Referendum Passes

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Here’s what we voted on:

FINAL RESULTS LOCAL REFERENDUM

“Shall a one percent sales and use tax for educational purposes of the Columbia County School District (the “School District”) be reimposed within Columbia County for a maximum period of time of 20 calendar quarters, for the purposes of providing funds to pay (1) the cost of acquiring, constructing, and equipping one new elementary school and one new middle school, adding and equipping new classrooms at existing high schools, acquiring land for future schools, adding to, renovating, repairing, improving, and equipping existing school buildings and other buildings and facilities useful or desirable in connection therewith, and acquiring any necessary property therefor, both real and personal, (2) the cost of acquiring instructional and administrative technology improvements for existing schools and acquiring school buses, the maximum cost of the projects described in clauses (1) and (2) above to be $42,067,795, and (3) the cost of retiring a portion of the School District’s General Obligation Bonds, dated September 1, 1976, General Obligation Refunding Bonds, dated December 1,1992, General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 1993, General Obligation Refunding Bonds Series 1994, General Obligation Bonds, Series 1994-A, and General Obligation School Refunding Bonds, Series 1998, by paying or making provision for the payment of the principal of and interest on such bonds coming due on April 1, 2003 through October 1, 2007, in the maximum amount of $27,932,205?”

“If reimposition of the tax is approved by the voters, such vote shall also constitute approval of the issuance of general obligation debt of the Columbia County School District in the principle amount of $16,000,000 for the purpose set forth in clause (1) of the above question, to pay capitalized interest incident thereto, and to pay expenses incident to accomplishing the foregoing.”

Final Tally: YES 4841, NO 626

Taken from the Columbia County Website

“So?” you’re probably asking. “What’s the big deal?” Well, for one, it is a good thing that the referendum passed. Columbia County has long been touted as having one of the best school systems in Georgia, and the money the one-cent sales tax generates will definitely be of great benefit to the county and to its schools. It is also a good thing that it passed so overwhelmingly with 4841 voters for the measure and only 626 against. But, when you consider that the number of voters only accounted for roughly 9% of the county’s registered voters, the figure is pitiful. Reports have indicated that the only people who really voted for the measure were primarily teachers and parents with school-aged children.

The county advertised the measure pitifully. Sparse sign placement, random radio announcements and an editorial in the Augusta Chronicle were all that made mention of the measure. It’s no wonder hardly anyone voted. No one knew about it! If they wanted people to participate, they should have advertised the measure better!

I, for one, did vote. I was among the 5,467 voters who did make it out to the polls. Voting is important, regardless of the issue. Why? Because these kinds of things affect the whole county. A one-cent sales tax raises prices, albeit rather insignificantly, but it can possibly make a difference for some people. It’s important to get out there and vote. That’s the whole point of democracy. People that don’t vote shouldn’t bitch, because they didn’t join the few that DID decide.

Letter to the Editor

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Sent to the Bell Ringer, Augusta State University’s student newspaper on 3/21/2001:

Marriot Food Service’s decision to trim its services does a great disservice to the faculty, staff and students here at Augusta State University.

I think that the decision to cut the hot line from the school lunch room was a bad idea. Not only can we now look forward to a more limited menu, Marriot Food Services can look forward to an increased loss of business. Do they honestly believe things will get better for them by doing this?

Students are losing their reasons to eat here on campus. Now, you either have pizza, salad, soup or a sub or you go somewhere else with your money. If that’s all the cafeteria has to offer, how many times a week do you think the average student will eat here? Once, maybe, if they even utilize the facility at all. Cutting the hot food line was a very bad idea. Think the lunch room is losing money now? Wait until they see what it is like when it’s not used at all. Fewer people are using Washington Hall now. Think this is a coincidence? I don’t think so. I think this is definitely one decision that needs to be rethought.

The school needs to look for better alternatives to encourage the usage of its facilities. If our school had some sort of swipe card system, we could simply charge meals to a personal account. Something like this could be hooked up to be used on soda and snack machines, in the book store and in both the Washington Hall cafeteria and the Butler Hall snack bar. The Technology Committee has $266,000 to spend before June 30, 2001. Part of it would be wisely spent on developing a system such as this for the University. Making it easier to use the facilities here will probably increase the amount of money coming in and will increase usage. Universities and colleges our size within the University System of Georgia are using these kinds of systems. Why can’t we?

I know the swipe card system is something that has been under some consideration by the university. The Phoenix even recently ran an article on it. Now is the time to move forward. If more adequate services are not provided to our students, we’re not going to have any reasons to stay here. Getting a system such as this in place is a step in the right direction. Let’s not waste this opportunity.

Drivers Beware

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I’m not the world’s greatest driver. I’d be lying if I pretended to be. I’ve been in an accident. I’ve gotten multiple speeding tickets. Do I consider myself to be a bad driver? Yes. But I am working on it.

Now that I’ve got that out in the open I shall continue…

Other drivers tend to bother me. And I mean that in a “I HATE OTHER DRIVERS” kind of way. Why, you ask? No one cares about driving anymore. There, I’ve said it. Driving is something we all take for granted. We drive and drive and drive and drive… Many of us forget to use blinkers, we make sudden stops, we cut in front of other cars. We forget that there are other drivers on the road. This in itself is a major problem.

Not a day goes by where I don’t drive past some sort of accident. Minor fender benders here, five car pileup there… it’s insane! People just aren’t paying attention anymore. They lack courtesy. And they’re ruining the road for the rest of us.

I don’t ask for much from other people. I’m not very demanding. But there are a few things I’d like to say today.

  1. Use blinkers. I’m not a psychic. I don’t know if you’re going to go left or right unless you give me some sort of sign. Blinkers are there for a reason, use them.
  2. Yellow doesn’t mean “slam on your brakes”. A yellow traffic light doesn’t mean you need to slam on your brakes. Chances are there will probably be someone behind you. By doing this, you increase the risk of an accident.
  3. A yield sign doesn’t mean stop. I don’t know how many times I’ve been caught behind someone on a highway on-ramp where they’ve stopped at a yield sign. Yield does NOT mean stop. In many cases, yield signs placed in areas near on-ramps tend to be placed around bends of some sort. During any given week, I see at least 1 accident caused by someone careening into another driver who has stopped for no reason at a yield sign. It’s retarded. Learn to merge. Other cars will work with you if you’re smart about it. Speed up or slow down. By completely stopping you impede traffic and increase the risk of an accident.
  4. Go the speed limit. One thing I cannot stand is getting stuck behind someone who refuses to go the speed limit. If you’re in a 55mph zone, that does NOT mean go 40. If you feel compelled to drive slow, let me pass.

Granted, these might be just petty whines, but valid ones. Too many people just don’t pay attention to the flow of traffic these days. Too many people are busy talking on cellphones or applying makeup or writing stuff down or looking for things on the floorboards. Pay attention. I don’t want to die. I’m sure you don’t either. Let’s keep an eye out for each other, k? You watch my back, I’ll watch yours. Together, perhaps, with a little common sense, we can bring safety back into driving.