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By raising false claims about the election’s legitimacy and prematurely declaring victory, President Donald Trump is playing with fire, putting his own lust for power above the welfare of a bitterly divided nation.

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Gov. Brian Kemp is trying to walk a fine line: encouraging Georgians to wear a mask without requiring them to. His basis is respect for your judgment, but his detractors have a suitcase full of examples to indicate that respect is misplaced.

Dear graduates: We’re sure the “virtual graduation” video posted to YouTube Friday was not the graduation you’ve been looking forward to for 12 years or more. Hopefully the postponed, in-person commencement ceremony scheduled for July 18 will be more satisfying.

One could argue that the biggest job of any leader is to set priorities. It’s often not what needs doing, but what needs doing first — or what needs doing most. When you see the priorities a leader sets, you see what he values and what he thinks is important.

We wish we could say that the notice on today’s front page came as a surprise. The staff of The Observer has worked hard to avoid a further reduction ever since we went to three days a week in October 2018. The economic impact of coronavirus has been too severe, deeply cutting our advertising revenue as the local businesses who support us have been forced to temporarily close or to cope with upheaval  in the name of keeping the public safe.

The shortage of doctors and nurses has been reported for years. We reported on it at least as far back as January 2011 and as recently as March 22 — and that’s not counting any passing reference to the problem in our coverage of PCOM South Georgia or the coronavirus crisis.

On Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp announced plans to allow businesses to reopen on a limited basis following a shelter-in-place order that’s been in place about a month. He acknowledged the possibility more people will get infected with coronavirus, but he said the state has expanded medical capacity to be able to handle a surge.

On Feb. 19, the headline at the bottom of The Observer’s front page read, “Ga. health officials wary of coronavirus, but say flu is bigger threat here.” As far as we can tell, it was the first time the coronavirus had made our front page.

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As our community endures the coronavirus and the response to it, some people have stepped up to help us deal with “the new normal.” The Moultrie Observer — through our Moultrie Scene magazine — wants to recognize some of those who have gone above and beyond during this difficult time.

Two days after Wisconsin voters risked their health to cast ballots in that state’s presidential primary, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger postponed this state’s primary for the second time.

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These are challenging times for our community, our state, the country and the world. The coronavirus pandemic has impacted all of us and presented challenges we never seriously considered.

The Moultrie City Council approved the first reading Thursday of an emergency ordinance that will close many local businesses and limit the activities of virtually everyone else in town. Final approval is expected at a called meeting at noon Friday at Moultrie’s Municipal Building.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, we’ve become fixated on numbers. We act as if the situation has changed because there’s now a number beside Colquitt County’s name on a chart tracking the state’s COVID-19 cases.

Just Wednesday The Observer published a story about the cancellation of an awards banquet here because the guest of honor had interacted with someone who’d tested positive for the coronavirus in California. In it we wrote, “So far only a handful (of COVID-19 cases) have been diagnosed in Georgia, and none of them near Colquitt County.”

One of the many adages of firearm safety is “Don’t draw a gun unless you intend to use it.” It’s based on the belief that the presence of a firearm escalates an argument, rather than calming it down.

In case you somehow missed it, there’s a presidential election this year. President Donald Trump is running for re-election, and while he has opposition from within his party, none of those opponents will be on Georgia’s ballot.

A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. Surely, somewhere in the Scout Law, one could find a prohibition against abuse.

The Moultrie Observer has been your local newspaper for more than 125 years. We’re working hard to live up to the ideal of your local news source —  and you’ve probably noticed some success.

Jan. 22 was the three-year anniversary of a tornado in Albany that killed five people. Feb. 13 will be the 20-year anniversary of a tornado in Camilla that killed 11. Smack between those dates is Severe Weather Awareness Week, which begins Monday.

Allow us to add our voice to those praising the recent recipients of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards. Their contributions to our community are legion, and we are a better place for having them here.

The special election for House District 171 is almost designed for small turnout here. The district includes all of Mitchell County but only parts of Colquitt and Decatur counties. The eight precincts in Colquitt County that are involved include some of the county’s smallest.

Concerns are evident when the topic of Second Saturdays comes up. City Manager Pete Dillard emphasized at this week’s city council meeting that the downtown festival’s inaugural event in March will be a test. 

Slogans — short, quippy comments associated with a product or campaign — can root themselves in our minds, maybe for the rest of our lives. Once you’ve heard “Give a hoot, don’t pollute” it’s hard to get rid of it.

The purpose of taxes is to fund government and its services. We hope our elected representatives are wise and conscientious over how they spend that money, although we are disappointed from time to time.

On television this week, political commentator Mike Huckabee pointed out that Joseph and Mary had gone from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem to participate in the census, in accordance with the law. It was in Bethlehem, of course, where Mary gave birth to Jesus.

With Thanksgiving behind us, the Christmas season is free to begin in earnest. Driving home from celebrations Thursday night, we saw several houses already decorated for the holiday season.

Politics is messy, and nowhere is it messier — or bloodier — than in the Middle East. The “Cradle of Civilization” often seems determined to become civilization’s tomb as well. Sunni and Shiite, Arab and Jew, native tribes and former colonial powers — from this distance, it’s hard to even te…

When you deal with a condition frequently over time, you start to think everyone understands things about it that are not necessarily clear. You understand them because you work with them all the time. The Observer fell into this trap with its coverage of the City of Moultrie elections, and a phone call Monday morning brought it to our attention.

Would you like a job earning $17 an hour? That’s roughly the median income in Colquitt County, so about half the workers here would see that as an improvement — some of them a huge improvement.

Our downtown square area needs a total renovation and some new businesses. Please someone save our downtown from death.

— Rant and Rave, received Oct. 30, 2019

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