Columbia County's Convention and Visitors Bureau is thinking about holding a design contest for new county entrance signs.
Interest in new signs was sparked by a marketing study last year that said Columbia County is hard for outsiders to find, and that once you figure out you're here, it's hard to find your way around.
The CVB set up a committee to tackle the task of making it easier for travelers to locate and navigate the county. And that committee, led by Kathy Hayes, is now considering holding a contest for sign designs.
The idea has precedent. Back in 2003, Columbia County officials decided to update the county's 12-year-old logo of a sailboat passing in front of a setting (or rising?) sun.
They first paid a marketing company $31,000 for services that included a redesigned logo - and absolutely hated what they got. The final product was basically an outline of the county with sun rays radiating out from it. Yay.
For Plan B, commissioners announced a logo-design contest with a $1,000 savings bond for the winner.
Three designs made it to the finals. The county then held a vote among students at all four high schools (this was long before Grovetown High School) to pick a winner.
Students chose the current stylized sailboat design drawn by Evans resident Lynn Forbes. It since has been tweaked and reused in various ways by other county agencies, including the CVB.
While I'm all in favor of holding a contest for anything - remember; we're the folks who held an Internet vote to name a mayor of Evans - here are a couple of points.
First, the CVB doesn't have a budget to pay for a prize. They're hoping the honor of having your design displayed at county entrances will be adequate compensation. My experience says unpaid labor is often worth exactly what you pay for it.
Second, they should talk to Forbes. When she won that contest, she wasn't just some lucky doodler; she was the art director at Mass Media Marketing. She's still there, and might be called upon to turn her design into new signs.
I'm sure it would cost more than a savings bond. But you really do get what you pay for.
Oh, and since I mentioned the mayor of Evans: Internet voters elected Gene Sullivan in 2005, but we forgot to set limits on his term. So he's still mayor unless he quits, or until another election.
He needs to get busy and do something about all this traffic, then. Otherwise we might have to hold a recall.
That's not the case with the mayor of Martinez, though. That "office" has been vacant since June 2007 with the death of Steve York.
Then a DJ at WMTZ, York declared himself mayor of Martinez in 1981, complete with a Port-O-Let parked on Washington Road as his "office." Presumably no one ever challenged his tenure, so he still would have been mayor until his death.
That means the office has been vacant for two and a half years. Maybe we ought to hold another election. Steve would certainly approve.
One more point about the county's logo. It occasionally occurs to me, as I'm sure it does to others: Why a sailboat as a symbol for Columbia County, even with all our shoreline at the lake?
It's a good question, especially if you consider there apparently is no place in the county where you can actually buy a sailboat.
There are plenty of sailboats on Clarks Hill Lake, of course, and used ones often are available. But you'll have to go out of the county if you want to buy a new sailboat.
Powerboats? We've got plenty. But you're on your own if you're looking for wind-powered watercraft - except on the county's logo.
A second judge
Congratulations to Alice Padgett, sworn in Thursday as Columbia County associate probate judge. She'll be a part-time assistant to Probate Judge Pat Hardaway.
Padgett is the wife of Superior Court Judge Wade Padgett, who contends her status as a judge "changes nothing" in their household.
She still wins all the arguments, he admits.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow at twitter.com/barrypaschal.)
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.