Archive for July, 2009

Railroading in Georgia Started in Savannah

July 13, 2009

When we think of Savannah, we think of its port.  But there is another form of transportation that has played a huge role in development of the city. Savannah is home of the Central of Georgia Railroad.  The Roundhouse Railroad Museum, a National Historic Landmark,  really brings that home for us. 

Turntable at the Roundhouse Railroad Museum, Savannah, GA

Turntable at the Roundhouse Railroad Museum, Savannah, GA

This National Historic Landmark site is the oldest and largest existing nineteenth-century railroad operations complex in the nation. Construction began in 1850. Thirteen of the original structures remain today.  The turntable was restored and it still works.  

I was there recently and, except for the fact that I almost passed out from the heat and humidity, enjoyed it a lot.  The heat was relieved when I went inside the air conditioned Central of Georgia Office Car.

Central of Georgia office car,  Roundhouse Railroad Museum, Savannah, GA

Central of Georgia office car, Roundhouse Railroad Museum, Savannah, GA

The office car started out as a Pullman parlor car in 1925.  It morphed into a passenger car during World War Two when there was a dire shortage of passenger cars, and eventually became an office car, which was used by the railroad’s top executives. 

Lounge, Central of Georgia office car, Roundhouse Railroad Museum, Savannah, GA

Lounge, Central of Georgia office car, Roundhouse Railroad Museum, Savannah, GA

 Oh, I remember telling you in an earlier post that I would explain this picture.

Toilet

It’s the office car’s bathroom.

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Josh’s Explanation

July 12, 2009
Dick,
Not to get too deep into semantics but Bo did win the popular vote in 1966. The Democratic legislature elected the 2nd place finisher. So when I said popularly elected I believe that is accurate, while true that he was never seated as Governor due to the law on the books at the time.

As always, thanks for your fair coverage.

Regards,

Josh

 

As reported in the previous post, you’ll see that what Josh said in his press release was,  “It is an honor to have the support of the first popularly elected Republican Governor of Georgia after Reconstruction.”  

Bo Callaway Endorses Josh McKoon for Georgia Senate Dist. 29

July 10, 2009

One minor correction, Josh: Bo Callaway was never Governor of Georgia.

Josh McKoon announcing for GA Sen. Dist. 29, Hamilton, GA (Courtesy; Josh McKoon)

Josh McKoon announcing for GA Sen. Dist. 29, Hamilton, GA (Courtesy; Josh McKoon)

  You can understand Josh McKoon’s enthusiasm about getting Bo Callaway’s support.  However,  as distinguished as the former Secretary of the Army’s  career has been, he lost the governor’s race in 1966 to Democrat Lester Maddox in one of the most famous elections in the history of this state.   I covered the election in the Georgia House where it ended up after no one got a majority in the election.  Callaway won a plurality,  but in 1966 that wasn’t good enough.  A lot of the House Democrats would have preferred him over Maddox, but they were not about to put a Republican in the governor’s office. 

Howard "Bo" Callaway, when he was Sec. of the Army (Courtesy: U.S. Army)

Howard "Bo" Callaway, when he was Sec. of the Army (Courtesy: U.S. Army)

Josh’s news release said that he said, “It is an honor to have the support of the first popularly elected Republican Governor of Georgia after Reconstruction.”

He was the first Georgia Republican elected to the United States Congress since reconstruction.  I covered the election in which he beat former Georgia Lt. Governor Garland Byrd for the 3rd Congressional District seat.  Sonny Perdue is the first Republican elected Governor of Georgia since reconstruction.

With Josh’s roster of supporters –  the news release says,  “Howard Hollis ‘Bo’ Callaway joins community leaders such as Sam Rawls of
Knight-Rawls, former AFLAC executive George Jeter, Sheriff Mike Jolley
of Harris County and Synovus Chairman Richard Anthony as part of the
Steering Committee ” – you would  think any potential challenger might just forget it.  Not so.  Attorney Ron Mullins, who is seriously considering a run,  hasn’t been scared off yet.  At least,  not the last time I talked with him about it.

TSYS CEO and Chair Phil Tomlinson Updates Rotarians on the Fortunes of TSYS

July 8, 2009
Philip Tomlinson, CEO, Chair, TSYS, Columbus, GA  (Courtesy of TSYS, unauthorized usage not permitted)

Philip Tomlinson, CEO, Chair, TSYS, Columbus, GA (Courtesy of TSYS, unauthorized usage not permitted)

TSYS CEO and Chairman of the Board Phil Tomlinson told Columbus Rotarians today that while the company has a lost a big customer, Washington Mutual,  and could lose another one, Bank of America merchant services,  things, over all, are going well.  He did say that TSYS customers are mainly banks and banks are having big problems.  But, he made it clear that TSYS was not in the loan making business.

He admitted that there have been significant credit card abuses by some banks,  but thinks the new regulations being put in place by the Obama administration will cause problems,  mainly an increase in costs. 

He also said credit card companies are an easy target for politicians.

He told me that TSYS has not laid off any employees – he calls them “team members” –  and that the company is working to see that does not happen, and has high hopes that it will not.

Open Door Needs Food

July 8, 2009

Pov_2008 08 05_0466   

Cathy Claire Williams put this on Facebook.  I thought I would share it with you in case you want to help.

Please pass this on to your friends: Open Door is in urgent need of food for their food pantry! We’re told it’s at a critically low point right now, and the needs are greater than ever.

They especially need protein-rich foods like peanut butter and canned meats, but they will gratefully receive anything.

You can take donations directly to Open Door at 2405 2nd Ave in Cols, or bring them to Pierce Chapel on Sundays.

Ron Mullins Confirms He May Run for District 29

July 7, 2009

The Georgia Senate District 29 race just got interesting.  Ron Mullins is seriously considering a run for it, which means Josh McKoon may not waltz in without a fight.  Richard Hyatt’s Columbus reported that a source told Richard that Ron might run. I called Ron.  

Ron Mullins, Columbus attorney

Ron Mullins, Columbus attorney

Both of them are attorneys.  Josh probably does have a name recognition advantage after all of the media attention he got as chair of the Muscogee Republican Party and his involvement with Common Cause Columbus.  However, Ron is also a well known, respected, and articulate attorney, and could offer an alternative choice.

Ron confirmed to me that he is considering the race and that support he has gotten so far has been good.  If he runs, it will be as a Republican. 29 leans heavily Republican.  

Josh made an interesting comment when his campaign announced he has raised almost $45,000 in the 21 days since he announced for the seat Seth Harp is vacating to run for insurance commissioner. He said he was  “blessed that so many friends have confidence in our effort to bring conservative initiatives back to the State Capitol.”  Bring back conservative initiatives?  We’ve had a Republican dominated state capitol for almost 8 years now.  Conservative initiatives have been missing for all of that time?

By the way, Ron, who is a Harris County Native, city attorney for Pine Mountain,  graduate of Harris County High and the University of Georgia,  says he is a conservative.  I was not in the least surprised. Who, running in a district as conservative as the 29th, would run as anything but a conservative?  It seems that just about all Republican primary races boil down to who can convince the voters he or she is the most conservative.

Cooling Off Like the Rich Folks

July 5, 2009
Gotta get outta this heat and humidity.  What to do? Do what the rich folks do. Go to Highlands, North Carolina.
Viewing area on the way up the mountain to Highland's, NC

Just getting  there is fun.  Riding up those curvy mountain roads, the view is beautiful.      

  HIGHLAND WATERFALL 

HIGHLAND WATERFALL - CAR

Once there, the high is 76 degrees.  That’s 76 compared to Columbus’ 98. 

HIGHLAND DOWNTOWN

 Downtown is picturesque, with lots of quaint old stores that sell high price stuff.

 GSMRR 1

And there are plenty of fun side trips, things like a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad.  You board the train at Bryson City, NC.

  GSMRR 2 

07 02_HIGHLANDS NC ETC._1069 

Not many train rides offer a view of  folks rafting, but this one does.

GSMRR 6 

GSMRR 10

Just miles and miles of beautiful views along the Tuckasegee River and Lake Fontana.

GSMRR 3

That ride brought back memories of when passenger trains were a common mode of transportation, and one of life’s highlights was eating in a nice dining car.

 07 02_HIGHLANDS NC ETC._1076

So I got to beat the heat the way rich folks do… for three days.

Savannah Revisited #3

July 2, 2009

Just like most folks who have studied Georgia history,  I knew about the bloody Revolutionary War battle in Savannah – even with French help,  our side lost that one to the British – so there is no surprise there is an exhibit in the Savannah History Museum.

Revolutionary War battle exhibit, Savannah History Museum, Savannah, GA

Revolutionary War battle exhibit, Savannah History Museum, Savannah, GA

It was the unexpected things, though, that made the museum stand out to me.  I was not surprised to see an area dedicated to one of the greatest popular song lyricist of all times, Savannah’s Johnny Mercer,  who wrote standard classics like “Moon River,”  “Accentuate the Positive,”  “Lazy Bones,” and many more.  But, I had no idea I would actually see a real Oscar.  Mercer’s Oscar for “Days of Wine and Roses”  is there. He won five Best Song Academy Awards during his career.  

Johnny Mercer's Oscar and Grammy, Savannah History Museum, Savannah, GA

Johnny Mercer's Oscar and Grammy, Savannah History Museum, Savannah, GA

Then there was the grim reminder of what going to the dentist was like 70 years ago.  I remember the pain well. 

Dentist office, Savannah History Museum, Savannah, GA

Dentist office, Savannah History Museum, Savannah, GA

All in all, the history museum is definitely worth a visit.  But, there is another museum right behind it that’s worth a trip, also.  The history museum is in  the old 1850’s Central of Georgia Depot, and right next to it is the famous Round House Museum.  More on that coming up.