Tuesday, February 28, 2012

National Pancake Day 2012

Children's Miracle Network

This morning My Bride and I participated in this event which is a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Nertwork.  I learned that in the past year over 45,000 children have benefited from care at the Medical Center of Central Georgia here in Macon.  I quickly computed that to equal 12.5 children per day.  

I did enjoy my short stack of three pancakes along with a large orange juice that I paid for.  Until I read the placemat I did not realize that Children's Health Care was that big a deal at the Medical Center. 

Thus I learned new information today

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Education in the U. S. A.

Education in Bibb County Georgia

Thoughts From One Citizen

First of all, a brief bit about the author of this Blog.  I am a mature citizen, born in Iowa, served in the U. S. Navy for 21 years and worked in a Factory in Macon, Georgia for about 17 years.  I have been retired since 1999.  Thus I have had ample opportunity to observe peoples in most every country in the World and the U. S. A.  Additionally I have been active in the affairs Middle Georgia since 1971, except for a final tour at sea in 1976 through 1978.

Secondly, I know that there a lot of perfect parents in our Society.  Just as there a lot of perfect kids in our Society.  Sometimes the perfect kids do not even belong to the perfect parents. 

As I contemplate the recent events within the Bibb County School System over the past thirty some years I would like to offer some commentary as to why we need to focus on improving the education for our future citizens, not only for Bibb County; but for the entire U. S. A.

Please consider this example of how would the crew of an Aircraft Carrier in our U. S. Navy function!!

First of all the Sailors in the Supply Department would probably like to remain in port.  That way they would never have to plan ahead to insure that the storerooms were full for a six month deployment.

I believe that the Sailors in the Engineering Department would like to deploy in the colder areas of the ocean.  That way the evaporators could make plenty of fresh water.  Additionally these Sailors would most likely desire that the number of flights in a day be reduced by 50 percent.  Everytime a plane is shot off of a Carrier it consumes 250 gallons of water that has been heated to power the steam catapult. 

The Sailors in the Air Department would most likely appreciate a reduction in the hours dedicated to night operations.  After all they must operate on the flight deck with the launching and recovery of planes with only a few red lights. 

The Young Men and Women in the Weapons Department would appreciate a drastic reduction of hours spent at sea.  Every time the ship deploys they need to man the lines to conduct underway replenishment to insure that supplies, food and weapons are brought onboard.  Then when the ship is in port they must work diligently to chip the rust off of the ship that has developed because of the salt water.

The Operations Department Sailors would most likely enjoy the deployment more if they could travel to an exotic port overseas and tie up to a pier.  No more long watches in the Combat Information Center, no photos to take, no flight schedules to prepare, no airplanes to talk back to the ship.

The Sailors in the Navigation Department would also appreciate restricted time at sea, so that they also could enjoy the pleasures of overseas liberty.

Finally, the Sailors in the Communications Department would not have to work so hard in the receipt of messages and the delivery of same.  The signalmen would also appreciate the extra liberty.  Just as long as they ship was at sea long enough every month so that they could keep their tanned bronzed bodies in excellent condition to impress the local citizens where ever the ship might anchor/visit.

Of course this would never work because the ship would never be able to accomplish the assigned mission.  The Captain and the Department Heads work as a team to insure that their respective Departments are ready to execute any assigned task. 

The crew has the benefit of having received nine weeks of extensive training at Navy Boot Camp so that they realize that they are part of a team.  Thus the Aircraft Carrier can execute their assigned mission/s.

Now, to consider the Education Situation in our U. S. A. and our Bibb County Georgia.  It is a known fact that about 74 percent of the young people between the ages of 18 to 24 are not fit for duty in any branch of our military.  Without going into the whole plethora of reasons for this sad situation I feel safe to simply state that it is because of the sad state of education in our Society. 

We have children having children and most do not have any reason to impress on their offspring the need to do well in life.  Yes, I know that there exceptions to this broad statement!!

Without a good education, which commences in the home and is refined in our institutions of learning our future looks very bleak.  We all know this!!!

Yet, we are now faced with the opportunity to improve education in Bibb County while we hear that some are unhappy with the recommendations.  In fact there will be a public meeting at Southwest High School right here in Macon, Georgia to give citizens the opportunity to present their opinions on what needs to be done.

This is great.  Involvement in education is critical and must be conducted in a full time basis.  I have pleasant memories of many school board meetings that I have been involved in over the years and I have been concerned that it would appear that not many are concerned.

But, now we have a plan that does not appeal to some and they are expressing their opinions.  Yes, this is the American way, and yes opinions are necessary to achieve excellence.  But I would also challenge anyone/everyone who is now concerned with this one brief question:

"Where Have You Been The Last Thirty Some Years?"

So let us quickly revisit the example of the Aircraft Carrier I mentioned above!!!  Do you suppose that if everyone on board had their own way that the Carrier would be able to execute the assigned mission?  You, as well as I know the answer to that question.

I would also suggest that many of my peers - those who are concerned about public education - have never taken the opportunity to assist in the defense of our Country.  Some may not even be qualified.

So, now we have an appointed Leader who has developed a program known as "The Macon Miracle" with many alarmed/concerned about the potential to achieve education excellence.

Yet we all hopefully know that what has been done in recent history is a failure.  A forty-four percent graduation rate cannot be the goal we want for our future citizens.

Regarding the reconfiguration of the grades, I would suggest that the suggested K - 3 is very appropriate.  We all know that we have some who simply pass on non-readers to the next grade level.  This bench mark of being able to read well by the end of the third grade would allow the school staff to focus on the individual needs of each Scholar.  They could not be promoted to the fourth grade and move on to middle school until the primary school and related staff had completed their assigned task.   Just as the Sailors on the aforementioned Aircraft Carrier discussed above are required to do.  No more passing the non-reader on to the next grade/school.

As regarding the recommended longer school day - If what were doing now was achieving adequate results, then there would be no need for a fix.  As it is, there is plenty of evidence of which we are all aware to suggest that we need to do better.  I do not think that the current proposals require additional two hours of rigorous class room instruction; however the additional time at school could be used to assist in development issues for those who need it as well as allowing our scholars to explore area of their own special interest.  Yes, there are some parents/caregivers/grandparents who do an excellent job in this regard, but as a Society right here in Bibb County, we must admit that we have not done too well.

I post this Blog today to share my thoughts.  As has already been stated, the "Macon Miracle" is to be implemented over a time span of three to five years.  I have also heard that it may take seven years.  No matter what the time frame, if we continue in our current mode of education we will be more of a failure in five or even seven years.  Admittedly change is difficult to accept; but I remain confident that adopting the "Macon Miracle" with the current level of citizen/parent involvement will insure that it can be corrected/modified as required to accomplish the mission. 

To delay the implementation at this time to suppress the vocal minority will only allow our failing system to continue to fail.  Thus my suggestion/recommendation:

Implement the Macon Miracle
Tweak the Plan as required
Continue the Parent/Citizen Involvement

Yes, there will be challenges to meet.  Yes, there will be a requirement for all of us to remain involved and Yes, "We Have To Do Better."

After all, as I recently heard:  "Achieving Education Excellent is All About the Children."  I take that to mean that while citizens all have excellent ideas on how this should be accomplished there needs to be a clear and defined program put into place to achieve the results so that someday soon our Bibb Board of Education can display a sign on their Headquarters which states:

"Mission Accomplished"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

American Boychoir

Music and the Arts
Vineville United Methodist Church

My Bride and I frequently attend the monthly Music and the Arts Events sponsored by Vineville United Methodist Church.  This past Sunday, February 20th was the most entertaining event thus far this Season.  This group of 32 boys is on tour of the Southeast United States.

The stated mission of the American Boychoir is "Building lives of achievement and character through the power of misic."  These young middle school age boys provided an interesting tour around the world through the selections of the songs they performed.  They provided serious selections as well as selections with humor.  A very entertaining afternoon at Vineville. 

To learn more about this exciting group please visit:

Suite & Symphonic

Last Saturday evening, February 18, 2012 My Bride and I were guest of very dear friends with who we attended the Macon Symphony Orchestra Concert conducted by Yaniv Segal.

The high light of the evening, at least for me, was the Piano performance by Elizabeth Pridgen where she played "Rhapsody in Blue" by George Gershwin.

That is not to say that the rest of the Concert was a bust.  The literature performed for this Concert also included:

Sebastian by Menotti
The Freeshooter Overture by Weber
Smphony No. 4 in A Major, Op.90 by Mendelssohn

Even though it was a very rainy night in Georgia the Concert was a delightful experience and I completely enjoyed the opportunity to hear and observe this Symphony Orchestra.

Thank You!!!
Graduate Recital

Jessica Anne Wetherell

Townsend School of Music

Mercer University

It was my good fortune to attend this Recital last Thursday, February 16th and hear the Soprano Solos performed by Jessica.  This recital was given in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master of Music in Church Music degree.

Her selections ranged from Handel and Bach to contemporary compositions written by Hundley, Holiby and Creston. 

My favorite of the evening was "Steal Away" written by Burleigh.  It was a delightful evening of fine music.

Jessica also provided each attendee with "Program Notes" which informed us all about the composer and an insight in to the music.  My salute to Jessica and a performance that was well done.  Thank You.

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Magnificent Seven"


Bibb County SPLOST committee
searching for role and name

Last Saturday morning, February 18, 2012 as I was enjoying my catered breakfast and coffee I observed an article in "The Telegraph" concerning the SPLOST Overview/Advisory Committee's first meeting.  The reported was Mike Stucka.  As I read the article I could only think of one thing.  "The Bridge to no where!" and the fact that the committee was reported to having no purpose.

Well I gave the article considerable thought and this Morning, February 20, 2012 I recalled a name which may be appropriate for this group.   A group of Seven performed in an excellent manner in a 1960 Film entitled "Magnificent Seven." 

So, this would be an appropriate name.  Seven committee members who need a name, thus this post today.

A brief summary of the Film which I obtained from the world wide web is quoted here:  "An oppressed mexican Peasant Village assembles seven gunfighters to help defend their homes."

Unfortunately the stars in this film were male and they were - Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, Brad Dexter and James Coburn.  So while the current SPLOST committee has six males and one female, I still think that the name "Magnificent Seven" would be very appropriate.  After all we were all informed prior to the vote on the SPLOST that a group of citizens would be appointed to look out for the welfare of the citizens of Bibb County/City of Macon.  Thus the Magnificent Seven could now be charged to insure that the expenditure of SPLOST funds should be monitored to insure that no "penny" is expended in a neglectful manner.  In a way, that could be considered as defending our homes.  We need every SPLOST penny to be spent in an effective manner to prevent future property tax increases on our homes in Bibb County and yes, the City of Macon.

Thus I present to you, "The Magnificent Seven"

Monica Smith
Dan Slagle
Lindsey "Doc" Holliday
Bruce Freeman
David Lucas
Theron Ussery
C. Jack Ellis

As I conclude this Blog Post today it is my Wish that this group represents us well and insures that the pennies are indeed well spent for the benefit for all of Bibb County and the City of Macon.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"The Macon Miracle"
a presentation at the
Macon Coliseum
Friday, February 10, 2012

On Friday Morning, February 10th I published an entry here about the comments I heard at the previous evening's school board meeting.  That post was entitled "Macon Miracle," A School Board Meeting to Remember.

On Friday Afternoon I attended "The Macon Miracle" presentation at the Coliseum.  I arrived early and I was rewarded with the opportunity to sit in a second row seat on stage left of the platform.  In other words I was able to hear and see everything without any distractions.

In short the presentation was a pep rally for the Macon Miracle program developed by Dr. Romain Dallemand and the Staff of the Bibb County School System. 

The presentation opened with a series of images showing some of the deplorable housing situations in Bibb County.  Then a Dr. Muhammad addressed the assembly by a remote phone/pre-recorded message.  The sum of his message from my point of view was "Get on the Bus and move it in a different direction!!!"  The presentation continued with various civic leaders informing us that the Bibb Education System needs fixing for the sake of the Children.  The Vineville Academy for the Arts Principal stated that the Macon Miracle would be phased in over a three to five year period.  Dr. Dallemand reminded us that he also had a stake in the success of the Macon Miracle.  He has two children in the Bibb System.

Now, to be totally open and honest with my readers here, I have read the Plan.  I would like to quote the following for everyone's information:

"Only 24 of the District's 41 schools made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for 2010-2011.  Discipline data also raises concern for the future of Bibb County, Macon, Georgia.  In 2010-2011, almost 8000 students were suspended for a total of 48,000 days of missed instruction.  Nearly 500 students were expelled, 703 students dropped out of school completely, and the District's 9th grade cohort graduation rate was 44.6%"

From my own point of view, as but one concerned and also caring citizen of Bibb County these numbers should cause everyone of us to be concerned and also ready to implement change.  I would ask :   How have the past policies worked to improve the education situation in Bibb County?  How are the past policies working to improve the education of our future citizens and leaders?

In short:  "How are they working?"

I have read and also viewed the print and electronic media which covered the Friday presentation of the Macon Miracle.  Some are concerned that the plan is to be implemented too fast.  Others have stated that there is no need for any foreign language instruction when our current scholars are having difficulty learning English.  I would submit as others have also stated that "Mandarin Chinese" is a great tool to assist in the development of the human brain.  Certainly a goal that every educator and also every concerned parent should embrace.  I can certainly state that I have personal knowledge that the ability to master the  Mandarin Chinese language has a dynamic impact on the development of the human brain.

Dr. Dallemand concluded his speech to those assembled with a powerful story of his own life and how he wanted the same opportunity for every Scholar in Bibb County to be able  to excell for their own benefit as we all want our graduates to be ready to survive in a diverse global economy.  The goal of the program is to provide the tools where out students will appreciate the Freedoms our Country is known for.  He challenged everyone in attendance with this closing statement:  "Are We Prepared to Dream Today/Together?"

Dr. Dallemand also informed us that in the days of the immediate future there will be a process established to allow feedback to improve the plan. 

The program was concluded with a program performed by the students from China's University of International Business and Economics.

Yes, it was a long program, but I would submit that it was also a worthwhile event in that it promoted the "The Macon Miracle" and the many Goals/Strategies/Action Steps to achieve educational excellence in Bibb County, Georgia U. S. A.

Yes, it was a pep rally, but from my point of view, a pep rally that was long overdue to improve the Bibb County Education System.  Our Scholars certainly deserve more than what we are currently providing.  The entire student body deserves a better opportunity to excell.  Yes, I know that great education commences in the home.  The plan has steps to assist in this endeavor.

Yes, this is Alan Thiese, a former Bibb school board candidate who was pictured and quoted in the Saturday issue of "The Telegraph."  "This is the stuff."  I could certainly continue that statement:  "This is the stuff that we the people of Bibb County must embrace/implement to provide the opportunities that our current Scholars and future Scholars will need in their future."

Thus you can be certain that I support the Plan.  As I heard someone recently state:  We hired the new Superintendent to improve our education system.  We must trust him to do so. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Napier House
a former
Macon, Georgia Treasure
now located in
Morrow, Georgia

Some the readers here may recall that on March 27th, 2007 I posted an entry, along with pictues of this structure when it was located in Macon, Georgia.  Yesterday I determined that I should visit this magnificant structure at it's new location in Morrow, Georgia.

I would suggest that this structure should have remained in Macon, Georgia; however it appears to have been lovingly renovated/restored at this new location - Morrow, Georgia.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Macon Miracle"

A School Board Meeting to Remember

Bibb County, Georgia U. S. A.

Last evening I took the opportunity to attend a Bibb County School Board Meeting.  The agenda included the recognition and honoring of 46 Scholars of the Bibb System.  Forty-three Scholars were recognized for their participation in the International Student Media Festival.  They represented the following schools:

Alexander II Magnet School
Burdell-Hunt Magnet School
Heritage Elementary School
Jones Elementary School
Riley Elementary School
Skyview Elementary School
Appling Middle School
Howard Middle School
Miller Magnet Middle School
Rutland Middle School
Howard High School

Three Scholars were honored for their recent participation in the Bibb County Spelling Bee.  The winners attended these schools:

Vineville Academy of the Arts
Howard Middle School
Williams Elementary School

The agenda then called for Remarks from the Visitors to address the Board.  With the upcoming vote on the "Macon Miracle" pending there were plenty of comments concerning this proposal.  I will summarize the comments here in the order that they were presented:

  • Safety.  This person indicated that there are convicted felons in some classes
  • Macon Miracle.  Need to improve but do we need to rush the process.  At this time there are too many unanswered questions.  There appears to be a disconnect within the system. Safety is vital.
  • Honest Communication/s.  The recent event at Northeast High School has the Central Office saying one thing and several members of the School Board saying another.  We are hearing different stories.
  • Take Time To Consider.  Slow down the changes.  Think this proposal through.  Haste May Make Waste.
  • Lacks Specifics.  Financial Cost, etc.  Which Schools to be closed?  Concerned about the age ranges at the proposed levels.
  • Changes Needed.  We need to fix our system.  The proposed plan needs more discussion.
  • Supports the Macon Miracle.  But slow down.  Listen to all.
  • Discipline.  This 1980 graduate from Southwest High School reminded the board that he was part of the largest class and that Safety should be number one.
  • Public Schools.  This speaker spoke of a Niece who was home schooled and had also attended private school, however attended Central High School.  She reported that it was a great experience.
  • Race To The Top.  There is no specific data to support many of the concepts of the Macon Miracle as to if they are effective.
  • Focus on Teaching.  We do not need to teach racism.  This comment was made in view of a proposal to obtain the services of a consultant whose name I did not hear.  There is no evidence it will work.
  • A Patriot Fan.  (I noted this individual because of the sweat shirt).  No need to eliminate 300 teachers.  As a recent high school graduate he also informed the Board that he spoke on behalf of younger siblings.
  • Quality Education.  Schools must provide a safe environment.  Change is needed.  The plan is too board.  Most concerned about the grade level configeration.
  • Grade Groupings.  Concerned about grade four students in with grade seven students.  Just too much difference in this grouping.  Safety is critical.  The proposed focus on schools with programs to reflect student interest with transportation  concerns does not allow a local school to reflect community values.
  • Community Involvement.  This is critical.  Also concerned about the longer school days and the year round proposal.
  • Chose Our Home Location.  This speaker reminded the Board that cross town transportation of students to their school of interest would esculate transportation cost.  This speaker addressed five concerns:
a.  Transportation challenges
b.  Safety/Security/Discipline
c.  Grade configerations
d.  Against year around school
e.  Will school choice destroy school band/sports options?

         Somethings need to be tweaked.
  • Safety.  A vital concern.  Do something!!
  • Parents Accountable.  Starts at home.  Go back to the drawing board.  We need change, but in the best interest of all.  Again, this person spoke of a potential consultant.  They spoke of "No Singleton."  (Please note that is how I heard the name).
  • Could Not Hear.  Apparently a lot of attendees could not hear this speaker because a later speaker requested that the Board have an operational "Public Address" system in operation by the next meeting.
  • Some Is Good.  Not enough parental involvement.  Need more proof of what works.
  • Support Macon Miracle.  We need a breath of fresh air.  We must improve to bear fruit.  We must overcome the past.
  • Air Force Veteran.  Each Board Member has a reponsibility.  Organizations usually fail from the inside
  • Please Explain the Macon Miracle.  There is no room for personal agendas.  We need drastic changes.  We must trust somebody. 
  • I Want The Best For My Boys!!!  I would submit that this speaker was the most brief in comments, yet the most powerful.
  • Sorry You Missed the Students This Morning.  This comment was made in view of the fact that Dr. Dallemand did not meet with the over 200 High School Students who had assembled in front of the Board of Education Offices.
  • Some Good Points in the Plan.  The current situation at Northeast High School is causing citizens much concern/grief with the Bibb School System.
The Board approved the selecton of Mr. Joseph Hicks as a new Coach at Central High School.  I left the meeting as the Board went into Executive Session to discuss Personnel Matters/Future Acquisition of Property/Pending. 

The meeting started at 6:00 P.M. and accomplished the recognition of Scholars and listening to the speakers in two hours.  A very useful meeting in that it allowed the Citizens of Bibb County to speak out and also very useful in view of the recognition provided to forty-six Scholars in the Bibb System.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Spring Gardening Chores

Pruning Demonstration
The Pine Ridge Garden Club
Macon, Georgia

We all know that February is the usual month here in Middle Georgia to conduct the Spring pruning of plants/trees/shrubs that adorn our Southern Gardens.  Here you see the Owner of Deep South Landscaping and Construction, L.L.C. giving us useful information on tool/equipment maintenance before he commenced the pruning demonstration.   He provided the members of The Pine Ridge Garden Club with useful information.  In addition to the having the proper tools he demonstrated the use of protective equipment such as ear and eye protection, which you will observe in the following pictures.  The picture above displays some of the equipment he used and he also stressed the need for proper clean up after the pruning has been completed.

In addition to providing a pleasing shape of the finished tree/shrub he stressed the need to do clean cutting with sharp equipment to reduce the opportunity for disease/s to damage the plant. 

Throughout the demonstration he explained the need to shape the plant/s so that their beauty can be enjoyed by all.  Additionally he pointed out the need to eliminate interior branches that crossed over on the inside of the plant.

I would certainly recommend this Company for your Garden Maintenance Chores.  You can contact him at:

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

A Fun Day

Dauset Trails, Jackson, Georgia

A Great Adventure for Children

Saturday, February 4th, 2012 was a great day for a Field Trip.  The Flower Child hosted two Grandchildren to an adventure at "Dauset Trails."  To learn more about this fun, yet very educational place please visit:

Of course I had to document the Field Trip with a series of photographs.  There is a walkway that leads the visitor past all the environments for these animals.  It was a wonderful experience for the two Grandchildren.  We concluded the visit with a "PB and J" picnic in the picnic area.  The Grandchildren observed a lot and according to our Son, they were still talking about the Field Trip and the animals they saw on the following Sunday.

There are no parking fees or admission charges.  There is a donation box if you desire to make a donation.  I would suggest that this is a very worthwhile Field Trip for both Children and Adults.

Friday, February 03, 2012

The World This Week

Some of the visitors to this Blog may know that I also publish another Blog entitled "Gardening Tidbits" for the Garden Clubs of Georgia.  For those who are interested they may desire to visit this blog at:

I would suggest that you bookmark these blogs for future reading.  

The Tale of Three Houses

Macon, Georgia


Several months ago I started posting about the three houses that were moved from Coleman Avenue here in Macon, Georgia to their new address on Oglethorpe Street.  The steel beams from the moving day are still under the homes, however the foundation piers are now almost complete.  I will keep the readers here at "The World This Week" up to date as to the progress of these three houses.