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Few can compare to Janet Hicks

Posted: May 22, 2013 - 12:04am

Is there anyone whose heart is bigger, or mission in life greater, than Janet Hicks?

You couldn’t make up this kind of resume. She’s retiring this week as the principal of the upper school at Augusta Prep. But that, of course, was merely her second career: Her first was the U.S. Army, where she rose through the ranks to become the commanding general at Fort Gordon.

But she wasn’t done yet. Volunteering for the project to record interviews with World War II veterans, Hicks logged the most recordings of vets. And on the way out the door at Prep, she adopted the retiring drug-sniffing dog that had worked at the school.

Those 48 Prep grads have plenty to be proud of when they receive their diplomas June 1. But they’ll absolutely be honored to have been in a high school commanded by Janet Hicks.

Here’s to her long and happy retirement – where she plans to serve as a hospice volunteer.

Compared to her, we’re all underachievers.

Report card time

The grades are in, and everyone passed.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce just released its annual Legislative Scorecard ranking state lawmakers based on votes on 10 bills supported by the chamber in the recent session.

Columbia County’s two senators, Bill Jackson and Jesse Stone, each received an A-plus. Jackson voted the chamber’s way on seven items and was listed as “absent or excused” on the other three – not unusual for one of the governor’s floor leaders. Stone agreed on nine items and was absent/excused for one vote.

On the House side, state Rep. Barbara Sims likewise scored an A-plus, agreeing on nine votes and skipping one. Rep. Tom McCall scored an A, voting with the chamber on six items, missing two votes and disagreeing on a bill that tied teacher evaluations directly to student achievement.

McCall, as I recall, is married to a teacher – as is Rep. Ben Harbin, who also voted against that measure. Oddly, Harbin had seven votes agreeing with the chamber, one more than McCall, and was absent from just one vote – yet he received a lower grade: B-plus.

State Rep. Barry Fleming also scored a B-plus, despite agreeing with the chamber on nine votes, and disagreeing only on a vote against extending state tax credits to “angel investors.”

Apparently, McCall got the slightly higher score because he was graded on a curve. The chamber included “subjective factors” that could include “sponsoring bills, speaking for or against bills... and furthering the chamber’s legislative priorities.”

By the way: Apparently most lawmakers further those priorities anyway. Just six lawmakers received the lowest grade, a “U” for unsatisfactory, while the overall scorecard is loaded with A-plus grades.

It seems we’ve found Lake Wobegon, where everyone is above average.

(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimesline.com, or call 706-868-1222, ext. 106. Follow at www.twitter.com/
barrypaschal.)

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