One more thing I noticed recently on that long trip to and from Valdosta along U.S. 221:
Montgomery County apparently has more pull with the state Department of Transportation than Treutlen County.
The state-maintained highway is covered in a smooth coat of new asphalt from one end of Montgomery County to the other. But coming north, the instant you cross into Treutlen County the road gets rougher than Reynolds Street.
It really is striking: The new asphalt stops right at the county line. You have to wonder who the Treutlen County commissioners ticked off.
Anyway, speaking of people being ticked off, I imagine there are some unhappy political folks thanks to the leak of a series of e-mails between a Columbia County Republican Party official and representatives from the two 10th District congressional candidates.
If authentic - and it certainly seems to be - the group of e-mails are part of a conversation between the county GOP chairman Debbie McCord, Paul Broun campaign representative Tim Echols and Barry Fleming spokesman Cam Kirbo regarding a potential debate between the two Republican candidates.
The entire exchange eventually arrived by way of a Broun critic not directly associated with Fleming's camp, so it's necessary to take a grain of salt when evaluating the message - particularly when it's impossible to know what was left in and what was cut.
In essence, the biggest gripe focuses on these lines purported to be from Echols, placing conditions on a Columbia County debate:
"We only have two stipulations: first, the candidates will not ask one another questions; second, there will be no 'random' questions not pre-screened by the panelists, or any questions not related to public policy or issues before the US Congress."
The leaker lampoons these stipulations in light of Broun's complaints last year during the campaign about Jim Whitehead's seeming reluctance to debate.
No one who has seen the exchange is surprised at the conditions, though; Fleming is, after all, an attorney and skilled debater, and has been in the give and take of the state Legislature for six years. Conversely, though Broun had run for office three times before, he is a physician and never held public office until less than a year ago.
We don't know if Fleming's folks have accepted the restrictions. What we do know is that the debate, if it happens, will take place at the Columbia County Library (perhaps at the performing arts center?) June 20 or 21, sometime between 4 and 10 p.m.
Good men gone
Our area lost a couple of giants in the past few days.
First was Dr. Stephen Brown, founder of Brown and Radiology Associates and a member of The Augusta National. Closer to home, however, he was the father of Steve Brown, the former Columbia County commissioner.
Then, this past week, we lost David Foster.
Foster was one of those guys you wish everyone had an opportunity to meet. He was publisher of outdoor magazines for Morris Communications, and wrote a history column for Augusta Magazine where his wife, Sherry, is editor. Their daughter attends Augusta Prep.
He was one of the most delightful people in the world to talk to. Actually, to listen to; any conversation was mostly listening to him tell stories about absolutely everything from history to hunting.
Both Brown and Foster died after long illnesses, so their passing wasn't unexpected. That certainly doesn't make the loss any easier.
May their families find comfort in fond memories.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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