Sunday, January 03, 2010

3 JAN 10: Less Zip Per Trip

So what did you do Saturday? Did you take inventory of something? Or maybe face a test of your patience? There never would be a better day for counting 1-2-10.

Some drivers apparently were NOT showing patience on Georgia's interstate highways Saturday. A man who traveled from Newnan to Columbus told me he drove 75 miles per hour, "and cars were passing me like I was standing still." He should see me drive 30 miles per hour over the Veterans Parkway bridge downtown -- looking like I was in a Model T.

As of this weekend, Georgia is trying again to crack down on speeding drivers. A new "Super Speeder" law is now in effect. But to be honest, I don't like that name for it. Someone with a superhero ego might dream of setting a new state record.

You're now considered a "Super Speeder" in Georgia if you drive at least 85 miles per hour on four-lane highways. So the big "85" signs along Manchester Expressway now should be a warning to you - but the 185 across Columbus still is NOT an encouragement.

In addition, Georgia defines a "Super Speeder" as anyone driving at least 75 miles per hour on a two-lane road. And if you drive a stock car that looks like it was used on "The Dukes of Hazzard," that ol' sheriff will be after you, son....

If you're caught super-speeding, the new law will make you pay 200 extra dollars. So what makes Georgia different from a Monopoly game? In Monopoly, you collect $200 for passing Go. In Georgia, you pay $200 when you're forced to stop.

The official information web site for the Super Speeder law notes the extra $200 is called a "state fee." It's NOT officially a fine. In Georgia, they take pains with the wording of laws like this. Legislators do NOT want you to think super-speeding is a fine idea.

The extra fees from the Super Speeder law will go to "trauma care hospitals" across Georgia. The only one in the Columbus area is the Medical Center. So if enough people drive too fast on the interstate, will Columbus Regional be able to give part of its city-supplied money back?

There's apparently some misinformation being spread about the Super Speeder law. Another man told me Saturday the fines for speeding in Georgia school zones have increased. A check of the specific law found nothing to indicate that - but the fines in school zones are already doubled. And in Muscogee County, slowing down too much could get you punished for idling.

Speeding is riskier than ever in Columbus, thanks to all the new police officers on the streets. Chief Ricky Boren told WLTZ this past week no one complains anymore about officers arriving late to the scene. Instead, we've moved in the other direction. Now business owners claim they're becoming crime scenes for no good reason.

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BLOG UPDATE: Speaking of which, this message promises one last word about "Mimosa-Gate" - as in the alcohol raid on Formal Elegance bridal shop:

It is puzzling that just weeks before the big event in mid October 2009, Columbus Vice squad entered a bar at xxxx Broadway. Inside were at least 10 under age customers. No citations were issued, just a verbal warning to the bar owner. While it is marginally believable that a business owner without a liquor license might not know it was prohibited to give away free alcohol to consenting, legal age adults, wouldn't you think there is no doubt that the bar owner, who held a valid alcohol license, should be expected to know the laws regarding alcohol service and should have been be held to a higher standard?

We are NOT posting the exact address of this bar because we've been unable to independently confirm this e-mail. The bar in question did not answer the phone, when we called several times Saturday night. Of course, maybe the Vice Squad was in the middle of a follow-up trip.

But if you think you've heard the last of the "Mimosa Madame," think again. Formal Elegance owner Judy Wilkinson is appealing her fine, and the case may be heard in Superior Court in the months ahead. The bailiffs might want to get ready for a trial now, by taste-testing all the soda in the jury room.

Now let's see what else you may have missed from the first weekend of 2010:

+ Columbus had about 0.05 inches of rain Friday morning. The earlier we can start preventing another annual drought, the better.

+ The manager of Ruth Ann's Restaurant predicted she'll be ready to reopen in two to four weeks, after that major kitchen fire. And when the restaurant is back in business, please show some sensitivity - and avoid the "well done" steak orders for awhile.

+ Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren confirmed the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will close its Columbus crime lab in the spring, to save money. But look on the bright side - high school science teachers might be able to buy test tubes and beakers at fire-sale prices.

+ The Americus Times-Recorder reported a Barack Obama doll was found on Main Street in Plains, with a rope around its neck. Aren't tea parties enough for these health care reform critics? Do they have to go all the way to Iran for protest ideas?

+ A couple in Chattooga County, Georgia was arrested on charges of performing homemade tattooing on six of their children. This is how you can tell times are tough in rural Georgia - people can't afford to visit tattoo parlors anymore.

+ Auburn edged Northwestern 38-35 in overtime, at a Well-Known Restaurant's Bowl in Tampa. Northwestern almost won, even though quarterback Mike Kafka threw five interceptions. When overtime came, Auburn hoped for a "pick-six" the hard way.

(Auburn's players seemed overconfident at times. Ben Tate was penalized for slam-dunking the football over the crossbar, after scoring a touchdown. Tate should save those things for an appropriate moment - by joining the basketball team before it plays Kentucky in two weeks.)

+ Instant Message to Glenn Anthony Baptist Church at 39th and Veterans Parkway: About that dinner menu you've posted for 16 January - "soup, cornbread, tea." How many employees from the county jail will be preparing that?

SCHEDULED MONDAY: A turn-of-the-year tradition that's late, but not forgotten....

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