In the preview for the newest installment of the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, a clip shows the ever annoying Alvin saying, "I don't mean to toot my own horn, but BEEP-B-BEEP-BEEP BEEP'!"
In that spirit, here's a little horn-tooting of our own.
The best story in today's News-Times is Jenna Martin's front-page piece solving the mystery of a missing tombstone. If you haven't read it already, go check it out.
It all started simply enough, with a message from someone who'd spotted the granite marker behind a home being demolished near the River Island community off Blackstone Camp Road.
The man feared greedy developers were bulldozing a "slave cemetery" to make room for more construction, and would get away with it if no one stopped them.
Martin went out to the site and found the headstone, standing in the middle of thoroughly trashed property behind a demolished home.
As it turns out, all the developer was doing was taking down the dilapidated home because it was an eyesore. He wasn't aware of the headstone, and knew nothing about a possible cemetery on the site.
After weeks of connecting little dots, what Martin found is that there apparently is no cemetery, slave or otherwise, on the property. The site just happens to be the place where someone, as long ago as 25 years, dumped Cora Freeman's stolen headstone.
Today's story tells the rest of the intriguing tale, but readers wouldn't know the weeks of patient work Martin put into the story unless we tooted her horn a little.
Great job, Jenna. I hope readers agree.
Return to sender
Meanwhile, I'm sure readers would agree that the prize for Stupidest Criminal of the Year goes to Robert Holt of Thomson.
Thomson city police say Holt, 25, was angry at his old girlfriend. Really, really angry. So last Sunday, he went to her house and lobbed a Molotov cocktail through the window of her home.
Just one problem: It wasn't her house.
Yep. He firebombed the wrong place.
Holt was arrested soon after the incident, and spent his Christmas in the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center charged with six felonies, including first-degree arson. He's being held without bond.
No one was hurt in the errant firebombing, though the home received a small amount of fire damage (in addition to the broken window).
Explosion to implosion
The office of Insurance and Fire Commissioner John Oxendine helped investigate the firebombing. But it seems Oxendine needs to sweep around his own porch a little.
Here's what I wrote June 7, regarding the overcrowded race for governor in Georgia:
"The early bet for Candidate Most Likely To Implode goes to State Insurance and Fire Commissioner John Oxendine."
This prediction was based on revelations in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story that Oxendine's campaign had received $120,000 in donations from two insurance companies - 10 times the legal limit.
The campaign soon returned the donations, but only after Oxendine's camp condemned the story as an attack from the liberal media.
As Ronald Reagan might say: Here he goes again.
This past week, WSB-TV in Atlanta ran a report revealing that Oxendine used his office to help a major campaign donor, who among other things paid for Oxendine to travel to the Academy Awards.
Oxendine's response? He dismissed the report as "a silly story."
Two items certainly aren't enough to establish a pattern, but I'm sure seeing one: It won't do Oxendine any good to complain about media peeping Toms just because they keep catching him with his ethical pants down.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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