Chattahoochee Chatter: Josh McKoon part of Karen Handel's U.S. Senate campaign leadership team

Let’s start chatter with a little politics.

State Sen. Josh McKoon has taken sides in a big way in the Republican battle to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss. McKoon is the state co-chair of former Secretary of State Karen Handel’s campaign. Along with Roswell City Council member Betty Price, the wife of U.S. Rep. Tom Price, and Vivien Scott, the wife of U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, McKoon is at the top of the Handel team.

McKoon and Handel go back a decade, and he has worked for her in her successful 2006 Secretary of State campaign and in her unsuccessful gubernatorial bid in 2010.

There are seven announced candidates for the Republican nomination to replace Chambliss.

McKoon promises that Columbus and West Georgia will get a regular diet of Handel visits. She has campaigned twice in Columbus this summer, the most recent trip was this month to speak to the Muscogee County Republican Party.

“She will be coming to Columbus regularly,” McKoon said. “West Georgia is an important part of her campaign.”

McKoon points out in the 2010 Republican Primary and runoff, Handel carried Muscogee County both times over Gov. Nathan Deal.

Despite the crowded field, McKoon said he did not hesitate to support his friend.

“My feeling from the beginning is I am in politics to make a difference,” McKoon said. “I believe Karen Handel can be a transformational force in the U.S. Senate.”

Aflac thanked its customers in a half-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal on Aug. 19.

The advertisement tells how in 2013 Aflac has been named as one of the world’s most ethical companies, one of the 100 best companies to work for, and one of the world’s most admired companies.

“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and it feels good to be recognized for just doing what we believe,” reads the advertisement.

Now let’s describe a new facility opening, and you guess just what it might be.

It’s a 240,000-square-foot creation offering a rock-climbing wall, a 45-person hot tub and the longest indoor running track in the United States.There are racquetball courts, exercise and fitness studios, weight training areas, a large outdoor pool, eight basketball courts, a golf simulator and a game room.

A placid indoor courtyard is included with large landscape murals, flowing water and other touches aimed at bringing the natural world inside.

Okay, now make a guess. If you picked a resort somewhere or a commercial indoor park in the northern U.S. where the winters are brutal, then guess again.

The aforementioned is the new Recreation and Wellness Center at Auburn University. And it’s paid for by an increase in student activity fees.

“This facility is uniquely Auburn,” said Jennifer Jarvis, the university’s director of campus recreation.

Did we mention the price tag for the venue is $72 million?

All we can say here in Chatterland is: Wow! And enjoy your vacation on The Plains.

And finally, we’ll leave you with a poem.

Lakewood Elementary School second-grade teacher Amy Stamp, who was the 2012-13 Elementary Teacher of the Year for Phenix City Public Schools, wrote and read this poem, titled “He Lives Inside,” to the district’s educators during their Teacher Institute Day:

They say that God can’t be in schools/But How can that be?/He lives within our teachers/And He lives inside of me.

He lives inside the morning staff,/a smile and a warm hello./He’s even in the food we eat/that helps us all to grow.

He lives within my teacher as she greets me at the door,/she loves me and gives her time/to develop my soul even more.

He lives inside the custodian/that helps me make good choices./and inside the children/you can hear it in their voices.

You can see him in our coaches as they teach us to be fit,/and even on the playground when we don’t have time to sit.

Take a walk around the campus and you’ll spot him outside too./Just take a look, it’s beautiful/creatures, plants, and morning dew.

He lives inside the bus drivers/that take us to and fro./And in the scenery along the way/He’s everywhere you know!

So when they say/“God’s not in schools”/They are completely wrong you see/He’s everywhere and all around,/He lives in you and me!