As reported recently, the aviation museum board raised $1 million in recent years, but never broke ground on its $15 million museum, and had no money left by this month.
Meanwhile, a $500,000 pledge to the museum made by the Cobb Board of Commissioners is a key factor in the prospects for reviving that museum effort should the history museum board vote to shoulder the effort. The commission had specified the aviation board needed to have $2 million banked away in order to obtain the $500,000 in capital funds, but the aviation board was under the impression it merely needed to raise a cumulative $2 million. And the commission in recent weeks had shown no inclination to soften its position to bail out the air museum.
That leads some observers to suspect that the commission might be more inclined to release the funds to the history board, now that the aviation board is out of the picture. That is, the commission might have considered it "throwing good money after bad" to give the money to the old aviation board, after it had raised and spent so much with no museum to show for its efforts.
On the other hand, there is no guarantee that money would be forthcoming at this point, regardless of who is in charge of the aviation museum effort. The county is facing tough budget decisions in 2010. It dodged layoffs, furloughs and tax hikes this year, but could very well have to bite the bullet on one or more of those options next year. Another indication of that was the county's move last month to stall any purchase decisions for 90 days regarding the $40 million parks bond program. And the commission might feel the best course is to keep sitting on the $500,000 until the economy improves.
FRIDAY'S NIGHT'S 175th MARIETTA BIRTHDAY BASH on Marietta Square was truly a night to remember. The massive event came off without a hitch, thanks to the planning skills of Chairwoman Mary Ansley Southerland and her crew. In truth, it was a group effort led by her and the city's 175th Celebration Committee, The Marietta Pilgrimage Christmas Home Tour, The Earl Smith Strand Theatre, The Marietta Welcome Center and the Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society.
Thanks to their efforts, a huge circus-style "big top" building was erected covering nearly the full block of North Park Square between Church and Root streets. They in turn managed to "feed and water" about 750 attendees without a kitchen or running water on-site. No wonder some have taken to calling it "The Miracle on North Park Square." Not only that, it was warm and comfortable inside despite the Arctic breeze outside.
It arguably was the most memorable, and swankiest, event in the history of the city Square. Sponsors of the big party were the City of Marietta, LGE Community Credit Union, WellStar Kennestone Hospital, the Earl Smith Strand Theatre, Classic Tents & Events, the Marietta Board of Lights and Water, Moore & Cubbedge CPA, Mayes-Ward-Dobbins Funeral Home, and The Pit Stop.
"The night could not have been a better way to show the world how we are 'Living the Charmed Life in the Gem City'" - the theme of the celebration, said Ms. Southerland.
It was such a great party that it will be hard to top. The on-the-Square gala, which doubled as the preview party for the Tour of Homes, may have to become an annual event, many attendees suggested. In fact, we hereby nominate Mary Ansley to chair the 200th Birthday celebration!
REMEMBERING THE ALAMO: Councilman Philip Goldstein recently warned of looming tax increases or cuts in city services next year because of the weak economy and shrinking city tax digest. Well, his dire prognostication certainly didn't prevent him and his ally, Councilwoman Annette Lewis, from junketing off to San Antonio recently to attend the National League of Cities Exposition, where a good time was reportedly had by all. Goldstein said he stayed at a Hilton and billed the city - which means the taxpayers - for the vacation, er, workshop training. Lewis wouldn't say where she stayed.
Goldstein didn't say whether while in San Antone he visited the Alamo, where Davy Crockett and other Texas patriots met their doom. Will Goldstein have more luck than Crockett in the next few years as he tries to outmaneuver new Mayor Steve Tumlin and new Councilman Johnny Sinclair, who are more likely than their predecessors to try and force him to operate in the sunshine, rather than the shadows, where his critics claim he uses his position as councilman to look after his family's extensive downtown real estate holdings?
THIS AND THAT: Joe Buckner, minister of music at Roswell Street Baptist Church, will be guest speaker at the North Cobb Civitan Club meeting at noon Wednesday at the Pinetree Country Club in Kennesaw. For more info call Louise Crapps (770) 971-1833. ... Retired Kennesaw State University Professor Dr. George Beggs suffered a broken back on Nov. 28 and after four days in WellStar Kennestone Hospital was moved on Thursday to Tranquility at WellStar Cobb Hospital in Austell. Beggs is the father of Marietta attorney Phillip Beggs and Marietta High School Principal Leigh Colburn. ... The public is invited on Saturday to attend the dedication of a new wall of honor at Brown Park that includes benches, sculptures and a 32-ton granite memorial listing the names of those buried in the Confederate Cemetery.
THE 25TH ANNUAL Christmas House Arts and Crafts Show will continue through Sunday at Mable House Arts Center at 5329 Floyd Road in Mableton. More than 60 artists will have handmade items for sale, including scented candles, clothes, decorations, jewelry, home decor, pottery, toys and wreaths. For more info, call (770) 819-3285.
MORE THIS AND THAT: Members of the Friends of Brumby Hall on Powder Springs Street in Marietta have elected as president Barbara Norton; vice president, Lonnie Love; secretary, Jackie Smith; treasurer, Dot Hindman; and to the board of directors Rachel Frey, John Powers, Judy Williams, Ann Little, Dan Waggoner, Ray Worden, Julianne McClure and Johnny Walker.
LORAN SMITH, the veteran sideline commentator for the Georgia Bulldog radio network and a sports columnist for the MDJ, stopped by the office last week and, as usual, provided some expert insight into the state of the Bulldog football team.
This 2009 season has been a disappointing rollercoaster ride for the Bulldogs and has spawned more that its share of rumors. The most eye-opening gossip making the rounds is that Head Coach Mark Richt, a deeply religious man, will coach one more year and then devote his life to missionary work. Fueling this rumor is that fact that Richt and his wife Kathyrn have adopted two Ukrainian children, daughter Anya and son Zach, as a result of their missionary travels.
Smith, a very popular figure in the Bulldog family, doesn't dismiss the rumor, but he isn't necessarily buying into it - and offered sound reasoning tied around the most eventful week of the season.
On Wednesday, Richt fired defensive coordinator and close personal friend Willie Martinez along with linebacker coach John Jancek and defensive end coach Jon Fabris. Richt and Martinez were teammates at the University of Miami and Martinez was one of Richt's first hires when he left Florida State and took the Georgia job in 2001. Fabris also has been with Richt since he took the Georgia job.
Smith surmises Richt wouldn't be firing longtime members of his staff if he wasn't planning to be around for awhile. In fact, Smith feels that as a result of the drastic action Wednesday, Richt is more determined than ever to reinforce the coaching staff, crank up the recruiting machine and put a second national championship in the Bulldog trophy case on down the road.
Makes sense to AT.
Smith also handed out high marks to his radio network cohort, Eric Zeier, who provides the color analysis from the press box along with play-by-play man Scott Howard. Zeier was a Parade All-American QB at Marietta High School who went on to earn All-America accolades for the Georgia Bulldogs. He joined the broadcast team three years ago, doing away games when living legend Larry Munson became too ill to travel. Zeier now is a bowl game away from ending his second full season in the booth.
Zeier's father, Rick Zeier, is an advertising sales executive with the MDJ.