First, a correction. In my column Nov. 24, I noted that Columbia County commissioners turned down a rezoning that would have allowed higher-density housing on Hereford Farm Road.
Unfortunately, I compounded incorrect information that had appeared earlier in a News-Times story by reporting the wrong name of the developer. It wasn't Jake Ivey (sorry, Mr. Ivey); he had nothing to do with it. His son, Mark, was involved only as a representative of the engineering firm presenting the rezoning on behalf of the actual developer, Hereford Farm Development LLC.
It's still good news that the county rejected allowing 90-something homes on the plot currently zoned for just over 60. But I put the wrong guy in the loser's hat.
While we're at it, Jake Ivey didn't get enough praise for backing off of another Hereford Farm Road development when the school system belatedly expressed interest in the property; it's now the site that will become the new Evans Middle School and the new school system administration building.
Sign of the times
Politically savvy Jim Cox of Southeastern Marketing has printed up some heavily in-demand bumper stickers. The blue-and-white decals read, "The last person out of Richmond County, Turn Off the Lights!"
They've disappeared as fast as he's shown them off, and no wonder: There's a general sense, at least from the Columbia County perspective, that our neighbor to the east is melting down.
It's been downright bewildering to watch Woody Merry and his Citizens Action Committee attempt to work with Augusta's commissioners. Often-erratic Augusta commissioner Andy Cheek, who has made a one-man show out of attacking the volunteer group, even had the gall to say commissioners "lost confidence" in Merry after he criticized them.
Really? Augusta commissioners expressing lack of confidence in anyone is like prostitutes questioning their customers' morality.
Merrys has been weirdly optimistic in expecting Augusta commissioners to recognize their problems - much less to actually work on them. A hard core of that group is either entirely oblivious to its own cluelessness, or worse, it is expecting the ruination of the city to give them an inheritance when all the producers flee across the Columbia County border.
That philosophy was shared by Lucifer in Dante's Inferno: Better to rule in hell than serve in heaven. So, if you hear someone say Augusta is going to hell in a hand-basket, maybe it's a literary reference, not a literal one. Just make sure when it's all gone, there's someone around to turn off the lights lest we're stuck with the power bill.
Road finally opens
Just a decade after they started, road contractors are opening the expanded Furys Ferry Road between Baston Road and Riverwatch Parkway this week.
The rest of the widening project, from Baston to Blackstone Camp Road, will presumably be completed before our grandchildren get their learner's permits.
Only kidding on the decade. It's actually been just over a year since that first section went over its August 2003 deadline. But anyone who has sat in that backed-up traffic knows how time grinds to a halt.
It would be great if we could talk the state Department of Transportation out of their ridiculous plan to divide Washington Road with concrete medians. But if we can't, at least we can count on the slow pace of construction to delay it.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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