Category Archives: Wiregrass Tech

Broadband top priority, education, jobs, quality of life —Angela Crance @ VLCIA 2013-02-19

Angela Crance, Special Assistant to the President of Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, told the Industrial Authority 19 February 2013:

I’m here for Wiregrass, and we just want to thank you for bringing this up and making it a top priority for the community [looking at Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter] and the Industrial Authority….



It’s definitely a priority for us…. Only 14% of our citizens have a college degree and we need 70% to have a college degree within ten years. To be able to accomplish that we’d better have

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Education at Wiregrass Tech and startup funding, Chamber quarterly luncheon @ VLCoC 2012-12-18

Education at Wiregrass Tech, startup competition and awards by Guardian Bank, and more! Chamber president Tim Jones invited me to the quarterly luncheon of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce, held 18 December 2012 at the Rainwater Conference Center. I counted about 70 people there, and only maybe a dozen were Chamber board and staff, so that was a very well-attended meeting.

Keynote speaker Dr. Ray Perrin, president of Wiregrass Technical College said:

“Strong education systems are the heart of economic development.”

He congratulated VSU on the recent football win, as well as the various other local school systems, government bodies, and businesses, and proceeded to give an overview of what Wiregrass Tech is and what it does, which includes everything from automobile repair to computer science; from adult education for high school equivalency to advanced courses, in the eleven counties it serves, through the campuses in Valdosta, Fitzgerald, and Adel, as well as at Moody AFB and online overseas. He noted that changes in the HOPE scholarship and economic improvement had decreased enrollment, but Wiregrass Tech still has a large student body and is adding programs, such as in nursing and respiratory therapy. Plus a 97.5% placement rate.

Also in the plans is an Allied Health Education building 100,000 square foot facility that would cost about $20 million, for which Wiregrass Tech will be approaching the Georgia General Assembly in the next few years. Dr. Perrin invited feedback and requested assistance, both financially and in getting the word out about what Wiregrass Tech can do.

Tim Jones remarked that he was also on the board of the Wiregrass Tech Foundation which was in a fundraising drive, so anybody who wanted to donate could see him. (And it turns out you can also donate online.)

Here’s a video playlist of the entire meeting, followed by a few notes.

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Legislative Luncheon at Wiregrass Tech by Chamber and Rotaries @ VLCoC 2012-12-05

No questions and no mention of Moody AFB at the Legislative Luncheon at the Legislative Luncheon at Wiregrass Technical College Wednesday by the Chamber of Commerce and the three Rotary Clubs. State Sen. Tim Golden R-08, and State Rep. Ellis Black R-174 plus incoming State Rep. Dexter Sharper D-177 spoke (Reps. Amy Carter R-175 and Jason Shaw R-176 were not present). But they didn’t answer any questions. The organizers didn’t even take questions on cards from the 75 or so people in the room. It’s nice they’re going around to all the organizations and talking to them, but it might be more helpful if they listened to the concerns of their constituents all at once. Lowndes County Commissioners Joyce Evans and Richard Raines were there, but they did not speak, and none of the state legislative delegation said anything about Moody Air Force Base encroachment, unlike Houston County where their state rep. helped organize “$7.5 million to help resolve the encroachment issue affecting Robins Air Force Base.”

Ron Borders on behalf of the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Council (GAC) did invite people to a Members to the Heard session Monday 7 January 2012 at Valdosta City Hall Annex Multi-Purpose Room. Waiting a month to provide feedback to legislators through the Chamber does seem a tad indirect. Overall, it would be nice if the legislators would at least actually listen to (even if they don’t want to answer) questions and concerns from citizens without those citizens having go go through some filtering system (ie chamber legislative affairs or county commissioner). With a room full of 75 or more people, wouldn’t it be refreshing for elected officials to say “We can’t necessarily answer all your questions today, but we would like to know what they are. Please come to the microphone and ask your question or state your concern”. Citizens Wishing to be Heard in the County Commission meetings is not really the same as having a session dedicated to listening to citizens’ concerns.

The Chamber’s pre-announcment of this meeting said:

The Chamber’s Government Affairs Council will present its top business issues to elected officials.

Yet though the GAC the previous day in a contentious meeting voted to oppose encroachment on Moody Air Force Base, he said not a word about that at the Legislative Luncheon.

In his keynote, Sen. Tim Golden said Continue reading

VLCIA Focus Group meeting 20 June 2012

Today I received an invitation from the Industrial Authority to attend a focus group interview for input to their Competitive Assessment and their Economic Development Strategy. So, dear readers, what do you think I should say to them? Don’t worry; I have some ideas already, but I’m all ears for more.

You may recall VLCIA has been put out an RFP early this year for an organization to do a Strategic Plan process. They selected Market Street Services of Atlanta, and they said in April they were preparing to do focus groups. Now apparently they’ve sent out invitation letters for a focus group on 20 June 2012. I have no idea who else they have invited; I was rather surprised to find they invited me.

What would you say to them?

Invitation from Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA)
to a focus group interview 20 June 2012
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 1 June 2012.
Scanned by John S. Quarterman for Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange (LAKE).


At the door of the most educational meeting —Karen Noll

Received today on A most educational meeting. -jsq
Thank you, John for that accurate description of the most bizarre meeting that I have ever attended.

Karen Noll and Dean Poling at the door
As I was not invited I remained at the door. Dean Polling came to the door 10 minutes late because he’d been roaming around Rainwater conference center with a few other folks before he found out the meeting was located here. This meeting was held on the date that the CUEE had given when it would unveil its education plan. So many assumed it would be at the conference center and open to the public.(LOL)

The plan put together by the unnamed education task force a sub committee of cuee pushed Levy into having it at VSU, when VSU has clearly stated they are taking NO side!! So CUEE’s educational plan was presented before the vote has been taken to an invited group at a public institution that is staying out of the whole stinking affair. This is all to strange to not ask why and who is behind this mess?

At the end when I told Myrna Ballard about the location

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A most educational meeting: VSU, Wiregrass Tech, CUEE, FVCS, et al.

Only Lemony Snicket could do justice to the peculiarity of last night’s most educational meeting at VSU’s Continuing Education building, about K-12 education even though neither school superintendent was there, most of the school board members were not present, and it was presided over by two very uneasy college presidents.

Who called it was unclear, who was invited even less, for what purpose there was no consensus, yet there was a decision by the pair of presiding college presidents. It was somehow about the general state of education in Valdosta and Lowndes County, Georgia, although the topic of consolidation was discussed only by the frequent admonitions that it was not to be discussed, and for that matter that nothing else related to educational improvements should be discussed until after the November 8th consolidation referendum. Both school system superintendents were elsewhere at a conference of school superintendents. A few Valdosta City School Board members were in attendance, although none of them said anything. I didn’t recognize any Lowndes County School Board members. There were no introductions to the group, other than self-introductions by the two college presidents. Maybe you can identify some of the attendees.

CUEE Vice-Chair Rusty Griffin near left, Chamber President Myrna Ballard far right, VBOE Member Jeana Beeland and CUEE Board Member Tom Kurrie near corner of the tables, SCLC President Rev. Floyd Rose to Kurrie’s right. FVCS President Sam Allen is near the far end of the left side of the table. CUEE Board Member Walter Hobgood is near the far end of the right side of the table.

There was no agenda. There was a document to be presented, but it was not handed out to the attendees, and the principal presider, VSU interim president Dr. Louis Levy, refused Continue reading

Why CUEE turned shy

So why did the list of community supporters disappear from CUEE’s website? After a most educational meeting this evening so peculiar only Lemony Snicket could really write it up properly (more on that later), I found the answer to that question.

First I asked Lee Henderson, who was on that list. He admitted he knew, but he wouldn’t say. He suggested I talk to CUEE.

Tom Kurrie walked up at that point, and I asked Henderson if Kurrie was CUEE. Henderson said I would know that better than he would, which caused me to refer to Black Crow’s Mr. Henderson as very modest and humble.

Tom Kurrie remarked that he always saw me with a camera, and at a previous event I’d asked him what was in unification for him. He reminded me he’d answered there was nothing in it for him, and I observed that was a good answer. Anyway, I asked CUEE Board Member Mr. Thompson Kurrie, Jr. what went with the list of supporters. He allowed as how he didn’t really visit the web site very often, since he wasn’t good with computers.

So I asked who would know? He said that fellow over there at the table with the sign-in sheet, Daniel Storey. Continue reading

Workforce development meeting at Wiregrass Tech —G. Norman Bennett @ VLCIA 19 July 2011

G. Norman Bennett advocated attending the Wiregrass Tech town hall on a soft skills/work ethics curriculum 8 August 2011.
“Georgia is leading the nation in workforce development.”
Wiregrass Tech is one of the keys to local workforce development. If you’re interested in that, please go. It’s this coming Monday.

Here’s the video:

Workforce development meeting at Wiregrass Tech —G. Norman Bennett @ VLCIA 19 July 2011
Regular Meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA),
Norman Bennett, Tom Call, Roy Copeland chairman, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett,
Andrea Schruijer Executive Director, J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Allan Ricketts Project Manager,
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 19 July 2011.
Videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

I already posted another view of this, by George Rhynes. But that one was at the end of a video of me talking, and I think what Norman Bennett had to say is important and deserves its own post.


Okra and Workforce Development @ VLCIA 19 July 2011

People keep mentioning the okra gift, and George Rhynes was kind enough to video it for his blog, K.V.C.I., so here it is.
  1. I suggested to VLCIA as I earlier did to the Lowndes County Commission that they hang up a clock so people can see how much more time they have to speak. You can see Crawford Powell lurking in the doorway. Joyce Evans was also in the hallway at this VLCIA meeting. That’s 2 out of 3 voting Lowndes County Commissioners. Maybe VLCIA will get organized enough to find chairs for them next time.
  2. I pointed out Project Excel is the private prison CCA wants to build in Lowndes County, and I still owe VLCIA a letter about why I think that’s a bad idea.
  3. Finally, I gave new executive director Andrew Schruijer a present. Crawford Powell suggested it was potatoes. Nope, this time it’s okra! Picked it myself that morning.
Here’s the video: Continue reading

Here, it’s your hot potato —VLCIA to Andrea Schruijer

VLCIA has its first regular meeting with its new executive director today, 5:30 PM, in the Industrial Authority Conference Room, 2110 N. Patterson Street. They’ve lobbed the biomass hot potato to her.

David Rodock wrote in the VDT 14 July 2011, Industrial Authority welcomes new director,

When it comes to the proposed biomass facility and maintaining a healthy relationship with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, which assisted the Industrial Authority in attracting the project, Schruijer believes staff and board members will be able to work through the situation.

“With economic development, it can be difficult to juggle a lot of different items,” said Schruijer. “It’s a balancing act to make sure you have all the parties involved and educated on the situation. The Department of Economic Development was there to help us recruit the project and they did just what they were supposed to do. In fact, they went above and beyond their duties by brushing over this project with a fine tooth comb. We worked with them and they worked with us. It seemed like a good project, and I think we’ll be able to work through this, maintain a good relationship with them as long as we keep the avenues for communication open.”

That sounds like Industrial-speak for they’re going to “move on to” things that do work. However she chooses to phrase it, it’s about time.

Regarding transparency: Continue reading