The whole of Marietta was saddened this week upon hearing of the passing of Barbara “Bobbi” Burruss.
Bobbi, beloved wife of the late A.L. Burruss, was by all accounts the most kind and generous of ladies. Beyond her friends, families and acquaintances whose lives she enriched, the Burrusses touched the lives of countless Marietta High School seniors. It was their Kennesaw Avenue home that annually served as the backdrop for MHS prom photos.
“Oh yes, the kids would gather and just have a really good time,” said Helen Hines, who with late husband P. Harris Hines were next-door neighbors with the Burrusses for 44 years. “They just got bigger and bigger each year and more and more parents came and grandparents came and, again, Bobbi was just so generous with everything she had. It was her pleasure to do this. Oh, gracious, it lasted years and years. People enjoyed being there and she enjoyed having them.”
The Burrusses hosted the gathering up until a few years ago when the tradition moved to Brumby Hall.
Said former congressman Buddy Darden: “She was the matriarch of one of Cobb County’s most accomplished and successful families. She always avoided the limelight but she shared her generosity and love with our entire community. She was totally devoted to her family. She was an equal partner in the remarkable success of her late husband Al Burruss in the financial and political affairs of this state.”
And former governor Roy Barnes: “Bobbie Burruss was the consummate southern lady. She was always kind and considerate, and a force in our community. We shall miss this great woman.”
The family will receive friends at Riverstone Church, 2005 Stilesboro Road in Kennesaw, from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday. Services will immediately follow at the church.
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GETTING OFFENSIVE ON OPIOIDS: The opioid crisis is sweeping the nation, but it hits home in a particularly devastating way.
“In 2017, (Cobb County) led the state and other larger counties in the reported number of overdose deaths,” reports acting Cobb District Attorney John Melvin. He made the pronouncement at a press conference announcing a $900,000 federal grant that will fund a new program in the DA’s office to address the emergency situation.
Two weeks later came the announcement that Marietta police and firefighters will team with Metro Ambulance Service and Davis Direction, a Marietta-based organization dedicated to fighting opioid addiction, to form ASSIST (Active Substance Support Intervention Solutions Team).
In 2018, 100 Marietta opioid OD victims were revived with Narcan, an injection or nasal spray carried by city police, firefighters and paramedics. But that’s where the help ended. With ASSIST, victims will be contacted in person within 24 hours of the overdose in order to encourage treatment and help put them on the path to recovery, not relapse.
Recognizing the opioid urgency, the Business and Professional Affairs Committee of the Kiwanis Club of Marietta have taken on the crisis as a key community improvement project. To that end, the group hosted Dallas (Ga.) Police Chief Joe Duvall at its meeting earlier this week. Duvall, who spent 31 years with the Marietta department before leaving for Dallas in 2018, said in addressing the scourge, authorities have had to adopt a different mind-set and Narcan plays a large role in that new strategy.
“In the past, law enforcement is looked at basically just for enforcement. And now ... what do we want to do as law enforcement with overdoses? We want to prevent death. And that’s the bottom line. You want to prevent people from dying. And that’s where the Narcan came in as our first line of defense.”
Another aspect of the war drugs that’s changed is the face of the drug addict.
“Another unique thing is one of the largest age groups where opioid addictions are happening is between 50 and 59 year olds, which most people think of it as younger kids.”
Prescriptions for opioids run out and the addict often turns to the cheapest “fix” out there: heroin.
“Back years ago, you always used to hear about heroin being real expensive. Well, now heroin is one of the cheapest drugs that you can get.”
Kiwanis B&PA chair Vance Booker said the opioid crisis is a huge, complex problem, but one the committee chose to take on based on the group’s mission statement.
“We look at major issues facing the community and select those where we can make a difference,” Booker said. “We want to identify those projects that are actionable and research them to come up with a plan that enables us to do something about it.”
The group and a smaller subcommittee of Mary Staley, Michelle Cooper-Kelly, Kem Mullins and Devan Seabough are devising strategies to attack the problem. Among several ideas under consideration is organizing a “drop-off day,” where people can clean out their medicine cabinets of unused prescription drugs — often a source that coaxes some into addiction.
It’s still a crisis, but Duvall said a changing attitude toward addicts from law enforcement and efforts by the public is key to a turnaround.
“The last couple of years, back in 2017, we had a real spike in the number of overdose and overdose deaths here in Cobb County. But through educating, and some groups working here, some nonprofits that are doing a fantastic job of really getting the public educated” there’s a better chance of turning things around.
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WHO’S THERE? Do you ever wonder what happened to the Do Not Call list?
Cellular interruptions become even more annoying when the caller isn’t a person, but a computer dialing your number off some data bank.
Thank U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, for doing something about it. The Marietta cosponsored bipartisan legislation this week to combat illegal and intrusive robocalls.
Amid an ever-increasing number of robocall scams, the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, S.151, would give regulators more time to find scammers, increase penalties for those who are caught, promote call authentication technology, and bring relevant federal agencies and state attorneys general together to address delays in the criminal prosecution of robocallers.
“Beyond being a nuisance, robocalls can be dangerous when the callers are criminals trying to steal personal data and money. This legislation would help reduce the number of unsolicited calls and hold the perpetrators of these scams accountable,” Isakson said. “It is time for Congress to take action to provide relief for consumers.”
Amen to that.
An Around Town tip: To block telemarketing calls, register your number on the Do Not Call List at www.donotcall.gov. Legitimate telemarketers consult the list to avoid calling both landline and wireless phone numbers on the list. Unfortunately, the not-so-legitimate pay no heed. Perhaps Isakson’s legislation will make them think again.
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On this Memorial Day weekend, we leave you with this quote from Mark Twain:
“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”
All city and county government offices, including courts and libraries, will be closed Monday.