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Callaway CEO resigns, big yellow jacket nests and other Columbus news you might have missed

Yellowjacket super nests could make a comeback in Alabama

Charles Ray, an entomologist working with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, warns that yellow jacket super nests may make a comeback in 2019. Alabama experienced super nests in 2006. They can hold thousands of yellowjackets.
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Charles Ray, an entomologist working with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, warns that yellow jacket super nests may make a comeback in 2019. Alabama experienced super nests in 2006. They can hold thousands of yellowjackets.

Missed the big stories last week? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

Callaway Resort and Gardens CEO resigns

Callaway Resort and Gardens CEO William “Bill” Doyle III is resigning to take another job.

Doyle’s last full-time day is July 8 but he’ll remain there during the summer in a part-time role, a Callaway representative told the L-E last week.

“It is with a heavy heart I announce my departure from Callaway Resort & Gardens,” Doyle said in a statement provided to the Ledger by resort officials last week. “ I, along with the Board of Trustees, are very proud of the accomplishments we have made over the past four years — reaching significant goals in stabilizing the resort for continued growth.”

Doyle will remain a trustee of the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation, the resort’s nonprofit parent organization, and he will be assisting in the search for a new CEO.

Doyle is leaving Callaway to take a job at one of his previous employers, Atlanta-based Herschend Family Entertainment.

The company owns Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri; Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia; and co-owns Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Doyle previously served as president of the company’s resort division.

Read more on Doyle and Callaway here.

Huge nests filled with thousands upon thousands of yellow jackets are appearing in Alabama

Charles Ray of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System warns that abnormally large nests of yellow jackets could appear this year.

Two perennial yellow jacket nests have been sited north of Montgomery, and more could soon be spotted.

The colony’s survival into a second year might be credited to a mild winter and an abundant food supply. In perennial nests, some workers who would die in colder weather survive. Some queens who normally would leave the colony stay.

The colony could start a second year with anywhere from 35-100 queens and 1,000 to 4,000 workers, Ray said.

Want to learn about these nests? Read here.

Two charged in alleged kickback scheme tied to Fort Benning

Two businessmen were charged for their role in an alleged kickback scheme tied to construction projects at two Georgia military installations.

The names include David Kennedy, an official of an unnamed company who was indicted last month, and Gary Hamby of Southern Atlantic Construction, LLC, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Anti-kickback Act and is awaiting sentencing.

Kennedy has pleaded not guilty, according to court documents.

Hamby’s company allegedly gave an $800 box of cigars and $5,000 in cash to Kennedy in exchange for Kennedy’s employer giving Hamby’s company subcontract work at Fort Benning.

The group also allegedly concocted a scheme to collect money for work that wasn’t going to be done at Augusta’s Fort Gordon.

If convicted, prosecutors will call for Kennedy to forfeit approximately $463,000 he allegedly obtained via wire fraud, according to court documents.

Want more details? Read here.

Columbus, Macon get Smart community grants from Georgia Tech

Columbus and Macon-Bibb County will receive Georgia Tech’s Georgia Smart Communities Challenge Grants.

The Columbus program will focus on improving safety in the Uptown district. You’ll see license plate-readers and motion sensors that count cars and people.

The Macon program’s goal is to provide better access to government resources in under-served communities, officials said. There, you’ll see kiosks that tell when trash will be picked up and applications for government jobs will be accessible online.

In both cities, the public will have access to stronger WiFi networks.

Macon and Columbus will provide a local match of $25,000 to go along with the $50,000 grant. The programs will begin in September and last one year. A Georgia Tech researcher and other experts will aid the city throughout the project.

What will all of that include? Read here.

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