It's a boy!
Little Gavin Todd Rowell, son of veteran News-Times staff writer Valerie Rowell - jokingly called Lois Lane by local cops and firefighters - made his debut Thursday.
You'd never know he's the first-born child of a reporter, though; the little guy missed his deadline by a couple of days. He originally was due Monday, but with help from modern medicine he finally was coaxed into filing his new life's story at 2:20 p.m. Thursday, weighing in at 7 pounds, 14 ounces.
Gavin, his mom and father Greg are all doing fine. Congratulations to them.
Case of bad carma'
I'm glad Valerie had such good luck this week. I've had a case of very bad karma.
Or, should I say, carma.
It all started early in the week with a call from my oldest. The little leak in her radiator had gotten worse, she'd failed to monitor the temperature gauge, and there she sat with a smoking engine on the side of River Watch Parkway.
After a little cool-down time we limped it around the corner to the nice folks at Butler Automotive, where two days and $1,200 later we had a new radiator and a new intake manifold gasket.
Meanwhile, I have a bone to pick with Richmond County's finest. While my daughter sat on the side of the highway with her hood up in the universal sign of motorist in distress, waiting on her dad to come from Evans, not a single deputy stopped to check on her.
No big deal, right? Except that on my trip down I saw no fewer than five separate sheriff's cars and motorcycles on River Watch Parkway where they were using radar to catch speeders.
At one point my daughter thought a deputy was going to check on her, because he came up behind her car with his blue lights on. But all he did is pull over a speeder about 75 feet in front of her car. And he never even looked her way.
Stopping speeders fits the "protecting" role of the cops' motto. Perhaps they need a little remedial work on the "serve" portion.
Anyway. While that car was being fixed, my daughter used my truck to get to school. I drove my wife's minivan and dropped her off at work the next morning. A few minutes later, while stopped in the turning lane on Industrial Park Drive approaching Washington Road, Wham! A big honkin' Chevy Tahoe rear-ended the minivan.
Just as I'm holding my neck and pondering which phone-book lawyer to call, the driver sheepishly apologizes and explains. He'd just bought a soft drink at the store on the corner, and it spewed when he opened it. He yanked his foot off the brake to avoid soaking his crotch, and nearly made me wet mine instead.
At least his insurance is picking up the tab for that repair. Between car trouble and gas shortages, walking to work is sounding better every day.
Speaking of walking, there is a small but growing undercurrent that I'm hearing in regard to the county's upcoming sales tax referendum.
The grumbling boils down to this: The county plans to spend $4 million on a parking deck for bureaucrats at the Government Complex, but isn't putting a dime into sidewalks for citizens.
County commissioners obviously recognize this omission. That's why, after the outcry over the lack of sidewalks on Mullikin Road where a teacher recently was struck and killed, they found a few thousand bucks here and there from the current sales tax to spend on a smattering of sidewalks.
If the idea is to make citizens feel better, though, it might be too little, too late - because it's doubtful a single bucket of concrete will be poured before citizens vote on the referendum.
If they're mad enough, they might just tell commissioners to take a walk.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.)
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