Well, the week some people have been waiting for - people who, like me, who need a better hobby than watching political winds blow.
This is the week of qualifying for non-partisan races. There are three of them in Columbia County: The race for the superior court judge's post to which Chief Judge William Fleming isn't seeking re-election, the race for a school board seat and the first-ever race for a countywide elected school board chairman.
Qualifying ends Friday. As it began, the first candidate out of the starting blocks was Regina Buccafusco. Back in January she was the first to announce her intention to run for the new school board leadership post, and now is the first to qualify.
Lawrence Hammond also will be in the race, but one person who won't: Gene Sullivan.
Sullivan, a former Columbia County high school principal and retired associate superintendent of Richmond County schools, had plenty of people twisting his arm to run. He just didn't want to put up with the headaches.
Now that Tommy Price has announced his pending retirement as Columbia County school superintendent, expect those same arm-twisters to try to put Sullivan's name in the hat as his replacement.
And expect a big debate over whether the new superintendent is the product of an executive search, or promoted from within the system.
Whomever is eventually hired, it's important to remember that the person elected as school board chairman and the person elected to the District 2 school board post currently held by Mickey Blackburn (who is running for re-election) will do the hiring. That should make this year's races important to everyone - not just political junkies.
Somewhat belated congratulations go out to the Rev. Bill Harrell, pastor of Abilene Baptist Church in Martinez, and to Dr. Frank Page, former pastor of Warren Baptist Church, just a couple of miles down Washington Road and right across the county line in west Augusta.
Harrell recently was elected by acclimation as chairman of the executive board of the Southern Baptist Convention. His elevation to the post was expected, but is nonetheless an honor - both to him and to the large, solid congregation he has served for more than 25 years.
Page, who now pastors First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., won a first-ballot, three-way race for the presidency.
The new positions speak to the importance of our area to Baptists, the largest Protestant denomination.
Congratulations to Harrell and Page.
Goodbye Peach Man
Bill Kirby covered it better than I could have with his column the other day, but I, too, was saddened to hear of the death of Frank "The Peach Man" Buck.
There we were, enjoying vacation, when the news hit. Frank had just returned from dinner with his wife, Sue, when he collapsed and died this past Thursday. Just out of the blue, and there you go.
Frank was enjoying his retirement from the newspaper business with a fruit stand at the corner of Furys Ferry and North Belair roads, in the parking lot of the former Tracker Jacks store, not far from where I live.
I'd stop by every now and then to buy a few things, and each year tried to let readers know when he first opened up. He was always such an upbeat, positive, friendly guy, the absolute best kind of salesman. Frank was the best kind of man, period.
They moved his stand across the street, but it's still open. The show goes on, but the showman has moved on. Rest in peace, Frank.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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