The still-in-the-works partnership between McDuffie County, Columbia County, Wilkes County, Warren County and Lincoln County is nothing but good news for everyone involved.
Columbia County may be able to receive state funding that has been previously out of their reach. Lincoln County and McDuffie County get to begin increasing efforts to tap into the westward migration of people from Augusta that has for so long buoyed Columbia County.
And each county gets to take better advantage of an underused resource: Clarks Hill Lake.
In the words of McDuffie County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton: "The lake is such a jewel in each of our communities. I think by working together we can get a little more sparkle for everyone."
But the potential benefits go much deeper than that.
Take for example, the Thomson-McDuffie County Regional Airport. Former Fixed Base Operator James Lyle always said he could get someone on the ground, into a car and into downtown Augusta as quick (or quicker during Masters Week) than Augusta's airports. Some of Columbia County's industries already utilize the airstrip.
(Technically, there's already some joint work on the airport. State Rep. Ben Harbin of Evans was one of the people who helped spearhead the effort to get the airport's "regional" designation.)
And while we're handing out pats on the back for encouraging the partnership, one should go to State Sen. Jim Whitehead who has stepped in and done his best to truly represent all his constituents.
But perhaps the best benefit of the potential partnership is the exclusion of the bulk of the officials from Augusta and Richmond County.
It's been said rats jump off a sinking ship while dedicated crew members stay behind to try to save the vessel. In this case, some of the best crew members were kicked off the boat by an arrogant, power-hungry pack of Augusta officials who have long preferred the company of rats anyway.
It's now time for the Columbia County crew to navigate their own ship.
Columbia County's slogan is "New Horizons."
We're on that horizon and should welcome the new sailors with open arms.