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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

While we’re all aware of Halloween’s pagan past, for generations it’s been little more than a fun night for kids. But every year the night also offers the opportunity for tragedy and malevolence.

As a journalist, the best kinds of stories are the ones where you learn something yourself. A recent SunLight Project on the restoration of voting rights did that for The Observer staff.

Have you voted yet? Early voting is under way. Three of Moultrie’s city council members are up for election, and all face opposition. You get to decide who represents you on that council for the next four years.

Colquitt County has once again celebrated a successful Sunbelt Ag Expo. The farm show wrapped up Thursday with tens of thousands of visitors over three days.

Anyone who claims there’s nothing to do in Moultrie hasn’t been here in the fall. From now until Christmas, organizations in Moultrie and Colquitt County will offer activities almost every weekend and frequently in the middle of the week too.

Since 2014, The Moultrie Observer has been honoring one local family as Colquitt County's Farm Family of the Year. This year, we're asking you to nominate a deserving farm family, either on a printed nomination form or by email at laurie.gay@gaflnews.com.

Hard to believe, but in a handful of weeks, most South Georgia youngsters will be back in school. Summer — as a concept of vacations, no school, lazy afternoons, etc. — will soon draw to a close.

This Week's Circulars

Obituaries

TALLAHASSEE [mdash]Donald Michael Dotson, 76, of Tallahassee, died Sunday, March 29, 2020 at his home. Cobb Funeral Chapel has been entrusted with arrangements.

MOULTRIE [mdash]Mrs. Ethel Lois Taylor Holloway, 83 departed this life on Sunday, March 29, 2020 at Colquitt Regional Medical Center in Moultrie, Georgia. A Private Graveside Service will be held on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at Pinecrest Memory Gardens. A Public Memorial Service will be held …

QUITMAN [mdash] Mr. James D. Tucker, 92 of Quitman passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving family, on March 30, 2020. Mr. Tucker was born in Colquitt County on June 21, 1927 to the late Queen Esther Chapman Tucker and James Cleveland Tucker. He was a devoted husband for 6…