Now that Kohl's and Target are open, and motorists are swarming to Mullins Crossing like SUV-driving ants, we probably ought to have a driving seminar so folks learn to get in and out of the place.
First, when you come in the entrance, keep going. Traffic coming across has stop signs; you don't. While at Chick-fil-A's ribbon-cutting Wednesday, and later at Kohl's rainy opening, I couldn't help but notice all the confused drivers coming in the entrance and just stopping.
It's a good traffic plan, designed to get people off Washington and Owens roads and into the center quickly. Stopping for the non-existent stop sign bogs it down.
Second, I predict, very soon, a horrific accident at the convenient entrance just west of the main entrance. It's designed so motorists can bypass the main entrance when they leave the center and go west, and to allow west-bound motorists a second entry route.
It's not made for east-bound motorists to hook a near U-turn and avoid the light at the main entrance. Plenty of daredevils are doing it, and it's just a matter of time before one of them gets nailed.
Despite all the confusion, once inside the place you have to marvel that Columbia County has something like this. Most of us are probably still amazed; all these years, we've grown accustomed to the quaint idea that the businesses and jobs were in Augusta, and we were supposed to work and spend our money there and just lay our heads and educate our kids here.
The view is pervasive. At Augusta Magazine's Best of Augusta Bash Thursday, an adviser for one of Augusta's mayoral candidates told me flatly that Columbia County should just accept its status as Augusta's bedroom.
Guess she needs to come shopping.
The so-called bedroom community is quickly becoming a full house. Heck, just the fact that Kohl's is here means you no longer have to cross the county line to find a decent dress shirt. The drop-off in my wife's shoe-shopping forays alone will probably cause a dip in Augusta's revenues.
Columbia County will (generally) put the tax revenue to good use, especially in the schools that need the money to keep up with the children from all those people now sleeping here.
Some of it will come in handy, too, for traffic cops to keep up with all the fender-benders as we collide head-on with progress.
Charlie makes grade
U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood has plenty of progress to brag about these days. He's one of the few national lawmakers doing something about illegal immigration, as some of his proposals make their way toward law. He recently helped get funding for new interstate highways in Georgia. And he's looking forward to running in a newly redrawn congressional district.
Norwood also can brag about fiscal responsibility, thanks to a new Hero of the Taxpayer Award from Citizens Against Government Waste.
The award goes to congressmen who score 80 percent or better on key spending votes: according to CAGW, Norwood scored a 92.
Just when we need more like him, however, we've got fewer. Norwood's office reports that of 435 House members, only 59 received this year's award - down from 68 in 2003.
Charlie scores an A, but Congress gets an F.
Be there for the kids
Parents: Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., Lakeside High School Auditorium: District Attorney Danny Craig will tell you what you need to know about keeping your teenagers out of trouble.
Unfortunately, the ones who most need to hear it won't be there. That just means those who attend will need to be twice as attentive - both at the forum, and later when their children are interacting with the kids of parents who don't pay attention.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.)
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