First, a correction: Dont show up tomorrow at the Justice Center in Evans for County Commissioner Tom Mercers re-election announcement. Hes not making his speech until 10 a.m. next Thursday - Jan. 29.
Now, on to other things: One of the best obscure shows Ive seen recently was Homestead Holdouts on on Home and Garden TV. The show chronicled the efforts of a few people in fast-developing areas who have managed to hang on to their little pieces of paradise.
Ive often seen little oases of homes in the midst of commercial growth and wondered how long the owners could stand against the tide. There would be no tide at all, we must add, if not for the rise in property value that comes with a switch from residential to commercial.
Floyd Brown is a good example; his Belair Road home is slowly being surrounded by businesses, some of them less than neighborly. Hes complained about the noise, but county officials have just shrugged it off.
Perhaps a greater danger is the slow decay and disappearance of relics of our past. We preserve the big ones, such as Columbia Countys historic courthouse, but we rarely have champions for old abandoned homes or sites that dont have value as tourist attractions.
The best we can do in many cases is to remember these places in photographs, and a new state Web site does just that. An ambitious project of the Georgia Secretary of States Office, the Georgia Public Library Service and the University System of Georgias GALILEO virtual library has archived nearly 18,000 images of our states past.
Vanishing Georgia went online recently, with photos from all over the state spanning the 1850s to 1980 or so. The photos have been collected for nearly 30 years, and only recently digitized for the online archive.
Thanks to generous donations by individuals and organizations from across Georgia and the meticulous work of our archivists, an extensive pictorial history capturing the unique character of our state is now available to scholars, students and anyone interested in our states rich history, says Secretary of State Cathy Cox in a statement accompanying the Vanishing Georgia announcement.
The site is available at http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu, which opens a link to Vanishing Georgia. Its searchable, too; by looking for Columbia County, for example, I found a photo of the Morrow House in Winfield, immortalized in Columbia County artist laureate Lynell Wideners Hanging Out the Wash. Its also the home in which my grandmother grew up - and though the stately old house vanished years ago in a fire, Vanishing Georgia has preserved it in cyberspace.
Theres another state Web site worth checking out, too.
By following links at http://www.glc.k12.ga.us/spotlight/gps1.htm, net users can review the proposed Georgia Performance Standards for public schools. The state is seeking feedback on the standards that will be used to establish changes to curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade.
The feedback will help provide information presented in May to the state Board of Education, which then will implement the new curriculum. The new curriculum will then be phased in from the 2004-05 school years up through 2007.
Local school officials say when new textbooks are brought out for public review, few members of the public bother to drive out to Grovetown to take a look at them. At least these curriculum standards - which will eventually measure the success or failure of students and schools - are accessible from just any Web-wired desktop.
Anyone who is at all concerned about Georgias education system should at least be willing to review the material that system uses. The state has certainly made it easy to do so.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to bpaschal at newstimesonline.com.)
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