A few loose ends that need to be tied up:
A News-Times police blotter item this weekend briefly told the story of a confrontation at the Circle K convenience store at 3934 Washington Road in Martinez. But theres more to the story.
Just after 2 a.m. last Thursday, Circle K clerk Kelly OMary - a four-year veteran of the company - was behind the counter when a Hephzibah man walked up to the night window to buy beer.
OMary, following store policy, wouldnt sell it because the man didnt have an ID. So the frustrated customer, according to a police report, hurled verbal abuse at OMary and threatened to beat him up.
OMary called the Columbia County Sheriffs Office, and deputies took both sides of their stories. But heres where OMary got the raw end of the deal: The formerly-belligerent customer denied having threatened OMary, and claimed the clerk refused to sell him beer because, as the report says, OMary made a sexual advance toward him.
Its up to OMary to take out a warrant if he wants to push the case. Meanwhile, he has to live with a loudmouth lying about him and getting away with it because its in a police report.
Did you know convenience store clerks are more likely to be murdered on the job than security guards? According to the Centers for Disease Control, police officers are only slightly more likely to be gunned down.
Yet we expect unarmed convenience store clerks like OMary to be the first line of defense in enforcing the law against underage sales of alcohol.
OMary was doing his job and doesnt deserve the grief from this episode. The community ought to be thrilled any time we hear one of these workers keeping just one person from buying alcohol when theyre not supposed to.
If you see OMary behind the Circle K counter, give him a thumbs up and tell him thanks. It could be your life he saved by keeping a drunken driver off the road.
While local politicians continue to wait for Gov. Sonny Perdue to make up his mind about whom he will appoint as superior court judge to replace Lyn Allgood, a little more information should have been included in a recent piece I wrote about Perdues first superior court pick.
In pointing out that Perdue named Bill Fears as judge in the Towaliga circuit, I noted that Augusta now cant have the distinction of getting Perdues first superior court appointment. That takes the spotlight off Augustas post.
What I didnt mention: Fears is a Democrat.
If Perdue is going to escape the wrath of Republican primary voters, he cant be boosting Democrats. With his first superior court pick going to a Democrat, the likelihood of Perdue now choosing a Democrat for Augustas post has dropped precipitously.
My column Sunday, crediting my grandmother with instilling in me a love for reading, should have pointed out that Columbia County is considering withdrawing from the East Central Georgia Library System, a move which would end visits from the Bookmobile.
Its unlikely residents would notice if the county pulled out of the library system: Most of its function is internal. But the absence of the Bookmobile would certainly be felt.
And where would it be felt most, you say? Maybe in the rural parts of Columbia County, such as the Winfield area the mobile library visited when I was a child?
Nope - how about West Lake? Yep, the Bookmobile makes regular visits to the gated community. Think those well-heeled folks wont raise Cain if they find out the Bookmobile may no longer stop at the clubhouse?
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to bpaschal at newstimesonline.com.)
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