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Downtown Expose: Several Caught In The Act Making The Square A Better Place

This article first appeared in issue 21, and was written by Staff.

They say you should catch some doing something right and tell them about it. Over the Labor Day weekend, downtown saw people in action who deserve not only to be told themselves, but also to have others hear of their good works.

First, there was the work of Joe Moore, readying the Square for the Annual Buy, Sell Swap Labor Day Event.

Almost single-handedly, Joe organizes the show. He marks off the spaces for booths, contacts the renters, collects the money, sees that everyone is happy.

The money he collects is turned over to the Columbia-Adair County Chamber of Commerce for its projects.

The event, which was the brainchild of the late Bill Walker, is held on a day when most merchants are closed, except for restaurants, so it doesn't interfere with business.

What was remarkable this year was that Joe Moore cleaned the Fountain, with help only from his brother, Terry Moore, who pressure washed the fountain basin with a fire hose. Water garden expert Pat Bell donated pond plants and 12 fine gold fish; most of them still swim in the pool.

With the flowers planted by Margaret Arnold and Donna Vaughn in full glory, the plaza swept by employees of La Loma and the Columbian Theatre, the Fountain Patio was a welcome rest area for Labor Day visitors.

Volunteers also cleaned the Square, with scarcely any need for sanitation work by city workers the next morning. And that is a remarkable story in itself.

Stephen and Ellen Hingle, from beyond the Chance community, and their nine beautiful children ran a popcorn, country doughnut, coffee, and other refreshment concession stand in front of Photo-Video. The stand also had a rabbit sale and rabbit raffle. It was a very popular place.

The children are smart, animated conversationalists-bright eyed, and well-behaved.

After the Buy, Sell, Swap Meet was over in the afternoon, the Hingles fanned out with plastic bags and in nine minutes the Courthouse Square was cleared of all paper debris, not just on their side of Square, but in all four quadrants. After the dance, they repeated the operation. The result: Passing motorists would have seen a pristine small town after midnight instead of the after hours messes too often seen in parking areas even in Columbia.

Most people in Columbia know Steve Hingle as their Shrimp Connection. A native of Louisiana, he still makes trips to the sea there to bring 400+ pounds of the Cajun Country delicacy to customers here.

This story was posted on 1998-07-15 12:01:01
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