Thursday, September 15, 2011

15 SEP 11: Gator of Green Island?

Newcomers to our area might find it puzzling. Glenwood School's sports teams are nicknamed the Gators. In east Alabama -- more than 100 miles from the Florida line?! But then again, Harris County isn't exactly known for its loose and roaming tigers....

But real live alligators may be closer to home than you think. Consider this e-mail we received the other day:

This picture was taken by a friend that lives near the water of Lake Oliver, in Green Island Hills.

( 0n Standing Boy Rd. .Just before you cross the bridge)

If I saw this creature near my camera, I would NOT be a Standing Boy. I'd be walking backward, at least.

I quickly concluded the picture from Lake Oliver was sent in response to the news about that 1,200-pound alligator found in Lake Eufaula [8 Sep]. That was more of a country crock, of course....

Yet when this picture reached my InBox, I was a little wary. It's been about a year since another Columbus website pulled its "shark in the Chattahoochee" Photoshop publicity stunt [19 Aug 10]. Apparently its reputation wasn't damaged too much -- because "All Over the Valley" isn't, well, all over yet.

Besides, there's no identifying mark in this photo to confirm the location of the alligator. If it really was near Green Island Hills, it could have posed next to former mayor Jim Wetherington to show his toughness against crime.

So I wrote a reply to the e-mailer, to find out when the picture was taken. "Last week?" I asked. No - I was told in response the photo was taken in May. So even if it's accurate, this "alligator shoot" is several months out of season.

Meanwhile, I also contacted the Columbus Animal Control office to learn if it's handled any alligator cases in the last year or two. But I received no reply by Wednesday night. Maybe that shouldn't be a surprise - because a gator probably is the last thing you'd want at a "no-kill" shelter.

However, the original e-mailer's friend provided a little more information about this discovery:

The DNR told them that the ones in Lake Oliver should not be bothered. There is a street between his home and the water, and this was taken from the street......

Is a street of separation really sufficient here? Robert Frost came up with that quote, "Good fences make good neighbors" for a reason.

I admittedly have yet to contact the Georgia Department of Natural Resources about this Lake Oliver gator (did our writer make it plural?). But nature-centered websites confirm the Columbus area has several alligators. I don't think there are enough to merit their own handbag boutique near Bradley Park Drive, but let's give them a few years.

It's currently alligator hunting season in Georgia, under what's called a "quota hunt." The state's gator quota for the Columbus area is 65 again this year - which tells me the chefs at Green Island Country Club don't get many requests to prepare them for dinner.

Alligator sightings have occurred well north of Columbus. One was seen in Peachtree City during May, and actually was named Oliver. A gator also was found at Lake Lanier a few years ago. Those Florida football fans can be such pranksters, when their team makes the Southeastern Conference championship game.

So I guess you shouldn't be surprised this weekend, if you go fishing at Lake Oliver and spot a potential extra-large catch with a dark green shade. Georgia rules state you should use a harpoon, instead of a 20-pound test line. But keep one thing in mind - the alligator you attack might be a candidate for promotion to Oxbow Meadows.

E-MAIL UPDATE: The InBox also has a challenge to something we wrote Sunday....

from your blog: The weekly Saturday siren test in Columbus did not happen this weekend.

Are you sure about that? It sounded loud and clear from the siren located near Manchester Expressway and Ezell's.

As I noted, I was napping at 12:00 noon and didn't wake up until 12:03. But the siren test normally is still going then - and I live close enough to hear the Columbus Civic Center siren. Maybe they were turned off in South Commons because someone knew the mayor would be listening closely for silence.

-> We thought about 11 September 01 in terms of poker. Read about that at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

BLOG UPDATE: My Wednesday morning run finally allowed a closer look at the fence put up along the Phenix City Riverwalk. It only blocks the 13th Street entrance. And it was NOT the distraction which caused me to trip at the edge of the arching wooden bridge, and fall flat on my face.

With no liability lawsuit planned against the city, let's examine some real Wednesday news....

+ A public forum was held on proposed projects in the Columbus area for a regional transportation sales tax. Mayor Teresa Pike Tomlinson told WRBL one idea for "T-SPLOST" money is a bridge on Buena Vista Road, going over the "spider web" railroad tracks. Why do I have this feeling one end of the bridge would be in front of Carolyn Hugley's insurance office?

+ Fred Landrum of Prosperity America in Columbus appeared on Fox Business Network, discussing the "Georgia Works" jobs program. If it took a full week for the Ledger-Enquirer to learn about this interview, it shows how few viewers Fox Business has after so many years....

(Landrum says the Georgia Works program helped train new call center employees - and that program is now part of President Obama's job creation proposal. But someone apparently didn't tell the President the program didn't help Mike Thurmond get a job as U.S. Senator last year.)

+ The annual Maneuver Conference concluded at the Trade Center. I saw a big truck and trailer parked in the middle of Ninth Street downtown, removing an Army fighting vehicle - and reminding me some heavy military equipment really doesn't maneuver well at all.

+ University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby said it's time to consider consolidating public colleges, to save money. Former State Senator Seth Harp proposed something like that two years ago. But if Georgia students keep losing points on their Scholastic Aptitude Tests, won't some colleges close for lack of qualified students?

+ Dothan Police arrested a mother on charges of dropping off her two children at a Barnes and Noble bookstore - then picking them up seven hours later. At least the children should be literate enough to write nice love letters to their mother while she's in prison.

+ Instant Message to Coastal Carolina University: I must have missed something here. When did you start a football program? And did you start it simply so Georgia's Isaiah Crowell can run up his statistics this weekend?

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