Chattahoochee Chatter: Meteorologists or meteorologist

February 12, 2014 

Did the weather forecast for Wednesday change between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday or not?

That's the first item up in this week's Chatterland.

On its 5 p.m. newscast Wednesday, WRBL interviewed Muscogee County Superintendent David Lewis, who told the media he consulted with meteorologists (yes, plural) before deciding late Tuesday night to cancel school.

The TV station said their meteorologists were never consulted, and quoted its own Bob Jeswald saying that the forecast actually didn't change during the evening.

WRBL said when confronted about the number of meteorologists consulted, Lewis revised his statement to say he only spoke with one meteorologist.

Wonder who that was.

Either way, the calls and emails concerning the school district's closing Wednesday didn't go out to parents until around 5 a.m.

And some weren't too happy about that early wakeup call.


Here's a new procedure that seems to be working:

A Ledger-Enquirer investigative story in December reported that more than half of the elected leaders serving Columbus in local or state offices violated a Georgia ethics law in 2013 by filing required documents late or not at all, according to state records.

Beyond some politicians simply being scofflaws, the L-E's investigation found part of the problem was a reduction in funding and staff at the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, formerly known as the Georgia Ethics Commission. That has led to a broken system, with a backlog of notifications.

The Georgia Legislature last year addressed the problem by allowing most local elected officials to file their required documents with the local elections board instead of through the state commission, starting in 2014.

And the initial result is a big-time success.

Nancy Boren, the Muscogee County elections director, emailed us last week and announced: "We have just completed the first reporting cycle for elected officials and candidates and we have 100% compliance. We are excited about this and look forward to the next disclosure period of March 31."

Thanks for the update, Nancy. Good work.

Oh, and congratulations to those compliant leaders.


On the gray, cold and rainy Tuesday this week, one Chatterland scout rushing to an appointment found reason to be grateful for having to slow down in the school zone outside St. Luke:

Those mighty cute, uniformed kids followed their teachers like ducks in a row, holding hands and huddling under colorful umbrellas as they crossed busy 11th Street.

May we all take time to make a big deal about each day's small yet joyful surprises -- and hold hands across danger to safely reach the other side.


If nothing else, we here in Chatterland say it's a good start.

The U.S. House of Representatives took the first step Tuesday in putting the nation on the path to financial stability. It passed a bill 221 to 201 allowing the government to borrow money to fund its operations and pay obligations until March 15. That's mid-March of 2015.

The measure now heads to the U.S. Senate for debate. We'll see if it flies there.

But make no mistake. The U.S. government defaulting financially would be devastating and very well could push the country into a deep recession or worse.

The key here is to not squander the opportunity to find a suitable and effective balance between growing the economy, cutting expenses responsibly, and assisting the less fortunate among us.

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, whose district includes south Columbus, in a statement Tuesday put the predicament in laymen's terms.

"Similar to a homeowner paying the mortgage, a tenant paying the rent, or a business paying the bills, it is important for our nation to pay its bills, too!" he said. "Without the extended borrowing authority, the United States would not be able to continue Social Security payments, Medicare reimbursements, military pay and other benefits to the American people. Additionally, it is critical that the world continues to place credibility in the U.S. dollar as a standard upon which to rely. The passage of this legislation will allow our government the time and opportunity to work on a balanced way to reduce the deficit and pay down our national debt."

Again, let's not squander this opportunity. Both Democrats and Republicans should take the next year to figure out how to get the nation's coffers headed in the right direction long term. After all, the U.S. didn't get in this situation overnight, thus there really is no quick fix.

Now get to work, guys and gals.

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