The year we changed

Events locally and beyond profoundly touched our lives

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To borrow a turn of phrase from the movie Casablanca, the year 2012 was like every other year – only more so.

And as we avoided one ancient curse – the supposed Mayan end of days – we fulfilled another: Yup, we live in interesting times.

What happened in Augusta? Nothing much. Only the consolidation of Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University. And Richmond County’s first elected black sheriff in a couple centuries of sheriffing. And the national story of Aimee Copeland, the young woman who lost limbs but retained a courageous heart while defeating a flesh-destroying bacterial infection with the world-class help of heroes at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital. Hers was one of the most inspirational stories of 2012.

The biggest local story of the year, though, is indisputable: The naming of the university that ASU and GHSU would become.

Despite broad and vocal support locally, and even in national polls, for including “Augusta” in the new name, the state Board of Regents chose “Georgia Regents University.” (In fairness to the Regents, they hadn’t been told about the national survey results by GHSU President Ricardo Azziz.)

The name went over like the Hindenburg. This editorial page has never seen a longer, wider or more uniform sentiment for or against anything. Readers absolutely abhor the name GRU – which, sadly, will stick, unless the lawsuit by Regent University in Virginia says otherwise.

The year was also marked by fiscal problems at Paine College that threatened its accreditation, and physical problems at Augusta Youth Development Campus that included an inmate’s beating death, the belatedly announced escape of several others and wholesale staff changes amid serious policy violations. Changes and recriminations went all the way to Atlanta.

Bickering on the Augusta Commission also was a top story, notably the commissioners’ nearly year-long difficulty in settling on contracts for operating the new Augusta Convention Center and parking garage. By the end of the year, the commission was even arguing over who sits where at meetings.

Nationally, it was a year of grace and disgrace, triumphs and tragedies. It just seemed like the ups and downs were more pronounced this year, for some reason.

A lot of that may have to do with the bitter election year – in which conservatives felt the country’s very future was at stake – but it also had to do with “Superstorm” Sandy that struck the Northeast, and the massacre in Newtown that struck our hearts through.

The Newtown shooting of 20 children and six adults overtook the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting in the horror category.

Even in the sports world, the Associated Press’ top four stories of 2012 were all about scandal or injury, not athletic achievements: Penn State’s continued sex abuse shame, Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace, the New Orleans Saints’ bounty system aimed at injuring opposing players, and the National Football League’s wrestling with player concussions.

Another top story, approval of Obamacare by a sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court, also was noteworthy for its contentiousness, but meant that the health care reform act is now the law of the land going forward.

The November election not only made President Obama president-elect and Time magazine’s Person of the Year, it also reversed conservatism’s forward progress and put conservatives in a soul-searching funk.

The so-called fiscal cliff – a series of across-the-board tax increases and blunt spending cuts scheduled for the start of 2013 – became the leading political story of the past two months of the year, as Republicans and Democrats fought to a standstill through Christmas and beyond.

Voters sent maddeningly mixed messages about what they wanted, too – seeming to approve of Mr. Obama’s plan to primarily raise taxes on the wealthy, but also telling pollsters that spending was the real problem. At the same time, they told pollsters that frugal Republicans would be at fault if no agreement was reached.

Overseas, Syrian strongman Bashar Assad continued a years-long assault on his own people while somehow also retaining membership in good status at the United Nations. And a terrorist attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including our ambassador, prompted the Obama administration to lie about the attack’s origins – with apparent impunity.

Which leads us to our rock-solid, take-it-to-the-bank prediction for 2013:

More interesting times ahead.

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/30/12 - 10:04 am
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Greenjackets

I believe the sale of the Greenjackets and apparent impending move to North Augusta in conjunction with a tremendous private development was the biggest local story.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 12/30/12 - 10:02 am
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North Augusta appears to have taken

Unpublished

all of the best ARC plans and actually implemented same. Hammond's Ferry is a neat endeavor. Real progress. Real leadership. Leadership is a four letter word in ARC. Leadership is politically incorrect in ARC. Political Corruption in high places is ARC's version of PC.

Jon Lester
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Jon Lester 12/30/12 - 10:26 am
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8

You haven't changed at all.

You'll keep spreading conservative falsehoods with each new editorial, as you always have before.

GiantsAllDay
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GiantsAllDay 12/30/12 - 11:06 am
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One other important item left

One other important item left out: the giants won their 2nd world series in 3 seasons.

Riverman1
70472
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Riverman1 12/30/12 - 11:08 am
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GiantsAllDay

Lee Elder of Evans deserves lots of credit for the Giants' success.

GiantsAllDay
8107
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GiantsAllDay 12/30/12 - 12:12 pm
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Riverman1

To put it in a single phrase: You are correct, sir! The behind the scenes people often go unnoticed, so I appreciate your insight. Mr. Elder was key to signing Matt Cain when Matty was coming out of high school in Tennessee.

itsanotherday1
34591
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itsanotherday1 12/30/12 - 01:39 pm
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Name the falsehoods Lester

Can you? Or could it be they keep publishing editorial opinion that is contrary to your own?

GiantsAllDay
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GiantsAllDay 12/31/12 - 01:48 am
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2

How does one get 5 thumbs

How does one get 5 thumbs down when I merely mentioned the fact that the parent club of the Augusta green jackets has won 2 out of the last 3 world series'?

rebellious
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rebellious 01/04/13 - 10:55 am
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Nobody Told Me

Everybody's talking and no one says a word
Everybody's making love and no one really cares
There's Nazis in the bathroom just below the stairs

Always something happening and nothing going on
Always something cooking and nothing in the pot
They're starving back in China so finish what you got
Nobody told me there'd be days like these
Nobody told me there'd be days like these
Nobody told me there'd be days like these
Strange days indeed,
strange days indeed

Everybody's running and no one makes a move
Everyone's a winner and nothing left to lose
There's a little yellow idol to the north of Kathmandu
Everybody's flying and no one leaves the ground
Everybody's crying and no one makes a sound
There's a place for us in movies you just gotta lay around
Nobody told me there'd be days like these
Nobody told me there'd be days like these
Nobody told me there'd be days like these
Strange days indeed, most peculiar, mama

Everybody's smokin’ and no one's getting high
Everybody's flyin’ and never touch the sky
There's UFOs over New York and I ain't too surprised
Nobody told me there'd be days like these
Nobody told me there'd be days like these
Nobody told me there'd be days like these
Strange days indeed, most peculiar, mama

JOHN LENNON - NOBODY TOLD ME LYRICS

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