And YES it is!

March 18, 2015

I told Muscogeee County School District Superintendent Dr. David Lewis after today’s Rotary Club of Columbus meeting, “You did it!” He smiled and said, “We did it.” 

He’s right, and I’m proud  of Columbus’ once again showing it supports its children and public education by approving the latest SPLOST.

And to those who voted “no,” I know that doesn’t mean you don’t support our children and their teachers. I hope you’ll accept that the majority has spoken. Now let’s pull together to make our school district as good as it can be.

 

YES!

March 9, 2015

As I said before. I am going to vote for the Muscogee County School District SPLOST.

The school district does have its problems, but not providing adequate facilities and today’s technological learning tools is not going to solve them.

What will?

At the top of  my priority list is greatly reducing poverty.

How?

A lot of people  believe education is the answer.

It can’t be, though, if the kids don’t learn.

Why don’t they?

Bad teachers?

Are the best teachers assigned to top performing Columbus High and Britt David Magnets?

One teacher said, “Put those same teachers at Columbus High and Britt David in failing schools that are full of Title 1 kids and see how well they do.”

Kids with affluent, interested parents who read to them when they are pre-school, and support them intellectually and emotionally to help them meet high expectations when they go to school, for the most part,  perform much better than kids who don’t have that.  There are, of course, exceptions.

Public schools reflect society.

Anyway, public schools are the hope of  the future, and I’m going to support them. Hope you do, too.

 

 

Escape Radio, TV, Books, and Movies

March 4, 2015

When I was young, fiction interested me more than non-fiction.  Since my family subscribed to both the Columbus Ledger and the Columbus Enquirer, I did see the front page headlines on the way to  the  comics and movie ads, and I did  see the newsreels when I went to a movie, so I did  have an idea of what was going on in the world. But it was the feature films and the cartoons that I cared about.

Then, as I got older I became more interested in reality.  A highlight of the year was radio, and later, TV coverage of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.  And when, as a teenager, I got into radio broadcasting, announcers did a little of  everything back then. They read commercials, newscasts, and hosted disc jockey shows. It was the disc jockey shows that I wanted to do the most. Still, reading wire service radio news copy served me well when I matured enough to specialize in news, first on radio and then on TV. I learned to interview news subjects, edit audio tape for radio, and shoot and edit film and video for TV news. 

I basically stopped reading fiction, concentrating on non-fiction.  But, I never stopped going to  the movies,  watching entertainment TV,  and listening to music, live and recorded. All of us need some escape from the real  world. And now I find myself escaping even more when I watch TV and go to the movies.  There is so much distressing news in the world.  Fortunately, there are enough quality TV programs and movies to hold my interest. A prime example of quality TV programs is Downton Abbey.  The British are especially good at producing period series and movies for TV. Downton Abbey is over for  this year, but Selfridges, another excellent period series follows it, so I won’t complain.  

  

 

Best Way to Watch the Oscars

February 23, 2015

 

What to do? Watch Downton Abbey or the Oscars?

How about both?

We watched Downton Abbey while recording the Oscars.

Fast forwarding through all the commercials and the awards that didn’t interest me,  I got to watch the Hollywood pat-itself-on-the-back show in a lot less time than watching it live.

There were almost no surprises.  The predictors got just about all of them right.  There was some uncertainly about Best Male Actor. Some predicted Michael Keaton would edge out  Eddie Redmayne, but he didn’t.  I was glad. Keating was really good as Birdman, but Redmayne was brilliant as astrophycist Stephen Hawkins in The Theory of Everything.

 

Musical Brilliance Right Here in River City

February 16, 2015

image

The Schwob star in the Columbus music crown continues to shine brighter and brighter.  That was amply illustrated when Professor Seguis Schwartz and Professor Boris Abramov’s Vilolin Studio students awed the audience in Legacy Hall Sunday afternoon.

It’s hard to come up with a superlative powerful enough to describe the quality of the performances of those Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music violinists.  Schwob’s reputation and scholarship program has attracted truly world-class, competition-winning student violinists.  And those world-class students come from all over, places like China, Russia, Israel, Poland, Canada, Saipan, and, Georgia (US), Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, New York, and South Carolina.

If you enjoy beautiful music, don’t miss their performances at CSU. 

 

 

 

SPLOST – Yes or No?

February 9, 2015

I am against the new SPLOST proposed by the Muscogee County School District School Board; however, I plan to vote for it next month.

I oppose it because it is a continuation of what is probably the most regressive of taxes, a sales tax.  Instead of “a regressive tax,” legislators of old called it the “poor man’s tax.”  A penny means a lot more to someone living on a minimum wage than someone who can afford to travel in his private jet.

So, if I’m not in favor of increasing the sales tax, why will I vote for the SPLOST? Because people, for reasons that I don’t understand, will more readily vote for a sales tax than a property or income tax increase.  The MCSD needs to do things like  building a new Spencer High School, providing better facilities for autistic students, repairing leaking roofs, buying some new busses, and other things.  It appears the only way of financing that is with a  sales tax. That’s reality.

As far as the Frank Myers  and John  Thomas opposition is concerned , I do have to say some of their concerns are worth considering. I see no reasons to pay for another audit when we already have two, but questioning the efficacy of some no-bid purchases is  reasonable; however, I don’t think that consideration should be used to trash the SPLOST. Yes, teachers do need a raise, but that comes from operational, not capital, budgets. You can place a great deal of the blame for the financial stress teachers are facing on a state legislature that has slashed public school budgets for more than a decade.

 

 

“Hollywood South”

February 3, 2015

Hollywood is still considered the movie capital of the world, but it’s getting a lot of competition from Georgia now.  Lee Thomas, Deputy Commissioner of the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office, told Columbus Rotarians that Georgia came it third last year in the number of productions filmed in America.

There are a  number of sound stages operating in Atlanta now, and a lot of movies are being shot on locations all over the state.  It’s become a billion-dollar industry in the state. More than 700 films of different types have been made in Georgia since 1972. Westville has been the location for a number of films, including one just recently released, The Homesman,  directed and starring Tommy Lee Jones, and featuring Hillary Swank, and Meryl Streep. And some major ones were made before then.  Parts of Gone With The Wind were shot in Georgia in 1939.  A number of movies have been made at Fort Benning, including the Green Berets with John Wayne.

Why are so  many being made in Georgia now?  Impressive tax breaks, and many suitable locations for shooting feature films, television shows, commercials, and more.

So now if you want to work in the movies, you can do it here in Georgia.  Movies employ about 150 locals for middle-range budget movies, and about 250 for big budget fims.

Why “Why” is Such a Powerful Word

January 26, 2015

Once humans evolved from bacteria in the ocean to walking and talking people, they started asking “why?”  Seeking answers to that question has brought us to the point that we are today, able to go to the moon, split atoms, eradicate deadly diseases, compose and perform magnificent music, plays, movies, books, and produce computer games, among other really neat things.

Of  course, there is a downside to technological advancement, because it has also brought to the point that we can easily destroy the world.  All it will take is for one insane head of a country with an arsenal of nuclear weapons to push a button.  Then, there is the process that takes a little longer, but can also do the job, and that’s the  destruction of our environment by the side effects of machines and processes that produce pollutants.

Those thoughts occurred to me as I watched David Christian’s TED talk “The History of the World in 18 Minutes.”  You can check it out at http://www.ted.com/talks/david_christian_big_history?language=en .

 

Will W.C. Bradley Return Manufacturing to Columbus?

January 22, 2015
Marc Olivie', CEO W.C. Bradley Company, and Matt Swift, COO W.C. Bradley Real Estate Division and Rotarian

Marc Olivie’, CEO W.C. Bradley Company, and Matt Swift, COO W.C. Bradley Real Estate Division and Rotarian

“I don’t foresee it anytime soon,” W.C. Bradley Company CEO Marc Olivie’ told members of the Rotary Club of Columbus.

He went on to explain that Wal-Mart is planning to spend more than 50-billion-dollars on American manufactured goods and that it would continue to buy Char-Broil grills if manufacturing returns from China to America if the price remains the same.  A company sponsored survey of consumers asked if they would be willing to pay five dollars more for a grill if it were made in America. The answer was an unequivical “no.”

The question was raised during a question and answer session held after Olivie’ had spoken on the status of W.C. Bradley Company.   The company, which had a very good year,  is selling millions of grills, Zebco fishing reels, and Tiki outdoor torches. None is made in America.  Zebco operates out of Tulsa and Tiki Torches out of the Milwaukee area.

While those products are sold globally, the company’s real estate business focuses on the Columbus area. It has extensive holdings in downtown Columbus and Olivie’ says he finds the revitalization of downtown very exciting, that it is truly a plus for the area.

Matt Swift, fellow  Rotarian and President and COO of the W.C. Bradley Company Real Estate Division, said, “We would not have been able to attract this Belgian and his wife to Columbus if downtown and Columbus in general was not attractive to them.”  This day and age a city has to have the arts, quality educational facilities and other attractions to entice talent, and that attracting talent is the name of the game in business.

Olivie’ also pointed out how valuable Columbus State University  is to the Columbus area.  Cities with good universities attract management talent. CSU has already played a big role in revitalizing downtown with its transfer of its arts schools and is about to play an even larger one when it also moves its College of Education and Health Professions downtown.

W.C. Bradley Company owns 25 buildings, which occupy about a million square feet, in downtown.  Except for the condos sold at Eagle and Phenix Mill No. 3,  it rents its downtown buildings to occupants,  Swift said.

TED is a Good Friend to Have

January 18, 2015

When I go walking, quite often it’s with a good friend called TED.

TED tells me some really interesting things when I put in my two miles daily – well, most days – on a treadmill.

For instance, the other day David Christian, one of the many intelligent, engaging speakers on TED, told me the History of the World in 18 Minutes.

Now, that might seem something really impossible to do, but, amazingly, he does a pretty good job of it.

Check it out at   www.ted.com/talks/david_christian_big_history?language=en and we’ll discuss it in our next post.

 

 

 


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