31 JAN 07: THE POTPOURRI POT
Tuesday was one of those days - no, I mean one of THOSE days. You're in trouble before you even get out of bed in the morning. Then it seems like you climb out of bed, and find yourself in the middle of an Ultimate Fighting Championship battle royal for the rest of the day....
Because Tuesday was one of THOSE days, we were not really able to develop a main topic in depth. So instead, we'll offer little bits about several Tuesday things:
+ An accountant did an audit for the city, and suggested to Columbus Council it set up an anonymous tip line to report fraud. I'm not sure this is really necessary - because sometimes WRCG's "Talkline" works the same way.
The accountant's audit apparently found questionable financial practices at the Columbus Civic Center. WRBL's web site reports a renter received some kind of deep discount last September, without the City Manager approving it. Hmmmm - how many burly WWE wrestlers showed up at the Civic Center office with Vince McMahon?
+ Columbus Council also reviewed several mid-year budget requests. The Police Department needs several new squad cars. The Sheriff's Department would like more money. And the natural gas bills for recreation centers suddenly jumped this week.
+ Meanwhile, WRCG "Talkline" host Robbie Watson is openly wondering on the air why Mayor Jim Wetherington hasn't started the promised reforms and housecleaning at the Government Center. Now now, Robbie - he's only been on the job four weeks. Alabama's Governor has to wait all the way to March, before the legislature convenes this year.
+ There might have been an illegal member on Columbus Council this month, had the election turned out differently. Candidate Geraldine Hollins might have been under investigation, because she's accused of owing back property taxes. The better for doing undercover checks of the city finance department, you know....
Muscogee County Tax Commissioner Lula Huff told WXTX "News at Ten" Geraldine Hollins owes about $1,000 in property taxes. Hollins denies she owes anything -- and she might be wondering why Nathan Suber is spending his free time going after her.
Does this property tax bill matter? Yes, it actually does - because Columbus Council candidates are supposed to promise they don't owe any back city taxes. If Geraldine Hollins knew she owed back taxes and lied, she could be prosecuted. You might be able to lie to the voters, but you really shouldn't to the Election Board.
+ Just in time for the Super Bowl, an Alabama House committee proposes creating a class of "super-drunks." If your blood alcohol level is .15 or higher, the penalties would be tougher. But I fear this title would send a wrong message -- and more young adults would try flying off rooftops.
+ The OneGeorgia Authority awarded its development grants for this year. One of them goes to Plains, to renovate the town's aging sewer and water system. One of my co-workers thought Plains was getting the money to help restore Jimmy Carter's reputation, in the wake of that new book.
+ What's this strange story I'm hearing about why Phil Carter was dropped from Bill Heard Chevrolet commercials? The rumor going around is that Carter was fired for using the phrase "out the wazoo" too much. Maybe the managers think "out the kudzu" sounds more Southern.
+ A non-profit group began a four-week series of beginning dance lessons downtown, focusing on the "Argentine Tango." Personally, I consider the salsa less expensive - both the dance and the dipping sauce.
+ So the schedule is out for the 2007 Tour de Georgia bike race - and while one day will begin in Thomaston, Columbus is left out again. Those horror stories about Columbus Park Crossing traffic are scaring all sorts of people away.
+ Reports from the Midwest suggest Auburn will open the football season next September against Kansas State. I'm a loyal Kansas grad - and I think there are at least two orange shirts in my dresser....
+ Instant Message to the person who sent e-mails about a supposed contractor at Fort Benning, then apologized after learning the information was false: Next time, learn a lesson from local banks. It's called "free checking."
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