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September 1, 2015

September Newsletter 2015

Please read my newsletter for September 2015.

COLUMBUS A CITY ON THE MOVE

Columbus opportunity to become a vibrant city where its citizens will be able to easily travel by walking, automobile, public transportation or bicycling.

Recently, the Columbus City Council was told that the plan to tunnel under the Spiderweb was changed due to expected groundwater problems. The consultants subsequently came up with another project  plan that is much easier and also less expensive. The Spiderweb construction was one of the projects earmarked under the Transportation Local Option Sales Tax with a price tag of $40 Million. The new plan to build a bridge will only cost $20 Million. This additional funding can be used to enhance the Buena Vista Road corridor to make it more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

Columbus has been sorely in need of alternative means of transportation for its citizens. Citizens who do not have cars or who don’t have driver’s licenses  are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to traveling from one part of  the city to another. I spent quite a bit of time in my military career in Europe. In European cities the citizens can travel anywhere within the city limits by car, walking, public transportation or bicycling. It is commonplace to see a senior citizen in Europe easily bicycling from one place to another.

There is nothing like timing to make an idea or a concept successful. The convenience of three concepts: The PATH Foundation, Ongoing TSPLOST projects and Midtown Inc’s Minimum Grid at this particular point in time is set to transform Columbus into being a vibrant city where its citizens will be able to easily travel by walking, automobile, public transportation or bicycling to any part of the city. In recent years, there has been an emphasis on increasing walking trails and paths in Columbus. This was not only an important step for the health and recreation of the citizens, but also allows the citizens other options to travel from one place to another.The PATH Foundation has been the driver of  this concept and wants to link multi-use trails  that would allow the citizens to easily walk or bike or connect with METRA routes  from one area of Columbus to another.

Midtown Inc.’s “Minimum Grid” is another concept that would make travel throughout Columbus easier for its citizens. Columbus was the recipient of a Knight Cities challenge grant submitted by Midtown for its “Minimum Grid” Concept.Anne King of Midtown and Betsy Covington of the Community Foundation made the presentation to Council. The Minimum Grid concept is a plan that would make traveling easier for citizens traveling between Midtown and Uptown. The emphasis will be designing the areas in such a manner to provide the citizens with more readily available options to travel via Public
Transportation, walking, biking,or driving.  Population studies were done by Gehl Studios and a presentation made in Council Chambers to many citizens who attended the meeting;after the presentation those in attendance were asked to provide their input on five designated areas that have been identified for this pilot program. The five designated areas are Buena Vista Road, from Martin Luther King Blvd, to Wynnton Rd;13th Street from Lakebottom Park to downtown; The Rivewalk and Uptown area; The Columbus Museum; and the area  around the Citizens Service Center Library and Muscogee County School District called the Civic Commons. A caveat of this is that when citizens can easily travel from one place to another, it not only adds to the quality of life for its citizens but is also a boost to the economy.

POPS’ BARNES STATEMENT

“I spent a great deal of  my time in Europe. Intra-city travel in many cities in Europe is extremely accommodating to the citizens. It is common to see an eighty plus citizen bicycling to a shop or small children walking or bicycling to school.I happy to see Columbus moving forward in such a dynamic way to improve the mobility of our citizens. I mentioned earlier that timing in any endeavor is crucial. With the City being able to use 25% of the estimated $260 million forecast over 10 ‘years from the TSPLOST as discretionary funding,that can be used to improve our streets, along with the focus of both  the PATH Foundation and the Minimum Grid, I can see Columbus moving  a tremendous transportation  future ahead for Columbus”

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7th Annual Tri-City Veterans Day Parade

Join the Veterans Day celebrations
And attend a parade to salute our veterans.

The 7th Annual Tri-City Veterans Day Parade
Saturday, November 14th 9AM


Medicare Open Enrollment Starts October 15th

Medicare Open Enrollment will begin next month from October 15th- December 7th 2015. Ms. Shameika R. Averett, B.S., Georgia Cares Coordinator, River Valley Area  Agency on Aging says ” The Georgia Cares Program is ready to assist Medicare Beneficiaries in the area that they may want to make changes for 2015. As always, we will be utilizing the Fort Valley State Mobile Unit in our efforts to reach as many Medicare beneficiaries as possible!The unit is equipped with 10( internet compatible) computers that beneficiaries can use to look up their current Medicare Benefits, apply for Extra help and Medicare SAVING PROGRAMS, change their health and/or drug plan and get all of their Medicare questions answered! If you work with seniors that are in need of Medicare help, please let us know.” Ms. Averett is available for Medicare presentations Medicare Bingo Medicare Training and a lot more. She is located at the River Valley Area Agency on Aging office 1428 Second Avenue  or (706)256-2900 or 1- (866)552-4464_________________________________________________________________________________________

CB&T Bank Offers Credit and Money Management Counseling

CB&T will be offering a service to the community that in many cases is sorely needed. This program is called Operation Hope. Mr. Don Thomas will be the representative and although he is not a CB&T employee he will be located with the branch team. An initial presentation will be at the CB&T branch 1535 Benning Drive. a quote from the flyer says that:
” The HOPE inside counselor delivers credit and money management counseling, a 700 Credit score Communities program and entrepreneurial training for aspiring small business owners through workshops and one-on-one client support.”

This will be a blessing to the people in the community who need help managing their finances and to keep abreast of financial issues. point of contact is Mr. Don Thomas (404)863-5188 email: Donyea.thomas@operationhope.org.

Trap, Neuter and Release Program 
Initially, I thought this was a good idea, however my position has changed.

The Columbus City Council approved a program called TNR that stands for Trap, Neuter and Release. This program is designed to trap feral cats, neuter them and return them back to the community. Initially, I thought this was a good idea, however my position has changed. I have heard increasing complaints from people in the community about the increasing cat population roaming in the community and how  there are increasing cats going in the trash of residents and becoming an overall nuisance.

After research on this program, as a  healthcare professional, I have concerns about the various cat borne diseases and their potential to adversely affect the health of this community. I have asked for a work session at  Council  on the September 29th to discuss this issue and INFORM THE PUBLIC OF THE POSSIBLE HEALTH CONCERNS IF WE CONTINUE WITH THIS PROGRAM.

The work session starts at 9 AM in Council Chambers if you have a concern about this program and want to express your concerns. If you cannot make it, you can watch it on CCG_TV. We are in a two year-contract with the organization running this program.  Again, if you have concerns, let your Councilors know that you don’t want this program to be renewed.

 

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