28 FEB 06: AT FULL GALLOPS
Well, well - so much for the Columbus city budget cuts being "tentative." A director at a senior center revealed Monday she's been told she'll be out of a job June 30. The budget plan may be in pencil, but the pink slips apparently are in indelible ink.
Barbara Key of the Gallops Senior Center has been a Columbus city employee 30 years. She says she felt "slapped in the face" to be told she'll be let go in June - since after all, without "seniority" she wouldn't have a job in the first place.
The proposed layoff of two staff members at the Gallops Senior Center on 15th Street brought out a big crowd for a Monday meeting. Either that, or they planned to hold a big "Dancing With the Stars after-party" right after it....
Some regular visitors to Gallops Senior Center expressed concern the cut of two staff members could reduce the number of weekly dances. Right now there are dances three days a week - which I think means they do the "paso triple."
Columbus Parks Director Tony Adams tried to explain the city's budget situation to the Gallops audience. He admitted not only could two jobs be cut, but the senior center's swimming pool might be closed. Apparently it would cost too much to covert it to a sauna or hot tub.
You may not have realized the Gallops Senior Center has a swimming pool. Parks Director Tony Adams says not enough people use it - which I hope doesn't mean Alzheimer's Disease is a growing problem among the membership.
(Couldn't the city leave the Gallops swimming pool open, and allow the public at large to use it? The 70-something regulars might learn to like Kanje West rap music.)
City officials say the swimming pool at Gallops Senior Center costs $54 per person per day to operate. If user fees actually were charged to the older swimmers, you might find some very unusual swimsuit wearers on METRA buses in July.
Columbus city officials take a big political risk, if they make any cuts to places such as Gallops Senior Center. Studies show older people are much more likely to vote. And if they don't have very long memories, they know how to write down names of people they don't like.
Lest newcomers get the wrong idea - just because it's called the Gallops Senior Center does NOT mean you can go horseback riding there. The center is located near downtown Columbus. And the only time most residents seem to care about horses is when Callaway Gardens has the steeplechase.
Now let's ride off into the sunset, with other notes from Monday's news:
+ CORRECTED: Which Talbot County man reportedly changed the locks on his home, to kick out his wife - and the man is 90 years old? After all these years, you'd think he could stomach one burnt casserole....
+ A Korean newspaper reported Troup County has emerged as the top contender for a new Kia car assembly plant. The Mayor of West Point reportedly had a great idea for clinching the deal -- but the city name East Point already was taken.
+ Radio's "Duke and the Doctor" returned to Columbus, and reported on a recent week in Israel. They said they witnessed a wand which somehow can remove cellulite. You can see their next infomercial coming, all the way from the Tel Aviv airport....
(I'm impressed that Duke and the Doctor did a week of radio shows from Israel. Some Columbus radio stations have trouble doing any live reports from east of Interstate 185.)
+ Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers told the Phenix City Rotary Club he supports a 45-day review, before control of several U.S. ports is sold to Dubai Ports World. Apparently he disagrees with President Bush, who's singing like Frank Sinatra - "Dubai Dubai Do...."
+ A University of South Alabama survey found Roy Moore would beat Don Siegelman, if the two squared off for Governor in November. The pollsters did NOT ask how many voters would flee the state at the thought of having to make this choice.
+ Brookstone knocked off Northside 3-1 on the opening day of boys' high school soccer season. Brookstone was spurred by two goals from Andrew Cartlidge - so this is one time when I guess you'd want Cartlidge on a tear....
+ The Ledger-Enquirer reported one of the Chattahoochee Valley Vipers coaches was punched during Sunday's opening-night win. Anything which makes indoor football feel like hockey is bound to attract more fans.
(Isn't the Vipers coaching staff asking for something like this? The team web site says you can arrange to have someone "punk'd" at a home game.)
+ Instant Message to the man who wore an "Akademiks" outfit inside the KFC in downtown Phenix City: Talk about setting a fashion trend! I don't think I've ever seen someone wear plaid shoes before....
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