Covering crime has kept me so busy I've neglected to note how great life is here.
Or how great sixth-graders believe life here would be, were they mayor.
Winners in this year's Georgia Cities Week "If I Were Mayor" essay contest were Ethan Wells, Blackmon Road Middle School, who took regional state District 8, and Austin Baker of Arnold Middle School, who took first place in Muscogee County while Cole Kirkland of Blackmon took second and Meg Kenimer of Brookstone School took third.
Now let's take other essay excerpts out of context and preface them with smart-aleck adult lead-ins.
That homeless guy's charging children for tours again: "I would change the name Columbus back to 'Fountain City.' I heard on a downtown Columbus tour that when Columbus was first founded it was named 'Fountain City.'"
That's just when church lets out, so imagine what it's like when the bars close: "My dad and I go downtown every Sunday after church, and we have noticed a lot of bad things. There has been gun fighting and murders happening down there."
Chaos erupted when angry sixth-graders protested tonight's Uptown Concert series: "If we had the money we could make the space more 'family friendly.' One way to do so is by getting rid of bars and clubs in Uptown. We could protest against them so that Uptown Columbus is a much safer place."
Anticipating "Les Miserables" at the Springer: "Sometimes that drama can go downhill fast and turn into gun or other dangerous weapon fights."
Besides sarcasm? "Policemen should always be provided with either a gun or another self-defense mechanism."
Besides the school board? "I would start up a zoo in the middle of town."
In theory: "For example, littering and polluting the air should be illegal."
At least the portable classrooms are lined up: "I may not be an environmentalist, but what would people say if they saw a city with litter everywhere and dirty buildings lined up across town?"
Then we could use that money to tear down the empty buildings: "We could lend people money to create buildings for jobs and, after a period of time, they could pay us back."
The job title's "nutrition specialist," punk. Get it right or get a tummy ache you won't forget 'til college: "The program will teach the lunch ladies how to prepare meals without using as much added calories and fats."
Tim Chitwood, email@example.com, 706-571-8508.