Your friendly neighborhood Planet rotates ceaselessly around Dade County and the Rising Fawn Metro Area on its eccentric elliptical orbit in search of tidin's glad and otherwise for the edification of its esteemed readers.
Some weeks The Planet reaps big news, shakin' the foundations of the status quo, crumblin' evil empires, leavin' the competition so far in the dirt they can't dig out with backhoes! Other weeks, The Planet is lucky to score a Methodist Men's Luncheon or a sale on hot dogs. (Remember the time The Planet brought you the headline that Ingle's now sells a box mix for Pad Thai?) (Oh, you'd forgotten? In that case, Gentle Reader, The Planet is not fixin' to remind you now!) (Unless this picture rings any bells.) (Note they got a pretty good price on coconut milk, too.)
Still other weeks, The Planet finds it has collected a number of snippets, scraps, dribs, drabs, smidgens and unlabeled opaque cottage cheese containers of news, gossip and innuendo. Nothing big enough for supper or a front page article, but good enough that it seems a shame to throw 'em away. When that happens, The Planet cleans out its metaphorical refrigerator with yet another
The Trenton Runaround!
Here we go, Readers! First of all, please don't forget that from 8-10 p.m. this Saturday, Aug. 18--tomorrow night!--is one of Cloudland Canyon State Park's "Star Parties," sponsored by the staff and Friends of Cloudland Canyon State Park and conducted by the Barnard Astronomical Society. Come see the wonders of the night sky through Barnard's telescopes. Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn should be visible. The moon will also be in a good position. Kids and adults of all ages love looking through the super-duper scopes so bring the whole family! You will be identifying summer constellations and observing DSOs (Deep Sky Objects) such as star clusters, nebulae and other galaxies like our own Milky Way. Gather for this free event at the starting point of the park's disc golf course. If the weather is “iffy” call (941) 544-3420 after 6 p.m. Saturday for update.
Now. Another great--and did The Planet mention also free?--event this Saturday, Aug. 18, is Grace Community Church's Pickin' and Pork in the Park. Music is provided by local stars The Dade County Boys, and barbecue and fixin's are provided by the church's congregation, which dishes the Q up gratis because it purely loves to feed people.
Pickin' and Pork begins at 5 p.m. at Jenkins Park in Trenton. So! Please pick up the peeps, pack 'em in the Pontiac and proceed to the park to peck at a plate of provender at this perennial picnic provided pro bono by the pastor and people of Grace Community!
Not Much on Tap at Water Board
The Planet generally reports the dire doin's of the board of directors of the Dade Water Authority, or so called water board, at excruciatin' length. This month, though--the water board met today, Friday, Aug. 17, at 8 a.m.--the bulk of the board meeting was in executive, or closed-door session. So despite the interesting projects the water board is involved in right now--a $450,000 loan to help finance Dade's controversial Great Lake project, plus any amount of infrastructure needed to supply water and sewer to the luxury Hilton hotel underway at the old Canyon Ridge site on Lookout--all The Planet can report is a ho-hum financial report--the water company had a $22,812 loss for last month but is still $81,986 in the black for the year--and the fact that the water board's executive session was of excruciatin' length. Board members returned from their secret session after close to an hour and said they had no action to report.
Next: Trenton has turned into a sea of blue and black as citizens continue festooning the town with these specially altered American flags in honor of Maj. Tommy Bradford of the Dade Sheriff's Department. Bradford lost a leg last week while laying spike strips on Highway 11 just south of town, in an attempt to stop a two-state police chase that had started in Fort Payne, Ala. In a subsequent news conference, Sheriff Ray Cross said the driver of the fugitive truck "targeted" Maj. Bradford, hitting him deliberately.
Since the Aug. 7 incident, the Fort Payne Police Department issued a news release saying its officers began chasing the accused driver, Lora Leeanne Wooten, 35, of Henagar, Ala., after she stole an air compressor from a Valley View Avenue address.
Maj. Bradford continues to heal and a lengthy rehabilitation is expected. Meanwhile, his loving community continues to support him with the flags from JB's Variety Store (profits to go to Bradford's family), which also sells blue-and-black ribbon decorations; a benefit corn hole tournament planned for 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday,
Sept. 29, at the Rising Fawn Circle A Arena; a direct contribution account that can be accessed on the webpage bankofdade.com.; and in many other ways. The latest is a raffle from Fly Hard Trikes, a local ultralight aircraft manufacturer and flight school, for a 30-minute introductory flight. Tickets are $15 each or two for $25 and are on sale at the Dade County Chamber of Commerce (706-657-4488.) The drawing will take place Sept. 1. Dade loves you, Major Tommy!
Speaking of the Dade Chamber of Commerce, it has been in local news lately as Trenton City Commissioner Monda Wooten has challenged its right to receive city funding. How can it effectively use city money, the commissioner has demanded at the last two city meetings, when it hasn't even been able to convene for six months because not enough members showed up to make a quorum?
Make that seven months! The Planet checked out its August meeting Tuesday to find the big empty table depicted above. Again, not enough members for a quorum though most members had phoned in pretty good alibis. At near head is Cheryl Allison, the C of C's one employee; at far head Steven Ryan, president, at left Heather Cochran and Kathleen Reed, past president and president-elect, respectively; at right Monda Wooten.
Even without calling a formal meeting, the three presidents and Commissioner Wooten exchanged a number of words. Ryan said the C of C only got $14,000 from the city last year and that, with no money from the county, it had to dip into its membership fees to keep the doors open and pay its one employee. Commissioner Wooten said the chamber was "a mess of chaos" and, among other things, a miserable employer. "A chamber director is set up for failure," she said.
In fact, the C of C has gone through several directors rather rapidly since Debbie Tinker, its director for nine years, retired in 2013, and Commissioner Wooten said she didn't expect the current one, Ms. Allison, to last much longer.
Why does the city pay the chamber at all? The chamber is the designated and required tourism-promoting organization to run the designated and required visitors' center the city must have in order to continue collecting its hotel-motel tax.
And why, if nobody cares enough to come to meetings, does the Dade Chamber of Commerce not just voluntarily cease to exist? Clearly, the three presidents who did show up all also cared enough to be president, but President-elect Kathleen Reed said it best: She had become enthused about being on the chamber board when she saw how well and how willingly board members worked together to better the community, she said,and with all its current troubles: "The underlying bubble, that boiling bubble, is still there."
Just in case you're interested...
Nosiness is an occupational hazard for the small-town journalist and thus The Planet picks up snippets of information more courteous people will never know. Thus, in an effort to let faster traffic pass, The Planet pulled into the parking lot of the old Massey's building on Highway 11 North, marched in and demanded what it called itself doing these days.
What The Planet learned is that the building is occupied by a new business call Red Fox. Red Fox, explained front-desk employee (and former Ingle's assistant manager) Dian Pierce, is a niche business run by her daughter and son-in-law, Anna and Joe Strickland. Red Fox's specialty is servicing convenience stores. Convenience stores, she explained, have a lot of refrigeration to be looked after with all those cold display cases, plus banks of coffee machines, Icee makers, microwaves, sinks, plumbing--it's enough to keep over a dozen technicians busy in several states, she said. Well! Who knew? Now you do! The Stricklands have also bought the old gas station next door but have not yet announced what they intend to do with it, said Dian--maybe a hamburger place, she speculated.
Have you wondered if the new pavilions at the Four Fields are going to continue to be SRO (standing room only)? The Planet did, and asked Dade County Boss Ted Rumley. "The picnic tables came in Tuesday," he said. He said the picnic tables should be installed next week or in any case shortly thereafter.
Moving on: At its workshop on Thursday, the Dade Board of Education heard the joyous tidings that its long-awaited cross-country course and the access road built in conjunction with it at Dade Middle School were officially ready to rock and roll. The next job, it learned, is keeping people on foot on the new track from being hit by cars on the new road.
Architect Ken Cress and Operations Director James Cantrell discussed the need for signage and gates to close off the road while practice or meets take place on the track. Superintendent Jan Harris said the board decided to add the road to its cross-country track for two reasons: "to enhance safety and to alleviate traffic." The road, which is 4/10s of a mile long, loops behind the school, runs briefly parallel to I-59, and comes out beside the Ag Building to rejoin Pace Drive, the school's one outlet to Highway 136. It is easy to see how routing traffic one-way behind the building will ease congestion.
But safety? Architect Cress described how the cross-country course does not just cross but for some distance share the roadway. Dr. Cantrell speculated a card-entry gate--the road is also the right of way to a private landowner's home--might be the way to keep motor traffic off the road while runners are using the track.
County boss Rumley, consulted about this matter, said when the road and track were originally planned, the proposed layout kept foot and car traffic strictly segregated. When the plans changed, he couldn't say.
Read The Planet's Board of Education article next week for more information on the road, the cross-country track and the doin's of the B of E in general. Until then, The Planet wishes readers a happy weekend and hopes they have been educated, edified and elucidated by this latest scintillatin' installment of ...