During the Nov. 7 General Election, one of Columbia County's punks (not a candidate, but a middle-schooler) penciled in a prank bomb threat at Riverside Middle School.
The building was evacuated, which is standard procedure. What isn't standard is that a voting precinct also was evacuated - because the lobby of Riverside Middle is the site of one of the county's many voting precincts held at schools. The disruption caused the precinct to later remain open an extra 20 minutes to make up for the lost voting time.
Afterward, among the calls to the county's Board of Elections was from a citizen complaining that the board "endangers" the children by holding elections at schools.
Now, hang on a minute: Shouldn't the board of elections have been calling the school board, complaining that a 12-year-old endangered voters with a bomb threat? Yeesh.
Anyway, for the next General Election in two years, this shouldn't be a problem. The school board Tuesday night revised the 2007-08 school calendar so that the 2008 election day - a big one, with the presidential race and all county constitutional officers on the ballot - will be a student holiday.
That means only teachers will be tempted to write bomb threats on bathroom walls so they can get out of school. (Just kidding.)
Next one's bigger
While Tuesday's runoff is important, it pales in comparison to what will be at stake in 2008.
Not talking about presidential politics, either, when the nation will likely have a shot at Hillary Clinton (figuratively speaking).
Because of the way the Columbia County school board was redrawn from five district-elected members to four when the Legislature added the county-wide chairmanship, the system will go through a series of transitional elections to get the terms of board members and the chairman properly staggered.
The biggest potential turnover will come in 2008. The chairmanship that will be decided Tuesday is for a two-year term; it will be back on the ballot for a full four-year term in 2008.
In addition, the seats currently held by Wayne Bridges and Roxanne Whitaker are up for election for four-year terms in 2008; the seat held by Mike Sleeper is up for a two-year term. That means the 2008 election could potentially replace four of the five members on the board.
In 2010, the seats held by Sleeper and Mickie Blackburn are up for four-year terms, and in 2012 the chairman and the seats of Bridges and Whitaker will be elected to four-year terms.
Of course, school board elections aren't the only things that will be on that ballot. Plenty of people are wondering if U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood, now a minority member of Congress, will go for another term. If he doesn't, expect a stampede of local politicians hoping to hop to D.C.
EMS is coming down
Destruction is just around the corner.
Thompson Building Wrecking Co., of Augusta, is getting ready to knock down the old Evans Middle School to make way for a new development, still rumored to be Home Depot.
And not a moment too soon; with only Ace Hardware, Mulherin Lumber, Howard Lumber and the soon-to-open Lowe's all within a half-mile of the intersection, I've really been worried about the scarcity of hardware stores in Evans. (And yes, I'm being sarcastic.)
What's a little funny is that Thompson currently is suing the city of Augusta because of a bidding dispute in which the city gave a demolition contract to a Columbia County company. Now Thompson, an Augusta company, is getting ready to undertake the biggest demolition project ever in Columbia County.
I hope they save us a few bricks.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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