The small staff of a small newspaper can't be everywhere and cover everything. We know we won't make it to each individual meeting or event.
We try to make up for that by keeping an eye on the big picture. But that doesn't mean our absence isn't felt when something happens and we aren't there.
That was the case this past Tuesday, when Hereford Farm Road residents met with county officials to hear plans for widening the road. We weren't there. No other media covered it, either, but more is expected from the community's newspaper, so I understand some of those residents were upset that we didn't show up.
Mostly, though, those residents are upset about the road-widening plans.
"I never saw so much BS coming out the mouths of the county employees," one of them wrote to me. "They were telling people half the story."
Those who hadn't been following this issue were shocked to find that the county plans to widen Hereford Farm not just from North Belair to Gibbs and Cox roads, but all the way to Interstate 20.
Those who have been reading the paper, though, likely wouldn't be surprised at all.
Nearly 10 years ago, the state Department of Transportation decided to change the route of the River Watch Parkway extension.
The route originally would have followed Old Petersburg Road, crossed Old Evans Road, run through what is now Mullins Crossing, and connected with Washington Road at Owens Road. Columbia County officials and very vocal residents of the Brandon Wilde retirement community opposed that route, and persuaded the DOT to move the expressway.
As a result, the River Watch extension now will follow Old Evans Road to Washington Road and connect at Town Center Drive - which becomes Hereford Farm Road.
Any residents along Hereford Farm, then, could have seen this coming for a decade - which meant Tuesday's meeting probably didn't tell them anything they didn't already suspect.
If they weren't aware, or still aren't, they could perhaps get sympathy from the residents of Jamaica Court - at least, from those still left. A couple of years ago, the DOT bought out many of the homes in that Evans neighborhood as it began preparing the route for the River Watch extension.
Because so much has been written in the past about the River Watch extension, Tuesday's meeting would not have told those Hereford Farm residents anything they hadn't already had an opportunity to hear. But just in case, here is a warning to everyone: If you live along any connector road in Columbia County, you can assume that at some point in the future the road in front of your house is going to be widened and will have more traffic on it.
For example, the county and DOT for several years have been planning to extend William Few Parkway. That won't change much on the southern portion at Chamblin Road. But on the north end, William Few will connect with Hardy-McManus Road on its way to Furys Ferry.
So: If you live along Hardy-McManus, sometime in the future you could lose part of your yard as the road in front of your house is widened.
We'll try to be there for the meeting when they get around to telling you about it, but by then it'll be old news.
Some really old news
Congratulations to Pete and Barbara Knox of Appling, who today celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
I ran into the happy couple the other day and asked Miss Barbara about getting married on Pearl Harbor Day. It was something she's obviously heard before, so she was ready with a quip: "Yeah, I dropped a bomb on him, and we've been at war ever since!"
She's kidding. I think. In any event, happy anniversary to them both.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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