If it's not gloom, it's a steady diet of doom we're hearing regarding the economy.
Gas is too expensive, cost of food is rising, people in some nondescript foreign country are probably going to cook Sally Struthers to survive. Or just because she's so whiny.
But I have proof that America has no scarcity of food. And no, I'm not making a joke about Struthers' weight.
It's at Marshall Square.
Seriously. I know, there's still nothing built on the Evans development, even though there apparently is a big-time restaurant coming. The proof that food is plentiful is waving in the breeze, as American as the line from the song most people wish was the national anthem.
Yep. Marshall Square is covered with "amber waves of grain."
I'm guessing it's winter wheat, sown on the property for erosion control. Once building starts, it'll be flattened and buried under concrete, asphalt and landscaping.
But in the meantime, the site is covered in nearly mature wheat stalks fat with grain. That relatively small amount of wheat won't be harvested, but somewhere, in a poor, foreign country, there is a hungry person that would gladly grind that grain to bake bread.
It would be better than a Struthers stew, I'm sure.
Meanwhile, speaking of foreign countries, it surely warmed everyone's heart this week to hear that gas in Saudi Arabia, where President Bush was visiting, costs 64 cents per gallon.
Maybe we should resurrect the farmers' protest from the 1970s: A bushel of wheat for a barrel of oil.
Storms not so bad
Still speaking of foreign countries, the misery from natural disasters in Myanmar and China sure put our weather in perspective.
The past few days we've seen images from tornado destruction around Georgia, including Jefferson County. Our neighbors to the south were hit last month, and then last week nearly 250 homes were damaged.
But the two Asian disasters have a death toll already climbing past 100,000.
If ever there was a time for us to be thankful, this is probably it.
Speaking of thanksgiving, some of the community's public servants might want to thank Allen's Country Store owner Paul Dhillon.
In what he's calling a "community outreach," Dhillon is giving 10 cent per gallon gasoline discounts to teachers and college students (Mondays), veterans and military personnel (Tuesdays), senior citizens (Wednesdays) and emergency services personnel (Thursdays).
Dhillon knows it's tough to convince the general public that gas station owners aren't the ones getting rich from high gas prices. While 10 cents won't make a huge dent in $3.75 gas, it sure is a nice gesture.
Into the sunset
So it seems Tom Dorhmann is retiring.
The Athens paper reports that Dohrmann - who served a stormy tenure in Columbia County - is leaving as superintendent of Oconee County Schools.
He's been superintendent since 2005. The Athens reporter covering the story told me Dohrmann "wants to spend more time with his family."
For those of you who don't remember, among the issues the anti-Dohrmann crowd used to chase him from Columbia County were allegations of an inappropriate relationship with teacher Beth Trotter.
Everyone denied it - until Dohrmann married her a couple of years ago.
Well, best of luck to him on retirement. And now maybe the Columbia County Board of Education can consider putting his portrait on the back wall of the board chambers, in the gallery the pictures of all other former superintendents. Dohrmann's image is conspicuously absent.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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