The Insider



Why did Barry Smith suddenly resign?

Why did Barry Smith suddenly resign?

Anyone who has ever had any interactions with Barry Smith, Columbia County’s former director of Community and Leisure Services, knows one thing is for certain: he is an extremely loyal employee. He’s not the type of guy to rock the boat. He keeps his head down and works extremely hard. Smith doesn’t like confrontation. He […]

Mayor warns: Don’t play games with SPLOST

Mayor warns: Don’t play games with SPLOST

Around this time last year, the Augusta Commission insisted that it had learned its lesson after voters rejected the proposed $194.3 million Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax list. Voters last May sent commissioners a clear message: The next phase of SPLOST needs to fund the city’s infrastructure needs, not the community’s “wants.” Citizens laughed […]

The return of Paul Simon

The return of Paul Simon

Local residents beware: Paul Simon, president of Augusta Riverfront LLC, has returned with a new pitch. This time this savvy spokesperson for William S. Morris III, publisher of The Augusta Chronicle, is proposing to expand the Augusta Common. But, as with all of Simon’s deals, there is always a catch. According to the proposal outlined […]

Questions still surround Marshall Square fire

Questions still surround Marshall Square fire

It’s been almost two months since a devastating fire destroyed the Marshall Square retirement community and tragically killed 91-year-old resident Dorothy Carpenter. While investigators with the state fire marshal’s office have officially concluded their on-site investigation of the property, the case is still very much open. Earlier this month, investigators from all over the state, […]

Many  bundle of US 100 dollars bank notes

Pays to be in public relations

When the Insider wrote this past week about Calie Cook, Columbia County’s newly hired public relations manager, it got a lot of attention. Particularly from employees within Columbia County’s government. Cook, who has been in her position about two months, is the former administrative coordinator for the Rental Facilities and Venues Department in Columbia County. […]

Stand up and be a leader

Stand up and be a leader

For decades, the local media has been relentless in its investigations into Augusta-Richmond County’s government. If there is even a slight whiff of a scandal, Augusta commissioners will have at least three news cameras and a half dozen reporters in their faces asking any and every question under the sun. There are no kid gloves. […]

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 09:  The top of the Circus Circus hotel-casino marquee is seen November 9, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Circus has Arrived in District 122

Just last week, the Insider pounced (and deservedly so) on Columbia County Commissioner Mack Taylor for announcing that he intends to resign from his District 3 commission seat in order to run for former state Rep. Ben Harbin’s District 122 seat. Taylor just didn’t seem prepared, experienced enough or have anything to bring to the […]

Ben Harbin’s new gig

Ben Harbin’s new gig

Back in 2006, then state Rep. Ben Harbin was featured in a news story that ran inThe Florida Times-Union called, “For lawmakers and lobbyists, sometimes a meal is just a meal.” The article talked about Harbin, R-Evans, getting “wined and dined by a lobbyist.” But Harbin insisted that those dinners weren’t about proposed bills or legislation, […]

Mack Taylor let his district down

Mack Taylor let his district down

Just last year, the Insider praised newly elected Columbia County Commissioner Mack Taylor for working so hard and pounding the pavement to defeat his opponent, Martinez businessman Trip Derryberry, in the District 3 runoff. Frankly, Taylor worked his ass off to win that commission seat. During the Nov. 4 election, Derryberry carried the night handily […]

Zack Freeof’s Very Public Facebook Posts

Zack Freeof’s Very Public Facebook Posts

Let’s face it, young people do some extremely stupid stuff on social media. Most people will remember a few years back when a Taco Bell employee was pictured licking a stack of taco shells standing in the middle of the kitchen dressed in his full uniform. The photo immediately went viral and even though the […]