Tuesday, June 28, 2011

28 JUN 11: Better or Best

When I read the announcement online Friday, I couldn't resist mentioning it out loud to several people nearby. "Mayor Tomlinson will be tested for HIV Monday morning." Most of the people were stunned -- until I added she was doing it simply as a public service gesture.

Mayor Teresa Pike Tomlinson went to the Columbus Public Library, to take part in National Free HIV Testing Day. Let's face it - no one would consider Jim Wetherington a serious candidate to develop the AIDS virus. But when Bobby Peters was mayor, he probably faced a rumor or two....

There was a measure of politics in Monday's appearance. The Chattahoochee Valley Better Way Foundation administered the free HIV tests, and foundation founder Jeremy Hobbs was a big backer of Mayor Tomlinson last year. After taking the test, the mayor might lobby for one of Hobbs's long-time pet causes - police officers directing traffic on 13th Street.

But there was also some medicine and history involved in Monday's event. Jeremy Hobbs announced Teresa Pike Tomlinson was the first Columbus mayor to undergo an HIV test. I hope the wife of Robert Poydasheff isn't terribly shaken by this....

Mayor Tomlinson told WLTZ people should be tested for the AIDS virus because "knowledge is power...." And in this case, knowledge that you're AIDS-free might be a selling point to the opposite sex at a singles club.

Yet there's something about HIV that many people tend to overlook -- something I've really only heard over the years from ministers. In the vast majority of cases, the AIDS virus is preventable. For men, it's a matter of thinking about a main road in St. Joseph, Missouri - and keeping your clothes on the Belt High-way.

With improvements in examining blood donations, the odds of "accidentally" contracting HIV have dropped to near zero. For instance, a bottle of sanitizing gel can prevent the virus from spreading through needle-sharing - at least for those of you in knitting or crochet circles.

The Chattahoochee Valley Better Way Foundation admits it focuses on helping people who are HIV-positive. But shouldn't more be said about the "Best Way" - controlling your body so you can't contract the AIDS virus in the first place? Or as I tell the staff at Red Cross blood drives when they ask detailed sex-related questions, "I've lived a really boring life."

Yeah, I'll say it -- we should live in such a way that HIV testing is a waste of time. It would have been for me, had I stopped at the main library Monday. There are so many other ways to use your valuable time - but enough about that U.S. Supreme Court ruling on violent video games.

Please don't misunderstand: compassion for the people with HIV or full-blown AIDS indeed has a place. But as guests on the Maury Povich Show love to say, "I'm two-million percent positive" that I'm HIV-negative.

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BLOG UPDATE: Phenix City Councilor Arthur Sumbry Sr. called a news conference Monday, to speak out about his recent troubles. But when reporters showed up, he had nothing to say on the record. All Sumbry needed to do was wave that certificate of pardon in the air, then spread it out on a table -- but he didn't even do that.

Arthur Sumbry's attorney was supposed to join him at the news conference on South Seale Road. But Armando Pitters never made it from Montgomery, so reporters wound up pointing microphones and cameras at a cell phone. If Zeph Baker had thought of this with his runoff "endorsements" last November, Columbus might have a different mayor today.

Armando Pitters's focus was on last week's foreclosure of Sumbry Mortuary. He says several acts of "fraud" occurred, from Synovus Financial jumping over several steps in the legal process. You can't blame Synovus employees for being nervous - since they've been concerned the F.D.I.C. might jump in the door at any moment.

Armando Pitters claimed Synovus loan processors "manipulated" Arthur Sumbry Sr. If that's true, shame on them - as you simply do NOT walk into a Phenix City Council meeting wearing long trench coats to demand a loan payment.

Arthur Sumbry Sr. and his attorney will have their day in court against Synovus 8 August - only three weeks before Sumbry's scheduled trial on perjury and forgery charges. In the meantime, supporters are stopping cars along South Seale Road. They say they're collecting donations to bail out the mortuary. But don't you wonder if Armando Pitters demanded gas money?

E-MAIL UPDATE: Monday's main topic brought a note of compassion from one reader....

Whomever was behind making Katerine Kington look bad Sunday needs to be exposed - that was down right wrong for them to do that.

Newsleader - my bhutt

When you're running unopposed at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, you're still the leader. And have you noticed it's harder to challenge the incumbent in television news than someone holding political office?

I'd ask whether that last line of the e-mail has anything to do with politics in Pakistan. But instead, I'll move on to other Monday news:

+ Columbus Police told the Ledger-Enquirer a man was caught shoplifting from the Piggly Wiggly store on Brown Avenue. The suspect reportedly stole three pints of ice cream, five packs of cigarettes and five packages of headache powder -- and now he may never know which one was the best hangover cure.

+ Midday traffic in MidTown Columbus was re-routed, after part of a large tree fell across Buena Vista Road near 13th Street. WRBL noted it blocked all four lanes of traffic - but word didn't spread fast enough for ATV drivers and skateboarders to show up for a "flash" practice session.

+ A federal judge blocked part of Georgia's immigration reform law from taking effect Friday. One blocked section would have banned people from giving rides to illegal immigrants. How many taxi drivers around Fort Benning are breathing a sigh of relief about that one?!

+ The Alabama gambling corruption trial was interrupted for a moment, when an attorney noticed the court reporter had stopped typing. It turned out the reporter had dozed off, and was taking a nap. [True/WBRC-TV] Now you know why the Casey Anthony trial is on live television, while the "bingo trial" isn't.

+ Yahoo News reported a mansion near Gainesville, Georgia is on sale for 22 million dollars. It has more than 400 acres of land, 15,000 square feet of housing space AND a garage three times bigger than the house. In other words, Bill Elliott could retire there in comfort -- with his entire pit crew.

+ Instant Message to my old journalism school at the University of Kansas: Yes, I know you need money. So do I. But do you have to REQUIRE the students calling me to ask for donations four separate times? Are you training them for jobs in public broadcasting or something?

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