Tag Archives: Lanier County

Jack Kingston has a green tongue —Gretchen Quarterman

VDT LTE today. -jsq
Georgia has gained enough population in the past ten years to add a congressional seat. This means redrawing the Congressional district lines not only to balance population, but to also add another representative in Congress. Lowndes County has been split between the first and second districts, and all spring rumors of where we might end up were circulating. Eventually we saw a draft map that had Lowndes completely in the 8th District,

along with other counties along Interstate 75. That map made some sense south of Macon. Some communities of interest were preserved (most of the Lowndes-Valdosta MPO was in the same district) and the hospitality corridor of I-75 was in one district, along with the rural farms that surround it. Valdosta to Macon is easier to traverse than Valdosta to Savannah, or Valdosta to Columbus.

But then Congressman Jack Kingston stuck out his green tongue.

Continue reading

Some might refer to this as sprawl —Tim Carroll

This comment from Tim Carroll came in Friday on Bright flight visualized. -jsq

You may want to consider other reasons for Lanier’s residential growth. There was an explosion of lower cost housing there over the past 10 years. It has attracted a large percentage of Moody folks. This was in part a response to the cost of homes in Lowndes Co. More specifically land cost. One component of the ULDC adoption was a call for higher density developments in the unicorporated areas where at the time, land was cheaper. Unfortunately, those that owned the land picked on the demand and guess what…..the prices started to climb quickly.

Some might refer to this as sprawl. The other item of interest is the budget woes the Lanier County Board of Ed is having as a result of this growth. Residential property demands more in services than it pays for in taxes. Just something to consider. There may not be a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.

-Tim Carroll

Bright flight visualized

Lanier County gained more than 30% in children under 18. Lanier looks like the exurbs around Atlanta, except it’s even more striking. Also visible on the map is Hamilton, County, Tennessee, home of Chattanooga, CUEE’s favorite example of school unification: Hamilton County showed a loss of children while just across the state line Catoosa County, Georgia gained 15-30%. If school unification doesn’t cause bright flight, it doesn’t seem to stop it.

Haya El Nasser and Paul Overberg wrote in USA Today 3 June 2011, Census reveals plummeting U.S. birthrates

Because families with children tend to live near each other,

the result is an increasingly patchy landscape of communities teeming with kids, and others with very few.

Even in counties where the percentage of children grew, only 49 gained more than 1 percentage point — many of them suburbs on the outer edge of metropolitan areas such as Forsyth, Whitfield and Newton outside Atlanta and Cabarrus and Union outside Charlotte.

So that makes Lanier County one of only 49 Continue reading

Master Gardeners Graduate

Grand Bay Master Gardeners (GBMG) has been holding a class to become master gardeners, and they just graduated yesterday!

I’m not going to attempt to name all of them, because the ones I missed would be miffed. I will say that’s Gretchen Quarterman on the right. And that these are people from all over the area, city and country, Democrat and Republican. Growing food is the universal community builder.

GBMG is “organized as a cohesive working group in Lowndes, Brooks, Echols, and Lanier Counties”. They’ll be holding more classes, so you, too, can become a master gardener.


Why school consolidation is useless: bright flight

What local county grew twice as fast as any of the others? If you guessed Lowndes, nope, no prize for you. The answer, according to the 2000 census, is Lanier County:

What school consolidation would get us is more of that. Not white flight, rather bright flight, to Lanier and other counties. Many of the leaders of the local African-American community already don’t live in Valdosta; they live in Lowndes County or even Berrien County. More of both black and white people will move out of a county with a consolidated school district, resulting in lower educational results not just for Valdosta but also for Lowndes schools. Is that what we want?

How about all the people who claim they know how to take our schools to “the next level” get on with doing that right now with the two existing school systems?


Transportation Improvement Program for Valdosta Urbanized Area

Gretchen found this in the public notices in the VDT:

The Valdosta-Lowndes Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has developed the Draft Fiscal Year 2011-2014 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for the Valdosta Urbanized Area which includes all of Lowndes County and portions of Berrien and Lanier Counties.

This TIP is available for public review and comment from April 20, 2010 through June 3, 2010 at the Southern Georgia Regional Commission, 327 W. Savannah Ave.; the South Georgia Regional Library located at 300 Woodrow Wilson Dr.; the Valdosta City Hall located at 216 E. Central Ave.; the Lowndes County Administrative Offices located at 325 W. Savannah Ave.; or on the internet at www.sgrc.us/transportation; www.valdostacity.com; or www.lowndescounty.com.

A Public Open House will be held on Monday, May 17, 2010 from 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Southern Georgia Regional Commission located at 327 W Savannah Ave., Valdosta, GA, for interested parties to view the document and ask questions of staff.

Comments are being accepted by email at chull@sgrc.us by fax at 229-333-5312, or by mailing them to VLMPO, 327 W Savannah Ave., Valdosta, GA 31601.

For more information, please call Corey Hull, MPO Coordinator at 229-333-5277.


The TIP is on the SGRC website.

Note this TIP is different from the longer-term 2035 Transportation Plan. The TIP is apparently for projects expected to be implemented in the next few years.

John S. Quarterman

Local Thanksgiving

Here in Lowndes County and the surrounding area we have plenty of things to be thankful for:
  • A growing local food community, anchored by Jason DeLoach’s F.M. Guess Pecan Company of Valdosta, the Packhouse Market of Hahira, and of course Jim Fiveash’s Food Store of Hahira. Let’s not forget the Valdosta Farmer’s Market (1500 South Patterson Street) and Farmer Brown’s Produce. There’s even at least one local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) starting up.
  • Long distance transportation: Interstate 75 near I-10, numerous state highways, and an airport.
  • Delta Airlines (I never thought I’d be writing this) for competitive airfares (except during holidays). And landing on one of the longest runways in the state.
  • Railroads going in every direction carrying freight, which can also carry passengers whenever state and local people and governments get organized to do it.
  • Businesses moving in to take advantage of the transportation; working towards enough good jobs that young people don’t have to move away to find one.
  • County and city governments that are at least a little bit sceptical about exactly which businesses they encourage to move in.
  • Moody Air Force Base, by far the biggest employer, bringing diversity to the community both in serving personnel and in later retirees.
  • Two hospitals: South Georgia Medical Center and Smith Northview Hospital.
  • There’s even a Valdosta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) including the counties of Lowndes, Brooks, Lanier, and Echols, with a combined population of about 130,000. This is enough people to try things without waiting for Atlanta or Washington to tell us what to do.
  • Valdosta State University, one of two large regional campuses of the University of Georgia System, and one so active politically that it got its own voting precinct this year, the only college precinct in the state.
  • Live election results during each election, on the Lowndes County website. It’s the only county in the state that does this!
  • Georgia Military College, a liberal arts junior college.
  • Valdosta Technical College, or whatever it’s being called since the state reorganized it.
  • Thriving downtowns in Valdosta and Hahira. First Friday, Winterfest, Honeybee Festival: those are doing more to attract attractive businesses than any number of road projects.
  • Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area, preserving a little bit of the original ecosystem of the area; you know, pine trees, live oaks, wiregrass, pitcher plants, cypress swamps, alligators, great blue herons, and bobcats. Maybe you don’t. Go and see!
  • Trees, for forestry, and for themselves. See Patterson Street (a little planning kept it from looking like Ashley Street), and the oldest longleaf pines in the county are on the VSU campus; older than Valdosta. There are even a few left elsewhere in the county. Protecting forests is not just the right thing to do, it’s good business.
  • Rain, so trees and crops will grow.
  • Sunshine, much more than Germany, for example, so we can do solar if we want to.
  • Winning sports teams in Lowndes County and Valdosta high schools and VSU caused ESPN to name Valdosta TitleTown. Maybe that winning attitude can carry over to improving academics.
  • Theatre at the Dosta, VSU, and the high schools. If theatre was a sport, we’d be winning that, too!
    La vie est belle,
    La vie est gai?
        Tell me why
    The sky
    is filled with music,
    Tell me why
    We fly
    on clouds above?
We live in an area with many advantages. You can probably list more of them.

Why stop with what we’ve got? Why not play up our advantages of transportation, natural environment, local culture, etc., and attract jobs for young people and make the place even better for everybody?