Newscast/Rant: 16 virus cases here; 75 await results. Our changing lives. Two new bargain stores open. Rant: Compassion and coronavirus.

Newscast/Rant: 16 virus cases here; 75 await results. Our changing lives. Two new bargain stores open. Rant: Compassion and coronavirus.

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Coronavirus updates:

  • 16 cases are now reported in Northwest Georgia; the state total jumped 50% to 99 on Sunday and the next update is due today at noon. Latest from local hospitals where 75 people await their test results.
  • What’s next: From dining to business, some changes in the way we do things for a few weeks.  We have a few examples now posted on the website.
  • Closings/Monday: Health screenings start at courthouse. Where to find meals for school-age kids. Latest cancellations and postponements.

Today’s other news:

  • Business: Two new stores, Dollar Days in North Rome and Bargain Bins in West Rome, are offering liquidated merchandise for quick sale, starting at $5.
  • Fatalities: Summerville woman, 22, dies in early Sunday collision. Emerson man identified as victim hit by a train Saturday evening.
  • An investigation continues into a late Saturday fire at International Paper that caused extensive damage.
  • Politics: A time out for local candidates, parties although some events will go on with a slightly different format. Presidential Primary delayed until May 19; earlier votes to count.

RANT OF THE DAY: Above and beyond.

The rapid pace of bringing much of Northwest Georgia to a standstill was incredible to watch. Email after email, text after text, you read of schools closing, colleges shutting down, governments thinning operations to bare essentials, churches suspending in-person services in favor of webcasts — all serving the greater good.

But what was really special was seeing how some reached even further, taking more than the extra step to accommodate those not really in the mainstream.

Some examples:

  • Those who worked to ensure the students of area public schools would have some way to get a few meals a day even with all campuses closed. It is chilling in a community as blessed as this one to know we have thousands of kids whose only meals each day are those at school.
  • Just as critical were those who immediately ramped up The Shelters’ farm bus to make rounds this week and next to help students as well as others who might need food.
  • The quick action by area nursing homes to restrict access to the most vulnerable to this unparalleled disease. Their other challenge remains how to keep needed workers out of harm’s way.
  • To whatever it took to break the “oh, it’s just the flu” mantra or the “it can’t happen here” among some leaders as they suddenly realized we’re a “hot zone” for the virus in Floyd and Bartow counties.
  • To the crafty business and restaurant owners who quickly assessed that cutomers might be scared to come in so they promptly arranged drive-by service. Or in some cases, drive-through service on a new level.
  • To the practical shoppers who ignored the horders and went about their business, still maintaining a sense of courtesy even as store clerks scrambled to serve what looked like pre-Thanksgiving crowds. We were stunned to see some of the meat and produce shelves bare at one of the premiere stores in town – only to see them just as quickly restocked.
  • To the college coaches who made sure even visiting teams such as the Berry Vikings got a senior day experience on foreign turf. For some of these student athletes, their careers effectively are over months prematurely.
  • To the online philosophers out there who gently reminded those already complaining about social distancing that their parents or grandparents were from a generation, ne that was called to war. This time around, you’re sitting on your couch binging on Stranger Things.

We thank each of the above for showing both kindness and resolve.

Personal note: We close today with this item. Over the weekend, we learned of the passing of a radio friend from years ago, first in Gainesville and later from Talking Rock, Ga., the best radio address in the world.

His name was John Roach – a.k.a., the Roach Man – and he was a gentle giant in a crazy industry. Some of you knew him as Jumpin’ Jack Reynolds at Y 106. John was a great guy who had a simple wish – to entertain you. Rest in peace, Roach Man.

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