Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Milledgeville Municipal Wireless Broadband Network

View Milledgeville Municipal Wireless Broadband Network Coverage Map in a larger map

City Planner Russell Thompson and I spent this morning driving around Milledgeville testing out the new Municipal Wireless Broadband Network from different areas of the city.
Click on the points above to see a small description of local points of interest and see the download and upload speeds available at each location.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Banned Books Across this Great Land

Continuing with the excellent literary links provided to us one way or another from Nancy Davis Bray at the Georgia College & State University Library, today we have a
map of banned books
and where they've been banned across the country.
I'm happy to say that there are no dots on the map for Milledgeville.
Read more about Banned Book Week here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cutting the Cord

Here's the text from an e-mail I received this afternoon:


The day has finally arrived!!! Clear (formerly Clearwire) will be in Milledgeville on Thursday, October 1 , at 3:00 pm for the official launch of the wireless network which was made possible by the Wireless Communities Grant, the Knight Foundation and YOU!!!

Please join us on the front steps of City Hall to celebrate this auspicious occasion and the incredible teamwork that made this day possible.

This IS just the beginning of our future and reinventing ourselves.

Hope you can be there! If you are not able to join us, please know that this community is grateful for the role that you have played and continue to play in moving us forward.

Hope to see y'all there!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Other Georgia Cities Got Our Back

The Rome News-Tribune featured this editorial about the plight of Milledgeville in this dire economy.
"In November 1864 Union Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman arrived in Milledgeville, then Georgia’s capital, with 30,000 soldiers. He left a couple of days later after sacking the statehouse, destroying the state arsenal and powder magazine, burning the state penitentiary, railroad depot and Oconee bridge, and taking everything edible or of value from the surrounding countryside.
Now the national economy, aided by the forces of Georgia government, appears intent on seeing if they can finish the job."

It's reassuring to see that despite the troubles facing their own communities, civic leaders around the state are aware of what is going on in less-fortunate cities like Milledgeville and are willing to speak out against it.
Thanks to Travis Fain at Lucid Idiocy for linking to this editorial.

Vote O'Connor

Georgia College & State University Interim University Librarian Nancy Davis Bray passed this interesting tidbit along:

The National Book Foundation is asking the public to vote for the Best of the National Book Awards. The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor is one of the six books nominated.
If you would like to vote, you can do so here.

Seems O'Connor will be going up against other literary heavyweights who need only be referred to by their last names like Faulkner, Ellison, Cheever, Pynchon and Welty. So go and put one on the board for the home team!

Offer on the Table

Update: Since writing this post and its accompanying newspaper article, I've been told that the assertion that city residents would benefit from a higher level of service if the city were to take the county up on their offer is incorrect.
Sinclair Disposal Service, the city's solid waste management contractor, provides curbside pickup of recyclables as well as occasional pickup of white goods and leaf and limb service.
One commenter went on to say that they have had difficulty obtaining an exact list of what recyclable materials Advanced Waste collects and how they recycle it.
As I've promised in the past, there will be more to come.

We'll cover this ASAP in the U-R print edition, but I thought I'd use the immediacy of the Web to get this out there first.
I got this official letter from County Clerk Cindy Cunningham. It appears the Baldwin County Commission is interested in sending some more customers to Advanced Waste.
Via Chair James "Bubba" Williams, the Commission is offering to consolidate solid waste services with the City of Milledgeville, if the City becomes a part of their solid waste plan.
Please comment with any questions you may have.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The First Candidate to return their candidate questions is...

Phillip Joiner
And to show my appreciation for getting back to me on this, here's a sneak peek at Joiner's responses.

Name as I would like it to appear on the ballot:

Phillip Joiner

Age: 32

Occupation: Promotions/Talent Director, Sales Exec and On-air personality for Z97 FM / Marketing/Promotions Director for Amici Italian Cafe

Office qualifying for: Milledgeville City Council - District 4

Positions/titles in the community: Executive Producer/emcee for Milledgeville Idol/Milledgeville's Got Talent, Deep Roots Festival committee member and mainstage emcee, Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, and have helped with Milledgeville's Junior Miss program, The Oconee River Greenway Foundation and Young Professionals Organization. Recently named Milledgeville's "Radio Personality of the Year" by the readers of the Union Recorder

List and Describe the attributes that make you an effective public servant:

I have dedicated myself to serving this city by becoming immersed in many of its great organizations over the years and using my marketing and sales background to promote the city. Recruitment of business and visitors is key to maintaining our financial and cultural vitality and I hope to make further use of my skill set to benefit Milledgeville in a larger capacity. I'm also very energetic and available to the constituents to try and immediately address their needs or concerns.

Why do you feel compelled to represent your fellow residents on Council?

We all must contribute to our city's growth and I believe being a public servant is an important way to make a contribution. Serving the needs of the people directly is a challenge that I'm excited to take on.

What are the 3 biggest issues facing the city of milledgeville/what would you do to address these 3:

Obviously, creating opportunities for new jobs is number one. Vigorously recruiting new businesses both large and small is going to be crucial in the coming year. Our leaders in government must become ambassadors to the city and do whatever it takes to compel companies to consider Milledgeville as a destination. Higher unemployment leads to a higher crime rate. Crime would then be the second issue. I support the outlining of a plan consisting of education, awareness and prevention to tackle this very serious problem. Once the next city budget is put forth, council should continue to support our local law enforcement in any way necessary and provide them the resources they require. The third issue affects my district specifically. Our "Town and Gown" divide in the downtown area has been a contentious battle for too long. The District needs a councilman who can work with long time residents, new residents, college students and downtown businesses. I have built strong relationships with all parties with whom these issues concern. From Parking to housing, renters rights to vandalism of homes and yards, there are a myriad of complex issues that I have been immersed in for years and feel qualified to address as the representative in council for the district.

The tax collection and budget balancing:

Each year, the city deals with issues both new and old, and the budget should reflect the ever changing landscape of these issues. I believe in careful spending, and making sure that city infrastructure is maintained and improved.

What are Milledgeville's most marketable resources:

Milledgeville is a unique position, in that we are 90 minutes from Atlanta, 80 minutes from Athens, 30 minutes from Macon and 2 hours from Savannah. Being in the center of these major Georgia cities is a marketable resource for recruitment of industry and cultural vitality. We have a great River Greenway, 2 lakes just minutes away, beautiful antebellum homes downtown, Andalusia, Lockerly Arboretum, the old Governors Mansion, The Liberal Arts College of Georgia in GCSU, Georgia Military College and more. I've been involved in marketing all these things and consider them valuable resources to attract businesses, visitors and future residents.

Vision of Milledgeville for the 21st century:

I see Milledgeville as being in the early stages of a Renaissance period, our current job situation not withstanding. If you look back at the early history of this town and follow the timeline all the way to the present, you'll notice that Milledgeville has always "repacked" itself. Things are evolving and times are once again changing, and Milledgeville must find its identity and work with all of our efforts to positively brand that identity on the local, state and regional levels.

Alright Dan the man, hope all that can be of use and I appreciate all of your help. Good luck covering all this - it could get interesting!

Warmest Regards,


see the original questionnaire here.

"When I walk through the front door of the Governor's Mansion, the people walk with me"*

Gubernatorial candidate Carl Camon stopped by the State's Antebellum Capital Saturday for the Twin Lakes Library System's annual book sale.
Pushing an education-heavy platform, he made an appearance as Carl Camon the author and presented Milledgeville's library system with several copies of his book "Poetic Infinity".
Camon said he wrote the 100 poems that make up the collection in 100 days as he was traveling and acting as Ray City's Mayor.
"I think it was divine intervention," he said. "I would wake up at two in the morning while traveling on a plane or train and just get out a napkin or piece of paper and jot down what I was thinking. And after 100 days it just stopped.
"I think [the book] can give the people of Georgia an opportunity to learn more about me."
I was happy to have the opportunity to learn more about Camon at this event as I'll be learning more about several of the Democratic Candidates at tonight's Democratic Meet, Greet and Eat, which will be hosted at Rock Eagle by a new consortium of Democrats from the eight-county area surrounding Baldwin County in Middle Georgia.
As I said above, Camon said education will make up a majority of his platform for governor. And to push the point, he said that once elected this "active educator"said he would like to teach one day in each of the state's 159 counties.
"I want to make sure I see first hand what's going on in our school systems," he said.

* At the top is one of the better soundbite quotes Camon gave me during Saturday's interview.

Central State Images

IF you're anything like me, then you'll love seeing these excellent images of Central State Hospital.
"Guerrilla preservationist and urban archeologist" Richard Nickel, Jr., who runs the Kingston Lounge photoblog out of Brooklyn, New York, was able to make his way into the old Walker Building on the CSH campus and... well the images are breathtakingly haunting.
After looking at the CSH pics, I recommend spending some time taking in the rest of his blog.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trash Talkin'*

This post harkens back to all the criticism the Union-Recorder received when Baldwin County sent out letters describing their devious plan to begin charging for solid waste management.
Thanks to a request from County Clerk Cindy Cunningham, I've spent the morning going back through all the stories I've written between February and now to help identify every time solid waste management was written about in the U-R.
I don't know why Cunningham wants that info, but I thought it a great way to back up the information I gave to the bevy of callers who accused our publication of not covering the county's attempts to raise their taxes.
The total number of times the county's solid waste proposal was mentioned in U-R articles is 14.
I was telling people between 10 and 12.
But that doesn't begin to include editorials, advertisements paid for by the County Commission and letters to the editor on behalf of and speaking out against the County Commission.

* Note: This is a totally griping, first-day-back-from-vacation post.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Digital Bridges wants you!

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation-funded program to help Milledgeville facilitate the highest and best use of it's Municipal Wireless Broadband Network, Milledgeville Community Connections: Digital Bridges...Bringing People Together, wants your input into how it can help the community.
In addition to the three town hall meetings they've scheduled for this Thursday, they also are hoping Milledgeville-Baldwin County community members will take the time to answer an online survey.
Here's their spiel:

Your feedback is vital to guiding the efforts of Digital Bridges, a new project supported by Georgia College and State University and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Digital Bridges is challenged to create a sustained community-led model for creative applications of technology as a means to improve Milledgeville-Baldwin County.

When you take 5 minutes to fill out this survey, you're not only helping your community, you could also win a free iPod Touch! Follow the link below to complete a survey about the issues facing you and your community.

This data, along with information gathered at two open forums held on September 10th, will shape the future of the Digital Bridges project. Come talk to us about making Milledgeville a better community:

Sept 10th

Creekside Elementary- 5:30 pm

City Hall- 7:30 pm

Thank you for your help and support!

Update: I just took the survey and it took under five minutes and there was only one question that actually involved silent contemplation.

Decision Time

Following last week's municipal qualifying, you wouldn't think there could be too many more questions about who will run the City of Milledgeville in the immediate future. But think again.
Milledgeville City Manager Scott Wood told the Union-Recorder Friday that he would make a decision about whether or not he will accept the City of Canton's offer to assume their City Manager position today (Tuesday).
The City of Canton offered Wood the position in a called meeting Thursday. The Canton City Council voted unanimously (read: All of them might sign-off on his contract) to offer Wood the city's top administrative position.
I'm expecting some excited (not particularly in the positive sense of the word) reactions about Wood's decision, whichever way he decides to go.
Should Wood decide to leave Milledgeville, his new assignment will begin October 1st, the beginning of the budget year in Canton.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Final Council Race Roster

District One:
Alan Wicker
Collinda J. Lee

District Two:
Jeanette Walden (i)

District Three:
Donald Hill
Denese Shinholster (i)

District Four:
Phillip Joiner
John Alton
Ed "Dodo" Hollis

District Five:
Richard "Boo" Mullins (i)
Benjamin Lewis

District Six:
Steve Chambers (i)

Mayoral Race:
Richard Bentley (i)


We're back live at City Hall

Today is the last day of municipal qualifying, and for the last 45 minutes of qualifying we'll be counting down with Municipal Elections Superintendent Patti Rushin.

We've had a few folks we've missed since the last municipal post and we'll update you on that in a moment. But for now we'll just release the big news of the day.
Ed "Dodo" Hollis just completed filling out his paperwork to run for City Council in the Fourth District.
"I think this position on council comes down to good common sense and helping as many people as you can possibly help," he said. "You can't have tunnel vision, you've got to look at the whole picture. That's what I'll do when I'm up there."

Benjamin Lewis just qualified for the Fifth District.
He had no comment about his candidacy.

Former Mayor Johnny Grant Jr. is now in Mrs. Rushin's office with six minutes left in qualifying.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Special Election Qualifying is now Closed

Qualifying for the Special Election to fill the seat vacated by Bobby Parham is now over.
I have not called to see if anyone qualified after Darrell Black through his hat in the ring this morning, but the Secretary of State's site shows just the four candidates we've had since about 10:30 this morning.
For now, your candidates include E. Culver "Rusty" Kidd III (I), Casey Tucker (R), Angie Gheesling (R) and Darrell Black (D).
We'll update again when and if there is any more information.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lock your Doors!

There has been a break out at the Bill Ireland YDC. more details to come.
Correction: Now we are hearing that there were no escapes from the YDC, but the youth have taken over a cell block inside the facility.

Disclaimer: These are unverified reports and should not be taken as bible truth.

More Municipal and Special Election Qualifying

Municipal Elections Superintendent Patti Rushin said she's going to keep me posted on all candidates who qualify throughout the week. (I had to retreat back to the U-R offices to focus on all the news that's not elections related.)
So check back to the original qualifying posts to stay up-to-date on the who's who in elections news.
Municipal Qualifying and Special Elections Qualifying

Candidate Questions?

I'd like to enlist the help of readers in questioning our candidates for municipal offices in the city of Milledgeville.
Below I've listed all the questions I put on a questionnaire that the paper is asking all candidates to fill out and send back to us to be put in the paper, but I'd like to hear community input about issues they would like addressed as we look forward to the November 3 contest.
You can either post them in the comment section or e-mail them to me at

Note on these questions: I tried to ask really open-ended questions that force the candidate to come up with a response and defend it. I felt compelled to address certain issues, but I wanted the candidates to prove that they have a vision for the community, because I think that's what we're going to need to get through hard times.

Name as you would like it to appear on the ballot and in any newspaper articles:




Office you are qualifying for (please include district number, if applicable):

Previous elected offices held, governmental appointments or positions (local and other):

Please list and describe the attributes that make you an effective public servant.

Why do you feel compelled to represent your fellow residents on the Milledgeville City Council?

What are the three biggest issues facing the City of Milledgeville?

As a member of the Milledgeville City Council, what will you do to address these three issues during the next four years?

Falling tax collections are causing many local governments to choose between cutting services and raising taxes, in what ways would you recommend city officials maintain a balanced budget?

What are the City of Milledgeville's most marketable resources, and how would you use those resources to recruit and retain new businesses and/or industry?

What is your vision for the City of Milledgeville in the 21st Century, and how will you work with community, state and federal leaders to lay the ground work for that vision in the next four years?

If you are an incumbent, what is the most important issue the Milledgeville City Council addressed in the last four years, and are you satisfied with the way Council addressed that issue, please explain?

If you are a challenger, how will you help affect progressive local governance in the City of Milledgeville?