News Line for Columbus

Columbus newcomer among state's Young Gamechangers
In the fall of 2012, Sharon Hill, executive director of the Atlanta-based Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, was looking to hire someone to open the nonprofit organization's first satellite office, which ended up in Columbus.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Council unanimously approves $680K in crime prevention grants
Columbus Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve $680,000 in crime prevention grants brought before them by the city's Crime Prevention Director Seth Brown.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Council to consider 11 crime prevention programs worth $680,000
Columbus Crime Prevention Director Seth Brown will bring 11 grant proposals worth $680,000 to Columbus Council Tuesday evening, according to council’s agenda.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Councilor wants city to rethink 'unsafe' bike lanes on Dillingham
Columbus Councilor Judy Thomas wants the city to do something about the “unsafe” dual bike lanes recently painted onto the Dillingham Street Bridge following its resurfacing.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Uncertified city inspectors receive extension
Six employees of the city's Inspections and Code Department, including its director and assistant director, have not passed certifications originally required in their job descriptions, according to documents obtained by the Ledger-Enquirer.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

At discussion about development, host said people 'must be ready for the change' in community
Gloria Strode says community development and redevelopment in Columbus is a good thing, but residents need to be prepared.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

City dedicates Resting Garden on site of old slave cemetery
City residents and leaders gathered on Sixth Avenue today to dedicate a “Resting Garden” on the site of the first cemetery for black Columbus residents, many of them slaves .
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Midland residents turn out to support overlay district
A crowd of 80-90 people packed Columbus Council chambers Tuesday night for a public hearing and first reading of an ordinance that would establish an overlay district along Manchester Expressway from Highway 80 to County Line Road.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Doctors, elected officials discuss economic impact of diabetes
Diabetes is a growing problem that's costing the United States billions of dollars and weighing heavily on businesses, the health care industry and government agencies, speakers at a diabetes symposium said Friday.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Mayor, other city leaders in Chicago for 'Doable City' forum
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and a group of other city leaders are returning Thursday from a trip to Chicago to gather ideas about making Columbus a more vibrant and livable city.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

NeighborWorks breaks ground on $1.4M senior, veteran housing
A $1.4 million project to build low-income housing for seniors and veterans in the Winterfield neighborhood began last week with a groudbreaking ceremony that attracted both residents and dignitaries.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Council finally passes RiverWalk restroom project
After several attempts and delays, Columbus Council passed a resolution approving the construction of a public restroom beneath the east end of the Frank Martin Memorial Bridge.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Once again, RiverWalk restroom is pulled from council's agenda
Once again, City Manager Isaiah Hugley had to pull from Columbus Council’s agenda a proposal to partner with the state to put a public restroom under the eastern end of the Frank Martin Memorial Bridge.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Council to hold first reading on budget ordinances Tuesday
Columbus Council will hold a first reading/public hearing on the proposed fiscal 2015 city budget Tuesday morning at the City Services Center.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

City considers taking punitive action against Carousel Lounge
For the second time in about a year, the Columbus Consolidated Government is investigating Carousel Lounge.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Mayor, elected law enforcement back to 'business as usual' after election
After a rigorous mayoral campaign that saw two elected law enforcement officials line up against the incumbent mayor, the dust has settled on the victory for Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, and all involved say it's time to get back to the tasks at hand.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Hospital Authority OKs contract amendment that could save taxpayers $500K a year
The Medical Center Hospital Authority has unanimously approved an amendment to its 30-year indigent and inmate care contract with the city of Columbus that should save taxpayers more than $500,000 a year.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Sunday Interview with Mayor Tomlinson: 'Controversy is absolutely necessary to get to the calm waters'
Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson does not back down from a good fight.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Budget committee comes to terms with Sheriff John Darr's budget
After weeks of negotiations, presentations and meetings, Columbus Council appears poised to approve Mayor Teresa Tomlinson’s proposed budget of about $24.8 million for the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Council votes to extend ownership of Claflin School at least 6 months
The city will retain ownership of the old Claflin School on Fifth Avenue for at least six more months, instead of allowing ownership to return to the federal government, Columbus Councilors decided Tuesday night.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Council hammers out budget with few changes to mayor's proposal
Acting as the city’s Budget Review Committee, Columbus Councilors crafted what could be the final version of the city’s Fiscal 2015 budget late Tuesday night.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Drivers ignoring County Line Road barricades at great risk, city says
The short stretch of County Line Road near Central Church Road remains closed due to a failed culvert running beneath it, but some drivers are apparently not respecting that status, according to city Public Works Director Pat Biegler.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Tomlinson: My positive campaign overcame Martin's negative one
Newly re-elected Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said there was at least one “civics lesson” that could be taken from her victory Tuesday over challenger Colin Martin. That is, she said, that a positive campaign can prevail over a negative one.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

City candidates square off over inmate labor, more in forum
Most of the candidates in Tuesday's municipal elections gathered Thursday evening at the Columbus Public Library for a forum sponsored by the Columbus NAACP. Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and challenger Colin Martin appeared, as did Council District 9 incumbent Judy Thomas and challenger Felicia Hamilton.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Mayor Tomlinson: Tank farm's rotten egg smell soon to be gone
The rotten egg smell around the old “tank farm” near the South Commons will soon be a thing of the past, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson said today.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Mayor Tomlinson says teamwork led to new Walmart on Victory Drive
Walmart will open a 150,000 square foot supercenter on the site of the old Baker High School just off Victory Drive, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson announced today.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

City leaders back Supreme Court ruling on prayer in meetings
In the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows legislative bodies to begin public meetings with prayer, city leaders in Columbus say they fully agree with the court’s position.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Tomlinson, Lowe to square off in dragon boat race
Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and Phenix City Mayor Eddie Lowe will captain their respective municipal rowing teams when they face off in the inaugural Mayor’s Cup Dragon Boat Race on May 10 during the 15th annual Riverfest celebration.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Q&A with council at-large candidates
The Ledger-Enquirer's weeklong series of Q&A articles continues with candidates for the at-large seat of Columbus Council.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Mayor's budget includes parks and rec fee increases
This 2014 budget to reach proposed fiscal 2015 levels, Columbus Parks and Recreation Director James Worsley is proposing a series of fee increases and new fees at recreational venues.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Once again, Council fails to decide RiverWalk restroom issue
After six weeks of discussion, Columbus Council once again failed to approve paying part of the tab for a $244,000 public restroom beneath the Frank Martin Memorial Bridge on the RiverWalk.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Stats: 24 percent crime drop from end of 2013
New data released by Columbus Consolidated Government shows 24 percent fewer crimes were reported in 2014's first quarter when compared to 2013's fourth quarter — a change officials credit to programs reducing burglary, robbery and car thefts.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Mayor Tomlinson, Colin Martin swap barbs in election debate
At the close of an often-spirited mayoral election debate Monday night, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and challenger Colin Martin got more pointed toward each other in closing statements than voters have so far seen.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Residents express desire to save Claflin
The city's plans to turn the old Claflin School building over to the federal government may be postponed if concerned citizens have their way.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

'Resting Garden' grows on site of city's first black cemetery
In the next two months, the city hopes to cut the ribbon on a "Resting Garden" currently under construction on the site of the first cemetery for black people in Columbus, City Manager Isaiah Hugley said.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Council facing another health care challenge
Columbus Council Budget Review Chairman Skip Henderson doesn’t want council to make the same mistake it made last year, one that allowed a multi-million dollar health care deficit in fiscal 2014.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Council votes to restore two-way traffic on 10th, 12th streets
After an inconclusive 4-3 vote two weeks ago, Columbus Council voted 7-1 today to approve an ordinance restoring two-way traffic to two downtown streets.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

City's budget season kicks off with formal presentation of $263M plan
The Columbus Consolidated Government formally presented a proposed $263.1 million budget for fiscal 2015 to Columbus Council today.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Finally, city workers, consultants enter blighted Barngrover property
Just after 8 o'clock this morning, with Superior Court Judge William Rumer presiding from beneath a large umbrella, a group of workers prepared to unlock and enter the long-blighted property at 3301 Cathryn Drive amid a soaking rain.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Judge orders work to start on dilapidated Barngrover house
The 23-year saga of the house at 3001 Cathryn Drive took a step toward resolution today in Superior Court Judge Bill Rumer’s courtroom.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Council fails to approve $244,000 RiverWalk restroom
Columbus Council failed to approve entering into agreement with the Georgia Department of Transportation to build public restrooms beneath the east end of the Frank Martin Memorial Bridge.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Council fails to approve restoring two-way traffic to 10th, 12th Streets
Columbus Council failed to approve an ordinance today that would have restored two-way traffic to 10th Street from Sixth Avenue to Bay Avenue and on 12th Street from Sixth Avenue to Veterans Parkway. Twelfth Street would have remained one-way to the west from Veterans to Front Avenue, as it is now.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

City will bring $244K restroom back before Council Tuesday
The city Planning Department will bring a proposal to build a public restroom beneath the Frank Martin Memorial Bridge back before Columbus Council Tuesday night, according to council’s agenda.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Martin: Mayor to blame for police shortage; Tomlinson: He’s ‘ill-informed’
Columbus mayoral candidate Colin Martin today blamed Mayor Teresa Tomlinson for the city’s shortage of police officers, the ensuing stress on officers and for doing nothing to retain officers who leave the force, in a press release issued this afternoon by email. Tomlinson responded that Martin is “ill-informed.”
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Mayor's forum draws a variety of questions
A crowd of about 80 gathered Thursday night at Gethsemane Baptist Church in south Columbus for Mayor Teresa Tomlinson's first quarterly public forum of 2014.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

City facing growing deficits in health care spending
The Columbus Consolidated Government is running a health care deficit in the current fiscal year that is at about $3.1 million, and counting and will face a projected $4.6 million deficit in the next fiscal year if nothing is done, city administrators told Columbus Council Tuesday.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Key local bills appear dead for this legislative session
With only two days left in the current Georgia General Assembly session, two key pieces of legislation that the Consolidated Government included on its legislative agenda appear dead in the water, delegation members say.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Council delays decision on $244,000 restroom
After some consideration, Columbus Council delayed pulling the handle on a $244,000 public restroom under the Frank Martin Memorial Bridge at its Tuesday meeting.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

City salaries: Augusta similar to Columbus but has fewer workers
The Columbus Consolidated Government employs about 2,980 people, full and part time, with a total city payroll of about $106.2 million, according to records obtained from the city's human resources department.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson holding campaign kickoff Saturday
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson will hold a campaign kickoff Saturday at noon at her campaign headquarters on Macon Road across from Cross Country Plaza, Tomlinson announced today.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Mayor Tomlinson to speak at national conference
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson has been invited to speak at the annual Public-Private Partnership Conference next week in Dallas, Texas, her office announced today.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Council passes tweaked version of long-debated health insurance plan
After five months of deliberations and public hearings on proposed changes to city employee health insurance plans, Columbus Council voted against the administration’s proposal, then immediately passed an almost identical alternative plan.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Council meeting: City employees like health center
The Consolidated Government's new Health and Wellness Center is being well received by city employees who have opted to use it for their primary health care, city Internal Auditor John Redmond told Columbus Council Tuesday night.
Source: Columbus Ledger-Enquirer