Sunday, August 22, 2010

22 AUG 10: Down for the Count

Saturday morning walks can lead to the most surprising discoveries. Over the years I've come upon a couple of credit cards, a ski cap with eye-holes cut through it - and once I passed a man who claimed he was trying to get to Panama City. At least he was walking south, which is the right direction....

But what I found on the ground around 9:00 a.m. Saturday tops all those things. Someone apparently knocked over a sign marking the Oglethorpe Bridge and Chattahoochee River, leaving it sprawled on the pavement at Fourth and Broadway. It appeared to be in one piece - so there was no "sign" of a struggle.

The two-part green sign is supposed to be above Fourth and Broadway -- facing westbound traffic on U.S. 280. My first thought was that a mobile home knocked it down. Those things get a "wide load" escort on highways - but this clearly was one time when wider was NOT better.

But the more I look at that picture, the less convinced I become of my theory. Shouldn't there be a big dent in that sign, to indicate a collision? Do you think a Columbus State fraternity organized a scavenger hunt which was too challenging?

I knew better than to call 911 about a knocked-down highway sign. So I called 311, the Citizen Services number - but I had to leave a message, because the office is closed for the weekend. Even stray sharks in the river would have to wait until Monday morning....

Next I called the main phone number for Columbus Police - and on Saturday morning, that number is answered by the Robbery and Assault Division. I suppose a knocked-down highway sign could qualify as an assault. After all, the vehicle which struck it must have a battery.

I told the officer who answered the phone about what I'd found. He promised to report it to a "sign crew." We'll see how long it takes for that crew to show up. When I reported the possible ski mask to police as a possible clue to a crime, it sat on the ground for weeks.

When I stepped out for my Saturday night run, the highway sign had been moved completely off the street -- but it still was flat on the sidewalk. So come to think of it, maybe I shouldn't be bringing this up today. I might encourage college students to go "shopping" for free and distinctive wall decor.

Assuming a wide load knocked down the Oglethorpe Bridge sign, it's only one of several recent examples I've seen of drivers behaving badly. A man Friday morning was heading south in the northbound lane at the Brown Avenue Bridge. The good news (I suppose) was that he was on a bicycle. The bad news is that he was talking on a cell phone....

No, I'm not kidding - a bicyclist was on a cell phone in traffic! At least he made it a "hands-free" device. Simply balance the phone on your left shoulder, then lean your head while you pedal.

And I'm sorry, but I caught a Columbus Police officer violating traffic rules Saturday night. The driver of car #731 (a Chevrolet Impala) was in a left turn lane on Victory Drive, with NO turn signal blinking. If he'd been on the J.R. Allen Parkway this weekend, he would have received a ticket. In Columbus South, it must be Operation a Little Tolerance.

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BLOG UPDATE: The reader who called Thursday to report Mediacom Cable had removed WTVM called back Friday, and admitted the station was back a few hours later. "I guess I made a fool of myself," the caller said. Anything for the cause of comedy....

Let's see what else is worth a laugh or two this weekend:

+ Saturday's high temperature in Columbus was 99 degrees F. If local school districts really thought starting the year earlier would bring fall weather earlier, it isn't working.

+ Columbus Northern handled Hawaii 6-2 in the opening game of the Little League World Series. I didn't watch the game, but people who did say the Northern players acted in a classy way after the win. Apparently they kept the pictures of Colt Brennan getting sacked in the Sugar Bowl in the clubhouse.

(People who tuned in WTVM early for the Little League game reportedly saw an infomercial for some kind of sex enhancement product. Yeow - even the Starship store has enough taste to avoid posting signs rooting on Northern.)

+ The Ledger-Enquirer reported Mayor Jim Wetherington has called a special Tuesday meeting of Columbus Council. He'll only say the reason involves a "personnel matter." Uh-oh - I hope Tony Adams hasn't been at the Little League World Series, selling Nike baseball jerseys.

+ WRBL reported a Columbus Fire/EMT crew went diving in the Chattahoochee River. Among other things, the crew found a grocery cart and a bicycle. C'mon folks - you can get flat bicycle tires fixed or replaced.

+ The Springer Opera House closed Tenth Street downtown, for a block party promoting the upcoming season. There's a real Alabama leaning in the coming months. There's "Bear Country" about football coach Bear Bryant - and "The Full Monty," which I assume is about the state capital.

+ The mayor of Orange Beach, Alabama told NBC News his city's tourism business is down 70 percent this month. There's only one good way to resolve this - have BP hold its next shareholders meeting on a Gulf coast beach.

+ The Columbus Civic Center announced it will host the Southeastern Conference hockey tournament next February. It's about time the SEC had hockey teams - since football teams don't seem to play junior varsity games anymore, and those linemen need practice.

(The Civic Center also will host a four-team college tournament in November. Boston is famous for the Beanpot Classic - so shouldn't Columbus call its event the Grits Games?)

+ Instant Message to The Fresh Market on Bradley Park Drive: Now that I've toured your store and seen things such as purple potato chips, I have only one thing to say. The new Save-a-Lot store on Hamilton Road can't open soon enough.

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