Sometimes it appears that nothing is happening when in fact things are. Like when a duck appears to be gliding effortlessly across a pond, his feet are actually pumping furiously beneath the water.
Or when I appear to be slouching on the sofa with a beer and watching a ballgame, I am in fact carefully planning the most effective and efficient way to tackle whatever chore it is that I appear to be avoiding.
Such is the case with a midtown house (now a vacant lot) that has made several appearances in these columns -- the Barngrover house.
For the uninitiated, a local physician, Dr. Kenneth Barngrover, bought the house in 1991 and made some improvements. He soon discovered that a sewer pipe and rain drain were running under his house, causing toxic leaks and sinkholes. He demanded that the city remedy the situation, but was refused.
He sued the city and won, but then the appeals process cranked up. At one point, the city announced it was going to remedy the sewer situation, but its plan was not to Barngrover's liking, so it was back to court. Finally, more than 20 years after the saga began, the Georgia Supreme Court said the city could move forward with tearing down the old house, clearing the lot and building a new house.
After considerable environmental testing and engineering was done, the old house was razed last May and the process of clearing the land began. Then came the serious environmental testing to see to what degree the soil was contaminated with fecal matter. (Enjoy your breakfast!)
Anyway, I got an email last week from long-time Concerned Reader Charlotte, who lives within sight of the place and has had more than enough of it. Truth be told, she'd probably had enough of it 10-15 years ago.
"Just thought I would share the most current pictures of the house on Cathryn Drive. With all the rain we have had, it is a lake down there. A real mosquito haven!
"Thought you might do a follow up story ASAP on it. Maybe it will get things started again, as there has not been any activity going on down there since the fall ... well, except critters galore.
Thanks for writing, Charlotte. But, like the duck on the pond and the sloth on the couch, there has been more going on down in that gully than meets the eye.
Scientists have been taking soil samples and testing them to determine the extent of contamination by fecal matter (which may have actually been the name of a punk band back in the '80s).
So that's what's been going on beneath the surface, while it appeared nothing was happening.
The good news is that the testing has been done and the results have been handed over to the court for it to allow the city to move forward again.
So, Charlotte, you can expect to see something happening soon, but I don't yet know how soon.
Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen @ledger-enquirer.com.