Wednesday, January 19, 2011

19 JAN 11: How Do You Like Me Now?

If you're one of those people who thinks nobody ever wins online giveaways - think again. A big winner received his prize in Columbus Tuesday. And since the winner is a law enforcement officer, the odds of anyone scamming him seem awfully low.

The Muscogee County Marshal's Office received new state-of-the-art uniform shirts -- and it's all because a deputy entered a Facebook drawing. Authorities did NOT reveal if that deputy was doing undercover work in the "Mafia Wars" game.

Marshal's Sergeant Rick Bowers joined in a contest last November to "like" Blauer Manufacturing's Facebook page -- and his name was drawn as the winner. We're told it was a random drawing. But people jealous of the Marshal's Office probably started rumors of a Bowers-Blauer conspiracy.

The prize for every officer in the Muscogee County Marshal's Office as a "Blauer Supershirt." That's strange - I looked at the video, and didn't see a giant S on any chest.

What makes it a "state-of-the-art" shirt, much less a Supershirt? A Blauer Manufacturing manager explained it's more comfortable, and has all sorts of fancy

+ Reflective material, so deputies can be seen. The savings in duct tape purchases should be obvious.

+ Hidden pockets. They're perfect for holding items such as stun guns - and for suspects to annoy deputies, by poking fingers to rip them during arrests.

+ What WLTZ's website calls a "deploy on demand scotch light." I have no idea what that means - and presume some law officers would trade it after hours for an on-demand light scotch.

But what strikes me is how the Marshal's Office won these Supershirts. Who would have guessed law officers receive special marketing offers on Facebook? I figured the real "friends" officers want to meet online are child porn traffickers they can bust.

Plenty of businesses see Facebook as a promotional tool. WLTZ's 6:00 p.m. news rewards a "Facebook Friend of the Day" with a free dinner. That may sound good -- but imagine if commentator Al Fleming still ran his own nightclub.

I'm admittedly wary of online giveaways, because the person doing the real "giving away" might be myself - handing over everything from cash to personal identity information. It's probably to my loss. One of my e-mail accounts shows I've won six different international lotteries for more than five million dollars in the last two weeks -- not to mention that ATM card from the United Nations.

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

BLOG UPDATE: The Russell County Sheriff's Office opened its Hurtsboro precinct Tuesday. It's a mobile unit set up downtown, and will be staffed by one deputy -- which means in a major surprise, the Hurtsboro Police still has more patrol cars.

Sergeant Darryl Powell of the Russell County Sheriff's Office told WTVM the precinct in Hurtsboro is NOT part of a plan to eliminate the town's police force. Powell's apparently leaving that task for now in the hands of the criminals....

Darryl Powell added Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor wants to open a similar new precinct in Fort Mitchell. The circumstances there are very different from Hurtsboro. It's a community with lots of growth - and soldiers who might get annoyed if a constable starts complaining too much.

We stick with Russell County crime, as we start our Tuesday news review....

+ Phenix City Police announced three city utility employees have been arrested on charges of stealing copper. They're accused of taking the metal from a city building within eyesight of City Hall - but of course, other city employees have been too busy watching the school board office.

+ The Columbus Charter Review Commission held its first meeting at the Trade Center. The TV news showed glasses of iced tea on the tables - so I guess the commission has all the money and time it needs.

(The Ledger-Enquirer website posted the current city charter, which has 94 pages including footnotes. It indicates the mayor and Council members cannot be removed through a public recall petition - it takes an eight-member Council majority. So Jim Wetherington only needed three friends to fight off all the upset civil rights leaders.)

+ The Muscogee County School Board selected Cathy Williams as its new Chairperson. She stakes a claim to being one of the "power couples" of Columbus, as husband Chuck Williams is an editor at the Ledger-Enquirer. Maybe that's why the newspaper website mentioned the vote Tuesday night, while TV newscasts didn't.

(The school board also voted to make up two days lost to last week's winter storm. A five-day weekend for President's Day will be shortened to four - and I hope that won't drive any more furniture stores to launch "quitting business" sales.)

+ Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed an executive order ending the anti-gambling task force. That sigh of relief you heard came from Lee County governmental offices - because now they can accept those wager payoffs from Oregon, for last week's football game.

+ The Columbus Lions announced the signing of kicker Austin Miller - a soldier on active duty at Fort Benning. We won't have to wonder about his motivation during games. He'll see a lieutenant's face on every football.

+ Alabama upset Kentucky in men's college basketball 68-66. The Crimson Tide let a 20-point lead slip away at home - but amazingly, the basketball team showed more backbone than the football team.

+ Instant Message to Auburn University: What do you mean - no live television Saturday?! Don't you want everyone to enjoy the national championship celebration at Jordan-Hare Stadium? Or do you need to sell a lot of DVD's to pay Coach Gene Chizik that bonus money?

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

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