Columbia County's Board of Education held its first scheduled board meeting Tuesday at the new board office on Hereford Farm Road.
It wasn't the first meeting there, however; that distinction goes to a called budget session held the afternoon of June 6.
In any event, every citizen attending future sessions at the new office - which system employees jokingly call "the palace" - will see a piece of history when they step past the school system's seal inlaid on the floor at the entrance to the board meeting room.
Former Columbia County School Superintendent Don Thornhill dropped by recently, and noted that he's the one who designed that seal.
It was around 1971 that Thornhill was assistant to then-Superintendent John Pierce Blanchard. The new school board building was being completed in Appling, and Blanchard wanted a seal. He gave Thornhill the job.
The result was the simple, yet elegant seal with a "lamp of learning" in the middle, and the words "Citizenship" and "Scholarship" in a circle around it. Thornhill enlisted the help of local artist Bill Blackard in creating the seal.
That original, hand-painted wooden plaque has hung for more than 30 years on the front of the school board members' platform at the Appling meeting room. Bringing a little of the old office to the new, the seal will now be displayed at the new board office, says Pam Zgutowicz, Superintendent Tommy Price's secretary.
This will give The News-Times something in common with the school board: Blackard also painted the sign that once hung on the newspaper building, which stood on Roberts Road at the site of what is now Abilene Baptist Church's Family Life Center.
Back then Blanchard's family owned The News-Times, so it's no surprise Blackard would do the artwork for both.
Just as Price's staff preserved the original school board seal, I rescued Blackard's hand-painted sign when the old News-Times building was demolished. It now hangs on the wall in my office.
Uh-oh. I've been reported to Hatquarters.
Really, "Hatquarters." That's what the Red Hat Society members call their national office. I've been reported to it because I poked fun at the ladies recently.
The society is built around the idea that once women reach a certain age it's perfectly OK for them to wear tacky outfits and have fun.
Apparently they took offense when I had fun at their expense, and thought I was implying they were lesbians. That wasn't my intention (implying they are lesbians, that is; I did mean to poke fun at them).
In any event, to all the offended Red Hatters who are now Mad Hatters, I apologize.
A final note
Columbia County Democrats hoped to bring in a couple of candidates for statewide office recently, but managed only to get a staffer for one of the lieutenant governor hopefuls.
Columbia County's Republicans will try to do better Saturday, when all statewide GOP hopefuls are invited to the party's monthly breakfast. Many are likely to attend, some for the second or third time.
Why do so few Democrats travel here, while the Republicans get repeat visits? It's simple: There are enough GOP votes here to swing a statewide race. But there are too few Democratic votes in the county to make much difference.
Willie Sutton famously said he robbed banks because that's where the money is. By that analogy Columbia County is big money for the Republicans, but it's barely pocket change for the Democrats.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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