Georgia Says

The Augusta Chronicle on the recent settlement of a lawsuit over the name of Georgia Regents University:

Some Augusta folks broke the Guinness World Record for making the most sandwiches in one hour last Saturday, 2,988.

It's likely that the world record for the number of simultaneous sighs was challenged here last Saturday too, as Augustans learned that a lawsuit to change the name of Georgia Regents University had been dropped.

Regent University, a private school in Virginia, had sued Georgia last September claiming the state Board of Regents had infringed on its trademark by selecting 'Georgia Regents University' as the name for the consolidation of Augusta State University and the former Medical College of Georgia.

Odd as it may seem to outsiders, many in Augusta were pulling for the Virginia school to prevail. Augustans made it painfully clear to state leaders from the outset that we despise the Georgia Regents moniker. We also deeply resent the manner in which the name was proposed and approved: Even after asking the opinions of school committees, the public at large and even folks across the country in national surveys, the Board of Regents approved the GRU name out of nowhere.

This, despite the fact that the national surveys showed a tepid response to the GRU name - and a clear preference for 'University of Augusta' or something close to it.

We were, in short, had.

For some unknown and likely indefensible reason, the state has clung to the GRU name like a drowning man to a life vest ever since, ignoring continued disapproval from the very community the school serves and depends upon for moral and financial support. And, of course, while fighting off the Virginia school's honest and principled objections.

When a settlement to the lawsuit was announced, one state official proclaimed that the end of the case 'confirms' that the state had the right to use the name Georgia Regents all along.

With all due respect, we heartily disagree. All it confirms is that the fight is over. It's quite possible that the modest private school's financial ability to take on a deep-pocketed and dug-in state simply wasn't enough to wage a protracted war.

There is neither glory nor redemption for Georgia in this development.

All it means is that the state is not only capable of ignoring its citizens' wishes, but also of outlasting a challenge from a private school with more limited resources than a sovereign state.

The black cloud of disillusionment in Augusta has not been dissipated by it one bit.

Savannah Morning News on an increase in the number of loggerhead sea turtles nesting along coast:

You've heard of the comeback kid? How about the comeback turtles?

In one of the happiest trends of the summer, wildlife experts are reporting a whopping jump in the number of loggerhead sea turtles nesting along the Georgia coast this season.

So far, more than 1,300 nests have been counted on beaches from Cumberland Island in the south to Little Tybee and Wassaw islands on the north.

The season average is 1,035 nests. With at least two prime weeks of turtle nesting to go, the final tally could 'easily' reach 2,000 nests, Georgia sea turtle coordinator Mark Dodd said.

With all the gloom and doom about global warming and greenhouse gases, it's encouraging to see progress being made on one environmental front. These large reptiles, which can weigh up to 250 pounds and live up to 50 years, are the most abundant of all the marine turtle species in U.S. waters.

But this wide-ranging sea-goer has been on the threatened species list since 1978 - a victim of pollution, development in their nesting areas, abandoned drift nets and trawling.

Wassaw Island, a National Wildlife Refuge, is said to be awash in loggerhead nests. 'Right now, we have 147 nests,' said Caretta Research Project Director Kris Williams, 'where in 2011, our record year, we had 121 nests on this date.'

A mother loggerhead will lay an average of 90 ping-pong-ball-sized eggs per nest. So the more hatchlings that make it to the sea, the greater the chance that loggerheads will be around for a long time.

Fortunately, public education about letting these turtles do their business in peace appears to be paying off. When a big turtle lumbered onto Tybee's crowded beach early last Sunday evening, approximately 150 people who witnessed her gave the mother a wide berth. It's too bad such respect can't be taught to raccoons and wild boar. They eat turtle eggs. It's estimated that on some nesting beaches, these animals may destroy more than 95 percent of the nests.

No one is explaining why the number of nests along the Georgia coast has doubled. One possibility is fewer shrimpers, victims of high fuel prices and less-costly imported shrimp. Another is that past successes in protecting nests are paying off. Another is, it's just a fluke.

Scientists who study turtles worldwide have seen declines, especially in the Pacific and Indian ocean regions. But that doesn't appear to be the case in these parts Female loggerheads are known to return thousands of miles to the beach where they hatched to lay their eggs. These long-distance, tourists-on-the-half-shell deserve a warm Georgia welcome.

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