25 JUN 06: FOR THE BEAUTIES OF THE EARTH
Not one, but three regional pageant titles have been decided in our area this weekend. I'd call all the winners "beauties" -- but that's a bit politically incorrect in 2006. In fact, I'm surprised there hasn't been a move to rename the "Black Beauty" children's stories.
The main event of the weekend was Saturday night's crowning of Miss Georgia at the Columbus RiverCenter. The organizers would tell you it's a "scholarship" pageant, not a beauty pageant. Maybe so - but the only Miss America contestant I've ever seen who wasn't fit and trim years later was Delta Burke.
Congratulations to "Miss Valdosta" Amanda Kozak, who was named Miss Georgia 2006 Saturday night. Kozak was first runner-up last year - so what made the difference? Did she grow her hair an inch longer?
Amanda Kozak has a tough act to follow - because Miss Georgia 2005 Monica Pang went on to be first runner-up at the Miss America pageant. But Kozak has one advantage over the last two state winners. She actually can appear in commercials for pageant sponsor New Life Tanning Centers.
BIG PREDICTION UPDATE: Do I ever feel guilty -- because I picked Amanda Kozak to win Miss Georgia LAST year! This year I switched to Miss Macon, and she didn't even win a preliminary round. That'll teach me to change.... well, I'd better not say "horses," because outside Kentucky that would be taken the wrong way....
A Miss Georgia contestant who was crowned in Columbus must have been disappointed Saturday night. "Miss Southern Rivers" Lauren Ledbetter won three preliminary categories during the week, but finished out of the top three at the end. This drought is REALLY bad when even the contestants with "rivers" in their titles are left high and dry.
The crowning of champions in Columbus actually began Friday afternoon, with "Miss Georgia's Outstanding Teen." She was named at the St. Luke Ministry Center downtown - so it was a bit surprising when the audience was NOT asked to sing the hymn "Crown Her With Many Crowns."
This year's Outstanding Teen for Georgia is Lauren Edmunds, "Miss Heart of Georgia." This local title beats the candidate from Vidalia, who is "Miss Onion Capital." For one thing, that contestant is expected to cry every time she wins.
But there was another pageant in the area Saturday night which you may have overlooked. The State Theater in Albany hosted a regional competition for Hooters restaurant employees. [true/Albany Herald] For some odd reason, this contest actually included an evening gown division....
The Albany pageant consisted of 15 women - five "Hooters girls" from restaurants in Auburn, Albany and Valdosta. So do the Columbus employees have to take on contestants in Atlanta? Or is our local wait staff in dire need of a diet?
(And by the way: are there any "Hooters WOMEN?" Are the older ones assigned to visit nursing homes, and pep up the male residents?)
The winner of the Albany pageant (unavailable at post time) goes on to an international Hooters swimsuit contest in July. The competition will be more intense - and I suppose the wings will be that much hotter.
But someone made a good point to me about this pageant. How can Hooters have employee swimsuit contests, while denying an Auburn lawsuit which claims managers encouraged women to sell their bodies? Is there a talent division -- where contestants have to balance as many plates of food as possible?
We already had selected this topic before we read Saturday's sad news of the death of Patsy Ramsey. She was the mother of JonBenet Ramsey, the late "Little Miss Colorado." So which tabloid do you think will have the "deathbed confession" first?
For about ten years, former Georgia resident Patsy Ramsey fought tabloid rumors that she was the real killer of daughter JonBenet. Remember when John and Patsy wrote a book about the case? It didn't sell well - and I presumed it was because shoppers were looking for it in the fiction section.
E-MAIL UPDATE: It's been quite a while since someone brought up the Kenneth Walker case - but a weekend e-mailer does:
This letter was delivered to CCG on 19 June. Mayor and Council are yet to respond.
Apparently, to add further insult to injury, they have launched a campaign of silence regarding the issue of Immunity in the Walker case.
City and state elected officials have been forwared this email....
The letter comes from "Brother Love, Concerned Citizen Activist, OAAU." The only Brother Love I know used to be a loudmouth preacher in the World Wrestling Federation - but then, people DO change careers.
If no response to a letter in five days is a "campaign of silence," I'm feeling guilty again. Sometimes I wait eight to ten days after my phone bill comes in the mail, before I pay it....
But really now - do you expect the Mayor and Columbus Council to comment in detail on a pending civil suit such as the one filed by Kenneth Walker's family? As they say on TV police shows, anything they say could be used against them. And in the mayor's case, it could be used by Jim Wetherington's campaign.
The e-mail included a link to a May Ledger-Enquirer article, noting the city wants immunity from prosecution in the civil suit filed by Kenneth Walker's family. An attachment from Brother Love sums it up well:
ON MAY 1, 2006, IN FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT, COLUMBUS CONSOLIDATED GOVERNMENT FILED FOR IMMUNITY IN THE KENNY WALKER CASE CITING THE 11TH AMENDMENT OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION.
THE CITY ATTORNEY CLAIMS THE MUSCOGEE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE HAS IMMUNITY AS AN ARM OF THE STATE AND THAT COLUMBUS CONSOLIDATED GOVERNMENT HAS ITS OWN SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY UNDER GEORGIA STATE LAW.
IF THE COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF IMMUNITY, WHO WILL IT HURT?
ALL OF US!
TO FIGHT IMMUNITY NOW, FIRST CALL OUR MAYOR AT 706-653-4712, THEN CALL 706-653-4013 TO GET THE NAME AND PHONE NUMBER OF YOUR DISTRICT COUNCILOR, LAST, CALL COUNCILOR SKIP HENDERSON AT 706-644-8205 AND COUNCILOR WAYNE ANTHONY AT 706-649-6400 TO LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD.
WE CANNOT AFFORD TO SIT THIS ONE OUT.
PAID FOR BY THE ALLIANCE AND FRIENDS FOR JUSTICE FOR KENNY WALKER
I'm not sure you have to call Columbus city government to get the phone number of your district's Councilor. Surely there's a Fraternal Order of Police billboard somewhere in town, which lists them all.
Considering the city filed this motion, wouldn't the better number to call to "fight immunity" be the attorneys for the Walker family? Or does the only phone number they have on that side of the case belong to Bill Campbell?
I suppose the point of calling the Government Center is to get Columbus Council to withdraw the motion for immunity. But keep something in mind - should the Walker family win $100 million in its lawsuit, that extra move involving lawyers and paperwork will leave the city even more bankrupt.
Brother Love sent another attachment -- a letter to the Mayor and Council. That letter spreads an admitted "rumor" that former Deputy David Glisson might now work for the Russell County Sheriff's Department. But Glisson's attorney says he knows nothing about that - and wouldn't he want to praise Sheriff Tommy Boswell for being forgiving and nonjudgmental?
The letter from Brother Love is "endorsed" by local and state NAACP leaders, and claims the Walker family "would not receive a dime in.... damages" if the city and Muscogee County Sheriff's Department are granted immunity from lawsuit. But what about David Glisson, who shot Walker? Apparently they've decided he's broke, or might move to Mexico.
The letter adds, "scores of citizens have made it clear there should be a second grand jury" reviewing the Kenneth Walker case. Yet hundreds of people seem satisfied by the first grand jury's conclusions -- and I assume the authors realize a score is less than a hundred.
I've asked before and I'll ask again: why have civil rights leaders been unable to convince Georgia's African-American Attorney General to intervene? Thurbert Baker seems to have done nothing. Maybe he's included in one line of Brother Love's letter -- the one about "calculating, clever politicians worried
about saving their seats in the next election."
And while we're at it - remember Rainbow/PUSH leader William Howell's news conference a few months ago? He announced he'd requested a meeting with U.S. Senator Arlen Specter about the Kenneth Walker case. I'm assuming Specter turned him down -- because Howell has vanished from sight again, instead of showing glossy photos of the meeting around town.
Now for other things which caught our eye on the first weekend of summer:
+ Someone held up the Peachtree 8 Cinemas on Manchester Expressway as it opened for business. How this criminal was able to hide near Peachtree Mall for a week after "Family Day in the Park," I have no idea.
+ WRBL reported Russell County officials shut down the Center City Motel on Opelika Road. An inspector declared it "unfit for human habitation." And then people get upset about immigrants working as maids and housekeepers....
(You may recall our Blog Exclusive several months ago, when we revealed the Center City Motel was recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency on its web site. What are FEMA employees visiting Phenix City going to do now - try to sleep inside the empty FoodMax and Winn-Dixie stores?)
+ The Columbus Museum closed its doors and canceled all events through Wednesday, because the air conditioning broke down. This would never happen at trendy museums in New York. Performance artists would go in, and do strange things with melting scoops of ice cream.
+ Instant Message to the carhop who served me dinner at the Sonic on Wynnton Road: The two burgers cost $3.83. I gave you $3.88. What did you think the other nickel was, a tip?
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