13 APR 11: Diary of a Dumpy Truck
For several weeks the complaints came in -- and I was helpless to do anything about them. My best effort to get some kind of response was turned away. I felt almost as forlorn as a videocassette recorder salesman....
But this week, my personal schedule finally is allowing time to play "catch up" on several accusations from former Hurtsboro Constable Robert Schweiger. Of course, Schweiger he makes so many accusations that he seems to comment on Phenix City government when he runs out of issues at home.
Robert Schweiger's most recent big issue with Hurtsboro involved the city's one garbage truck breaking down, then being parked on Main Street for a few weeks [13 Mar and 3 Apr]. You'd think a town like Hurtsboro would qualify for a discount membership with AAA.
Is this report true, or so much "trash talk?" I made several calls about it Tuesday, beginning at Hurtsboro Town Hall. By the time that call was over, the city official had guessed correctly I'd been in contact with Robert Schweiger. Grumbling can spread across a small town almost as fast as tornado damage.
Hurtsboro Town Magistrate Jim Baxley told me the city trash truck is still not working, more than a month after it broke down. Even in a small town, a delay like this seems hard to believe. Couldn't some city official flag down a passing NAPA delivery truck?
Jim Baxley says the Hurtsboro garbage truck is NOT sitting idle because money is tight. Baxley explained repair crews can't figure out what the problem is. Of course, there's no second trash truck for making a comparison -- and this case is a little too unusual even for calling "Car Talk."
What about the complaint that Hurtsboro violated a state "Open Dump" law, in the way Russell County workers handled trash from the stuck truck? Jim Baxley said as best he knows, the county approved the situation on a second visit. Things had to be cleaned up from a first visit, though. I didn't ask how many cans of air freshener that took.
I also called the Alabama Department of Environmental Management Tuesday, to see if an "open dump" complaint had been filed about Hurtsboro's garbage. "Not to my knowledge," answered spokesman Jerome Hand. He promised to double-check, but did not call us back with an update by Tuesday night. So we don't know if there's a file on Hurtsboro, with one page for each resident.
The hopeful news is that Hurtsboro's garbage truck is off Main Street, and now is in a repair shop. Johnny Burrell with the Russell County Health Department told me that Tuesday. Now all that's left is to find the source of the problem - other than Robert Schweiger's mouth, of course.
In the meantime, Russell County is providing garbage collection in Hurtsboro. Johnny Burrell told me the next pickup is today. He's not sure how much each weekly trip costs the county -- but if the driver looks a bit too polished, it might be an undercover sheriff's deputy.
On another matter, Jim Baxley confirmed the Hurtsboro Police Chief retired at the end of March. Jimmy Martin actually re-retired, since he came back to serve a couple of years ago. The comeback trail in a town the size of Hurtsboro is only a few blocks long.
So Hurtsboro needs a Police Chief - as well as a Town Clerk. Im Baxley admitted he's been filling that role since granddaughter Kymberly Key gave up the job. Maybe that's a role Robert Schweiger could fill. He seems to know so much about so many Hurtsboro residents that he might know who's behind in making utility payments.
I'm giving one other set of accusations 24 more hours before I post them, to allow for messages to be returned. So let's see what made news in the big city (Columbus) Tuesday....
+ A morning jog on the Riverwalk found an "Incident Management" van at Tenth Street and Bay Avenue, then a Russell County Sheriff's boat loaded with people in the Chattahoochee. Officers say they found a possible weapon in a murder case. I didn't think they were looking for more 21-pound catfish.
+ Columbus Police arrested three women for operating a massage parlor inside Sun Spa in the Plaza North shopping center. By that, I mean an old-fashioned massage parlor. The ones they had years ago -- way back when they were located next to adult bookstores.
(The case caused a national stir online because one of the suspects accused of prostitution is named Suk Kim Ho. I'll let the amateurs come up with the obvious punchlines for that one....)
+ Yet another employee of Columbus Parks and Recreation was placed on administrative leave. Margaret Brown could be fired, perhaps because she was closely involved with the Georgia Blazers and Innovative Sports Program.
+ WXTX reported the new South Commons ice rink will open to the public 29 April. Deputy City Manager Lisa Goodwin says it will be free to use for the first week. Now will someone please put large photos of city officials along the boards, so opponents of the rink can crash into them?
+ The Georgia Lottery launched a new scratch-off game called "$100 Million Cash Blast." Do parents of college students get to move to the head of the line to buy tickets?
+ The Georgia Legislature gave final approval to a bill allowing local-option alcohol sales in stores on Sundays. In related news, Columbus convenience stores could have a collection of used locks and chains on sale soon....
+ Instant Message to the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce: Aw, c'mon - a two-day "intra-city" bus tour of Columbus neighborhoods for 350 dollars?!?! I know fuel prices are high. But is Bludau's catering all the meals?
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