Category Archives: Education

America’s largest college mutual fund VA529 owns Spectra Energy, a stranded investment

Parents and grandparents buy 529 college savings plans as safe investments, so VA529 chose poorly in Spectra Energy, the very risky company behind the Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline now plowing through the Floridan Aquifer drinking water of south Alabama, Georgia, and all of Florida and under the Withlacoochee and Suwannee Rivers against growing opposition. Maybe you’d like to mention that to Mary G. Morris, the Chief Executive Officer of Virginia529 College Savings Plan, the biggest mutual fund investor in both Spectra Energy and in Enbridge, which is buying Spectra. There’s a handy VA529 contact form or you can call or write:

1-804-371-0766
Toll-Free: 1-888-567-0540
9001 Arboretum Parkway
North Chesterfield, VA 23236

Spectra is so risky it just sold itself so Enbridge would take on about $22 billion of Spectra debt. Debt especially racked up since Continue reading

Videos: Water, VSU bonds, 3 road abandonments, 1 widening, MIDS bus, Comprehensive Plan @ LCC 2016-10-11

Two weeks ago, County Manager Joe Pritchard announced that Commissioner Joyce Evans is now serving as Vice Chairman, yes, the resolution to approve the VSU bonds was requested by the South Regional Joint Development Authority (SRJDA), and John Stevens is the new VDT reporter. Citizen Shirley Moore said she’d like a connection to county water and sewer. They tabled the Comprehensive Plan update, apparently because the Commissioners wanted to “dig into it deeper”.

The rest was mostly approving what they already discussed the previous morning. They meet again Monday morning.

Below are links to each LAKE video with a few notes, followed by a video playlist.

Continue reading

VSU Bonds Development Authority Meeting Wednesday morning @ VLCIA 2016-10-19

Why a day late and with no agenda?

Update 2016-10-19: Because, according to the Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority last night, the meeting this morning is not them: it’s the South Regional Joint Development Authority (SRJDA). The newspaper apparently got it wrong.

Community Calendar, VDT page 12a, 12 October 2016, Upcoming: Development Authority

Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority meeting at 11 a.m. October 19, Development Authority office, 103 Roosevelt Dr., Valdosta to discuss refinance of VSU Bonds, election of officers and all other business which may come before the Board at such meeting.

There’s nothing about that on the Development Authority’s Meeting Schedule web page (which lists a meeting “October 18, 2016” with no agenda Update 2016-10-18: that other agenda is posted now.). And nothing about it on their facebook page.

Could this meeting be about one or both of Continue reading

VSU Democrats Candidate Forum 2016-09-12

All candidates were invited; most of the Democratic ones came and spoke; most of the Republicans did not.

Here are links to each LAKE video of each candidate, followed by a video playlist. Continue reading

Videos: Art, hurricane, engineering reports, VSU bonds, 3 road abandonments, 1 widening, MIDS bus, Comprehensive Plan @ LCC 2016-10-10

The Sabal Trail fracked methane pipeline and others already in the county came up in the Comprehensive Plan approval discussion, as you can see in these LAKE Videos from Monday morning; they vote tonight 5:30 PM.

Stephen Spradley and Georgia Forestry were still helping after Hurricane Matthew, but Ashley Tye reported on evacuees, Chad McLeod reported on engineering projects including the Naylor Boat Ramp at the Alapaha River, and Angela Crance reported on an art district; actually Buddy Boswell did that.

They also heard about a self storage rezoning, three road abandonments, a road widening, the annual MIDS bus service renewal, and a county resolution about bonds for another private LLC by the South Regional Joint Development Authority (SRJDA), different from the one with the public hearing October 21st at a private law firm. What does the resolution say? It’s not in the documents with the agenda.

Below are links to each LAKE video with a few notes, followed by a video playlist. Continue reading

VSU bond resolution, 3 road abandonments, 1 widening, MIDS bus, Comprehensive Plan @ LCC 2016-10-10

Monday morning 8:30 AM, a self storage rezoning, (final?) Comprehensive Plan approval, three road abandonments, a road widening, the annual MIDS bus service renewal, an art district presentation by Angela Crance, a Georgia Forestry presentation by Stephen Spradley, and a county resolution about bonds for another private LLC by the South Regional Joint Development Authority (SRJDA), different from the one with the public hearing October 21st at a private law firm. What does the resolution say? It’s not in the documents with the agenda.


U.S. Air Force Col. Billy Thompson, 23d Wing commander, expresses his gratitude to Continue reading

Public Hearing at private law firm for VSU bond to private LLC 2016-10-21

Why is a public hearing for VSU bonds being held at a private law firm? Part 1 Is there no parking at VSU for the public to hear about this $58,805,000 bond issue? There is free parking at the county palace for which we the people footed around $51 million in bonds.

For that matter, why are bonds for a public university being held by a private LLC? Why are they being issued to that private LLC by the shadowy South Regional Joint Development Authority, to which the Lowndes County Commission just appointed Commissioner Clay Griner this May, even though County Manager Joe Pritchard couldn’t tell Griner when that Authority meets?

Can’t the Lowndes County Commission provide this bond Public Hearing with a public place to meet?

In the Valdosta Daily Times yesterday, October 5th 2016, and not online anywhere I can find it, was this Public Notice. Gretchen scanned it, and I OCRed it and formatted the lists to make it more legible. Continue reading

A Tour of Remerton

Welcome to Remerton

Welcome to Remerton

Jessica Freeman, planner and probation officer in Remerton, invited me to get to know Remerton a little better. “It’s not just college student housing and bars.”

Remerton City Hall

Remerton City Hall

I met up with her at Remerton City Hall. She showed me around the new construction, which includes a second payment window for the busy days when water bills are due. It seems that everyone wears more than one hat on the city staff.
Remerton City Council Chambers

Remerton City Council Chambers

If you haven’t been Continue reading

Videos: Comprehensive Plan Update Workshop #2 @ SGRC 2016-03-07

Very interesting input on the second Workshop on updating the Lowndes County Comprehensive Plan, including quite a bit about agriculture, rivers, and roads. Educational issues are in the Update, including the underlying issue: poverty.

See also the invitation with a link to the Workbook draft used at that meeting.

Here are links to the LAKE videos of the two main topics, followed by a video playlist. Continue reading

Videos: Animals, CAC on Skipper Bridge, 3 board appointments, alcohol @ LCC 2016-03-08

The reading of the Animal Welfare Ordinance drew two citizen speakers: Jim Sharpe and Dr. Amanda Hall.

Chairman Bill Slaughter remarked on the 5 March 2016 death of former Lowndes County Coroner Charles Exum.

See also the LAKE videos of the previous morning’s Work Session and the agenda for that meeting and this Regular Session for the three board appointments, the two Copeland Road items related to water, sewer, pavement, and Lowndes Middle School students, the two Tax Assessor items, others, and, last but not least, the four alcohol items. See also Continue reading