Justice is on its way to being served.
Columbia County authorities arrested a Beech Island man whom they say assaulted a soccer referee at Patriots Park on July 8.
Johnny Alberto Zuniga, 44, was charged with a misdemeanor count of battery against a sports official on July 20, according to his arrest report.
Or as my esteemed colleague Rob Pavey asked, with tongue firmly in cheek, “Is that a hate crime?”
Who would have thought such a statute existed? I certainly wasn’t aware of it.
According to the National Association of Sports Officials Web site, Georgia is one of 23 states that has that provision on the books.
While Georgia lists it as a misdemeanor, the sentence does have some teeth and appears to be in line with what most states impose. Zuniga, a citizen of Costa Rica, could face a maximum of 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.
It’s definitely tougher than in Minnesota, where Minnesota Chapter 128C.08 Subdivision 2 states: “Any person who assaults a sports official in connection with an interscholastic athletic activity may be excluded from attending an activity for up to 12 months.”
At least they are making an effort. I would hope other states would take notice and follow suit.
At a recent political event, one of the candidates for office noted that 250 inmates out of 300 in the Columbia County Detention Center are from outside the county. Let’s hope that statistic turns into 251 out of 301soon.
County charges for use of track
The county is starting to catch up to the pack.
Starting Aug. 9, private entities wanting to use the cross-country course at Blanchard Woods Park will have to run a tab.
Sorry, that was pretty forced.
At the county commission meeting July 17, a proposal to set a schedule of fees for use of the course passed.
“It’s become very popular,” said Barry Smith, the Columbia County Community and Leisure Services Division director. “We figure if we put a fee on it, we could schedule it and bring in some revenue.”
The fee to schedule an event on the course will be $150, and it covers the entire day. Use of other fields in the county are pay-for-play, and the county is now up to date. There is no project earmarked for the money that is brought in. It will go into the county’s general fund.
Currently, Augusta State University trains and conducts intercollegiate cross-country meets at Blanchard Woods. The nonrevenue sport won’t have to worry about another drain on its budget, however.
“Augusta State would be exempt to that because they were there from the beginning,” Smith said, adding that local high schools also will be exempt.
The Olympic opening ceremonies were Friday, but I happened to catch sight of the uniforms the American beach volleyball players were wearing before that.
Now, I’m not suggesting that they should have worn their uniforms (bikinis) to the opening ceremony, but they looked like they were serving drinks in first class on their way from France.