Friday, July 30, 2004


30 JUL 04: GOOD FOR U.

Columbus State University officials projected Thursday enrollment this fall will top 7,000 students. Long before John Kerry ran for President, C.S.U. was saying "hope is on the way" - as in students with HOPE scholarships.

Over the last two years, Columbus State gained about 700 students per year. If that happens again this fall, C.S.U. will not only top 7,000. It'll pass the 7,500 mark -- and Peachtree Mall will slowly start losing parking spaces.

(Of course, the projections could turn out wrong - and C.S.U. will have to consider hiring new instructors in statistics and probability.)

I have an old World Almanac, which shows in 1990-91 "Columbus College" had 4,167 students. So in 14 years, the enrollment has jumped by about two-thirds. If this growth keeps up, before long Columbus State won't have merely a few buildings downtown - it might own ALL of downtown.

So where is Columbus State University going to put all these extra students? Thursday evening's news showed a new dorm under construction - only it looked to me more like a three-story Residence Inn. The upper stories have BALCONIES?! When I was in college, they did well to have windows you could open.

Even the athletics department at Columbus State is growing. In about a month, C.S.U. will field its first women's soccer team -- even though it still has no men's team. There's an easy explanation for this. Sports fans find it more interesting
when female players celebrate by taking off their jerseys.

For all the activity around Columbus State University, one building sits strangely empty. The old Rio Bravo and Chevy's along Gentian Boulevard has been unoccupied for a couple of years. Can't C.S.U. start a program in restaurant management there? Based on Thursday's news, Rocco Dispirito soon could be available....

(Maybe there's something wrong with this building. The restaurant used to be called "Chevy's," yet Bill Heard won't even put any cars there.)

Now some other fast thoughts for your Friday....

+ Staff members at the Bradley Library are saying the building will close during Thanksgiving week. All of December will be spent moving items to the new library on Macon Road. This will be one fall semester when students don't dare delay
working on their term papers.

+ The four-day "tax holiday" began across Georgia. Isn't it amazing how a seven-percent price reduction gets so much attention? I haven't seen this since.... well, since the price of gas dropped to $1.70 a gallon.

+ Instant Message to the Physicians for Medical Liability Reform: If doctors like you are going broke all over Georgia because of malpractice lawsuits, how can you afford to keep buying 30-minute blocks of TV time to tell us about it?

COMING SOON: Two big personal milestones approach.... but which will we hit first?....

To offer a story tip, make a donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post a reply.

If you quote from this in public somewhere, please be polite enough to let me know.

© 2003-04 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 29, 2004



So, you may be asking, have I been watching the Democratic Convention? Four years ago, in my era, I took careful notes - but this year I've ignored it. After all, I know who they want me to elect. Why listen to 100 different speakers tell me to do it?

John Kerry accepts the Democratic nomination for President in Boston tonight. He'll be introduced by former Georgia Senator Max Cleland - and as confidently as Cleland has been speaking, I suspect he's already drawing a floor plan for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs office.

Rep. Calvin Smyre of Columbus has been chairing the Georgia delegation at the Democratic Convention - but I haven't seen his name on any schedule of speakers. Maybe he's been too busy coordinating rides to parties sponsored by big-money

Speaking of big money: a competing local blog led me to a fascinating web site several months ago. "FundRace" allows you to check which people in your zip code have given money to presidential campaigns. Strangely, the only other online service I know like this lets you check for convicted sex offenders.

With the Democrats finishing their big bash, I wondered Wednesday which Columbus residents are supporting John Kerry's campaign. FundRace is current through May 31 - and the donation total stands at $14,850. Is that all?! Why, you can find more money lying around the Columbus landfill....

FundRace can post details on presidential campaign donations, because they're on file with the Federal Election Commission. You have to provide a name, address, occupation - and perhaps a blood type, in case candidates want to suck you for more in four years.

It turns out 14 Columbus residents have given the $2,000 maximum to either the John Kerry or John Edwards Presidential campaigns. Almost all of them are either attorneys or attorneys' wives -- which could give a very different meaning to "class
action lawsuit."

The campaign records can leave you scratching your head a bit. James E. Butler donated $2,000 to the Kerry campaign -- while "James Butler Jr." at the same post office box gave $2,000 to Democratic rival Wesley Clark. Either one wealthy house is divided, or Mr. Butler jumped from a sputtering tank to a rolling bandwagon.

Then there's the family which runs Bill Heard Chevrolet. "W.T. Heard" donated $1,000 to John Edwards's Presidential bid - while "William T. Heard" gave $2,000 to President Bush's campaign! Well, he DOES sell two-door models....

Some other Democratic donations caught our attention, for a variety of reasons:

+ Illges Road "barber" Gloria Gibson gave $1,000 to the John Kerry campaign. Her biggest campaign wish may be simply to touch his hair.

+ Rep. Calvin Smyre gave $1,000 to the Kerry campaign. Which reminds us -- did Mr. Kerry ever take a stand on which Georgia flag he prefers?

+ Homemaker Susan Stephenson donated $951 to Howard Dean's campaign. We don't know why she gave such an odd number. Maybe one of his screams distracted her, as she wrote the check.

+ Fort Benning Chaplain Carl Rosenberg gave $500 to Wesley Clark's campaign -- which probably was followed immediately by a series of messages on (ahem) "stewardship."

+ Local NAACP Director Edward DuBose donated $50 to Al Sharpton. Maybe it's time to ask WRCG Radio for a raise, to host that Saturday talk show.

+ Al Sharpton also received $25 from Rainbow/PUSH Chairman William Howell. Given that move, maybe the big failure of those Sheriff recall petitions shouldn't have been so surprising.

(At least these civil rights leaders gave something. Pastor Wayne Baker worked to bring Al Sharpton to Columbus last December -- yet he's not on the donation list at all. Apparently "Spirit Filled Ministries" is different from "Wallet-Filled.")

By the way, I couldn't help noticing John Kerry is accepting the Democratic nomination on the same day a "sales tax holiday" begins across Georgia. Governor Sonny Perdue is pretty sneaky, isn't he?

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: Don't worry -- we plan to give the Republicans their turn when their convention comes around.)

COMING SOON: We discover a "whore" in Auburn.... and all we had to do was go online....

To offer a story tip, make a donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post a reply.

If you quote from this in public somewhere, please be polite enough to let me know.

© 2003-04 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004



A change in my work schedule has moved my daily jogging time this week to about 7:05 a.m. I may have mentioned here before that my body takes a few days to adjust from evening to morning running. For instance, something in my throat has me coughing enough to make people think I'm a chain smoker.

But as my Monday morning run began, I found noise coming from a different place. As I turned off 4th Street toward the Golden Park stairway to the Riverwalk, a woman was yelling loudly - all by herself. Of course, these days it could mean many things. For instance, her cell phone battery might be weak....

The woman had a jacket on over exercise togs, and the hood of that jacket over her head. Considering it's late July and the morning low is above 70 degrees F., she's a classic example of someone needing vitamins with iron.

The yelling woman walked north toward the corner of 4th and Broadway. I jogged south from that corner, and it was clear our paths very well could cross. Should I ignore her? Ask if I can help her? Or declare her demon-possessed, and offer to cast it out?

I've had a few encounters with yelling people on sidewalks before. Several years ago I walked a few blocks from an Atlanta MARTA station to a high school graduation on a Sunday afternoon, and a man passed me grumbling loudly about
something. This is why AM radio talk shows should take calls seven days a week.

But what was going on with this upset woman at the edge of South Commons? Could it possibly be that missing Utah woman, far from home and battling amnesia? Could it possibly be a member of Judge Roxann Daniel's campaign, still coming to terms with reality?

As I ran by the woman, she stopped me to jogging in place. "What's your name?" I told her, and asked for hers.

"I am Paula W. Azzario!" Well, at least she didn't declare herself the Queen of the new Iraq....

Then came a dramatic moment. I paused while jogging in place, to see if the woman had anything more to say. About 100 yards from this spot, a man stopped me after a winter evening's jog a couple of years ago and gave me a 40-minute non-stop pep talk. He brought up Jehovah's Witnesses, military strategy, Michael Jackson - anything but the windbreaker I needed.

Paula said nothing. I didn't press the issue, so I kept moving toward the Riverwalk. Given my history, the end of this meeting was unusual - but I don't carry any money for beggars when I jog, anyway.

I'm not sure, but I believe I live a few blocks from some kind of halfway house for people in substance abuse treatment. This may explain some of the curious people I meet in the neighborhood - who all could make big money come September in a carnival sideshow at The South Commons Festival.

As I finished my morning jog and walked home to get ready for the work day, I happened to pass the hooded woman again. I could understand her venting a bit better now - something about "the white gown of Columbus, Georgia; Ku Klux Klan haters...." And you thought people in white gowns only worked at insane asylums.

BLOG UPDATE Now Fort Benning has put Columbus Shuttle on suspension, for use in anything but leisure travel. Is there some sort of sneaky budget shift going on here -- with Benning officers replacing the Columbus Police vice squad?

(C'mon, you Benning commanders - I think the talk of a new brigade moving in means you don't have to work so hard to stay off the base closing list.)

WRBL reported Tuesday a Fort Benning inspection found problems with random drug tests by Columbus Shuttle. So THAT'S what the suspension is about! I've been in these shuttle vans, and there certainly wasn't any room for prostitution....

The Fort Benning inspection of Columbus Shuttle apparently came because of a wreck in suburban Atlanta a few weeks ago, which injured a soldier. But c'mon now - the U.S. Army overseeing airport shuttle buses?! This is one part of the Patriot Act the librarians never mentioned.

Meanwhile, a Fort Benning board heard appeals Tuesday from a couple of businesses on the "Big Eight" list - places in Columbus soldiers are NOT allowed to visit. Perhaps some businesses have made required changes. For instance, replacing the club name "Memory Lane" with "Veterans' Memorial Lane...."

COMING THURSDAY: John Kerry's big day.... Which big local names are quietly in his corner?

To offer a story tip, make a donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post a reply.

If you quote from this in public somewhere, please be polite enough to let me know.

© 2003-04 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004



A big thank-you to a friend who called our attention to the Medialine web site and its "Open Line" section. Our Sunday thoughts about WRBL dismissing Dave Marshall were posted there, almost verbatim. Apparently whoever did this missed the copyright at the bottom of each posting....

But anyway: our blog item on Dave Marshall [25 Jul] sparked an interesting discussion at Medialine's message board. The most revealing one comes from one of Marshall's former co-workers - who uses the online name "Captain Kaos:"

I'll admit it up front. I work at WRBL. Some people on this board know who I am. It's not a big deal. I'm not taking sides. Here are some facts (as we know them in the newsroom) about the situation:

-The "blog" described in the original post is written by a freelance producer at our competition. He is notoriuos for blasting WRBL whenever he can. He's devoted entire columns to personal attacks on our staff, including me. On the rare occasion he blasts the station he works for, he refers to it as "one station in town", while referring to WRBL by name.

-The story in question never aired as scripted above. The story will be done, however. It has been reassigned to another reporter and we understand it will air this week.

-The call to "release Dave" as it was put to us was made by the GM, not the News Director. Dave's 90-day probation period (standard for all new employees) was not yet over. The station could have dropped him for any reason or no reason at all. We were told, and I fully believe, Dave was let go for
a number of reasons, only one of them being this "problem solver" report. We're hearing management was not happy with his anchor work. While Dave has reported for years, this was his first anchoring job. The thinking from management was, it seems, let's cut our losses with this guy now, while it's still early in the game.

-Manegement's problem with the story in question had little to do with the sponsor's threats. It had to do with the way Dave allegedly handled things with the sponsor. He admitted (during the screaming match with the ND referenced in the blog) he did get rude and "smart" with the realty company's owner. Apparently things got ugly during that confrontation. Dave had a very "in your face" and "confrontational" style of reporting and perhaps that did not mesh well with management. (That's just my opinion).

Dave is a great guy and will land on his feet. We wish him all the best. I hope this post clears up some questions about what's going on in our sleepy little market.


Uh-oh - I'm notorious?! During my years at CNN Center, that word was only used on the air to apply to criminals....

It will be interesting to see how the final "Problem Solvers" report looks, regarding those apartments on 20th Avenue. Considering how disgusting the situation was there and how much controversy has developed, this story may be "sanitized" in more ways than one.

I never saw Dave Marshall anchor the morning news on WRBL, so I can't tell you how well he did. Certainly his hairstyle provided a nice contrast with Amy Giuliano's.

Did Dave Marshall get "in your face" with Rowe Realty, over the way it handled apartments on 20th Avenue? We may never know for sure - but I certainly would have put on rubber gloves, to put the "waste-full" evidence in their faces....

With that added information, and with a Big Blog Question about Marshall's dismissal in progress, I can't help raising another question. Just who might "Captain Kaos" be? Is he or she known by that nickname inside WRBL - and if so, is that a GOOD thing?

Medialine's message board only tells you Captain Kaos is from "out there." Hmmmm - so maybe this person commutes to WRBL from Pittsview....

Please note how Captain Kaos spells his or her name. Kaos was the enemy spy agency, on an old TV comedy which became a couple of movies. You may recall what Kaos kept trying to do - "Get Smart."

(Secret Agent Maxwell Smart was decades ahead of his time, having a hidden telephone in his shoe. Sarah Jessica Parker never had that sort of thing on "Sex and the City.")

E-MAIL UPDATE: Nearly one week after the Georgia Primary, we received this question Monday about Superior Court Judge Roxann Daniel:

Has she yet to concede?????

If she has conceded, I haven't heard about it. But then again, I don't tend to read the one-line classified ads in the newspaper....

For the sake of discussion, let's assume Roxann Daniel still has not conceded the Judge race to Bobby Peters. I could offer several theories why:

+ Campaign treasurer Maxine Hardy is waiting for Mark Shelnutt to offer her thousands of dollars, in exchange for persuading a concession speech out of her.

+ She's quietly working out a deal to move to Atlanta and live in seclusion with Danae Roberts.

+ She's praying really hard for some court to invalidate the "recess appointment" of Federal Judge Bill Pryor, so she can take the job.

By the way, I'm told some local Democratic leaders are down in the dumps about how last week's primary went. Many sided with Roxann Daniel, yet she lost. They called for school board changes, yet only one incumbent lost. And they probably wish Herman Cain had run for U.S. Senate on the other side of the ballot.

Speaking of judgeships, Georgia state officials certified the primary results Monday. As a result, Howard Mead missed a runoff for State Court of Appeals by about 400 votes. That means Mead can go back to whatever he did before - like
coating boards or something.

All that being said, let's send a few Instant Messages here and there:

+ To the Lucky 7 Lounge on Victory Drive: Aren't you rubbing it in a bit -- with that "military welcome" sign?

+ To the managers of the Firehouse Bar: You're on SIDNEY Simons Boulevard, not "Sydney" as your billboards say. How many drinks did you have before approving that?

+ To Hardaway High School: How on earth did you wind up on the Georgia "Needs Improvement" list Monday? Just because you didn't make the state baseball finals, while Columbus did....

+ To the Country Club of Columbus: Why don't you leave the weekend storm damage on the golf course, and declare it a new hazard? If it's on a green, drill some holes in the tree limbs - that's what a "goofy golf" course would do.

+ To Wardogs Coach John Fourcade: That was a neat strategy for Monday night's home game - selling tickets at Cascade Hills Church, and doing interviews there during weekend services. Maybe if you had prayed as well, the team might have

(Did you know Cascade Hills Church actually has a Saturday evening "Sports Center" Bible study group - which looks for religious lessons from sports events? I wonder if they talk about the stealing commandment during baseball season....)

COMING WEDNESDAY: A wake-up call on Broadway, whether you want it or not.....

To offer a story tip, make a donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post a reply.

If you quote from this in public somewhere, please be polite enough to let me know.

© 2003-04 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 26, 2004



After a short pause to reload, the campaign commercials resumed over the weekend. U.S. Senate candidate Cliff Oxford attacked Denise Majette for taking an $18,000 trip to "job-stealing" India. The sooner Alabama's Governor gets home from
Europe, the better....

At least there's no more debate about the Superior Court Judge race in Columbus. If there still is, there's a good place to settle it. Coming September 4 to the Civic Center - the "Chaos in Columbus" pro boxing card.

Your blog wound up with many more letters supporting Bobby Peters than Roxann Daniel. Since three supporters never took my challenge and paid to have their endorsements posted, I've decided to post them now and get them out of the way.
After all, Peters would look silly taking a victory lap around Georgia like Sonny Perdue....

I know you said you didn't want to post anymore "Bobby emails", but I hope you will this one last time. (If Daniels isn't getting any feedback, then her supporters should get off the pot!)

I have lived here all of my life and Bobby is someone the people want to see in our legal or government process. He has always been a great attorney, but his most important and impressive work has been that of public servant. I hope most of the people realize as I do, that we are lucky to have such a skilled and compassionate person wanting to stay in his hometown and strive for positive change, rather than take off for the much higher levels of government he could so easily attain. He cares about this town. I don't really know anything about Roxann Daniel except what I've seen here lately and it hasn't been enough to convince me to vote for her.

As for the last email posted. I HAVE seen Bobby try to eat in a local restaraunt. A short time back, he was with a very beautiful lady friend and they apparently decided not to even order and then left. Of course they were both wearing friendly smiles as they did leave, (he always seems to be courteous
and polite.) I don't care about his or anyone elses relationships or divorces. But I do agree with the person that wrote he MUST be a great person if even his ex-wife can be as friendly and supportive as she is. That was an important point to make.

I don't think he considers the person that "buses his table" any lower than anyone else either. I'm sure the lady didn't mean her statement the way it sounded, (by saying "down to the person that buses his table") but I wanted to clarify that a little better if I could.

He is the best person for the job.

Priscilla Wagner

Apparently the majority agreed with Priscilla's view about Judge-Elect Peters. But hold on a second - we never heard anyone accuse Roxann Daniel's supporters of using pot.

I've personally wondered why Bobby Peters didn't try for a "higher level of government," such as a seat in the state legislature or Congress. Now that he's officially turning non-partisan, the Democrats might not want him helping their
campaigns anymore.

I would imagine Bobby Peters would support someone who "buses his table." After all, he's endorsed METRA funding for years.... but let's move on:

In the Ledger this past Saturday, (06-26-04) a letter was printed by a woman named Bobbie Alexander in response to an alleged phone call she received from Judge Daniel's people, wanting to dig up negative reports on Bobby Peters. If this is true, then I am now convinced to cast my vote for Bobby Peters, because Judge Daniels obviously doesn't possess a clue with her investigative skills. We have seen Bobbie Alexander when she lived in this fair city. Although she was attractive enough, she is not anything like the stunning southern belle my wife and I saw him with a few months back. We were dining out and saw Mr. Peters walk in with a long legged American beauty on his arm and I wanted go over and shake the lads hand just for that! (My wife would have konked me though) . I suppose this
is what you Americans mean by dirty politics.

I thought my homeland of Britain could be unscrupulous in their political games! What fun! My wife and I love your Blog, it's a lot like a little Ledger published back home that we miss so much.

Charles Fellowes

Aw, c'mon! Who IS this mysterious woman Bobby Peters is taking to local restaurants? She's beautiful, long-legged - he couldn't be dating former Miss Georgias, could he?

I'd wondered whatever happened to Bobbie Alexander. When I moved to Columbus seven years ago, she was described as Bobby Peters's fianceé and an aide to Congressman Mac Collins. But perhaps marriage would have led to a major decision - such as the then-Mayor having to change his name to Robert.

Which reminds me: a friend of mine recalled the other day attending a Bobby Peters "celebrity roast" years ago. Ex-wife Susan Peters stood at the dais, and asked everyone in the room who had dated him to stand - and on cue, all the women did (along with a couple of men).

British politics truly can have some "gamesmanship" to them. Of course, over there the steamy love affairs tend to be with top-secret spies.... but we have one more e-mail:

I would love for you to post this email in support of his character and dedication to Columbus. Someone in his position is bound to have just as many enemies as he does supporters. The fact is that Bobby has worked hard and honestly in his career and deserves the Superior Court Judge position, but
more importantly, he doesn't deserve these attacks on his character. I hope that people will re-focus their energy back to the issues and stay out of other areas. We would only be hurting ourselves and our community in the long run, by not making our voting decision based on the issues facing our judicial system.

He is a good man.

Kim P.

Kim, I'm reminded of what a radio station adviser wrote about me when I worked in Oklahoma some 20 years ago - "what character, what A character...."

Perhaps Bobby Peters has "as many enemies as he does supporters." If that's so, the enemies must have hated BOTH candidates so much that they left the ballot blank last week.

CLASSIC BLOG: Bobby Peters was mentioned in our very first blog entry 18 months ago. Let's see what we wrote about
him, even before he became interested in running for judge:

6 JAN 03: The inauguration of a new Mayor [Bob Poydasheff] meant our two-term Mayor had to give up his job. He bounced in and out of the reception - and showed his usual great sense of humor. He was the only man in the room with a big X on his name tag. [True!]

27 JUN 03: All kidding aside, I'd like to suggest the new bridge on Veterans Parkway be named after former Columbus Mayor Bobby Peters. After all, he lives on First Avenue - so he can appreciate the end of detours more than anybody.

26 OCT 03: So what's Bobby Peters doing, nearly a year after leaving the Columbus Mayor's office? He put a small ad in the newspaper the other day, promoting his legal practice on First Avenue -- and if you've seen Mr. Peters, you know "small" is quite appropriate.

The newspaper ad invited us to check Bobby Peters's web site - and it's rather modest as well. But we already know what the most popular section of the web site will be. If only Mr. Peters would tell us if his two blonde daughters are married or

Bobby Peters's web site offers several kinds of legal help. But strangely, it does NOT mention his consulting work earlier this year for the city of Cusseta - in the dispute over whether or not that city's Mayor resigned. Apparently he only promotes the legal advice people actually accept.

The web site includes a lengthy endorsement/biography of Bobby Peters by his longtime Executive Assistant at the Government Center, Ed Wilson. Some of us would have been more impressed if Councilor Nathan Suber had written it.

My home isn't that far from Bobby Peters's "home office" on First Avenue -- and last time I checked, he was still taking good care of his classic 50's-era Ford Thunderbird. He had it on sale for awhile early in the year -- but apparently his legal practice IS getting clients now.

To offer a story tip, make a donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post a reply.

If you quote from this in public somewhere, please be polite enough to let me know.

© 2003-04 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, July 25, 2004



All I did was turn right off Veterans Parkway onto Whittlesey. When I did that Saturday afternoon, a strange competition began - and no, street hustlers were not fighting to clean my windshield.

A driver behind me decided he simply HAD to pass me on Whittlesey Road - right then and there, as soon as I turned. I blame NASCAR for people who think they have to drive like this. The South seems to be filled with people who think they could substitute for the ailing Dale Earnhardt, Junior today....

To set the scene: I turned from northbound Veterans Parkway onto eastbound Whittlesey. There are two eastbound lanes, but a third lane suddenly develops on the right for turning into Main Street Village -- and if the wind is blowing in the right
direction from Country's Barbecue, I suppose the smell can fill it up in a hurry.

My plan was to turn right two blocks down Whittlesey onto Weems Road -- but after I properly turned onto Whittlesey in "lane #2," the driver of a Hyundai Elantra behind me turned hard into the far right lane. Some people want to be first at
everything - but first in a turn lane?

This is where it got weird. I used my turn signal in front of the Hyundai driver, and steered into the far right lane. That driver WITHOUT signaling cut left into the middle lane - then passed me and cut back into the far right lane in front of me! C'mon guy, my Honda comes first in alphabetical order....

To make matters worse, the Hyundai driver cut me off in the far right lane - at a RED light, at Whittlesey and Main Street! He did all this in ONE block! His license plate was from Georgia, but I somehow suspect he's a native New Yorker.

My church Pastor says how you react to drivers who cut you off is a sign of your Christianity. In Saturday's case, I did NOT get angry at the Hyundai driver. In fact, I sat at the traffic light laughing at him. If he went to all that trouble to gain one car-length, imagine what he must try to get a promotion from his boss.

(My Pastor suggests you say to the driver who cuts you off, "May you get home safely!" I wonder if this Hyundai driver simply was in a hurry to find a public restroom.)

When the light changed to green on Whittlesey, I made sure the Hyundai driver gained plenty of space in front of me. If he was that anxious to show me his ARS 5776 license plate, he might throw his car into reverse and put it through my

If that incident was supposed to be scary, a much happier moment for me occurred on the way home from church Saturday evening. Coast down the hill on Talbotton Road from Hamilton Road to Veterans Parkway, and if you get a green light it's almost like a ride at Six Flags.

E-MAIL UPDATE: We now know much more about the dismissal of Dave Marshall from WRBL. In fact, your blog has obtained a copy of the story which apparently was the last straw. Apparently a station manager decided one of the "Problem Solvers" actually WAS the problem....

WARNING: Here's the script we received from an insider at WRBL -- but the mere description of an apartment complex may not be for the faint of heart:












"SO HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT" (dave marshall)





After reading this, we don't blame the residents if they want to move down the street - even if it means living at Elizabeth Canty Homes.

I honestly don't know if the 400 block of 20th Avenue has a crime and drug problem or not. But isn't it interesting that residents didn't "raise a stink" about trouble until the bathrooms.... well, you know....

Perhaps there's a lesson in this story for new parents everywhere: do NOT flush your baby's diapers down the bathroom stool. Use cloth diapers instead -- and buy the biggest box of laundry detergent you can find, because you might need a lot of it.

So why did this story get Dave Marshall booted from WRBL this past week -- and, I'm told, escorted from the building? An e-mail which came to us with the script (no, we're NOT revealing who sent it) explains:

Dave went to do the story got video and contacted the property managers who allegedly said the story would never make air because they had bought about $30,000 worth of ads on the station. I was not there, but the gossip is that Dave and the news director got in to a shouting match because we were not going to run the story and the next thing you know he was gone. Poof!!!

Honestly, he is a nice guy, but he has a thing or two to learn about "playing the game" and not "biting the hand that feeds him" He can be hotheaded and a little selfrighteous at times.

Still, even those of us who are a little more politically keen, it is not much me can do here if "on your side" only means "on your side" as long as a sponsor does not get mad.....

You can understand why this company would be concerned. It doesn't want to be known as "SKID Rowe Realty."

I've never met Dave Marshall, but he supposedly had ten years or so of TV news experience. He should know how to "play the game" -- and realize in Columbus, businesses are kind and wise and wonderful. Brian Sharpe should have left a note
about that, before he went to work for the Chamber of Commerce.

But it's interesting that Rowe Realty reportedly raised such a fuss about this story. Dave Marshall also "Problem Solved" a woman whose windshield got smashed by a baseball during a Columbus Catfish game [11 Jun] -- and WRBL isn't shooting
highlights from a hole in the Golden Park fence.

What we have here is a classic ethical tug-of-war in the news business. If an advertiser buys time on TV or space in the newspaper, should it expect favorable reports as a result? Should it have "immunity from persecution?"

THE BIG BLOG QUESTION wants to get your opinion about this. Click here to offer your opinion - and remember, your donations can ensure this blog isn't bought by anybody. But then again, not even the candidates for Superior Court Judge
made an offer to do that....

On a somewhat happier note, we attended a going-away party Friday evening for sportscaster Justin Cazana. He was given a "Baby Toomer's Corner" tree from Auburn University. I guess for a few years, he'll have to "roll it" with a small napkin
from Krystal.

To offer a story tip, make a donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post a reply.

If you quote from this in public somewhere, please be polite enough to let me know.

© 2003-04 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 22, 2004



Columbus Police have arrested a man on charges of impersonating a U.S. Marshal. Johnathan Brown reportedly went into nightclubs with a toy badge and gun. People like this should be somewhere else - like teaching four-year-olds how to do this at the Growing Room.

I've spent the last couple of days looking for another Marshal - only with a different spelling. I'm hearing WRBL fired morning news anchor Dave Marshall this week. He came to Columbus as "Dr. Dave" - but apparently this town only has room for one, and he's on Rooster 106-FM.

Several sources indicate Dave Marshall was fired because of one of his "Problem Solvers" investigations. It reportedly made a local realtor upset, and that realtor threatened to pull commercials off WRBL. No matter what business you're in, the most important thing to have "on your side" is money.

Dave Marshall's name and picture are off the Internet area for "News 3 This Morning" - but if you do a Google search for his name, you still can find his biography. The folks at so far are nice enough not to draw a funny toupee on his head.

Dave Marshall came to Columbus only two months ago, from Baltimore. Perhaps he's learned in this city, "crabs" are not something you eat - sometimes they're the people you want to do news stories about.

(There's one place where Dave Marshall might be hiding, which I haven't checked yet. An Atlanta radio station changed its name this week to "Dave-FM.")

Speaking of departures: Thursday night's Catfish radio broadcast may have marked the last local broadcast appearance for Justin Cazana. He's moving to Knoxville, to work with University of Tennessee sportscasts. Cazana is a true public servant, to take such a "Volunteer" position....

If you listened carefully to the Savannah-Columbus game, it sounded like Justin Cazana was giving the city a fond farewell. He talked about working with Mark Littleton years ago on RedStixx games. He discussed local baseball history. And I actually thought he might bring out the general manager who ran away last summer.

Justin Cazana made a special one-night appearance on WDAK Radio because regular Catfish announcer Nathan Rayner was with the special telecast on the CSS channel. For a Thirsty Thursday game, the letters stood for "Columbus-Savannah --

Now that we've taken care of media stars, let's see what else is going on as the week ends:

+ Fort Benning called a news conference for today, apparently to announce when the Third Brigade will return to Iraq. Now that's a creative way to get those eight businesses off the banned list

+ Susan Massey says she woke up at her Columbus home to find at least 50 campaign signs stuck in her front yard. And Massey says she's NOT involved in local politics! OK, who got the address for Bobby Peters's house wrong?

(Susan Massey considers all the campaign signs in her yard a funny "practical joke." Wait until the telemarketers hear about this - and they all line up to call her during dinner.)

+ Directors of the Ironworks Trade Center showed off its finished renovations. The directors said the average tourist spends at least $167 a day in Columbus - and that probably doesn't count what male tourists spend on Victory Drive.

(Doesn't that number seem a bit high - $167 a day spent by tourists? I knew fuel prices were up, but are that many people driving here in tractor-trailers?)

+ Instant Message to the Columbus Public Works Department: You still have four large sewer pipes on the grass and sidewalk along Fourth Street, weeks after you finished working on First Avenue. Can I go ahead and take one for a souvenir?

SONG OF THE DAY: Justin Cazana worked in TV sports when I first came to Columbus seven years ago - and I quickly developed a theme song for him, to the hymn "Just As I Am":

Justin Cazana has the sports.

He'll bring you all the late reports

About baseball, football - guys in shorts.

The sportscast, it will come.... will come.

Who won the ball game late last night?

Did two hockey players get in a fight?

Did a coach tell someone, "Go fly a kite?"

His sportscast, it will come.... will come.

To offer a story tip, make a donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post a reply.

If you quote from this in public somewhere, please be polite enough to let me know.

© 2003-04 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.



Instant Message to all Columbus church pastors: Would you please give sermons about gossip and rumor-mongering this weekend? There's still so much of it going around, and so many people needing to hear Bible verses against it....

Yet another rumor surfaced Wednesday about Bobby Peters, even though he's won the Superior Court Judge election. Maybe somebody already senses Peters is going to run for Congress two years from now.

Judge-Elect Bobby Peters told me Wednesday night: no - he did NOT get arrested in 1982 on disorderly conduct charges. In fact, it took him a moment to figure out how long ago 1982 was. Since he's not Mayor anymore, he doesn't have to worry as much about mathematics on things like budgets.

We must note this new (well, old) rumor about Bobby Peters did NOT come (we think) from someone in the Roxann Daniel campaign. It came from a man who likes to call news outlets and encourage them to investigate old political conspiracies. When WILL cable TV come up with a "Columbus History Channel?"

This man offered several details about Bobby Peters in 1982 - claiming the Judge-Elect was arrested on disorderly conduct charges, for punching his girlfriend in the face at the Chateau Apartments. The man left the impression he was there. But as usual, he left no name or phone number so we could track down HIS past.

The rumor spreader claimed Bobby Peters succeeded in getting the disorderly conduct charge removed in 1982 - and called it a move which saved Peters's political career. I'm not sure that would have been necessary. A DUI charge didn't stop George W. Bush from becoming President four years ago.

"Absolutely not true.... slanderous" was how Bobby Peters answered my question about a possible 1982 arrest. He told me such an arrest would be a matter of "public record." Perhaps at the Columbus Museum or on dingy microfilm, but it
would be public record....

The problem with trying to verify a rumor like this is that you'd have to look through all Columbus Police files for 1982. They're probably not computerized. They may well be disorganized. And reporters would like to use vacation weeks to get
AWAY from such things.

Bobby Peters openly hopes the rumors about his past will stop, now that the election is over. He'll leave private law to become Superior Court Judge next January - and then rumors will start about his present campaign backing, from so many
Columbus attorneys.

Judge-Elect Bobby Peters spent much of Wednesday taking congratulatory phone calls. But surprise, surprise - not one of them came from Judge Roxann Daniel. She apparently was back at work, trying not to rip angry gashes in legal papers with her pen.

"I haven't heard a word" from Roxann Daniel, Bobby Peters told me Wednesday evening. Now THIS shows how nasty the campaign for Judge was. After all, George W. Bush called John Kerry to congratulate him for winning Presidential primaries.

(Roxann Daniel apparently still hasn't conceded the race for Superior Court Judge, either. Maybe she's waiting on the "overseas votes" to come in - as if 10,000 people living outside the country will come to her rescue.)

If you think about it, it's easy to see why Roxann Daniel might be frustrated. Judgeships tend to be secure positions, where someone is appointed and then stays on the bench unchallenged for years and years. You know, kind of like being a TV news anchor....

By the way, Bobby Peters says he also spent time Wednesday taking down some of his campaign signs throughout Columbus. As many signs as he put up, this could take half his time before next January's oath-taking.

As the smoke cleared Wednesday from the Georgia Primary, we found these points to follow up:

+ Dylan Glenn did in fact get in a Republican runoff for U.S. House, against Lynn Westmoreland. The man who's billed as "Columbus's rising star" at least rose to second place - but for now, that just makes him a co-star.

+ Seth Harp upset Dan Lee, in a showdown of State Senators. Governor Perdue gave Lee a top position, after Lee switched parties two years ago. But you know how Republicans prefer old-timers, to those wet-behind-the-ears newcomers.

+ Reports from Americus indicated Sumter County Sheriff Bob Ingle actually is in a Democratic runoff, even though he finished second in the primary. I thought I heard 45 percent was enough to win a primary now. But then again, what were the CRCT math scores in Sumter County this year?

+ The Muscogee County School Board is about to add a member who may oppose Fort Benning's "Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation." A Google search for "South Columbus United Methodist" reveals Pastor Joseph Roberson has housed SOA Watch protesters at his church. Yet there's still no homeless shelter on the grounds?!

(WHINSEC and preachers like Joseph Roberson soon may have something in common. Neither one will be able to evangelize in public schools.)

BURKARD'S BEST BETS: Thirsty Thursday at Golden Park. Drinks are $1, and the Catfish game is televised on the CSS Cable Network! Let's see all those "Majette" and "Oxford" signs....

COMING FRIDAY: The doctor is out.... and we're trying to track down the reason why....

To offer a story tip, make a donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post a reply.

If you quote from this in public somewhere, please be polite enough to let me know.

© 2003-04 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004



Premiering at the Columbus Civic Center tonight: the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey circus. After the Superior Court Judge race of the last few weeks, it's like replacing one circus with another.

When all the votes were counted from several counties, Bobby Peters had shoved Judge Roxann Daniel off the Superior Court bench. It turned out the margin of victory really WAS a reflection of all those yard and wall signs.

(And here I called him "Boom-Boom Bobby" a couple of weeks ago. I suppose I should change that to "Bam-Bam Bobby" -- as in gavel pounding.)

Judge Roxann Daniel broke up her election-night party near Cross-Country Plaza at 9:30 p.m., but refused to concede the lopsided election. She explained she didn't expect her supporters to stay up late for the final results. Early to bed, early to rise - fewer reporters to watch the cries.

Judge Roxann Daniel admitted she faced an uphill fight in the election, because Bobby Peters had better name recognition. Now she'll be out of office -- and Fort Benning soldiers may buy HER dinner for a change.

What about her future? Judge Roxann Daniel told WXTX "News at Ten" she plans to show up for work today. Beyond that, she'll have plenty of time to work on her resume - and hopefully this time, it'll be accurate.

Bobby Peters was all smiles and humor as he gave late-night interviews outside his First Avenue home. Given his nature, a trip to his court might have more punch lines than an episode of "Judge Mathis."

(Instant Message to WRBL's Katie Weitzner: What do you mean, you had "the first live interview with Bobby Peters" at 11:00 p.m.? Hasn't someone told you there's a 10:00 newscast in Columbus now?)

Your blog made the rounds of several election-night locations in Columbus, looking for drama and excitement. All in all, I probably should have stayed home and watched "Navy N.C.I.S...."

8:15 p.m.: I arrive at the Government Center, more than an hour after the polls close. Remembering the last two "touch-screen" votes and how they didn't finish until after 11:00, there's no reason to hurry in this hurry-up age.

I pass through the Government Center security checkpoint, and find something which wasn't there on my last visit. "MAYOR BOB POYDASHEFF WELCOMES YOU" says an electronic sign above the elevator doors. Oh yeah - he's up for re-election in two years, isn't he?

"Election returns? West Wing," says the security guard at the checkpoint. I follow the directions, and arrive at the tables where ballots are arriving. All these people with soft briefcases must look alike on election night....

It turns out the West Wing is for election workers - but the East Wing is the place to watch the numbers come in. So I trudge around the Government Center parking garage, past the jail inmates helping handle election materials. There's
something for Patriot Act supporters to think about, come November.

The East Wing "waiting room" is familiar, from the 2002 general election. Back then, the big local race was Danae Roberts vs. Debbie Buckner for State House. This year, Rep. Buckner is unopposed - and Roberts probably is stuck somewhere in Atlanta traffic.

About 20 people are in the waiting room, many with cell phones reporting the latest numbers they see on a projection screen. Sadly, there's no TV set this year to provide more frequently updated numbers - such as from the Atlanta baseball

An election worker walks in every few members with a diskette, and refreshes a laptop computer where the numbers originate. While I'm there, the totals jump from six precincts reporting to ten -- out of 48 in Muscogee County. It's not quite watching the web-cam of the library construction work, but it's close.

The election return program displayed on the screen shows not only numbers for each candidate, but pie graphs reflecting the percentages. The leaders appear on the graphs in red - which I think means a Democrat wrote the code for this.

A few of the races displayed in the waiting room surprise me. Do you mean Howard Mead actually had opposition for the Georgia Court of Appeals - from FIVE other people? He was the only one I seemed to see on television....

Mac Collins is carrying Muscogee County, among Republican candidates for U.S. Senate. But someone has to say it - Collins ran the most low-key, uninspired campaign for Senate I've ever seen from a sitting member of Congress. Maybe he
thought Johnny Isakson and Herman Cain would sling so much mud at each other, he'd look cleanest.

(Which reminds me: why did Herman Cain run an anti-Johnny Isakson ad at 11:30 p.m. on Primary Night - 4 ½ hours after the polls closed? I've never seen anyone so confident about simply getting into a runoff.)

The two contested Columbus Council races are blowouts at this point. Red McDaniel and Skip Henderson go on to big wins - proving once again the grumblers on WRCG's "Talkline" truly are calling a radio station for minorities.

Several local officials are in the waiting room, watching the election numbers. The most surprising one to me is State Senator Seth Harp, who's in a fight with Sen. Dan Lee for a combined seat. If Harp is at the Government Center in person, does that mean he didn't bother to organize a victory party?

(Seth Harp's billboards said this State Senate election was "about our principles." Given the reports from Eddy Middle School lately, maybe it should be about the teachers instead....)

While Seth Harp is seated in a chair in a plaid shirt, Muscogee County Sheriff Ralph Johnson is watching the election numbers in a sportcoat and tie. He won't face Robert Taylor for re-election until November - and since he's running as an
independent, no doubt he only cares about the nonpartisan races.

I could sit in this waiting room the rest of the night and wait for slow updates on election totals - but I decide it's not worth the time and trouble. After all, I normally don't stare at computer screens at home and watch real-time baseball box scores, either.

8:35 p.m.: Just across Ninth Street from the Government Center sits the law office and home of Bobby Peters. If you walk down First Avenue the right way, you already can get an idea of how Judge Peters could speed up the judicial process.

Several tables are set up on the lawn in front of Bobby Peters's house, for an election night party. Red, white and blue bunting is all over the front porch and stairs. About the only thing Peters needs now is to move one of the gazebos off the Chattahoochee Promenade.

Bobby Peters actually invited your blog to his party during a Sunday night interview - but I decide not to stop for a visit. Some people might find out who I am, and beat me up for posting all those strange rumors from Peters's opponents.

8:45 p.m.: A one-block walk down Ninth Street from Bobby Peters's house takes me to the Wyndham Hotel. That's the spot for the election party of "Dylan Glenn, Columbus's rising star." So when does he plan to challenge Brad Cotter to a singing contest?

Dylan Glenn may be "Columbus's rising star," but the numbers show him losing the Republican primary for U.S. House to Lynn Westmoreland. Yet remember the billboards around town earlier this year? Now that Glenn's failed three times, he
might become President in 2008.

As I walk around outside the Dylan Glenn party, I overhear a curious conversation. "Mayor Poydasheff can come sit my dog...." a man says. Well, this IS a bit more polite than "eat my shorts."

A closer look shows this man is venting to Columbus Councilor Wayne Anthony, apparently about the proposed animal ordinance which failed to get enough votes to pass Tuesday. "There's a difference between a yard dog and a house dog," Anthony is told. So which one can last longer in a hot car?

Earlier in the day, a voter in Talbot County complained to me that he wanted to vote in the Republican primary AND choose between Democrats running for Sheriff. I explained Georgia doesn't allow "crossover voting" in the primary. But he will get to vote on "crossover marriages" in November.

Since no Republicans ran for Sheriff in Talbot County, it didn't seem right to this man that he couldn't have a say in the Democratic contest. He should contact state lawmakers and complain about this. If buffet dining is good enough for Chinese restaurants, it should be good enough for a polling place.

Now some other brief items about Primary Day:

+ Pastor Joseph Roberson beat Muscogee County School Board member Owen Ditchfield. NOW will the Pastor have time for an interview with me? Will he have time to counsel any of his church members anymore?

+ Sumter County Sheriff Bob Ingle lost a four-way Democratic Primary, only days after an activist group claimed a county jail inmate was attacked by guards. I never thought of the phrase "one good beating deserves another" quite this way

+ Taylor County Sheriff Jim Wainwright was thrown out of office, gaining only 15 percent of the vote. Wow - was it HIS idea to have a unified high school prom?

COMING SOON: Our version of the Bobby Peters virtual victory tour....

To offer a story tip, make a donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post a reply.

If you quote from this in public somewhere, please be polite enough to let me know.

© 2003-04 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004



But first -- BREAKING NEWS! I'm happy to report one of my nieces had her second baby Monday night! The baby is Kathryn Elizabeth Eckert. She's in Lawrence, Kansas. And I have to figure one more name into my will.

The birth of baby Kathryn makes me a "great-uncle" for the second time, for lack of a better term. I actually became an uncle at age 11 - and did I ever feel more grown-up than the other children at church school....

My brother reports Kathryn's mother Penny gave birth after almost a full day of labor. That had to be exhausting - if only because her health plan might not have covered another couple of days.

(If Penny decides to have another child in a couple of years, things should be easier - since another niece of mine is in college, studying to become a gynecologist.)

Now to our scheduled topic: you may hear or read in the news what this day is across Georgia. But for me, it's something else. It's laundry day -- where I pick up and carry a tall hamper full of clothes around town, yet for some reason don't log it as extra exercise.

Normally I do my laundry every two weeks. Yes, I have enough clothing stashed away to do that - although I must admit I've lost the handle on one drawer in my chest, trying to stuff it all in there.

But some full work days lately have required me to adjust my laundry schedule - to every 13 days, instead of 14. Otherwise, I would have had no time to clean my clothes before sundown on Friday nights. As some of you know, that's when Sabbath-keeping people like me turn into pumpkins.

The last time I did laundry was 13 days ago -- and that Wednesday night was quite an adventure. For starters, I don't have a washer or dryer at home. So my tall filled hamper was in the car all day while I was at work. If only Interstate 185 had diamond lanes for "high occupancy vehicles...."

As I recall, that Wednesday two weeks ago was sunny. So the hamper didn't smell bad at all as I drove to my regular laundromat after work. And it was so full of clothing that I didn't have to worry about a police officer pulling me over, for
not having it buckled in.

Problem #1: My regular laundromat has no attendant - and on this Wednesday night, the change machine was out of service. I'm used to hearing longtime news reporters talk about carrying "a pocket full of quarters," but I thought this was
the 21st century.

Thankfully, this laundromat is in a shopping center on South Lumpkin Road. So I locked the laundry hamper back inside my car, and went walking down the sidewalk to get change for dollar bills. It's too bad the storefront church in the center
didn't have a Wednesday night service, or I could have negotiated over the offering.

Problem #2: I walked to a convenience store across the street from the far end of the shopping center - and a teenager outside asked me for 50 cents. He wanted a bottle of soda, and showed me one about half-full. Maybe you would have said no - but I remembered someone was stabbed behind this store a couple of weeks before.

My original plan was to get change for a five-dollar bill as I bought one soda, but I wound up buying two. Problem #3: the convenience store was low on quarters as well. I was given one dollar's worth - but I need $1.50 to start the two washers. Maybe I should have asked the teenager to be my broker.

I took the long walk back to my car, left the 20-ounce bottle of soda inside near the laundry hamper and started a second round of searching. This time I tried a little ethnic grocery store in the shopping center - but it was filled with items I don't normally eat and wouldn't buy. At this point, I doubted even their "lucky candles" would have worked.

At last I found something for my tastes in this little store - a package of M&M's candies. How old were they? I didn't care, since the stains on my clothes were turning even older.

The little store had change for a dollar - so after about a half-hour of searching and haggling, I was able to do my laundry. Hopefully today will be a lot easier. For one thing, it's an afternoon trip as opposed to evening. And this time, "Plan B" for me is to get back in the car and head for a supermarket.

BLOG UPDATE: It was sad to learn Monday of the passing of Chuck McClure. News reports said the reason was "natural causes" - but I can't help wondering if the sound of Don Imus on WRCG schmoozing with liberals had something to do with it.

While Chuck McClure offered conservative commentaries on the radio for years, his stations included the very modern music of WCGQ "Q-107.3" FM. McClure probably left that to his son, presuming "Boss Junior" could understand the words.

I didn't realize until Monday that Chuck McClure made local history by hiring Al Haynes as an announcer. Haynes was the first African-American voice on a white-owned radio station in town. So when does Ritmo Latino Radio plan to have a "gringo" host on weekends?

Longtime Columbus residents know Chuck McClure and his wife played a major role in saving the Springer Opera House from the wrecking ball years ago. To this day, I don't know why nobody put up a fuss about Three Arts Theatre. A fresh coat of pink paint would have made it look as good as new.

Now other quick notes we found on an almost-comfortable summer Monday:

+ WLTZ "NBC-38" won the Ledger-Enquirer's "Reader's Choice" award for favorite local TV station. Are that many people tuning in at 11:00 p.m. for Jim Devitt's one-minute weather forecast?

+ WXTX News at Ten sent "Fox 54 on Patrol" to Auburn Road in Phenix City, to monitor speeders. The city could slow things down by installing a traffic light - but then again, we've seen enough TV news to know lots of drivers would ignore that, anyway.

+ A Quizno's Subs commercial during the Columbus Catfish radio broadcast revealed a second store will open soon in the Bradley Park area. We'll see if they copy the downtown location -- and put it in the basement of Peach Bowl or something.

+ Eufaula Mayor Jay Jaxon suggested changing the city's name to "Lake Eufaula," because it might attract more tourists. Why didn't someone think of this before? A simple change to "Lake Bibb City" could have saved that town....

+ Roy Moore's two-ton Ten Commandments monument was removed from the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery, for a three-month national tour. I say if homosexual people can come out of the closet, so can the commandments.

+ Pacelli High School kicked off football practice with "Midnight Madness." On a Sunday night at midnight in Columbus, it's either do that for entertainment or watch reruns of "The Andy Griffith Show."

COMING WEDNESDAY: Georgia Primary night! Where will we go? Who will we see?....

To offer a story tip, make a donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post a reply.

If you quote from this in public somewhere, please be polite enough to let me know.

© 2003-04 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, July 19, 2004



You thought you'd heard it all. You thought you'd read it all. But over the weekend, on the brink of the vote for Superior Court Judge - came an e-mail from Las Vegas! Oh no, did some candidate have a quicky marriage to Britney Spears?!

Your blog received its first e-mail from Las Vegas over the weekend - and we almost wished the "C.S.I." team was announcing it's investigating the accusations in the Superior Court Judge race. But no, here it is:

Hi Richard.

I enjoy reading your witty updates about my father, Bobby Peters. I'm writing from Las Vegas and have been trying to stay updated on the campaign with the internet, and of course with Bobby, Kelly, Grandma Nell and Susan's input. They have told me there are rumors circulating (surprise, surprise!)
about me and my relationship with my dad and I was hoping you could help me spread the truth. Apparently, my mom and my dad got married real young (which is true) and had me. Although, here comes the untrue part...I was born with a severe handicap and Bobby did not want anything to do with me and signed over custody papers for my mom to care for me and moved me out west. I would like to clarify this terrible rumor. First of all, I was born with no complications and lived in Columbus, Georgia until I was 2 years old with Bobby and my mom. Unfortunately, my mom and Bobby did divorce and my mom remarried my stepdad and yes, we had to move to Arizona, due to his job. Of course, Bobby was heartbroken, but also did not want to take me away from my mom, and therefore, with the my best interest in mind, he let my mom move across the states. Bobby always stayed very involved and sent me airplane tickets throughout the years to come see him and the family. We talked on the phone, sent video and tapes with our voices to stay in contact when we were not visiting one another. Both he and my mom, Joyce, made sure we kept our father/daughter relationship. I was appalled to hear about the rumor from my grandmother and it made me disgusted and sad to hear that people are believing such gossip....

Thank you!

Jennifer Bradley

Las Vegas, Nevada

I trimmed one line out of Jennifer's letter, because it was a blatant endorsement of Bobby Peters - and the Roxann Daniel camp still hasn't reached my standard of three "pro" letters to balance things out. Of course, since Maxine Hardy claims only two people read this blog, this is a high standard....

It's nice to see "ex-stepdaughter" Jennifer Bradley (as Bobby Peters called her Sunday night) is keeping track of her relatives on the Internet. We certainly don't want her thinking corrupted by those radio and TV talk shows and commercials.

To be honest, I had not heard the "severely handicapped daughter" rumor Jennifer Bradley mentions. If she was disabled, wouldn't a candidate like Bobby Peters want to display her for the public? After all, that approach works for Jerry Lewis every September.

I'm glad to hear Jennifer Bradley "was born with no complications" - but let's be honest. To be part of a family where the dad has been married and divorced twice, the complications developed after birth.

Jennifer Bradley's travels since Columbus have taken her to Las Vegas. What sort of odds do you think the bookies there would post on the Superior Court Judge race? A lot of people here have "given points," which haven't been taken....

Isn't it nice that Bobby Peters sent airplane tickets to Jennifer Bradley, for her to come visit? Many parents would simply sit at home and say, "You never call me" - even when a child calls every week.

I was not familiar with the name "Jennifer Bradley" - so I delayed posting her letter until I could confirm it. Susan Peters did so Sunday night, saying she could not believe the false rumor about someone shipping out a handicapped daughter. Now
if President Bush did this with Pat Buchanan, you might understand it....

Much to my surprise, my call to Susan Peters brought a return call Sunday night - from BOBBY Peters! Neither one apparently had any idea what Jennifer Bradley wrote me. Other political families can learn from this, about e-mail systems
with "B.C.C." lines. - for blind carbon copies.

Susan Peters says she's "very optimistic" about how Tuesday's vote for Judge will go. Bobby Peters didn't sound so sure, telling your blog that "it's in God's hands." I wonder if school board candidate Pastor Joseph Roberson would have agreed
with that Sunday -- or told worshipers it's in THEIR hands.

Susan Peters she's never been involved with a wilder campaign than this race for Superior Court Judge. It almost leaves you wishing Donald Trump would show up at the loser's house Tuesday night to announce, "You're fired!"

I asked Bobby Peters where he plans to be after the polls close Tuesday night. "I'll be in Las Vegas!" he joked - thus proving someone in high places actually is taking my advice. [17 Jul] Scary thought, this....

So what about the Roxann Daniel side? I missed her comments on Edward DuBose's WRCG talk show Saturday -- but I'm told she called my web site "blog-SPITE." If I meet her face-to-face, hopefully she won't supply my clothing with any

Judge Roxann Daniel reportedly talked with Edward DuBose on WRCG about first husband committing suicide. I didn't realize this was part of her background. So you can vote for her -- or for Bobby Peters with two ex-wives, who never felt pushed that far.

CORRECTED: By the way, what's this I'm hearing about a Roxann Daniel aide allegedly calling "Talkline" Friday while Bobby Peters was on, and asking a question with a disguised voice? Add that one to the rather tall unconfirmed rumor pile -- but there must be other ways to audition for "Crank Yankers."

Since this is Georgia Primary Eve, let's have a pop quiz on your knowledge of Tuesday's races. Ready?

1. Which candidate has been accused of lying about his or her opponent? OK, change that - which candidate has NOT been accused of this?

2. Which U.S. Senate candidate is a Sunday School teacher? Is he better at it than Jimmy Carter?

3. Which two Columbus Council candidates have opposition on Tuesday - and why haven't any of them received very much attention?

4. What do the Democrats really mean by their sign, "elect a responsive school board?" Is this their secret code for "new superintendent?"

5. Which candidate for U.S. Senate is most likely to have a pizza party at his campaign headquarters -- since he founded a pizza chain?

6. Which candidates have been endorsed by the Ledger-Enquirer? How many people's votes actually were changed by this in the last election?

7. Who has better hair -- either candidate for Superior Court Judge, or Candice Cook?

8. Why has Nathan Suber tended to donate money to African-American candidates, while Jim Blanchard has tended to donate money to white candidates? How are they promoting "One Columbus?"

9. Which candidate for Congress calls himself a "rising star," even though he's run for office and lost twice?

10. How many candidates have made campaign appearances at Columbus Catfish games - looking for those two or three voters who could decide a close race?

11. Which state House candidate should be running ads on Sunny 100-FM - but seemingly is sticking to yard signs?

12. Which candidate for judge was described by WRBL as possibly being "too jovial?" Should you vote for the candidate who frowns the most in commercials?

13. Has any local candidate ever been caught by "The Big Red," running a traffic light?

14. Which U.S. Senate candidate is running ads on TV-16 - thus showing his campaign doesn't have a clue about the best way to spend money?

15. Why has former Governor Roy Barnes not said a word about the Superior Court Judge race? (He still hasn't returned my call from last Monday.) Is he simply hoping this whole thing goes away?

So did anything ELSE besides politics cross my mind Sunday? Well yes, actually....

+ Columbus Police reported a teenager tried to steal a Muscogee County school bus on Brown Avenue, but wrecked it and ran away. I knew year-round schools were popular, but Sunday classes may be going too far.

+ Richard Grove arrived in Columbus, as he attempts to paddle a kayak down the length of the Chattahoochee River. Grove says his biggest problems so far have been three dams along the river - since kayaks aren't equipped with padding to get over concrete.

+ I stumbled onto yet another Spanish music radio station in our area, not far down the dial from Ritmo Latino Radio. "Tiempo Latino" AM-1200 is based in Ozark -- so how does it have commercials for Five-Star Credit Unions in Eufaula and Phenix City, while the Columbus station doesn't?

+ Instant Message to Summerville United Methodist Church in Phenix City: Have you always had that short item in your bulletin called the "Ol' Coach's Corner?" Aren't you risking getting put on Fort Benning's banned list?

COMING TUESDAY: No politics! Instead, that story about the quarters.... we promise....

To offer a story tip, make a donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post a reply.

If you quote from this in public somewhere, please be polite enough to let me know.

© 2003-04 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.


Sunday, July 18, 2004



We have a three-part blog today - but if you don't mind, I'd like to take things in reverse order from the title:

THE FUTURE hopefully will be bright for the couple whose wedding I attended Saturday. I'm tempted to describe it as an "intimate ceremony" - but you might get the wrong idea, and think they consummated the wedding in the reception hall.

It's better to call the wedding of Michael and Laura Osburn in Phenix City a SMALL ceremony. In fact, it was the smallest one I've ever attended - and you know it's small when everyone in the audience sits in the church choir loft.

(I could have attended an even smaller wedding years ago - but my dad never invited me to his second marriage, after divorcing my mom.)

The ceremony at Summerville United Methodist Church was short, sweet - and at one point amusing. The bride and groom paused a moment to examine each other's wedding rings. The Pastor eventually explained to us: "They've written messages for each other inside the rings. They're not checking to see whether they're authentic."

Laura the bride hid a secret under her wedding gown - besides the garter, that is. She confirmed at the reception she took off her shoes before walking down the aisle, because she "never felt comfortable in heels." A barefoot bride, at a wedding in Alabama?! Wait until Jay Leno hears about this....

(Laura referred to the shoe problem as "technical difficulties" - thus giving away the fact that she'd worked at a TV station.)

During the reception, Michael suddenly left the church. "I know where you're going!" Laura told her new husband loudly. The quick speculation had something to do with smoking -- because I certainly didn't notice any bill collectors in trenchcoats walking in the door.

Then came the time to cut the wedding cake, and it took a few moments for the bride and groom to figure out which part to cut and how. Why DON'T they make these things with directions?

I mentioned the bride's garter, which is customarily tossed to single men attending the wedding. Saturday there were TWO of us - and I was one of them. Curiously, one of the most eligible single women at the ceremony left before this

With a left-hand stab, I grabbed the garter to take home as a souvenir! I can't wait to take that to a singles bar or dance, to see if any women take the hint.

(Sad to say, this makes TWO garters I've caught over the years. The last one came at a wedding in Calhoun, Georgia in the late 1980's -- and I still dust it off during spring cleaning every year, hoping....)

THE PRESENT - yes, I gave the couple one. But seriously....

E-MAIL UPDATE: The present issue of the moment is obviously the Superior Court Judge race - and Maxine Hardy, apparently still Judge Roxann Daniel's campaign treasurer, wrote us again Saturday:

I just heard Bobby Peters on the radio claiming I sent an anonymous e-mail and that e-mail was traced back to me. Why do you think Peters needs to tell a lie like that? To discredit me? You and all your readers (both of them--Hi Mr. and Mrs. Burkard!) know that I didn't do anything anonymously. I've never done anything anonymously in my life.

I can deal with their calling me a liar; what else can they do? What chaps my big fat butt is their claiming that I did something anonymously. I am not a coward.

Now hold on a minute! It wasn't difficult to trace Hardy's e-mail, since her name was on the address. It's "Free Cynthia Suber" I'm still trying to figure out.

Was Bobby Peters "lying" about Maxine Hardy sending anonymous e-mails - or did someone give Peters inaccurate information? If it's the latter, that may even out the argument about the resumes given to Governor Roy Barnes.

"Mr. and Mrs. Burkard" ?!?!? Let's sink that one-liner right now. I did NOT take the garter from Saturday's wedding, race up to the Callaway Gardens chapel and marry somebody. For one thing, do you think I'd write a blog entry on my wedding night -- especially about the race for Judge?

And as for Maxine Hardy's second paragraph - well, at least it rained for awhile Saturday. That meant the heat couldn't "chap" anyone's body parts....

Judge Roxann Daniel gained the endorsement of the Ledger-Enquirer Saturday. Before she gets too large a head about that, remember something - the newspaper endorsed Cathy Vaughn over Mary Sue Polleys for School Board two years ago.

Also, our thanks to the anonymous blog reader (no, it wasn't Mrs. Burkard) who sent us this:

It's actually Judge Maureen Gottfried!!

I couldn't remember her first name - and an online search for "Gottfried" and "Georgia" kept bringing up college basketball games, for some reason.

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: We plan to have a politics-free blog Tuesday, on Georgia Primary Day - so this is your last call for comments on candidates.)

THE PAST recalls an event most of Columbus seems to have forgotten. This past week marked eight years since the Olympic torch came through town, heading for the Atlanta Olympics. It was a happier time in Columbus - when Bobby Peters was Mayor, and no one was spreading nasty rumors about him.

People helped pay for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and Columbus by purchasing commemorative bricks. I'll never forget the "Vent" someone wrote the Atlanta newspapers about that tribute: "I hate it when someone steps on my brick."

Whatever happened to the Columbus bricks? Since it's an Olympic summer, I decided to head to South Commons Friday evening to find out. Almost all the names still are legible - but the book listing where to find them has been missing for
several years.
If they moved it inside the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame, at least leave a note....

Some of the bricks near Golden Park reflect eight years of change in Columbus. I found one for Lummis Corporation - which since 1996 has closed its plant and left town. At least courteous Columbus residents haven't X'd it out with chalk.

There's also a brick for SouthTrust Bank, which is about to merge into Wachovia. The combined companies should have enough assets to rip out that marker, and replace it.

I didn't realize until I walked around the brick circle that President Clinton and Vice President Gore have markers side-by-side. It's one of the rare times you can see them next to each other anymore....

(And is it simply coincidence that the brick for Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter is nowhere near the "Clinton-Gore" bricks? They weren't exactly buddies in 1996, either.)

I couldn't find a brick for either Superior Court Judge candidate - but Mimi Woodson has two: one with her name, and one noting she's Columbus's first Hispanic Councilor. Not even Rep. Sanford Bishop's brick there played a race card....

Several of the bricks have religious messages, such as the numerous ones which say "Seventh-Day Adventist." It's much like the church denomination I normally attend - somehow that's more important than saying you're a Christian.

Several well-known names have a brick in the display. I found one for "Wayne Bennett Anthony." Is this the TV news anchor, or the Columbus Councilor? Come to think of it, has anyone ever seen these two men together?

Now some quick notes before we head for bed:

+ Our best wishes to local radio legend Chuck McClure, who we hear is in failing health. Maybe this will bring Doug Kellett back to Columbus - and "Talkline" can be saved.

+ The Columbus Baptist Association held its annual "Kits for Kids" program at the Civic Center. Parents from as far away as Americus came to pick up free school supplies - though how they could afford to do this with gas at $1.75 a gallon is a
puzzle to me.

+ Instant Message to new Cascade Hills Church "college pastor" Jeff Oates: We welcome you to Columbus - but really now. Wearing slacks two inches too long, and a sticking-out dress shirt that's unbuttoned at BOTH ends?! To give a sermon?!? In this city, it's no wonder your invitation had no takers.

(I know, I know - the Bible says I shouldn't judge according to appearances. And maybe Jeff Oates was wearing the "uniform" of a modern college student to relate to them. But this man made Ryan Seacrest look like a model for Gingiss formal wear.)

To offer a story tip, make a donation or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post a reply.

If you quote from this in public somewhere, please be polite enough to let me know.

© 2003-04 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 16, 2004


17 JUL 04 (early edition): LATIN HUSTLE?

A Friday afternoon drive around Columbus with my radio on raised some suspicions. Before you ask - no, it did NOT start with Bobby Peters's appearance on WRCG.

Last year I mentioned the weekend officially started for me at 1:00 p.m. Fridays, when "Ritmo Latino Radio" came on. But this Friday - no, señor. When you can understand all the words of the singers, something's definitely changed.

WSHE-AM 1270 kept the "Southern gospel" music playing, well into Friday afternoon. "Aha!" I thought to myself. If Mexico can have Montezuma's revenge, maybe this change was Jose Ricci's revenge -- for his indictment?!

But a call to Clear Channel Radio eased my concerns a bit. Ritmo Latino Radio is NOT gone completely. Its weekend has been reduced, to only Saturday and Sundays. So it's fallen from 59 hours a week to 48 - meaning I'm eight percent closer to getting out my salsa tapes.

Jim Foster has been talking about increasing the amount of Southern gospel music on Columbus radio. With Friday afternoons and evenings added this week, that's happened -- and he didn't even have to put loudspeakers atop his "Carpets
on Call" vehicle to do it.

It's still a bit strange to have a Christian radio station NOT playing Christian music on Sundays. But with this latest change, WSHE may have just gained a couple hundred Seventh-Day Adventists on Friday nights.

BLOG UPDATE: Friday was Bobby Peters's turn to appear on WRCG's "Talkline" - and the most noteworthy part was not a denial, but an admission. Peters admitted he suggested someone else be appointed Superior Court Judge two years ago. If he'd only named Roxann Daniel, we could settle this whole thing right now....

Bobby Peters said when former Governor Roy Barnes interviewed him two years ago, he thought a Judge Godfrey (my apologies for not knowing her first name) was the most logical choice for Superior Court Judge. Peters explained Godfrey had seven years of judge experience. But Barnes chose someone else - so apparently losing to Sonny Perdue drove him crazy.

A couple of callers wondered why Bobby Peters was ready to defer to an experienced judge in 2002, but he isn't doing so this year. I can explain the answer this way: Peters has learned from that experience that being inexperienced gets you ahead....

Bobby Peters also explained those brochures he left on a table at the Government Center the other day - saying he left them there face-down, while he took part in "advance voting." Huh?! Why is Peters voting early? Is he so confident that next Tuesday's victory party will be on vacation at St. Simons Island?

Friday was also the "Dignity Day" march by civil rights groups - but Kenneth Walker's family was kept waiting at Brewer Elementary School for about an hour, because a bus of delegates from Atlanta was late. If that bus had carried G.B.I.
investigators, you would have heard the outrage all over town.

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: We plan to have a politics-free blog Tuesday, on Georgia Primary Day. If you have any last words to offer, let us hear them quickly.)

© 2003-04 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.