29 SEP 06: SCHOOLS DAZED
The news about area schools Thursday was not very good, to put it mildly. Two students were arrested in Columbus for having weapons. We learned another teacher was arrested in Russell County. And who knows how many young baseball players received dinner invitations from coaches in their e-mail?
Columbus police arrested two Hardaway High School students, on charging of bringing weapons to school. One student admitted it looked strange, to see classmates led away in handcuffs. Why, of course - since I'm not sure that ever happens in "Grand Theft Auto."
Columbus police say one student brought a loaded .380 pistol to Hardaway High School, and showed it off to classmates. Truly, this teenager was not smart. Your National Rifle Association membership card or hunting license should suffice.
Further investigation indicated another Hardaway student had a two-and-a-half-inch long knife. At Jordan High School, this might be acceptable - since that magnet program includes woodworking.
Muscogee County Deputy Superintendent Robin Pennock said she's not really shocked anymore, by reports of students carrying weapons at school. That's really a shame - because in days gone by, they'd only be carried to fights deep in the woods.
Meanwhile, Russell County Sheriff's officers revealed Thursday another teacher had been arrested. Odean Johnson is a physical education teacher at Oliver Elementary School, and stands accused of punching a student. Well, I suppose teaching boxing skills is a good alternative to carrying weapons....
A sheriff's report accuses Odean Johnson of punching an Oliver Elementary fifth-grader in the head last week. Johnson claims the punch was intended to be good-natured -- but fathers who press charges tend to be just the opposite.
Odean Johnson surrendered at the Russell County Jail Tuesday night, on misdemeanor harassment charges. How will she explain a punch to a student's head - by claiming a Three Stooges defense?
Some parents of Oliver Elementary students said Thursday Odean Johnson should be considered innocent until proven guilty. But others said the arrest was not surprising, because Johnson has a reputation for being tough. All my old physical education teachers ever did was make us run wind sprints for an extra half-hour.
If you've lost count, we're now at eight arrests of Russell County School faculty members this calendar year. They're only three away from taking on the high school football team, in a real-life version of "The Longest Yard."
If all this isn't enough, today's Opelika-Auburn News reports a videotape has surfaced of girls changing clothes at Beulah High School. So?! If WLGA TV-66 is preparing a local show called "Beulah's Next Top Model," what's the problem?
But wait, there's more! The front page of Thursday's Ledger-Enquirer warned of a "crisis" in Muscogee County schools due to a lack of bus drivers. This calls for a major recruitment drive. Get the "Yella Fella" to drive a yellow bus for a week....
E-MAIL UPDATE: This e-mail from Thursday will allow us to update a message we received Wednesday:
I'd be willing to bet that if Lonnie Jackson had been a retired Colonel instead of a retired Sergeant his memorial service would have been attended by many city officials. It seems that retired sergeants don't get any respect from the "bigwigs" regardless of their accomplishments.
Whoever is responsible for the big debate at the RiverCenter should realize that without Bert Coker the mayoral debate will be very boring. Can you imagine folks listening to Poydasheff bragg incessantly and Wetherington say he's not privey to that information as a respone to every question. But then again, maybe they realize that Bert Coker would "show up" the two major candidates when he explains things to the citizens in a way they can understand and offers solutions to problems.
By the way, as I understand it he did "qualify" to run for mayor and receive votes, just not in the "usual" way of paying $1,800. But he did follow the procedures that the law requires.Therefore he should be allowed in the debate. And since he hasn't received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from "special interests" he would not owe these individuals anything when he was elected and therefore would be free to do what is in the best interest of all the people and the city. Oh my gosh. That sounds too good doesn't it?
We can't have that! Our system of government is based on politicians taking care of their financial supporters.
Kudos to Bert for taking the time and effort to do something that most citizens won't do.
Taking first things first: Thursday's Ledger-Enquirer reported several city officials DID attend Lonnie Jackson's funeral. Mayor Bob Poydasheff spoke. City Manager Isaiah Hugley attended. And Phenix City Mayor Jeff Hardin apparently didn't expect the service to be in his town, or he might have shown up as well.
As for the mayor's race: Aw c'mon - how can you say a Bob Poydasheff-Jim Wetherington debate would be boring? They've already appeared together at two candidate forums, which occurred at community breakfasts. I haven't heard of any spectators getting hurt, by their heads nodding off on the tables.
I'll grant you that Burt Coker "qualified" to be a write-in candidate for Mayor. But by not paying the $1,800 filing fee, does that make him the candidate of sound fiscal management -- or a penny-pinching cheapskate?
Here's one more e-mail - from our occasional Smiths Station writer:
The cans are here, The cans are here,
The much awaited time for curb service is upon us now. If for some reason you do not have your Green Can bye this Friday - your can must have gone awall (g).
Is there going to be a ceremony from the City Council to announce the start of a clean City..
Whom will be the first one to have their trashed picked. where are they going to start Monday (g).
Are they going to refuse to pickup the can if the outside of the can is dirty.
Are Lee County Deputies going to need pickup trucks to find lost or stolen Cans........where will the reward come from.
Will awards be given out for the cleanest can each Month.....
decisions, decisions, decision's
Wow, am I ever impressed by this! Suddenly the "Can Man" trend has hit everyone in Smiths Station.
CORRECTED: From this rather fragmented message, I get the feeling curbside trash pickup begins next week in Smiths Station. I understand people won't be allowed to use a city dump anymore. But unlike Marion County, I haven't heard any complaints about this change - and nothing about a "dump stir."
Hopefully no one would steal a green curbside trash can in Smiths Station. After all, why would anyone want to take one - unless he's planning the biggest picnic in Lee County history, and needs a drink cooler to match.
Now let's discard of other items we discovered Thursday:
+ An employee of Woody's World coin shop on Manchester Expressway was arrested. Columbus police say he tried to switch some expensive coins brought in by a customer, for coins of less value. What was this suspect thinking? The Alabama quarter has braille bumps, which give it away as different from Rhode Island.
+ Chattahoochee Valley Library System Director Claudya Muller presented a "State of the Library" address - but only after a musical group called "The Porch Pickers" performed. You know, she may be on to something here. Maybe hip-hop groups should perform between questions of the mayoral debate, to liven things up.
+ The Muscogee County Library Board voted to begin negotiations to buy the Firestone store just outside the main library. There's a part of me which hopes Firestone is NOT torn down. With books so close for following what maintenance workers are supposed to do, it could be the most honest car repair shop in Columbus.
+ President Bush visited the Birmingham area, praising the city of Hoover for using "E-85 ethanol" fuel in its vehicles. But whose voice was that aboard Air Force One saying, "I thought E-85 went through Opelika"?!
+ Auburn University stayed unbeaten in college football, surviving South Carolina 24-17. For all the statistics they showed on TV and mentioned on radio, there was one I wanted to hear and never did. How many times did South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier throw his visor?
(Thanks to an onside kick, Auburn had the ball on offense for the entire third quarter -- yet only scored three points. This is why "keep away" never made it beyond the grade school playground, to become a professional sport.)
+ Carmike Cinemas showed the Auburn-South Carolina game on a giant movie screen at Columbus Park Crossing. WRBL indicated the theater was packed. But if they don't have good-looking servers offering discounts on pitchers of beer, I'm not really sure of the point.
+ Instant Message to WVRK-FM "Rock 103": Are you kidding? Can announcers say they're getting "totally smashed," while they're live on location in Lee County? Which company is your station's official taxi service?
(BLOGGER'S NOTE: Daily blogging will diminish over the next couple of weeks, as we prepare for a fall vacation.)
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