The last of the leftovers are gone, the wrapping-paper has been tossed and the first sets of batteries on new toys already have run dead.
But before the Christmas tree comes down for recycling, it’s time to look under the branches once more just to make sure we didn’t miss any of these items as we provide the annual list of items that Santa forgot.
(Please note that none of these items carry a money-back guarantee, none of them are “as seen on TV,” and all are provided with tongue firmly in cheek.)
• First, for the Republican candidates running for the new 12th Congressional District: A telescope.
Perhaps with a device that lets them see past their circle of supporters, they’ll be able to keep their sights on the real opponent: Democrat John Barrow.
Rick Allen, Lee Anderson, Wright McCleod and Maria Sheffield all plan to run in the Republican primary for the opportunity to face Barrow.
But as we’ve seen in this long, drawn-out drama over the Republican presidential nomination, it’s easy to get tired of even the most appealing candidate when he or she gets mauled by the others like hyenas fighting over a carcass.
All should avoid that by staying focused. None of the four will do the voters of the 12th District, or themselves, any favors if they spend more time beating up on each other than spelling out why they should hold office. We already know what you’re up against; let’s hear what you’re for.
• For Columbia County fans: A concert schedule for the new Lady Antebellum Pavilion.
We’ve spent a bloody fortune opening this thing, and it promises to be a serious draw for visitors to our community. But ever since the big, opening show with its namesake, the stage mostly has sat empty – and the only events scheduled currently are a couple of non-music festivals.
The best way to set that schedule is to turn the facility over to a professional. Do it.
• For Columbia County schools: A less-stingy state.
This is a gift county taxpayers could use, too. For each $100,000 value of a home, it’s now costing taxpayers an additional dozen or so bucks a year in taxes. It would be double that, but county commissioners offset a school board tax hike with a small cut.
School Superintendent Charles Nagle wouldn’t have sought a tax increase if he didn’t think board members would approve it, and they wouldn’t have approved it if they didn’t see other alternatives.
There always are alternatives to raising taxes, but finding them is increasingly difficult when the school system is getting cuts from the state while signing up more students. Educating more students, with less money, eventually reaches a breaking point.
Nagle has warned board members that the state, despite record-setting revenues in recent months, likely will hit local communities with more budget cuts. Educators avoided furloughs this year; next year they might not be so lucky.
• Finally, for Columbia County motorists: A sudden burst of sanity from the state Department of Transportation.
If we’d found that gem under the tree, commuters would get traffic signals on Washington Road at Blanchard Road and on Lewiston Road at William Few Parkway, and the notion of a roundabout at Pumpkin Center would fade away as just another faddish fling.
Merry Christmas, and on to the new year.