Monday, January 17, 2011

17 JAN 11: An Icy Mess

In case you hear rumors, here's what really happened at the Columbus Civic Center. The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus finished a four-day run Sunday. The political circus is still in town, and may be only beginning.

Civic Center Manager Dale Hester hastily retired this past week, and is blaming the Government Center for the decision. He says a manager for the new ice rink next door should be in place now. Instead, it's under discussion at Columbus Council for possible creation in July -- when of course, ice skating will be more in demand due to summer heat.

Dale Hester told the Ledger-Enquirer the stress of managing the Civic Center and overseeing a new ice rink would cause too much stress. "I'm an old man," the 67-year-old Hester said -- perhaps forgetting Ronald Reagan was U.S. President well after age 70.

The new skating rink next to the Civic Center is supposed to be ready for the Southeastern Conference hockey tournament in late February. Dale Hester says someone should have been hired to manage the rink last July. But last July, Columbus was more concerned about who was managing youth basketball teams.

City Manager Isaiah Hugley tried to dismiss the retirement announcement as no big deal. He says Dale Hester planned to retire early this year all along - but the date changed from the end of March to the end of January. I'd feel more comfortable about this if the Cottonmouths had played more close games, to test the health of Hester's heart.

Could another factor be at work in this retirement announcement - a matter of finances? Mayor Teresa Tomlinson told WLTZ's "Calvin Floyd Live" last week the Civic Center lost more than $300,000 last year. It's not clear how that happened. Maybe visitors at the fair had a record year knocking down milk bottles, to win stuffed animals.

Until Dale Hester's replacement is found, Deputy City Manager Lisa Goodwin will oversee management of the Civic Center and the new ice rink. That's in addition to Goodwin's temporary role overseeing the Parks and Recreation Department. If she's not careful, we'll soon have children playing field hockey games at Shirley Winston Park.

City Manager Isaiah Hugley says he'll also help manage the Civic Center and ice rink in the short-term. He'd better do it well - or he could be the one on thin ice, without even putting on a pair of skates.

In the meantime, "the center of it all" is busy with the middle of hockey season. But remember, Cottonmouths fans - the game originally scheduled for tonight has been moved to Tuesday the 25th. Cleaning up four days of elephant dung may take longer than we realized.

-> Our other blog has Martin Luther King Day in mind. Read why at "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: We have a stack of messages to address from the weekend. Let's start with Auburn's championship football season....

I wonder how much pressure Cecil Newton put on his son,Cam,to go pro and try to leave all the rumored money exchanges behind him..When I saw Cecil Newton at the bowl game I knew Cam was going pro..Dad had been told he could not attend the bowl and if his son was going pro what did it matter..Thanks,Cam for a wonderful year..Don't forget your team mates and your fans who got you through a rough time..Your first couple of pro years will be hard,but keep your winning spirit..Where ever who settle keep working with the kids of the community..Auburn kids appreciate you..

I'm only guessing here - but I think the Oregon defensive line put more pressure on Cam Newton last Monday than his father did.

Cam Newton told "The Tonight Show" last week if he wasn't playing football, he'd like to open a day care center. Maybe that explains the unusual taste of "Cammy Cam Juice" - it's really a mix of fruits and vegetables for toddlers.

The Bowl Championship Series trophy was on display Sunday in Auburn, after four hours of viewing in Columbus Saturday. From what I saw on TV, I assume none of the spectators was allowed to touch the crystal football. If people dropped it, it would probably blow out their credit lines.

Let's move on to politics, and the Georgian who's thinking about running for President:

So, former Senator Herman Cain is forming an exploratory committee? If someone starts a fundraiser for him, are they raising Cain?

Just Curious,

John D

I'm more interested in knowing if Cain ever calls his wife "Sugar."

What confuses me about Herman Cain's website is that my financial contribution "is critical to our success." What's he really exploring here? Whether people want him to run for President - or the depths of my checking account?

Now comes a question about Alabama politics - well, and the crime Ronnie Gilley of Phenixian fame is accused of committing:

Hi Richard:

What is the difference between bribing a lobbyist and paying a lobbyist to influence politicians? Just wondering.......

In this case, I think the lobbyist was paid to work in Montgomery -- but the alleged bribe was to keep him from influencing the wrong politicians. You know, federal prosecutors....

This brings us to our Sunday Soapbox messages. The author of both followed up with one called "Living in a Glass House Throwing Stones"....


That would not be spellcheck, or grammar check for that matter, that would have caught my mistake. It was the wrong word. It should have been essay not easy. The word "easy " was spelled correctly.

I believe proof reading would have been more in order to catch the mistake. There is nothing better than a sharp eye to keep you out of trouble with the grammar police.

Just as proof reading would serve me well, it would also serve you well judging by some mistakes I noticed you have made on your writing. It is very easy to do, and neither of us is perfect. I do not pretend I do not make mistakes.

I give you a plug in the Courier and you find a way to criticize me for it. I find that interesting and telling to a point.

Then, again, your objective is humor and the entertainment of your readers. That is what you do. You have the luxury of being comical. As I mentioned once before to you, I do not have that luxury. I take a very serious approach to very serious issues of racial prejudice and discrimination.

BTW, When I told Tim Chitwood you were always straight with me I was talking about your level of integrity not your sexual orientation. I do not have any information on your sexual orientation nor have I ever sought any such information about your sexual proclivity. Whatever your sexual orientation may be is your personal business. To each his own as long as it is not against the law and you are hurting nobody but yourself.

Brother Love, Director

Grassroots Unity Movement for Change

Oh yes, I know I make errors here from time to time. As I noted 9 Jan, I put the recent Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce meeting in the wrong location -- off by several miles, in fact. It could have wound up being a protest along the lines of today's King Day march up U.S. 431.

And don't worry about not seeking "information about.... sexual proclivity." None of the women I've ever dated asked about that detail, either.

Someone else wants to address those Sunday messages....

Sir Richard: Your Sunday essays prompts me to give a brief response. #1 The Mimosa Madam could have avoided a ton of trouble and in turn, made the overzealous "Kops" look assinine by using non-alcoholic champagne in her complimentary drinks. Imagine the ridicule she could have subjected them to! #2 She is in for a long and losing battle in any attempt to get her record cleared. No one in "Government" is going to admit they erred; and none of "the good ol' boys is going to point a finger at any of his cronies. I'VE BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT! #3 In my opinion Gaymon was wrong! But he will survive. The issue will make headlines in our struggling mainstream media, but in the end it will fade away and go unresolved. #4 I want it unequivocally understood -- that my mention of the word "darlin" in one of my earlier post's [6 Jan] WAS NOT a ploy to discover your sexual preferences. Tim Chitwood should have said; "Richard is a Straight Shooter" It would have been more appropriate!!!

In fact, Calvin Floyd served "mimosas" to Judy Wilkinson when she appeared on his WLTZ talk show. Only when a caller asked about it did he admit the dark bottle contained cider. I personally think the champagne could have led to a much more revealing interview....

OK, I'll accept the "Straight Shooter" title. But to be honest, my shooting wasn't straight enough years ago to make the junior high school basketball team.

Thanks to all of you who visit and write! Now let's wrap up other news from the holiday weekend....

+ Your blog confirmed Zeph Baker finally has paid a 75-dollar fine to the Georgia Ethics Commission, for not filing two documents from his 2008 State House campaign. Calvin Smyre's friends can stop the annoying phone calls now.

+ A Friday walk at Peachtree Mall (two laps in 22:16.84) revealed the Hat Shack has closed - a closing the Ledger-Enquirer missed, in its story on the closing of Abercrombie and Fitch. That's what happens when your hat store is down the stairs from the food court, hidden near the boarded-up Parisian entrance - and you need to buy a GPS device at Radio Shack to find it.

(Some people actually might celebrate the closing of Abercrombie and Fitch. They're the ones who also want Victoria's Secret next door to close, to get almost all the sin out of the mall.)

+ WTVM reported about 13,000 customers in central Columbus lost power for a few minutes, when vultures damaged a transmitter. Vultures - in MidTown? Mayor Teresa Tomlinson made it sound like they were all circling Cusseta Road.

+ Miss Georgia and Miss Alabama failed to survive the first cut at the Miss America pageant. But Columbus native Djuan Trent reached the top eight, as Miss Kentucky. Maybe our area needs to add a "national signing day" for pageant contestants.

+ The Columbus Trade Center hosted a "starving artists" sale. They should have delayed this until Tuesday, so everyone could march on Columbus Council to demand that public art ordinance.

+ The Atlanta Falcons folded in the pro football playoffs to Green Bay 48-21. When a team from the "frozen tundra" does this at the Georgia Dome, maybe Matt Ryan's nickname "Matty Ice" needs to be changed.

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