Wednesday, July 08, 2009

8 JUL 09: Good Portables, Bad Portables

Several years ago this blog received a series of e-mail complaints about portable classrooms outside Hardaway High School. Based on the Tuesday evening news, the complaints may be coming again. Midtown Columbus may have to re-do its commercials, to show a modified mobile home park.

Muscogee County school officials say portables will be needed at Hardaway and Northside High Schools this fall, to accommodate more than 300 transferring students. And the transfers have nothing to do with base realignment - so please do NOT start rumors about BRAC families replacing the Third Brigade.

Hardaway and Northside High will take in students from other Muscogee County schools which failed to make "adequate yearly progress." Maybe we need a high school musical to motivate students at the other locations. Start by adjusting an old Michael Jackson song from "P.Y.T." to "A.Y.P."

Muscogee County school spokesperson Valerie Fuller says more than 120 students are transferring away from Spencer High School, while about 95 will move away from Carver High. Alumni groups want these students tattooed, so they never try to attend future Carver-Spencer football games.

Sad to say, Carver and Jordan High Schools had NO students qualify for the "STAR Student" award this past term. The award is based in part on matching the national average scores on the S.A.T. exam. No, Carver could NOT declare Jarvis Jones a "star student" simply for making football all-star teams.

If students at Carver and Jordan are having this much difficulty, it's no wonder dozens of them are transferring to other high schools. They may be stuck in portables - but they apparently decided an "out-house" is better than a poor house.

But the Muscogee County School Board doesn't agree with everything that's portable. A work session Tuesday night reviewed new tougher rules for students carrying cell phones. I'm not sure what led to this change - unless Columbus High School students snapped pictures of teachers in compromising positions.

WRBL listed the potential punishment for using a cell phone before or after school. On the first offense, the phone would be confiscated for three days. On the second offense, detention would be added. And on the third offense, students should face those weird guys on TV who can't stand Alltel.

My old high school actually had a telephone in the journalism classroom. The newspaper staff (including me) would use it to make calls about stories. The yearbook staff probably used it to recruit advertisers. But I doubt anyone used it to call friends at other schools - because this was so long ago that I don't think cell phones were invented yet.

Is this a good idea -- cracking down on students using cell phones during the school day? For one thing, some kind of disaster could occur in a classroom. For another thing, the "phone a friend" concept has helped countless contestants on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."

BLOG UPDATE: WRBL finally pinned down a Phenix City official Tuesday about last week's blog exclusive on a sewage spill. Utility Director Steve Smith said the problem was repaired quickly, with NO sign of dead fish. Would it be wrong to assume the fish swimming in Holland Creek are (ahem) crappie?

While Steve Smith says the broken sewer line was fixed quickly, Phenix City workers still were busy Tuesday. They repaired one of the Holland Creek banks where the leak occurred three weeks ago. So please ask your children to be careful around all banks -- and not only the ones with high foreclosure rates.

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E-MAIL UPDATE: We heard from an aide to Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington about Tuesday's top topic....

Hi, Richard --

Just a slight correction in your blog today about collection of the LOST money. The sales tax increase went into effect January 1, 2009. Money collected from the LOST has not been budgeted until the Fiscal Year 2010 budget which went into effect July 1, 2009. The figures the Mayor and City Manager gave include information gathered since the tax went into effect six months ago.


That's where I admittedly was a bit confused. One TV newscast declared the local option sales tax "took effect" last week [2 Jul]. Maybe it only took effect for the city finance department.

We have to put a disclaimer on our next e-mail. The link a reader sent is for ADULTS ONLY, so copy and paste at your own risk:

the boom boom lady was the hot slut of the day on d lister scroll down to july 4th

Now hold on here - it was a tie. Both the "Bang Bang Lady" and the "Boom Boom Lady" from Fireworks Outlet were awarded this notorious title for Independence Day. Our head-to-head Big Blog Question last year ended in a tie as well. So maybe it's time to settle this with a "highest bottle rocket" playoff.

"More Sessions" was the title of one more e-mail we've received. It provided extra details on Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions's campaign money - this time, in terms of who's giving to him. In recent years, Sessions has received more than $48,000 from the University of South Alabama and $34,100 from the University of Alabama. Auburn gave so little that it's no wonder Richard Shelby claims the federal pork there.

Now let's check other political news, and assorted other stuff:

+ Richard Hyatt's web site speculated Columbus attorney Ron Mullins may challenge Josh McKoon next year, for the State Senate seat Seth Harp is giving up. Remembering last year, I have a suggestion for Mullins - file all your campaign forms before you announce you're running.

+ Phenix City Mayor Sonny Coulter announced he hopes to give city employees a "cost of living" pay raise in his proposed budget. He calls it the right thing to do. Well, yeah - if the city council and mayor are going to vote themselves a big raise, they might as well share the wealth.

+ Alabama state officials announced the new "Sweet Home Alabama" license plate with a beach scene is outselling the "God Bless America" plate by a three-to-one margin. Somewhere in the state, Don Siegelman heard this and began planning another "lottery for education" campaign.

+ Athens, Alabama authorities arrested a man on charges of attacking his girlfriend, then police officers. One of the suspect's alleged weapons was a bag of frozen foods. I never thought about using asparagus spears like javelin spears before....

+ The Atlanta Hawks reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract for guard Mike Bibby. I think this means LeBron James considers Georgia a bit too humid.

+ Instant Message to Carmike Cinemas: That was kind of you, to show the Michael Jackson memorial service for free on a giant movie screen. But when did you name someone a "City Manager?" Are you trying to start rumors about Isaiah Hugley's future again?

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: 609 (+ 22, 3.7%)

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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