7 JAN 05: BADGE OF HONOR?
The first recall notice of 2005 in Columbus was issued Thursday. But it didn't come from local business. And unlike last year, it didn't even come from a disgruntled civil rights group.
The recall announcement came from Muscogee County Marshal Greg Countryman. He wants people to return badges handed out last year by former Marshal Ken Suddeth. We certainly don't want anything to clash with those new Marshal's Department uniforms....
When WRBL reported last year then-Marshal Ken Suddeth bought badges as well as pistols through private fund-raising, I naturally assumed they were for his officers [11 Oct 04]. But Greg Countryman says some badges actually were given to Suddeth's supporters and friends. Now they can play the most realistic "Grand Theft Auto" games ever.
(So did Ken Suddeth hand out pistols to supporters as well? Was he trying to organize a new Southern sport - a professional shooting tour?)
Marshal Greg Countryman says Ken Suddeth handed out at least 143 look-alike badges. I can't help feeling a bit annoyed by this. After all, I posted an exclusive interview with Suddeth just before the election - and I received NOTHING.
Greg Countryman says badges which look like they belong to the Marshal's Department should only be in the hands of "sworn peace officers." So when does his staff plan to raid Toys-R-Us?
Former Marshal Ken Suddeth told "WXTX News at Ten" he gave look-alike badges to "respected citizens who contributed to the community." But today's Ledger-Enquirer reports the badges are as far away as South Carolina. I didn't realize defeated politicians were moving that far out of town.
Marshal Greg Countryman is concerned the look-alike badges could be used for wrong purposes. But Ken Suddeth openly doubts the people who received the badges would do that sort of thing. Maybe they're all too old to want to get inside the Firehouse, for Friday night dancing.
Former Marshal Ken Suddeth adds all the look-alike badges he awarded say "honorary" on them. But the current Marshal says the badges turned in so far do NOT say that. And perhaps even more shocking, they may not even say "Made in South Korea" on them.
These look-alike badges weren't cheap imitations. WXTX reported each one cost $84. Certainly Ken Suddeth could have found paperweights costing less than this....
Meanwhile, how are things at the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office? All quiet for now, it seems - at least until January 15. That's when Jesse Jackson is scheduled to march through town, presumably escorted by Nation of Islam guards.
The Sheriff's Department made news Thursday for a very different reason. Local artist Mark Lucas donated four paintings, to be displayed at the Government Center office. I'm sure the accused criminals visiting this office will appreciate fine art such as this.
The four donated paintings show Sheriff's deputies doing good deeds in the community. One has a deputy holding a door open for a woman. Another has a deputy shaking hands with a soldier. Maybe this will get their minds off the Kenneth Walker videotape, to what a deputy SHOULD do.
(But sadly, so far none of these paintings show the Sheriff visiting a grieving widow at a hospital...)
Now let's step away from the artwork, for other items to close the week:
+ A farewell reception was held at the Trade Center for outgoing Columbus City Manager Carmen Cavezza. Fort Benning's Commanding General presented Cavezza with a medal for civilian service. Take that, Paul Olson - since I doubt you've given him a "good riddance" gift.
+ Retired General Barry McCaffrey visited part of the Third Brigade at Fort Benning. He told WRBL the U.S. military may need to spend two more years in Iraq, after the upcoming election. I'm not sure some G.I.'s have spent two years in THIS country, since the 2000 election.
+ Ticket sales began for this year's St. Jude Dream Home. Mayor Bob Poydasheff wrote a $100 check for the first ticket - stunning some of my friends, who figured the Mayor would have that much cash in his wallet.
(Maybe we should root for Bob Poydasheff to win that $280,000 dream house. If New York can have a nice mayoral mansion, so can Columbus.)
+ Light rain fell on Columbus during the morning - and which TV weathercaster predicted it would come? As best I remember, NONE of them did. It was the strangest "possible fog" I've ever seen in this city.
+ The Columbus Riverdragons did it again, beating Fayetteville for a 12th consecutive win. And the sports fans of Columbus did it again - as the official attendance at the Civic Center was 642. Maybe they're waiting for Ron Artest to make a guest appearance, and start a brawl.
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