Monday, April 19, 2010

19 APR 10: Concern at the Corner

It's becoming a bit like Festivus in my part of town -- with an "airing of grievances" happening outside my window every weekend. It didn't last long Saturday night, compared to the week before. So maybe the guys in my complex are learning to control their beer consumption a little better.

But down the street from where I live, the situation is more concerning. A carjacking occurred the other morning within one block from my home. Police say it happened at 4:30 a.m., while I was sleeping. And whoever did it must be a pro - because a honking horn at that hour should have awakened me.

For some reason, the corner where that carjacking occurred has been a crime scene several times before....

+ A Fort Benning soldier was mugged near that corner last November, at around midnight. I'm not sure why a soldier would be there at that late hour - unless he seriously lost his way heading to his car, after an evening at Lil Kim's Cove.

+ In May 2008, someone set fire to a car on Fifth Street. Two cars were torched on Front Avenue in the Historic District as well. I don't recall anyone ever being arrested - or whether the makes of cars had just finished first in a NASCAR race.

+ A man was shot near that corner on a late night in 2006 [23 Nov 06]. This is why I don't like to hear people refer to some of the homes in the downtown area as "shotgun houses."

After the 2006 shooting, I deliberately avoided running through that intersection for awhile -- even during the day. I could go down Broadway instead of First Avenue without any difficulty. Criminals seem to have avoided Broadway in recent years -- as if they all joined in attacking the former school superintendent.

We've written here for years about some of the curious people who show up in my neighborhood. Perhaps it started years ago with rumored drug houses across the avenue. I don't hear those rumors anymore -- even though a probation office has opened down the street from those houses.

But a carjacking in my neighborhood is something new. I suppose I'll need to move my car a little faster through stop signs now -- even though I hardly ever drive at 4:30 a.m. The Atlanta rush hour may start that early, but the race to work at Fort Benning usually waits until after 5:00.

What concerns me is that all these crimes occurred within four blocks of the Government Center. I haven't heard about the Historic District becoming one of those new police beats, but maybe it should be. Since the neighborhood also happens to be sprinkled with law offices, witnesses to the "Miranda rights" readings would be in abundance.

Another occasional crime zone on the other side of downtown made the Sunday crime report. Columbus Police say a homeless man was attacked and robbed by other homeless people near the 14th Street Bridge. There's simply no good place to make change late at night, when someone finds a ten-dollar bill on the sidewalk.

May we all drive and walk with care this week - as we carefully consider this Sunday news:

+ WTVM's web site reported Russell County Sheriff candidate Heath Taylor hosted a barbecue in Seale. For some reason, I didn't hear the event mentioned on the evening newscasts - so either Taylor needs to promote free food giveaways better, or people feared he was offering meals from the county jail.

+ Fort Benning Commanding General Michael Ferriter went to Columbus Airport, to read a book about snakes to children. I can understand why the airport wouldn't show the movie "Snakes on a Plane," but I'm not sure this is much better.

+ First Presbyterian Church and Trinity Episcopal Church held a combined worship service. During the live WRBL telecast, Presbyterian Pastor Charles Hasty called it a "reunion" - well, at least until the leaders have a meeting to determine what the order of hymns should be.

+ The annual "River Blast" weekend concluded at Port Columbus. The event included the firing of the museum's historic cannons, as well as a classic car show - with potential backfire explosions almost as loud and scary.

+ Leesburg, Georgia native Luke Bryan was named Best New Artist at the Academy of Country Music Awards. So much for Leesburg becoming the wealthy upper-class suburb of Albany....

+ Georgia quarterback Zach Mettenberger was kicked off the team by Coach Mark Richt. The redshirt freshman was arrested in south Georgia last month on charges of underage alcohol possession - and this decision shows there's a big difference between a Mettenberger and a Roethlisberger.

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