Uptown, BID turn the page

If Uptown Columbus is looking, as the organization’s board chair Reynolds Bickerstaff put it, to “take events to a higher level,” it would certainly seem that Uptown Columbus Inc. and the Business Improvement District found their leader in Ross Horner.

Horner, who for the last five years has been director of the Columbus Civic Center, was announced this week as the new president of both Uptown and BID, to succeed the retiring Richard Bishop.

The complementary downtown development and marketing organizations, which parted company for a time over political differences before Bishop succeeded in reuniting them, promote events and attractions to bring people to Columbus; most familiar at this time of year is the series of free downtown concerts on Broadway.

It is Horner’s experience, and success, in the realm of event booking and promotion that made him the choice from among five candidates interviewed, Bickerstaff said. Horner spent the last five years doing those things at the Civic Center, and was employed in similar roles in Bismarck and San Antonio before coming here.

Uptown/BID’s gain is the city government’s loss; now Columbus must find a new director for the Civic Center. Horner’s will be a tough act to follow in that role, Just as Bishop’s will be in the role Horner now assumes. We wish him the best.

Funny — not

So wasting police time and effort, and taxpayer money — not to mention fueling fear and an inherently dangerous sense of public menace — is somebody’s idea of a prank.


The Troup County Sheriff’s Office announced the Wednesday arrests of a 26-year-old man and his 27-year-old sister-in-law on charges of obstruction and false reporting of a crime. These two people, Troup Sgt. Stewart Smith said, are the source of reports that scary-looking people in clown suits were trying to lure children into a van in Hogansville.

Authorities of course checked it out, and found nothing.

There was nothing to find. There were no clowns cruising for kids, despite social media reports to the contrary.

The couple admitted being aware of those posts, Smith said, and also of a “limited lockdown” of two Troup County schools following a threat on social media. There was also a Facebook account warning of clowns threatening crimes at LaGrange city schools, which prompted a warning to LaGrange police.

It was into this atmosphere that the two alleged pranksters — both of them adults, by age if nothing else — reportedly decided to inject a little extra anxiety. Both suspects, authorities said, have admitted making the bogus 911 calls.

With citizens already “on edge,” Smith said, “these people just want to up the ante and make a false report.”

A practical joke on police and public — including every parent of small children in the area — about child abduction. How very entertaining.