One of the more-exciting, talked-about projects in recent years is the Marshal Place development in Evans. It is a stunning vision of Columbia County's future, a privately funded effort at making real the dream of an Evans town center.
And boy, did it hit a snag the other day -- all because of a hiccup in communication.
At a meeting of one of the county government's committees, planning officials presented commissioners with what appeared to be a bill for more than $500,000 for right-of-way acquisition for an extension of Ronald Reagan Drive to Industrial Park Drive.
Before this "bill" was presented, commissioners had understood that the Marshal Place developers were donating the land for the new road, which the county would build -- much like the partnership that provided access to Horizon North Industrial Park.
Having to not only build the road, but to buy the land to put it on, would bring the Ronald Reagan Drive project to a screeching halt -- and angry commissioners were threatening to pull the plug and do just that.
As Gilda Radner's confused Emily Latilla character would say, "Never mind."
One embarrassing day later, everyone figured out that the Marshal Place folks had not sent a bill; what they'd sent was the figures showing the value of what in fact still is the donation of land for Ronald Reagan Drive's extension.
And everyone heaved a sigh of relief --including me. I long ago suggested extending Ronald Reagan Drive, and without the Marshal Place donation of valuable land it would have been very expensive. Now we know how expensive.
It's practically poetic that so many Columbia County citizens in the past week drove down Ronald Reagan Drive to get to the Board of Elections office for early voting.
Even John Kerry supporters -- and yes, there are a few such misguided souls in Columbia County -- have to motor down the street named after the Republican icon, the late Great Communicator.
Most Columbia County voters likely don't mind at all, because they're voting for the re-election of the son of Reagan's vice-president. Four years ago, 37,606 Columbia County voters cast ballots, for a 64 percent turnout. Of those, 26,658 voted for the Bush-Cheney ticket, while 8,969 voted for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman - a GOP margin of 74.29 to 24.99 percent.
Where'd the other .72 percent of voters go? Can you name the other presidential candidates on the 2000 ballot?
I couldn't either, until I checked. They were Libertarians Harry Browne and Art Olivier, receiving 137 votes, for .38 percent; and America First Party candidates Pat Buchanan and Ezola Foster, with 120 votes, or .33 percent.
Here's a better question: Other than Bush-Cheney and Kerry-Edwards, do you know who else is on Georgia's presidential ballot this year?
I haven't voted yet, so me either. The only other candidates this year are Libertarians Michael Badnarik and Richard V. Campagna. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader didn't qualify for Georgia's ballot.
That probably suits the Democrats just fine. The latest head-to-head Georgia poll by Strategic Vision LLC. shows President Bush leading by 57 percent to John Kerry's 41 percent. When the pollsters offer a fill-in-the-blank alternative, Nader gets 1 percent -- and Kerry drops by 1 percent.
Twisted Chicken, RIP
It's sad to hear that The Twisted Chicken Cafe is closing, ending Tom and Susan Werner's brief foray into one of the toughest businesses there are.
The doors close today.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.)
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