The only thing worse than my temper is my memory, and in the case of remembering my favorite teachers I'm mad at my own forgetfulness.
In last week's column lauding my personal teacher "hall of fame," I got the first name wrong for the fifth-grade teacher who inspired me to become a writer. It was Sherrie Bennett, then at North Columbia Elementary, whose praise launched me into a career in prose.
To make matters worse, I'm related to her by marriage (I wasn't back then). Which is likely why I used her cousin's first name by accident.
That cousin, by the way, is the daughter of John "Bish" Bennett of Appling. Bish is my stepfather, and right now isn't doing very well. If you have an extra line or two open on your prayer list, I'd appreciate it -- and so would he -- if you'd say a few words on Pop's behalf. He's a fine man, and deserves it.
The Political Vine, a gossip-sheet operated by Republican activists, has
called appeals court runoff candidate Mike Sheffield and political
strategist Phil Kent anything but fine men.
In fact, the vine calls the two "Candidates for Political Fraud of the
Year," just days before Sheffield faces primary frontrunner Debra Bernes in
Tuesday's runoff for a post as judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals.
Sheffield narrowly captured the second-most votes in the six-candidate July
20 election on the strength of Kent's work to position him as a
conservative. Sheffield and Grant Brantley -- who failed in his challenge to
Supreme Court Justice Leah Sears -- were the only two statewide judicial
candidates to fill out a survey from Georgia's Christian Coalition. Their
campaigns in the non-partisan race were geared to appeal to conservative
The Vine researched Sheffield's voting record and nails him as a
card-carrying Democrat. Sheffield voted on the Democratic ticket in
primaries and runoffs at least 13 times between 1990 and 2002 -- and then
"coincidentally" pulled a GOP ballot in March of this year as he began
Kent defended Sheffield to the Vine by saying Sheffield voted for Sonny
Perdue for governor. But the Vine flat-out calls Sheffield a L-I-A-R: he
gave $1,000 to Democrat Roy Barnes in 2001, and then gave him another
thousand bucks in 2002 after the Republican primary had already selected
Perdue as Barnes' challenger. Their question: Why give someone $2,000 and
then vote for the other guy?
"Sheffield is a sham who has been coached and told how to fill-out the
Christian Coalition survey to get an acceptable score," the Vinesters write.
"Kent is a huckster who is just as big a political fraud as Sheffield."
Bernes is drawing a broad coalition of local support, ranging from
rock-ribbed conservative Merle Temple to Democrat trial lawyer David Bell.
The Vine's take on Bernes? "Unlike Sheffield, she's not a liar, and she's
well-qualified for the seat." Ouch, again.
Banish punks, or die
The gunshots that scattered a couple of scuffling gangs at Augusta Mall last
weekend could signal the facility's last gasp unless its management cracks
down on troublemakers.
Regency Mall died when it failed to protect consumers -- i.e., people there
to spend money -- from rambling hordes of punks just looking for an indoor,
air-conditioned street corner to hang out on.
Shoppers migrated to Augusta Mall as Regency fell into anarchy. Now, the
Augusta Exchange is available as an alternative to the mall, and Columbia
County's growing retail market is luring shoppers further west.
The folks at Augusta Mall have a hard choice: Aggressively bulldoze
troublemakers off their property, or get ready to turn out the lights when
the last real shopper is frightened away.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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