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Letters to the Editor

Smokeout a chance to stop deadly habit

Today marks the American Cancer Society's 29th annual Great American Smokeout. On this day, millions of smokers will unite to take the first step toward quitting. As a former smoker and current volunteer for the American Cancer Society, I want to encourage the people of Gwinnett County to take this opportunity to quit smoking and encourage those they love to quit as well.

The Great American Smokeout is not only about quitting smoking but also about ensuring all Americans are protected from the deadly effects of secondhand smoke in the workplace.

Georgia has taken the first step by passing a statewide smoke-free-air law, which bans smoking in businesses and restaurants across the state. While Gwinnett County originally respond by enacting a stronger local ordinance to protect our neighbors and friends from the dangers of secondhand smoke, sadly (and disturbingly), a recent commissioners' vote rescinded this new ordinance. The citizens of Gwinnett County look forward to a public hearing in which our commissioners will have the opportunity to consider what the citizens themselves want in regards to smoke-free air in public places.

We ask readers to celebrate the Great American Smokeout by making your position regarding smoke-free air known to your legislators. We can only make a difference with your help.

For more information or help with quitting smoking, please call your local American Cancer Society at 770-814-0123.

- Cynthie Annie Gregory

Lawrenceville

Youngblood should get another chance

Editor's note: The following letter was sent to J. Alvin Wilbanks, superintendent of Gwinnett County Public Schools, and Daniel D. Seckinger, chairman of the Gwinnett County Board of Education.

Dear Mr. Wilbanks and Mr. Seckinger,

I have just learned from a former classmate of mine that Mr. Ed Youngblood was recently forced to resign his position at South Gwinnett High School.

His mistake was, in my opinion, slight, and only occurred because of his extreme enthusiasm for teaching students well. It is unfortunate that "Elizabeth," a very fine film that is not only historically accurate but also pertinent to the study of English literature, has an R rating. It is also unfortunate that this film has not been approved by the board as suitable for viewing by young adults.

I entreat the board to offer Mr. Youngblood the opportunity to apologize as he has offered to do and then reinstate him in his position. Mr. Youngblood has done much good over the decades. Many former students and colleagues will attest to this fact. I, for one, can say with surety that Mr. Youngblood set me on the path to success.

Forcing Mr. Youngblood out will do much more harm than the film "Elizabeth" ever could. Please reconsider.

- Michael Chesley Johnson

South Gwinnett Class of 1974