Saturday, January 31, 2009

NSBKB likely to be on the grow again.

Buzzards circle two deceased Camden developments; land on one.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

JDA Board of Director's terms.

Click on images to enlarge. Thanks to county adminsitrator Steve Howard for e-mailing me this info per my request.
I guess all we can do now is stick these dates on our refrigerators and wait.

Monday, January 26, 2009

An interesting (and curious) exchange of e-mails..

between District resident Thomas Greene "Tripp" Casey, III, and District One Commissioner Willis "Chip" Keene: Here is my original email to Mr.Keene:Mr. Keene,I just want to know why the Board doesn't want much to do with the JDA. The JDA seems to leach my tax money, and has nothing to show for it recently. Meanwhile, surrounding areas continue to grow even under these economically challenging times, and we cant even get a good restaurant to stay in town much less bring good stable jobs to our County. The JDA needs to produce results, or be dismantled and save us valuable tax dollars. If there is a good reason why the JDA is valuable, please share it with me. You know more than me about it. Thank you for your time Mr. Keene, and good luck in your term. Please keep us District 1 voters in mind.Sincerely,Tripp Casey Mr. Casey, Thanks for contacting me about the JDA.I agree with you that the JDA must produce in order to continue to receive tax dollars from us. I also agree that if we cannot make it produce then we should not continue to fund its operation and to dismantle it. I agree also that we desperately need not only jobs, but also the investment in business capital that comes with economic development.It is my intent to support an effort to make some changes to the existing JDA that will make it successful. A qualified director that is accountable is a start. Some realistic goals would be another criteria. Finally, I would like to see the cities participate financially. I think that is the intent, given the word "Joint" in the name of the authority.I think it is in the best interest of the citizens to make the JDA work. We will face considerable expense of time and money to dismantle the JDA, and it would be more bad press for our county. I would prefer to read about a success in the paper for a change. At this point, we at least are having some dialogue with the JDA.Ultimately, if we can't get some results, then we will have no choice but to stop funding.I appreciate your input. I invite you to attend the Commissioners meetings often and offer your input not only on this issue, but others as well.Please feel free to contact me with any other concerns.ThanksWillis "Chip" KeeneCommissioner - District 1 Could this possibly be the same Chip Keene who would not even throw Commissioner Berry a bone at last week's county commission meeting when Berry was looking for allies to impress upon the JDA Board of Directors that the status quo ante was not going to cut it anymore? Me thinks that Commissioner Keene has likely heard for more than one disilllusioned constituent on this matter. "We will face considerable expense of time and money to dismantle the JDA, and it would be more bad press for our county." Really? What, pray tell, might those considerable expenses be? Show of hands: Who really gives a damn about a little bad press in route to establishing an effective industry recruiting arm of Camden County government?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Funnies; Volume 48.

Click on image to enlarge Once upon a time, a time when I still had most of my hair.......
You might recall that last week I said I had a disastrous first date story that would top the one that Jay Leno came across on his show. Here it is. It happened one August when I was 23. I was working full time as an LPN (in those days, ex-Navy corpsmen could legally "challenge" the state LPN boards and become licensed) in a private psychiatric hospital in Savannah and attending Armstrong College. There was an attractive brunette, home from UGA for the summer, who would visit one of her girl friends who was an in patient. One day, my home phone rang. It was said brunette. We'll call her Jane. She wanted to know if I cared to get together for coffee to discuss her friend. I told her I could not do that (discuss the friend's case) but wondered if she would be interested in dinner and a movie. She was. I set the date for a Saturday night. I told her that she might want to eat a late lunch insofar as we were going to an early movie followed by a late supper. After the movie, we went back to my apartment. I had prepared a great recipe I had for marinated shrimp. They had been in a jar in the refrigerator for a couple of days. All I had to do was open a bottle of white wine, fix a salad, warm up a can of Cross and Blackwell lobster bisque, and fry up some small hush puppies (dipped with a melon ball scoop). We were drinking a glass of wine while I was cooking. The apartment was on the second floor of an old two story house in mid-town Savannah (East Broad and 38th). There was a window unit at the opposite end of the apartment. With the gas burner on and it being August, it was a little warm in the kitchen. I was standing at the stove, turning the hush puppies, which were frying in a large, cast iron skillet. Jane had just finished setting the table when she asked if there was anything else she could do to help. I asked her to stand off to the side of the stove (it was at the end of the limited counter space) and hold the plate I was going to put the hush puppies on. So, there she stood, just to my left, holding the plate. One second, I was looking down at the hush puppies turning golden brown in the hot oil. In the next instant, I was looking at the back of her head. She had fainted and fallen face first into the hot oil! As luck would have it, she had her beautiful, long hair in two braided pig tails. I instantly grabbed a pig tail in each hand and pulled her out of the frying pan. She slumped to the floor, unconscious. She had hot grease on her face and dripping down onto her blouse. I darted into the bathroom and grabbed a towel to get the grease off. In the seconds I was gone, she had regained consciousness and was up on her hands and knees, crawling around, trying to pick up the spilled hush puppies. I grabbed her under her armpits and stood her up. By this time, the skin on her face had largely sloughed off. I blotted grease off of her face, then quickly removed her blouse and bra. The whole time, she was still sort of out of it and apologizing profusely for having dropped the hush puppies. I picked her up in my arms and rushed to the bathroom where I got into a cold shower with her, clothes and all. As you will know, if you've had first aid training, the idea was to stop some of the tissue damage that was still occurring by cooling the burned areas. After a while in the shower, I sat her down in a chair while I raced downstairs to my car to retrieve my well stocked first aid kit. Luckily, I had a full tube of Tetracaine topical anesthetic ointment. I applied that top her burned areas. Though she was not complaining of pain, I knew that as soon as the shock wore off, she would have been. She had classic second degree burns of the face and some second and first degree areas on her chest. Facial skin, from forehead to chin, was hanging loose. I asked her if she wanted to go to the ER or if she wanted me to call her parents, or what. She said that no, I seemed to know what I was doing, that her parents were used to her sometimes staying out all night, and that she could not deal with how freaked out they would be just yet. That being the case, I pulled out my minor surgical set and carefully debrided (removed) the devitalized skin and applied more Tetracaine ointment. I assured her that I was very familiar with the progression of the healing process for her type of burn (and I was, after working for six months in the Hoa Khan Children's Hospital, just north of DaNang, where I had debrided numerous similar burns - and much worse ones.) I told her that she had just received a low budget "facial peel" and that she would look even more gorgeous when the new skin grew back. The Tetracaine was working. She was feeling no pain. So, we sat down to eat. By this time, her lips had swollen to the point it looked like she had two cocktail weenies glued to her face. When your face is numbed, you tend to stick yourself in the face with your fork, which she did. I offered to feed her, but she would have none of it. Finally, she discovered that by holding the fork in both hand at arms length and following it intently, she could hit her mouth. During dinner, she told me that not only had she not heeded my advice about a late lunch, but that she had been on a rather strict diet and had spent most of that day on the beach in the hot sun. That, combined with a glass of wine on an empty stomach in a hot kitchen explained the fainting. So, anyway, she spent the night with me. I did my best to keep her mind off of her burns. The next morning, we got up late. I fixed breakfast. Her lips were still hugely swollen. Around noon, we arrived at her parent's house. She let herself in the front door with her key. She asked me to come in for support. When she walked in on her parents in the kitchen, the mother, a nurse, let out a scream. The father, a dentist, took one look at me standing behind her and began agitatedly walking in a tight circle, slamming his fist into his hand and grunting. Jane told them to calm down, that she was alright. She explained what had happened, that it was not my fault, and that I had taken good care of her. Her mother immediately got all pissy and insisted that I write down just exactlty what I had done "to" her. I did, in the correct medical terminology. It turned out that her father was retired military. They took Jane (who was, as a 21 year old, dependent college student, still covered on base) to the hospital at Hunter Army Airfield. Jane asked me to come along. So, we all sat in the ER waiting area until the nurse called Jane in to see the doctor. After a few minutes, the doctor came out and, with a puzzled look on his face, said to her parents, "There's really nothing more I can do for her. Did y'all just want a second opinion, or what? I mean, she's already seen doctor, right?" Mom shot me a nasty look. I just grinned back at her. So, we drove back to their house, Mom and Dad in their car, Jane and I in mine. Mom and Dad immediately retreated to the back part of the house. Jane thanked me for taking such good care of her and walked me to the front door. As I was leaving, I again reassured her that before she knew it she would look just fine. And then - in one of those moments that you think only could happen on a sit-com, knowing that she was dreading the crap she was about to catch from her parents, I actually uttered the words, "Keep a stiff upper lip." Jane soon went on back to college. We never dated again. However, about a year later, I saw her out with another guy. She looked great.

Governor proposes cutting state funds for school nurses.

Bad idea!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sheriff, county attorney to meet with feds to discuss resumption of seized asset sharing.

As you all know, the feds suspended the county's eligibility to share in seized assets as a result of the BOC chair's understandable unwillingness to sign off on Bill Smith's patently illegal expenditures from the funds. Next week, Sheriff Gregory, accompanied by County Attorney, Brent green, will travel to Savannah to meet with the feds. They will plead their case that there is a new sheriff in town who can not undo the malfeasance of EX- sheriff Bill Smith, but can assure them of strict compliance with the letter of the law going forward. I'm sure that every sane, rational, Camdenian will join me in wishing them every success in this endeavor.

CCHS 2008 Wildcats football team ranked 10th in nation.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Would you believe SIX YEAR TERMS for JDA Board of Directors??

In response to a question posed earlier today by a reader, I e-mailed Camden County Administrator Steve Howard to inquire about the terms. Just woke up from a nap a few minutes ago. Called Steve per his e-mailed request and caught him on the road. Reception was not all that good so I settled for just the terms and expirations of the three board members nominated and elected by the Camden County Board of Commissioners. I frankly was not all that interested in the representatives from the three cities because, A, the cities do not pay a penny in support of the JDA, and B, from what I hear, their appointed (by the city councils) reps rarely show up at JDA board meetings anyway. I assume the city reps are re-appointed for staggered six-year terms as well, but not sure. I will leave it for less-than-happy-with-the-JDA citizen activists in each city to check into that and report back to us, if you would. Here is the link to the world-class JDA website if you want to find out who the cities' reps are. The county commission that set this thing up, in their "wisdom" (more likely, their desire not to be bothered with it all that often), established not only six year terms, but staggered six-year terms. Here they are: John McDill, Chairman - term expires June 30, 2010; Pat Brown, Vice Chairman - term expires June 30, 2011; Stan Fowler, Executive Committee - term expires June 30, 2014. It seems to me that the only way to effect serious change at the JDA in a timely fashion is to totally defund them in next year's budget, then, if a study shows that it would be better to retain a JDA, as opposed to bringing it in-house under the county administrator, have the BOC TELL the JDA, in no uncertain terms, what changes they WILL make to their charter and mission statement (and DE FACTO mission) before they will be re-funded. Of course, there is absolutely no chance of that happening unless the two members of the BOC who come up for re-election in 2010, Sears and Zell, either have a drastic change of voting patterns, or are replaced by challengers who have had enough of the JDA status quo. P.S., I know Stan Fowler, CPA is the Fowler in Fowler and Maxwell, CPAs. He's my CPA as of tax year 2008. I'm 99.9% sure John McDill is the top dog for Georgia Power in these parts (which burns more electricity, a few businesses or thousands of residences?). I have no idea what Pat Brown does. Anyone? Update, Saturday, 1/24 @ 0955 HRS. A source has e-mailed me that Pat Brown, the husband of Camden County State Farm agent Jane Brown, is retired. However, they did not know what he is retired from. Anyone?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Gordon Jackson falls ill: rushed to hospital unconscious.

FLASH: This sad and shocking news just in: Moments ago, GTU reporter Gordon Jackson was attending a function for the anniversay of some St. Marys magazine or other at Seagles. Winesses report that he suddenly turned ashen gray and passed out. He was rushed, still unconcious, by ambulance to the local hospital. Neither his condition nor whether he was transported to Jax is known to me at this time. I spoke to him by phone for about 15 minutes around 4:00 PM this afternoon. He seemed fine at that time. I'm sure that all of my civilized readers join me in wishing for a good and speedy outcome for Gordon. I'll update y'all when and if I can find out anything more. 2057: Great news! I just spoke to Gordon on the phone in the Camden ER. He is awake, alert, and says he's "doing alright." He has no clue as yet what happened, but thanks you all for your concern. Update: Saturday, 1/24 @ 1849 HRS. Turns out that Gordon had a killer cold bordering on walking pneumonia. Additionally, he had just picked up glasses ground to a new prescription- and apparently not correctly - that very day. The apparent combined result was a case of vertigo which caused him to fall. He lost consciousness because in the fall, he struck his head hard enough to knock him out cold. Look to see his by-line again soon.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yep, a gift, just as I suspected!

Click on image to enlarge. Here are the impact fees for St. John's County, Florida (St. Augustine.) Compare these rates to the laughably low Camden County rates in the previous post.

Oh, the pain!!

Click on image to enlarge.
Tuesday night, when I heard that county impact fees became effective January 1st, I immediately wondered why there had not been anything made of it in the press. Well, now I think I know. I haven't had time to research other area impact fees, but working from memory, I think it is safe to say that these impact fees are riduculously low - clearly a gift to local builders and "boob bait for the bubbas" - us taxpayers.

County administrator assembles impressive professional staff.

Tuesday, at 5:00PM, at the direction of County Administrator, Steve Howard, Camden County Strategic Planning Director, Diana Smith, did an excellent job of narrating an excellent, highly professional, Power Point presentation of the county government's Annual Performance Review. This was projected onto the huge screen which drops down out of the ceiling of the new commission chamber -a chamber with an excellent sound system (if only the commissioners would learn to pull the mics closer and speak into them.) Here is the link to the full report which was just posted on the county web site today. I'm very impressed with the professional team that Mr. Howard has assembled. These people were obviously hired based upon their having the required professional education and experience, rather than their native Camdenian pedigrees and kinship connections. We now have an upper echelon of managerial employees at the county who are for more qualified for their respective jobs than the BOC is for theirs, on the whole. Well, it's a start.

Camden County Sheriff's Office deputy ticketed by DNR in night hunting incident.

Commission Quartet apparently happy with same ol' same ol' at JDA.

Well, I went up to the 5:30 workshop on the JDA Tuesday. It was a workshop alright: the JDA board worked over the taxpayers. So long as Rainer is chairman, the Quartet remains united under his leadership, and they continue to ostracize Berry as the official Lone Ranger (out of fear of the coming Thuggie backlash?), the gentlemen who comprise the Board of Directors of the JDA have no need to fear change of policy or direction, much less replacement. The JDA board, in the person of board member and local attorney, Michael Perry, quickly fired an opening shot across the BOC's bow before the BOC had even charged their guns. Mr. Perry let it be known that they were against any changes whatsoever from the status quo ante and would thank the board to kindly just continue to fork over the quarter -million or so annually and otherwise mind their own damned business. Chairman Rainer couldn't get out of the blocks fast enough in his zeal to signal that he was not only on their side, but had the entire Quartet in his pocket. Commissioner Berry expressed his dissatisfaction with the JDA's performance to date, including an allusion to some "illegal contracts" having been signed. I do not think he was talking about the illegal exactions surrounding the per-structure, pseudo impact fee (by the way, REAL, LEGAL impact fees became effective January 1st) deal which was struck down. I got the distinct feeling that there is more to the Bob Noble business than is known for now by the public. Berry's suggestion was that the BOC should be involved in the hiring of the new JDA director. To that end, the County Administrator had drawn up a job description for the new man. What a concept! The JDA board of course appreciated that, but did not want the BOC, per se, and Berry in particular, involved in any way in the hiring process. I mean, after all, look at the stellar track records of their two previous hires. Moreover, Berry wanted to have the function of JDA director come back in house as an employee of the BOC, reporting directly to the county administrator, Mr. Steve Howard (a guy with whom I am more favorably impressed with every passing month). Of course, Mr. Perry quoted chapter and verse from the JDA enabling legislation as to why that was not permissible. He was technically right, but totally oblivious or defiantly indifferent (not sure) to the fact that the objective was to FIND A WAY to make the JDA director productive - that is, to ACTUALLY bring employers to Camden County (what a concept.) I will say that Commissioner Sears spoke rather cogently, albeit in that classic quasi-apologetic, demurring, southern belle style, as to her disappointment with the JDA's long, uninterrupted history of failure to do much beyond peeing away millions. However, in the end, as a member of the Rainer-led Quartet, she voted to maintain the status quo. I had high hopes for Commissioner Keene. However, about all that I can say is that he cleans up nice; he's well educated; he's artuclate; but, it's all for naught because he's clearly hitched his wagon to St. David, the patron saint of Good ol' Boys. The math on what needs to happen in the next election cycle is now clear. P.S., as an afterthought, I just went to the JDA's award winning, state-of-the-art website (where the late Bob Noble is still listed as the director). I had assumed that Michael Perry was a member of the JDA board. Wrong. Apparently, he was there at the workshop acting in his professional capacity as an attorney REPRESENTING the JDA board. That they brought their attorney to a "workshop" is interesting. John McDill, the JDA Board Chairman was there. I'm not sure who the other gentleman was. It was not Stan Fowler - I'm using him to file my tax return this year (paying Social Security, state and federal unemployment, and a contribution to the damned EIC, and cranking out a W-2 for a part-time housekeeper are all a pain in the butt well worth a CPA's reasonable fees.) On second thought the third guy at the JDA table must have been Pat Brown, the vice chair. Oh, by the way, cable viewers watching the following regular meeting should be on the lookout for a guy who came to speak to the JDA director situation at the request of his friend, Commissioner Keene. The guy was incredibly sharp. He now works for Georgia-Pacific in Brunswick after capping off a 20 plus year career in industrial development with a stint as the number two in the Georgia Dept of Industrial Development ( or words to that effect.) Very impressive and knowledgeable guy. I wonder if he might be interested in the job? Oh, and when you see me address the commission on the subject, I was not nervous, I was just having a time breathing while supporting my weight on the podium with my arms. Next time, I'll just remain seated and bend the goose necked mic down a bit. Addendum: Oops! I almost forgot: Steve Berry did win one minor victory of no consequence. At the moment, Mike Fender (County Finance Director) cuts the JDA a monthly check for one twelfth of their annual quarter million dollar gift from the taxpayers. They spend it any way they choose and write the checks temselves. Moreover, they keep own books. Effective February 1st, when they want to pay a bill, they will submit a voucher to Mike Fender. Fender will both cut the check and do thier bookkeeping - at no charge, of course. Now, if you are thinking that anyone in county government will have veto power over the JDA's INSTRUCTION TO PAY, you are sadly mistaken. Some "victory," eh?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Savannah lands another manufacturing plant; 150 jobs. Meanwhile, back in Camden, the BOC will hold a workshop this afternoon at 5:30 to discuss the future mission of the JDA; a JDA director job description; and to whom the JDA director shall henceforth report.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Funnies; Volume 47.

WORST FIRST DATE STORY EVER > > If you didn't see this on the Tonight show, I hope you're sitting down when> you read it. This is probably the funniest date story ever, first date or> not!!! > > > We have all had bad dates but this takes the cake. > Jay Leno went into the audience to find the most embarrassing first date> that a woman ever had. The winner described her worst first date experience.> There was absolutely no question as to why her tale took the prize! > > She said it was midwinter...Snowing and quite cold... and the guy had taken> her skiing in the mountains outside Salt Lake City, Utah. > > It was a day trip (no overnight). They were strangers, after all, and had> never met before. The outing was fun but relatively uneventful until they> were headed home late that afternoon. > > They were driving back down the mountain, when she gradually began to> realize that she should not have had that extra latte. They were about an> hour away from anywhere with a restroom and in the middle of nowhere! Her> companion suggested she try to hold it, which she did for a while. > > Unfortunately, because of the heavy snow and slow going, there came a point> where she told him that he had better stop and let her go beside the road,> or it would be in the front seat of his car. > > They stopped and she quickly crawled out beside the car, yanked her pants> down and started. In the deep snow she didn't have good footing, so she let> her butt rest against the rear fender to steady herself. Her companion stood> on > the side of the car watching for traffic and indeed was a real gentleman and> refrained from peeking. All she could think about was the relief she felt> despite the rather embarrassing nature of the situation. > > Upon finishing however, she soon became aware of another sensation. As she> bent to pull up her pants, the young lady discovered her buttocks were> firmly glued against the car's fender. Thoughts of tongues frozen to poles> immediately came to mind as she attempted to disengage her flesh from the> icy metal. > > It was quickly apparent that she had a brand new problem, due to the extreme> cold. > > Horrified by her plight and yet aware of the humor of the moment, she> answered her date's concerns about 'what is taking so long' with a reply> that indeed, she was 'freezing her butt off' and in need of some assistance!> > > He came around the car as she tried to cover herself with her sweater and> then, as she looked imploringly into his eyes, he burst out laughing. She> too, got the giggles and > when they finally managed to compose themselves, they assessed her dilemma.> Obviously, as hysterical as the situation was, they also were faced with a> real problem. > > Both agreed it would take something hot to free her chilly cheeks from the> grip of the icy metal! Thinking about what had gotten her into the> predicament in the first place, both quickly realized that there was only> one way to get > her free. So, as she looked the other way, her first time date proceeded to> unzip his pants and pee her butt off the fender. > > As the audience screamed in laughter, she took the Tonight Show prize hands> down. Or perhaps that should be 'pants down'. > > 'And you thought your first date was embarrassing' was Jay Leno's comment...> 'This gives a whole new meaning to being pissed off.' > > Oh, and how did the first date turn out? He became her husband and was> sitting next to her on the Leno show. > (Actually, I have a "first [and last] date" story that tops this one. I'll get it together for next Sunday.)

County Commissioner's to hold workshop on future course of JDA next Tuesday.

Next Tuesday, at 5:00 PM, in commission chambers in the newly renovated courthouse in Woodbine, County Manager Steve Howard will give a sort of state-of-the county presentation along with a vision / wish list for the county's future course. Then, at 5:30 PM, the commission will hold a workshop on the future of the JDA. Word from an authortative source (NOT a commissioner) is that at least one commissioner will push for a more pro-active JDA bent on attracting more high-paying jobs, rather than more lucrative-to-only-a-few "roof tops." Moreover, there will be discussion of a job description for the as-yet-to-be-hired JDA director; the search process; and exactly who the director will report to. There is at least one commissioner who will assert likely assert that the JDA director should report to the county manager. The regularly scheduled, second county commission meeting of the year will follow at 6:00 PM. Now that I can't get the re-play on cable (gone to satellite), I'm going to try to be there. I would encourage those who are as exasperated with a do-nothing JDA as I am to attend.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pollution of Georgia's estuarine systems.

Frequent commenter and professional fishing guide "Sea Pro" called me today to point out the notice on the GA DNR Wildlife site concerning warnings about eating fish from the Satiilla River Basin System. (See page 49.) He cites this data as all the more reason we should all be opposed to the full development of Cumberland Harbour, citing his belief that the increased residential development on the shores of the listed rivers is the cause of the estuarine pollution. Given what Sea Pro does for a living, including running multiple charter boats out of St. Simons, I can certainly appreciate his concerns. However, if you will look at the listed pollutants, you will find that every one of them, without exception, is associated with heavy industrial chemical processes - NOT residential development, including marinas. These are well known residuals from long closed Brunswick industries. That is not to say that unregulated development is not a concern, but so long as we disallow riverside septic tanks, maintain an efficient and effective sewage treatment system and discourage excessive lawn fertilization, I am not all that concerned about the effect of increased development upon the estuarine environment per se, and fish contamination in particular.

Interesting TOPIX poll.

Have you voted yet? :-)

"Five Guys famous burgers and fries."

Click on image to enlarge.
Ma-o-man!! Best store-bought burger I've had in over 40 years! I had to go back down to Jax Thursday afternoon to retrieve my cleaned rug from a rug shop in the San Marco area. One of my friends (yes, I do have them) highly recommended Five Guys in the River City Marketplace ( the shopping center on the east side of I-95 at the Jax Airport Road). Their burger and fries takes us baby boomers back to the days of mom and pop sandwich shops where they ground their own beef in a hand cranked meat grinder and formed the patties by hand. I don't know for sure how or where these guys grind their beef, but you will know immediately (even before going to their web site) that they use freshly ground, never frozen, quality beef. They char-broil it well done but juicy. As if the taste and texture would not tell you that their french fries are cut from fresh potatoes on site, they store their sacks of fresh potatoes in the dining area so you get the message. If you really want to satisfy your meat hungries, get their "hamburger" as opposed to one of their "little hamburgers." Their "hamburgers" all feature two beef patties which I know have a pre-cooked weight of at least 1/4 pound and possibly 1/3 pound. They are served on a regular sized, seeded bun. Their "little burgers" have just one patty of the same size. Warning: their "regular" sized french fries will easily feed two very hungry people. I had to throw away about half of mine - too full. I would guess that the large would take care of a family of four ordering burgers. The fries were very good, but fried "normally" because I forgot to ask for "extra-crispy," as I prefer. They also do hot dogs, a veggie sandwich, and a grilled cheese sandwich. That's it. "Get your own" and free re-fill Coca Cola products. Try it - you will have a new standard for hamburgers. Here's their website, followed by their menu.
To find the place, look for the humongous Walmart. Looking at the front of the Walmart, Five Guys is the first place off the left end of it. Be forewarned that if you are driving on the road immediately in front of Walmart going from right to left, you can't see Five Guys because the road angles off just past Walmart.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Camden Commentary milestone.

Camden Commentary surpasses 100,000 visits just shy of being 47 weeks old! Thanks to the reader who pointed that out in comments. I'm pretty sure that makes this blog second only to Sandy's in total numner of hits. I sincerely appreciate y'alls' readership. If you would all recruit one or two new readers, maybe we could surpass 300,000 hits by the second anniversary.

Whale rescue off Brunswick

Free apprenticeship opportunities on base.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Amen, Brother. Rarely do I agree with much on TOPIX, but it just so happens that on my trip up Hwy 17 this past Monday,that same bus passed me like I was standing still. I was actually doing 55 on cruise control. I would estimate the bus was going between 65 and 70. I know it was bus 207 because I was so "impressed" by it that I quickly whipped out my pen (stuck in my shirt) and wrote "207" on the palm of my hand, thinking I might report it later. I didn't, but there is no doubt in my mind that the TOPIX poster is telling the truth. I would note that the time was around 2:00 and there were no children nor any other passengers on the bus - only the driver. She ended up turning off to the right on a long dirt road, a little south of Woodbine.

GTU coverage of Cisco closings. The rest of the story: A source tells me that late yesterday, just before the closing of the DA's office in Woodbine, Mr. Patel walked in unexpectedly and surrendered the keys to both Cisco locations to the DA.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Land Mar subsidiary misses last four payments on Durango property. Sorry I missed this story yesterday. I no longer get home delivery of the GTU (poor service.) Unfortunately, they no longer include all of their major Georgia stories on their on-line edition. Thanks to the reader who brought this to my attention.

Oh, by the way..

yesterday, at 1630, I had a meeting to attend at the college in Brunswick. En route, I stopped by the court house in Woodbine to take my completed request for expungement of the record of my politically motivated false arrest in 1995. That was complete with page 2 - the one some expert on TOPIX assured folks did not exist - the one that you can only get filled out by the sheriff's office - the one that Sheriff Gregory received on his second day in office and hand delivered to me at the county commissioners meeeting on his 6th day in office - the page two Smith had withheld just to be an S.O.B. for over 13 years - that page 2. Well, we were also assured by another TOPIX expert that because Jim Proctor was working now as the personal bailiff of Judge Amanda Williams, and insofar as court was not in session every day, it followed logically that he must now be part time. Well, if he is (not), one of his "part time" duties is manning security at the front desk in the lobby. He's the guy who held the metal gate open for me to bypass the metal detector. Yessir, you just can't beat that TOPIX for factual reporting.

Both Cisco's locations closed again!

FLASH: This just in: Both Cisco's were closed down about 3 hours ago. This time, it was not for shorting customers on gas, but the inability to pay their water and electricity bills. Kingsland gave them until 2:00 this afternoon to pay up, as did the Georgia Power Company. When they were unable to pay either, Kingsland turned off their water, then shut them down on the grounds of a health risk operating without water. What doomed the new owners was trying top operate under the same name and signage. Once burned, truckers never returned with their 2, 100 gallon diesel tanks in sufficient numbers to make a go of it. More jobs lost. What a pity that a do-nothing JDA has not long ago recruited other potential employers for those who lost their jobs today.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Funnies; Volume 46.

Mujibar was trying to get a job in India . The Personnel Manager said, 'Mujibar, you have passed all the tests, except one. Unless you pass it , you cannot qualify for this job.' Mujibar said, 'I am ready.' The manager said, 'Make a sentence using the words Yellow , Pink and Green .' Mujibar thought for a few minutes and said, 'Mister manager, I am ready' The manager said, 'Go ahead.' Mujibar said, 'The telephone goes green, green , and I pink it up, and say,' Yellow ' , this is Mujibar.' Mujibar now works at a call center. No doubt you have spoken to him. I know I have.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs

Here's a link to an interesting site that I found in an article about gasoline price gouging fines in today's on-line edition of the Savannah Morning News.,2471,5426814,00.html It might not be a bad idea to squirrel that one away in your "favorites" for possible future reference / use.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A damnable calumny! Those of you who have been reading TOPIX for years will no doubt pick up on the fact that the purported "quote" in the third entry on this thread bears no resemblance to what an actual quote (using the quote feature) looks like on TOPIX. It is a damnable lie and "Sean" is, of course, a libeling, damnable liar.

Some ignorant, red-necked, hateful Thuggie's comments are so assinine as to rate their own post.

A case in point: This comment came in as a result of my posting Dave Smith's mailing address on the blog in compliance with a request from a reader. "Do you have permission to put his address on the Internet? I believe you have committed an actionable offense. I will contact Dave and inform him of legal remedies available to him. Too late to undo the damage." You poor,poor, ignorant, hate-consumed, Thuggie ass. Try to keep up. A reader e-mailed me that he was a long-time close friend of Dave Smith's and had just spoken to him on the phone and got an update on his condition, which I published. As a result, another reader wrote, saying the they were sure many of Dave's long-time listeners would surely like to write and wish him and speedy recovery. They asked if I could get and publish his address. I went back to his friend who had e-mailed me. Said friend is a professional journalist / public relations executive. What do you think are the chances of his obtaining from Dave and giving to me Dave's address without obtaining Dave's permission for me to publish it? However, if you are still concerned, I would encourage you to file another complaint with the Bureau of Lost Causes. They can put it in the same file where they keep Thuggie complaints about Camden's election results.

Dave Smith's mailing address:

Dave Smith / 1625 Hawthorne Trace / Cumming, GA 30040-2996

St. Marys Goodys store to close as failed chain liquidates all stores nationally.

Twenty local employees to lose jobs.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My day, so far.....

Well, I woke up this morning knowing that thanks to the folks at, I would have to drive to Jax to get the correct ink for my printer. I usually get it via the on-line site for Office Depot. This time, when I was about to run out with the next semester starting Monday, I figured I would check out for a price check. Turned out they were maybe $7.00 or $8.00 dollars cheaper on $75.00 worth of Epson ink. Given my nothing but positive experiences with AMAZON heretofore, I figured I would give them the business. Well, when I inputted my brand and model number, up popped a page of unfamiliar looking cartridge packages. Fortunately, or so I thought, just before you placed your order, this pop-up screen, labeled "Will this work in my printer" popped up. It was as if they had read my mind. Once again, I inputted the make and model number of my printer, then hit "GO." Bingo! It came back with "Yes, this ink will work in your printer." So, I ordered it. That was a week ago. It finally got here yesterday - unusually slow for AMAZON. After I had already opened a couple of cartridges, I discovered that, in fact, my printer would not "recognize" any of them. Because I had taken out the empty black cartridge, I now was unable to print the damned post-paid shipping label to return the wrong cartridges. Hence, today's trip and the forking out of another $80.00 some odd dollars at an Office Max down by the airport. Well, seeing as how I was going anyway, it was as good a time as any to take my good rug down to Jax for a professional cleaning. Found a rug shop in San Marco run by a father -son team who I think are from Pakistan. Eighty bucks; ready in six days. Multi-tasking, I took a huge box with all of my size 10 & 1/2 shoes - about 25 pairs - from before my illness. Now, they will not fit over my braces. I dropped them by the I.M. Shulzbacher Center, a homeless service center, just behind the Jax sheriffs office and jail complex downtown. When I was there dropping off the shoes, if there was one person in line outside for the noon feeding, there had to be between 250 and 300. Many were of course the hard core homeless - the obviously mentally defective or mentally ill and the substance abusers. But there were also some cognitively more or less normal looking folks there too, including what appeared to be whole families. There were about a half dozen old men in ratty manual wheelchairs. It certainly brought home again what I've long known - that I was extremely fortunate that my illness was covered not only by Social Security but by Workers' Comp as well. Not to mention that the Gullain-Barre only effected my peripheral nerves and not my central nervous system. If you ever get a chance to donate to the I.M Schulzbacher Center, please do. They do good work for thousands in a years time. On the way down town, I had stopped off at that shopping center near the airport (well, at the airport exit, anyway) to buy the ink. That's when I noticed that they have a Red Lobster there. Made a point of stopping in on my way back. I think it was the first time in a Red Lobster in about 20 years. Got there about 1300. Lots of cars in the lot but plenty of room and wait staff inside huge facility. Off of the fresh fish du jour luncheon menu, I had the luncheon sized slab (about the size of my hand - and I wear extra large surgical gloves) of fresh, Atlantic salmon, cooked over a wood fire. The menu did not say what kind of wood, but it was definitely not mesquite, hickory, or pecan. I think I heard somewhere that a lot of these restaurants use apple wood, but I'm not sure. At any rate, it was my first "wood cooked" anything other than barbecue. It was quite good. The wood smoke flavor accented the salmon without overpowering the salmon and the seasoned butter it was basted in. With a little fresh squeezed lemon juice it was delicious. It was preceded by a nice house garden salad served with hot, killer biscuits slathered in a seasoned garlic butter. The entree came out with steamed broccoli florets and the signature Red Lobster, salt-encrusted, cannon-ball baked potato. Unsweetend iced tea to drink. The whole meal was delicious. It came to $14.00 and change. A bit pricey for everyday lunch, but a nice treat. And it's only a 20 minute ride. On my way out, I decided to clothes shop for next semester. I spotted one of those Ross stores. I had heard of them, but never been in one. Never will again. On average, the duds the folks were wearing in the noon feeding line looked better than the new offerings at a Ross store. Went over to the Walmart. If ours is a Super Walmart, that one must be a Super, Super Dooper Walmart. There is no doubt in my mind that our current Walmart would fit inside of that one with room to spare. In point of fact, I think that there is a goood chance that our old Walmart would fit in there as well. Time for more chow and a little national news. Later.

Thuggie vermin now stooping so low as to impugn the integrity of Sheriff Gregory's wife, Jodi, the county clerk.

"TrueStatement Charlottesville, VA Reply » Report Abuse Judge it! #160 17 hrs ago Just so you know... The Board of Commissioner's are handling the bid proposals.Hmmmm, who is the Secretary to the Board of Commissioner's who will be receiving and processing these bids?" (End of TOPIX screed.) Here are the facts as related to me by a very reliable source in a position to know of what he/she speaks.: In response to my inquiry, I received the following e-mail this afternoon : "Hi Jay, Yes, you are absolutely correct…Jodi has nothing to do with purchasing at all. Even if she wants to acquire something for her office, she has to go through our purchasing agent in the finance office. Our policy dictates that all sealed bids are indeed opened with witnesses present… usually the vendors that are interested in the bid results. There is always at least one other individual from the finance department present. The only time she would even see the bid information is when it is prepared for the agenda to present to the Commissioners at the public meeting. Jodi has never been involved with the actual purchasing process." So, there you have it, folks - the TRUTH. That is of course something you will rarely find on TOPIX and virtually never coming from the mouth of a Thuggie.

Today's installment of the "Oh, but MY pit bull would never do that!" files.,2933,477860,00.html

More from the "Oh, but MY pit bull would never do that!" files.

Camden EMA moving into old Kingsland post office building.

Oh, they're working their way down to you, Bill!

And some of yo' deputies too! They won't let y'all get away! You'll soon be paying every day!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

St. Marys City Councilman Larry Johnson has "minor" stroke.

According to today's T&G, Councilman Larry Johnson recently suffered a minor stroke and was taken to Shands, Jax. Reportedly, he is recovering nicely with little or no permanent neurological deficit. I'm sure you all join me in wishing him a speedy recovery and "return to duty." Update; Thursday, 1/8, at 0954 HRS. Just heard from Cookie Johnson that Larry is now back home and doing well.

Dave Smith's health is improving, but he will not be back at K-Bay.

This evening, I received this e-mail from a close friend of Dave Smith: "Jay, Just wanted to give you the complete Dave Smith update since I only spoke to him this morning at his parent’s home. I’m a good friend of his and had been admonishing him for not taking care of his high blood pressure. If he hadn’t gone to the doctor for a checkup, the diabetes and kidney failure would have gone unchecked. He is legally blind due to two issues – one being the diabetes that was left untreated and secondly a fall he took at the radio station, hitting his forehead and eye. The fall and hit resulted in a detached retina. He is on kidney dialysis three days weekly and said his skin color has changed from ash to peach and is regaining some sight. I asked about future treatment and at this point he is not a transplant candidate since the dialysis seems to be working. Will he come back to Camden? No. After 14 years of literally killing himself for the radio station he is hanging up the recorder and mic for good. Just sign me Any Mouse…"

Former deputy, fired by Smith, wishes new sheriff and deputies well in T& G letter. Whoa, Nellie! Hold the phone! Isn't this the guy who was chairman of the grand jury that found no wrongdoing on the part of Smith, and, in fact, praised his operation of the CCSO? So now we learn that it was because he deemed doing so the Christian thing to do and he wanted to be sure their was no hate left is his pea-picking heart for Ol' Bill? How about his secular, civic duty? Do they not preach that "Render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's" passage anymore?

T&G preaching to the choir? I do believe that all of these editorial points come straight out of Sheriff Gregory's "six point plan." There is no reason so far to think that they are not all being - or soon will be - implemented.

New CCSO website currently under construction.

St. Marys Senior Center to move to larger location off Spur 40.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Steffens Revisited

After the commission meeting let out, I needed supper. I drove straight down Hwy 17 to Steffens. I got in the door (after the owner kindly opened the always locked [fire code, anyone?] left door so that my chair would fit through) at 7:25PM. The place was about 80% full at 7:25 PM - way better than I remember a typical Tuesday night under the previous ownership. There was a table available on either the right side or the left side. Unfortunately, my old friend and consummate professional waitress, Pat, must have been in the kitchen. Had I seen her, I would have gone to her side. Alas, I went to the left side, where I was dis serviced by a chubby little brunette who was honing up her act as an acerbic stand up comedienne. Picture a young Roseanne Barr, waitressing, and doing it in her stand-up persona. I hope the gal makes it in showbiz because she absolutely sucks as a waitress. I will say that she has done a marvelous job of training the owner, though. While the surly young twit takes more orders than she can possibly handle and engages in curt and insulting reparte' with her hapless customers, the owner is panting like a dog from running her orders out and, not having a clue who ordered what, having a helluva time getting the right food to the right customers. The chubby waitress does manage to find time to pick up her tips, though. Poor Linda Cagle is in desperate need of a friendly, tough-love visit from that TV chef, Chef Ramsay, who visits failing restaurants and diagnoses their problems. The first thing he would tell her is to quit letting twits like the chubby gal treat her like the hired help while giving her customers piss-poor service, then getting cheeky with them when they have the temerity to complain. I arrived at 7:25. At 7:28, I placed my order with young Roseanne for an un-sweetened iced tea, a hamburger with light mayo, lettuce, tomato, and a "very thin slice of red onion", and an order of extra crispy fries. About five minutes later, I caught her attention and asked her to hand me the sweetener container which I could not reach and get me a straw. The hamburger (and the straw) finally arrived at 7:50. That's about the right amount of time to cook a fresh, raw, and usually frozen hamburger patty. Mine was none of that, but more on that later. I finally located the light mayo - a microscopically thin smear (think biology lab) the size of a postage stamp. The tomato was missing completely. For the thin slice of red onion, the cook had apparently savagely attacked a whole onion with a cleaver, then piled ping-pong ball sized chunks atop my meat patty. I called Roseanne back to my table and told her that I wanted the missing tomato and to please have the cook remove the "chunks of onion detritus" from my burger and replace it with the "thin slice" I had asked for. Well, even with the swinging doors to the kitchen fully closed, I could hear Roseanne loudly regaling the cooks with her mocking impersonation of me asking to have the burger fixed the way I wanted it. Ten minutes go by - no burger. Finally, out it comes. The "thin slice" was about 3/4 of an inch thick at its narrow side and 1.5 inchs high on the high side. I called Roseanne back and asked her if the thick onion ring I was holding in my hand was her idea of a joke. She, responded "NO, but the cooks thought it was funny!", then flounced off. So, when I went to the register, the poor bedraggled owner had high hopes of just taking my money and was not about to ask me how was everything. I had the huge red onion ring folded in a napkin. I revealed it to her and told her the story of my experience tonight. She immediately assured me that the cooks would not do that to me on purpose. I felt right sorry for her when I told her that in point of fact, I knew that they did because Roseanne had told me they did. She was speechless. Folks, this lady, with apparently no prior restaurant experience, is trying damned hard. It's a damned crying shame that a few ungrateful , no-count redneck employees are bringing her down ( to be accurate, the two cooks were black females - saw them at the back door.) I was about to withdraw my recommendation that you try it, but instead, how about going and telling her what, if anything, goes wrong with your experience. And for Gawd's sake, someone tell her to read my blog. It was obvious tonight that she has not. She's got to take back control and replace the few dirt bags who are killing her. Oh, yes - almost forgot. The sad little three ounce burger patty had obvioulsy been precooked, kept in a pot of warm water on the stove (cardinal clue - not a speck of grease on the burger or bun), then thrown back on the grill for a second, if you are lucky. My burger patty was absolutely at room temperature by the time I got to eat it. P.S., the new, Steffens-like restaurant going into the currently being remodeled former location of St. Marys Seafood and Steak has a target opening date of March 1. The new name will be "The Mill."

Tonight, in one giant leap backward for Camdenkind, David Rainer was elected to a third term as chair of the Camden County Commission.

Let me first credit Steve Berry for referring to it as a giant "step" backward. I'm pretty sure Neil Armstrong said a "giant 'leap'." I watched it live from Dong Ha Combat Base, RVN. The very first order of business after swearing in the victors from last November's election was to elect the new chair. The county attorney, Brent Green, wields the gavel until that is done, then turns it over to the newly elected chair. Just as soon as Green opened the floor for nominations, Chuckie Sears (who, apparently, had rushed straight to the meeting after escaping entrapment in a walk-in freezer at her new job or giving a performance with a visiting kabuki troupe) immediately nominated David Rainer. Steve Berry then noted that Rainer had been the chairman twice before with less than stellar results. Saying that he thought it was time for new blood, he put Commisioner Zell's name into nomination. He said that his only hope was that the newly seated Commissioner Keene (proclaimed by TOPIX crazies to be a Steve Berry recruit and puppet) would give him the third vote needed. NOT SO, marionette breath! When the vote was called, Keene voted with Rainer and Chuckie and the deal was done. Immediately thereafter, Green handed the gavel to Rainer who then moved to the midlle seats. The first words out of his mouth as the newly elected chair were, and I quote, "Thank you, Mr. Berry, for those kind words." Berry responded "Well, we've been here before." Rainer, even more snottily: "That doesn't even deserve dignifying with a response." So, we're off and running down a very familiar dirt road. Still think Keene is a Berry puppet? Okay. There was a reading of a new alcohol ordinance. The major change is a 25% increase in fees to package store and bar owners. Berry pointed out that the county still would have the lowest fees of many counties around. He pointed out that Kingsland charges the max allowable fees (per state law) of $2,000 for both package stores and bars. Camden charges $1,000 for one (bars, I think) and only $500 for the other. Apparently, Berry had had staff research the cost of CCSO repsonse to the 20 or so licensees in the past year. If memory serves me, it was $13,000 vs. only $11,000 in total liquor license fee revenues. Berry made a motion to table it and come back later after considering raising fess to match Kingsland's fees. Supposed puppet Keene spoke against Berry's idea, siding with the patron St. of Camdenian Good Ol' Boys, Saint David. So, in the end, Berry was the only no vote. The mere 25% increase is what we'll get. Oh, and Berry "puppet" Zell, she also sided with Rainer all night long. The love fest going on between sessions (swearing-in, first reading, public hearing, etc.) was really a sight to behold. Chuckie, the undisputed master of old-goat teasers, having obviously thrown away old Worthless Willie, was snuggling up (literally) cheek by jowl with newly elected chair Rainer. There is no doubt that we have a dastardly duo in Chuckie and Rainer. It's too early to tell if the new Terrible Troika will turn out to be Rainer, Chuckie, and Keene. We should know fairly shortly. Zell is a wild card, but she'll soon fall one way or another. Berry may well turn out to be the Lone Ranger until the next election. The new, "old" courthouse renovations are nice. The new commission chamber is a quantum leap forward. It actually has a good sound system. You can even hear the county manager - that's how good it is! One suggestion; The exterior lighting sucks. I parked in the back of the building. The street light across the street was quite inadequate. The parking area is dangerously dark. Solution: attach lights to the exterior of the building. P.S., I also learned from someone at the meeting that Dave Smith is also now legally blind. Apparently, his diabetes got out of control.

Camden County Commission meets for first time tonight in newly-refurbished, "old" county courthouse.

The meeting starts early tonight (5:15 PM) to accommodate swearing-in of of elected and re-elected commissioners. I'm given to understand that the best way to the new meeting room is from the rear of the building.

Long-time K-Bay news director, Dave Smith, is gravely ill.

I just returned from lunch at Aunt B's with Camden County Sheriff Tommy Gregory, Camden County Clerk, Jodi Gregory, and long time county resident Tommy "Sea Pro" Weaver. In the course of our far ranging conversation, I was saddened to learn from Sheriff Gregory that Dave Smith is gravely ill with complete renal failure. His parents have taken him home to Atlanta where he is hopitalized and on renal dialysis. Chances for his return to K-Bay do not look good. I'm confident that well wishes sent to Dave via K-Bay will reach him. To contact K-Bay 106:

New, liberal D.A. joins mayor in campaign to increase crime in Savannah to even more hellish levels.

Sheriff Gregory met yesterday with his employees to lay out his vision for the CCSO going forward.

I invite your particular attention to the very last sentence. Now, tell me this, Thuggies: How many more minutes would Captain Jackson have kept his job after making that statement when your hero was running the CCSO? Update @ 1300 HRS. From 11:30 to 12:15 today, I had lunch with Sheriff Gregory, County Clerk Jodi Gregory, and long-time county resident Tommy "Sea Pro" Weaver. In our wide ranging conversation, I mentioned the sheriff's meeting yesterday with his employees. When I asked him how many attended, I was quite taken with his answer. He said he did not know for sure; that it was purely voluntary; and that he pointedly did not have them sign a roster. I'm confident that the new sheriff and his employees are going to get along famously. Note to TOPIX nut cases: Sheriff Gregory re-confirmed what he had told me previously. The re-hiring of certain of the 27 "firees" does NOT represent a change of plans; rather, a fulfilment of the original plan. Here's the reason (again.) Under state law, once you bump an employee up to a certain salary, as say, a jail administrator making $30.00 dollars an hour (as Jim Proctor was), if you wish to reassign him to a lower paid position, you may reassign him to said position, but you must keep him at his highest attained salary in his previous position. The courts have ruled that once you pay an employee, say, $30.00 per hour, the employee has a vested "property right" in that level of compensation. The only legal way to re-assign someone to a lower-paying position and actually pay them the lower pay is to fire then re-hire them, as in the case of Proctor, who is now Judge Amanda Williams' "personal bailiff" at a rate of $15.00 per hour.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The new and improved Steffens Restaurant: A review.

Based upon the T&G article to ensure future T&G advertising by Steffens, I went there for lunch today. I arrived about 1:15. The place was absolutely packed. Cars were parked out on the street and in the grassy lot to the right of the place. I decided to go on in. Had to wait about 15 minutes to get a table. Much was made in the paper about the new diner-like decor. It is very pleasant, but had you not read the article, "diner" is not the first thing that would spring into your mind, even if you had ever actually been in a big city diner in the Northeast or upper-Midwest, as the overwhelming majority of Camdenians never have. Still, it is lighter and cleaner looking than when Delmus and Trellis sold it. The "very retro" accent drop lights are very irritating. The have very bright bulbs inside of the cylindrical glass and chrome fixtures. The fixtures hang down into the upper portion of your line of sight. They are completely superfluous insofar as the original recessed fluorescent tubes are still in place, in use, and more than adequate. I would strongly suggest going to a 15 or, at most, 25 watt bulb in those low-hanging accent lights. Otherwise, the renovation was a much needed improvement. The three waitresses were all old-timers who had worked for Trellis. However, what was quite noticeable was that they were all in much better moods and much more attentive to their customers. No doubt, they are making way more money than when they were about to starve in the waning days of the old ownership. The customer base has changed dramatically. It still appears to be all local and mostly pre-NSBKB residents, but a bit more upscale than before. I literally did not recognize a single customer, save Mr. and Mrs. David Rainer. Not one of the old gang of ne'er-do-well, aging, James Dean wannabes that used to festoon the counter nursing a bottomless coffee cup was anywhere in sight. The prices, however, are still very reasonable. I had occasion to meet the owner, Linda Cagle, but more on that later. The menu will be familiar to long time Steffens patrons. Virtually everything you've been used to for many years is still there. However, there are also a lot of new items to be found. The wording on the page that lists the daily special needs to be reworked. She says that each dish comes with your choice of three sides or two sides and a dessert (as before), but then lists only two "daily vegetables" for each respective day. The uninitiated would not know that you can actually choose from the much wider selection of "daily" vegetables listed on a prior page. The waitresses realize the problem and explain the oversight verbally. I had the roast beef and gravy dinner with mashed potatoes, green beans, pickled beets, and rolls. It was all delicious as I remembered it. I would bet that at least one of the old cooks is still there - and that's a good thing. There was a sign on the wall which proclaimed that their "fiery dog" chili had been voted the first or second (I forget) best chili in Camden during last year's chili cook off. Well, as you can imagine - especially any of you who have actually made my "Jay's Killer Black Bean Chili," I had to sample a cup. The chili was made with black beans and kidney beans - the latter being an authentic chili no-no. Real chili is made with - you guessed it - chili beans. There was chili powder and minced garlic thrown in, along with ground beef, into very watery chopped tomatoes. Way too thin and watery for my taste and missing several indispensable chili ingredients. Nominally better than typical canned chili, but not by much. Save your money. So, I had just finished analysing the chili when the owner, Linda Cagle, walked up to my table and very cheerily asked how I liked the chili. I told her that it was not bad (by which I meant not all that bad, but toned it down), but mine was way better. I told her to "fear not" because I was going to give her my recipe before I left. Well, suffice it to say that she did not take it well, She replied rather snarkily that they had won the contest and had no intention of changing the recipe - "at least not this year." Then, thinking better of it, she assured me that she would like to see my recipe though. NOTE to restaurateurs (and humans in general): don't ask me a question if you are not prepared for an honset answer - the only kind I give. So, when I got my bill, I gave her my blog address on the back of the bill and invited her to adopt my chili recipe. I overheard a conversation in which Mrs. Cagle told another customer that she had actually bought (as opposed to leased) the old, grungy, St. Marys Seafood building from the Williams. I'm really looking forward to a good restaurant for breakfast in St. Marys. Cruddle House, is of course, no option for self-respecting Homo Sapiens. Given that she owns it, I do hope that Mrs. Cagle will rip out the existing restrooms and replace them with spacious, wheelchair friendly ones. And watch that lighting - don't make your customers squint. Oh, and by all means, check out those glare-blocking, yet see-through window shades they have at IHOP. Those things are great. Oh, and please, deep six the kitchy port holes for real, plate glass windows. In conclusion, both the food and the service at the new and improved Steffens are very good, reasonably priced, and well worth a visit and continued patronage. I'll be back - albeit in disguise. Just be forewarned that while doing a very good job, the owner is sufficiently new to the restaurant business to have not yet quite figured out how to take and profit from sincere constructive criticism. Proceed with caution.

Sunday Funnies; Volume 45.

Q: Where can men over the age of 60 find younger, sexy women who are interested in them? A: Try a bookstore under fiction. Q: What can a man do while his wife is going through menopause? A: Keep busy. If you're handy with tools, you can finish the basement. When you are done you will have a place to live. Q: Someone has told me that menopause is mentioned in the Bible. Is that true? Where can it be found? A: Yes. Matthew 14:92: 'And Mary rode Joseph's ass all the way to Egypt .' Q: How can you increase the heart rate of your 60+ year old husband? A: Tell him you're pregnant. Q: How can you avoid that terrible curse of the elderly wrinkles? A: Take off your glasses. Q: Seriously! What can I do for these crow's feet and all those wrinkles on my face? A: Go braless. It will usually pull them out. Q: Why should 60+ year old people use valet parking? A: Valets don't forget where they park your car. Q: Is it common for 60+ year olds to have problems with short term memory storage? A: Storing memory is not a problem, retrieving it is a problem. Q: As people age, do they sleep more soundly? A: Yes, but usually in the afternoon. Q: Where should 60+ year olds look for eye glasses? A: On their foreheads. Q: What is the most common remark made by 60+ year olds when they enter antique stores? A: 'Gosh, I remember these.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Get a load of a typical leftist, Euro-trash view of (and wish for) America's future.

Yessir, there's a new sheriff in town in Darien, too!

And, apparently, not a moment too soon.

Would you believe that the Mars rovers are still going stong after FIVE YEARS!?

JDA board intiates search for a "new" JDA director.

But the question is, do they have a new set of expectations for the performance of the new director, or are they just offering the same old do-nothing sinecure for a do-nothing care-taker? This is a golden opportunity for the citizens to tell the Camden County Commissioners to tell the board that if they expect to continue to be funded with tax dollars, they had better damned well actually produce some results. When done correctly, the job of the JDA is to sell Camden County as a desirable location for new businesses. That said, the JDA director is (in counties where the desire of the county commissioners is actually to bring in new jobs rather than to hold down the competition for good employees to benefit their good ol' boy constituents who own local, low-wage businesses)a salaried salesman. I'll guarandamntee you that there is no such thing in the private sector as a salaried salesman who does not have a sales quota. So why have we tolerated two do-nothing JDA directors here in Camden since my arrival in 19993, and no doubt before that? I would hope that the commissioners would insist, as a condition of continued funding, that the contract with the new man contain a time line and quotas (measured in new businesses, number of employees, and gross payroll) for performance with certain termination (with NO SEVERANCE) for failure to perform up to benchmarks. Conversely, in addition to the stick, there should be a carrot. I believe that it is well within the law for an independent authority to compensate the director with a combination of a nominal salary and a commission program. Perhaps this could be in the form of a certain percentage of the gross payroll of any new company recruited, payable beginning on the first day the company's second full year of operation in the county and paid annually thereafter for the balance of the company's first five years in the community. We really should not tolerate another do-nothing JDA with a well paid, do-nothing director on an expense account. What say y'all?

St. Marys Dollar general store is stink bombed.

So far, so good!

CCSO transition going quite smoothly (to the chagrin of some.)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Your suggestions for a counter-Thuggie, pro-Tommy decal?

Welcome back to the new and improved "The Real School Police."

Sheriff Gregory arrived at jail complex at 0001 Hrs. this morning accompanied by GBI and a rep from the DA's office. Tommy told me about his plan to do this during our conversation Tuesday but asked me to sit on it. Regarding L.J. Williams: Tommy told me that there is no record of Williams ever having been officially employed. The county never cut him a paycheck. So, was he working for free, or being paid illegally with drug funds? Perhaps that question will be answered at trial.