Sunday, July 12, 2009

12 JUL 09: Bin Improved?

Didya hear about the stuff a utility worker found in a Phenix City dumpster? Police say someone threw in a duffel bag with pieces of a methamphetamine lab -- and it was still smoky. You can lead some horses to meth, but you can't make them ruin their teeth.

I tried out Columbus's new alternative to dumpsters for the first time the other day. The city now operates a recycling center off Victory Drive, between a Summit convenience store and the Riverwalk. As if the natural gas odor from Atmos Energy next door wasn't challenging enough for Riverwalk runners to inhale....

There are really two parts to the city recycling center - the large hidden part behind a fence covered with green tarp, and the small part along the street where you drop off items. The only people deeply interested in seeing the hidden part are Bert Coker and Paul Olson, complaining about a lack of openness in government.

So what do we think of the new recycling center? Let's go down the list....

+ Good thing #1: Consistency. The recycling bins are all blue -- just like the bins the city gives homeowners for leaving recyclables at the curb. You know, one of the sure ways to spot a house full of liberals.

+ Good thing #2: More options. The city recycling center accepts paper and cardboard, which the Goodwill Industries center along Tenth Avenue didn't do. Investigative reporters will dig into that paper bin often.

+ Good thing #3: Peace and quiet. The Phenix City recycling center is located next to the animal shelter, and dogs seem to see me every time I stop there.

+ Bad thing #1: Parking -- as in none. I stopped my car on the side of 22nd Avenue. Am I supposed to park behind Summit, then feel guilty and go inside to buy a bag of chips?

(The only real alternative is to park at a Riverwalk entrance, next to a sign marked for city vehicles only. The extra police officers patrolling on bicycles may have suggested this.)

+ Bad thing #2: Lids. Goodwill Industries didn't have them on the bins, while the city does. The lids are heavy to lift, perhaps because they're not broken in - but I suppose that makes them good exercise for Riverwalk strollers.

+ Bad thing #3: Not enough options. While the Phenix City recycling center doesn't take cardboard and paper, it allows you to drop off magazines. The Columbus center doesn't do that - but then, that means guys walking along Victory Drive have to buy the X-rated magazines.

Final score: The new Columbus recycling center is OK, and I'll certainly use it. But overall, there's not that much improvement over Goodwill -- and who's working behind the fence on the recycled items, anyway? If there's razor-wire on the fences, should we assume prison inmates have found new jobs?

-> We're playing live poker two nights a week these days. Check how things are going (and more) at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <--

E-MAIL UPDATE: Here's something else that's new - and it comes from Columbus State Representative Richard Smith....

I wanted to let you know about about a new way to keep in contact with me, and that is through my Twitter account.

I will be using Twitter to put out more frequent updates. I will be using Twitter to provide more real time updates (especially while we are in session). One of the benefits I am looking forward to with Twitter is the way I can post questions to everyone following me, and get immediate updates. This will allow me to keep up with the pulse of Columbus, and what issues you are most passionate about.

This is not to say that I will be stopping my email newsletter. I will still be using the newsletter for more detailed updates, keeping everyone on it abrest of what is happening.

It's interesting to see Smith was ahead of the Twitter curve, setting up an account last September. Then he didn't use it for six months -- so perhaps he needed special training from a young relative in how to use a Blackberry.

The latest Twitter update from Rep. Richard Smith shows Georgia state revenue in June was down almost 16 percent from last year. Smith seems sure the Georgia Legislature will need to hold a special session - which at least will improve the hotel/motel tax revenue for the city of Atlanta.

Let's see what else is new or newsworthy this weekend:

+ The Ledger-Enquirer and all the evening TV newscasts visited Victory Pawn and Trading Post - a mere ten days after this blog broke the news of the store's closing [30 Jun]. Maybe it IS time to open a Twitter account, so these newsrooms pay attention to us.

(Shop owner Rick Johnson told one TV station he's thinking about opening a restaurant, and would display the "Indian Joe" mascot there -- perhaps as a reminder customers need to phone ahead for reservations.)

+ The Ledger-Enquirer reported military patrol officers have been moved out of downtown Columbus, to patrol new Fort Benning neighborhoods. But I thought base realignment wasn't fully in effect yet -- so how expensive are those new air conditioners?

+ WRBL reported Lee County's "Field of Screens" drive-in theatre has closed, due to a lack of money. The managers admit they were plagued by bad weather on several weekends. So to borrow from the movie "Field of Dreams:" if you build it, they will come - but if it rains on you, they won't.

+ The Marshall Tucker Band performed at the Phenix City Amphitheater. I didn't realize until I checked the band's web site that none of the members is named Marshall Tucker - or even anything close to Tucker. Maybe the band took that name to gain favor with Southern law officers.

(The Marshall Tucker Band probably appeals most to rock fans over age 40. People younger than 40 are more used to seeing "Marshal Markdown" in the Rivertown Ford infomercials.)

+ Atlanta's baseball team traded outfielder Jeff Francoeur to the New York Mets. Talk about terrible timing - the player with "frank" fans in the stands missed the Coney Island hot dog eating contest by one week.

(Remember, you Francoeur supporters - now that he's playing in New York, your "frank" costumes must be kosher.)

+ The World Championship Domino Tournament was held in Andalusia, Alabama. After checking the event's web site, I was stunned - because you'd think Domino's Pizza would know a perfect sponsorship opportunity when they see it.

(The adult singles world domino champion won $3,000. By comparison, the World Series of Poker Main Event continues today -- and the champion will take home about $8.5 million. Maybe it's time to move these domino tables to a Biloxi casino.)

+ Instant Message to Bruno's supermarkets: I think you declared bankruptcy and closed those Alabama stores in the nick of time. Now no one can blame you for that "Bruno" movie.

BURKARD'S BEST BETS: Gas for $2.29 a gallon at Crown on Crawford Road in Phenix City.... milk for $2.25 a gallon at Publix.... and great walk-up seating for any Columbus Woodbats baseball game....

The number of unique visitors to our blog in the first half of 2009 was up 11.1 percent! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation 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: 587 (- 61, 9.4%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

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