Thursday, June 28, 2007


Columbus South needs a lot of things - but one thing which would be nice is some kind of bookstore. It might not even need to have a coffee bar attached. For Fort Benning soldiers, all it might need are cans of Red Bull....

BLOGGER BEGGAR #10: "How're you doing?" asked an older man as he literally shuffled toward me at a South Lumpkin Road laundry the other day. I was OK, waiting on clothes in the dryer while I read "Eco Latino" - a weekly paper which sometimes is equally as dry.

"Want to buy some books?" The older man mumbled this so quietly that I didn't really hear him until the second time he asked. The door-to-door encyclopedia salesmen of my youth tended to be a little more dynamic than this.

The sight of someone selling unusual things at a laundry isn't really new to me. I recall one place on the west side of Atlanta where a man went through the aisles selling VHS movies. Call me old-fashioned, but I don't tend to go to the laundromat to buy movies - just like I don't walk into Blockbuster and ask where the clothes dryers are.

I should have known trouble was coming when the man's "books" were wrapped inside an issue of Eco Latino. Add to that the fact that he was mumbling, and I wondered if he had some secret audit of a Columbus city department....

Then the man opened his "books" - and sure enough, it was trouble. He showed me a (ahem) very topless woman. Topless as in the old Groucho Marx line: "When you've seen two, you've seen 'em all."

"NOOOO!" I said immediately in a medium-loud voice to the man. "I'm a Christian!" Yes, I know - some well-known Christians have been caught with X-rated materials. But I'm one of those weirdos who would only look inside a September issue of "Playboy" for the college football predictions.

The older man stepped away for a moment, as if lightning was about to strike for what he had done. It didn't. In fact, I went back to my copy of Eco Latino - assuming he'd go down the strip mall and try again at someplace like a beauty salon.

But in a moment, the man approached me again. "I'm sorry," he said, still murmuring. "I'm just trying to get me a couple of dollars, so I can get something to eat." I'm honestly not sure if old X-rated magazines are considered collectibles - and I'm not about to go online to check.

Regular blog readers know under ordinary circumstances, I might have bought this man lunch. But this case was far from ordinary. For one thing, what if he had an accomplice waiting for me to steal my clothes once I walked outside?

"I accept your apology," I told the man - and perhaps "apology" is being a bit generous. "But you don't go around selling porn to raise money. Especially when it's not yours, since I seriously doubt you made it." That one page he showed me was simply too glossy.

The beggar had disqualified himself on this day, by stooping to sell items which I think most people still consider offensive. But then again, I don't know how many people in Columbus subscribe to Home Box Office....

In fact, this beggar reminded me of someone you might find shuffling down the sidewalk in a large city like New York. If it wasn't Columbus in June, he probably would have been wearing a long raincoat - and in more ways than one, he still would have been a "Hustler."

E-MAIL UPDATE: We hear again today from the daughter of Richard Bishop, the President of Uptown Columbus Inc.:

Mr. Burkard,

All i was trying to say [27 Jun] was that for you to make such big assumptions and mock my fathers work with out actually knowing what he does, is wrong... Because if you think that picking out "sidewalk patters", is all he does you are very misleaded. I am glad that you can use sarcasm as your defense, but the truth is, you are wrong, Along with the rest of the "bloggers". I do look past myspace, i don't have a facebook :). I do see old men writing blogs, but that doesn't mean that its not a waste of time. You may be old, but i know you understand what i mean when i say GAY; lame, stupid, awkward?. AND. about the ATV's. there are fences...right in our backyard. AND furthermore, there is a thing called sound ordinance, and it doesn't matter if its on your land or not. If there is an excessive sound within the limits of the city and is a condition which has ex isted for some time and the amount and intensity of such sound is increasing, and such excessive sound is detrimental to the public health, safety, welfare and quality of life of the residents of the City, then it will be known as a noise ordinance. Let me help you learn :

Noises which classify as disturbances are regulated by the Noise Ordinance. A noise disturbance is sound that meets any of these three criteria: Disturbs a resonable person or sensibility, Exeeds the sounds level set forth in the ordinance as measured by a sounds level meter, and is plainly audible, which is defined as the noise can be heard at a minimum of 200 feet from the PROPERTY line of the source of the noise- this type of noise includes; loud amplified music, televisions, radios, human voices, etc.

Now, thats why we had a problem with their ATV's running behind our house. and YES anyone can complain about noise, and we did. i am glad you complained about the graduation party, BUT that was one night. This was a more than one time thing.

P.S bloggers...if you think that your taste in music is so cool, then why don't you quit blogging about it and maybe give some input to Uptown. You can not always please everyone is this town when it comes to music taste, so don't expect that when music comes downtown that it will be that band you specifically wanted. Complaining about everything on a blog site isn't going to change anything. but...WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT...i guess?

Of course, Richard Bishop does more than choose sidewalk patterns on Broadway. He's supposedly going to be choosing singers -- and before you know it, he might be recommending a mixed drink of the month.

Oh dear -- I've become an "old man" writing a blog. Add that to my weekly trips to church and occasional poker nights, and the only thing I'm lacking is a recreational vehicle to spend my winters somewhere south of Tampa.

No, I didn't realize the word "gay" now refers to something "stupid" or "awkward." I hope this teenager didn't go to Atlanta last weekend, and try to convince people in the "Pride Parade" of that.

But to be clear: I was NOT the one who complained to police about the graduation party years ago. Someone simply told me about it. I've never called police about my neighbors turning up FM radios on weekends - maybe because they all seem to agree on the same station.

So should I audition to be a street singer on Broadway? Am I the sort of person Richard Bishop and his fellow evaluators are after? Should I add a twang to my voice, so I stand out from all the rock acts?

Someone else would like to respond to Richard Bishop's daughter....

I'm glad Katie Bishop said she was a teenager,otherwise I would have never known...haha...It's great to see a teen take up for her dad. However,it would be even better if she had checked the facts before writing...Factual info would certainly have given her dishing of the blog more "boom boom.".....I enjoy the blog and read it every day to keep up with the feelings of the community...even teen feelings..

Thank you for the kind.... hey, wait a minute! What's this "boom boom" stuff? Did someone from Fireworks Outlet send a hidden advertisement here?

Our last e-mail today is a follow-up to one we posted Thursday, about cars for the Miss Georgia pageant:

I saw that you published my email warning about the pageant convoys. It doesn't matter what kind of marking the car has when it pulls out in front of you at 20 MPH with no warning!

So for the next few days, look all around you before crossing an intersection -- because Miss Onion Capital might not miss you.

We appreciate all of your comments, and now let's flip through the Thursday news scripts:

+ WRBL reported a verbal compromise was reached on the land around the central library. The Library Board budget will be revised, to provide more money for landscaping. It's a wonder Trees Columbus hasn't stepped into this debate, to demand a minimum number of pines and dogwoods.

+ Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for corruption. So does he automatically get the old cell of Guy Hunt?

(Former HealthSouth chief executive Richard Scrushy received a sentence of more than six years in the same case. Scrushy told reporters it's "not American to take responsibility for something you didn't do." It may not be American, but this would-be minister ought to know it's downright godly.)

+ Lanett Police reported a man had his window air conditioner stolen, apparently from his home. Maybe we need some kind of time-sharing agreement during the summer, with three or four neighbors passing the same unit back and forth. We could promote it: "It takes a village to keep your cool."

+ The AT&T store on Tenth Street announced it will close for a couple of hours Friday afternoon, then reopen at 6:00 p.m. to begin selling iPhones. At about 600 dollars each, you'll be able to spot the downtown attorneys with the most disposable income.

+ Columbus Airport officials admitted to WRBL they've been turned down for service by American Airlines. Maybe the airport commission didn't offer enough incentives. After all, American could use a third sports arena to go with Dallas and Miami....

+ Georgia Tech basketball player Javaris Crittenton was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers. It shouldn't be difficult for him to find his role. Simply pass the ball to Kobe Bryant, until Bryant's no longer with the team.

(The Atlanta Hawks made Florida's Al Horford their top draft pick. This makes three years in a row that Atlanta has drafted a power forward first - and if they keep doing it, they're bound to find a Tim Duncan sooner or later.)

+ Instant Message to Frank Thomas: Congratulations on hitting your 500th career home run Thursday! But c'mon - getting ejected in the ninth inning?! Are you going after Bobby Cox's record next?

This blog has thousands of visitors each month, from people in Columbus and around the world. To advertise to them, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007


A short standoff between the Phenix City Police and Russell County Sheriff's Department apparently ended Wednesday. And unlike the standoff which blocked off a Columbus street during the noon hour, both sides actually HAVE guns in this one.

Phenix City Police Chief Brian McGarr told WRBL a meeting with Russell County Sheriff Tommy Boswell resolved all the disagreements about using a firing range. McGarr looked so unharmed that you'd think he won the duel.

Yet Chief Brian McGarr explained it's now OK for Russell County SWAT team members to use the Phenix City firing range - even if they're part-timers, and not sworn officers. He's apparently decided half-a-SWAT is better than none. But that doesn't usually work on the roaches in my kitchen....

There had been questions about liability for the city of Phenix City, if a part-time SWAT team member had been hurt at the firing range. But this seemed to ignore an important point. If members are on the SWAT team, they know which direction to point the weapons.

Wednesday's agreement means the five Russell County SWAT team members can return to the Phenix City firing range. So those of you who were lining up aluminum cans on fences in Pittsview can take them down....

(It also means we can no longer refer to the Russell County team members as "Sulkin' of SWAT.")

But a question remains regarding the incident which started all this. Phenix City Manager Bubba Roberts reportedly told a part-time SWAT team member from Russell County to leave the range. Did Roberts lack the authority to do that? Did his time with the Alabama National Guard give him higher rank?

Bubba Roberts can't afford to make many slip-ups these days - not when a petition drive is well underway to abolish the City Manager's office in Phenix City. It may not be long before Mayor Jeff Hardin calls Sheriff Tommy Boswell personally. Not to apologize, but to seek a referendum donation.

So if the Russell County SWAT team can use the Phenix City firing range, who else has that privilege? We know Phenix City police use it. Are local judges using it, the way some Muscogee County judges have trained at the Columbus Police grounds? And are nightclub owners going there, in a vain attempt to avoid a city shutdown?

E-MAIL UPDATE: Now an update on "rivalry week" - and the World Indoor Bowl Jocks take the lead over the Miss Georgia Babes:

Be very careful driving around town while the contestants are here!

A few years ago my wife and I were going north on Hilton Ave., just as we got to the Camille Dr. intersection a car ran the stop sign, I slammed on brakes and skidded up to the pageant car so close that there was not enough room for me to walk between our cars. (The pageant car stopped also.) I got out and had a few choice words for the driver.

I called the police to complain and was told the pageant convoys were under police escort and had the right of way at all intersections. I asked why there was no policeman around and they said he was at the head of the convoy.

I think this is B. S. and really believe that if I had hit them I could have won the lawsuit. They were just trying to cover up for not having enough escort vehicles. At any rate BE CAREFUL!

Lon Gammage

Keep in mind that visitors are here for Miss Georgia from all over the state -- and even from other states. The other day, a woman driving a car with New York tags asked me for directions to Big Lots. If you're looking for that store while on vacation, your budget obviously is tight.

You should be able to spot the official Miss Georgia vehicles rather easily. Almost all of them are Chevrolet Tahoe mini-vans, with pageant logos on the side doors. So be.... uh, er.... I guess I should explain this. I drove by the RiverCenter and saw them parked. I wasn't hanging around the dressing room doors, really.

We have one other suggestion today:

The information on your blog about Russell, Lee and other counties are very good, why don't you report some news about Talbot County?

Thank You!

Well, let's try right now. How many Little League baseball programs does Talbot County have?

As one little blogger with not enough income to do it full-time, I'm often at the mercy of other news sources for our topics. If reporters don't go to Talbot County, I'm not likely to go there. Of course, I could follow the lead of that "About Columbus" message board -- and demand Talbot County officials make changes from my home in downtown Columbus.

Don't forget to write us if you have tips on interesting stories - and now let's check other items from Wednesday:

+ Columbus Police arrested a man on charges of stealing $25,000 worth of merchandise from Circuit City. Hey, Bub! You really don't need all those big-screen TV's going at one time. It's called a remote control....

+ The Columbus Health Department offered free screenings, to mark National HIV Testing Day. I try to stay far away from HIV. In fact, I don't go anywhere near bee hives.

+ Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville had an appendectomy. Alabama coach Nick Saban was encouraged by this news -- because now he can tell his players the Tiger coaching staff lacks some guts.

(Did you notice Tuberville had his appendix removed in Gulf Breeze, Florida? That's near Pensacola, where former Alabama coach Mike Price had his moment of undoing. The search now is on to learn if anyone "escorted" Tuberville to the emergency room.)

+ Instant Message to L's Place on Buena Vista Road: OK, you're having an "after-party" Saturday night. But for what event? I hope the answer isn't the Little League All-Star tournament.

COMING SOON: I'm challenged to take a 30-question exam....

This blog has thousands of visitors each month, from people in Columbus and around the world. To advertise to them, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

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OK, maybe our title boils things down to VERY lowest terms. But two big events are colliding in Columbus for the next few days. One involves well-trained, hard-nosed athletes. The other involves well-polished.... well, I'd better not talk about the Miss Georgia contestants' noses. I'll assume none of them have had plastic surgery.

On the one hand, the preliminary rounds of the Miss Georgia pageant begin tonight at the RiverCenter. The 41 contenders for the title have been in Columbus for several days, facing early interviews with judges - and trying to keep their winning swimsuits a closely-guarded secret.

On the other hand, it's championship week in the World Indoor Football League. The Columbus Lions began a series of events Tuesday, leading to this weekend's title game - and a few players quietly wished the event were in the same places as Miss Georgia contestants.

The Miss Georgia pageant is the traditional event on the June calendar. The Miss America qualifying contest has come to Columbus for decades - and some people can remember all the way back to when "Miss America" was crowned on broadcast television.

The "World Indoor Bowl" is a brand-new football title game, being played for the first time. It's so new that two announcers on WSHE-AM Tuesday had to make clear it had nothing to do with bowling. [True!]

While these two very different events are competing for our attention, they actually have some things in common. Both are battles for a state championship - or did you notice Columbus is playing Augusta in World Indoor Bowl I?

Both events have big moments involving food. The WIFL Commissioner was interviewed live on radio Tuesday night, at a Phenix City barbeque. The Miss Georgia contestants went to Shoney's for lunch Tuesday - but for some reason, the results of the buffet-eating contest have NOT been released.

Both events have participants practicing right up to the big night. Miss Georgia has chorus lines, rehearsing production numbers. World Indoor Bowl I has lines of players, rehearsing moves which are downright "offensive."

Both events have physical specimens which could make your head turn. Speaking personally, I'm more likely to do this for Miss Georgia Amanda Kozak than a 320-pound football player....

Both events have fun side activities. World Indoor Bowl I's Championship Week will have a golf scramble Friday at Maple Ridge Golf Club. The Miss Georgia contestants usually spend an afternoon at Peach Bowl - wondering why those rental shoes can't match their nice outfits.

Saturday night's big final events begin one hour apart, at places about one mile apart. If you're thinking about "going for it" to attend BOTH of them, please be careful not to get them mixed up:

+ At Miss Georgia, you're somewhat expected to root for everyone. At World Indoor Bowl I, doing that would give yourself away as a first-class wimp.

+ At Miss Georgia, the spectators often wear nice outfits. At World Indoor Bowl I, many fans will wear souvenir team jerseys - which actually might be more expensive.

+ At Miss Georgia, you're not allowed to take food or drink into the Bill Heard Theatre. At World Indoor Bowl I, fans with field-level seats might spill their drinks right onto a Columbus Lion player's jersey.

+ World Indoor Bowl I will allow fans onto the field after the game, followed by a party afterward on First Avenue. Try to do something similar at Miss Georgia, and you could be arrested for stalking.

BIG PREDICTION: I picked Amanda Kozak to win Miss Georgia a year too soon, in 2005. My choice last year didn't do well at all. This year, I'm picking Ashley Foster to win the title -- "Miss University of Georgia." As long as she doesn't wear a Lady Bulldog softball outfit all night, she should do well.

E-MAIL UPDATE: Yes, I know -- some of you are saying there's a THIRD big event in town. Here's something vaguely related to the Little League baseball All-Star tournament. It's a reply to Tuesday's message about Pioneer:

To the lady that said she didn't see up stepping up to be president - Didn't you read that most people didn't even know about the VOTE to begin with. GREAT ADVERTISEMENT about something so important. Plus, the board that is voted in decides who they want to be president, not the parents.

So the message here seems to be: Little League parents shouldn't go overboard. They should just go "board"....

And as if we needed any more blog fan mail, this showed up Tuesday -- and required a bit of editing:

As i was looking on the internet i came across your AWESOME blogs. Some of the content was referring to my dad, Richard Bishop. My dad is probably one of the nicest, funniest, selfless people i know. Now, my father works his A*S off at work and always has. He thinks about what the people want, so when you say in your blog," i hope you like their taste in music", you will probably like to know that my dad has a tennage daughter and a son in college to get some feedback on their taste in music, and gets feedback from the community. So, you keep on writing your blogs, since you have nothing better to do, and my Dad will be actually doing something with his life. Stop being such a d**n hater and realize that if you actually spoke up and didnt hide behind some gay a*s blogs, my Dad would probably listen to what you have to say and maybe consider some of your thoughts. Oh and about the whole ATV case, you come to our house and listen to those ATV's. we can hardly hear our t.v. AND, how old are you, the only people i know who write blogs like this are in 3rd grade!!!!!


She's talking about Richard Bishop of Uptown Columbus Inc. - and I'm not doubting he works hard. It takes time to figure out what sort of "sidewalk patterns" on Broadway are best for determining where people can drink.

But is Katie really upset with me, or with the person who complained here about Uptown Columbus 19 Jun? The "taste in music" quote came from the e-mailer. Now that we know a teenager has input in the process, the chances for outdoor shows by Dixieland jazz bands may be slim.

This e-mail actually makes history, because I've never had anyone declare this blog "gay" before. My old "Webster's New World Dictionary" defines that word as "joyous and lively" - and that IS what she meant, wasn't it?

It's nice to finally have the Bishop family's side of a dispute in their neighborhood. If you missed this story, a family living next door complained to the TV news that Richard Bishop threatened to have people arrested for making too much noise with ATV's -- even though the vehicles were on their own land. Some of that Streetscape fencing from Broadway might have resolved this....

Of course, anyone can complain to police about loud noise coming from a neighbor's property. A few years ago, I heard a late-night gripe about a well-to-do Columbus family holding a loud high school graduation party. I don't know if officers arrested anyone -- but let's just say the family could have posted bail easily.

And since Katie asked - I'm 48. At least one of the blog writers at the Ledger-Enquirer is even older than that. Check web sites beyond Myspace and Facebook, and you could be surprised by what you find....

We'll hold another message for another day - and now make a quick check of other Tuesday events:

+ Scattered showers dropped rain around the Columbus area. I was in an afternoon downpour in Bibb City, but drove downtown to find no rain at all. And then people say we're not in a big city....

+ Planning Director Rick Jones showed Columbus Council a proposal for developing U.S. 80 east of Warm Springs Road. Among other things, he wants all buildings kept at least 1,000 feet from the highway -- the equivalent of a couple of downtown blocks. It's nice to see Jones is promoting both exercise, and binocular sales.

+ Instant Message to Southern Discount Loans on Buena Vista Road: Now hold on a minute! What's with that sign talking about some "bang bang" for the Fourth of July?! Do you really want Wanda from Fireworks Outlet to come over there - armed and loaded?

This blog has thousands of visitors each month, from people in Columbus and around the world. To advertise to them, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 1900 (+ 74, 4.1%)

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© 2003-07 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007


We noted last week how the Muscogee County Jail had its flag at half-staff, while the Public Safety Center did not. On Monday we read about another law enforcement division - and if the weapons have moved from poles to guns, I don't think that's an improvement.

WRBL reports the SWAT team for Russell County has split in two, into city and county camps. It's apparently all because a Russell County SWAT member was told to leave a City of Phenix City practice range. It's a good thing the SWAT members don't have post-traumatic stress disorder, or trouble might have started right there.

Phenix City Manager Bubba Roberts explains he ordered a Russell County SWAT member off the practice range several weeks ago because that member was a part-timer, not a sworn full-time officer. He says there could have been liability issues. I say this could be a great opportunity for Shooters to expand to Alabama.

Had the Russell County SWAT member received permission from the Phenix City Police Chief to use the firing range, everything might have been OK. But Chief Brian McGarr said he granted no such written approval. Why, he still hasn't approved the removal of the "Club Roc" sign on the 280 Bypass.

In response to this decision by the Phenix City Manager, Russell County Sheriff Tommy Boswell has barred his department's SWAT team members from using the firing range at all. Of course, the sheriff can build his own range for deputies - assuming he hasn't already spent that big raise.

(There was another possible way for Sheriff Tommy Boswell to respond to this. Trouble was, his share of the SWAT team is five members - while Phenix City's ten would have him outnumbered.)

News of this tension comes just as Phenix City and Russell County finally have agreed on a combined animal shelter. Now I'm wondering if Judge Al Johnson will have to oversee a "dispersal draft" of potential K-9 squad members.

Sometimes I wonder why Phenix City and Russell County don't consolidate their governments, the way Columbus has and Quitman County is doing. But it's not really that easy - because part of the Phenix City limits is in Lee County, and sucking up Hurtsboro could leave some people there with nothing to complain about.

As for Columbus law enforcement, WRBL reported Monday that Major Charles Rowe will be appointed Assistant Police Chief. This is a completely new name to me - but then, it's all my fault. I make it a point to drive at the speed limit, to meet as few officers as possible.

E-MAIL UPDATE: The Pioneer prairie fire isn't quite contained yet....

To all the parents at Pioneer Little League who are complaining about Rick Chadwick - I don't see anywhere in your letters where you have said that one of you will step up to the plate and VOLUNTEER to become President which takes a great deal of time, oh yeah, that would take up some of your time!!!

The biggest thing wrong with Little League is PARENTS - the kids just want to play and have fun - let them do this and stop taking it so seriously!

B-League Pirate Coach Philip Miley told me last week he's involved with Little League baseball 25 hours a week during the season - and he hasn't had a child play in Pioneer in ten years. And they're talking about declaring video games addictive?!

Some of the Pirate parents probably would answer this message by saying they DO volunteer time. They work at concession stands, help their children sell raffle tickets to raise money - and I suspect it's still a rare sight to see car pools taking players to practices.

Now for other notes from a Monday when thunder in the sky seemed to make the most noise:

+ Which man is accused of trying to pass a counterfeit 100-dollar bill at a local business - then asking for it back, when a business employee called police about it? Did he want to correct the spelling of "States?"

+ WXTX "News at Ten" reported African-American students now make up 32 percent of Columbus State University's enrollment. The percentage has increased 50 percent in five years - and if this trend continues, by its centennial C.S.U. could be considered a "historically black college."

+ The evening news showed a 20-foot-high agave plant, which is growing wild on Hunter Street. The agave plant is used to make tequila - so hurry to local farmers' markets before the limes run out.

+ The LaGrange Memorial Library opened for the first time in seven weeks, after a sprinkler line broke and flooded the building. So how many books about plumbing were opened, while crews repaired this?

+ Instant Message to the city of Lanett: Wow - you have a Club Roc, too?! You should have been watching the news recently. Phenix City shut down its version BEFORE the big brawl happened....

COMING WEDNESDAY: Rivalry week begins in Columbus.... a rivalry no one could have expected months ago....

This blog has thousands of visitors each month, from people in Columbus and around the world. To advertise to them, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 1826 (+ 63, 3.6%)

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Sunday, June 24, 2007


If you have credit card problems, think about this: there's a Columbus Councilor who's trying to pay off a $22,000 debt -- and in the last six months has received less than $300 in help. If things don't get better soon, he may put donation boxes in convenience stores.

As of last week, the Muscogee County Election Board is posting campaign financial statements on the city government web site. Documents filed this past week reveal Councilor Glenn Davis has an "outstanding indebtedness" of $22,000. I don't know if I'd call it outstanding. Astounding, maybe....

The big campaign debt listed by Glenn Davis apparently dates back to when he last ran for Columbus Council in 2004. Based on the disclosure report, it seems he "borrowed" the $22,000 from his own bank accounts. If you see any of Davis's baseball souvenirs at a pawn shop, please let us know.

Glenn Davis is due up for re-election to Columbus Council next year - but he clearly has a campaign "deficit spending" problem to resolve right now. The financial disclosure report posted online is a photocopy, so it does NOT reveal if he wrote the indebtedness number down in red ink.

But Glenn Davis had one person come to his aid in the last six months. The campaign report shows Dr. J.B. Chastain donated 249 dollars in May. This is revealing - because the TV commercials only urge me to ask my doctor about prescription drugs.

We checked a couple of other financial disclosure reports. Muscogee County School Board member Linda Parker listed a campaign donation last year from Justice Bail Bonds. Why would a bail bond company donate money in a school board race? Wouldn't safer schools actually hurt the business?

And a final campaign report from Mayor Jim Wetherington shows he received about $175,000 in donations. He ended the race with a surplus of almost $17,000 - and I'm sure a few police officers who are losing overtime pay will enjoy those anniversary gifts.

Jim Wetherington's campaign caused a stir last year, when it received a donation from the owner of the Foxy Lady Lounge. The new report shows his campaign also received $1,000 from Carmike Cinemas executive Mike Patrick - who sometimes shows movies just as revealing.

The finance report also reveals Jim Wetherington's campaign donated $1,000 to the Jerry "Pops" Barnes campaign, to help him win the Council runoff against Nathan Suber. I don't recall Wetherington ever endorsing Barnes publicly. So who knows how many critics on the police force are being paid to keep quiet?!

There's also a $200 line in the Jim Wetherington report for "cleaning campaign headquarters" - money paid to Debbie Wetherington. It's nice to see our mayor upholding family values....

There's something else unusual to note about the new online campaign disclosures. They were posted at the urging of the woman who runs the "All About Columbus" Yahoo group - a woman who normally lists her home address as Waverly Hall. Well, I suppose she's saving money by not driving to the Government Center to look up everything.

E-MAIL UPDATE: Sunday was an off day in the Pioneer Little League debate. So what were we arguing about before that issue came up?! Oh yeah - this "Open Letter to the Editor of the Phenix Citizen" reminds us:

"Miss" Overton:

I must say! I feel slighted! I'm referring to your treatment of my submissions over the long term past; and most importantly - your rejection of my response to your attack on 5/25 of this year. To Wit, WHO SAYS THERE'S NO GOOD NEWS IN HURTSBORO!

You stated correctly that I was in your office the morning prior, (this wasn't unusual - I submit items on a weekly basis for the Phenix City Exchange Club.) You also were correct in penning the fact that I tried to offer a current news item. That flew in my face; when you refused to hear a word of it!

Peering through your rose colored glasses, you said; " I'm only interested in "good" news at this time! I maintain (and rightly so) THERE'S NO GOOD NEWS IN HURTSBORO!!

You were elated to receive a call from "someone'" in Hurtsboro volunteering to write a "good news" column. I know this individual and from her resume. it didn't seem promising to me. I decided to take a wait and see attitude.

My suspicions were entirely correct; only one column eventuated - and it was insignifcant! And to add insult to injury; you have written columns wailing about personal travails, and a "pitch" for a charity event to be held in Phenix City! Where's the county-wide-news?

My dear girl. It's time that you realize that you are running in third place with your publication! The internet, the TV stations and the daily newspapers, make your news inconsequential! I doubt seriously, if the folks out in the county care to be reminded that Phenix City athletes are becoming instant millionaires!!.

I'm sure that the reverse is also true! No one in Phenix City probably gives a "flip" if our garbage gets picked up!

I'm sure you will make every effort to disregard this little note - so I am sending it on to the BLOG of Columbus, the Ledger-Enquirer, and the Union Springs Herald.

Constable R.J. Schweiger

Why do I have this feeling a "good news" column might come from Hurtsboro, if the Constable moved to Union Springs?!

The weekly paper IS called the "Phenix Citizen-News," after all. The title makes no promise to cover any stories in the rest of Russell County. The fact that the county courthouse is in Phenix City is one of many factors to consider....

But I'm not sure the Phenix Citizen-News should be called "inconsequential." After all, that was the paper which told me about the ethics fuss involving the Hurtsboro City Council selling surplus cars [8 Jan]. Based on what's happened in recent weeks, I'll pass on any sales of surplus garbage trucks.

While we're focusing on East Alabama....

Richard, I was one of the 450 residents of Lee County, AL to receive a phone survey this past week reference my opinions about the Lee County Commission. There were about 25 questions. The first 22 were about our county government and the last three were personal. They wanted to know which political party you were a member of or leaned toward, your age group, and your annual income. I do wonder why they needed that information . It seems that would be helpful information to anyone wanting to run for the county commission.

After doing a little research I found that the survey was initiated by the Citizens Advisory Committee and the survey was done at no cost to them by the AEA (Alabama Education Association). The results will be announced at a public meeting in July. Time and place of the public meeting have not yet been decided. I feel certain however that the meeting will be in either Auburn or Opelika. Consequently very few (if any) residents of the densely populated Smiths area will attend.

So.....I have a mini-survey for the 30,000 or so people in eastern Lee County (Smiths area).

1. Do you ever see your County Commissioner other than every 4 years when he's running for re-election?

2. Have you ever attended a Lee County Commission meeting?

3. Do you know when and where they meet?

4. Do you know how much your commissioner is paid annually for this part-time job?

5. Do you know what the county budget is and how much of it is spent for our area of the county?

6. Are you concerned about the poor condition of most of the roads in our area of the county?

7. Are you concerned about the extremely expensive Homeowner's Insurance rates because of the poor rating of our volunteer fire department?

8. Are you concerned that our property taxes are increasing every year but you are not seeing any improvements in services or maintenance on our roads?

9. Would you attend a town hall meeting reference county government if it was held in your area of the county?

A concerned Smiths Station Resident

Those last three questions actually may be designed to show what issues or topics matter to certain groups, as opposed to others. For instance, people over age 50 probably are more likely to want new shuffleboard courts.

I don't live in Lee County, and hardly ever drive there nowadays. But I can offer answers to some of your questions, from a Columbus perspective:

1. I've only seen my Columbus Councilor in person once - and we passed on the sidewalk, as she handed out campaign T-shirts. (I haven't worn it yet.)

2-3. I've been to one or two Columbus Council meetings (Tuesdays, usually at 9:00 a.m. ET). They're every bit as thrilling in person, as they are on TV.

4. No - but I think it's much less than some people want to pay the Phenix City Mayor.

6. Yes, I am concerned about the roads - because jogging across the rugged bricks of Broadway in the Historic District puts me at risk of turning an ankle.

Our last message today responds to last Thursday's topic:

I didn't grow up here, but I have lived here for a little over ten years. I have not found people overly friendly; if anything just the opposite. Especially in the local workforce. Heaven forbid if you actually get a job at a large company here. It's like taking a trip back to high school with all the clicks and close minded people that barely graduated from high school and are proud of it.

I actually overheard a lady at work one day tell her son who was a Senior in high school you are not going to college your father already has you a job at the mill why waste the time and money for another diploma that you will never use. And people around here wonder why people from outside of Columbus think they are dumb ignorant hicks. Well just listen to some of your fellow residents speech sometime and you maybe be able to figure it out if you're actually one of the very few college educated people around here.

I just wish people around here would just grow up, do there job, and quit harassing those of us who did have the sorrow of growing up here. I know I am asking for too much, and I am sure there will be several complaints about my response, but I have wanted to vent this for ten years now. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to blow up and vent.


Please be careful where you "blow up," MJ - because as you probably know, much of this area is still in a drought.

MJ must have experienced some of the distinctively Columbus family feuds. You know, like the Carvers versus the Spencers, or the Columbus Highs versus the Hardaways....

If a woman actually promised her son "a job at the mill," she may be more ignorant than most -- because there aren't many mills left operating in Columbus. In fact, I've heard some people say the promise of work has changed. Now the common phrase is: "There's always Aflac."

Now let's close the vent for the day, and check some weekend highlights:

+ My Saturday night run was a dream come true - 3.05 miles non-stop! It came exactly three months after my temperature hit 103 degrees due to pneumonia, leaving me wondering if I ever could make long runs again. And amazingly, the heat index wasn't far from 103 when it happened.

+ Fort Benning's Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation survived a U.S. House showdown on funding, passing by 11 votes. If Columbus still had a daily radio talk show, conservative callers would be at a loss to explain this.

+ Local amateur radio clubs joined in a large North American frequency check, at the Kmart on Airport Thruway. Pardon the old joke, but I assume they ended the day by holding a ham supper....

+ Flat Rock Park hosted the Georgia state championship of mountain bike racing. Talk about confusing the visitors! Isn't it time to change the name of this park - maybe to "Rock-a-Hilly" or something?

+ Columbus native Frank Thomas hit his 499th career home run for Toronto. All he needs is one more homer, to win his choice between a random steroid test and a formal meeting with baseball special investigator George Mitchell.

+ Instant Message to "Who Cares Outreach Evangelistic Ministry" on Cusseta Road: With a name like that, why should I even walk in the door?

This blog has thousands of visitors each month, from people in Columbus and around the world. To advertise to them, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

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Last Sunday we began by noting some people in Columbus take Little League baseball "very seriously." One week later and after being called an ugly slur, I'm wondering if I should revise that -- to "TOO seriously."

BLOG EXCLUSIVE: The most controversial coach in Pioneer Little League tells your blog he will NOT return next season, if Rick Chadwick remains league president. In the world of Columbus youth baseball, I think this is a news item on the order of Kobe Bryant demanding a trade....

In fact, Philip Miley tells me he may not return to Pioneer Little League next year under any circumstances. Miley says he has offers to coach with other Little League organizations in Columbus. He didn't name any names - but if anyone would like to serve as his agent, please contact him directly.

To hear Philip Miley tell it, he's not really controversial at all. In an extensive phone interview Friday night, Miley told me he's "the easiest guy to get along with." Miley seemed to prove it, by waiting on me several times to go to another room and stir dinner.

(Yes, Philip Miley called while I was making dinner - and since I don't have a cordless phone, I had to get up a few times to go to the kitchen and make sure nothing burned on the stove. Do the reporters at the Ledger-Enquirer ever have this problem?)

But anyway: Philip Miley indicated the tension at Pioneer Little League goes far beyond the 8 June Jack Cook tournament game involving his B-League Pirates. He noted during Pioneer's opening ceremonies in March, several 2006 all-star teams were mentioned -- but the team he coached was not. If this was softball and not baseball, I'd think something underhanded was going on.

Then there was the last round of Pioneer Little League T-ball games this past spring. Philip Miley came to the phone armed with a letter printed in the Ledger-Enquirer, from a couple upset that the date of the games was changed without their knowledge. It wasn't even posted at the Pioneer web site - but then, little has been posted there since opening night.

Philip Miley says there are "too many witnesses" from 8 June for anyone to say he blamed Little League officials for costing his Pirates the tournament game with the Peach Rams. Miley adds he didn't hear any parents cursing -- although you might notice "Ram" can sound a lot like a well-known swear word.

Philip Miley considers it "disrespectful" for District 8 Supervisor Bernard Ashley to say his team held "prayer meetings" between half-innings of the 8 June game. The coach says he leads his Pirates in a prayer before every game -- which makes me wonder why he hasn't lobbied to have his team nickname changed to Angels.

Asked about the perceived long breaks, the coach said there's a one-minute time limit for defenses to take the field. Philip Miley said a well-known local high school coach had backed up his approach. Miley did not name the coach - but they might be recruiting players at the All-Star tournaments next weekend, so you can ask them there.

Philip Miley admits he's "not a yes man," but says he still tries to treat Pioneer Little League officials with respect. Trouble is, he doesn't think President Rick Chadwick and a few board members offer respect in return. Maybe they all should try the Japanese example - such as players bowing to the umpires when they bat.

Philip Miley says he doubts he's the only coach who has issues with Pioneer's President. He told me several board members have warned him: "Don't step on Rick's toes." From my limited experience, I would recommend you don't even mention bathroom trips in his ear.

Two words kept coming up in Philip Miley's conversation with me. He says there's a communication problem in Pioneer Little League - as well as a lack of respect. If you don't do one, some people are bound to presume the other....

Philip Miley noted board member Tracy Wilson's husband coached a state-champion team last year. But he disputed Wilson's comments to us about the 8 June game, and said Wilson is part of a "clique" of four or five board members loyal to President Rick Chadwick. Increase the group to ten, and I suppose that would be a "double-clique."

While a nominating committee at Pioneer Little League keeps appointing him as a coach, Philip Miley says rumors persist that the President would rather see him go. Miley seems ready to oblige -- although he admits after 15 years with Pioneer, it's "like putting your baby up for adoption." If the Pirate players transfer wherever he moves, that could change....

Based on our conversation, Coach Philip Miley didn't come across as an evil "Pirate Master" at all. He didn't threaten any legal action against me -- and compared with others we've met in the last few days, he seemed more like Miley Cyrus.

By the way, Philip Miley says he understands the daughter of Pioneer President Rick Chadwick sticking up for her dad. He considers that only natural. Maybe he should go to Charlotte, and tell that to the Earnhardt family.

But Rick Chadwick's daughter is not happy with ME right now. She left a voice-mail message Friday, upset that we asked a question about how pitch counts at games are handled. "You have no clue what the h**l you're talking about," she said - declaring me "the most immature b*****d I've ever met." So no one misunderstands: that seven-letter word was NOT blogger.

(So now I've been cursed out, the same way Pirate parents supposedly did it two weeks ago -- and with language no one's even used on me at a poker table yet.)

Earlier in the day, I had talked with Rick Chadwick's daughter by phone. She called the entire feud involving Pioneer Little League "childish," and said her father has decided NOT to reply to any more criticism here. That's his choice and his right - but I'm not sure that's how the Fantastic Four would respond to the Silver Surfer.

THE BIG BLOG QUESTION dares to ask if you agree with Rick Chadwick's daughter. Am I really an immature.... well, you know?! I can take the heat. After all, I'm only running my air conditioner on "low" this weekend.

E-MAIL UPDATE: As if the Pioneer prairie fire wasn't hot enough, more messages keep arriving about it. Now it's the turn of Philip Miley's family:

Of course Rick Chadwick's daughter is going to defend her father, and bash the Pirates and Coach Miley just like her father does. Coach Miley coaches kids because he enjoys being out there. He doesn't have a kid on the team and he has been coaching out there for 12+ years. Once again he's not upset about losing he's upset for his team not having the chance to win. Not once was there any kid cussing or adult cussing after the game. Coach Miley would never allow and cussing. Once again Rick Chadwick's daughter mentioned they announced it over the intercom, BUT YOU CAN'T HERE IT. They installed some new speakers before the tournament. Coach Miley isn't even involve in this blog. He has no glue about this until I told him about it the other day. We who are writing in this blog are parents, that have had enough with the lack of leadership at Pioneer. Yeah, it wasn't a Rick Chadwick Tournament, but he could have help out the Pioneer Pirates a little by letting them know there was a meeting, or gone a got Coach Miley to let him know about THE UNSCEDULED MEETING since the intercom didn't work. I tired of them giving Coach Miley no respect, and saying he causing problems. He doesn't casue any problems. He spends all of his free time coaching these kids to make them better. Most of his kids always move up to an A-Ball team the next year, because they learned a lot. Once again the reason he gets so much cr*p from Rick is that he's sticks up for his kids, but what good coach wouldn't. Miley has been one of the best things Pioneer Little League had to offer. Nobody remembers who runs these leagues when they get older, but they do rememeber there coaches who have inspired them. I can tell you Coach Miley has inspired more kids to continue playing baseball and have made them a better player. I promise you one thing its just not the Pirates the are upset there are a lot of other people as well. This is a Pirate City Game Topic thats why your only hearing from them.

As far as the petty bathroom thing goes. I could understand if this rule has always been enforced, but it hasn't. We were all shocked that they coaches got thrown out of a game. No other team got punished for using the bathroom with out permission. I never asked permission this year to go to the bathroom as well as my kids that I coached we never got thrown out.

If the coach asked the person counting pitches, the pitch count is that really, I mean really that big of a deal. Talking about petty. Every Coach this year was always asking the pitch count. Pitch count plays a heavy role in stragedy. So if the job of counting pitches and telling a coach the pitch count every now and then is so tough, just maybe its not the job for you!!!!!!!!

Last I would like to comment and say if you personally went down to Poineer during regular season and asked people about there Presient I promise you there will be plenty NON-PIRATE Parents that will have negative comments. Which is a horrible thing to say, but the truth hurts.Once again this isn't Coach Miley in this debate it's the parents and were not upset about LOSING were upset of the lack of leadership, and that are kids WEREN'T GIVEN THE CHANCE TO WIN. SO STOP SAYING WERE UPSET BECAUSE WE LOST, BEACUSE THATS NOT THE CASE.

Thank you Mr. Burkard for letting me write this letter. How would you fell if you kid got the shaft?

Starting with that question: I know what I would tell my child after a situation like this. And I hope you're holding on to your keyboard, because this could sound very sacrilegious -- "It's only a game."

These four little words seem to be what all the sides in this feud are forgetting. Perhaps it's because of what the Northern All-Stars accomplished last summer. Perhaps it's because scouts DO show up at youth league baseball games, even from the professional level. But isn't Little League primarily supposed to be about having fun, and getting some exercise? I mean, with something other than your mouth....

The last time I talked with Pioneer President Rick Chadwick, he told me a couple of other people had been barred from games this season for leaving the premises. He didn't say specifically if those people were taking bathroom breaks. Hopefully they weren't making last-minute moves in their fantasy league teams.

I wish all the parties in this feud had been at church with me this weekend - because the sermon was about "The Danger of Jumping to Conclusions." Both sides seem to want ME to do that, and declare one of them a slam-dunk winner. Oops, sorry.... I shouldn't bring up basketball here....

But each interview and e-mail about Pioneer Little League adds new details, and the minister warned against trying to fill in gaps through our own assumptions. He also said God is tired of people "airing their dirty laundry" - so please don't send me any e-mails about Lindsay Lohan's parties.

The minister added we live in a "thin-skinned age" nowadays, and we all would do well to thicken our skin. Perhaps, maybe, as thick as horsehide on a baseball?!

Oh, by the way - where do I find "Pirate City?" Is it an area on Myspace? Is it near Buffet City? After all, that's close to the Pioneer fields on Airport Thruway....

Let's take a deep breath, and handle one more message about this topic....

Hey Richard, pass this on!!!

To all the parents that do not like playing at Pioneer I have found the solution by calling the Southern Region office.... [e-mail us if you'd like this number, and we'll pass it on privately]

Here are the steps:

1.) Write Rick a letter telling him you want to change. He will have to do a letter to District 8 guy Bernard Ashley for his review as to why he agrees or disagrees.

2.) Write or call the league you want to join and ask if they will accept you. You have to submit your reason in writing for wanting to change.

3.) Once you are accepted at the new league, they will forward their request to District 8 Bernard Ashley.

4.)Bernard Ashley will then submit this and Rick's letter to the Southern Region Office in St. Petersburg . They will them submit it to the Charter Committee for review.

5.) If anyone along those lines say NO you are stuck where you are or can ask another league to accept you.

6.) Then if you feel strongly in your convictions about what Pioneer is doing wrong you contact Jennifer Colvin at the Southern Region Office and have her handle the complaint if you can reach her.(good luck)

People need to do something about it when they feel wronged and not just talk about it on a blog. I have emailed this blog in the hopes that it will get the answers that people need. I had already emailed and called everyone to resolve this with no response. This blog is not your only voice people, although it is the only voice willing to listen. I care less about winning or losing, it is only a ball game. That comes and goes every season. I only care about the kids and whether they are treated fairly.

Thanks Mr. Richard, for listening to the people of Pioneer that have been writing in. By posting it you have done more for us than anyone in that league when it comes to the problems!!! People have said to you what they would never say or admit to us. We appreciate you!!!

Christina Shanafelt

I appreciate this helpful instruction sheet, since I didn't personally know how this worked. But I'm guessing the perturbed Pirate parents are pursuing this procedure presently - and if they repeat that sentence a few times, they might just lighten up a bit.

So is anything else happening in Columbus? Believe it or not, the answer is yes. Another reader asks about this item from Thursday:

+ Instant Message to WHAL "Viva 1460": Am I hearing this right - you've moved your studios to the Bradley Theatre? Did Clear Channel move you out of the building on 13th Avenue, to guard against immigration protesters?

What did they say on the radio that made you think that they moved their studios?

I waited until I heard the message again to be sure. It's a short ten-second item with morning host Gladiola talking about "estudios de Teatro Bradley." I don't think they're renting studio apartments in that building.

The Bradley Theatre has posted a notice on its marquee that it will close July 1, and reopen September 1. I'm not sure if this is due to a change of ownership, the recent theft of copper from the air conditioning system - or if Uptown Columbus is going to need the theatre for two months to audition all the street singers.

Thanks to all of you who write us -- and now let's write some Instant Messages....

+ To Peachtree Mall: I'm sorry, but your new free Wi-Fi Internet access is in the wrong place. It should NOT be at the Food Court. It should be outside Macy's and Penney's, so men can follow sports events while their wives are shopping.

+ To Atlanta baseball manager Bobby Cox: Congratulations - I guess. You tied the major league record for ejections Saturday. Have you ever been kicked out of a restaurant, to help break the tie?

+ To my next-door neighbor: Last weekend you said it would rain on Saturday. It didn't. This weekend you said Saturday's high would be 102 degrees F. The official high was 96. Either show me your AMS seal, or I'm sticking with Kurt Schmitz - who by the way, does NOT make predictions while holding a can of beer.

COMING THIS WEEK: New discoveries at the Columbus city web site.... and a stranger tries to sell me "books"....

This blog has thousands of visitors each month, from people in Columbus and around the world. To advertise to them, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 1855 (+ 79, 4.4%)

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Saturday, June 23, 2007


(BLOGGER'S NOTE: You may find this item humorous, serious, or a little of both - but we offer these thoughts from time to time, as we keep a seventh-day Sabbath.)

"Draft-dodging, pot-smoking, womanizing Bill Clinton." That's the way Sean Hannity described the then-President years ago, when his radio talk show was heard only in Atlanta. Hannity always had to put three adjectives on the man - and seemed to wish Mr. Clinton wore them all around his neck.

I'm reminded of Sean Hannity's approach in the wake of an e-mail we received earlier in the week. A reader declared he'd never visit this blog again, because we described some people as "loudmouths." I assume this reader never visits political message boards - because that word would seem downright tame.

It's easy for people in all walks of life to pin negative adjectives on others. This past week on her blog, Rosie O'Donnell described her former co-hosts on "The View" as "heteros." Yet O'Donnell's apparently still in the running to host "The Price is Right" - while if I used the opposite label to describe her, I'd probably be disqualified.

Sean Hannity's habit of sticking three adjectives on people he opposes annoyed me for years. But then recently, I came upon a surprise. What would you think of people who said these things:

1. "The people of C____ (location) always tell lies. They are greedy and lazy like wild animals."

2. "Who does that worthless P_____ (ethnic community) think he is?.... I can kill this worthless P_____."

3. "When you give to the poor, don't blow a loud horn. That's what show-offs do...."

The words of a "shock jock" radio host? Not at all. All three quotes are taken directly from the Contemporary English Version of the Bible. And they weren't said by immoral "villains." They're the words of people commonly considered heroes - though they stop short of using the language Jack Bauer might use on "24."

Quote #1 was written by the apostle Paul, in his letter to Titus. He was quoting a prophet of Crete, describing the people of Crete -- then calls it a "true saying." Today, some might consider that racial profiling. But people who believe all of the Bible is inspired have to believe God allowed such a statement - and they have to hope no one from Crete never finds those verses in front of them.

Quote #2 was uttered by David, shortly before he brought down a Philistine named Goliath. In the King James Version, David calls him an "uncircumcised Philistine." How he moved in so close to find out without being crushed, I have no idea....

And believe it or not, Quote #3 comes from the mouth of Jesus, in the "Sermon on the Mount." It sounded so judgmental - but then again, one of these days He plans to do that sort of thing on a wider scale.

The point of all this? If you think name-calling and labeling of people is simply a modern problem, you're wrong. And if you think only "bad people" do it, you're wrong again. There are apparently times and places when pejorative adjectives are appropriate. As someone once said: the truth can hurt - but it's still the truth.

The apostle Paul reminds me in Romans that God puts a stinging label on everyone, including you and me. We're sinners - and we have to die someday because of that. Amazingly, the only way to have that label removed is to turn to the Jesus who called some people "hypocrites." It may not seem fair. But since Jesus is God, His name-calling is probably very accurate.

I'm not one who normally resorts to calling other people names. I usually turn negative labels on myself, because I see plenty of faults in my life. It's better that I pin them on personally, than wait for other people to do it - because God may already have pinned the labels on me, anyway.

So I need to turn to God often, asking Jesus's intervention so I can be forgiven of the sins which put labels on my life. Maybe you don't need Him (or think you do), but I do. Thankfully, God is a forgiving Father - so the labels affixed to us don't have to be stuck on permanently with Super Glue.

BLOG CLARIFICATION: The daughter of Pioneer Little League President Rick Chadwick called me, to make clear she was NOT playing in Little League when she dated an umpire. She was out, so that made her safe - if you know what I mean....

SCHEDULED SUNDAY: MUCH more about Pioneer, as a key figure in the debate speaks out for the first time....

This blog has thousands of visitors each month, from people in Columbus and around the world. To advertise to them, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 1776 (- 192, 9.8%)

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Friday, June 22, 2007


They stand only one block apart, and usually they stand united. But right now they don't -- and that has me puzzled. Before you get too excited about this: no, I'm NOT talking about a gas war between Spectrum stations....

Drive down Tenth Street downtown, and you can see what I'm talking about. The flag outside the Muscogee County Jail is at half-staff, mourning the late Deputy Meredith Rhodes. The flag outside the Public Safety Center is all the way up the pole, as if nothing happened -- or as if the police finished its time, when it made an arrest.

Other city government buildings downtown also had their flags at full-staff Thursday -- joining with the police department, which of course really has not been at "full staff" for a long time....

Here's the puzzling part for me: I thought we had a "Columbus Consolidated Government," with the Muscogee County Sheriff's Department as part of that. Shouldn't the entire government join in a show of respect, for the untimely and violent death of a deputy? After all, Meredith Rhodes worked at the jail - and police have to put the suspects they arrest somewhere.

The Columbus Police and Muscogee County Sheriff's Department work together on major cases and drug busts. So why isn't one openly joining the other, in marking a time of loss? After all, Columbus Council already approved the new city budget....

When nine firefighters died in Charleston, South Carolina the other night, flags were ordered down to half-staff - not only in Charleston, but across the state. Admittedly that was a much larger loss of life. But what happened to this Muscogee County deputy isn't even creating a wave for two city blocks. Even Streetscape on Broadway had more impact than that.

Perhaps the reluctance to lower city flags stems from the circumstances involved. Meredith Rhodes apparently was NOT on duty when he was shot early Sunday morning, and he was outside a bar on Steam Mill Road. But he was still a sheriff's deputy - and unlike some of Ken Suddeth's friends, his badge was real.

The last Columbus Mayor sometimes ordered city flags lowered to half-staff for obscure reasons. I remember one case where they were lowered because a former Defense Secretary died. Simply including Fort Benning in his budget proposals was good enough for an honor.

It's clear from Thursday's trip down Tenth Street that Columbus government departments have some amount of flexibility, in how the flag is displayed outside. But it baffles me as to why they're not flying flags at half-staff, in solidarity with a fallen sheriff's deputy. After all, this is one case where going halfway really IS a full commitment.

E-MAIL UPDATE: I'm not Chris Matthews, but let's play hardball. As promised, a supporter of the Pioneer Little League leadership comes forward:

I just wanted to write you regarding Rick Chadwick and Pioneer Little League. I am not ashamed to say that I am his daughter and I have grew up around Pioneer since I was 8. Miley has ALWAYS been a problem since I knew him and I never did anything to him. He complains about everything. When I was 17, I dated one of the umpires and he said that the only reason he was there was because he was "dating the head umpires daughter" which was not true. About my dad being in this for himself.... doubt it!!! He does it because he likes it, my mom too. Other than my dad getting paid for umpiring (like all other umpires) they do this for free. It's not because his daughter plays softball there.... it's because they both enjoy it. As for people running there mouth about stupid stuff, I have a rule book upstairs with me every time I kept the pitch count. There was one game when the opposing team (playing against the Pirates) was about to go over his pitch count when I told the umpire that pitcher had 5 or so pitches left. Miley went behind the plate and yelled up to the press box that I was not allowed to tell the umpire that until Miley pointed it out first. In other words, he wanted a reason to protest to win the game. So, that being said, I thought coaches were supposed to know the rules... HE DIDN'T!! If you look at page 34 Section VI(g), (and I quote), "The official pitch count recorder [me] should inform the umpire-in-chief when a pitcher has delivered his/her maximum limit of pitches for the game...." What gets me is, this is little league... it's not kindergarten. This he said/she said is for little kids. I really wish my dad would get out of this. Out of everyone at this little league, you notice its only Pirates fans. If people would read a rule book before they start acting like they know rules, they wouldn't look like idiots when they write the Ledger Enquirer or blogs. I think its funny because the people running their mouths are the people from the losing side that have no one else to blame.

Oh and about the city tournament.... it was a Jack Cook tournament not a Rick Chadwick tournament. It's not my dads fault the Pirates lost. What was he supposed to do, get up to bat for them. You can't blame someone else for your own mistakes. There was an announcement made over the PA by Tommy Smith telling "all coaches for the next games" to report to the press box for a meeting. It was not only said once... but three different times. If people had complaints for that particular tournament, my dad was not the one to go to. Tommy Smith and Bernard Ashley were the men in charge. Why did everyone on the Pirates side (even the 9-11 year olds) get in my dads face cussing him out??? Miley told his players after the game "you see the people in the yellow shirts? They are the reason y'all lost." Why would you say that to little kids? If Miley was an adult, he would have handled it like an adult.

Have you asked anyone other than people associated with the Pirates about my dad or Pioneer??? I PROMISE you, you won't get the same responses that you get from Pirates fans.

When we first broke the Pioneer story last Sunday, we noted some people in Columbus take Little League baseball VERY seriously. If the comments of the last week don't prove it, the fact that players sometimes date umpires should.

Pitch counts were added to Little League baseball this year, so young pitchers don't wear out their arms. But it appears even this rule has become a breeding ground for argument and dispute. Leagues may have to borrow old bingo boards, to settle disputes about this.

Should the official pitch count recorder [her] tell the umpire EXACTLY when the maximum has been reached? Was she right in giving a five-pitch warning? Should a coach be declared an automatic loser for going over the count -- following the great "Price is Right" tradition?

The daughter makes a very good point when she says this is "Little League.... not kindergarten." Maybe we should find a middle ground, and say some of the parents belong in "coach pitch" - or even believe in what coaches pitch to them.

But Rick Chadwick's daughter should realize that in baseball, it IS often easy to blame someone else for your mistakes. For instance, major league pitchers have blamed the guy providing Barry Bonds with steroids....

I agree that there's no place in youth sports for "cussing out" by parents. But let's be honest: if those parents really wanted to escape that, their children would be in the Cascade Hills Church league.

The list of contacts we've had involving Pioneer Little League is now as follows: President Rick Chadwick, his daughter, a league board member and two people sending e-mails critical of the program. And after what happened when I called Rick Chadwick about the "bathroom incident," do I dare pick up the phone and ask Coach Philip Miley for his opinion?

I'm admittedly not plugged into Little League baseball in Columbus. But I think I have a clue about where Pioneer Little League developed this interest in debating back and forth. One of the coaches mentioned on a sign at the complex is Columbus Councilor Skip Henderson. [True!]

BLOG UPDATE: I finally had a chance to watch and hear the "Concerned Citizens for Uptown Columbus" TV commercial from start to finish Thursday. If they think the proposed city ordinance will prevent immorality from coming to Broadway, I have news for them -- a couple of prostitutes already were arrested downtown last weekend.

The "Concerned Citizens" commercial suggests having live music on Broadway will "corrupt our young people." This must be why Columbus has no Salvation Army brass bands.

Now let's see if we can whistle a happy tune, about some of Thursday's news stories:

+ Your blogger moved up to fifth place out of seven (third person out) on poker night at Lil Kim's Cove. I won my first pot ever, with a pair of aces - but lost with three 10's to a man with three queens. Come to think of it, the "Three Ten-ors" don't get PBS very far anymore, either.

+ Columbus Police reported a Circle K store was robbed on Manchester Expressway. What made this unusual is that the evening news showed the store - and it actually had prominent Circle K logos on it. The Spectrum signs finally seem to be going away. So that S now stands for "sayonara."

+ President Bush visited the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant in north Alabama. Never mind the advantages he cited, in moving our country away from fossil fuels - did anyone there finally teach the President to say "nuclear" correctly?

+ WRBL presented a live interview with Rod Hood about his football camp - and he appeared on the air wearing a New York Yankees baseball cap. Aw c'mon, Rod! I don't think the Yankees are THAT desperate for pitchers....

(I mean, think about this. Shouldn't Rod Hood wear a ball cap of his new team, the Arizona Cardinals? Or if all else fails, he can wear a "hoodie.")

+ Instant Message to the children who draw chalk art on the sidewalk, in the 700 block of Broadway: Those are some attractive medieval castles you drew! And I agree - you need that street of businesses you put between those old-style castles. Like the Crown Store. And the Petsmart. And the Publix.

BURKARD'S BEST BETS: Gas for $2.85 a gallon at Raceway on Victory Drive.... milk for $2.99 a gallon at Walgreens.... FREE fireworks after the Catfish game at Golden Park (just be careful where you park)....

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Thursday, June 21, 2007


So this woman is talking on her cell phone, and she says: "It's like a space alien landed, and nobody noticed it, so everybody turns into space aliens." It's the middle of the afternoon, so she can't possibly be calling that weird "Coast to Coast AM" talk show.

OVERHEARD OVER HERE: The woman who made this comment apparently has spent some time in New York City, and longs to go back there to live. She made a comparison to space aliens, as she described living in Columbus. That's funny - the only green people I've noticed in town are on Spencer High School sports teams.

The woman went on to explain to a friend that Columbus reminds her of space aliens because "everybody knows everybody." I don't recall anyone ever making this comparison at the "Cheers" bar years ago.

As I overheard this cell phone chat the other day, it wasn't clear to me where this woman works. But she told her friend she feels like "I know everybody over 50." This could be a number of places. Maybe a senior center, maybe a veterans' club, maybe Piccadilly Cafeteria....

This woman expressed something else which seems to annoy her about Columbus. When people meet her, "they want to talk for an hour, and you can't get out of it without being abrupt." She's apparently used to doing things in a "New York minute" - which could be anything there from a conversation to a romantic relationship.

Then the woman made a comment about Columbus which completely threw me: "It's great if you're a lesbian." Huh?! Either the men in this city aren't impressive enough for her - or she's been to a nightclub I haven't heard any rumors about.

The rest of that explanation remains a mystery, because the woman stood up with her cell phone at that point and went on her way. I'd overheard a unique perspective about Columbus, from someone who's clearly a transplant -- but someone whose heart may not have made the transplant.

To borrow from Billy Joel, are we really "living here in Alien-Town?" Is Columbus a city of more than 180,000 clones? I mean, beyond the Fort Benning soldiers who all seem to have the same khaki outfits and buzz cuts....

If you're in certain peer groups, it probably seems at times like everyone in Columbus knows everyone else. A few families seem to dominate key governmental positions. One attorney passes on his or her practice to the next generation. And how many baseball-playing children does Russell County coach Tony Rasmus have, anyway?

But I think the woman overstates the situation when she claims everyone in Columbus knows everyone else. Several events in recent years have pointed that out. Sadly, some of them involved violent deaths. But how many Oakland Park residents do you think are known on a first-name basis at Columbus Park Crossing restaurants?

The group "One Columbus" tries to bring the community together in a positive way. It bridges gaps between ethnic groups and neighborhoods. But then, One Columbus is having this year's fundraising golf tournament 30 miles out of town in Opelika....

And as for the people who want to talk for an hour at a time: I understand what this woman means. I've had to put one phone caller to my home on a ten-minute time limit. Otherwise, he might go on for 90 - and not really care if you say three sentences in response.

It's easy to think in terms of stereotypes, and say people talk longer in the "sloooow South" than "thefast-pacedNorth." But before you agree with that assessment, think about this - which part of the country had NASCAR races first?

E-MAIL UPDATE: We keep hearing from readers about the situation at Pioneer Little League. For starters....

In response to your question about whether the coaches really get punished for going to the bathroom [19 Jun]....... the coaches got kicked out of the game for going to the restroom during the game. Rick Chadwick stood behind the backstop to make sure the coaches didn't go back in the dugout. We had our own players as the first base coaches.

Isn't that a bit ridiculous?

Just wanted to let you know.

Lisa Long

This incident seemed so unusual that I simply had to ask the Pioneer Little League President about it. Rick Chadwick told me Wednesday everything was based on the Little League rule book, which he says the critics haven't read. I'm old enough to remember when the big debate in the baseball rule book involved how to handle foul tips.

Rick Chadwick says according to Little League International rules, any player or coach who leaves the premises during a game without an umpire's permission is barred from returning. So this could apply to restroom trips, family emergencies - and parents of opposing teams tempting players, by waving melting ice cream cones in the stands.

Rick Chadwick clearly was annoyed that I phoned him to ask about this topic. He said plenty of good things are happening in 30 Pioneer Little League teams, without "a couple of parents" feeding nothing but negative information to us. But no supporters had written us, until an e-mail reached us Wednesday night. (We spotted that message at our deadline, and you'll see it here Friday.) Maybe the supporters are focused on upcoming All-Star tournaments, while others have nothing to do until next March.

"Enough's enough," Rick Chadwick told me - going on to accuse this blog of focusing on nothing but negative things. Maybe I simply have a blind spot here, but I don't recall ever rooting for Japan to beat the Northern All-Stars last August.

Rick Chadwick further warned me to quote him correctly, or he'll take legal action against this blog. "You do what you have to do, and I'll do what I have to do," he said. That sounds fair enough - and in the interest of full disclosure, I have to do laundry and buy bread by Friday evening.

We have one more e-mail clarification - and a little more:

Allstar coaches are always the coach that had the first place team in their division. I figure I would let you know that. So you don't think that there appointed by the President.Also I will let you know I will no longer write to your blog or read it beacuse of your rude comments. You want people to write to you with there opinions, but then you call the loudmouths. I thought a lot different of you, since I have been reading your blog for a while now.

Oh dear - this e-mail came from one of Rick Chadwick's critics. So now I've upset both sides in this argument. But I was a youth league umpire long ago, so I admittedly have a track record....

My apologies if I offended people at Pioneer Little League on Tuesday with the word "loudmouths." Given the technical problems at the recent Jack Cook Tournament, maybe I should have said "loud speakers."

But we should note one e-mailer in recent days effectively called Pioneer Little League's President a coward. So the critics can pin labels on people they don't like - but my open-ended comment about "all the people" is out of bounds?! Well, summer heat DOES affect different people in different ways....

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: Look for more thoughts about name-calling and labeling in this blog this weekend.)

When we broke this Blog Exclusive on Sunday, we noted we did not go searching for this feud inside Pioneer Little League. People on both sides have fueled this fire, with no real encouragement from us. At least I'm trying to let both sides tell their stories. Journalists in Venezuela and the Palestinian Territories can't really do that....

Can we all at least agree that people on both sides care about Pioneer Little League? Sadly, I'm not sure either side would accept that statement. It's enough to make me wonder if "The Dr. Phil House" is completely booked for the upcoming season.

Now let's ring the bell and return to our respective corners, while we check Wednesday news headlines:

+ A Russell County judge dismissed sexual abuse charges against middle school teacher Sebastian Moore, ruling there wasn't enough evidence. Moore now can return to coaching the Russell County Middle School football team - and the way he's built, I wouldn't want to be a quarterback when he teaches about the blitz.

+ A check online confirmed the Muscogee County Library Board now is posting minutes of its meetings. Now, now, you cynics - I do NOT think they're filed inside the library under "fiction."

+ The Harris County Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposed big development called "The Grove." The plans include about 300 acres of "open greenspace" - so it looks we've found the next big project for Josh McKoon.

+ The annual Rod Hood youth football camp began at McClung Memorial Stadium. Hood has changed N.F.L. teams during the off-season, from Philadelphia to Arizona - cleverly allowing for sales of souvenir jerseys across Columbus to double.

+ Instant Message to WHAL "Viva 1460": Am I hearing this right - you've moved your studios to the Bradley Theatre? Did Clear Channel move you out of the building on 13th Avenue, to guard against immigration protesters?

This blog has thousands of visitors each month, from people in Columbus and around the world. To advertise to them, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

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© 2003-07 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

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