Tag Archives: Tom H. Johnson Jr.

Okefenokee discussion in Moniac and mine site drive by 2020-11-06

A small group of people who value the Okefenokee Swamp and the rivers it feeds, the St. Marys River down to the Atlantic and Cumberland Island, and the Suwannee River of song and legend through Fargo and north Florida to the Gulf; this group met in Moniac, Georgia, on November 6, 2020, at Lacy’s Kountry Store. Most of us then visited the proposed mine site, which has quite a bit of equipment on it already.

If you want to help oppose this strip mine far too close to the Swamp, now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has abdicated oversight, you can ask the Georgia government to reject these permits.

[Mine site, discussion]
Mine site, discussion

Georgia River Network Executive Director Rena Ann Peck had just written Continue reading

Pictures: Troupville River Camp site –Gretchen Quarterman 2020-08-27

Yesterday the Detail Group convened at Troupville Boat Ramp to see the site of the proposed Troupville River Park.

[Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, of Chad McLeod (Lowndes County), George Page (VLPRA), Mac McCall (Architect), Jason Scarpate (ASA Engineering), John S. Quarterman (Suwannee Riverkeeper), Tom H. Johnson Jr. (WWALS President), Tom Baird (Archaeologist) at Troupville Boat Ramp]
Photo: Gretchen Quarterman, of Chad McLeod (Lowndes County), George Page (VLPRA), Mac McCall (Architect), Jason Scarpate (ASA Engineering), John S. Quarterman (Suwannee Riverkeeper), Tom H. Johnson Jr. (WWALS President), Tom Baird (Archaeologist) at Troupville Boat Ramp

A larger Steering Group is meeting weekly to update and resubmit last year’s application for a grant to the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Program (GOSP) for a Troupville River Camp. This year we have strong buy in from Lowndes County, the City of Valdosta, three local Authorities (Parks & Rec., Tourism, and Development), the Chamber of Commerce, McCall Architects, ASA Engineering, Valdosta Disc Golf, and others. Suwannee River Water Management District has already been participating. The local Georgia statehouse delegation was on last week’s call, as was the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA-DNR). Key to all of this is 74 acres for sale by Helen Tapp of Land Between the Rivers (LBTR), below Troupville Boat Ramp down to the Little River Confluence, to be combined with the existing 49-acre VLPRA park, to create a 123-acre Troupville River Park. If you or your organization are interested in helping with this nature preserve and multi-use park, please let us know.

[Concept Plan by ASA Engineering (rotated and trimmed)]
Concept Plan by ASA Engineering (rotated and trimmed)

Yesterday we looked to see where hiking, biking, and horse trails might go, to see fishing spots along the Little River, to look at the Little River Confluence, where a Viewscape Pavilion can go.

[Withlacoochee River comes in from left, continues ahead]
Withlacoochee River comes in from left, continues ahead

We considered stairs or ramp for boaters to take out of the Withlacoochee River, to look at invasive plants and native palmettos, big oaks, and pines upstream, along with deadfalls and switchbacks. Then we went inland to see where to put bathrooms, dining pavillion, and sleeping platforms for Troupville River Camp.

[Chad McLeod (Lowndes County), Mark Gaither (Disc Golf), John S. Quarterman (Suwannee Riverkeeper), Tom Baird (Archaeologist), Jason Scarpate (ASA Engineering, Mac McCall (Architect), Tom H. Johnson Jr. (WWALS President), George Page (VLPRA)]
Chad McLeod (Lowndes County), Mark Gaither (Disc Golf), John S. Quarterman (Suwannee Riverkeeper), Tom Baird (Archaeologist), Jason Scarpate (ASA Engineering, Mac McCall (Architect), Tom H. Johnson Jr. (WWALS President), George Page (VLPRA)

We walked up the big discovery by ASA Engineering last November of old Broad Street, the main north-south street and highway of historic Troupville, the Lowndes County seat until 1860, before Valdosta.

To see where the Championship Disc Golf Course could go, we walked down the Power line right of way and the Old Valdosta sewer line near the Withlacoochee River, below the Georgia 133 bridge over the Withlacoochee River.

Later, I went back and established that the apparent East-west road does indeed go through from the Little River to the Crossroads with Broad Street. I didn’t have much luck finding a road through east to the Withlacoochee River, but I did find a Nice hunting spot on the river, more than one Gopher hole, and got pictures of more of the old Valdosta sewer line easement where a Disc Golf fairway can go.

Many of these pictures are by Continue reading

Winners: Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020-08-22

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Winners and excellent music from the judges and headliner, too, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Hahira, GA, August 24, 2020 — Everyone went away happy. The finalists got prizes, and the audience was impressed with the song each judge played, and with the headliner. The audience was impressed that one contestant, who couldn’t come due to the virus pandemic, was projected on the bandstand via zoom anyway.

[Winners*: Brian Barker* via zoom, accepting for, Scott Perkins*, Laura D'Alisera, Kathy Lou Gilman*, John S. Quarterman, Billy Ennis*, Ronni Dillon (not present)]
Winners*: Brian Barker via zoom*, accepting for him, Scott Perkins*, Laura D’Alisera, Kathy Lou Gilman*, John S. Quarterman, Sweet William Billy Ennis*, Ronni Dillon (not present)

The winners are: Continue reading

Georgia Beer Co., top-tier sponsor, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020-08-13

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, GA, August 17, 2020 — New WWALS President Tom H. Johnson Jr. came to Valdosta and picked up a thousand dollar check from Georgia Beer Company founders Chris Jones and Jack Martin, as top-tier sponsor of the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

“Everything depends on clean water, especially beer,” said Chris Jones, originally from Madison, Florida, where he used to report on Valdosta sewage coming down the Withlacoochee River (that situation is getting better now).

“We appreciate Georgia Beer Company’s increased support. In addition to the check, we look forward to having merchandise in the silent auction,” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman.

“We met in college, and we’ve been brewing ever since,” said Jack Martin. “We use Valdosta city water; we just remove the chlorination.”

“They really have their act together, especially hearing about their entrepeneurship in starting Georgia Beer Company,” said WWALS President Tom H. Johnson, Jr. “And we thank Georgia Beer Company for helping us stage the acts for the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest!”

[T2, Jack, Chris, jsq, Georgia Beer Co., Suwannee Riverkeeper]
WWALS President Tom H. Johnson, Jr., Georgia Beer Co. founders Jack Martin and Chris Jones, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman 2020-08-13

“Come on down to the Turner Center Art Park Saturday and enjoy some live music,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Local stars Dirty Bird and the Flu are our headliners. Each of the three judges will sing a song. And then the five finalists will play for you and the judges. A $300 First Prize will be awarded, and other prizes, as well!”

You can hear about it in advance on the radio 8:30 AM Tuesday, August 18, 2020, with Suwannee Riverkeeper on The Morning Drive with Steve Nichols, WVGA 105.9 FM. You can listen on the air, or follow the above link for other ways to hear the radio show.

The Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest will be live 7-10 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601.

Tickets to listen are available, $10 online or $12 at the door (children under 12 free).
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/third-annual-suwannee-riverkeeper-songwriting-contest-finals-tickets-110284875030

For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

Scott James, of 92.1 FM Radio, will be the M.C. at the Contest Finals. Rico’s Tacos will provide food, and the Pour House will provide drinks. There will be a silent auction and kayak raffle tickets will be available. Our top-tier sponsor, Georgia Beer Company, will say a few words, as will our host, the Turner Arts Center, and several WWALS people will speak about programs, projects, stewardship, and advocacy. Each elected official present will get three minutes to speak on any subject; just remember it’s a festival.

For much more, follow this link: https://wwals.net/pictures/2020-08-22–songwriting/

[Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020]
Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020
PDF

About WWALS: Founded in June 2012, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS as the member of Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin.

Contact: John S. Quarterman, Suwannee Riverkeeper
WWALS Watershed Coalition
song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org
850-290-2350
229-242-0102
PO Box 88, Hahira, GA 31632

===

Continue reading

Water quality testing grant from Georgia Power 2020-06-27

July 27, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Georgia Power grants funds to WWALS for Water Quality Testing

Hahira, GA, July 27, 2020 — Aiding our attempts to clean up the Withlacoochee River, Georgia Power Foundation has provided a substantial grant to WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (“WWALS”). WWALS will buy more water quality testing kits and supplies with the funds, as well as other expenses related to our volunteer water quality testing program.

“Please accept our most sincere thanks for your recognition and support of WWALS Watershed Coalition and our work for clean, fishable, swimmable, boatable water,” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman. “We look forward to a productive water quality testing program this year.”

“We’re honored to get to help,” said Joe Brownlee, Georgia Power Southwest Region Director. “One of our goals is to make sure the people of Georgia know about our great natural resources. And also that they’re safe. And y’all help do that by making awareness around water testing. And you build strong relationships I know now, coordinating with the City of Valdosta, making sure they publish their test results. Everything seems to be working and getting better. We’re on a sharp upward curve of getting better with what we do with water and getting to enjoy it. And my little girl, I’m working for her future, and Georgia Power is. Thank y’all, thank you to the volunteer testers, and the Riverkeeper.”

[Joe Brownlee, Georgia Power Southwest District Director]
Photo: WWALS, of Georgia Power Southwest District Director Joe Brownlee, Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman, and WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall, at Troupville Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee River, near Valdosta, Georgia.

“The response of the Georgia Power grant and Mr. Brownlee’s comments are quite touching (to me) due to the recognition of how difficult it is for a volunteer organization to do biological water testing over a huge area. The grant enables regular testing that can pinpoint multi-source pollution, which requires a varied response. It’s quite gratifying that both individuals and large companies realize this is a complex situation,” said WWALS President Tom H. Johnson, Jr.

“We have several testers already trained, waiting for testing kits. Thanks to Georgia Power, we can buy them kits and get them started testing!” said WWALS Testing Committee Chair Suzy Hall. “Plus we can buy enough kits to train new testers with physical distancing even during the virus pandemic.”

“We like to think WWALS water quality testing has already done some good, helping warn people when the waterways are contaminated, helping find contamination sources, and encouraging several governmental organizations in Georgia and Florida to test more,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “With these funds from Georgia Power we can do much more. Also thanks to Valdosta Mayor Scott James for introducing us to Joe Brownlee.”

“The more testing, the more we can also check to see whether fixes such as fencing cattle away from waterways are actually working to improve the situation,” said WWALS Science Committee Chair Dr. Tom Potter. “Interested governmental, educational, or agricultural organizations please contact us about that.”

About WWALS: Founded in June 2012, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS as the member of Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin.

WWALS Water Quality Testing is summarized here: https://wwals.net/issues/testing/ Here is a video about this grant: https://youtu.be/zy0N_kRhPfI

Contact: Gretchen Quarterman, Executive Director
WWALS Watershed Coalition
wwalswatershed@gmail.com
850-290-2350
PO Box 88, Hahira, GA 31632

===
(See also PDF.)

Video: Final Deadline Today, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest on Steve Nichols Radio 2020-07-21

Steve Nichols helped remind everyone on the radio this morning that the last chance to send in a song is tonight at midnight, through this form:
https://forms.gle/buQjC4e6oEKDoc537

We also talked about water quality testing (including a grant by Georgia Power), water trails, outings, hats, contacting Georgia Governor Kemp about that titanium mine too near the Okefenokee Swamp, and what is Suwannee Riverkeper, anyway?

You can listen to it all in the facebook video by The Morning Drive with Steve Nichols, starting at 2:34:35.

[Georgia Beer Co.]
Georgia Beer Co.

Thanks again to our top-tier sponsor of the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, Georgia Beer Co. Continue reading

Final Deadline, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, Steve Nichols Radio 2020-07-21

Update 2020-07-21 Video, stills, and writeup.

Today’s the final deadline to send in your song, and this morning at 8:30 AM, I’ll be on the radio with Steve Nichols, 105.9 FM WVGA, talking about the Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest: Art Park, songs, judges, food, drink, prizes, and advocacy, including water quality testing. And our headliner, local stars Dirty Bird and the Flu!

[Any river, creek, swamp, sink, or spring]
Songs can be about any river, creek, swamp, sink, or spring in the Suwannee River Basin, except the Santa Fe River, which has its own contest.

Song submissions are open until midnight today, July 21, 2020, through this form:
https://forms.gle/buQjC4e6oEKDoc537

That’s the final deadline. This time we mean it. Really. Honest!

You could win the $300 First Prize, or the $50 prize for best song from within the Suwannee River Basin, or the $50 prize for best song from without, or a plaque for best in your musical genre.

Tickets to listen are available, $10 online.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/third-annual-suwannee-riverkeeper-songwriting-contest-finals-tickets-110284875030

Or $12 at the door (children under 12 free). For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

WVGA FM says:

The top rated morning talk show in south Georgia, Steve Nichols offers both sides of every story from Berrien County to the Beltway, and everywhere in between.

You can listen at 105.9 FM, on the WVGA Live apps, through ValdostaToday.com (link on front page), on Alexa devices, or you can stream in-studio video at the official Morning Drive Facebook page.

When: 8:30 AM, Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Where: 105.9 FM WVGA (see above for how to listen)

Much more here, about the Third Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, at 7-10 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601.
https://wwals.net/pictures/2020-08-22–songwriting/

[Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020]
Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020
PDF

Many thanks to our top tier sponsor, Georgia Beer Co.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

Final Deadline: July 21, 2020, for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Songwriters, one more week to send in that river song you’ve been humming, by midnight, Tuesday, July 21, 2020.

Follow this link to send in a song for the 2020 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest:
https://forms.gle/mvw1pAvCPyqE9JxV8

“Then it will be time to get this show on the stage by Saturday, August 22, 2020,” said Committee Chair Tom H. Johnson, Jr. “We’re just looking for a few more good songs before we choose finalists.”

You could win this year! Maybe a plaque for best in your genre, or $50 for best song from inside the Suwannee River Basin, or $50 for best song from outside.

Or the $300 First Prize!

[Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020]
Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest 2020
PDF

“Maybe you were waiting for the food truck? It’s Rico’s Tacos of Valdosta,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “And don’t forget, our headliner is Dirty Bird and the Flu.”

“Just don’t forget to send in your song by Tuesday the 21st,” said Committee member Laura D’Alisera, who won First Prize the first year, after submitting during the extension period. “Really, we mean it this time! By Tuesday, July 21, 2020.”

The three judges are ready to hear your songs, 7-10 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601. Headliners will play, finalists will play, silent auction and kayak raffle, judges will judge, prizes will be awarded, winners will play. M.C.: Scott James of Talk 92.1 FM Radio.

Thanks to Continue reading

Headliner: Dirty Bird and the Flu; song deadline today, for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Update 2020-07-15: Final Deadline: July 21, 2020, for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, July 14, 2020 — Our headliner is Dirty Bird and the Flu, “Funky-blues-soul-fusion born straight out of the South Georgia swamps and a charismatic front-man who catches comparisons of all the famous soul singers, Dirty Bird and the Flu is not your typical fare! Come see us live – no two shows are ever the same!”

[Dirty Bird and the Flu]
Dirty Bird and the Flu

“Songwriters, there’s still time to send in a song by the extended deadline of midnight today, Tuesday, July 14, 2020,” said Committee Chair Tom H. Johnson, Jr. “We have some songs, but we’d like more to choose from.”

Follow this link to send in a song for the 2020 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, on August 22, 2020:
https://forms.gle/mvw1pAvCPyqE9JxV8

This year you could win a plaque for best in your genre, or $50 for best song from inside the Suwannee River Basin, or $50 for best song from outside. Or the $300 First Prize!

Tickets to listen are on sale now, $10 online:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/third-annual-suwannee-riverkeeper-songwriting-contest-finals-tickets-110284875030
Or $12 at the door. Children under 12 free. For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

“Dirty Bird and the Flu look a lot like this finalist from last year, who won Best Funk Song,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. Continue reading

Deadline Extended for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Update 2020-07-15: Final Deadline: July 21, 2020, for Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hahira, Georgia, July 9, 2020 — “Last year a couple of winners got in through the extension,” said first year First Prize winner Laura D’Alisera. “And the first year, so did I, because someone emailed the songwriting community and l had my song 95% in place.” So the Contest Committee has voted to extend the deadline a week, to Tuesday, July 14, 2020.

“Please send in your song by midnight Tuesday,” said Committee Chair Tom H. Johnson, Jr. “We have some songs, but the committee would like more to choose finalists from.”

Follow this link to send in a song for the 2020 Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest, on August 22, 2020.

[Deadline Extended to July 14, 2020]
Deadline Extended to July 14, 2020

“Be sure to send it by Tuesday, July 14, 2020. That’s Bastille Day, if that helps in remembering it,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman. “Who knows? Maybe somebody can relate Bastille Day to the Suwannee River.”

You could win this year! Maybe a plaque for best in your genre, or $50 for best song from inside the Suwannee River Basin, or $50 for best song from outside. Or the $300 First Prize!

We’ll have a food truck, and a cash bar by The Pour House mobile bar.

The three judges are ready to hear your songs, 7-9 PM, Saturday, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601. Headliners will play, finalists will play, silent auction and kayak raffle, judges will judge, prizes will be awarded, winners will play. M.C.: Scott James of Talk 92.1 FM Radio.

Thanks to Dirty Bird and the Flu for handling sound.

Tickets to listen are on sale now, $10 online (children under 12 free), or $12 at the door. For VIP tables send email to song@suwanneeriverkeeper.org.

Thanks to our top tier sponsor, Georgia Beer Company.

More sponsor opportunities are available. Sponsoring the contest is a great opportunity for Continue reading