In a week full of announcements, the funniest - unintentionally - came from the National Weather Service.
This past week was Severe Weather Week, coinciding with the coming springtime storms and the pending hurricane season. There was a different educational event scheduled each day.
But on Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued this bulletin, through the office of Columbia County Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker: "due to the possibility of severe weather in our area tomorrow, the Tornado Drill will be postponed until Friday morning at 9 a.m."
Not since a recent "global warming" conference was canceled because of ice has the weather been this uncooperative.
Speaking of cooperation, some of state Sen. Jim Whitehead's folks are being sore winners regarding state Rep. Barry Fleming's magnanimous decision to drop out of the race for the 10th District congressional seat formerly held by the late Charlie Norwood.
All the laudatory post-announcement commentary on Fleming's withdrawal was "awfully nice," one of them told me somewhat sarcastically, adding "Barry knew he was going to get his butt beat."
Ah, me. No good deed goes unpunished. Still, whatever their hyper-confident prognostications for the race, even Whitehead's more fervent supporters have to agree that his path to Congress got considerably easier - especially in Columbia County - when Fleming stepped aside.
The path certainly got more crowded this week. In addition to Whitehead, state Sen. Ralph Hudgens and Terry Holley, Augusta businesswoman Jackie Poteet, Athens physician Paul Broun Jr. and ex-football player Willie Green announced their intent to run.
Locally, though, the question still unanswered is who will be in the race to fill Whitehead's 24th District state Senate seat.
Brett McGuire, the interim Chamber of Commerce director and Whitehead's campaign manager, helped Whitehead get elected three years ago. He makes no secret of the fact that he intended to run for Whitehead's state Senate when Whitehead stepped down, or perhaps Diane Ford's County Commission seat if it came open sooner than Whitehead's.
Instead, Whitehead has asked him to come to Washington with him (assuming victory). That leaves a rare open seat in the state Senate.
Bill Jackson, the former state representative from Appling, says he'd like to run. Columbia County Associate Magistrate Judge Bobby Christine, who had been encouraged to seek Norwood's seat, also is thinking about it. Other potential candidates are likely to emerge by the time of qualifying, which won't be until late May.
The governor on Thursday called for a special election for the 10th District seat to be held June 19, giving both Whitehead and Hudgens time to finish up this legislative session before resigning to run. The race for the 24th District state Senate seat will be held at the same time, so announcements and qualifying will all come in a couple of months.
Unless, I suppose, we have bad weather.
County commissioners each February, during Black History Month, issue a proclamation in honor of a county resident.
This year's honor goes to Jarthur Harris, of Harlem. He's an awesome man with a tremendous history (we touched on it in a News-Times story April 19, 2006). He's just one of many of this county's treasures.
Congratulations, Mr. Harris.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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