Few people in Augustas legal community would argue that the process that led to Mike Annis appointment as our areas newest superior court judge took a little longer than it should have.
Lyn Allgood announced his departure from the bench in June; Annis wasnt sworn in until Thursday, leaving the circuit short one judge for nearly three months.
Some political observers and legal-beagles also are concerned that Georgias Judicial Nominating Com-mission doesnt have any members from the Augusta area. The states second-largest city should have at least one seat at the table.
Apparently Gov. Sonny Perdue agrees. Word has it he will soon name an Augusta attorney to the commission. Perdue will allow plenty of time for Annis to settle into his robes; he doesnt want to steal the judges spotlight.
Next time theres a vacancy anywhere in the state, at least our community will have some say in who fills it. We are fortunate with Annis appointment, but a committee of strangers may not do as well next time around.
Whiteheads new post
While talk swirls around about the possibility of former County Commission Chairman Jim Whitehead running for office - perhaps the state Senate seat held by Joey Brush - Whitehead has taken on a high-profile job with a local charity.
Whitehead recently was named chairman of the Augusta Chapter of the American Red Cross, joining Executive Director Birnie Florie, another Columbia County resident.
I am truly honored to be entrusted with this office, said an announcement from Whitehead. I am thrilled to be able to work with such a wonderful volunteer group and dedicated staff to carry on with the great work done by my predecessors.
Some of that work lately has been right here at home. We often associate the Red Cross with such big-ticket assistance as the cleanup after hurricanes - they responded even before Isabel hit - but they also quickly stepped in for the Hutto family of Martinez after the horrific fire that killed one son and badly burned another.
Whitehead is a former University of Georgia football player, a big man with a heart to match. Helping run the local Red Cross is a perfect fit for him, and them.
It is kind of curious, however, that the slightly belated press release announcing Whiteheads appointment came from a local public-relations firm, even though the Red Cross had already announced it earlier. Groundwork for a political campaign, perhaps?
Face of fame
Joey Brush often is seen as a target in next years Republican primaries, for reasons ranging from personal problems to political rivalries. But potential challengers beware: As we point out in todays edition of The News-Times, our newspapers readers say Brush is the Most Known Person From Columbia County.
Brush says its a two-edged sword: Recognition can indicate fame or notoriety - and either can translate into votes.
Judging from the comments of a couple of threatened businessmen, youd think its all notoriety for Columbia Countys incinerator. Charles Lord and John Glave Jr., each of whom are in the pet-cremation business, opposed allowing Columbia County to use its new incinerator for private pet cremations.
Whether youre for it as a way to help offset taxpayers investment, or against it as an expansion of government into the private sector, most can agree the opponents went too far in criticizing the plan when they darkly hinted the incinerator soon would be used for human cremations. Preposterous.
The businessmen probably stood a chance of turning the tide in their favor until their arguments turned ugly and their shots got cheap. Now well find out if cheap cremations will cost them business.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to bpaschal at newstimesonline.com.)
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