Chattahoochee Chatter: Wrestling, concerts on tap for fall

July 9, 2014 

SEC Media Days are next week. We've only been counting the days, hours and minutes since the U.S. fell to Belgium in that other football.

But when we in Chatterland think about real football, we think about cooler days and an end to the summer months.

In a conversation this week about losing a large Jehovah's Witnesses convention this summer, Columbus Civic Center Director Ross Horner was asked what entertainment is coming up at the facility.

"We're gearing up for fall," he said of the season when the leaves turn orange, red and yellow, and the boys of the ice rink -- your Columbus Cottonmouths -- return to action at the "Snake Pit."

But there is more, Horner said, including a WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) event or two. Musically, "We have a couple of good concerts on the books that I feel pretty confident that we'll be able to turn those in the fall," he said, noting the announcement is a month or two away.

And those shows, no surprise, look to have a country flavor, the Civic Center's sweet spot for years now. Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson and Taylor Swift all have performed here in recent years.

But rock music? That's a hard sell, Horner said, although he's not giving up hope.

"We just haven't had good numbers in the past. We're swimming upstream a little bit," he said, explaining it will take a promoter willing to not listen to booking agents of the past and take a risk on rock 'n' roll.

"But I do think a Seether or a Five Finger Death Punch or that kind of an artist should work here. … All day long it should," Horner said.

•••

There's no true transition from Seether to Columbus' mayor because, well, we wouldn't imagine she would have that programmed as a Pandora station on her phone.

Anyway …

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson was recently elected to an at-large position on the board of directors of the Georgia Municipal Association.

"We are pleased to have Mayor Tomlinson taking on this leadership position," said GMA Executive Director Lamar Norton. "She's well respected by her colleagues and I'm sure she'll provide great leadership to the cities in the state."

Based in Atlanta, GMA is a nonprofit organization that offers "legislative advocacy, educational, employee benefit and technical assistance to its 520 member cities," according to a GMA release.

Who knew there were 520 cities in Georgia?

•••

Someone who hopefully does know is a U.S. Representative …

An advocate for active-duty soldiers and veterans has joined the staff of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. to work in the Columbus and Albany offices.

Jason Maxwell, a medically retired veteran who served 15 years in the Army, was assigned to the office as part of the Wounded Warrior Project Alumni Fellow. The project offers a network of services to veterans, including Warriors to Work program which matches candidates with a wide variety of employers.

After serving as a reconnaissance scout and deploying for multiple tours in Iraq, Maxwell of Phenix City will work as a caseworker and field representative, helping constituents in the 2nd Congressional District.

Bishop said Maxwell, 37, understands many of the issues facing veterans. "As a medically retired U.S. Army veteran, Jason has a unique understanding of the challenges service members and veterans face," Bishop said.

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