13 JAN 10: Who Could Ask for Mower?
It wasn't much warmer in Columbus Tuesday, as the afternoon high was 47 degrees F. That's still not warm enough for me to jog outside in a T-shirt and running shorts - which probably means this Kansas native is becoming a deep-South softie.
Yet as I worked on an update for the poker blog Tuesday morning, I heard a loud noise outside my window. It was familiar, yet unusual. And no, it was NOT a desperate small business owner driving by with an ice cream truck....
Outside my window at the edge of the avenue were not one, but two riding lawnmowers. The big industrial kind, driven by inmates under the watch of a prison truck and a guard. It's as if those prisoners won a contest for a supervised field trip.
If this was mid-July and summer storms had brought rain the night before, this sight would make sense. But it's mid-January, the low temperature three of the last four nights was below 20 -- and it's not like a truck spilled Miracle-Gro all over the neighborhood.
With hardly any live grass to mow, my first thought at this sight was that it was a "make-work" project. Perhaps the Muscogee County Prison was justifying its budget for prison labor. You know how that works, don't you? Save too much money this year, and you'll be expected to keep doing it until you're out of business.
Later in the day, I called the city Public Services Department to ask about the midwinter mowing. Erica answered the phone, and explained someone must have submitted a "work order" for it. It left me asking the question, "When?" When it was October, and rainfall was still approaching a record high?
Erica pointed out the matter of mowing is a two-sided coin. While I called wondering why a crew would be cutting grass, someone else might be wondering why crews are NOT in his neighborhood. I suppose that's true -- but in mid-January? If anything, someone might be asking for a work crew to spray green paint on the grass.
Other city work crews were busy Tuesday, doing things which seemed much more sensible to me. A short walk from my home, a sidewalk is being built on Fifth Street. Admittedly it will match the one on the other side of the street -- but at least it will give Fourth Street Baptist Church members a way to avoid the Citgo station selling cigarettes and beer.
Then there was the main event of the day -- the sanding of Buena Vista Road and side streets, after a city water tank overflowed. Columbus Water Works officials explained a valve inside the tank froze, so an alarm did not sound. At least it wasn't due to teenagers spray-painting the tank with gang graffiti.
This was fascinating stuff for me -- learning how water departments know how much water is in a tank. An alarm indicating the tank near Buena Vista Road is full is connected to the Columbus Water Works facility on South Lumpkin Road. So there's no employee climbing the tanks with a yardstick at 2:00 a.m.
The one-hour spill is the latest in a series of messes for Columbus Water Works. There was the ruptured tank along River Road last spring, then sewage spills into the Chattahoochee River. Now a tank is overflowing - and it happened in the middle of the night, so no one could go there to fill bottles and buckets.
E-MAIL UPDATE: He's in charge of the "blog effort" for a mayoral campaign - and he passed his first test, by noticing we mentioned him Tuesday:
How I enjoy your humor. However, I had simply exited from the auditorium and saw Al Fleming interviewing someone and saw it was Teresa. I couldn't be sure who it was from that distance and as you can see I do where glasses. But Teresa, be rest assured can handle her own with any question no matter how "tough" it may be. Teresa and I were not at the event together. I was there on behalf of our organization and enjoying a great cup of Hot Apple Cider provided by Meritage. But I must say, "Good Eye". And I should feel so honored you noticed me.
Have a great week.
Jeremy S Hobbs
Chairman and Founder
The Chattahoochee Valley Better Way Foundation, Inc.
Thank you for the clarification, and that.... hey, wait a minute! Al Fleming is doing news interviews for WLTZ?! Well, maybe he interviewed Teresa Tomlinson because he's trying to decide which candidate to endorse in a commentary.
And while we've been chastised for bringing up items relating to death here, another Tuesday e-mail mentions this:
Hardaway High has lost a true friend and hero..Mrs.Pauline Latner,a mom volunteer at HHS for over 25 years,passed away Monday..She was there every day going beyond the call of duty and eager to help..The students thought she was a paid administrative assistant that delt out discipline from one hand and love from the other,but really she was just a mom who cared..
I can't help wondering what kind of discipline this woman handed out. Did she simply stare at late-arriving students? Did she sing country music off-key?
Thanks for writing - and now we'll write a little more about Tuesday's activities:
+ The Ledger-Enquirer confirmed our suspicion of Monday, that the chief executive officer of the company planning a 14-screen theater in Opelika is the son of former Carmike Cinemas CEO Mike Patrick. Michael Wynn Patrick II said his father is under a three-year "no-compete" agreement with Carmike. So you might call this "like father, dislike son."
+ Columbus Council approved a major bond issue. It will raise money to build the long-promised natatorium, the long-promised ice rink in South Commons, a new fire station and more - so never let it be said that the Council overlooks election years.
+ Columbus Council also voted to ask the state legislature for a higher speed limit on Interstate 185. Sections currently at 55 miles per hour could go up to 65 - and suddenly that e-mail from last week warning of a super-speeder conspiracy is making a lot of sense.
+ WRBL showed a map pinpointing the locations of 18 burglaries in Columbus in a 48-hour period. But there was one little problem -- it was a map of Columbus, Ohio. Yet I'm pleased to report people living west of Interstate 71 don't seem to face as much danger.
+ The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation celebrated its ninth anniversary at Fort Benning, with leaders cutting a cake with a long sword. Obviously they were concerned Roy Bourgeois would try to crash the party.
+ Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue proposed public school teachers be paid based on their performance, not on their number of college degrees. If this idea is approved, Columbus High School baseball coach Bobby Howard might become a millionaire.
+ Delta Air Lines announced higher luggage fees. Check one bag at the Atlanta airport, and it will cost you 23 dollars. And then people wonder why some passengers stuff weird things inside their underwear?!
+ Instant Message to NBC: If Conan O'Brian doesn't want his show anymore, I'll take it. In fact, I'll save you money -- because one-tenth of his salary probably would be a raise from my last full-time job.
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