what conditions or circumstances might have caused the accident. According to broadcast reports, the State Patrol does not believe the early morning fog had any impact on the incident.

In total there were 23 people on the bus when it crashed on Ray Road near the intersection of Ga. 196 West. Ray Road is a dirt road.

The extent of the injuries suffered by other children on the bus was not immediately known.

“A lot of them were shaken up, a lot of them were walking wounded which means they were able to walk away from the bus accident but still they were injured,” said Larry Logan of the Liberty County Emergency Management Agency.

Liberty County Regional Medical Center CEO Michael Hester said around 1 p.m. that 11 children ranging in age from 4-11 had been treated at the hospital. All those treated had minor injuries, scrapes and bruises and have all were later discharged except for one who was transferred.

Every school day across the country, 25 million children ride a big yellow bus. Generally speaking, riding a school bus is a safe activity, even safer than riding in a family vehicle, according to the National Safety Council. But accidents can and do happen, and bus drivers and the motoring public can never be too safe or too cautious when school buses are on the road.

Meanwhile, public debate continues over whether states should require seat belts on school buses. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which sets national standards for school bus safety, requires three-point seat belts (lap-and-shoulder belts) on school buses weighing less than 10,000 pounds, but allows individual states to decide whether to require seat belts on larger school buses. According to the NHTSA, many states believe that the cost of adding seat belts to school buses outweighs any potential benefits. Only six states require seat belts on school buses: California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas.

This Liberty County accident could add fuel to the ongoing debate.

Online: http://savannahnow.com/


Dec. 3

The Valdosta Daily Times on drugs in medicine cabinets:

Leftover prescription drugs can be as volatile as a loaded gun.

In the latest article of our ongoing SunLight Project series that’s how one person described having leftover medications and painkillers in the home.

They are dangerous to leave, stockpiling unused in people’s medicine cabinets, closets and chests of drawers.

They pose a temptation.

They pose a threat.

Prescription painkillers are the leading killer in opioid overdoses in Georgia, although about one-fifth of deaths last year involved the cheaper alternative, heroin, according to state data presented in the Dec. 3 SunLight Project report.

Whether someone seeks them willingly, or comes across them accidentally, the potential for unused prescription drugs to cause harm is potent.

Disposing of prescription drugs via throwing them in the trash, pouring them down the drain or flushing them down the toilet raises concerns ranging from environmental to theft from garbage.

The best solution for drugs already left behind in cabinets seems to be disposal sites monitored by law-enforcement agencies.

For example, the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, which has a box at the jail, has collected and destroyed 280 pounds of medication in the last four years. The Moultrie Police Department recently pulled 75 pounds of pills from its box.

Police and sheriff’s departments that don’t have drop-off programs for leftover medications should develop one. Such policies will remove leftover drugs from houses and possibly the streets. It will not alleviate all leftover drugs but something as simple as a secured drop-off box could save lives by removing a temptation and a threat.

Prevention is another solution. Prevention means curbing the number of opioids prescribed.

Fewer pills could mean fewer addictions and fewer pills left behind in cabinets and closets.

Online: http://www.valdostadailytimes.com/

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