Sunday, September 18, 2011

18 SEP 11: Pipes Down

Leave it to our readers to offer challenging topics for jokes. They could have brought up weekend football games, or Saturday being Constitution Day. But no -- today our lead item involves sewer pipes. Humor doesn't get much lower and dirtier than this....

SUNDAY SOAPBOX: The sewer pipes are, uh, dug up by someone who hasn't written us in several weeks. He titled this e-mail "The circus in Hurtsboro" -- so apparently the Columbus Civic Center has some competition:

"Sir" Richard:

P.T. Barnum said; "There's a sucker born every minute!" In "Hurt'sboro, it occurs oftener than that!

The Town Council sits like a flock of extinct birds (DoDo's) and lets the Mayor (in fact the last three) lead them down the road to poverty. Money mysteriously vanishes, withholding taxes go unpaid, and the Municipal Court provides a cash cow for for its Magistrate in the way of wages.

Mismanagement and corruption contribute to the fiscal debacle that exists; But, what's even worse, is the belief by the past trio of mayor's that, "free" money is out there for the taking. This opens the door for guys like Grant writer Bob Corwin and his pals at Sentel Engineering.They are in the business of soft-selling useless projects to the gullible, the greedy,and those in a position to spend someone else's money.

The only Department in "Hurt'sboro that's run with a sense of reality, is the Water and Sewer Board. But now even they, have fallen prey to Corwin and his cronies.

There has been a long standing need for sewer repair in a certain area of town. The W&S Board applied for, and received a $400,000.00 grant. Without hesitation (they were warned) they fell into the clutches of Bob Corwin, accepted a lesser plan suggested by the Sentell Engineer (relining the buried pipes) instead of following the original game plan.of replacement.

Well, the the pipes were in such bad shape they couldn,t be relined, The money that was spent to determine that fact, has put the project over budget, and now it's back to the pick and shovel.

A much needed and wortwhile project has become a Band Aid remedy to a serious problem, The W&S Board has been driven deeper into debt and will continue face the routine problems that existed before the project began.

Bob Cowin has collected his commission (just as he has done in the past) and it's a sure bet; he has "Hurt'sboro in his sights for another plucking. P.T. Barnum couldn't hold a candle to this guy!

R.J. Schweiger

Really now - if Hurtsboro has fewer than 600 residents, the town simply has to have a pace slower than one per minute.

Robert Schweiger expressed his displeasure with consultant Bob Corwin here four years ago [14 May 07]. At the time, Corwin described Schweiger as a "troublemaker" who called him personally to challenge the work he does. Imagine what Schweiger must do, now that he's no longer busy as Constable.

I wanted to e-mail Bob Corwin this latest complaint from Robert Schweiger, so he could respond as much as he desired. I could not find a good e-mail address for him until late Saturday night - and only found it through a building he owns in Wetumpka. Since it uses the municipal sewer system, shouldn't that make Corwin an expert on the subject?

Robert Schweiger also confused me by spelling the engineering firm two different ways. "Sentel" is a national company which does work for the military in everything from software to electromagnetism. If the right magnet can clean a sewer pipe, it could change the way we clean bathrooms.

But there's also Sentell Engineering - and I confirmed Saturday night that's the company Hurtsboro uses. It's based in Tuscaloosa, and offers services in "civil engineering." Of course, Robert Schweiger probably is ready to contend it's downright criminal....

With no good way to contact either accused party on short notice, I resorted Saturday night to calling my most reliable contact inside Hurtsboro city government. Magistrate Jimmy Baxley had good reason to hesitate to come to the phone -- but then I reminded him Alabama was well ahead of North Texas.

Jimmy Baxley told me it's the east side of Hurtsboro which is the focus of sewer work. He added the town had to pay $40,000 in matching funds to receive the $400,000 grant money. It's tempting to compare that amount to a bail bond, but I won't....

Jimmy Baxley says some work was done this past week on Hurtsboro's sewer line. But he admittedly knew little beyond that. After all, judges are supposed to rule on messes instead of cleaning them up.

We'll keep trying for a response from the other sides of the sewer story. But now we move on to a news item we mentioned Thursday:

I'm not surprised at a mother dropping her children off at Barnes and Nobles in Dothan for a seven hour stay .The summer the Macon Rd library first opened parents were dropping children off to stay all day and even packing them a lunch.. Now they just drop off loud teens on Sunday to roam the stacks all day..I remember when teens gatered at the Varsity on Macon Rd.I guess Macon Rd is just a teen magnet..

If it attracts that many teenagers, shouldn't the movie theatres behind Cross Country Plaza and the old Columbus Square Mall still be open? And shouldn't all the asphalt which used to be behind the main library have been filled with skateboarders every weekend?

Our last message of the day comes from the reader who alerted us to the fence next to the Phenix City Riverwalk, along 13th Street:

This is what you see at the Phenix City side of the 14th street bridge, Is it a back drop for shadow puppets?, Is it a device to tell time from the shadow of the 14th Street Plaza Tower? - A preview of what is to come for the ones in Alabama to see "White Water" in action.

And to make matters worse, there's a chain-link fence in front of the wall -- so Phenix City residents are deprived of their first real handball or racquetball court.

But seriously: this wall is up because of the renovation work on the 14th Street pedestrian bridge. It should come down once the work is finished, perhaps by next spring. I know both Columbus and Phenix City have tight budgets, but no one's even proposed a toll bridge for cars and trucks.

TEN YEARS' LAUGHTER/17-18 SEP 01: President Bush left no doubt over the weekend - he considers the U.S. at war. He told reporters at Camp David when it comes to terrorists, "we'll smoke them out of hiding...." Those campaign donations from Big Tobacco finally are paying off.

A well-known civil rights activist visited a church in our town Sunday. Dr. Joseph Lowery advised against taking an "eye for eye" mentality in responding to terrorism. Does he really want President Bush to turn the other cheek? He wouldn't expect African-American voters in Florida to do that.

Dr. Joseph Lowery borrowed from the Bible's book of Hosea, warning those who "sow the wind" of violence will "reap the whirlwind." Maybe he should direct this message to Bill Clinton - since he ordered a strike against Afghanistan first, a couple of years ago.

We went to an Episcopal church on the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance. A minister led us in the Book of Common Prayer's "Great Litany" - but we noticed he skipped one section about "bring into the way of truth all such as have erred, and are deceived." C'mon -- can't God work miracles in terrorists, too?!

A patriotic spirit is sweeping our town, in the wake of last week's violence. A motorcyclist passed us on the highway Sunday - and if we saw it correctly, he had two small flags attached to his helmet! We wondered if he can pick up radio stations better that way....

At a supermarket Sunday, we saw a bumper sticker we suspect will grow more common: "I don't brake for terrorists!" So are they worth more points than armadillos, or fewer?

U.S. military personnel are already on the move, in response to the Tuesday of Terror. We've noticed more train whistles blowing around town the last few days. Either troops are on the way to new locations - or a lot of people still haven't returned home from those closed airports.

An e-mail appeal urged people to step outside Friday evening with a candle, in a show of remembrance. One man in town arranged a last-minute candlelight vigil at that hour along the riverside -- but after welcoming everyone, he shut up and said nothing more. As the crowd stood around silently, we were thankful that man is not our President.

After a couple of minutes of silence, the vigil organizer left it to others in the crowd to do as they pleased. A few started singing patriotic songs we learned in our youth. But when others started singing the hymn, "The Solid Rock," hardly anyone joined in. When it comes to "God and Country," most of this group put it the other way around.

One sign of normalcy arrived at LaughLine World Headquarters about noon Monday - when a telemarketer called, offering us a credit protection plan. This is one thing we'll be glad to sacrifice, in a time of crisis.... all those annoying calls.

We were told at church over the weekend that a member of our denomination was aboard one of the skyjacked planes - and she left behind three orphaned children, now living with a trainee minister. But early Monday, we learned it was all a HOAX! It's pretty hard to offer a prayer, giving thanks that something was a lie.

SCHEDULED MONDAY: A surprising call from a school board member, which brings up old memories....

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