Tag Archives: 21 Dec 2010

CCA private prison in Lowndes County?

What’s Project Excel? A private prison for Lowndes County, proposed by Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

Back in August 2010 when the VDT first brought this story to light, I pointed out that CCA is the same company that lobbied heavily for Arizona’s new immigration law so CCA could get more customers. And I wondered what VLCIA thought about this? Silly question: of course they’re all for it! It’s “jobs, jobs, jobs” with them.

As of 21 December 2010, apparently things were still pretty tentative when Brad Lofton gave an update to the VLCIA board, claiming the CCA private prison would bring 600 jobs to Lowndes County, Georgia:

Regular monthly meeting, Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority, VLCIA,
Norman Bennett, Roy Copeland, Gary Minchew, Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett chairman,
J. Stephen Gupton attorney, Brad Lofton Executive Director, Allan Ricketts Program Manager,
21 December 2010
Videos by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Some public objection had surfaced by 20 January 2010, when Dr. Mark George remarked to the Valdosta City Council:

“I think we can do better than a generator that burns human waste. I think we can do better than a private prison and those are two things that we seem to be excited about as a community.”
Next, we’ll see if objections had any effect on the Industrial Authority.


VLCIA on expansion of existing industry

Local industry for local jobs: feedback loops? At the 21 Dec 2010 board meeting, Brad Lofton and the VLCIA board talk about exanding local industry, namely PCA and AlphaProTech. Lofton says AlphaProTech will add 50 new jobs. Hm, 50 is more than 25 slated for the biomass plant. And nobody even has to trade AlphaProTech land for them to produce these jobs!

According to their website, AlphaProTech sells:

“protective apparel, infection control and extended care products in addition to a line of construction weatherization building products for the housing market.”
Hm, so if VLCIA promoted refitting local houses it would also be promoting AlphaProTech.

It’s interesting to hear Gary Minchew say regarding one company:

“we just don’t need to be the front man”

Video by John S. Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Interesting that VLCIA is not willing to be the front man for local industry (as we’ve also seen in this response from Col. Ricketts), when VLCIA clearly is the front man for Sterling Energy and Wiregrass Power LLC, neither of which are from around here.


Unity or Participation? Norman Bennett v. Meredith Ellis

First Norman Bennett explained that the problem was that the community needed to unite behind the VLCIA so investors wouldn’t be scared away (no video of that; sorry). Then Meredith Ellis, who wasn’t even signed up to speak, begged to differ: Continue reading

“no way shape or form” –Brad Lofton on Dr. Teaf

A week after Brad Lofton failed to produce evidence and offered to file Dr. Noll’s correspondence “in the appropriate file”, VLCIA has still not published the videos or slides from their 6 Dec 2010 event at the Rainwater Conference Center.

However, Brad Lofton and Col. Ricketts summarized that event for the VLCIA board at their recent board meeting, and they never presented any actual evidence there, either.

Brad Lofton said his toxicologist says the biomass plant in “no way shape or form” will cause health problems. Then he rattled off a long list of supporters of a Gainesville biomass plant. The rest of this post has videos of what he and Col. Ricketts said, plus screenshots of each of Dr. Teaf’s slides: see if you can find the details. Continue reading

“It is your responsibility to prove us wrong” –Dr. Noll to Mr. Lofton

Dr. Noll responds to Mr. Lofton’s email of 24 Dec 2010. -jsq
From: “Michael G. Noll”
To: “blofton@industrialauthority.com” <blofton@industrialauthority.com>, “Mary B. Gooding”, “Ricketts, Allan” <aricketts@industrialauthority.com>, “Copeland, Roy”, “‘John S. Quarterman'”, “Susan R. Wehling”, Kay Harris
Subject: RE: Wiregrass Power, LLC
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 21:19:15 +0000

Hello Mr. Lofton.

You might remember that WACE handed out a “Myth vs. Fact” info sheet at the meeting. On it were clearly outlined major issues we have with your biomass project. I will only entertain the first three to refresh your memory, since they are the most important facts for our community:

Continue reading

A “center of innovation excellence for renewable and sustainable energy in Georgia”?

In a recent message, Brad Lofton wrote “we plan to move on now and focus our attention on new job and tax revenue creating projects.” OK, what are those projects?

Back in September Brad Lofton told me that VLCIA had (beyond whatever Wiregrass LLC is doing) “other renewable green energy projects”, which he then refused to describe.

When I asked about these projects at the 21 Dec 2010 VLCIA board meeting, board member Gary Minchew responded that VLCIA couldn’t talk about sensitive negotiations, but they didn’t want to be secretive. Earlier I had been talking to the fellow sitting to my left about his green energy project and whether VLCIA was going to move forward on it. He pointed out to the board that he and I were facebook friends and linked on LinkedIn. He’s sending me some information; more on that when I get it. Meanwhile, I wonder why the board wouldn’t talk about his project, and I remain dubious that VLCIA has any other “renewable green energy projects”.

In that same meeting, Col. Ricketts and Brad Lofton went on for some time about solar energy, saying they were answering citizen concerns.

As one of the people who has asked them most frequently about solar energy, I have to say Continue reading

VLCIA Board Meeting videos, 21 Dec 2010

Here are videos of the regular public board meeting of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA), 21 Dec 2010. I videoed almost everything, except when I was speaking or they were answering. More posts later on some of the astonishing points arising from this meeting.
Update 1 Jan 2010: more videos posted, with some comment. Still a few more to come.
Update 2 Jan 2010: All the videos are there now, and there’s a blog post with Dr. Teaf’s slides, along with video of Brad Lofton saying “no way shape or form”.

I’m sure that every VLCIA board member has the best interests of the community at heart. Several of them invited me to contact them with any concerns. I will take them up on that invitation, and you can, too. Continue reading

jsq to Col. Ricketts about VLCIA

Here’s my response to Col. Ricketts’ recent message. -jsq
From: John S. Quarterman
To: “Allan Ricketts” <aricketts@industrialauthority.com>
cc: “‘John S. Quarterman'”, “‘Michael Noll'”, “‘Susan Wehling'”, “‘Brad Lofton'” <blofton@industrialauthority.com>, “Mary B. Gooding”, Roy Copeland, Kay Harris
Subject: Re: Wiregrass Power, LLC

Col. Ricketts,

It’s good to hear from you.

I wondered during your re-presentation of slides you’d already said the entire VLCIA board had seen at the recent VLCIA biomass event, whether you would provide copies to interested parties, such as those sitting in the room, but you did not at the time.

Considering the increasing amount of public interest in this topic, as evidenced by the attendance and questions at the VLCIA Rainwater Conference Center event, and by recent newspaper activity, probably the public would like to see those press releases directly from the VLCIA’s web site. However, LAKE is always happy to link to relevant material, so if you will please send me the URLs of those press releases as you found them on the web, LAKE will be happy to link to them.

Similarly, if Dr. Teaf’s information is as good as you indicated,

Continue reading

Col. Ricketts on Wiregrass Power, LLC

I received the appended message from Col. Ricketts, Project Manager for the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA). My response will follow. -jsq
From: “Allan Ricketts” <aricketts@industrialauthority.com>
To: “‘John S. Quarterman'”
Cc: “‘Michael Noll'”, “‘Susan Wehling'”, “‘Brad Lofton'” <blofton@industrialauthority.com>
Subject: Wiregrass Power, LLC
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2010 12:48:28 -0500

Norman Bennett, Gary Minchew,
Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett (Chair),
J. Stephen Gupton (Attorney),
Brad Lofton (Executive Director)
Hello John,

It was good to see you at the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority Board Meeting on Tuesday evening. I encourage you to attend more often.

I’ve attached copies of several recent press releases that we discussed during the meeting. I look forward to seeing these posted on your information exchange for folks to read.

Please let me know if you would like a copy of Dr. Christopher Teaf’s .ppt

Continue reading