Breaking News

Local News

April 26, 2013

‘Struggling just to stay up’

The front lawn of Dalton City Hall was dotted with 1,019 pinwheels on Thursday. Some stood upright without any trouble, while others gave in to the wind and were blown away from the rest.

That’s an all too real analogy for several Whitfield County children, said Mary Smith, child abuse prevention specialist with the Family Support Council. Just like those fallen and abandoned pinwheels, children need someone to pick them up and help them stand up strong in the face of difficulty.

Smith spoke to officials from several family agencies that work to prevent or intercede in child abuse cases Thursday afternoon inside City Hall as part of the annual “Pinwheels for Prevention” observance.

“Each pinwheel represents struggling families,” Smith said.” Each represents a reported case of child abuse or neglect in Whitfield County. Pinwheel gardens like this one started early on about 10 years ago in Douglas. It has become a national trend.

“Someone made the comment, ‘They’re not all twirling.’ And I said, ‘Neither are some of our families. Some of them are struggling just to stay up.’ Some of them can’t stand tall. Some can’t be proud. But when we support them we make a difference.”

Even though the 1,019 cases of child abuse is fewer than the 1,203 cases reported this time last year or the 1,623 from 2011, it’s hardly cause for celebration, Smith said. As long as there is one pinwheel in the front lawn there’s still a lot of work to do.

“But the work that has been done should be applauded,” she said.

Smith recognized staff from the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS), Child Protective Services, Family Support Council, Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center and Whitfield County Juvenile Court, among others.

“DFCS is especially someone we want to highlight for their work,” Smith said. “They have tough jobs, especially in tough economic times when these child abuse cases are higher and deeper. DFCS and these agencies — they’re all having to stand strong.”

Smith said child violence isn’t limited to homes and that bullying in schools — particularly with fourth- through sixth-graders — is on the rise locally and nationally.

That’s why she turns to the North Georgia Kids on the Block puppeteers. Jim Lansing and Lea Hicks — two of four volunteer actors from the group — demonstrated a puppet show they use to tell students in Murray County Schools how they can deal with a school bully.

“I’m very lucky to work with these kids (in our schools),” Lansing, of Varnell, said. “When we first started this program we did it for a couple of sixth-graders and we realized we need to get to them younger, before some of the stuff happens (fights and bullying). We need to get them in fourth grade these days.”

The sooner the better, Smith said.

“Ninety percent of victims of bullying admit suffering side effects,” she said. “Things like dropping grades, increase in anxiety, losing friends and losing their social life. There can be lifelong impacts from bullying. It’s something we’ve got to stop.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Longtime Dalton business Green Spot to close

    Larry Green says he made the decision more than a year ago.

    July 29, 2014

  • Kiwanis Club3.jpg Kiwanians get a lesson in money and banking

    It makes it easier for us to buy and sell goods and services. It is the measure by which we judge the relative value of those goods and services, and it allows us to “store value,” by placing it away and using it when we need it.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff: Inmates don’t ask to vote

    In his 21 years of service, Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood said inmates have never asked for the opportunity to vote.

    July 28, 2014

  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local officials agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014

  • Former chamber location 2 mlh.jpg Plan could cut flooding, stormwater damage in Dalton

    On a recent day, McClellan Creek flowed gently through Harlan Godfrey Civitan Park. But some park goers who live near the area say that even a mild rain can turn the creek into a torrent that eats away at their property.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War anniversary: The Battle of Crow Valley, May 9-12, 1864

    The Atlanta Campaign began during the first two weeks of May 1864 in and around Dalton. Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s strategy was to target two of his armies, about 80,000 men, against Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee at Dalton. Then, while Johnston’s attention was diverted by these forces, he would secretly send his third army, about 25,000 troops under Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson, in a flanking movement to the southwest through Snake Creek Gap. Sherman’s goal was to break Johnston’s railroad supply line some 15 miles south at Resaca and trap Johnston’s Confederates in Dalton.

    July 26, 2014

  • New church being  built mlh.jpg Church construction continues

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo