Sunday, March 13, 2011

13 MAR 11: Talking Trash

If you're reading this after 3:00 a.m. Sunday, check your clocks. Are you on Daylight Saving Time? This is one weekend when even conservatives should follow the advice of MSNBC. "Lean forward" -- at least in time.

SUNDAY SOAPBOX: From what I saw a few years ago, Hurtsboro appears to operate on Eastern Time. But the Russell County town sometimes seems like a step back in time. An e-mail we received last Sunday night reminded us of that....

Sir Richard:

I apologize for not contributing to your "Sunday Soap Box But to be real honest I'm pretty much down in the dumps.

My only consolation - everyone else in "Hurt'sboro is down in the dumps too. In fact, they are far worse off; than I am.

Long ago when garbage pick-up became a problem, I notified the Mayor that I would dispose of my own garbage. He huffed and puffed and threatened to blow my house down but it was to no avail. I made routine trips to the landfill and while others had problems - I had none.

Well! Last Tuesday, Big Bertha, our ersatz garbage truck coughed and died enroute to the landfill. The poor old girl made it as far as Opelika and like grandfather's clock "stopped short never to run again." The astute driver called a tow truck ($395.00 towing bill) and "Big Bertha" was brought home to lie in state.

Now the plot really thickens - none of our shade tree mechanics are expert enough to revive the old girl, and the Town doesn't have enough cash to pay for an expert mechanic or the parts that are needed if such a person can be found.

Perhaps the best solution is to just let "Big Bertha" lie in state at Tapley's funeral home, (it's right next to Town Hall) until it can be interred with its brother on North River Street.

Our new Sheriff has given a far more significant meaning to law and order in "Hurt'sboro, and now that Big Bertha has passed on - perhaps the County can step in and provide regular disposal of our garbage. I certainly hope so, and I'm certain that there are others that agree with me on this matter.

R.J. Schweiger

When it comes to garbage, Hurtsboro is small enough to be a one-truck town. But you'd think it's far enough away from the Chattahoochee River to have a landfill of its own.

Longtime blog readers will recall Hurtsboro has had trash troubles before. Garbage sat uncollected for more than a week on two occasions in 2007 [6 Jul 07] - but only one case involved the lack of an operating trash truck. The other was due to the lack of a qualified truck driver. Perhaps a former Columbus prison inmate found work there.

Reports like this from Robert Schweiger pose a problem for me these days. As I wrote him about another Hurtsboro "scoop" recently, I'm currently involved in a project which makes it impossible for me to phone Hurtsboro Town Hall during office hours. Considering Schweiger later e-mailed me to admit his "scoop" was in error, I hope he's ready to recommend a good attorney about this one.

It doesn't help my cause when most of the Hurtsboro city officials have unlisted numbers - and the one Councilor who's in the phone book never has returned my messages. Perhaps Charlie Tolbert thinks if everyone keeps quiet, the media will go away. But that simply allows Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor to keep showing up for news conferences.

But then I remembered the Hurtsboro Town Clerk had sent this blog an e-mail several months ago. So I sent a message to her this past week, asking if the trash truck tale was true. The reply was surprising on several fronts....

Sorry, I can't comment because I no longer work the Town of Hurtsboro. Please delete me from your e-mail listing. I do not want to discuss Town of Hurtsboro with anyone because I feel there are to many corrupt citizens in Hurtsboro and I chose not to have anything to do with them anymore. I'm a single parent trying to survive and go to school. My opinion: The Mayor of Hurtsboro took on a debt, just as our president has, and they have no magic wand to overcome the debt in one week. I feel very sorry for them both. People in Hurtsboro have become unsupportive of Hurtsboro and their administration because of their color. The whites can't say much because during their time, I'm pretty sure things were stolen. And I'm working on my own little thing with a wonderful citizen, proving that HE impersonated being a constable. I have proof and will see to it that things are delt with. My job, when at town hall, has nothing to do with the person that I am. And you DO NOT GO to my second job and try to get me fired. THAT person in particular has messed with the wrong person!! Again, thank you! Have a Blessed Day!!


Ouch! I might as well have written Alabama Natural Gas, because this response was a bit scalding....

I don't plan to probe any deeper into what Kim Key is doing these days. But Russell County grand juries have convened several times since Mayor Rayford Tapley took office in 2009. The only indictment concerning Hurtsboro has come down against Tapley, and his arrest was dismissed by a judge [2 Dec 09]. It's a bit like Alabama fans bragging they scored first on Auburn last November.

After reading all this, I couldn't resist checking the 2010 Census data for Hurtsboro Saturday night. It shows a population of 553 - down 39 people from 2000. Wouldn't it be great to do "exit interviews" with those people, to learn if more of them left because of the mayor or the constable?

The Census data also shows Hurtsboro is two-thirds African-American. Robert Schweiger is Caucasian, but I can't recall him ever bringing up skin color in his years of e-mails to this blog. Does being an equal opportunity gossip-monger justify what he does?

Since we've brought up some old Hurtsboro business here, I'm told Robert Schweiger still hasn't completely paid a penalty to a former Hurtsboro resident - and has written checks in five-dollar increments for years. If voters had elected Schweiger to the Russell County Commission in 2008, his days of living on a "fixed income" would have been over.

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