As if gas prices didn't make it tough enough to be on the road these days, now my youngest daughter has her learner's permit.
Actually, I hope she does. We planned to go to the Department of Driver Services office Saturday, on Annie's 15th birthday, to get her signed up. If that didn't work out, it's gonna be a bad, bad weekend.
See, she has this all planned out. She knows the state requires new drivers to wait a year and a day after getting their learner's permit before testing for their driver's license.
She already looked ahead to see that her birthday next year falls on a Sunday, and DDS isn't open on Sunday. So if she gets her permit this year on her birthday, she'll be able to get her license a year and a day later next year - the first day DDS opens after her birthday.
Oh, I only hope she thinks ahead this much when she's driving.
Happy birthday, little bug.
Wise to skip fight
The state of Georgia got a little birthday present of its own last week when a group called the Consortium for Adequate School Funding decided to withdraw its lawsuit against the state.
Columbia County benefited, too.
The group, made up mostly of rural school systems, claims that the state hasn't lived up to its promise for school funding, and that the formula used is unfair - particularly to smaller systems.
The suit was getting close to trial last week when budget cuts in Fulton County, where the case was to be heard, forced the case to a different judge. Because that judge was a Republican who had been appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue, the consortium decided to withdraw the case with plans to file it again in a different court.
Perdue sent out an announcement that the suit thus far has cost more than $2 million, both for the consortium and for the state to fight it. And he railed against the planned venue change as "a transparent attempt at forum-shopping that undermines the most basic principles of this country's legal system and the rule of law."
Why do we care? Well, other than the fact that these are our tax dollars fighting this battle, it could have been much more expensive: In the consortium's planning stages, Columbia County's school board was invited to help foot the bill, but decided not to join.
Doing so would have meant cutting a check from local dollars to help pay for the consortium's lawyers in hopes that the suit would help improve local funding.
Board members took a better approach: Because the consortium plans to fight anyway, let them do it on their own - and we'll be one of the local school systems who will benefit anyway if they win.
Yeah, it's freeloading on someone else's effort. But because that effort is likely to fail, it's also smart.
They're out again
No sooner than I reported that the Columbia County Republican Party headquarters in Evans had plenty McCain-Palin yard signs, they ran out.
Party Chairwoman Deborah McCord told me this past weekend that she'd brought back enough signs from Atlanta to last until the next shipment this coming week.
Well. Party volunteer John Apostol said those 300 signs were gone by Tuesday. They still have plain McCain signs, along with buttons, bumper stickers and T-shirts - including the pink "pitbull with lipstick" shirt.
But no more McCain-Palin yard signs until around Thursday.
Meanwhile, for anyone interested, there's plenty of stuff for Democrats - though you have to go to party headquarters in Richmond County to track it down. They don't have an HQ in Columbia County this year.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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