Thursday, April 07, 2011

7 APR 11: Peace In Our Time

The future of Libya may be in serious doubt. The U.S. government may be at the brink of a partial shutdown. But there was a glimmer of hope for the future of the human race Wednesday - and of all places, it came from Phenix City. It was a moment worthy of shooting fireworks. With the proper notification and permits, of course....

There was Phenix City Councilor Jimmy Wetzel on WRBL, declaring it was time to end the "blame game" between the council and school district. Wow - maybe Wetzel actually WAS at Tuesday's council meeting. And maybe someone from the Pastoral Institute went to Phenix City to conduct serious counseling sessions.

I thought Jimmy Wetzel was the man who said Phenix City voters wanted change in November 2008. He voted for the removal of school board president Eddie Lowe last year as part of that change [6 May 10]. Now Wetzel apparently doesn't mind if Lowe returns to the board - unless, of course, no one else wanted to serve there.

Jimmy Wetzel admitted the Phenix City Council and school board didn't communicate with each other well, after the current council took office in 2009. You may recall a letter exchange between Wetzel and Superintendent Larry DiChiara, which included an intentional misspelling of DiChiara's first name [24-25 Nov 09]. Perhaps someone finally programed Wetzel's cell phone to put DiChiara on speed-dial.

Jimmy Wetzel added it's time for all sides in Phenix City "to put our energies toward moving forward." This indicates to me he's accepting last November's court ruling that the City Council cannot get involved in school district affairs [30 Nov 10]. Leave that microscope for the high school biology students, please....

For his part, Superintendent Larry DiChiara said he's pleased with this week's two new school board appointments by the council. He said a happy relationship "just makes sense." For DiChiara, it probably does - but for the people who consider political feuds a great spectator sport, it doesn't.

WRBL even tracked down a former Phenix City School Board President. Frankie Horace said he applied for another term on the board, but has NO hard feelings about this week's vote. Of course, he now has more free time to work on the tell-all book about the last couple of years....

So as they say in kindergarten, it appears Phenix City officials will all live happily ever after. But I'm left to wonder what happened to end the council-school district tension. Was there a hush-hush meeting somewhere, with leaders on both sides? Or did Dr. Phil McGraw offer to fly everyone to Hollywood for a televised intervention?

It's only a guess, but perhaps Jimmy Wetzel has discovered Phenix City schools really aren't doing as badly as critics claim. When the high school dropout rate is only three percent [16 Mar], that would appear to be a sign of success. Well, until someone e-mails Wetzel to claim Central High teachers are giving students the answers in advance.

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E-MAIL UPDATE: Our last post apparently left one reader disappointed - but not with me....

So,after reading your Wednesday blog I take it to mean we are stuck with our present city manager..Perhaps the money his lack of efficiency in office has cost the city can be deducted from his salary..

Huh?! What lack of efficiency? Why, Deputy City Manager Lisa Goodwin is overseeing so many things right now that I'm not sure she ever sleeps.

Another reader found an online plea stunning:

can u believe this....

this is one for the record books

The Craigslist ad warned "two adorable puppies" would die Wednesday, unless someone hurried to Columbus Animal Control and adopted them. I was unable to call that office during the day to learn what happened to them. If People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals rushed an emergency response team to Columbus, it would have been on the evening news.

Here's what else made news Wednesday....

+ The Alabama Department of Transportation announced U.S. 431 is finally a four-lane highway all the way from Phenix City to Dothan. This is a moment countless beach travelers have waited to see - but I have a funny feeling the smiles are even wider at the Russell County Sheriff's Department and Alabama State Patrol.

+ LaGrange Police reported a man robbed the Charter Bank branch inside a Piggly Wiggly store. TV news viewers across Columbus were stunned to hear this. They said out loud: "There's a Piggly Wiggly store with a bank branch inside it?!"

+ Three of the four former Auburn University football players accused of armed robbery appeared at a preliminary hearing. Three of the four may apply for "youthful offender" status with the court, because they're younger than 21. Aw, c'mon - they wouldn't get that privilege if they were caught holding.

+ Instant Message to Bermuda Tan on Macon Road: I noticed your sign promoting "hot new bulbs" for spring. Is it safe to assume you're NOT talking about tulips?

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