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Jeff Whitten: Cheerful times ahead
editor's notes

Predictions that probably won’t might will could maybe shouldn’t ought to never always come true, depending on what side of the bed you we I they get up on next week yesterday or tomorrow.

Christmas 2030: The Belfast Keller interchange on I-95 has become the next Pooler, only upscalier. Yep, now that it’s 2030, that 5,000 acre slice of pine trees, live oaks and Spanish moss has everything a modern American with disposable income could possibly want. That includes upscale Hardie board and faux brick homes, townhomes, condominiums and apartments, an upscale Hooters – it’s spelled Hootres Chic– an upscale outlet mall with 370 stores, and a store that sells nothing but upscale cheese (and another one that features upscale goats if you want to make your own cheese) and, of course, an upscale Super Walmart and upscalier Lowes and Home Depot, as well as upscale places to wash your upscale boat and upscale golden retriever. The mixed use development is known as Buttondown. Traffic at the exit regularly backs up to Florida and South Carolina during rush hour, but officials say they’re working on a solution that involves only the best backhoes and drones.

Meet the South Bryan Buckeyes Class of 2035: When the new Richmond Hill High School opened in 2023, it was over capacity at 4,800 kids, leading local school officials to put a $200 million bond referendum on the ballot as part of ESPLOST in order to build another high school and eight more elementary and middle schools in South Bryan. Included in the school board’s capitol improvements plan was the first ever stacked middle schools, in this case the Penthouse for Success built atop the old RHMS. Voters approved, and the new South Bryan High School, under the leadership of Mickey Bayens, opened in 2031 to a capacity enrollment of 12,402, making it the state’s 14th largest high school.

State builders sue state over state impact fee: Georgia Gov. Carter Infinger says in January 2032 “that’s right, that’s right” after the state homebuilders association sues the state over Infinger’s signature legislative accomplishment, i.e., getting the Democrat controlled General Assembly to pass a statewide impact fee on new construction.

“They said it’ll never happen,” Carter said, from the back yard of the Governor’s mansion. “I said, ‘Lookit, Jeff Whitten told me a long time ago I couldn’t get it passed in Bryan County, and that dumb looking son of a gun was wrong then and he and all you dumb looking writers and editors are wrong now. That’s right, that’s right.’ Next question.”

Georgia Department of Community Affairs for Transportation Commissioner Ben Taylor said the new impact fee – $22,000.42 on a new home and $1,500 a minute on commercial and industrial construction, will help fund a new statewide roundabout to divert traffic around Georgia and hopefully into either South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama or Florida, or back where it came from.

Ogeechee catches on fire in 2050: Despite years of efforts by environmental groups to protect the Ogeechee, decades of runoff from lawns and businesses built along the river have finally taken a toll, and a faulty vaping machine tossed from a car at the Dasher’s Landing bridge ignited the water. The good news is it didn’t kill any fish, but the bad news is most died in 2040 after a keg party at a riverfront mobile home park in Ellabell drew 23,000 people and there was only one portapotty.

The Georgia Environmental Protection, down to one employee after decades of budget cuts, is blamed and that employee is summarily shot. Later, smoke from “The Great Ogeechee River Fire,” as it has come to be known, forced postponement of the Great Ogeechee Popcorn Festival. However, organizers decided then to make lemonade out of lemons and announced that 2051 would mark the beginning of the “Great Ogeechee Roasted Marshmallow Festival.”

The last weekly killed: The last weekly newspaper was killed in 2048 when Godzilla accidentally stepped on it. President Miley Cyrus ordered flags flown at half staff for Godzilla, who died of ink poisoning as a result.

USC wins 20th straight College Football Playoff: The Gamecocks become the winningest all time program in the history of the NCAA on Jan. 14, 2040, after having gone on a 20-season unbeaten tear under coach Shane Beamer. In a related story, the University of Georgia announces it is dropping football.

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