Tag Archives: Scott James Matheson

Pictures: Chainsaw Cleanup, Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River 2024-02-28

Yesterday, Phil Hubbard and I cleared the last deadfall before Saturday’s Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle.

[Sunset chainsaw, Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River 2024-02-28]
Sunset chainsaw, Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River 2024-02-28

We think even Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson can paddle up Sugar Creek now.

Phil made the last cut using the Husqvarna 460 Rancher 24-inch chainsaw paid for by Wild Green Future (WGF). The same WGF grant paid for the trolling motor and batteries we used with the WWALS Bass Fisher boat.

Here is WWALS video:
https://youtu.be/IV0T6ZMJLCI?si=4jTFODzAIdWxVx31 Continue reading

Digging at edge of Stafford parking lot, St. Augustine Road at Hightower Creek 2024-02-27

Who is doing this mysterious digging, and why?

Maybe to plant a fence?

That would be a good thing, to keep trash out of Hightower Creek, which flows into Sugar Creek, past the WaterGoat, into the Withlacoochee River, at the early takeout for the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle.

[Digging in the Stafford parking lot, St. Augustine Road at Hightower Creek 2024-02-27]
Digging in the Stafford parking lot, St. Augustine Road at Hightower Creek 2024-02-27

It’s about time something happened there, where I videoed Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson in December 2022 saying something needed to be done. According to Valdosta City ordinances, it is the parking lot owner’s responsiblity to keep trash from escaping the property, no matter where it came from.

Thanks to Russell Allen McBride for spotting this digging.

Thanks to Gretchen Quarterman for photographing. She noted, “Enterprise guy was on parking lot. He knew nothing about it.”

It seems unlikely to be the City of Valdosta, considering how reluctant they are to do anything on private property.

Maybe it’s the parking lot manager, Stafford Development Company. Continue reading

Pictures: Chainsaw cleanup from Troupville up to Sugar Creek and back 2024-02-25

It’s a good thing we sent to see: yesterday we found a huge new deadfall completely across the Withlacoochee River, on the route of the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, coming up Saturday, March 2, 2024.

[Big new deadfall, chainsaw, trolling motor, outboard 2024-02-25]
Big new deadfall, chainsaw, trolling motor, outboard 2024-02-25

Here’s a WWALS video:
https://youtu.be/3-143xjW1pI?si=puDKyoATFhg6oqkq Continue reading

Pictures: Chainsaw Cleanup, Withlacoochee River, Langdale Park to Sugar Creek –Phil Royce 2024-02-03

Thanks to Shawn O’Connor for leading this chainsaw cleanup, Saturday a week ago, from Langdale Park to Sugar Creek on the Withlacoochee River.

This is in preparation for the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, March 2, 2024.
https://wwals.net/?p=64095

Phil Royce drove an hour from Live Oak, Florida, and Gary Koch drove two hours from Ocala, Florida, saying it was better to stop trash upstream. In addition to regulars Russell Allen McBride and Bobby McKenzie, Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson came to see us off; he’s second from left in the banner picture. More on that in a later post.

These pictures are by Phil Royce. Phil had to leave early, so his portage pictures are before we came along and sawed a river passage.

[Banners, bass fisher, chain saws, Withlacoochee River, Langdale Park to Sugar Creek 2024-02-03]
Banners, bass fisher, chain saws, Withlacoochee River, Langdale Park to Sugar Creek 2024-02-03

For more WWALS outings and events as they are posted, see Continue reading

Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River, and Okefenokee Swamp on Scott James radio talk921.com 2024-02-02

We also talked about the future Troupville River Camp and Nature Park, in addition to defending the Okefenokee Swamp from a proposed stripmine, chainsaw cleanups, and the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, which will go around the river frontage of the pending Troupville Park.

This was Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman on the Scott James radio talk show on talk921.com, Friday, February 3, 2024. I referred to him as Mayor, because Scott James Matheson is also the Mayor of Valdosta, Georgia.

We also prominently mentioned Lowndes County Chairman Bill Slaughter.

And Helen Tapp, from whom the county in December 2022 bought the 71 acres from Helen Tapp down to the Little River Confluence to add to the 44 acres already owned by Parks and Rec to combine for the proposed park.

[Mayor and Chairman's Paddle, Withlacoochee River, Okefenokee Swamp, and Troupville River Camp and Nature Park on Scott James radio talk921.com 2024-02-03]
Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River, Okefenokee Swamp, and Troupville River Camp and Nature Park on Scott James radio talk921.com 2024-02-03

Here is a WWALS video playlist:
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKwQ5xfKf-QwydpvXE-C4BTMUQqv4yfCg&si=CLMEdlCi8TM3d_Q6 Continue reading

Sponsored: Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

Georgia Power has pledged a substantial grant for the Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle on the Withlacoochee River, Saturday, March 2, 2024.

“Thanks to Joe Brownlee and Georgia Power, WWALS will not require any payment to paddle,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Just use the eventbrite free ticket to reserve a spot so we’ll have an idea of how many are coming.”
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mayor-and-chairmans-paddle-langdale-park-to-troupville-2024-tickets-799890352577

[Paddlers, Mayor, Chairman 2023-03-04]
Paddlers, Mayor, Chairman 2023-03-04

“However, if you want to support the advocacy and activities of WWALS, there is also a paid ticket through eventbrite. Or become a member or sponsor. Anyway, come down and paddle, see the sights, and have fun!”

For further information about the paddle, see:
https://wwals.net/?p=64027

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!
https://wwals.net/donations/

Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

Update 2024-02-02: Now no fee required, thanks to a pledge from Georgia Power.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River

Valdosta, Georgia, January 29, 2024 — Join us on March 2nd for a leisurely paddle with the Mayor of Valdosta and the Chairman of Lowndes County on the Withlacoochee River, along the west side of the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin, and along the site of future Troupville River Camp and Nature Park.

“The annual paddle event provides a unique opportunity for residents to come together and explore the natural beauties of Lowndes County, immersing themselves in the serenity of our waterways,” said Bill Slaughter, Chairman of the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners. “We encourage residents of all ages to come out and join us for a fun morning.”

“Together, we will showcase the natural beauty of our blackwater rivers and continue to work towards finding the most cost-effective solutions to educate our citizens and eliminate the trash that is littering our creeks and rivers,” said Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson. “With this event, we aim to empower our community and inspire everyone to take action towards protecting our precious waterways. It will take all of us working together to make a difference, and we are excited to lead the way towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.”

“Welcome to this one of our many paddles. All elected officials present, from both Florida and Georgia, get in free, and will have three minutes each to speak at the put-in. You can paddle up to them and ask questions,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “We have at least one daytime river paddle a month, in Florida or Georgia, plus an evening Full Moon paddle at Banks Lake, near Lakeland, GA.”

[FB: Paddlers 2023-03-04]
Paddlers 2023-03-04; Photo: John S. Quarterman

On a new route this year, we’ll go seven miles in four hours, with an early takeout.

Come as early as 8 AM, Saturday, March 2, 2024 to Langdale Park, drop off your boats, and drive to Troupville Boat Ramp. Shuttle from there back to Langdale Park.

One 15-seat van provided by the Boys & Girls Club will shuttle you back to Troupville. “We love supporting this event and giving back to our community! This is just another event that shows how good the Mayor and the Commission Chairman are always working together to help this community,” said Bill Holt, VP of Operations, Boys & Girls Club of Valdosta. This will be an outside event, but we will recommend those riders taking advantage of the shuttle service to please wear a mask.

We’ll paddle three miles from Langdale Park Boat Ramp through past Three Mile Branch to Sugar Creek with early takeout. On this all-wooded route it is hard to believe you are next to the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin. There are no houses, but you may see creeks, oaks, cypresses, pines, fish, birds, and turtles. Valdosta is getting much better at keeping sewage out of the creeks and rivers.

“I’m happy to lead this paddle again,” said Phil Hubbard.

Stop at Sugar Creek to see the WaterGoat trash trap purchased by the City of Valdosta and cleaned out by volunteer Russell Allen McBride and family. That floating chain and net keeps much trash out of the river. There is more for the City of Valdosta to do about trash, but that WaterGoat was the start of current progress on that problem. If you want to stop there, you can take out below Berta’s Pizza Kitchen on Gornto Road.

“The South Georgia Film Festival is proud to support this year’s Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle,” said Jason Brown. South Georgia Film Festival Director. “As many of the available kayakers will be in attendance both at the paddle and that evening for the film screening on the campus of Valdosta State University.”

Then we’ll paddle another four miles under the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge, past Wood Valley Subdivision and Sheri Run, and the I-75 and GA 133 highway bridges.

Continue reading

More about the Valdosta Knob Hill or Williamsburg Drive sewage spill 2024-01-10

Update 2024-01-26: Five clean rivers and a clean creek 2024-01-25.

I discovered a can of worms when I took a few pictures to illustrate the 100,000-gallon Knob Hill Road or Williamsburg Drive, Valdosta sewage spill of 10-12 January 2024.

The actual location is not quite where I was told by Valdosta Utilities. But I cut them a lot of slack for that, because they were working on getting it stopped, not precisely determining ownership of the affected properties.

[Spill site behind 215 Knob Hill Road, VALORGIS, VLPRA, Lowndes County Tax Assessors, Pebblewood Drive detention pond, Three Mile Branch]
Spill site behind 215 Knob Hill Road, VALORGIS, VLPRA, Lowndes County Tax Assessors, Pebblewood Drive detention pond, Three Mile Branch

More importantly, according to Valdosta Utilities Acting Director Jason Barnes, the cause was not as first thought a collapsed sewer main. When Utilities examined the pipes, they found rocks and some sort of lid in them.

And according to Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson yesterday, they also found other materials that never should have been in a sewer pipe. I will leave it to the City of Valdosta to reveal in their own time exactly what they found.

From the descriptions I heard, those things could not have gotten in there accidentally, and they could not have been washed into the sewer main by stormwater.

The basic point seems clear: this ten-times-major spill was not caused by failing old sewer infrastructure. It was caused by somebody putting things into the sewer pipes that never should have been there. Vandalism is one of the more polite words for that.

Plus the Mayor is making the City of Valdosta an offer of a location for a WaterGoat trash trap.

So I went Continue reading

Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Langdale Park to Troupville, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02

Update 2024-02-02: Now no fee required, thanks to a pledge from Georgia Power.

Update 2024-01-29: Press release, Fifth Annual Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle, Withlacoochee River 2024-03-02.

Join us for a leisurely seven-mile four-hour paddle with the Mayor of Valdosta and the Chairman of Lowndes County on the Withlacoochee River.

On a new route this year, we’ll go three miles from Langdale Park Boat Ramp through Langdale Park past Three Mile Branch to Sugar Creek with early takeout. On this all-wooded route it is hard to believe you are next to the most populous city in the Suwannee River Basin.

Stop at Sugar Creek to see the WaterGoat trash trap purchased by the City of Valdosta and cleaned out by volunteer Russell Allen McBride and family, which keeps much trash out of the river.

Then we’ll paddle another four miles under the Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge, past Wood Valley Subdivision and Sheri Run, and the I-75 and GA 133 highway bridges.

Notice all the deadfalls (fallen dead trees) sawed out of the way by numerous WWALS Chainsaw Cleanups.

We will see all the river frontage of the land recently purchased by Lowndes County for Troupville River Camp and Nature Park. After paddling a third of a mile up the Little River, we will take out at Troupville Boat Ramp.

When: Gather 8 AM, launch 10 AM, end 4 PM, Saturday, March 2, 2024

Put In: Langdale Park Boat Ramp, 3781 N. Valdosta Rd., Valdosta, GA 31602, off of I-75 Exit 22, North Valdosta Road.

GPS: 30.88747, -83.32395

[FB: Paddlers 2023-03-04]
Paddlers 2023-03-04

Continue reading

Winner of the VIBE Sea Ghost 130 kayak raffle 2023-11-27

Update 2023-12-13: Raffle kayak delivered to winner Janet Martin 2023-12-12.

Monday at Banks Lake before we paddled, we drew the winner of the Vibe Sea Ghost 130. It retails for $1,300, but was used only once by Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson before he gave it to WWALS. It comes with paddle, seat, and rudder.

We raffled it for $10 donation per ticket.

[Kayak, drawing, the winner]
Kayak, drawing, the winner

WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman had put all the tickets in a box, yes, including the online tickets, which she transcribed onto paper tickets.

WWALS Board Member Kimberly Godden Tanner took the tickets out of envelopes for the places they were donated, such as Alapaha Station Celebration, Florida Folk Festival, various outings, and the WWALS River Revue, plus two more got tickets minutes before. Continue reading