The year’s at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his heaven—
All's right with the world!
And if spring and all bein' right with the world weren't enough, it's Friday! And not just any Friday but one with another dazzlin' edish of everybody's favorite news roundup...
Read to Lead
First of all, please don't forget the Dade County Public Library's Read to Lead gala this Saturday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The highlight of the annual event is when local leaders from the city of Trenton, Dade County government and Dade Board of Education read to children during spots throughout the day, but there is always plenty of less cerebral fun as well. This year's lineup includes games, crafts, haircuts, Noah’s Ark Petting Zoo, face painting and a photo booth. Door prizes will include local attraction tickets.
At left is County Commissioner Ted Rumley, who reads every year. So do Trenton Mayor Alex Case and elementary school principals Josh Ingle and Tracy Blevins
This year's theme is "Community Helpers." At right, ironically, The Planet captured two of the "Men in Yellow"--inmates of the Dade County Jail--without whose cheerful, ungrudgingly given help the community would grind to a faltering halt. These two are showing off the model of the library itself they were fashioning one day last week from cardboard to help library manager Marshana Sharp decorate for the Read to Lead Event.
Coke Ovens Hike
Also Saturday is the Dade County Historical Society's twice-postponed coke ovens hike. The hike to the once-thriving, now-abandoned coal camp and coke manufacturing facility is always popular, but this year 200 people signed up. Organizers began making preparations for portable toilets and emergency medical services. Then this winter's seemingly endless rains intervened and the event was delayed for fear that muddy roads and slippery trails could complicate what had already turned from a pleasant walk in the woods to a mass exodus.
But this weekend heaven seems to be smilin' on the historical society's endeavor weather-wise, and hikers should meet at 10:30 a.m. at 1623 Walls Circle, Trenton (use this address for GPS). Directions to the site: From Trenton, go West on Highway 136 toward Sand Mountain for 2.1 miles to White Oak Gap Road Turn right on White Oak Gap Road and travel .6 mile. Turn right on Brow Road and travel 4.5 miles Turn left on New Home Road and travel 3.1 miles. Turn left on Walls Circle and travel .8 mile to 1623 Walls Circle on the left.
Chamber of Commerce Rides Again!
Now for a noozy snippet or two: Trenton Streets Commissioner Monda Wooten pronounced the Dade Chamber of Commerce dead at the last city commission meeting. But Haley Baker (right) says reports of the C of C's demise have been
greatly exaggerated. "We're still in kind of a weird transition," admitted the chamber's fresh-faced new director, 22; but she said the venerable Dade institution not only still had a pulse but was striking off in a new direction.
It's moved into brand-new digs, for one thing. The chamber had yearned for years to run its visitors' center someplace a little easier for tourists to find than the old Trenton Depot building. So bye-bye railroad tracks, hello Trenton town square (left). The chamber leased space on the square next door to the law offices of Robin Rogers, the county attorney, who owns the building. "He gave us a really good deal on the rent," said Ms. Baker. The move was made at the beginning of the month and Ms. Baker says a few tourists have already found their way in. "They seem a lot happier about walking into this space than the old building," she said.
Ms. Baker, who has worked at the chamber since August, says that the old director, Cheryl Allison (right), resigned before the move. Ms. Allison's Facebook page says she now works at a tattoo parlor.
Ms. Baker also reported that the C of C still hopes to pull off its popular annual awards banquet this spring--it'll be sometime in April, date to be announced.
Now. As to what will happen to the old Depot building (left), Dade County Clerk Don Townsend says that the notion that it is the new home of the Board of Elections must remain for now a rumor, though: "We've been talking about that for 10 years." For the election office to move, said Townsend, the Georgia Secretary of State and Department of Justice must both be put on notice and that hasn't happened yet. "Now that it's uninhabited, we really need to get in there and look around and clean," he said.
Longterm, Townsend said as far as he knew there was no reason that early voting shouldn't be moved anywhere it was convenient for polling officials and voters--he named the Trenton Civic Center as well as the Depot as possibilities--but he wasn't sure if the voting site had to be in or near the board of election's offices. The board's present office space is fairly cramped, but Townsend said he'd never heard complaints from board members or poll workers that they needed more room.
Now, just in case you were beginning to think The Planet was taking itself a little too seriously as Dade's premier news source: Does the blurb on the Ingle's sign "PROUDLY SERVING BOAR'S HEAD make anybody else think of little Dr. Seuss creatures smirking primly as they carry a giant decapitated pig's head on a tray into some gigantic Whoville-style feast? This scene from How The Grinch Stole Christmas
was as close as The Planet could come, but you get the idea...
Spring Community Events
The deadline for this year's Blue Ribbon Glow Run, Dade First's annual child abuse awareness event at the Dade County High School track, is March 31. You can just show up at the run--that's 8 p.m. on April 26--but if you register in advance you get a free T-shirt. Here's a link for registration:
Also coming are the Dade County Festival of Life on Saturday, April 13--here's a link to the event's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2267824330098867/
And St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church will be hosting fish fries the next several Fridays, March 22 and 29 and April 5 and12) from 5 to 7 p.m. Plates are $7, Catholics claim to cook fish more deliciously than any other denomination, and all revenues go to benefit several Dade institutions including Dade First and the library. What's not to like? St. Katharine's is at 140 New England Road in Wildwood.
Now here's an itty-bitty noozy-woozy morsel to show that not only The Planet but certain other Concerned Citizens are paying attention: Susie Drake Talbott (while standing in the hall excluded from a recent executive session of the governing board of the Dade County Water Authority) noticed this behemoth being bruted into the Dade 911 office. Surmising from her keen following of local news, Susie realized it was the new HVAC unit the Dade County Commission at its last meeting had accepted a high rather than low bid for, in order to show solidarity with local vendors. Susie forthwith whipped out her cell phone and immortalized the moment with this photo, which she was kind enough to share with The Planet. Thanks, noozy-woozy Susie!
Trenton has a new police commissioner
In case you missed last Tuesday's election--and about 92 percent of Trenton's registered voters did, BTW--our little city now has a brand-new police commissioner. Kirk Forshee easily won the March 19 special election with 86 votes over Mike Norris's 44 and Johnny Taylor's 57. Forshee, 37, says this is his first foray into politics of any kind but that he had always treasured hopes of serving the community in some fashion. Congratulations, Kirk!
Sandra has new hair...
During its orbit around the polls on Election Night, The Planet rotated into Sandra Gray, the old police commissioner, whose resignation last September made Tuesday's special election necessary. Ms. Gray (whom The Planet barely recognized with her cute new do) was obliged to quit the post she'd held for almost three decades when her longtime beau, Harvey McKaig, finally made an honest woman of her last fall and she moved in with him outside city limits.
...and a new husband!
The Planet thought Ms. Gray, oops, McKaig, was hanging around the election office for old time's sake but it turned out nope, she was just waiting for her new spouse to get through with Tuesday's other newsworthy event, a special called meeting of the governing authority of the Dade Water Authority. It was only then that the scales fell from The Planet's eyes and The Planet realized that Sandra's Harvey McKaig equaled the water board's H.A. McKaig. (When you've got a brain like The Planet's, every day is a fresh new world!) Anyway, there's an interesting factoid for you, Gentle Reader; and to Sandra and H.A., mazeltov on the nups!
Case Ace isn't there anymore...
The Planet remembers wistfully once writing that there had been a store of some kind on the Trenton town square since 1880-something and a Case standing behind the counter of same the whole time. That was when Case Hardware moved off the square a few years ago and into its new building a mile or so south on Highway 11.
Well, now those who hate change will really have to grit their teeth, because though Trenton will still have a hardware store the Case family will have nothing to do with it. The local Elder Hardware chain has bought the Cases out. Larry and Louise Case, the older generation, had already retired, and the younger one, Daniel Case, will now run a tree service as well as an equipment rental company, said store employees. They said the change to Elder Hardware was official this past Tuesday. Farewell, Cases!
Jesus Loves You Bananas
Since The Planet seems to be orbiting nostalgically around places that aren't there anymore, this seems a good time to point out one that died so gradually nobody got a proper chance to mourn it. This old building on Highway 136 West across from Back Valley Road hasn't been Tommy Wooten's Fruit Stand for years now, since Tommy and Tammy retired; but that's the way The Planet still thinks of it. The Wootens had not only great cantaloupes and peaches but commercial-slash-inspirational messages all jumbled together on their marquee, like JESUS LOVES YOU BANANAS 3 POUNDS $1. Who could not miss that?
Linda Wallin operated a fruit stand out of the building for some years after the Wootens left, but after she retreated to her Rising Fawn location, the old Wooten place quietly became a self-storage rental outlet--and an important spot of local color faded away without the first headline!
Killer intersection still fatal!
The Planet in February brought you news that a civil suit had been filed in the case of a Dade school bus killing a pedestrian at Trenton's central intersection (for which this news roundup is named). An interesting point about the Georgia State Patrol report on that accident was that the new stoplights with their "permissive left" flashing arrows may well have figured in the tragedy: Even as the "walking man" lights up, assuring northbound pedestrians it's safe to cross the road, the flashing orange turn arrow invites west-turning motorists to zoom into the intersection and kill them.
But a second observation made by The Planet was that crossing in the other direction, east-west from the Ingle's side to the Advance Auto Parts side, pedestrians could not get the walking man signal at all. Pressing the crossing button made the STOP upheld-hand signal go off for a second.
The Planet alerted the county, the city and the Georgia Department of Transportation of this. Jason Evans, GDOT's District 6 signal manager, emailed to say the problem was that the east/west "walking man" was burned out. He assured The Planet he'd have it fixed. So last week The Planet checked and sure enough, pushing the pedestrian button on the Ingle's side now makes the walking man come on--for four seconds! That's certain to make elderly pedestrians feel more secure as they sprint across the busy thoroughfare with their canes and walkers.
As for the flashing yellow signal, the GSP and The Planet may be worried it is killing people but Evans of GDOT is apparently not: "In this situation the Flashing Yellow Arrow simply means that the driver has to yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians as specified on the 'Left Turn Yield On Flashing Yellow Arrow' sign hanging next the signal head," he wrote. "It is not giving the driver permission to proceed unless they have a green arrow."
Valley Vibes: Save the date!
It's a little early yet, and The Planet promises to remind you closer to the date, but Nathaniel McDaniel is organizing a new music and arts festival in Jenkins Park, slated for June 15, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
He's already got a full lineup of musicians says the festival, Valley Vibes, will have something for everyone, bluegrass, folk, hard rock and indie. This FREE, family-friendly event will feature works from Tennessee Valley artists like Chill Spill, and all proceeds will go to the Tri-State Area Food Bank.
Nathaniel's still recruiting food vendors. If you'd like to contact him, he can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Well, there's probably all sort of hot events happenin' here at the pulsing epicenter of the universe but that's all we have time for right now. Happy weekend, everybody, from...