Ledger Inquirer: Overgrown weeds get belated attention

This is a first, and a sad one.

An Alert Reader in the Anglin Road area called to report an unsightly and possibly dangerous situation going near the rear grounds of Gentian Elementary School. Now, I have to tell you that the call came about a month ago in early December. Other Inquirers took precedent. The holidays got in the way. You know how it is.

So it wasn't until last week that I checked it out. I rode over and sure enough, the fenced-off drainage basin has high weeds, mimosas (the trees, not the Episcopal breakfast beverage), scrawny pine saplings and other scrub brush.

The basin is right at the rear entrance to the school and just across the driveway from a playground. So it looks like it could be on school property. But a check of the city's GIS and tax records shows that it belongs to the Consolidated Government.

I called Pat Biegler, the city's director of public works, and described the problem. She said it sounded to her like it could be a school district property. I said I thought that, too, at first, but that city records show it's the city's.

She said no offense, but she would have to verify that, and would get back to me. No offense taken. Hey, that's how we play, too. She called back, said it indeed is city property and that it would be cleared up, possibly this week. Cool.

I called my Alert Reader friend back to tell him, but got no answer Friday, Saturday or Sunday. I went online to Nexis to see if he might have a different phone number I could try. There, I was sad to discover that my elderly friend had passed away a few days before Christmas.

Rest in peace, Alert Reader, and may light perpetual shine upon you.


Today's update isn't an update on an Inquirer, but on a good friend of this column.

Rebecca Wiggins, city property maintenance and housing inspector, and one of my best sources in the Consolidated Government, just announced her impending retirement.

Wiggins, 59, has been with the city for almost 26 years and started considering retirement last year.

"I made sure the finances would work out for me and made sure I had talked to my 'cabinet members' and spiritual advisers and so forth to help me decide if I was doing the right thing," Wiggins said. "It's a scary thing to do something that different."

Wiggins said she will miss the aspect of her job that allowed her to make a difference in people's lives.

"I'll miss getting something done for somebody out there in the public. You know, if the heat doesn't work and it's going to be 3 degrees I like being able to facilitate making that happen," she said. "So that I can go to be in my warm house knowing that they're in a warm house, too."

Asked what she plans to do after Feb. 28, her last day, she said, "What I want to, when I want to, if I want to."

Sounds like a plan.

Seen something that needs fixing? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.