Nancy Beasley grew up as my nearest unrelated "next-door" neighbor in Winfield, a mere quarter-mile down the dirt road.
She's been married a long time, however, to Gary Blanchard. When I mentioned the other day that the two are looking for items for a planned display commemorating the old Leah High School, I accidentally referred to them by her old last name rather than the their current last name.
Sorry about that.
To reiterate, anyone with items related to the school should call the Blanchards at (706) 541-0043.
Thursday was the grand opening and "board cutting" at the new Home Depot, in Evans. Friday was Pearl Harbor Day.
Well, yeah. But I'm sure to the folks down the street at Culpepper Ace Hardware, that opening is about like the beginning of World War III.
Already battling Lowe's and, to some extent, Wal-Mart, the Evans Ace hardware store is now facing a second big-box home improvement store in the same neighborhood.
We already know the highway impact of Lowe's, which rerouted an entire road and spawned a new traffic signal. The Home Depot got two traffic signals of its own.
Less visible is the impact on Ace Hardware's foot-traffic. The little guys are outnumbered. But at least no one can claim it was a sneak-attack.
Whew! George Snelling really beat up on me in his letter Wednesday, didn't he? Bless his heart, as we say in the country when we mean something much worse. Luckily my skin is pretty thick, so that sort of stuff doesn't bother me.
But taking a shot at my wife? Them's fightin' words.
No sense thumping all the half-truths masquerading as profundities in Snelling's letter. But I really do need to address his claim that because my wife is a public-school principal, I have a "vested interest in maximum tax collections."
He's entitled to his opinion. But since we're talking "vested interests," how about these:
Records from Columbia County and the Georgia Secretary of State's Office show George Snelling and at least a dozen corporations he controls have various Columbia County land-holdings with assessed value of more than $25 million. Do you think Snelling might have a "vested interest" in House Speaker Glenn Richardson's GREAT plan to eliminate property taxes - even though impartial studies warn that the proposal would create an illegal state deficit of as much as $6 billion?
Snelling also bristled that I had the audacity to criticize public officials, including Barry Fleming, a co-sponsor of Richardson's plan. What Snelling fails to disclose is that, this year alone, he's already donated $4,600 to Barry Fleming's congressional campaign (according to the Federal Election Commission). Is it possible that Snelling has a "vested interest" in shielding Fleming from criticism?
My "vested interest"? It's in pointing out what I see as an attempt to reward big property owners with huge tax breaks - at the expense of this community, and to the detriment of those of us who don't have millions to spend on political influence.
Incidentally, other than the most frequent criticism - that it won't work - a big problem with Richardson's GREAT plan is that it's a moving target. He constantly trots out new versions of it to sidestep critics.
In the newest plan, floated last week, Richardson said he no longer wants to end property taxes that go to counties and cities. Instead he would remove only taxes that pay for schools.
At least no one can accuse him of lacking guts; he made the proposal in a speech to the Georgia School Boards Association.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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