Chattahoochee Chatter: You just never know

January 29, 2014 

One can't fault Morgan Kendrick if he can't predict the weather. After all, even pro forecasters get it wrong every once in a while.

But it was interesting a week ago when Kendrick, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, ticked off why the insurance company picked Columbus for a major project that ultimately could expand its local workforce from nearly 1,800 to 2,000 and keep it here for a while.

There's the talent and quality of the workforce, along with the overall efficiency of the employees and the local operation at a reasonable cost to the company. And, apparently, geography is a big deal.

"We don't have snow here, so of course the building doesn't have closures very frequently," said Kendrick in the lobby of the Blue Cross building on Warm Springs Road. "It's just been a terrific place for us many, many years."

Wouldn't you know it? The next week an ice and snow storm closes the two Blue Cross centers in Columbus, including the newest one in Midland, near where the major expansion will take place by summer 2015. The centers were closed Wednesday, with staff vice president Jennifer Wade expecting them to reopen today.

The forecast would seem to bear that out, with temps looking to rebound today to the mid-40s, allowing plenty of melting to occur.

But, then again, you just never know. Either way, be careful out there.

•••

During last week's Phenix City Board of Education meeting, interim Superintendent Rod Hinton gave board members "Better Every Day" certificates to remind them of his mantra. Then he added something a little extra special to Fran Ellis' honor when he recalled her teaching days in the city.

"With all the beautiful women on campus, all the boys were looking at Fran," Hinton said, then added amid the howls of laughter. "That is the truth. Am I telling the truth, Sydney?"

Board attorney Sydney Smith sparked more chuckles when she replied, "Yes, and the girls were looking at Bob." That's Fran's husband, Bob Ellis, another retired teacher.

•••

While much of Georgia and Alabama was being brought to a standstill by the snow Wednesday morning, what do you suppose the Columbus Cottonmouths were doing? They were at the Civic Center practicing for Friday night's game with the Huntsville Havoc. Wonder if any of them skated to work?

•••

It's freezing and the roads are icy. It's time to

think about proms.

The Junior League of Columbus is collecting new and lightly used prom dresses and accessories, which it will donate to high school girls on March 8 as part of the organization's Project Prom.

Accessories needed include shoes, purses and earrings.

All can be dropped off at any Wade Cleaners location.

Since the event's inception in 2011, the Junior League has given away more than 300 dresses.

For more information, visit www.jlcolumbus.com.

•••

A nonprofit veterans organization is sponoring a summit to help female veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues.

The South Atlantic Center for Veterans Education and Training Inc. is holding the First Female Veterans Warriors' Summit at 10 a.m. Feb. 27 in the auditorium at the Columbus Public Library. The half-day summit will introduce the veterans to tailored services to meet their needs.

In addition to stress, the summit will address substance abuse, child development, employment opportunities, veterans' justice, military sexual trauma and mental health.

The morning session will focus on veterans support services for women while the afternoon will center on mental health, justice and health issues.

If you have questions or need more information, female veterans should contact Alice Harrison at 706-593-3393 or email at aharrison@gcvret.org.

•••

If your car stereo still plays only cassette tapes and you enjoy listening to audio books while driving, you better hurry to the library branch nearest you because that format is about to be extinct in the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries.

In his January written report, director Alan Harkness, declares, "Books on tape are in the process of being removed from the collection. Circulation of books on tape has been declining exponentially for many months. The most recent levels of circulation have been extremely low in number of items and number of customers. The point was reached where maintaining an obsolete collection was no longer an efficient use of staff time."

•••

We'll close this edition of Chatter by thanking a compassionate and mighty neighbor, Linwood Spires, for helping one of our Chatterland scouts yank open his truck's frozen door Wednesday morning so he could drive to work.

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