Dont look back, Phil Kent. Chris Baugh is gaining on you.
A sophomore at Evans High School, Chris has a fairly commanding grasp of current events, anchored with strong conservative ideals.
Chris also has a creative side, and when recently profiled in a News-Times Make Kids Count spotlight, Chris told writer Debbie Steele about novels hed written.
The folks at American International Printery read about it, and were looking for a way to jazz up their ribbon cutting next week at their new Martinez location. They called Chris and worked out a deal to print one of the teens books.
Visitors to the 4:30 p.m. event can pick up a signed copy of It All Started in Chem Class, and perhaps help propel Chris to stardom.
Repeat for mayor
Filing ended Friday with no one signing up to run against Grovetowns own star, Mayor Dennis Trudeau. While it is useful in a free society for ideas to compete in the electoral marketplace, it is a credit to real leadership when a leader whose efforts are so well-established can be re-elected by acclamation.
And as a bonus, because City Council members Marjorie Adams and David Daughtry also are unopposed, the city wont need to hold an election. The city pays Columbia Countys Board of Elections to run its elections; skipping the polls this year will save the city $3,800, says Elections Director Deborah Marshall.
Itll save them a little bit of change, says Marshall. Literally and figuratively.
We havent heard the last of ex-Columbia County resident Jason Kennedy, serving life in prison for a 2001 conviction in the 1996 murder of Melanie Caitlyn Cawthon, the 19-month-old daughter of Kennedys girlfriend.
Kennedy went to trial three times, getting off with hung juries; the fourth jury put Kennedy away for life without parole, convicting him of felony murder.
Kennedy, now housed in Telfair State Prison in south Georgia, is seeking a new trial. His attorney, Mike Garrett, claims Kennedy shouldnt have been convicted of felony murder.
Garretts claim is an interesting one; see if you can follow along. Medical evidence says the toddler was rendered unconscious by the blow to the head that killed her. Garrett asserts she couldnt have suffered or felt pain, so her death wasnt malicious or cruel. Therefore, Kennedy shouldnt be guilty of felony cruelty to children, and thus shouldnt be guilty of felony murder.
Maybe Im just not smart enough to be a lawyer, but it seems to me if a 19-month-old is dead, the person who killed her should rot in jail and then burn in hell - and in neither case should get off the hook just because the fatal blow was so effective.
Another mayor gone
Speaking of criminals, two Columbia Countians are serving five years probation for an extortion effort that led to the pending resignation of Mayor Frank Thomas in nearby Washington, Ga.
Martinez residents Cassandra Willis and John Edward Pappillion were indicted in February for threatening to expose a sex-for-money liaison between Willis and Thomas. Willis pleaded guilty a couple of months ago, and Pappillion admitted guilt last week. Each was sentenced to fines and probation, according to the primly worded News-Reporter in Washington.
At the height of the ugly episode, Thomas offered to take a leave of absence and city council took him up on it. Thomas tried to back out, but the council held firm. So hes on the sidelines as candidates line up for November elections to replace him.
Four men have signed up to run. Any one of them is bound to be an improvement.
In my Sept. 14 column, I gave the wrong date for Sheriff Clay Whittles upcoming speech to local Republicans. That breakfast is Sept. 27; his re-election announcement is Oct. 1.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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