Gov. Sonny Perdue has declared May as Dig Safely Month. Probably makes it a good a time to dig up an ending for an old tale that started with utility digging complaints, and stopped with a cliffhanger.
A couple of years ago I told the story, under the headline Speak the truth, get fired, of Jim Borum, an employee of Atlanta Gas Light. During a meeting of the Columbia County Local Emergency Planning Committee - on which Borum served as AGLs representative - several people blamed AGL for slow responses to a rash of local gas-line leaks.
Borum defended AGL, explaining that cable TV contractors were to blame for the breaks. He said AGL work crews were stretched thin, but doing the best they could to repair the damaged lines.
After the meeting, a weasel who was in the room squealed to AGL bosses and made it sound like Borum was poormouthing the company. With-in hours, Borum was fired.
For long months after, Borum fought through the union arbitration process to get rehired or to be paid for wrongful termination.
Heres the happy ending: The case was quietly settled a few weeks ago. Borum isnt allowed to say what he got out of the deal, but hes attending college and driving a big new Ford pickup.
And the woman who fired him? Shes no longer with AGL. Poetic justice, baby.
While were digging, Id like to dig a hole for the jerk who tried to stir up Greenbrier High School girls soccer coach Alex Hyder the other night.
My daughter and I were watching a video when the phone rang. It was Hyder, who asked, Did you just call me? No. I answered. I soon found out where the strange question came from.
Someone had called Hyders house, pretending to be me, and left a snotty message referring to Wednes-days story in The News-Times about Lakeside girls coach Donny Rogers receiving the Coach of the Year Award in Class AAAA.
Hi, this is Barry Paschal of The Columbia News-Times, the not-so-great pretender said. I was looking forward to asking you how, uh, what was your reaction to coach Donny Rogers winning the coach of the year award. We think it was quite deserving. Hes definitely a better motor (maybe motivator?) of young girls than you are, so Alex, if you could just give us a call, that would be fantastic.
Hyder made that call and quickly found out the gutless prankster didnt sound anything like me. Its not hard to figure out that the caller was either the dad of a Lakeside player, or an adult fan whos a little too tightly wound.
Dont like the accusation? Just imagine my anger at being imitated - poorly, at that - by some chump trying to take a juvenile dig at a rival coach.
By the way: Not that it matters, but my oldest girl is a Lakeside student. Im not a soccer fan, and wouldnt know a good coach from a bad one. But Ive got plenty of experience in spotting losers, and one of them left a rather useful recording of his voice on Hyders phone.
Hyder isnt rattled by the childish prank. And it may further disappoint the coward to find that while Hyder and Rogers are rivals, theyre also friends - and Hyder is thrilled that his colleague received the prestigious coaching award along with Lakeside boys soccer coach Dave Morgan.
That one pinhead fan cant change that - any more than he can change the outcome of a season that saw both Greenbrier teams beat both Lakeside teams.
Hey! Were in Martinez
Will someone please inform the ad writers for Gerald Jones VW that Columbia Square is not in west Augusta? The new Columbia County dealership is miles from Augusta - and last time I checked, our neighboring county hasnt tried to annex us.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to bpaschal@ newstimesonline.com.)
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