Friday, January 29, 2010

29 JAN 10: Walk Both Ways

Thursday's high temperature in Columbus was a sweet 66 degrees F. - while my old home city in Oklahoma endured freezing rain and snow. After all these years, it might be time to put my giant snow shovel on eBay....

The weather has been nice for outside work this week, and a crew in the Historic District has been doing exactly that. New sidewalks and curb-cuts have sprung up all over the place in recent weeks. Maybe this explains the riding lawn mowers I saw two weeks ago [13 Jan] - clearing the ground for construction.

The curb-cuts came first in my block - added at the corner closest to my home in late December. They even have bumps on them, which I presume are for the vision-impaired. The bumps didn't work very well in scraping mud off the bottom of my sneakers.

This week, the sidewalks came - with heavy machinery digging a path from the church next door to the corner nearby. I have NOT tested it with a jog yet. The concrete needs a couple of days to set, you know....

The sidewalk work also includes Fifth Street west of Veterans Parkway, as well as the 500 block of First Avenue. For some odd reason, the construction crew seems to have flattened the historic marker for "The Folly" house - even though the new sidewalk is several feet away from it. That's supposed to be its name, not an insult....

You'll notice the construction crew has spared no expense on this project -- even setting up a portable bathroom on a First Avenue street corner. If I didn't know better, I'd think a revival of Riverfest is about to be announced.

People living outside the Historic District might consider this a waste of money. But it actually makes the neighborhood appear more logical. For some reason, a sidewalk has extended all the way down the east side of First Avenue for years - but on the west side, it stopped at Sixth Street. You would have heard more about this if the NAACP office was on the west side of the road.

The same thing is true along Fifth Street. The south side of the road has a sidewalk extending past Broadway, while the north side does not. So city workers are simply following the Fox News Channel example - making the walkways fair and balanced.

I couldn't find a construction worker Thursday, to tell me if federal stimulus money is being used on the sidewalks. I'm going to assume the answer is no - since giant signs with President Obama's name on them would be posted if it was.

Another possible reason for this work involves residents of The Ralston - trying to get them to ride motorized wheelchairs on the sidewalks of the Historic District, instead of rolling down the street. But the law allows motorized chairs on streets. And it must feel a bit like a 1950s convertible, having the open-air feel of the wind blowing through what's left of your hair.

While the sidewalks are being built, Columbus Water Works has a separate project underway in the Historic District. WTVM showed off a new robot Thursday with a small camera attached. It can be dropped into water lines to check for damaged pipes -- not to mention obtain an accurate rat count for the upcoming Census.

Speaking of walkways: have you heard about the contest to name the "rails to trails" path across Columbus? The winner receives $500 and a new bicycle. But given the way federal money is being used to prepare the path, Columbus Council may face a lot of pressure to name it the Obama-bahn.

-> Why are we taking a small bottle of hand soap to our poker nights these days? Read the surprising answer at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <--

BLOG UPDATE: Chattahoochee Valley Community College students may have their library back before long. A CVCC spokesperson told me Thursday Owen Hall should reopen in two to three weeks. It's taken about eight months to fix a leaky roof - and I assume also find enough paper towels to dry off the carpeting.

With more rain reportedly heading this way, let's see what else we had to bring in from the porch Thursday:

+ An early-morning fire damaged a home on St. Mary's Road. One resident told WRBL his 108-year-old grandmother was lifted outside to safety. If a woman of 108 can survive this without having a heart attack, she needs to share her dinner menu with the rest of us.

+ GPB News reported Rep. Debbie Buckner is proposing a statewide ban on all outdoor watering between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. We have one big year of rain, and some people get overconfident about global warming....

+ Synovus Financial reported another quarter of losses, and a total loss for 2009 of $1.7 billion. Sometimes I wonder if the critics who want the city of Columbus to abandon Synovus and its bank are related to bankruptcy attorneys.

+ Open Door Community House held its annual resource expo for homeless people. They received information about applying for jobs. They were offered a free lunch. And they did valuable networking, about the proper amount to ask strangers for lunch these days.

+ The Republican candidates for Alabama Governor held a public forum in Opelika. WTVM's new reporter declared Tim James wants to focus on jobs once he "gets to Birmingham." If that's really where James plans to go if he becomes Governor, he needs to focus on education instead.

(I fear this reporter made a big mistake - by taking the Lynyrd Skynyrd song "Sweet Home Alabama" too literally. Just because "in Birmingham they love the Governor" does NOT mean his mansion is there.)

+ Columbus State split a basketball doubleheader with Lander. The men won 69-61, scoring the first 14 points of the second half. Lander was SO COLD that I thought the game was sponsored by Buck Ice.

(WRBL spotted the head coach of the Kendrick girls' basketball team attempting a half-court shot. Sterling Hicks could have won 100 dollars - but instead, he'll have to watch his undefeated team do it the right way during the playoffs.)

+ Mississippi's men mowed over Auburn 84-74. Auburn radio announcer Rod Bramblett said it could be a "statement game" - but I fear the statements made by many Tiger fans would have to be censored from the air.

+ Instant Message to the Georgia AAA: Did I hear it right - you're operating a "Tow to Go" program for drunk drivers on Super Bowl Sunday? But it actually starts tonight?! How rowdy do you think New Orleans Saints fans really are?

TEN YEARS' LAUGHTER/LATE JANUARY 00: There's a curious proposal in Georgia's state legislature about a common Southern plant. You could be fined if you don't keep the kudzu off your neighbor's property - and you even could be put in jail for a year! Kudzu is known for growing out of control. So if this passes, Georgia soon could have the tallest fences in the country!

Another proposal, from Georgia Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor, would help people on welfare - by giving them CARS, to get to jobs! Didn't he read that study about Atlanta having some of the worst traffic jams in the country?

SCHEDULED THIS WEEKEND: We do things by the book (as opposed to the Kindle)....

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