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An Internet-only news site devoted to issues regarding Warrenton, Ga., and its environs.

Friday, September 16, 2016

So, about those clowns over in Thomson ...

Just kidding, our neighbors in McDuffie County are fine folks. But two young men have been charged with disorderly conduct for driving outside the Thomson Walmart while wearing clown masks. More from Augusta's Fox 54 here.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

End of an era: Fulghum-Carr, Warrenton's drug store, goes out of business

From Facebook: Linda Fulghum Bruggemann
 (with Molly Bloodworth) and Emile Carr
at the closing of Fulghum-Carr. 
Saw on the Facebook feed of dear family friend Linda Fulghum Bruggemann about the closing of the doors of Fulghum-Carr Drug Co., known to so many of us as just "the drug store," one of Warrenton's longest-surviving Main Street businesses, after 65 years.

There's so much that could be said here. I could tell you how I wish that despite all the conveniences of the modern world, that we could just stop time for small towns and let them, and the small businesses that drive them, just stay the way they are, like prehistoric insects frozen in amber.

Or I could tell you that the thing I always remembered and loved the most about Fulghum-Carr when I was a kid was, maybe strangely, the old wooden floor and the smell -- I don't know what it was, but it smelled like a drugstore on Main Street in a small town in the deep South should smell. It was comforting. You're not ever going to get that smell in a CVS.

And the toy aisle. Fulghum-Carr always had the best toys. Somewhere at my father's house is probably still the Little Builder tool set that were the first tools I ever owned and which I used to disassemble various objects in the house, to my mother's great annoyance.

And Theodore, my beloved childhood teddy bear. He was in the window at Fulghum-Carr when my mother took me in one day, and it was love at first sight. Santa put him under the Christmas tree for me. (He's still around and is sitting on a shelf in my bedroom here in Atlanta right now.)

But it's really hard to operate a small business in a small town, in a world dominated by Wal-Mart and Walgreens. And the most important thing to be said is to be glad that we had it around for so long.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Stay off I-20 tonight: The Mega-Load is coming through

Photo by flickr user Miguel Tejada-Flores, used under
a Creative Commons license.
A 600,000-pound machine press will be hauled up Interstate 20 through Warren County Wednesday night, taking up both lanes. The equipment, which is being hauled to Bartow County, will leave Columbia County at 7 p.m. Wednesday, headed toward Atlanta,  the Journal-Constitution reports.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Warrenton's Candice Warthen to play pro ball in Finland

Candice Warthen on the court. Photo:
Arizona Athletics via
ArizonaWildcats.com.
From ArizonaWildcats.com:

TUCSON, Ariz.--- Former Arizona guard Candice Warthen has signed a professional contract to play basketball with Finland’s Forssan Alku, the club announced on Monday ...
The Warrenton, Ga. native goes down as one of the top scorers in program history, as she ended her Arizona career with 1,128 points, which ranks 16th on the school’s all-time list. She also is responsible for one of the most iconic shots in recent UA history, as she knocked down the would-be game-winning jumper from the left side with three seconds remaining to give the Wildcats a 60-57 win over then-ranked No. 12 Stanford back on Feb. 8, 2015. The victory marked the Cats’ first win over the Cardinal since 2004.

Sandersville sixth-'worst' place to live in Georgia?

Washington County Courthouse. Photo by flickr
user Jimmy Emerson DVM. Used under a
Creative Commons license. 
A writer for the site RoadSnacks.net says he's worked up a formula to calculate the worst places to live in Georgia with populations greater than 5,000, and Sandersville comes in at No. 6 on the list. (Coming in at No. 1 is my father's hometown of Swainsboro.)

Thomson is tied for No. 19 on the list with Forest Park. Warrenton isn't on the list at all, as it doesn't fit the 5,000-resident threshold.

Writer Nick Johnson writes that his rankings are based on stats including unemployment rates, median income levels, education spending and home values -- all things that many Middle Georgia and East Georgia towns are struggling with.

But he also includes population density in that formula -- "the lower, the worse," his piece says. Taking a look at the numbers in his spreadsheet and how he did the math, it looks like he just averaged the rankings of the five criteria, so population density is a fifth of the final score. So, the ranking is pretty much built-in with the assumption that lower population density -- in other words, being rural -- is a bad thing.

Pieces like this tend to rile up people, such as the econ development director in Vidalia, who posted an impassioned defense of the Sweet Onion Capital of the World as a comment on RoadSnacks' piece. We should note that the piece bears a disclaimer that it's opinion and not fact. And RoadSnacks has published similar "worst places to live" posts on several other states, not just Georgia.

The data in the underlying spreadsheet show the same thing those metrics have shown for most of my lifetime: That there is a lot of poverty in little towns in Georgia -- unemployment is high, income levels are low, the schools aren't as fancy, often because there's not much tax base. Yes, a lot of people in rural Georgia have it tough. But a lot of people live in small towns because they like living there, because they feel the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. (Example: Sandersville may be No. 6 on RoadSnacks' list, but it had a better crime rate ranking in the spreadsheet than Smyrna, which RoadSnacks says is one of the 20 "best" places to live.)

If you really want to see how people did this kind of number-crunching for real and came out with something meaningful, check out the New York Times' "Hardest Places to Live" interactive from last year. The NYT analysis took into account "education (percentage of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree), median household income, unemployment rate, disability rate, life expectancy and obesity." Nearly all of Middle, East and South Georgia are colored in orange there -- the "doing worse" category.

(Note: This piece has been edited since it was originally published.)

Friday, April 10, 2015

State Rep. Brooks pleads guilty to federal charge, resigns seat

Some sad news: Former state Rep. Tyrone Brooks, one of the most prominent political figures in the state originally from Warren County, has pleaded guilty to tax fraud and resigned his seat in the state legislature. As a young civil rights leader, Brooks played a major role in leading the push to desegregate the Warren County schools and businesses in Warrenton and Crawfordville. (Story at AJC.com)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Learn to be a storm spotter

Want to learn more about the weather and have the chance to help the community? Warrenton Watch just spotted a listing for National Weather Service storm spotter training March 3 at Warrenton's Community Services Building. Honest disclosure: Warrenton Watch's editor once did the storm spotter training through the Nashville NWS office. The listing says 6:30-8:30 p.m.