It's Friday! Gateway to the weekend! A day that many restaurants still feature fish despite the decades since the Pope backed off on the meat ban in 1966! And more to the point, a not infrequent day for Dade's favorite news roundup....
First of all, logging on Lookout Mountain continues hot and heavy, including at the second big switchback on Highway 136 East, pictured here.
Locals continue expressing shock and dismay at the extent of the cutting and the impact on aesthetics, including at county commission meetings. Dade County Executive Chairman Ted Rumley at Thursday night's commission meeting said the logging was being closely watched not just by the county but by the state environmental agency and seemed to be going by the rules. There's not much the county can do but hope the landowners will replant, he said.
According to the tax map, the owners of the land in question are Ernest and Violet Klatt and Bill Winchester of 9290 Nickles Blvd., Boynton Beach, Fla. 33436. Rumley said at the meeting he had thought the switchback land belonged to Cloudland Canyon State Park but no, that's the Klatts', too. Their 648-acre property on the mountain encompasses both the big 136 switchbacks. It stretches from Acorn Drive at the bottom of the mountain to the north part of Sunset Drive up top, both sides of the road up to the state park gate. Southward it reaches on the mountainside to the latitude of Daniels Road, above the Four Fields athletic complex.
Ironically, The Planet had taken a picture of the same switchback in August when a runaway car carrier had taken out the gate and made a mess of the environs. Now the gate is gone again and the switchback is again a mess. Thanks, absentee landowners!
Children’s Day will be held this Saturday, Oct. 6, on the Trenton town square in front of the library, noon-3 p.m. Parents may bring children for the following free services: Scoliosis and spine screening, eye screening, dental screening,hearing screening, free Children’s Day T-shirt, baby seat checks, fingerprinting & photo IDs, and just for fun, jump houses, horse rides and face painting.
Booze Nooz! In the year of our Lord 2018, Dade County continues inching away from its Temperance-Era blue laws in fearful baby steps. At Thursday night's county commission meeting, Jay Patel urged the commissioners to take a quantum leap and allow (brace yourself, Gentle Reader) Sunday sales.
Patel is the selfsame local entrepreneur who is collecting signatures for a petition to begin the referendum process for allowing package liquor sales within Trenton city limits. Patel is in the process of opening a new tobacco-beer-and wine store next to the Subway restaurant on Highway 136 West which he hopes ultimately to operate as a full-scale package store.
Trenton has its own governing commission and makes its own rules, but Patel also owns several other businesses in the unincorporated county, where he also hopes to sell alcoholic beverages. He pointed out to the commission at the Oct. 4 meeting that Dade residents go to neighboring counties in Alabama and Tennessee to buy hooch (even on the Sabbath); why shouldn't Dade keep that revenue itself?
County Attorney Robin Rogers said the procedure for allowing Sunday sales is different from that for package liquor sales, but it was unclear just what that process is. The Planet will dutifully report any developments as they occur.
Until then, don't forget that next weekend is the annual New Salem Mountain Festival. Over 100 artists and craftspeople will display their wares rain or shine on Sunday and Saturday, Oct. 13-14, at the New Salem Community Center at 12477 Highway 136 East. There will be food vendors and local music, and admission is $5. The festival is sponsored by the New Salem Community Improvement Club, Inc., a nonprofit organization, and all proceeds benefit the New Salem Community Center and New Salem Fire and Rescue.
Just a quick reminder: Early voting for the Nov. 6 general election starts Monday, Oct. 15. Early voting is in the Administrative Building off the Trenton downtown square only. Several state offices including the governorship are up for grabs. The only local Dade race yet undecided after the Republican primaries this spring is between Lamar Lowery and Patrick Hickey for District 1 county commissioner. Hickey is running as a Democrat and Lowery, who held that post two terms as a Democrat before switching parties in 2010--when, incidentally, he lost the seat to challenger Mitchell Smith--is now running on the GOP ticket.
The first picnic table has finally appeared at one of the new pavilions at the Four Fields athletic complex, a consummation devoutly to be wished. At Thursday's county commission meeting, it was first explained that the delay getting picnic tables into the pavilions was because the county wanted to wait until painting had been completed on the pavilions; but then came a correction that the holdup had been vandalism. The county wanted to wait for the new security camera system to be up and running before it set the tables out. Only one pavilion is protected so far, apparently, so only one has picnic tables. BTW, the commission was also please to announce that the new lighting system at the Four Fields ballfields are up, running and visible from Mars. This won't be the last big news for the county park--read The Planet's article on the commission meeting next week for glad tidings about playground equipment!
Avid local gummint junkies may have noticed that IDA (Industrial Development Authority) news was thin on the ground last month. The Sept. 24 IDA meeting didn't technically even happen, as not enough members showed up for a quorum (though it kept not happening for over 45 minutes as IDA Executive Director William Back outlined his hopes, dreams and vague speculations for the county's future).
But at the Oct. 4 Dade County Commission meeting, some pretty big IDA news did surface: One of the IDA members who did not show up at the Sept. 24 meeting will keep not showing up in perpetuity. Longtime IDA Chairman Nathan Wooten has chosen to step down.
Dade Executive Chairman Rumley said Wooten's reason for resigning is that he was too busy, and too often out of town taking care of his several businesses, to attend meetings.
Who will lead IDA now? "We don't have anybody in mind," said Rumley.
Tired of The Planet rabbiting on about local politics? If the world, and The Planet, are too much with you, why not get away from it all to Cloudland Canyon State Park? The park's nonprofit Friends group is staging its popular fall hayrides every Saturday through
Nov. 3. Hayrides depart on the hour noon-5 p.m., and tickets are $6 adults, $3 children 2-12, under 2 free. Parking fee of $5 applies if you don't have an annual Georgia Park Pass. Follow the signs to the disc golf course, where the rides begin at hole 1. For more information, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the park at (706) 657-4050.
Just for funsies, did everyone notice the beautiful rainbow that ended last week's couple of days of torrential rains? It was a double rainbow briefly, with a second, fainter arc visible from some angles in some locations.
Independent newspapering is not a profitable trade. Thus The Planet doggedly followed the rainbow up Highway 11 from Rising Fawn to Wildwood in wistful hopes of the proverbial pot-o. Nothing doing!
But no regrets! It was still pretty.
The fall term of Dade Superior Court opened with calendar call this Monday, Oct. 1. So far it's not turning out to be one of the court's more spectacularly interesting terms! Motions day was Thursday, and practically all the more newsworthy cases negotiated pleas and will thus not go to trial when jury week starts Oct. 15. Two 17-year-old boys who were arrested last spring when one brought an unloaded gun to Dade High to sell to the other have both pled. One was sentenced to four years of probation, the other to four years with the first 10 weekends to be served in jail and the rest on probation.
Eric Inman, 36 when he attempted to break out of the Dade County jail where he was being held this spring on burglary charges, also pled out and also got probation, one year for the theft by taking charge plus two sets of five years each for charges associated with the jailbreak and two sets of 12 months each for obstruction of officers, all to be served concurrently and all on probation. Additionally, he will pay $32 per month in probation fees plus $132 per month toward a $2050 fee.
Grand jury will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 9, and criminal trials will start Oct. 15. All civil matters have been settled out of court, so there will be no civil trials. Yawn!
Finally, let's do some quick restaurant rundowns. The new Jefferson's Restaurant is still under construction as the owners gut and renovate the old Randy's Restaurant on Highway 136 West. They weren't in when The Planet popped by to pry, but a workman said ETA for the new restaurant is "by Christmas, maybe."
Meanwhile, as Mr. Twain would say, news of Bamaside Restaurant's demise has been greatly exaggerated. The Planet received a news tip it had been closed indefinitely but called Friday to find it bustling and busy. The temporary closure had been due to a death in the family, a staffer reported, but Bamaside itself is alive and well.
Meanwhile, Trenton's unique Artzy Cafe is not only just alive and well but keeping longer weekend hours these days. After a couple of extended closures earlier this year, Artzy wants the county to know it is now open until 9 p.m. both Friday and Saturday nights, with a full menu and live music performed at a dining-friendly decibel by talented local musicians.
That's it for this week, denizens o' Dade. Until next time, over 'n out from your friendly neighborhood Planet, which strives to entertain, edify and inform Trenton, Wildwood and the Rising Fawn Metro Area with these periodic installments of...