Tuesday, August 16, 2011

16 AUG 11: The Suite Life Near Cody

The fall semester began Monday at public universities across Georgia. I know one man who's checked into a dormitory at Georgia Southwestern State in Americus - at age 47! And to make things more amazing, he's a student instead of the "house parent."

Columbus State University anticipates a record fall enrollment - and that's created record demand for student housing. In fact, about 150 first-year students have been moved into a motel on Manchester Expressway. They may not know their homework, but they slept last night at a Holiday Inn....

A Columbus State Assistant Vice President told WRBL the first-year students will live at the Holiday Inn this fall while they're on a waiting list for regular housing. They're paying the regular housing fee, while C.S.U. pays the rest of the expenses. Never mind that -- who gets billed for the city motel-hotel taxes?

Some of the residents in regular housing actually might be jealous of these waiting list students. Consider the benefits of living at a Holiday Inn to go to college....

+ Several flat-screen TV sets. Perfect for sociology studies - or what the rest of us might call reality shows.

+ Queen-size beds. If you want to play "bunk-o," bring your own dice.

+ The motel pool. Now hold on - for 160 freshmen, the swimming might have to be done in shifts.

+ Weekly maid service. You'll be able to spot the math majors, because they'll know the proper amount to tip.

C.S.U. spokesperson John Lester adds a lounge is being set up at the Holiday Inn for the first-year students. I can remember when plenty of motels had these things. They were called lobbies....

Even a pool table is being brought into the motel for the C.S.U. students. Is this supposed to be a place to live and study, or a Student Union West?

If that's not enough, Columbus State is providing shuttle bus service to campus for the Holiday Inn students. Aw, c'mon - I've seen Fort Benning soldiers roam the grass between Manchester Expressway and Gentian Boulevard successfully. Have these students walk off the "freshman 15," so they can brag to grandchildren about how tough college life was.

Columbus State administrators promise police will watch the so-called "Cougar Inn" carefully. That's nice - but I think an opportunity was missed here. The officers probably wouldn't be as necessary if C.S.U. had tipped off MTV to a great idea for a reality drama.

Back on campus, Columbus State officials tell the Ledger-Enquirer they expect 8,700 students this fall. If they're right, that's an increase of 14 percent. If they're wrong, they need to join the base realignment predictors in remedial math class.

Some of the Columbus State classes this fall have curious titles. I was directed Monday to one called "American Jesus." Will you look at what those liberal universities are doing - implying Bethlehem is simply a city in Pennsylvania?!

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BLOG UPDATE: The other boot dropped Monday night at the Friendship Volunteer Fire Department in Smiths Station. The firefighters voted to, well, fire the Fire Chief - and for all we know, some of them may have sent flaming e-mails about him for weeks.

Friendship Fire Chief Roy Trobaugh is the father of indicted former deputy Angelia Curran. It's not clear whether he'll remain on the fire department's board -- but the way it's looking, that board needs to be treated with flame-resistant chemicals quickly.

Lee County Commissioner Gary Long attended the firefighters meeting, and told WRBL it was mostly peaceful. I left a message weeks ago for Long to call me about the Friendship fire flap, but he's never contacted me. If I wanted to buy a metal building in Smiths Station, I somehow think the reaction would be different.

Here's a look at what else made news on V-J Day 2011 (and oh yes, how many C.S.U. students know what that means?)....

+ Phenix City Council discussed a proposed 1.5 percent tax on rental property. Several landlords complained that will mean higher rents for tenants. That seems only logical - but the tenants should follow this carefully. If you're paying $500 a month and the rent suddenly goes up $50, your first phone call should NOT go to Jimmy Wetzel.

+ The Georgia Legislature opened its special session on redistricting. Why do I get the feeling the line of Republicans voting in favor will be much straighter than the lines for some of the districts?

(This special session must be difficult for most state lawmakers -- since this is one time when guys really should look at maps.)

+ Instant Message to The River City Report: All right, OK, I'm sorry. I didn't realize the "s" in a Cy Pres award is silent. I didn't know this mess with the judges involved something French - although I guess that would explain why a special prosecutor is investigating it.

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