Some tinsel is still hanging, a few needles still cling to the drying-out tree and the yuppie dumpsters are sitting at curb bulging with boxes and wrapping paper.
But don't take down those stockings yet! It seems that once again Santa missed a few stops in his travels around the world, so it's time for The News-Times to deliver our annual list of Christmas gifts that the bearded elf forgot.
- First, for the Georgia Department of Transportation: their very own dee-luxe edition of the Rand-McNally 2007 Road Atlas, United States Large Scale Edition. (We understand this is the one Santa uses so that he doesn't miss such obscure places as Evans and Martinez.)
- For the residents of West Lake and Stevens Pointe: a package of 17,519 pre-printed "Thank you" notes. That will be enough to send to every Columbia County voter who said "yes" on the water bond referendum that will provide $1 million to clean the silt out of Bowen Pond. Before the vote, some of the residents of the area acted more entitled to the money than a 70-year-old on Senior Citizen Day; surely the only reason they haven't said "thanks" since the vote is that they were all out of notes.
- For John Graham: at least 10 new Columbia County Adopt-a-Stream volunteers. Graham's near single-handed success in building the stream-monitoring program is a testament to his perseverance and focus, and it has enabled him to build a solid core of helpers to monitor the health of the county's streams - many of which, as Bowen Pond demonstrates, are under serious assault from over-development.
- For Columbia County's Legislative Delegation: a copy of Georgia State University's study demonstrating that, in most cases, residential growth does not, in fact, pay for itself, along with a copy of the Columbia County Impact Fee Study Committee's final report. The two documents should provide all the ammunition they need to push hard for a change in the law to allow school impact fees.
- For incoming Columbia County School Board Chairman Regina Buccafusco: a copy of Managing Transition: Making the Most of Change by William Bridges (no relation, as far as we know, to outgoing chairman Wayne Bridges). Buccafusco will have her hands full taking over as the county's first elected chairman, with the vital task of guiding the appointment of a successor to retiring Superintendent Tommy Price. (Because of its appropriate title we were going to recommend the book Turf Management in the Transition Zone by John Dunn - but then realized it's a book about growing grass.)
- For Columbia County's much-loved but low-paid lunchroom workers: a raise so they won't be tempted to take pudding cups from the lunch-line garbage.
- For area auto dealers: a recording of "Pop! Goes the Weasel." That's the only thing missing from the recent musical-chairs changes in the area's dealer ownership.
- Finally, for Harlem Mayor Scott Dean, his wife Renee and their two sons: a smooth adoption of the five orphans from Guatemala who will be added to their family this year. If anyone knows what Christmas is all about, it's this blessed family who could give lessons in generosity to the rest of us.
Merry Christmas to all, and Happy New Year!
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