Category Archives: Education

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

Videos: CAC on Skipper Bridge, 3 board appointments, lots of alcohol @ LCC 2016-03-07

See also the previous post for LAKE videos of the preceding Planning Commission Work Session and Regular Session. County Manager Joe Pritchard brought up in his Report yesterday morning the annexation request that is part of the Valdosta proposed rezoning for a development on Bemiss Road; see the packet materials for that item obtained by LAKE through open records request. They heard the long-awaited animal tethering ordinance, and will vote on it this evening, as part of an Animal Welfare Ordinance. See agenda posting 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 the previous post for LAKE videos of the preceding Planning Commission Work Session and Regular Session including the CAC item on Skipper Bridge Road, with a link to the board packet materials for that item that LAKE obtained by open records request.

Below are Continue reading

CAC on Skipper Bridge, 3 board appointments, lots of alcohol @ LCC 2016-03-07

The long-awaited animal tethering ordinance will be heard Monday morning and voted on Tuesday evening, as part of an Animal Welfare Ordinance. They’re going to reappoint Joyce Evans and Frank Morman to the Landbank Authority. They last reappointed those two 27 March 2012, so apparently they serve four-year terms.

Despite the public not knowing there was an opening on the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Board, they’ve already picked who they’re going to appoint: Chris Yarbrough. What he sent in his application, we don’t know, but his LinkedIn profile says he’s a “Community Supervision Officer III Mental Health Specialist, Georgia Department of Community Supervision, May 1996 – Present (19 years 11 months) Valdosta, Ga.”

Per LAKE open record request, here are the packet items for the Children’s Activity Center (CAC) rezoning on Skipper Bridge Road, REZ-2016-06, as sent to the Continue reading

Agriculture, Internet access, and Transportation driving Development @ LCC 2015-08-24

New County Extension Agent Jenna Kicklighter will introduce herself at Monday morning’s Work Session,, they’ll consider a a Beer and Wine License for Dollar General, a new secondary Internet Bandwidth Contract with Mediacom, and the US 41 N widening has already spawned further road paving to promote development:

Lowndes County Engineering has received a proposal Continue reading

Hayden Barnes wins $900,000 settlement for being expelled from VSU for free speech

Update 2015-07-24: Hayden adds detail in comments on this article: Andy Thomas, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 23 July 2015, Valdosta State U. Will Pay $900,000 to Settle Student’s Free-Speech Lawsuit.

Finally! Expelled for protesting a parking garage, after VSU then-president Zaccari claimed a facebook collage was “threatening”. If the powers that be around here want to be a metropolitan area, maybe VSU should act like an institution of higher learning. Then it wouldn’t have to pay settlements like this.

Katie Barrows, FIRE, 23 July 2015, Eight Years After Student’s Unjust Expulsion from Valdosta State U., $900K Settlement Ends ‘Barnes v. Zaccari’ Continue reading

Hospitals most likely to deploy microgrids: SGMC next to VSU?

According to a thesis at Georgia Southern, hospitals are the most likely 300x143 States, in A Technical and Economic Feasibility Study of Implementing a Microgrid at Georgia Southern University, by Matthew S. Purser, 1 March 2014 industry to form microgrids, and it’s not just New York State doing microgrids; even Alabama has one. South Georgia Medical Center plus VSU seems like a good microgrid opportunity. Put solar panels on the roofs, buy some Tesla Powerwalls for backup, experiment with some wind…. Maybe the Valdosta-Lowndes Development Authority could help. And use the electricity bill money saved to fund public transportation!

Matthew S. Purser, Georgia Southern, Spring 2014, A Technical and Economic Feasibility Study of Implementing a Microgrid at Georgia Southern University. Continue reading

Videos: Deep South Sanitation litigation resolution, Animals, MAZ, Water, School @ LCC 2015-06-09

Not on the agenda for the 9 June 2015 Regular Session: settlement agreement for the county’s unnecessary lawsuit against Deep South Sanitation. Commissioners had no questions, but I have two:

  1. how much did the county spend on the lawsuit?
  2. how much did the county end up paying DSS?

Also unscheduled: Recognition of Leadership Lowndes Attendees.

Citizen Billy Rowland had some comments about road grading and wondered how Animal Control could come take his dog from his posted property yet not do anything when he reported barking dogs.

They approved a Scruggs Co. contract for Paving on Coppage Road, which includes curb and gutter to save some of the tree canopy. They approved a Bid for Bemiss Road Mowing even though it’s a state highway, plus a Bid for a Zero-Turn Mower for the Public Works Department from Nashville Tractor. They approved the Bid for a Fire Pumper for Lowndes County Fire Rescue and the LCSO Patrol Car Laptops Lease Purchase and tabled the Lowndes Middle School Utility Service from Valdosta utilities.

Via LAKE open records request, see the board packet item for the complicated Moody Activity Zones Text Amendments to the Unified Land Development Code that were tabled for more time at the Tuesday June 9th 2015 Regular Session of the Lowndes County Commission. See the LAKE videos of the Planning Commission meeting that considered the MAZ and the rezonings on this agenda. The Shiver and Kinsey rezonings were were approved unanimously with no speakers from the public and no Commissioner comments. The Orchard at Stone Creek rezoning discussion about a retirement home lasted for 14 minutes, including updated maps that were only provided to LAKE on paper, despite a request for electronic copy. See also the agenda and the LAKE videos of the previous morning’s Work Session.

Continue reading