The dust has settled and the sun is setting on the controversy surrounding the removal of benches in front of the Dempsey Apartments in downtown Macon.
The benches were removed by the mayor’s office at the request of the property manager for Barkan Management Co., the owner of the Dempsey, because of concerns that the benches invited drug dealers and vagrants to hang out there.
After community activists rallied around the Dempsey’s elderly residents, local politicians took up the cause and demanded the return of the benches.
This week, the Urban Development Authority — which installed the benches with a streetscape project — reinstalled the benches on the corner of Third and Cherry streets. This time, the benches were placed to create more room for handicapped parking and the 10-minute parking spaces in the front of the Dempsey where residents are most likely to wait for a ride.
Fine day for a run
A PBS report Wednesday night about the record snowfall that has walloped Washington, D.C., included a short interview with a jogger who’s familiar to Middle Georgians.
Reporter Ray Suarez, reporting out in the field in the nation’s capital, noted that “virtually everything in Washington was closed. The federal government shut down for a third straight day, but that didn’t stop congressman Jim Marshall of Georgia from making the most of the morning.”
Said Marshall: “You don’t see Washington like this, and I have never run down the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., so this is a first.”
Willing to take pay cut
Valerie Meyers, one of several GOP candidates hoping to unseat U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall later this year in the 8th Congressional District, pledged this week to take less than a third of her congressional salary if elected.
Meyers, a mother and businesswoman living in the Warner Robins area, said she’d accept an annual salary of $52,000, which she said was roughly the median income of District 8 residents.
The rank and file of the U.S. House of Representatives make about $174,000 a year, according to various online watchdog sites. In an e-mailed news release, Meyers said no member of Congress should make more than his or her employers — the voters — make.
“Jim Marshall and his congressional colleagues have displayed irresponsible spending habits,” Meyers said in the release. “The most effective way to curb reckless spending is to start sweeping around one’s own doorstep.”
Kaine headlining Jefferson Jackson Dinner
Tim Kaine, a former Virginia governor and now chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will headline the Democratic Party of Georgia’s Jefferson Jackson Dinner on March 22.
Kaine rose through the ranks of governance, serving as mayor, lieutenant governor and eventually the 70th governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Kaine’s speech at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner will be the closing event at the Democratic Party of Georgia fundraiser. The event also will honor Ambassador Andrew Young and longtime Agricultural Commissioner Tommy Irvin with Georgia Giant awards.
The event will be at the Georgia World Congress Center. Ticket information and media credentials are available through the Democratic Party of Georgia.
Watching the neighborhood
An arrest warrant was issued for a well-known Neighborhood Watch member in the Village Green neighborhood of south Macon earlier this month, but the warrant was later dismissed, according to Macon police.
A woman living on Village Green Court called the police Feb. 4 complaining that Janice Hamlin, 63, was on the woman’s property and taking pictures of her house and vehicles. The woman’s brother asked Hamlin to leave the yard and Hamlin refused, according to a police report.
The woman told police that the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office responded to three similar complaints regarding Hamlin on Feb. 3 and that Hamlin was told to stay off the property or face arrest. Police subsequently took out a warrant for Hamlin’s arrest on a criminal trespass charge, according to the report.
But the warrant was never served.
Police Chief Mike Burns said the officer made a mistake in taking out the warrant without firsthand knowledge of the sheriff’s office ordering Hamlin to stay off her property. The officer later dismissed the warrant.
Efforts to reach Hamlin for comment were unsuccessful.
Return to sender
When the Republican National Committee sent out fundraising letters marked as “2010 congressional district census,” it made some mistakes.
One of the Republicans’ fundraising letters went to Daryl Morton of Macon, who happens to be the 8th Congressional District chairman. But he works with the Democrats.
His wife, Amy Morton, described the mailing in a blog post as “a hoot! I wonder where the RNC is getting their lists these days, but (I) do appreciate them wasting their donor’s money this way.”
The Democratic governor of Montana also received such a letter, ProPublica reported. A New York Democrat, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, filed the “Prevent Deceptive Census Look Alike Mailings Act” in response. Items calling themselves a “census” would have to reveal the sender’s name and address, and also clearly indicate it wasn’t a mailing from the federal government.
Maloney said the Republican National Committee and the Southeast Legal Foundation also sent census-lookalike mailings a decade ago.
Telegraph staff writers Travis Fain, Oby Brown, Amy Leigh Womack and Mike Stucka contributed to this report.