Tuesday, December 14, 2010

14 DEC 10: Walk On the Right

Attention, mall walkers -- your two-lap time to beat is 22:59.78. That's how fast I went through Peachtree Mall Monday morning, even with one short stoppage for slow-moving shoppers. Isn't it amazing how winter chill can put some more spring in your step?

(This time was 18 seconds faster than last week. But you know, maybe it wasn't the cold weather. Maybe it was the incentive of a warm Cinnabon roll waiting at the end of the walk.)

While I walked indoors for exercise because of the cold, Columbus State University Police prepared for an outdoor crackdown. A two-day "Pedestrian Safety Campaign" begins on campus Thursday, with officers warning they'll ticket violators. Please leave the jaywalking to trained adults such as Jay Leno....

The Pedestrian Safety Campaign is aimed at drivers as well as walkers. The C.S.U.P.D. could give drivers tickets if they don't yield the right of way to people in crosswalks. Remember: the points on your driving record for hitting a pedestrian are the only ones that ultimately count.

On the other hand, Columbus State University Police also will watch for pedestrians who don't cross streets at corners, or go outside marked crosswalks. If officers really want to get serious, they could bring down that New Jersey assistant coach who tripped a player out of bounds the other day.

But there are a couple of catches to this two-day crackdown. The C.S.U.P.D. will hand out rewards to people who obey the rules. They could receive a teddy bear or a "stress ball" - the latter coming in handy as drivers hurry away, wondering why police don't make better use of their time.

There's another strange thing about this two-day campaign. Check the Columbus State schedule, and you'll find fall semester finals end today. Who's going to be left on campus, come Thursday and Friday? Is this some sort of a plot against the custodian staff?

C.S.U. Police Chief Rus Drew has an answer for the timing question. He admits most students will be gone, so the safety campaign will focus on "local residents" and university staff. Translation: watch your right foot on University Avenue - or leave a few minutes early for that 12-hour sale at the mall.

As someone who often jogs downtown, I've been happy to see Columbus State University set up small signs in the middle of Ninth and Dillingham Streets. They warn Georgia state law requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. No angry driver has sent a sign flying into the Marriott Hotel parking lot yet.

In fact, Columbus Police might want to consider their own crackdown on jaywalking. I see examples of careless pedestrians all the time. A group of people crossed Veterans Parkway Monday in the middle of the block, to get from a Family Dollar store to the Wilson Apartments. They take the shortest direct route, when walking to a corner and back would provide extra exercise.

Then there are the people I've seen crossing downtown Columbus streets against the light on Sundays. They do this after church services - as if to prove the "prayer of confession" is nothing more than a ritual.

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E-MAIL UPDATE: Last week's sudden closing of area Shoney's restaurants brought this alert, which we finally were able to check Monday....

you might try t get hold of someone at Golden Corral in Columbus, word has it they were closed for some kind of drainage problems for Tues evening and most part of Wednesday....

The trouble actually was in the boiler, and it forced a half-day shutdown one day last week. That's what a woman at Golden Corral told me -- but she couldn't remember the exact day of the problem. It happened on her day off, and the restaurant doesn't do those special promotions like "Carver's Sunday" anymore to jog your memory.

Another reader offers a little compassion for our phone-free weekend:

Out in L.A. (near the BIG ocean), the gas company service man, when making a visit to an apartment building, is required to check a real-time computer listing to see if there may be other apartments in need of service but have an appointment scheduled for a later day. If there is, s/he must take care of the issue then and there.

If those folks can manage such a feat in a multi-lingual area, why can't AT&T do the same here? Is it the case that their equipment only works for a single language? Or do they have something against a bi(numerical)-language here?

Us freezing and backwards types gotsta know!

Ed Joyce

As far as I know, my apartment complex is all-American. I've been trying to sound more Southern lately to fit in - so if I start writing about being "tuckered out," many of you will understand.

I'll take the blame for missing the AT&T repair person Friday afternoon, when he/she visited another apartment. But I gave my neighbor a house key, in case the repair worker wanted to check my inside wiring. My neighbor guarded my door so well, I think he actually stopped drinking beer for a few hours.

I'm holding one other e-mail until a public official can return my message. In the meantime, let's move on to other Monday news -- and no, I'm not touching that big story about DNA test results:

+ A source close to WBOJ-FM "88.5 the Truth" blamed the unusual worship service I heard Sunday morning on an hour-long power outage. OK, that may explain the silence - but the Christ Community Church service still began with the benediction. "Seinfeld" once did an episode backwards, but churches don't tend to do that.

+ The Columbus Water Board approved an increase in monthly rates. The typical bill will go up $1.85 next year - as if to challenge customers to drive up the interstate and compare other cities' rates.

+ WLTZ interviewed Columbus attorney Mark Shelnutt - and the high-definition camera left little doubt he's growing a beard. Anything to avoid a third arrest, I suppose....

+ The Muscogee County School Board voted to put a cap on the cost of the new Carver High School. Construction cannot exceed $37 million - because anything more expensive obviously would get labeled "Taj Mahal III."

+ Dr. Philip Schley presided over his final meeting as Muscogee County School Board Chair, before leaving office. Schley told WRBL the building of the Public Education Center was necessary, but four board members "cared more about winning the next election...." The word "bureaucrat" does come before "public" in the dictionary, you know.

+ Instant Message to all Columbus civil rights leaders: I'm a little surprised. Don't you realize today is Mayor Jim Wetherington's final Columbus Council meeting? Yet the only big name on the "Public Agenda" is Reginald Pugh from the Urban League. Do the rest of you plan to march outside the Government Center singing "Hit the Road Jack"?

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