Cindy Sams kudos
In his column urging support for the arts in public schools (Sunday, April 23), Charles Richardson cites the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards; also know as the Shuler Awards. He points out this competition showcases the best high school musicals in the state. Richardson mentions the representative from Middle Georgia, Veterans High School and its production of “The Addams Family.”
I have known the director of this production, Cindy Sams, since her days as a student at the college formally known as Macon State College. Back in those days in the last century it was Macon Junior College. One of my duties at that time was as director of the theatre program. Cindy became very involved in all aspects the program including playing Mrs. Elvested in Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” and directing, while still a student, Neil Simons’ “God’s Favorite” (a re-framing of the story of Job).
Since that time she has continued her study of and participation in theatre, including working on a master’s program in theatre. She does a superior job as director of the theatre program at Veterans High School, and provides, and has provided, a creative outlet to many students over the years. A director’s work is the unseen that makes the seen possible, and I just wanted to make sure she got her kudos.
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Charles J. Pecor,
Washington State recently passed two laws. They legalized gay marriage and marijuana on the same day, which makes perfect biblical sense. Leviticus 20:13 says, “If a man lies with another man they must be stoned.” Apparently we just hadn’t interpreted it correctly before. Just sayin’.
PSRB field trip
The Pedestrian Safety Review Board recently went on a field trip to several locations where pedestrian fatalities have occurred. We surveyed Pio Nono, from its southern terminus at Hwy. 247 north to Anthony Road. Half a dozen walkers have been killed in the past few years along or near that stretch of overbuilt road and it wasn’t difficult to see why: vehicle speeds are too high, while there is very little pedestrian safety infrastructure such as sidewalks, marked and signalized crosswalks, pedestrian refuges and adequate overhead lighting.
The Pio Nono/Broadway/Houston Avenue/Hwy. 247 intersection is currently being evaluated by the Georgia Department of Transportation. One of their re-build proposals envisions a huge roundabout. A pedestrian crossing that area will have to be quick because traffic won’t actually stop. Therefore, the PSRB favors another GDOT concept for that busy (almost 40,000 vehicles per day) intersection, one that envisions crosswalk-equipped stop lights.
We then went to the intersection of Rocky Creek Road and Pio Nono. At that junction, two four and five lane roads cross and nearby there are numerous commercial destinations — discount stores, fast food outlets, a post office, a liquor store and the area’s only full service grocery store. But at the intersection itself there are no pedestrian crosswalks, no sidewalks, inadequate lighting and, consequently, no safe way to cross either of those racetracks.
Two walkers have been killed near that intersection in the last couple of years. The local government has finally decided to install crosswalks and pedestrian activated signals after several decades of ignoring the safety hazards. Our car-centric mentality, which assumes that motor vehicles are the only way to get around, definitely retards our ability and willingness to recognize and address pedestrian safety issues.
After checking out some of the safety issues with Pio Nono we evaluated a section of Anthony Road near Ingram-Pye Elementary School. The Buck Melton Community Center is next to the school and both front a four-lane wide Anthony Road. Although many people, both children and adults, walk to either the school or the community center, there are no crosswalks.
If walking in that area, from Jeff Davis/Telfair Street and the surrounding neighborhood to the school or community center, one has to walk in the road or on the unpaved shoulder. And despite the paucity of vehicular traffic, Anthony Road is four lanes wide. The PSRB and several concerned residents of the area recommend a reduction of the speed limit, installation of two signalized crosswalks, a continuous sidewalk along one side of the road, improved lighting and bike lanes to “calm” the traffic.
Calming the traffic effectively imposes a “road diet” on an overbuilt street, narrowing it while slowing down traffic. Similar measures are needed for all of Macon-Bibb’s overbuilt arterials — from Emery Highway and the soon-to-be overbuilt Jeffersonville Road in the east to Mercer University Drive and Eisenhower Parkway in the west, and from Northside and Zebulon in the north, to Rocky Creek and Pio Nono in the south. But the “car-centric” mindset of transportation-infrastructure decision makers must first change.
During the past year I have periodically given a PSRB report to the mayor and commission. But I often wonder whether the local government is listening to the PSRB: I was once told “they don’t want to hear it.” Promoting pedestrian and bicyclist safety in Macon-Bibb is a tough row to hoe.
Pedestrian Safety Review Board,
Build border barrier
We must be a nation of laws or we will descend into anarchy. A nation must defend its borders or it is not a nation. It must seek immigrants for its own good, not for the good of employers seeking cheaper labor to undercut American wages.
Tell Congress to include funds to build the border barrier, aka border wall, in its funding bill (202) 224-3121. We are currently funded through April 28. Build a barrier to drug dealers, to terrorists, to coyotes who abuse and leave people to die in the desert.
Margaret Shea Smetana,
Pinehurst, North Carolina
Is what it is
The Telegraph headlines are almost always about shootings, robberies, beatings etc. Is that the image we want to give of Macon, Georgia? There are many good, pleasant things going on here. Please give some attention to those.