Here we go again! Life is fixin' to be such a mad swirl of portentous meetin's and social activity that The Planet saw no alternative than to put out this emergency edition of ...
First of all, this Tuesday, Sept. 24, is the regular monthly meeting of the board of
directors for the Dade County Water Authority. That may sound as excitin' as watching paint dry but actually there's a lot before the water board right now. Water company manager Jeff Pendergrass has recommended a 25 percent rate hike with an automatic 3 percent annual bump after that to keep up with inflation. Then of course there's the matter of almost $600,000 in repairs and upgrades needed at the water treatment plant, not to mention the ongoin' saga of whether the board will see fit to gift a sewage plant it never meant to own in the first place to the developer of a golf course and prospective luxury hotel in Walker County. All this while the board struggles to repay the $400,000 it borrowed for land to build a reservoir that many people say Dade needs like a trout needs vanilla icing! The board meets at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the Dade Admninistrative Building.
Joint Meeting of Practically Everybody
And as if that weren't enough to get the local news junkie's heart pumpin', only two days later, on Thursday, Sept. 26, is Dade's first joint meeting of pretty much all the boards, taxing authorities and assorted muck-a-mucks in Dade County. How many members of each board or body will actually show up in the flesh is a matter of speculation, but invited are:
The Dade County Commission
The Trenton City Commission
The Dade County Board of Education
The Dade Industrial Development Authority (IDA)
The Dade Water Authority Board of Directors
The Justice League of America ...
All right, maybe not the JLA (though if they show up remember you read it here first). The Planet may be getting a little punchy trying to suss out the seating arrangements. The photo above, and the whole idea of a joint muck-a-muck meeting, came from last December's joint meeting between the county commission and water board to discuss the controversial Lookout Creek reservoir mentioned above. The meeting went well and struck all as a useful tool toward the county's left hand bein' informed of what the county's right hand is doin'. But even with only two governing bodies, that was a lot of chairs. This time, there will enough of Dade's movers and shakers in the same room, there may be an actual earthquake.
The meeting--which is being described as an informal workshop rather than a formal business meeting--is at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in the Dade Administrative Building and is open to the general public. Or as many of 'em as can fit in the room..
The Planet almost forgot to tell you that ALSO on Thursday, Sept. 26 is Dade 4-H's annual Ag-Day. This is a later afternoon celebration of Dade's agricultural past and a renewal of Dade's agricultural present. There are farm animals to pat, crafts demonstrations, info galore and usually something good to eat. It's a great opportunity to catch up with the neighbors and support the great 4-H program in Dade!'
Public Hearing for New Land Use [Read Z-Word!] Ordinance
And if this week weren't already enough of a to-do list for long-sufferin' understaffed local nooz outlets like The Planet, next week it all starts over, and then some! The week kicks off on Monday, Sept. 30, with a public hearing on no less an issue than Dade's maiden voyage into the unknown and perilous waters of: zoning.
Rural politicians have traditionally avoided even saying the "Z-word" for fear of arousing the ire of rural constituents who have traditionally been dead set agin' it. But this summer, Wildwood citizens (see above photo) begged the county commission's help against the threat of a chicken plant they said would pollute their streams, slash their property values and blight their way of life. The commission obliged them with a temporary permitting ban on such industries while the county attorney worked on a land-use ordinance to keep such industries out of Dade. That ordinance will be unveiled at Monday's hearing.
What will happen? Is Dade still dominated by the anti-Zs, who will show up with pitchforks and torches to tell the gummint to git off their propitty? Or is Dade now more a county of proud homeowners like the Wildwood set, who will ask the commission to protect their property values, too?
The Planet cannot prognosticate. The Planet can only tell you the hearing is at 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 30, in--where else?--the Dade Administrative Building.
Regular Meeting of the Dade County Commission
And as if all this were not enough convenin, meetin' and proceedin' to last until Easter, those old calendar pages keep flyin' away and two days later, Oct. 3, is the first Thursday in October and thus time for the Dade County Commission's regular monthly meeting. On the workshop agenda is not only the first reading of the aforementioned zoning ordinance but (and The Planet is pasting from the official agenda):
Special Events Permitting by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board – Ms. Patty Murphy, ABC Clerk
Proposed Amendment to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Ordinance - Location and Distance Requirements for Sale of Distilled Spirits – Commissioner Phillip Hartline
Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) – Call special work session – Proposed IGA
Thus, in an embarrassment of riches, the commission must take up not only zoning but another hot (or not?) button issue: booze. How hot is that button? The commission has seemed since Dade voted overwhelmingly yes to Demon Rum in 2016 the last and sole impediment between the county and its manifestly evident desire to partake of adult beverages. Now, with a new commissioner vigorously promoting modernization of Dade's lingering blue laws, will the commission continue acting as the small still voice of Dade's conscience or will it give up and toast the new order with a cold one?
Again, ably as The Planet backwards casts its ee on prospects drear, forward tho it canna see, only guess an' fear, an' tell you the meeting is at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, in--you guessed it!--the county Administrative Building.
In leaving the subject, The Planet reminds you that also on the agenda is SPLOST, the special purpose local option sales tax, with which the county and city pay for everything from cop cars to new buildings, and without which they maintain they would have to raise property taxes just to keep the roads paved. SPLOST is up for renewal next year, and that's what discussions are apt to be about on Oct. 3
Events at Cloudland Canyon
Enough of gummint doin's. On to something a bit more amusin'!
After all this talk of meetings, this seems like a good time to
remind the reader that, 90-degree heat or no 90-degree heat, we are now officially in fall and Cloudland Canyon State Park has started its annual autumnal lineup of fun stuff to do. Notably, the park's popular hayrides will start this weekend and continue every Saturday through Oct. 26. Admission is $6 adults, $3 kids 2-12, under 12 free. The ride ncludes family-friendly activities such as games, temporary tattoos, bubble station, sandbox, sidewalk chalk and coloring. Hot dogs, soft drinks, snacks and warm apple cider will be available for purchase. If you don’t have an annual pass, there is a $5 per vehicle Ga. State Park parking fee.
Rides depart from the disc golf course and run continuously on the hour from noon through 5 p.m. NEW THIS YEAR – Do you or a member of your family have
allergies? This Saturday, September 28, the wagon will be “hayless” so you can enjoy all the fun without worry! Hayrides hosted by nonprofit Friends of Cloudland Canyon.
The Friends of the Park are also hosting a mountain dulcimer concert by Stephen Seifert from 6-7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4, in the Group Shelter. Admission is $15 for adults and $12 for children under 12. Again, if you don’t have an annual pass, there is a $5 per vehicle State Park parking fee. Refreshments will be available for purchase during the concert. All proceeds from the concert will be used for the direct benefit and support of Cloudland Canyon State Park.
Dade's annual Trick or Treat evening is a huge hairy deal that brings literally thousands of children and their families to the Trenton town square every year. The event is sponsored by the Dade County Public Library and especially by its manager, Marshana Sharp, who hosts the do with witchly panache.
This year Trick or Treat on the Square starts at 5:30 Saturday, Oct. 26. The libe is recruiting local businesses and organizations to help provide area kids a safe place to trick-or-treat. Participating businesses will need their own table, tent and treats to give out. Last year 1000 children came so booths should be prepared for 1000 to 1500. Please call the library if your group would like to reserve space for a booth—(706) 657-3857.
Home for the Holidays
And speaking of holiday celebrations, the Dade County Sheriff's Department will begin taking applications for its popular treats-for-kids program, Home for the Holidays, next Tuesday, Oct. 1. Applications must be in by Nov. 27.
Hope for the Holidays makes sure that less fortunate county kids have a merry Christmas too. To be eligible, kids must be between 1 and 15 years old, and they and their sponsoring family members must be full-time Dade residents.
Pick up apps at the sheriff's office during normal business hours--they'll be processed first-come, first-served--and above all make sure they're back there by the due date. None will be accepted after Nov. 27.
Christmas Parade And we ain't through with holiday announcements yet! The Dade County Chamber of Commerce has been struggling recently--some denizens o' Dade may have noticed it did not host its popular spring banquet this year--but it recently announced it is rallying to host its traditional Christmas parade.
The original date announced was Dec. 7--and The Planet apologizes if its well-meant re-posting of that date added to any confusion--but the C of C has now changed the date to the 14th. Whether that change was to avoid hosting a holiday event on a date President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed would live in infamy (as the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941), or merely to coincide with Nathan Wooten's annual Small Business Expo, The Planet cannot say until the C of C returns its phone calls, but the parade is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, and you can call the Chamber for more information or to donate or volunteer. That's (706) 657-4488.
Small Business Expo
Since we brought it up, shall we end by giving a mention to the Dade Small Business Christmas Expo? Started by local businessman Nathan Wooten in 2016, the Expo is now in its fourth year and has become a local Christmas shopping tradition. It's 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, at Dade County High School, and there's still time to get your booth if you'd like to vend. To sign up, email email@example.com or text your email address to 423-596-5201. Otherwise, please plan to attend this year's Expo as a shopper--there's plenty of shopping, tons of door prizes, food, entertainment, a KIDZONE and a special grand prize to one lucky attendee. You can also find the do on Facebook at “Dade Small Business Christmas Expo.”
Doubtless there are other fun things to do and important meetings to attend in and around Dade County, but for right now your friendly neighborhood Planet has done enough rotatin' for this blue Monday and must allow the sun to set on this latest edition of...