Monday, February 01, 2010

1 FEB 10: Gimme Ten

And you thought that "weekend retreat" by the Muscogee County School Board was simply about the great green compromise. The Sunday news indicated other subjects came up as well - and what's being proposed for the class schedule is more like a full-fledged assault than a retreat.

The school board discussed adding ten minutes to every school day, from late February until the end of the term. Yet a district spokesperson denied Sunday it's a ploy to add furlough days. What shall we call it instead - an economics lesson, involving inflation?

WTVM posted a news release from Muscogee County Schools spokesperson Valerie Fuller, which notes Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue plans "withholding three additional days of salaries for educators...." The state is so short on money, it can't even confirm this by mailing W-3 forms.

In light of that comment by the governor, the Muscogee County School Board is thinking about reducing the calendar year three days. That would include class days on the first two days of April. There's no better way to make sure everyone in the family is counted on Census Day....

But Georgia state law requires students to be in class 180 days per school year. So the two canceled days in April would be made up by expanding almost all the others by ten minutes. This especially could be interesting in high schools with six-period days -- as plenty of guys will offer to set up poker tables, and illustrate how to rotate the extra time like the dealer.

"These are not furlough days," Valerie Fuller's statement declares. "It is a calendar/work schedule adjustment." But the proposal calls for reducing employee pay by one day per month, from March to May -- so it sounds to me like the ghosts of furloughs future, present and past.

Richard Hyatt's web site raised another objection to this proposal Sunday. The first two days of April happen to be the Thursday and Friday before CRCT exams. So?! Students either will have two more days to be well-rested and score well -- or have a four-day weekend to hide in their rooms and cram.

The school board will take a vote on this schedule adjustment in a couple of weeks. But it's not too early to think about what our students could do with those ten extra minutes of class each day....

+ Grade-schoolers can write one letter per day to a state legislator, pleading for their wonderful teachers to get their money back.

+ Middle-school language teachers can one-up the school board, by threatening to teach the dirty words.

+ High school biology teachers might find there's actually time to talk about intelligent design.

+ Physical education classes can squeeze a daily wrestling match into ten minutes. Which trophy shop would like to donate title belts?

+ If all else fails, the lunch period can be extended ten minutes - by making students go through the line a second time to pick up dessert.

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

E-MAIL UPDATE: Speaking of physical education....

HHS retired golf coach Larry Gaither has been honored by being selected to the local,state and now National Coaches Hall of Fame .Coach Gaither returned to coach HHS golf even after he retired from full time teaching..He came back and taught 2 classes for years to walk those high school links with his golfers .After full retirement he has continued to work with the high school tournament he founded .He sure deserves more than a Ledger article on the last page of the Sunday sports section..

I'm admittedly not familiar with Gaither, so I looked him up online. He coached Hardaway to eight state golf championships -- and to this day, no one has accused him of acting like baseball coach Bobby Howard, and recruiting golfers from all over town.

I assume Larry Gaither received front-page attention in the Ledger-Enquirer, when he was inducted in the Chattahoochee Valley Sports Hall of Fame. If the Hall of Fame organizers would kindly step into the new millennium and list their members online, I'd know exactly when that happened.

One next message starts with a school, and expands from there:

I discovered your interesting blog today and enjoyed reading it. Although I'm a Columbus High grad, I feel bad about the future destruction of Baker High...ESPECIALLY when there's a great need for a VA Center here! What a perfect building, and location, that would be!

Barring the saving of Baker, I hope we can, AT LEAST, save Martin Army Community Hospital when the new MACH comes online a couple of years from now. It would make perfect sense to convert it to a regional VA Hospital for the West Georgia/East Alabama area. Especially with the heavy presence of active, currently retired, and future retired!

Secondly, what's with Delta continuing to hold a monopoly position at our Columbus Airport? Based on math from a recent Ledger article, (that 90% of Columbus flyers leave out of Atlanta, rather than Columbus, and the fact that 100,000 flyers actually use Columbus Airport), there is a potential of 1.1 MILLION flyers that could be using Columbus first. But we need options! No choices, no usage. Having more flights DIRECTLY TO AND FROM Columbus to non-Atlanta hubs like Charlotte, Orlando, Washington, DC (where most Columbus flyers go), NYC, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Chicago, Memphis would generate LOADS of air traffic (and create jobs!) here. Think American, Southwest, AirTran, JetBlue, United, U.S. Air, etc. This is a no-brainer! Our airport authority needs to be more active in promoting these statistics, AND the dramatic growth of this region. This is not your grandfather's Columbus. Help!

For some reason, the Veterans Affairs hospitals in Atlanta and Tuskegee are located far from military bases. Maybe the builders were unable to make the walls soundproof enough. Ailing vets might hear live fire exercises, have a flashback and reveal old war secrets.

As for the airport: when I came to Columbus, it was served by three airlines. The Columbus Airport Board has been in talks for years about bringing at least one of them back. Perhaps a new airline can work out a deal with NCR - so you can withdraw money from an ATM at the curb, to pay for checking your bags.

A couple of other e-mails require us to make phone calls. Hopefully we'll have time to do that today - but in the meantime, let's check other Sunday subjects:

+ WTVM reported Fort Middle School was burglarized for the fifth time this school year. Can we have another look at that map of new police beats -- or at least a first look?

+ The Georgia Lottery began selling Powerball tickets, in addition to Mega Millions. Billboards across the state show the Powerball jackpot at $107 million, Mega Millions at $12 million -- and some lawmakers wish it also would show the tens of thousands in bonus money for the lottery board.

+ A Macon County, Alabama woman amended her lawsuit accusing Victoryland of fraud. Sandra Howard now claims the owners arranged for former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford to win not simply one jackpot, but more than 500 [True/A.P.]. Then it's no wonder Langford was stunned when the federal jury convicted him - he's not used to losing.

+ Instant Message to Jeremy Hobbs: Thanks for sharing this picture of a store sign. I'll assume it's legitimate - and it's one of the few times when no punch line is necessary.

TEN YEARS' LAUGHTER/31 JAN-1 FEB 00: Many people in Atlanta smelled a big payday from [Super Bowl] XXXIV. We heard one report that discount motels 15 miles from the Georgia Dome were going for $109! Will someone please tell the management that the players DON'T pick the places where they stay?

Birmingham women's clinic nurse Emily Lyons is suing suspected clinic bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. She's not asking for a lot - a bit more than ten-thousand dollars. It's either that, or all the hickory nuts Rudolph's hiding in the North Carolina mountains.

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