Ask, and ye shall receive... salsa.
The other day, I noted that U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Robert Oborne, stationed in Dahlgren, Va., was looking for help with a complicated scavenger hunt.
Oborne, who is in a class of candidates for promotion to chief petty officer, was searching for a 17.5 ounce jar of "Laredo and Lefty's" mild salsa. He contacted me after he found an online News-Times story about the condiment.
The salsa isn't made any more, but Trip Nanney, of Evans, happened to have a few jars. That's because his wife, Jamie, owns the company that made Pedro and Lefty's Salsa. (I'm hoping Oborne had the name wrong, and Pedro's will do the trick.)
Trip said the business, headquartered in Evans, just didn't work out. They still have a few cases left and dole it out to die-hard customers - and, in this case, to a desperate sailor.
The jars come only in 16-ounce sizes, but Oborne expected such shenanigans from the evaluators who put together the scavenger hunt. He'll just repackage and weigh the salsa until it's the right amount.
Thanks to the Nanneys, maybe the sailors will be able to avoid a few push-ups before they finally get their promotions.
That's Maj. Christine
Speaking of promotions, congratulations to Bobby Christine, Columbia County's associate magistrate.
Christine, who serves in the Georgia National Guard, received the paperwork this past week notifying him that he has been promoted to major.
The former captain spent two tours in Iraq, and lately has been spending much of his part-time Guard duty performing tasks related to posting National Guard troops on the border with Mexico.
Selling the bond
County officials are going to need a strong promotional effort if the bond referendum they've approved has a chance at passage.
Their next step is to provide information that will convince taxpayers that the projects in the $43 million bond are worth a 1-mill property tax increase.
The timing could hardly be worse: Tax bills just hit the mailboxes, and it could be tough to convince taxpayers to pay more.
The county's educational effort is supposed to begin soon with a pamphlet spelling out the details of the bond referendum. Though there will undoubtedly be plenty of sugar-coating, there are a couple of items that will leave a bitter taste.
First is $4.8 million for the Evans town center park. Commissioners bought the land from Doctors Hospital just a few months ago; $4 million from the bond would repay the county's reserve fund for the purchase price. The rest of the money would go to some minor work to improve the new park.
The problem is that most citizens will wonder why the county seems to be spending so much more money on a park that's already been purchased - and one that many citizens want to be left in as close to a natural state as possible anyway.
A smaller, but no less problematic, item in the capital improvements list is $1 million for Bowen Pond dredging. The residents of West Lake and Stevens Pointe lobbied fiercely to keep the item on the list, and Commissioners Steve Brown and Tommy Mercer couldn't muster the votes to delete it.
Residents of other neighborhoods in the county that have already paid to dredge their own silted-up ponds (Jones Creek, Springlakes) probably won't be too keen on the idea of raising their taxes to make it easier for West Lake to pump water for irrigating its golf course.
That had better be one whiz-bang brochure if this thing is going to pass.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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