The hottest band in the land right now, at least in the land of country music, is Lady Antebellum.
And two of its three members are from right here in Columbia County, graduates of Lakeside High School. How cool is that?
The group received its latest accolades Sunday when they received five awards from the Academy of Country Music - more than any other single winner at the event.
Clearly, David Haywood, Charles Kelley and their Nashville partner, Hillary Scott, are a long way from just two years ago when they performed as the opening act at the Columbia County Amphitheater for Luke Bryan -who also won an award Sunday night for a song Haywood and Kelley helped write.
They're even further from what they did the day after that 2008 performance, when they popped into their alma mater and performed a brief show in the gym.
All this success couldn't have happened to nicer guys, and in the case of Haywood, to a young man from a better family. His parents, Van and Angie Haywood, who themselves are very talented musicians, must be proud.
Columbia County folks sure are.
Incidentally, if you want a shot at a great piece of Lady Antebellum memorabilia, the Southeastern Firefighters Burn Foundation is raffling off a guitar signed by the group this weekend at the rodeo at the Columbia County Fairgrounds.
Get rodeo tickets at www.crosscreekrodeo.com; raffle tickets for the guitar will be available at the event.
- Interim' no more
We also have reason to be proud at the announcement last week that the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce has removed the "interim" label from Tammy Shepherd's title.
She's now president of the Chamber. She was in the running last year when the job came open, but lost out to Jim Tingen, who resigned abruptly March 30.
Shepherd had been serving as program director, and easily could have jumped ship when, rather than promoting her, the chamber board hired Tingen from outside.
Instead, she stayed on, worked hard and became vice president of business development. When the top spot opened again, then, the board made the right move to award it to Shepherd.
Congratulations to her, and to all chamber members.
Condolences, meanwhile, to the family and many friends of Mark Moseley. The Evans resident succumbed Saturday to colon cancer.
Mark had a true heart for serving his community, especially at Greenbrier High School where he was assistant coach for the softball team for 11 years.
Garrett Black, the Greenbrier athletic director and a longtime friend of Mark's, wrote a wonderful tribute that was featured in Ashley Brown's column April 11 in The News-Times.
It's worth re-reading, and it's great to see the pictures that accompany it -especially the one of Mark throwing out the first pitch to start the season, with current and former softball players lined up behind him.
They stood behind him to the end, and I hope their pain of their loss is eased by knowing Mark is at last free of his pain. May God rest his soul, and comfort their grief.
Joe Wheeler Jr.
I was also saddened to hear this week of the death of Joe Wheeler Jr. at age 73. David Payne describes Wheeler as part of "the foundation" of Harlem, and indeed he was.
Wheeler's family and friends admired his old-fashioned work ethic. He didn't mind getting his hands dirty, and believed in doing the job right. Lord, do we need more people like him.
A master plumber and electrician, he came by his skills genetically: His father and my grandfather worked together as maintenance men for the Columbia County Board of Education.
I'm sure they're all enjoying reminiscing in their heavenly reunion.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow at twitter.com/barrypaschal.)
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