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Our thoughts...Celebrate safely
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As we approach the July 4th holiday weekend, which is traditionally celebrated with parades, fireworks and patriotic activities, we would like to remind our readers that it also has the potential to be a dangerous weekend.

We urge you to take precautions with the following activities.

Fireworks - Please use any kind of fireworks in a controlled setting. Fortunately this year we have had plenty of rain so the sparks generated by these objects are not as much of a danger as in past years; however, fires can still ignite. Please do not allow children under 18 to play with fireworks alone. We are sure we have some readers who have or know someone who has lost limbs or eyesight because of carelessness in dealing with fireworks.

Be mindful of the noise created by some fireworks and shoot them off at reasonable times.

Guns - Some people find it exciting to shoot bullets in the air in celebration of our independence. Remember the bullet has to come down somewhere and it could hurt or kill if it comes down upon a living creature.

Drinking - It is fun to have a few cold ones with your summer barbecue. If you are not driving anywhere, then it's up to you how many you consume. If you are, then it is up to the state of Georgia.

If you are going to travel anywhere after a few drinks, your actions have the potential to affect anyone on the road. Please have a designated driver. If you can't convince anyone to do so, drink iced tea. Sweet tea tastes really great with barbecue too.

Swimming - Many of you have pools - in ground and above. Remember that little children can drown in just a few inches of water. Lock your screen or outside doors and keep your young children in sight at all times.

Some of our local rivers and streams might look mighty inviting on these hot summer days, but swimmers must be cautious as currents, rocks and deep holes are dangerous for even for the best swimmers. Local shoals have already claimed a couple of lives this year.

Cars - If you need to go to the grocery store or want to shop holiday sales, do not leave children or animals in locked cars. In July weather it doesn't take long for a young person or animal to die from heat-related injuries.

Animals - Keep your animals in your home on the evening of the fourth. The sounds of explosive merriment sometimes scare our furry friends and they will bolt for safety. There is nothing sadder than to see a lost pooch by the roadside looking for its master or worse, flattened.

Enjoy yourself this weekend. Be safe and check out Wednesday's edition to see photos of all the fun Fourth activities from our local area. Feel free to submit your own photos to