Friday, July 15, 2011

15 JUL 11: Fast Forward Friday

Thursday's schedule was crowded for me. But apparently it wasn't busy in the local news world - since the premiere of a Harry Potter movie was the top story at 10:00 p.m.

So we'll depart from our usual format today, and offer quick thoughts about several items making headlines....

1. FIRE SCANDAL #9. Wait, hold on -- this actually comes from Fire Station #9 in Columbus. There was NO new federal indictment from Montgomery, accusing an entire family of wrongdoing.

Lieutenant Jimmy Smith was arrested on charges of possessing "controlled substances" at Fire Station #9. This seems curious to me, since firefighters deal with controlled substances all the time. If someone didn't control the hydrants, our streets would be a mess.

In this case, police say Jimmy Smith had prescription drugs at the firehouse. One of the charges is "possession of a drug with no container." I didn't realize it was a crime to leave blood pressure pills sitting on top of your bathroom sink.

For a change, several TV news websites noted Fire Station #9 is located on Jay Street. For years I've heard news reports identifying stations simply by their numbers. Could you place a station's location simply by its number? It's not like they're television stations, you know....

(The Columbus Fire/EMS website doesn't help, as it has no list of fire stations anywhere. A link for "phone listings" is password-protected -- but I suppose firefighters deserve a good uninterrupted sleep between calls.)

2. UPPER 10TH. There was happier news from Fire Station #10 near Fort Benning. It will gain a new ladder truck next week, along with four new firefighters. Some of them may be thrilled to know there's a new CVS pharmacy less than a mile down the road.

Fire Station #10 helps Fort Benning during emergencies. But the new ladder truck also is important in Columbus South. After all, Victory Drive now has a few multistory motels -- and SOA Watch protesters are bound to climb up the new statues at Interstate 185 sooner of later.

3. FORT-IFIED. The Russell County Sheriff opened a new precinct along Alabama 165 in Fort Mitchell Thursday. This should be quite different from the precinct which opened in Hurtsboro last January. Fort Mitchell is a growing area. And since plenty of well-trained soldiers live there, smart criminals won't take any chances on encountering Iraq flashback moments.

WLTZ noted the new Fort Mitchell Sheriff's precinct also will house the new LifeLine ambulance service. Care Ambulance has five days to leave that padlocked building in Seale. If it doesn't, Fort Benning gunners could cross the bridge and use it for target practice.

4. HERE COME THE MARINES. WRBL revealed because of base realignment, about 2,000 Marines will undergo tank training each year at Fort Benning. The Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany apparently isn't good enough. But then, maybe Marines use the Flint River-quarium for underwater drills.

Up to now, Fort Benning had 16 Marines stationed full-time on post. BRAC will increase that number to around 75 - but it still will leave me puzzled by the presence in Columbus of a Navy Federal Credit Union.

5. TECHED OFF. Georgia Tech sports were placed on four years' probation by the NCAA. It's all because a football player received a gift of $312 in clothing. This is why the Yellowjackets should let players keep home and away uniforms throughout the year.

The NCAA vacated Georgia Tech's win in the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference championship game. On top of that, the school was fined $100,000. So if an engineering firm will please send the check directly to Indianapolis....

Based on this news, it appears we can declare a pre-season champion in regional college football. Troy gets the prize for being the most ethical - or at least having no violations come out into the open yet.

SCHEDULED THIS WEEKEND: Readers respond to the Columbus City Manager's explanation....

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