30 NOV 05: THE BOUNTY PICKER-UPPER
Tuesday was a different sort of day on Old Cusseta Road -- and that's saying something. It's the part of town where mobile homes can catch fire, crime of all sorts can break out, and the neighborhood MIGHT get a McDonald's sometime in the 22nd century.
So what made Tuesday different? Columbus police say a bounty hunter showed up, and tried to capture a wanted man. I guess I should expect more stories like this - because we're next to Fort Benning, with so many people wanting to be "soldiers of fortune."
Police say a bounty hunter from Russell County crossed the river into Columbus, and found a man wanted for jumping bail. If Sheriff Tommy Boswell is resorting to this, why can't Columbus? A bounty hunter might cost even less than a new police officer.
(To be fair: we're not sure if Sheriff Tommy Boswell knows about this bounty hunter. He may be too busy trying to find the lowest price for Bounty paper towels.)
Columbus Police say the bounty hunter tried to capture Scott Goodman at a mobile home on Old Cusseta Road - and after a short scuffle, Goodman wound up shot in the shoulder. I suppose the main rule is similar to hunts of long ago: to bring 'em back alive.
Scott Goodman had lived for three months at the Old Cusseta Road mobile home. If Goodman indeed "jumped bail," he certainly didn't jump very far - but then, after paying bail he probably couldn't afford to miss his job.
(Which reminds me: Do bail bonding companies have holiday parties? And do they have a "bail jumping" contest for fun, with staff members leaping over bags of money?)
Columbus Police took Scott Goodman into custody, as well as the unnamed bounty hunter. Authorities weren't sure if the bounty hunter had legal authority to capture Goodman -- perhaps because the law books from Phenix City in the 1950's haven't been opened in a long time.
Another unanswered question is how much the bounty hunter was going to make, by capturing Scott Goodman. I suppose there's a sliding pay scale for these things - and the money probably is better in Northern cities, where they have Bounty Hunters' International Unions.
(What does a bounty hunter do on weekends for fun? I doubt they'd go deer hunting, because the deer don't tend to put up much resistance.)
I'm more familiar with the concept of "bounty hunters" from professional wrestling. Bad guys and their managers used to bring them to town, to "cripple" a good guy on a winning streak. After that, of course, they'd all go out to a nice steakhouse for dinner....
I don't have cable or satellite TV, but I understand bounty hunters are the subject of reality shows these days. They work a bit like the officers on COPS -- proving once and for all you can solve crimes in one hour or less.
Maybe the Muscogee County Marshal has an alternative to hiring bounty hunters. Greg Countryman announced plans Tuesday to begin a "Junior Marshals Programs" in local schools. We wondered what would happen to all those badges Ken Suddeth had to return....
The Junior Marshals Program will begin across Muscogee County in January, and encourage young people to consider careers in law enforcement. I assume this could become a magnet program -- and logically would be at Marshall Middle School.
We've been wondering what happened to Marshal Greg Countryman. Since taking office in January, he's been much more low-key than Ken Suddeth was. But then again, for some reason Columbus Councilors aren't talking loudly anymore about abolishing the department.
BLOG UPDATE: Speaking of which, Columbus Water Works officials asked Columbus Council Tuesday to approve a five-percent rate increase. So in the case of my recent water bill [18 Nov], the cost of nothing is January could go up about two dollars.
Columbus Water Works officials say without a five-percent rate hike, their budget will have a two-million dollar shortfall next year. How can this be, when we've had a surplus of rain this year?
Do you think Columbus Council should play hardball with the Water Works, and refuse to grant this five-percent rate increase? Or do you think the Water Works will respond by filling the fountains with red ink?
Meanwhile, Columbus Council voted down a proposed cell phone tower Tuesday. Powertel wanted to build it near 17th Avenue and Warm Springs Road -- but that was three years ago, back when Powertel actually was a familiar name in town.
Columbus Council also voted to buy five parcels of land along South Lumpkin Road, for possible use as a new marina and hotel. Can we go ahead and name the marina after Al Fleming now - since he's griped about it on TV for years?
Mayor Pro Tem Jack Rodgers didn't like the idea of spending $1 million to buy land near the new National Infantry Museum. He said much of the project is uncertain at the moment. So? So were most of the wars where members of the infantry fought.
Now other bits and pieces from a terrific Tuesday:
+ Auburn police admitted they were wrong, in not revealing for almost two weeks that an Opelika officer was arrested on sex crime charges. Now this is refreshing! Columbus sometimes won't even reveal who won its officer of the month award.
+ Former President Jimmy Carter appeared at the Columbus Public Library, to sign copies of his new book "Our Endangered Values." So why are they endangered? I hope we're not in another of Mr. Carter's "malaises."
+ GPB-TV showed a pledge drive "Disco Explosion" special, for the second time in three nights. Have we buried the disco era and forgotten it THAT much?
(As someone who was a big disco fan during college, I actually like this GPB special. But I'm not calling in a pledge - because I have plenty of that music on albums and cassettes, and it's gathering dust.)
+ Georgia Southern University fired its head football coach and his entire staff, even though the team has made the NCAA playoffs in three out of the last four years. What are they trying to be - Valdosta High School East?
+ Instant Message to the staff at the Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Phenix City: Thank you for repairing my weak tire Tuesday - but this now makes two times that you've misplaced my car key, as if you're trying to keep it. My car's getting so old that next time, I might actually let you do that.
Your PayPal donations can keep this blog ad-free and independent-minded. To make a donation, offer a story tip 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.
© 2003-05 Richard Burkard, All Rights Reserved.