Thursday, October 29, 2009

Caught on Film

The candidate forums featuring candidates in the state House of Representatives and Milledgeville City Council District 1 races are up on the tube-type thing that shoots electronic letters everywhere.
You can check out the playlist of the state House forum here, and the playlist of the City Council District 1 forum here.

But in case you can't wait to link to those, I'll leave you with this:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trouble Brewing in Hancock County

Sorry, but had to kill this clip. The obligatory advertisements were really harshing my noncommercial mellow.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Some poll from some group says someone is ahead of someone else

A Rasmussen Reports poll conducted last week says that the 2010 goobernatorial match up could look a lot like this cartoon predicts it will.
Who'd a thunk that the two largest names in the race would lead polls one year before an election?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

May The Angels Be Watching Over You

Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Jack Nelson passed away at age 80 Wednesday.
Although my familiarity with Nelson is culled from little more than the discussion of his work in "The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation," the man was instrumental in righting some of the wrongs that have occurred at Central State Hospital in the past.
From the Associated Press:

As a reporter with The Atlanta Constitution in 1960, he won the Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for exposing malpractice and other problems at the 12,000-patient state mental hospital in Milledgeville, Ga.

"Jack was a reporter's reporter," said Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times. "He maintained that the main thing people want from newspapers is facts - facts they didn't know before, and preferably facts that somebody didn't want them to know. Jack was tolerant of opinion writers; he respected analysis writers, and he even admired one or two feature writers. But he believed the only good reason to be a reporter was to reveal hidden facts and bring them to light."

Monday, October 19, 2009

If you thought Governor Sonny Perdue was forward thinking...

Well he is--but that's just by American standards.
To continue the host of links I want to feature from this Sunday's NPR Weekend Edition, here is a story about how one European country is making universal broadband access the law, not just a public-private initiative.

NPR honors SSGT Alex French IV on national program

Listeners to Sunday morning's National Public Radio Weekend Edition might have heard this tribute Staff Sergeant Alex French IV. If you didn't, please take a listen. It is a touching tribute that can only be made by using the voices of those who know him best.
Thank you Josephine Bennett.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pickle Barrel Closed by Fire

Image courtesy of Milledgeville Fire Department Lieutenant Greg Hood

I'm sorry to report that the Pickle Barrel Café and Sports Pub suffered a structure fire early Saturday morning. From the U-R Web site:
Milledgeville Fire Department Lieutenant Greg Hood told the Union-Recorder that city fire crews responded to a call about the fire at approximately 7:49 a.m. Hood said the 1800 block of North Columbia Street was engulfed in a thick blanket of heavy smoke when the fire department arrived on the scene. His agency then requested the assistance of volunteer crews from the North Baldwin and Hardwick stations of the Baldwin County Fire Department.
“We were on the scene until 11:16 a.m.,” he said. “It took about two hours to get the fire under control.”
Hood said the fire originated on the south side of a hallway in the rear of the building. “The fire spread from the hallway into the dining area, and the building sustained heavy smoke damage throughout,” he said.
At this time, Hood added, it remains unclear whether the structure will be salvageable or not.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, though Hood said there is no suspicion of foul play.

My wife and I have spent a lot of our Friday nights imbibing in adult beverages and enjoying the great food at the Pickle Barrel since she moved down to Milledgeville. In fact, we were there this Friday night, just hours before the blaze that will now have us searching for a new place to unwind after long work weeks.
Adding to the spooky feeling that always results from having recently been at a place that--for all intents and purposes--doesn't exist anymore, I paused for a good while last night to take a long look at all the picture collages in that same hallway where the fire broke out this morning.
As you can imagine, there's going to be some time before we know the future of this popular local hangout. And my thoughts go out to restaurateur Bob Jaworski who was out of town Saturday when the fire occurred.
Jaworski's other venture, the South of Philly Market Street Deli, was shuttered unexpectedly earlier this year and remains for sale just up North Columbia Street from the Pickle Barrel location.
Both restaurants always received top billing in Kate and I's list of recommended local grub spots.
Here's to you Mr. Jaworski--please don't leave Milledgeville hungry for your delicious entrepreneurial ventures.

Team Oxendine Aspires to Ironic Internet Fame

You can't make this stuff up!

General Assembly 2010: Right Around the Corner

While Baldwin County is in the process of electing its representative to the General Assembly's lower chamber, state legislators are already starting to set the agenda for the 2010 session.
The Telegraph's Travis Fain has the skinny on what they're thinking about in this week's Political Notebook. Or you can read the remix at his blog Lucid Idiocy.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Candidate Forums scheduled for the 22nd and 26th

We just confirmed two candidate forums to take place over the next two weeks.
An old-school Georgia Political Rally will be held Thursday, October 22 in conjunction with the Deep Roots Festival BBQ Cook Off Sneak Peek under a large tent behind City Hall in downtown Milledgeville. This forum will feature candidates in the first district municipal race and candidates for the special election to replace Bobby Parham.
Don't forget to come out early for Sneak Peek so you can mark your ballot with the greasy goodness of three national BBQ teams.
And that following Monday, October 26, Georgia College's American Democracy Project will host a municipal election Candidate forum at the Arts & Sciences Auditorium on the GCSU campus, featuring candidates in the third, fourth and fifth district races.
Come out to learn about the issues and support your candidates of choice in these great community political events!

The Future

Oak Hill Middle's Aqueous Green Action Team hosted an environmental forum this week with Mayor Richard Bentley, Keep Milledgeville-Baldwin County Beautiful Executive Director Angie Gheesling and Milledgevile Master Gardener David Barnes.
The people you see behind us are they who will make this world a better place.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Worst Decision the County Ever Made-For the City

First Presbyterian Church Green Initiative members Audie Wilson and Debbie Harshbarger giving a recycling presentation to City Council Tuesday Night.

Maybe it's just because County Commissioners are known to turn quickly on those who are still questioning their decision to add a $13.50 fee to all county water bills in order to facilitate curbside solid waste pickup, or maybe it's because the city really is perceived as the more progressive local governing body; but has anybody else wondered why the Milledgeville City Council is seemingly the new venue for all questions about the future of recycling in the Milledgeville-Baldwin County area?
Representatives of three different local environmental advocacy groups--the Aqueous Green Action Team, Georgia College's Environmental Science Club and the First Presbyterian Church Green Initiative--were on hand last night to engage Council in a conversation about what city officials can do to create more recycling options for community members.
Suggestions ranged from working as quickly as possible to open some kind of universally accessible recycling drop-off point to creating a community advisory board on recycling to creating a municipal recyclable materials processing center.
Read Wednesday's Union-Recorder to find out what options are currently on the table.

Keep the Grant family in your thoughts

Johnny Grant III and his family are with his mother Zell Grant at the hospital in Macon, and I'm sure they could use your thoughts and prayers to help support them at this time.

Tonight to be a big one at City Hall

Those interested in recycling, taxes and who'll be holding the reins at City Hall should make it out to tonight's Milledgeville City Council meeting.
And don't think you can just watch this one from home.
In a 7 p.m. work session Debbie Harshbarger and representatives from Georgia College & State University's Environmental Science Club will address Council about the county's solid waste management woes. Safe bet is they'll be talking more about the new lack of efficient avenues for recycling than the $13.50 monthly charge currently being levied by the county.
Council will set the tax levy, which should remain at 9.12 mils as ordained in their September 23 meeting.
And Council will also try to come together to appoint an interim City Manager.
Disagreements over the last item have stretched over the last two or three council meetings. All evidence points to a divide on council over who should be interim chief admin.
As the U-R reported last week, there are three viable candidates in City Hall who could take the position: Water and Sewer Director Barry Jarrett, City Planner Russell Thompson and Finance Director Don Toms.
Barry Jarrett has been the go-to-guy before. But as evidenced by the delay in falling back into old habits, there is something fueling disagreement among Council members concerning that appointment.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Unemployed Georgia: Land of Opportunity

Georgia Public Broadcasting aired this story about a private corrections company going to Georgia's most employable county (read: the community most desperate for economic development) "to educate job seekers and generate support for the project within the community."
Something tells me the educational aspect of this meeting will be something along the lines of 'we need a whole bunch of tax credits and other incentives to write your town into our bid.'
Although vague on the details, I couldn't help but wonder if this Georgia Department of Corrections' Request For Proposals to construct a 1000-bed public-private institution is the same Corrections RFP that inspired the Milledgeville City Council to extend the city's opportunity zone all the way across South Milledgeville to Baldwin State Prison in order to attract a similar bid from a private corrections company.
In South Milledgeville, an expanded opportunity zone--a Georgia Department of Community Affairs program that offers tax credits to employers for job creation--creates opportunities for business development of any size, and largely shields the municipal and county governments from bearing the burden of incentivizing a private company's locating their new facility in your community.
But what happens when another community is desperate enough to give away the farm just to get the milk?

Friday, October 9, 2009

For those about to...


The Milledgeville City Council is holding a work session before Tuesday's regularly scheduled meeting to discuss recycling.
No info about what aspect of recycling they'll be discussing, but one could guess that there maybe some movement on the county's offer to consolidate solid waste management.
The work session will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Executive Chambers.

Attention City Council Candidates:

More students registered to vote during a campus voter registration drive than the number of people who voted in each of the first, second, third or fourth district races in the last municipal election.
According to this article in the Colonnade, over 650 students registered to vote in Baldwin County in the last several months. The November 9, 2005 post-election edition of the U-R reported voter turnout in each of the fore-mentioned districts as follows: District One: 435; District Two: 216*; District Three: 393; and District Four: 298.
*Jeanette Walden ran unopposed in the 2005 election.

The image above is just a lil bit of election lore. District Four Challenger Zach Johnson, who was enrolled as a Georgia College student at the time of the election, wore this costume out for Halloween in the last days before 2005's contest. Although it didn't seem like a kind joke at the time, outgoing District Four Councilman Ken Vance told me that he carried this picture in his wallet for several years afterwards.

And the first person to return their questionnaire for this year's special election is...

Casey Tucker!
Youth certainly is sticking it to experience this year.
As we did for the municipal elections, here is a sneak peek at Tucker's answers to our questionnaire for those who seek to replace the irreplaceable Bobby Parham.

Age: 22

Occupation: Food Service


My father, Steve Tucker, is a pipe fitter from Cochran, GA, and is currently living in Cumming, GA, with his wife Cathie Lopez Tucker.
Stevie-Lynn Tucker, my sister, recently graduated from Oglethorpe University with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics, and lives in Doraville, GA, where we were both raised.

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

County Coordinator for the Campaign for Liberty, GOP Precinct Chairman, Baldwin County Delegate for the District 12 and State GOP conventions

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

I’m young. My father always says the exuberance of youth is wasted on the youth. Well, I’m not wasting that energy and passion. I come into this race and into politics without favors to pay back, or big business to look out for. I am a fresh look and a fresh face in politics. It is time we had a political outsider get into the fold and truly represent the people.
I’m principled. I will never give my vote on a whim, or in a back-room deal to further my agenda. I will work for the people, not for the government.
I am hard working and working for the people. I have been knocking on doors, doing politics the old fashioned way. I am meeting the people, hearing their concerns, and working to further my understanding of the issues and how to solve the problems based on the peoples needs.

Why do you feel compelled to represent your fellow residents in the state House of Representatives?

For too long it seems that legislation in our government has been proposed and passed, not with the people in mind, but special interests. Our state constitution states, “All government, of right, originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole. Public officers are the trustees and servants of the people and are at all times amenable to them.” The laws have not reflected such sentiment. I want to be a voice for the people of this district, a voice for limited government, and a voice for personal freedom.

What are the three biggest issues facing the State of Georgia?

The economy, education, and an overreaching Federal Government.

As a member of the General Assembly, what will you do to address these three issues during the next legislative session?

Much of our economic problems have come as a result of too much government intervention, control, and regulation of the markets. The market has not been allowed to correct itself due to government meddling. The first step in reviving our economy is work towards a smaller, more limited government. Cutting income taxes would put more money in this district’s residents and in turn be more money in our local economy. Cutting corporate taxes would give businesses more capital to invest in plant, equipment, and most importantly, labor. Moreover, it would give more incentive not only to open in our area, but also stay in the area, instead of shipping jobs out of the country.

Our education system needs vast improvement. The state has poured money into the system, but the results do not correlate. We must have more responsibility and accountability from our education professionals. I believe school choice and a merit based pay system for teachers would improve our education and create more accountability and responsibility, as well as increase parent involvement in the education process. Education is the foundation of a free society, and we have to ensure a great education system if we want our district, state, and country to continue to excel in the future.

The Federal Government has grown too large and taken too much control of our great state. They have consistently overstepped their constitutional authority granted in Article One, Section Eight, and limited by the Tenth Amendment. The most recent unconstitutional action has been the attempt to pass massive government healthcare reform. It is our right and duty to fight for our state and fight against unconstitutional overreach by the Federal Government. I will work to pass the 10th Amendment Resolution currently in the Georgia House, as well as fight against Federal mandates and the many unconstitutional actions and laws passed by the United States congress.

In the past, the City of Milledgeville has asked members of its legislative delegation to bring legislation to the General Assembly to change its municipal charter, and now the Baldwin County Commission is considering changes to the way the county elects its commissioners, how will you work with your constituents and their elected officials when they seek changes to local government, and how will you work to ensure that elected officials’ desire for change is shared by their electors?

Assuming the elected officials are working with and for the community I will certainly work with them to improve our local government. I will be their representative and must act accordingly. However, these changes should only be proposed within the community and at the state level if the people are behind it. Further, any changes in the government should be directed at promoting freedom and responsibility, not more government intervention. The key to improving government is activism on the part of the people. If they do not speak with their representatives, they give up their voice. I want to promote an environment of community involvement, and will always be available to the leaders of the community, but more importantly, the people of the community.

As a member of the state House of Representatives what will you do to work with the state’s leadership and state agencies to protect Baldwin County’s state employment base?

We have lost two prisons and the YDC over the past year. Baldwin’s unemployment is over 12%, and losing the state jobs is one of the reasons that number is so high. We must fight to keep the jobs that we still do have here. I will work diligently with state leaders to ensure Milledgeville does not receive the brunt of future cuts, and look for alternatives to closures and relocations. There are lots of items in the state budget that are wasteful and unnecessary other than Milledgeville’s jobs.
While working to protect our base, we must also work to diversify our economy. Nearly 40% of Baldwin’s current employment is state jobs. That is a dangerously high number, and unhealthy for the economy, as we have seen with the recent cuts made by the state. We must look to the future and work towards a much broader private sector economy if we are to truly rebuild and redevelop Milledgeville and Baldwin County. We have the minds, the ideas and the spirit here to recover and continue to grow and make this area an even better place to live, raise a family, and retire.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Inclimate weather changing plans for Staff Sgt. French's Homecoming processional

Below is from the U-R Web site.

Stormy weather has changed plans for the arrival of the remains of Army Staff Sergeant Alex French.
A liaison between the Department of Defense and the family of Staff Sgt. French communicated to the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce that the plane transporting Staff Sgt. French’s remains is expected to touch down at Lowe Field in Macon at approximately 11:30 a.m.
Staff Sgt. French’s family will meet the plane in Macon and a brief ceremony will be held at Lowe Field before a procession embarks for Milledgeville.
The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office estimates that the procession will leave for Milledgeville around 1 p.m.
Once in Milledgeville, Deputy Police Chief Richard Malone told the Union-Recorder that the procession should follow the same route down Hancock Street to Jefferson Street at which point it will travel north to Slater’s Funeral Home at the intersection of Jefferson and Montgomery streets.
Continue to follow updates on the morning’s events at

Apology: I have learned my lesson about how to spell inclement.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

New Name, Same Dilemma

The AJC has the latest on Georgia's struggle to heal its ailing mental health system.

Amen Bruddah!

To continue with the technology-related posts of the last couple of days, here is a story that says things that need to be said about the industry that puts food on my plate.
Since when were human beings so afraid of transformative change?

Of no relation to the launch of Milledgeville's Wireless Broadband Network

The Union-Recorder's Web operations will undergo a face lift in the coming weeks or months.
To get a sneak peek of what you can expect, visit our sister publication, located somewhere in a place called Alabama.