Monday, May 23, 2011

23 MAY 11: Wild Adventure?

The Saturday night run was better this weekend, at 1.55 miles non-stop on both sides of the Dillingham Street Bridge. Trading the gusty winds of March for the mugginess of mid-June made a difference -- even though all that occurred in the middle of May.

There was another athletic event in downtown Columbus over the weekend which I had to skip. I only knew about it through a giant billboard on Wynnton Road: the "31901 Urban Adventure." Or as they might call it on 12th Street - a postal delivery route.

Saturday's Urban Adventure was one of several "Strong 4 Life" events organized by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. I'm not sure why they're invading Columbus, which already has two established hospitals. Maybe this was timed to sneak in and out before Scott Ressmeyer's motorcycle ride comes home.

The 31901 Urban Adventure was based downtown, with two-person teams undergoing a mini-triathlon. They went running, paddled on the Chattahoochee River and bicycled through a parking garage. With an entry fee of 50 dollars per team, hopefully people didn't have to pay a parking fee.

But the instructions for the Urban Adventure left me puzzled, and I wonder if others were puzzled as well. The starting point was "Woodruff Park in Uptown Columbus." A news release explained that was on the Riverwalk. But a map of city parks puts Woodruff Park closer to Manchester Expressway and Interstate 185, outside the 31901 zip code. Was this a mandatory bow to "One Columbus?"

I've taken runs through Uptown Columbus for 14 years -- but I'm not sure what Strong 4 Life did really counts as an "Urban Adventure." Unless, this is, the organizers intentionally pulled up sidewalk blocks on Broadway like I found Saturday night.

As someone who lives in the 31901 zip code, I know many other ways to truly make this part of Columbus an "urban adventure." Without requesting a consulting fee, I suggest....

+ The Broadway high hurdles -- as in jumping over sidewalk café tables.

+ The Tenth Street BMX course -- riding a bike over all the jagged railroad tracks between Sixth and Tenth Avenues. (Bonus points if you can do it without a train in your path.)

+ The TSYS Turnaround - several laps on the sidewalk which replaces Broadway from 14th to 15th Street. But please don't ride your bicycle over the stars of tribute to corporate executives.

+ The B.T.W. sprint -- racing through the Booker T. Washington housing complex as fast as possible, before beggars or criminals stop you.

+ The Plaintiffs' Poker Run - stopping at every law office in the Historic District to pick up a card.

BLOG UPDATE: The proverbial "other shoe" reportedly has dropped at WTVM. Your blog is told Derek Kinkade has been named Chief Meteorologist, taking the title of the departed Kurt Schmitz. This probably means the end of those "I Challenge Derek" stunts - because you never saw Schmitz flipping pizza dough or trying to be a cheerleader.

I thought Derek Kinkade earned the Chief Meteorologist title by the way he handled the tornado outbreak in late April. He showed live pictures from Tuscaloosa, and had discussions with a "storm chaser" car in east Alabama. If WTVM is sending cars into the path of potential tornadoes, it must be making more money than I realized.

-> Our other blog starts poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. Visit "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: There may have been a cloud over commencement weekend for one Muscogee County high school. A reader responds to an item we mentioned Friday....

I am really disappointed in the destruction done to the bricks on the walk at Cols High.Unless those same bricks are returned to their honored positions they will never match in color or hold the same meaning..I hope part of the punishment is the cost of replacing the missing bricks and some week ends in jail and community service..CHS might have some of the most intelligent students in the district ,but this was one dumb decision..This goes beyond a senior prank and becomes vandalism ranking up there with the death of the AU trees..

We noted here several years ago that a few "Olympic bricks" with names and titles on them were removed from the area near Golden Park. They finally were replaced, but with no names on them. That's what happens when the registry book nearby mysteriously vanishes as well, seemingly without anyone noticing.

The Ledger-Enquirer reports the four Columbus High seniors accused of vandalizing the school pleaded guilty to reduced charges Friday. Their records will show misdemeanor "criminal trespass." But they'll apparently avoid jail time, so repeat criminals won't paint the walls with their bodies.

The four Columbus High seniors also will have to pay restitution, and perform 100 hours of community service between now and September. I won't be surprised if some of that time is spent repainting school walls - or even worse, laying bricks for the Carver High School building.

We also have a comment on another curious criminal case:

"Sir" Richard:

Perhaps justice IS moving closer to "Hurt'sboro. When the entire Bullock County Commission was arrested for not letting bids on jail food - it's evidence that Luther Strange is focusing in on the most menial violations in small town government. Union Springs (the Bullock County Seat) is within shouting distance of "Hurt'sboro. Jail food (I hope they enjoy it) is small potatoes in comparison with what has been done with public funds, here in our town!

I have once again asked for public records - and the due date is dwindling. If they aren't forthcoming, I guess I and Judge Albert Johnson will engage in another toe to toe.

R.J. Schweiger

If that "toe-to-toe" happens, hopefully this time I'll be told exactly where and when....

From what I saw on TV, the Bullock County Sheriff played a role in the arrest of the county commission. Of course, the sheriff is normally the direct overseer of the jail. Will we learn in court this all involves switching from lima beans to pinto beans?

A lack of education money led to a farewell ceremony in Hurtsboro Sunday. Russell Elementary School was closed, after 82 years of instruction. Who knows how many math lessons led to the recent creative uses of city tax dollars?

There's another curious crime, in our review of other weekend news:

+ Columbus had a record Sunday high temperature of 96 degrees F. I'm still being brave, hoping to avoid turning on the air conditioner until Memorial Day weekend - so if you come to visit, please ignore the sweat drops all over the kitchen floor.

+ Columbus Police reported two dancers at the Carousel Lounge had an argument about tips -- and it led to one dancer using a stun gun on the other, then trying to run her over with a car. Wait till The Learning Channel hears about this! Columbus could become a reality show attraction....

+ WRBL discovered several Phenix City officials are working multiple city jobs, and in the process are increasing their incomes. If Columbus Assistant City Manager Lisa Goodwin finds out, she may wind up earning more than her boss.

+ Federal bank examiners took over First Georgia Bank near Columbus Park Crossing. The intervention occurred Friday evening - but for some Synovus executives across town, the news must have felt like "Judgment Day" coming one day early.

+ WXTX showed Port Columbus employees staging a demonstration outside the complex. They warn the museum will have to close, unless a city subsidy continues. Apparently there are only so many ghosts they can sell.

+ Commencement weekend ended in Muscogee County schools, with diplomas for Hardaway and Jordan seniors. Those ceremonies were held on Sunday afternoon -- something I don't recall Muscogee County ever doing before. If we find out Saturday night was left open because of "Judgment Day"....

+ Fort Benning staged its annual combatants tournament. WTVM reported six of the 136 contestants were female -- so you see, those dancers at the Carousel Lounge obviously were inspired by our military.

+ Aflac was named the new sponsor of the Heisman Trophy. Talk about good timing! If this had happened in 2010, an Oregon Duck probably would have won over Cam Newton.

+ Instant Message to the "Livin' Large" birds Larry and Marty: Don't tell me - let me guess. You flew to Columbus and bought those winning lottery tickets after Alabama Power fired you.

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