Business owners and local officials met to discuss the fate of First Friday after six people were wounded in a shooting following this month’s festival July 6. Readers weighed in with their own ideas on keeping downtown crowds safe.
MYRON W. CLEMENTS: “Change from First Friday to First Saturday and hold it in the daytime instead of night. Travel to Savannah to see how they hold their First Saturday on River street.”
MEGAN SNEAD GOLDBERG: “There should be a small fee to go to first Friday, that could raise money to improve downtown as well as help fund security!”
Mayor Deke Copenhaver offered to give money toward the cause of beefing up security.
JAKE: “It is good that people like Mayor Copenhaver are putting their money where their mouth is. I hope the community will support a plan to keep this event going and not let the bad element dictate what should happen or not happen in Augusta. What if there is a shooting at a GreenJackets game or a RiverHawks game? Or Westabou? Shut it all down? I hope not.”
FOOLS_AND_SAGES: “I think it is ridiculous that business owners and the mayor have to volunteer to dip into their pockets to pay for a festival that the city should be managing and policing. Once again, this is an issue of politically conservative leadership cutting budgets for basic things like community events and public safety instead of raising property taxes because the taxpayers will balk at a tax increase.”
LUVMYTOWN: “Sad to see leaders so committed to such a failed event. It is time to move on.”
ITSANOTHERDAY1: “It isn’t about FF, it is about the survival and growth of downtown. FF is the only night time event downtown, and is a bellwether for the overall health of downtown night life. Shut it down and the general attitude will be that “downtown is so dangerous, FF had to be shut down”. That is not a message that needs to be sent.”
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office was asked to investigate whether Columbia County Commission candidate Lee Benedict violated election law by posting a photo of his ballot on Facebook. Benedict allegedly posted a photo of the voting machine’s screen showing a vote for himself.
RESIDENT: “Law is broken regardless. Here is my take if the person seeking office does not know the law then how could they represent you!!! That being said here is my two cents; they obviously know the law and willingly broke it. What does that say for Trust?????”
LITTLELAMB: “Our congress and our legislature have written so many laws that it is impossible to know them all. You have no evidence that Lee Benedict knew about this law. What if you had your cell phone turned on while in a polling place, perhaps standing in line, and it rang. Before today, did you know you would be committing a misdemeanor by answering said phone?
“Why, the way that law is written, it’s against the law to use your cell phone to play Angry Birds while standing in line in the polling place.”
JBARTLEY: “If the person didn’t plan on hurting Lee, they could have sent him a message on Facebook informing him of the law and ask him to take down. But they did not, so it is just politics as usual.”
A couple made headlines last week for outsmarting would-be robbers in Hephzibah. The man and woman claimed they were approached by two armed men who demanded they drive to a nearby ATM and withdraw money. While the man attempted to enter his PIN, the woman went inside and told a gas station clerk to call the police.
Several commenters on the July 15 article were skeptical of their story.
STILLAMAZED: “Just glad that no one was injured or killed. Some days when you read the paper you would think we live in the wild, wild west...”
COUNTRYMAN: “Bad things tend to happen when drugs are involved.... Two armed men don’t sit at closed gas stations....”
A day later, the man and woman admitted to making up the story. Police said the couple was in the process of buying drugs when they grew apprehensive and made up the whole ordeal.
BDOUGLAS: “I thought the original story sounded fishy when it said the girl told the clerk they were being robbed. If you’re robbing someone at gunpoint why would you actually let one of them go talk to someone else for any reason?”
Now for muggles
Augusta will serve as host to the International Quidditch Association’s 2013 Southern Regional Championship. The sport, inspired by the game in the Harry Potter book series, will bring in more than 20 college and club teams to town.
MITCHELL THOMPSON (@MUMFORDANDMITCH): “Augusta hosting 2013 Quidditch games #signmeup.”
THE BOOK TAVERN (@BOOKTAVERN): “I’ve got my firebolt all fired up and ready to go!
LAUREN RICHARDSON (@LAURENAEBETH): “Augusta, Ga...Home of the Masters AND the Southern Regional Quidditch tournament.”
TROY WAHLMEIER: “If they ain’t on flying brooms, it ain’t quidditch!”