Sunday, February 27, 2011

27 FEB 11: Of Ice and Water

Saturday was a gorgeous day in Columbus - 75 degrees F. with low humidity. I tried to take advantage of it with a sunset run, and things were going well for awhile. But then, either a bit of pollen or a developing cold made my lungs feel like a 1990s rock band - the Violent Phlegms.

SUNDAY SOAPBOX: Other fun activities have readers writing us this weekend. We start with a comment about the Columbus Civic Center and the new ice rink next door....

Richard are you surprised that Dale retired early? That place downtown is a JOKE! They should have had a Director to oversee the New Ice Rink before they built it. That is something that should have been handled a long time ago. Just like them not Having a New Parks and Rec Director in place by now. They have two VERY qualified people already in place to assume the two roles, Tommy Groce could handle the Parks side and Brian Giffen the New Ice Rink. How much more CR*P do the Citizens of Columbus have to put up with? Sure lets allow MR. CITY MANAGER handle everything and we will have another Parks and Rec Problem! Its Amazing to me that the Citizens of this GREAT City continues to stay quite. And yes, I Know that I no longer live in Columbus, But I am still on a hill looking in!!

Charles Lawhon

I live near the Civic Center, but that doesn't mean I walk inside to talk to the management. They might kick me out, anyway - remembering I was the one who revealed Fiesta Columbus quietly went away.

For those who don't know: Tommy Groce currently is Athletic Program Manager with the Columbus Parks Department. Brian Griffin oversees the aquatics program -- so he'd have to resist the temptation to add a diving board over the new skating rink.

Mayor Teresa Pike Tomlinson has said about 260 people applied to be the next Columbus Parks and Recreation Director. The plan was to cut the field to a final three this week. The only fitting next step from there is to hold a competition like the old "Superstars" - with the finalists doing everything from bowling to a 100-yard dash.

But keep one economic point in mind about this long search. Every day there's no Parks Director, the city saves money in not having to fund that position. I'd call it a modified hiring freeze - but the new ice rink hasn't officially opened yet.

The Columbus Parks and Recreation Department had another public embarrassment this past week. WRBL revealed a staff member was fired, after a child with a condition similar to autism walked away from a winter camp event at Britt David Park. So I was glad to receive this e-mail, to confirm the department still has staff members left.

Saturday's Ledger-Enquirer reported former Parks Director Tony Adams and the two other suspects in the "Rec-Gate" case could have a trial date set this coming week. Prosecutors have a set a deadline of 12:00 noon Thursday for striking a plea bargain -- as if the defense attorneys have used up all their time outs.

Meanwhile, the Columbus Civic Center is being used this weekend for the Southeastern Conference college hockey tournament. Alabama and Georgia lost semifinal games Saturday night, so they'll play for third place today while Arkansas faces Florida for the title. Arkansas outplayed Georgia 9-3 - and I guess it makes sense for Razorbacks to do well on sharp skates.

But this is inside stuff. Our next reader wants to get out and head for the river -- but:

You watch and see, there will be tons of people that are shocked that the course on the river is only suitable for kayaking due to the short run. The continuing P/R references to Whitewater Rafting on the part of the project leaders as well as the Ledger reporters are simply irresponsible.

This is a stunning suggestion -- that people crying "raft" are giving people the shaft.

"Ready 2 Raft 2012" promoters say they're preparing the Chattahoochee River to become "the longest urban whitewater course in the world," at 2.5 miles long. For some people, this may seem short - since the "Whitewater case" during the Clinton administration lasted several years.

I know of church groups which love to go rafting in Tennessee every summer. The courses there are four to five miles long - so by comparison, the Columbus run would be short. But if you want to extend the fun by launching from Lake Harding, I doubt anyone would mind.

But then again, a short rafting course might have its advantages. When I was young, I wanted to ride on the roller coasters at the amusement park as many times as possible - so whitewater promoters might be able to offer a frequent paddler's discount.

Our last message of the day is landlocked, and almost turned into gridlock:

I wish I knew the name of the teenager who almost T-boned me at the intersection of Veterans and 54St, I would call her mom..She was so distracted by her cell phone she ran the red light and never slowed down as I swerved to get out of her way..Perhaps her driver's license should state no cell phone just like it says must wear glasses..

We certainly don't want a "T-bone" at 54th and Veterans Parkway - especially since Hartz Chicken is on that corner....

But anyway: if that other driver was indeed a teenager, she broke Georgia law if she's younger than 18 and driving with a learner's permit. The only adults banned from driving with a cell phone are school bus drivers. So what do they do if a fight develops on the bus - wave a white flag out the window toward a crossing guard?

We should add all Georgians are barred from "texting while driving." Part of me wishes another section had been added to that new law - to specify the only digits used to send messages are the thumbs. Not the (ahem) middle fingers....

SCHEDULED MONDAY: Did you notice something missing this weekend? We did, and want to know what happened....

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