Politics & Government

Political Notebook: Oh, deer!

A new National Transportation Safety Board report on an airplane crash in Hazlehurst points out the dangers of deer, which can be worse when encountered in groups in a small airplane.

The report said as a Beech A36 touched down at the Hazlehurst airport in April, a pilot saw a “flash of brown” and felt three different bumps. The airplane’s front landing gear collapsed not long after.

None of the three people in the plane was injured, but “several fatally injured deer were subsequently found on the runway.”

As a result of the investigation, the Georgia Department of Transportation accelerated the planning as well as the funding of a wildlife mitigation fence around the airport, the report said.

RETIREMENT REASONING

Warner Robins Councilman Chuck Shaheen said he supported Mayor Randy Toms in being able to collect his pension from his early retirement, in the same way that other elected officials collect their pension from a regular retirement from the city.

But Shaheen opposed having Toms get pension payments from the beginning of 2014, when Toms took office, rather than Dec. 1, when City Council was voting on it. The reason? Because there’s no reason to know how many other city employees who took early retirement might have also run for office if they wouldn’t have to lose their pension payments while in office.

But Shaheen’s logic falls flat because there won’t be another election for three years anyway.

The move means Toms can claim about $25,000 per year from that pension. Shaheen’s idea would have cost Toms about $23,000. Both Toms and Shaheen abstained from the motion to give Toms the pension.

RUNNING TIME

Qualifying for the seat for state House of Representatives District 120, which includes at least parts of Putnam, Greene, Oglethorpe, Taliaferro and Wilkes counties, begins at 9 a.m. Monday at the Secretary of State’s office in Atlanta.

Qualifying will conclude at noon Wednesday. The Secretary of State’s Office has details.

Mickey Channel, the current representative, is resigning in January.

ALSO RUNNING

Crawford County commissioners voted this past week to hold a special election to replace District 3 Commissioner Dean Fripp, who died in October.

The election is scheduled for March 17. District 3 represents the central portion of the county.

In other changes to the commission, Sterling Braswell will take the District 1 seat in January from incumbent Frank Hollis, who served 20 years.

MIND THE VISUALS

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert has been the champion of efforts to revitalize Second Street. So when a block of the street reopened to give an idea of what the future could look like, he took his turn at the lectern.

One of the area’s newer businesses is Crazy Bull, a downtown nightclub. In some photos of Reichert talking about his vision, the word “CRAZY” floats above his head.

THURMOND RETIRING

Reichert announced during last week’s Macon-Bibb County Commission meeting that county clerk Shelia Thurmond will be retiring at the end of this month.

Thurmond has served in the position for 31 years, the first 30 of which were with the Bibb County Commission before consolidation.

“It’s going to be hard, hard, hard to replace Shelia Thurmond and all of her years of service,” he said during the meeting.

Thurmond said the timing felt right to retire. She said she has no specific plans for the immediate future.

Writers Mike Stucka and Phillip Ramati contributed to this report.

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