We've checked behind the tree. Nothing fell out on the roof by the chimney. And no gifts were accidentally covered by discarded wrapping paper.
Santa just forgot.
Each year we look around to see what gifts Saint Nick dropped off, and then take inventory to find which ones we could use that he didn't bring. With tongue firmly in cheek, then, here is The News-Times' annual list of The Gifts that Santa Forgot:
- For local swim teams: their own aquatic center in Columbia County. Voters drained that idea in November, so their only hope was a gift from Santa or from a benefactor with deep pockets. Maybe the feds have a few million in leftover bailout money.
- For the Columbia County Board of Education: a share of that bailout money. State budget cuts next year likely could require the system to apply for a state waiver on class size limits to alleviate the forced reduction in teacher numbers; surely the feds can spare a measly $10 million. After all; it's for the children. And they are our future.
- For U.S. Rep. Paul Broun: a set of asbestos longjohns. The start of President Obama's term is likely to provide plenty of ammunition for Broun's loose-cannon mouth, so he'll need the fireproof underwear to withstand the blistering attacks he'll receive in response. Of course, he could just choose his words more diplomatically, but we know that ain't gonna happen.
- For the young, well-meaning skulls full of mush at Columbia Middle School: a simple lesson in constitutional law. Being miffed about your out-of-county classmate's rightful ouster from the school doesn't give you the right to smart off and disrupt class.
- For Troy Post, the new director of Columbia County's Development Authority: a lot of help. He'll need every bit he can get if he's going to come into the position at such a low point in the economy and try to bring new jobs to the county.
- For the young fellow who persists in driving his vehicle across the grass landscaping at the corner of Town Center Drive and Belair Road: a pink bicycle with frilly fringe hanging from the handlebars. That's about the most manly thing he should be allowed to operate.
- And finally, for Columbia County taxpayers: the property tax freeze that county commissioner-elect Charles Allen promised during his campaign. Good news: We expect that one to be delivered April 1.
Merry Christmas, and here's to a happy New Year.
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