Just as a temporary loss of refinery capacity after Hurricane Katrina led to a spike in gas prices, I'm sure we can now expect a short-term increase in the cost of bootleg CDs and knockoff purses now that the south Augusta flea market has burned down.
Sadly, a lot of other legit livelihoods are knocked out, too. And the fire gave us a tiny, if local, taste of how tough firefighters have it in south Georgia.
We're lucky that part of the state is so sparsely populated. Most of the land that has been burned in wildfires near Waycross is unpopulated swamp- and timber-land.
Those of us in the newspaper or building business might not be so lucky. With more than 100,000 acres of timber burned, it's bound to have an impact on paper and lumber prices.
Most of us can survive just fine without a trip to the flea market. Keeping newspapers and new homes inexpensive might be a little tougher.
There isn't much tougher right now than weather conditions in south Georgia, where even the promise of rain this past weekend instead brought a cruel twist: lightning that sparked four new fires.
Local firefighters continue to help out with battling the blaze, and they still need donations for items to help with their comfort. We're still collecting here at The News-Times office through Friday at noon, and donations also can be taken to any Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue station.
It says a lot about how much these guys are on their feet by the fact that one of the top-requested items is Moleskin, the stuff you put on blisters. But any donations would, I'm sure, be greatly appreciated.
Still a miracle?
One note about natural disasters: Did you hear that when the entire town of Greensburg, Kansas was wiped out by a massive tornado this past weekend, the only thing left standing amid the wreckage was a small church?
What do you think the message is there?
Well, scratch it. It didn't happen. The one thing left standing was the town's only bar. Gives a different twist, doesn't it?
Republicans in the 10th District are mourning the loss of Jeff Davis, a Laurens County Republican who was killed Friday morning in a plane crash in Asheville, N.C.
Columbia County GOP Chairman Deborah McCord says locals last saw Davis, the former 10th and 12th District party chairman, at the 10th District Convention in March.
She described Davis as "a great friend of Charlie Norwood, Sonny Perdue and all Republicans in all of Georgia."
Another victim in the crash had local ties: Rodney Connell, a retired cop from Cobb County, is the son of Sara Connell, a Martinez resident. A memorial service for Mr. Connell will be held Thursday at The Sanctuary Church.
The expectation here at Pundit Central was that three candidates would qualify this week to run for the 24th District state Senate seat vacated with the resignation of Jim Whithead, who is running for the 10th District U.S. House seat vacated with the death of Charlie Norwood.
Further, the expectation was that Bill Jackson would be the favorite, followed by Brett McGuire, with relative unknown Lee Benedict bringing up the rear.
Well, surprise, surprise: As soon as qualifying opened Tuesday morning in Atlanta, Scott Nichols - one of the county's top crusaders for impact fees - also signed up to run. He says getting impact fees for school construction ranks as one of his top issues.
Nichols, the county's Democratic Party chairman, last ran for county commission in November, losing to Ron Thigpen. He'll throw a curve ball into this game.
Locals in doubt
As the time draws closer for the Grovetown Merchants Association stump meeting Thursday at Liberty Park, the lineup for candidates has been set.
Seven of the 10 candidates in the 10th District U.S. House race have accepted an invitation to attend; all three candidates in the 24th District state Senate race plan to come.
Strangely enough, of the three candidates who won't attend or haven't answered the invitations, two are from right here in Columbia County. Nate Pulliam of Conyers hasn't responded; nor has Evita Paschall, an Evans resident. Jim Whitehead, also of Evans, has a previously scheduled commitment and can't attend. He's sending a stand-in.
Whitehead's fund-raising just eclipsed the $400,000 mark Friday, by the way - which partly explains why, despite not being here Thursday, he's considered the front-runner in the race.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.