Wednesday, March 31, 2010

31 MAR 10: Spring in My Step

When last we met, I reported on the annual Serious Spring Cleaning. That led one reader to respond....

I would do my spring cleaning,but I keep waiting for spring.

Now, now -- it's the last day of March. Some trees are looking spectacular. And it appears the pro baseball season actually will begin this weekend - while pro soccer players were talking for a while about a strike.

The Columbus Civic Center must think it's spring - because it opened "Spring Fling" in the parking lot Tuesday night. The "spring" clearly refers to the season. The "fling" must refer to the carnival rides, sending teenagers in 100 different directions.

After walking and jogging around South Commons over the last couple of days, it appears Spring Fling is a small-scale version of The Greater Columbus Fair. Considering the Ferris wheel wasn't fully set up Tuesday morning, our reader may have a good point - as even the carnival is blooming late.

The Ferris wheel in the middle of the parking lot only had spokes which looked like pinchers or tongs. It didn't have any baskets attached. I assume the baskets were affixed Tuesday night - and filled with fake green grass, since Easter is approaching.

(I drove past some kind of "umbrella" ride Monday, which was parked along the side of Highway 520 in Chattahoochee County. It would be a shame if this ride didn't make it to Spring Fling - because the last 15 months have shown Columbus needs more umbrellas than ever.)

Spring Fling also boasts of the country's only traveling sea lion show. There's no word yet that any Columbus Lions player will jump in the tank with them.

But here's the thing -- signs around South Commons point you to "FIESTA COLUMBUS PARKING." That's a reminder of what Spring Fling used to be. This new event is one month earlier, with no sign of any Mexican or Latin American flavor. Well, unless the old signs are staying up because today is Cesar Chavez Day....

You may recall this blog broke the news that Fiesta Columbus was, uh, "never scheduled" last spring [1 Apr 09]. The official explanation was that costs for things such as fuel had increased for the carnival company. Things must be different this year. That's really no surprise - since carnival rides are known for their ups and downs.

We were told last spring that one factor in the Columbus Civic Center not scheduling a "fiesta" was its small staff. But plenty of events are on the schedule right now. The Cottonmouths have a home playoff game Saturday afternoon. Then there's a "City-Wide Easter service" Sunday morning - and I hope roaming rabbits don't wander into the power generators, and short-circuit rides.

There's another big problem with Spring Fling - its timing. Muscogee County schools are in spring break NEXT week, not this week. Phenix City schools are out the following week, while Russell County's break was two weeks ago. Maybe the Civic Center staff wants every child to play hooky at the same time.

The other sure sign of spring in Columbus also has morphed. Broadway Springfest appears to be gone, replaced by the "Third Annual Frogtown Hollow Bluegrass Jam." First of all, were the first two called Broadway Springfest? And second of all, when did Columbus become Frogtown? Snake City might be closer to it, during hockey season....

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. Read "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: Television is known for reruns in summer, not the last week of March....

Was the first segment of Saturday's late news on WTVM the exact same as Friday night?

As the news was coming on, there was no video but I heard a grunt and then 'I guess that's what we'll do'. Then the first 3 stories seemed to be the same script and video as Friday night. It was almost like they never unloaded the teleprompter.

Take care

I never watch the Friday late-night newscasts, because of other commitments. I've explained this to co-workers over the years by saying I turn into a pumpkin around sunset....

But I did see last Saturday's 11:00 p.m. news, and it appeared all-new to me. A report on the Will Graham Celebration included one of the Saturday performers. And Kurt Schmitz seemed to have a current forecast - although admittedly sometimes the weather could allow him to copy and paste an old one.

By the way: which WRBL staff member is claiming the station's morning news ratings have doubled in the last year? Does this have anything to do with Cheryl Renee moving to a different time of day on WTVM? Or have viewers grown tired of the same callers making the same complaints over and over on "Rise N Shine?"

Meanwhile, we've waited long enough for an official response to this "snail mail" from a Phenix City regular. So today part of a letter to the city council gets posted:

This Council is doing a wonderful job. However I wanted to communicate via this "sortie" so that the public may be more informed as to the quality of your service....

The Position of Economic Development Director___ I do not see it on your current job listings. What are the requirements With the exception of a degree (B.S., B.A.), are your requiring a post graduate degree? What are you requiring in the way of prior experience in similar positions?....

Thanks for all you do. City enthusiasm has never been higher.

Indeed, the Economic Development Director's job is absent from the Phenix City job listing web page. It's also missing from the Alabama Joblink site. But the Phenix City golf course needs a Marshall - which leads me to ask whatever happened to Ken Suddeth.

The Phenix City Personnel Director never returned our message. But some people are speculating the Economic Development job will go to J.W. Brannen - the man who suggested several weeks ago the City Council was trying to drive his Downtown Redevelopment Authority out of business. It's a bit like schools firing teaching staffs, then rehiring them at half-price.

Now a quick check of news items from the last couple of days....

+ Columbus Police told WLTZ a 19-year-old man was robbed on Lakeshore Road - and three robbers with a gun stole all his clothing. Have the Valley Rescue Mission thrift store prices jumped that much?

+ Columbus city officials announced the winner of the "name the trail" contest. The rails-to-trails path will be named the "Columbus Fall Line Trace." And if runners fall in a wooded area, they could go without a trace for days.

+ WTVM reported the search for a new Superior Court Judge is down to three finalists. Governor Sonny Perdue can choose from Stacy Jackson, Ron Mullins, Bill Rumer - or "none of the above because you're all too expensive."

+ Atlanta edged the New York Yankees in exhibition baseball 9-6. The Yankees showed off Pat Venditte, a relief pitcher who can throw with both hands. Some of us would give our left arm to be ambidextrous like him....

+ Instant Message to Georgia State Rep. Mark Hatfield: Go ahead if you wish, and try to impeach Attorney General Thurbert Baker. You'll only give him more free time to run for Governor -- and a better reason for Democrats to vote for him.

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