The catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico is resurrecting a broad interest in oil and its impact on the environment.
After all, the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska's Prince William Sound was - as they say in the movies - a long time ago in a land far away.
So far, the ruptured well has leaked 4 million gallons - and environmentalists fear it will rival or exceed the 10.8 million gallons spilled in Alaska.
Closer to home, the effect of oil on our waters and wetlands is also a concern.
In scientific circles, it is widely called tradescantia, its Latin name.
We know the plant as spiderwort-found along rural roadsides and shaded streams.
It blooms at dawn, unfurling tiny lavender flowers with yellow-tipped stamens. Once struck by sunlight, its blooms shrivel and wait for darkness.
Beyond its identity as a garden-worthy wildflower, the spiderwort also provides a service some say is desperately needed in our area.
I've driven across Clarks Hill Dam countless times over the years, always admiring the view from atop the 200-foot-tall span.
Of course, there is no place to stop on the narrow stretch of U.S. Highway 221 - so all you can do is catch a glimpse of what lies beyond the concrete wall and steel railing.
A few weeks ago, as part of a two-year repair project on the dam's spillway gates, contractors closed one lane of the narrow road. They have since erected a stoplight to manage traffic flow.
It was a chance encounter, maybe even a reunion of sorts, 146 years after the close of the Civil War - all because of a newspaper story.
Nina Raeth's great-grandfather, Sebastian Glamser, was a Union soldier, captured in July of 1864 during the Battle of Atlanta.
He was sent first to the Confederate prison camp at Andersonville, and later transferred to Camp Lawton near Millen, Ga.
That's where Raeth met Dennis Carter, whose great-grandfather, Jesse Taliaferro Carter, was a Confederate soldier - and a guard at both camps.
It was an important week in Washington that underscores the importance of every week at a top-secret facility not far from Augusta.
The emphasis on Capitol Hill was on global security and the push to safeguard nuclear weapons from terrorists who would certainly use them.
President Obama joined 46 other nations in forging new ways to secure enriched uranium and similar materials deemed vulnerable to theft from sparsely guarded foreign locations.
A new study unveiled today shows Georgians do a lousy job at energy conservation.
Part of the problem, according to Georgia Tech researcher Marilyn Brown, is that there are few programs available to encourage wiser use of our resources.
Without more encouragement - and better opportunities - fewer people will take an interest in making their homes and businesses more energy efficient, she concluded.
The study, reported elsewhere in today's online editions, said incentives are one of the best ways to promote efficiency - and that we need more of them.
Plenty of towns are green on St. Patrick's Day. Augusta is green all year long - and getting greener.
That's a good thing, according to our mayor, Deke Copenhaver, who was green long before he ventured into politics.
"What will Augusta look like in 20 years? It will be green," he said last night, as the speaker for the Metro Augusta Green Scene meeting.
If you haven't yet heard of this group, you will. And if you don't know what it means to be green, you should.
This is supposed to be the quietest time of year for Georgia's outdoorsmen.
Deer season ended in January and gobbler season doesn't open until March 20. Spring fishing and warm weather are on the horizon, but not quite here.
Yet five accidental deaths occurred across the state last week- all within four days:
If you've ever been to the old Market District in downtown Charleston, you may have noticed what locals call the "Gum Pole."
It is a utility pole pocked with used chewing gum. The city cleans it off periodically, only to find it immediately re-encrusted.
Now we have a Gum Pole here in Augusta. I saw it yesterday, while hiking along the Augusta Canal towpath.
It's not as colorful at the one in Charleston, but it's not too far off either. If you walk about a mile or so downstream from the headgates, you can see it, too.
If the eyes of the world weren't already on Burke County, they certainly were after this week's announcement by President Obama himself.
Locally, readers of The Augusta Chronicle have been keenly aware - for almost two years - that a $14.5 billion plan to add two new reactors to Plant Vogtle would likely evolve into the first commercial nuclear plant to open in this country in almost three decades.
That is history in the making - right here in Georgia.