Chattahoochee Chatter: 'The Fonz' to come to Columbus

January 8, 2014 

"The Fonz" is coming to Columbus. And we here at Chatter hope he brings his leather jacket.

Henry Winkler, one of the stars of the hit television series "Happy Days," will be the speaker on Feb. 4 at the 10th annual Dr. Clarence C. Butler Service and Leadership Award Dinner in the Columbus Convention & Trade Center. At the black-tie affair, Dr. Bruce Carr will be honored by the St. Francis Foundation.

Besides doing the 1970s comedy series, Winkler has starred in movies such as "Here Comes the Boom," "Night Shift" and "Heroes," directed movies such as "Memories of Me" starring Billy Crystal, produced TV shows such as "MacGyver" and has co-written a series of children's books featuring the character Hank Zipzer.

Tickets for the dinner are $150. Reservations may be made by calling 706-653-9375 by Feb. 1.

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If you want to get a jump on making your plans for the year, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson has released her "Let's Talk … With The Mayor" public forums for 2014.

They will be March 20 at Gethsemane Baptist Church on Kendrick Avenue; June 19 at the Salvation Army Worship and Community Center on Warm Springs Road; Sept. 18 at the Comer Gym in Bibb City; and Dec. 11 at the Shirley Winston Gym on Steam Mill Road. All of the forums run from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

See ya there.

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Like ubiquitous Walgreens and CVS pharmacies, the nation's dollar store rivals often open across from each other, hoping to grab a piece of each other's financial pie.

Such is the case with two Family Dollar stores that are nearing completion in Columbus and Phenix City. One is on Hamilton Road in Columbus, across from a brand-spanking new Dollar General that recently opened its doors. The other is on Crawford Road in Phenix City. It, too, is across from a Dollar General doing business for some time.

For Family Dollar, it's no big deal being so close to its dollar rival or any other retailer.

"A little competition is good for everyone," said Cliff Cermak, a community affairs specialist with Family Dollar. "Because of the smaller format of our stores, we're able to locate our stores closer to the communities and neighborhoods we serve. In some of the communities we serve, there may be competing retailers nearby."

That said, the dollar stores soon will be battling it out. Cermak said the Family Dollar in Phenix City should open by the end of this month, while the new Columbus location will be selling goods by the end of February.

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We picked up a Chatter item Monday when we visited Central High-Phenix City to report about principal Tommy Vickers' return from deployment in Kuwait. As a colonel in the Alabama National Guard, he was chief of staff for the

135th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, responsible for all U.S. logistics in the Middle East.

It was the day of the BCS national title game, and Vickers, an Auburn graduate, introduced us to his wife, Joy, an English teacher at Central.

Joy made it clear she wasn't rooting for Auburn.

Wearing a houndstooth scarf -- "I'm quietly rebelling," she said -- Joy explained that she graduated from Alabama and would root for Auburn only if former Central quarterback Jonathan Wallace was playing.

"But because they moved him to third string," she said, "I wanted them to lose all freaking year."

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