I'm guilty of writing the column Augusta-area natives have grown to hate. I can't find it now -- I searched the online archives and the back of the office -- but I'm sure I wrote it.
In a column soon after arriving, I wrote about the perception of Augusta outside the gates of Augusta National. I threw in the cliches about Washington Road and strip shopping centers, and probably mentioned Waffle House.
Forgive me. I'll be sure to defend this area if it comes under attack from outsiders surprised the whole of Augusta doesn't look like a perfectly manicured golf course.
This past week was my final week at The Columbia County News-Times. I'm headed for a similar job at a pair of daily papers in the Low country of South Carolina.
I appreciate the opportunity I've had here. Everyone I've met, with few exceptions, have been great to deal with.
The best part of my job is the people. I'm grateful for the cooperation I received from coaches, who often work ridiculous hours with ridiculous demands because they love what they do. I'm thankful for the athletes who provide the stories and the parents and supporters who help keep me informed.
Your hometown newspaper is in good hands. Most on The News-Times staff grew up in this community and know it as well as anyone. I'm always amazed at the recollection of names, dates and places when potential stories are discussed during our weekly staff meetings. This paper is the class of its kind.
There is a Web site journalists -- and probably regular people -- like to visit called regrettheerror.com, a collection of outlandish newspaper corrections from around the world.
Looking back, I can think of a few regrets.
In a March 2008 story I referred to former Lakeside goalkeeper Michael Combs as Sean Combs. Sean Combs is a rapper known by many different names. Michael probably just wanted to be called Michael. I regret the error.
I once called Evans track coach Eric Watson "Earl." I regret that Watson's colleague, Ryan Bennett, might not let Earl live it down.
Former Harlem girls basketball standout Chancellor Martin earned a lot of coverage her senior season. Unfortunately, I didn't have her first name correct until her parents informed me -- after the season. I regret not knowing sooner.
I'm sure there are others, but those stuck out.
One of the first events I covered here was a signing at Harlem High.
Booster president Greg Aplin sidled over, introduced himself and told me to not forget about Harlem. He has since become a source of good information and has helped me through more than one tight spot.
Thanks to all the athletic directors. They all care about their programs and are a big help in setting up stories.
Mr. Ed Amerson and his buddies follow area teams religiously and are always a good source of conversation.
Evans's Troy Griffith is a great athlete and better student, but he might have regretted his choice of senior project. I've enjoyed getting to know his family.
Harlem coach Jimmie Lewis probably has a love/hate relationship with the newspaper, but he's always the source of the best quote.
That's all I got. Thanks for your time.
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