Friday, June 10, 2011

10 JUN 11: Basics Trained

What was that line from Paul Olson during a Columbus mayoral forum last year -- if the city wants to attract major industry, "you need rail"? Apparently the city has enough for the area's largest employer. Otherwise, the convoy of moving vans coming from Fort Knox would stretch for several miles.

The largest shipment of military vehicles thus far left Fort Knox, Kentucky for Fort Benning Thursday. The shipment is coming by train, and won't reach Benning until next Thursday. I'm not sure if the military is waiting for Mayor Tomlinson to come home from Germany, or if the train is stopping every day for Army Day celebrations.

The big train is carrying items for the Armor School such as tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. WRBL reported they're loaded for shipment when they're no longer needed at Fort Knox. By the way, this explains why you should NOT expect any gold to be moved here from Fort Knox. The U.S. government needs it to avoid total bankruptcy.

But not everything apparently is being moved to Fort Benning by rail. Fort Knox planning manager Kevin LeMasters said several trucks will carry "sensitive items." That refers to things such as weapons and radios - but apparently NOT the girlfriends of soldiers.

The last graduation ceremony for the Armor School at Fort Knox is scheduled for July. But the school will have a casing ceremony in Kentucky today, as part of the move to Fort Benning. The only thing that final class will need to do is turn out the lights.

The shipment which left Thursday means more than half the military vehicles will have left Fort Knox, heading for Fort Benning. This truly is a sign that base realignment is in the home stretch. BRAC is supposed to be completed by September -- so if your guest room isn't under construction by now, it may be too late to cash in.

But in this summer of BRAC, many things remain unsettled. One big question is where Fort Knox families will live, and where children will attend school. For all we know, Spencer High School could be a tense tents place come August....

To prepare for all the incoming soldiers, Fort Benning had its last public hearing Thursday night on plans to expand by 82,000 acres. The turnout in Waverly Hall reportedly was small, because the Army has little interest in Harris County land. Besides, residents there already took one anti-American stand this week by opposing new baseball fields.

Back at Fort Knox, WRBL's Meredith Armstrong called what was happening there a "monumentous occasion." A what?!?! Well, maybe that means it's a step above gi-normous....

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E-MAIL UPDATE: Property tax envy may be building across Columbus. Consider this question which came Thursday....

When the WC Bradley company bought the mill properties in Uptown they requested and received the lowest urban district millage rate, Now that the Phenix and Eagle mill is developed and occupied has the city changed the millage rate to the higer more appropriate rate?

Linda King with the city Tax Assessor's office told me this question does NOT have a simple answer. So I apologize if you expected this property to be run of the mill....

Linda King explained the Eagle and Phenix condominiums are technically a "one-plus." The property is located in Urban District #1, but with an extra assessment based on whether it's part of the downtown Business Improvement District. King used a surprising phrase in describing what determines that extra assessment -- "purple people."

Linda King continued her colorful language, saying Eagle and Phenix Mills is a "gray area" depending on what sort of services the "purple people" from B.I.D. provide. She directed me to the Uptown Columbus office for details on that - but King guessed the condominiums are at the "lower end of that." In other words, more purple makes the city more "green."

I talked with King too late in the day to contact Uptown Columbus for more details - but I was told the condominiums are either in Urban District #4, #5 or #6. It may come down to whether the Business Improvement District ambassadors will offer valet parking for tips.

Meanwhile, it's now been one month after former Municipal Court Judge Haywood Turner died -- and a spat has developed about him:

Here's the article on my in regards to Mr.Chitwood....

Contemptuously yours,Michael Weaver of Cols.,Ga.

The link needs a language warning, since Michael Weaver of the National Alliance turns Tim Chitwood's name into something you might consider profane. You'd think Weaver would thank Chitwood for mentioning his blog in the Ledger-Enquirer at all.

Tim Chitwood took some heat for describing Haywood Turner as "quirky" - but Chitwood actually was quoting Columbus attorney Frank Myers, who also had words of praise for Turner's work as a judge. If all you want is non-stop praise, skip the newspaper and turn on Trinity Broadcasting.

Now for other Thursday news which you might find quirky, praiseworthy or something in between:

+ WLTZ reported Auburn University officials are considering whether to make the entire campus smoke-free. For one thing, this could make chemistry lab experiments a lot less risky.

+ A Callaway Gardens commercial appeared on WTVM. This struck me as significant, because Callaway Gardens normally doesn't run ads on local television. Are that many people vacationing at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail?

+ Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed his state's version of an immigration reform bill. The new law is so tough that you could get in trouble simply for giving a ride to an illegal immigrant. So Columbus Council needs to add money to the budget for a hitchhikers' shelter at the east end of the Oglethorpe Bridge.

(Governor Bentley admits the immigration reform bill is tough. But the legislature could have gone even farther - and ordered Troy Public Radio to stop playing classical music by Russian composers.)

+ University of Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy resigned, to become head coach at Louisiana State. I don't recall anyone ever saying Nick Saban was hired in exchange for a coach to be named later.

+ Instant Message to WRBL sportscaster Stuart Webber: Allow me to help you. When Teresa Whitaker turns to you again about the Columbus Lions' first-round playoff opponent and asks, "What do we know about Trenton?" - tell her it's the capital of New Jersey.

SCHEDULED THIS WEEKEND: Classic Blog returning to the roots of our interest in poker....

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