Tuesday, June 21, 2011

21 JUN 11: Planes, Detain and Automobile

Somehow I have the feeling our main topic today will come up during talk show monologues tonight. It's almost a frequent flier's dream come true - with many of them dreaming an airport security director received a full body cavity search by police.

The man in charge of security at Columbus Airport was arrested Monday. Jeffrey Wright is accused of breaking into a car two weeks ago. And it didn't even happen at the airport, so he could use the "checking the rent-a-car mileage" excuse.

Police Chief Ricky Boren says someone reported seeing Jeffrey Wright break into a car outside the Columbus Park Crossing movie theaters. But why did a public witness have to report this in the first place? It only seems logical to deploy more officers around theaters showing "Fast and Furious" movies.

But this is where the story becomes a little puzzling. Chief Ricky Boren admitted to the Ledger-Enquirer the owner of the vehicle in question apparently never reported a break-in, and may not have noticed anything was missing. Hmmmm - the better for installing airport smuggling wiretaps?!

If the car owner never reported a break-in, this opens the door allows for other explanations of what Jeffrey Wright did. Maybe a friend was locked out of his vehicle, and Wright was trying to assist him. Since it happened at Columbus Park Crossing, Sears probably had dozens of coat hangers to spare....

Maybe this explains why some late-night TV newscasts didn't mention Jeffrey Wright's arrest, even though breaking into a car is a felony. Of course, they could be protecting his Wright to a fair trial.

Some online commenters were surprised Monday night by the fact that Columbus Airport has its own Police Chief. The airport website barely mentions him. Jeffrey Wright has blended so well into the background that Mayor Teresa Pike Tomlinson hasn't even suggested consolidating his office.

The airport's website notes large aspects of security are handled by federal agencies - the Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Safety Administration. Jeffrey Wright's work as Police Chief involves rescue operations and firefighting, including the use of "AFFF foam." I thought those letters referred to the city's potential future bond rating....

Jeffrey Wright posted bond Monday, and is expected in Recorder's Court Wednesday. In the meantime, he's on "administrative leave." I'm not sure what that means at Columbus Airport. Does Wright move over to the coffee shop, and try to sell lattes?

But in the meantime, the thought of an airport security director getting arrested invites all sorts of joke material. I can see the line of airline passengers outside Recorder's Court, taking off their shoes to throw at him.

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E-MAIL UPDATE: Speaking of being "taken downtown" for questioning....

With all the bars on Broadway it would be understandable to see occasional bottles and cans in the street but what's with all the beer and liquor bottles over on First avenue on weekend mornings? Shouldn't they be drinking in the bars on Broadway?

Oh dear -- I hope the Miss Georgia contestants didn't stress out too much backstage during rehearsals.

I haven't seen what this writer is describing, but the reason for those bottles seems obvious to me. First Avenue is where people park when Broadway spaces are full. Downtown diners take their "Merlot to go" - then if the wine isn't fine, it gets left behind.

The title of this e-mail actually said, "We need better recycling efforts on First Ave." Maybe it's happening after the author drives through downtown - although I'm sure the Sunday School classes at First Presbyterian Church could make more money picking up beer cans, instead of bottles.

Let's pick up other scraps of Monday news debris....

+ Two young men were sentenced to seven years in prison for taping razor blades to playground equipment at Lakebottom Park. Even defense attorney Michael Garner admitted to reporters it was a "senseless crime," inspired simply by boredom. This is why the Office of Crime Prevention should pursue federal grant money, to give every eighth-grader a video game system.

+ The colors of the Armor School officially arrived at Fort Benning from Fort Knox, with an "uncasing ceremony." Isn't this amazing? The Army goes through all sorts of pomp and ceremony, celebrating something UPS does thousands of times a day.

+ Cagle's announced it will eliminate a shift at its Pine Mountain Valley plant in August, putting about 300 employees out of work. Those Chick-Fil-A cows had better improve their job performances, or they'll join those workers at the Career Center - those hungry workers.

+ Our new Miss Georgia picked up her official car for the next year. Michaela Lackey will drive a Kia (duh), which she admits is the first car she's ever had to herself. We'll see how long that lasts -- especially if Lackey gets invited to Georgia football games this fall.

+ WTVM showed off the three rings Auburn University football players are receiving for winning titles last year. It's only fitting, really - considering the three-ring circus last fall over Cam Newton's eligibility.

(Please notice one big difference between Auburn football and the Miss Georgia pageant. The only ring many pageant contestants want to see has nothing to do with winning a title. It's given to them by boyfriends.)

+ Tim Hudson hammered a homer, as Atlanta topped Toronto 2-0 in interleague baseball. The fact that the starting pitcher batted shows this game was played in a National League ballpark. The low score indicates summer humidity has hit Georgia in a big way.

+ Instant Message to Josina Pittman with the mayor's office: Please forgive the late regrets. But I saw your e-mailed invitation to Monday night's reception at the River Club too late. Had I known an economic development official was coming, I would have brought a German translator with me.

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