Wednesday, April 20, 2011

20 APR 11: Hauled Off

A lot of interesting things have happened in Columbus over the last few days. But the chance to break news is too good to pass up, even if it's from another nearby city. Until someone recommends a good "journalism detox" treatment, I may stay this way....

BLOG EXCLUSIVE: After years of difficulties, the Hurtsboro Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to let Russell County take over garbage collection. The switch apparently will take effect immediately -- and hopefully the city's trash trucks will be towed to an impound yard, so thieves don't strip all their parts away.

The Russell County Water Authority now will oversee trash collection in every part of the county outside the Phenix City limits. Roger Connor with the Water Board told your blog Tuesday it won't cost much more to add Hurtsboro to the pickup schedule. After all, it's only one square mile - except e-mails to us make Hurtsboro seem to have more corruption than Chicago.

Russell County trash trucks already were scheduled to visit Hurtsboro today, for the third Wednesday in recent weeks. Roger Connor confirmed the city garbage truck broke down again -- and so did a backup truck. As older people at church love to say: "It's going around...."

Hurtsboro residents reportedly have received free garbage collection. They already receive water through the Russell County Water Authority. From what I found online Tuesday night, residents will have to pay only an extra "garbage deposit" of $17.50. That deposit is refundable - so if Ronnie Reed ever becomes county commission chair, Republicans will have extra moving money.

Hurtsboro Town Magistrate Jim Baxley told me Tuesday night's vote to give up local garbage collection was 4-0. One Councilor was absent - and we sincerely hope her vehicle isn't broken down for the next several weeks as well.

We've followed Hurtsboro's problems with garbage collection for nearly four years. Both city trash trucks were broken down then as well [21 May 07] -- so we can rephrase an old Southern proverb: What doesn't go around doesn't come around.

There's one man in Hurtsboro who probably rejoiced at Tuesday night's vote. In fact, his latest e-mail to us led us to this story....

"Sir" Richard:

I'm working under a self-imposed gag order at the present time. But! That doesn't mean that nothing is happening in the ol' town of "Hurt'sboro! .No Siree!

But! If I were an industrious blogger - I would talk to Roger Conner at the Russell County Water board. That board is responsible for garbage collection in all of Russell County, except "Hurt'sboro. It's rumored that is about to change.. .

Then - if I was really curious ( as the CITIZEN seems to be) I would look into the circus in Russell County Circuit Court titled CV 09-339 (ask for Jony) That's a real knee-slapper.

Finally - I would chat with "Hurt'sboro Council Person Donna Moss. She can be reached at Perry's Hardware during business hours.

Now once again; I've promised my self that I wouldn't speak in person about these matters, but the unbridled curiousity of a Bogger is beyond my control.

By the way -- at this writing - there's TWO FULLY LOADED garbage trucks sitting on Main Street in "Hurt'sboro. Neither are operable. Ah! The sweet essence of Spring.

R.J. Schweiger

The former Constable sent this to us last Saturday morning, as severe weather moved into the area. He apparently needed the right atmosphere for writing such a foreboding message.

My efforts to review what The Citizen of East Alabama wrote was stymied Tuesday. A special religious festival kept me busy all day, and the only library which was open after sunset didn't have the newspaper. Chattahoochee Valley Community College needs to add a cable TV screen somewhere on the main floor.

The Citizen doesn't help its cause these days by lacking a functioning website. I don't think the Myspace page counts, because it hasn't been updated in two years. If Bill Heard Chevrolet still ranks among your top friends, the page needs about as much fixing as a Hurtsboro garbage truck.

But anyway: Robert Schweiger has been on a long campaign to get the town of Hurtsboro dissolved by any means necessary. Tuesday night's vote to end local garbage collection moves him one step closer to that goal. What will the former Constable do next - try to get himself appointed police chief?

So it feels good to be an industrious.... hey, wait a minute! If Robert Schweiger is "under a.... gag order," why is he still writing messages to a blog? Why, that makes almost as much sense as releasing a 2011 pro football schedule while the players are locked out.

That takes care of the breaking news outside town. Now let's get caught up on several days of Columbus conversation....

+ Three Carver High School football players were arrested and suspended from the team, for allegedly stealing items from lockers at the University of Georgia. When the UGA police chief visits Columbus on a "recruiting trip" instead of head coach Mark Richt, that's not a good sign.

(One of the suspects is a star defensive back. There's a time and a place to impress recruiters with a "pick-six," but stealing six iPods is the wrong approach.)

+ Fort Benning agreed to begin providing "Courtesy Patrols" for soldiers in downtown Columbus on weekends. Doesn't this sound a little familiar? Didn't Fort Benning have MP's downtown several years ago? Wouldn't a better answer for some of the soldiers be to set up a permanent "octagon" fighting ring in the middle of Broadway?)

+ Mayor Teresa Pike Tomlinson held her first "Let's Talk" community forum on Forrest Road. WRBL reported one citizen expressed concern about noise and drinking on Sundays at Carver Park. We may have found a prime spot for rallies for and against that Sunday liquor referendum....

+ The Columbus Tea Party had a "rally and planning program" at the main public library. The group did NOT hold a tax deadline day rally outside this year - as if all the members e-filed and held a Facebook chat instead.

+ Former WTVM meteorologist Kurt Schmitz launched his own Facebook page, promising notes about the weather and other things. Schmitz explained to a commenter he can obtain a lot of data for making forecasts from the Internet. Trouble is, so can the rest of us....

(How interesting to see comments from WRBL's Bob Jeswald on Kurt Schmitz's page - but none from WTVM employees. If this happened in a fundamentalist church, it might be called a cult.)

+ Phenix City Council voted unanimously to put limits on yard sales. Residents now will have to obtain free permits, hold no more than two yard sales per year and only have them for three days at a time. In other words, the days of imitating J.D. Kinder's Furniture and Georgia Freight are over.

+ Aflac C.E.O. Dan Amos told the Ledger-Enquirer a new voice for the duck commercials should be named sometime next week. Is it possible that the staff is conducted a criminal background check - on a new duck?

+ Columbus clobbered Russell County 8-1 in high school baseball. The game was suspended in the fifth inning, after Russell County Coach Tony Rasmus and some players reportedly had a heated argument with the umpires. Perhaps Rasmus actually did what so many players have threatened to do - he took his balls and went home.

+ Instant Message to "All Things Considered" listeners on National Public Radio: Yes, I'm the person who was mentioned on the air Monday afternoon. Apparently I was the first listener to send a correction, for using music from the wrong soap opera in a story on the cancellation of "All My Children." But that does NOT mean I know exactly how many times Erica Kane has been married.

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