Sunday, December 19, 2010

19 DEC 10: Last Period

Plenty of "candlelight services" are planned in area churches this coming week. So which one will go all the way with this, and bring out a "Jesus birthday cake?"

It's one thing to light candles in memory of friends and loved ones. But an event on Benning Drive in Columbus Saturday evening was different. It was a memorial service for a building - one that has been somewhat "dead" for several years. This even goes beyond the annual fund-raising dinners remembering Lonnie Jackson.

Graduates of the old Baker High School were invited to the school grounds for one last candlelight vigil, before demolition crews begin tearing down the building. As possessive as some Baker alumni are, I'm surprised someone didn't keep embers burning from the big fire in May.

The Sunday Ledger-Enquirer reports about 35 people showed up for the Baker candlelight vigil. One famous graduate was notable by his absence. Is Newt Gingrich that confident he can win the Georgia Republican Presidential Primary in 2012?

The ceremony wasn't completely tear-jerky, as the Baker alumni sang a parody of the school fight song. It mentions alcohol and burning in.... uhhh.... well, it wasn't the school boiler room....

Muscogee County School District officials say the demolition of Baker High School will begin after Carver High School is leveled. But there certainly hasn't been a memorial service for the Carver building since May. Graduates seem happy to move on -- and the progress to a new building beats preserving anything.

(Saturday's newspaper revealed the design of the new Carver High School. A construction director said it will include interactive "white boards" - which hopefully won't cause any racial concerns among parents.)

Baker High School alumni obviously have many memories about the dying building. One graduate says there's talk of setting up a Baker museum of some kind - as if all the mementos at Cook's Hot Dogs near Moon Road don't qualify for the title already.

But have the alumni forgotten the Baker name lives on in Muscogee County schools? There's still Baker Middle School, which is sharing space for a couple of years with Marshall Middle School until the new Carver High is ready. Couldn't a tribute to the old high school go there? Or would middle school troublemakers ransack it every two or three years?

Once Baker High School is torn down, the "Baker Village" era of Columbus officially will be extinct. The housing project built down the street from the school was demolished in recent years and replaced by modern apartments. The only people who mourned that change may be doing drug deals in other parts of Columbus now.

BLOG UPDATE: Speaking of schools, Richard Hyatt's website is focusing this weekend on incoming Muscogee County School Board member Beth Harris. It only took him three-and-a-half weeks to get to what we found about Harris's residency [23 Nov], but his new child could keep anybody busy....

Richard Hyatt's report on Beth Harris brings up an issue we promised to mention in November, but admittedly have neglected. Harris was fired from a teaching position in Harris County when Susan Andrews was superintendent there. Now Harris and Andrews will be together again - perhaps close enough to throw spit wads at each other.

Will Beth Harris be able to get along with Susan Andrews, once she joins the Muscogee County School Board? "I know that I can work with her," Harris told me several weeks ago. "I don't harbor hate." A few places still do - and that's why U.S. warships keep their distance from North Korea.

Beth Harris told me in November her real issue in Harris County was with a school principal who was "trying to destroy my career." It certainly led to a career change, because Harris has worked privately in graphic arts. Now she'll be able to offer a new school district logo personally during school board meetings.

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E-MAIL UPDATE: A blog reader is sticking up for Auburn's quarterback, and his $200 gift from David Letterman....

Cam Newton has volunteered at an Auburn all year..He works with at risk 5th graders..The kids love him and so does the faculty..He is a wonderful role model...This must have been the that got his donation of TV appearance money..You go Cam!

The Saturday night sportscasts revealed every Auburn player will receive a $500 gift bag from the Fiesta Bowl committee, for playing in "The Natty" next month. The contents of the bag are a mystery -- but I hope that Auburn grade school doesn't mind a subscription to Maxim magazine.

Meanwhile, Bowl Season began Saturday with Troy trampling Ohio 48-21 in a not-well-known truck line's New Orleans Bowl. The Trojans scored on every possession of the first three quarters. If some New Orleans residents followed their example, the rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina could end in a hurry.

We've also heard again this weekend (sigh) from Hurtsboro. Robert Schweiger's asks, "Is the BLOG at a fork in the road":

Sir Richard:

I hope you are enjoying your Sabbath. I just wanted to inform you that ai just might "demenstrate" in front of "Hurt'sboro's Town Hall with a sign soon.


If you or anyone can get straight answers to the questions I'm submitting it should lead to the real liar in "Hurt'sboro.

Schweiger attached a set of nine questions to this e-mail -- four for Hurtsboro Mayor Rayford Tapley and five for Court Clerk Jim Baxley. But the attachment was titled, "Request to the Ledger-Enquirer." So I'll let the newspaper have first crack at this - lest Schweiger file an antitrust suit against me for monopolizing the Hurtsboro news.

A couple more e-mails are being held until we can check some information. So we'll move on to other weekend headlines:

+ Columbus Police told WLTZ the Wells Fargo branch at Cross Country Plaza was robbed. This bandit must not understand the new bank's slogan. They're supposed to go far together - not with him running off on his own.

+ WTVM meteorologist Derek Kinkade and reporter Taylor Barnhill announced they are engaged. I smell a reality series coming here - as they compete in a "Race to the Altar" with Semone Doughton and Cheryl Renee.

+ The Columbus Civic Center presented "Mickey's Magic Show." This was a change of pace for the Civic Center - people being lifted high in the air, who aren't wearing cheerleader outfits.

+ The Ledger-Enquirer reported Randy Grace from Wheeler County High School will be the next football coach at Pacelli. On paper, this seems like a perfect fit - you know, with Grace at a Catholic school.

+ Roundball Saturday Night (tm) found Auburn's men losing 62-59 at home to Presbyterian. I know Tony Barbee is a new coach at Auburn, but this is becoming embarrassing. Half the Presbyterian players probably spend more time in the "good book" than studying a play book.

+ Instant Message to Wal-Mart: Thank you. Dozens of times over! Thank you for making Great Value Double Filled Fudge Twist & Shout Chocolate Sandwich Cookies. I finally brought a dessert to a church dinner that other members actually ate.

COMING MONDAY: We begin our tongue-in-cheek review of 2010's top stories....

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