Tag Archives: Valdosta City Council

Personnel and trash at Valdosta City Council 2022-08-11

It wasn’t us this time.

Council Sandra Tooley brought up trash, Click ‘n’ Fix, and Valdosta’s favorite excuse for not doing much: “we’re short on staff“ and “A lot of people have a lot of things going on in their departments.” This was in the last five minutes of the August 11, 2022, Valdosta City Council meeting.

[Council Sandra Tooley requests Executive Session about personnel and trash]
Council Sandra Tooley requests Executive Session about personnel and trash

The Mayor said they had a request for an Executive Session, and asked for a motion. Council Tim Carroll wondered why.

Council Sandra Tooley explained, “Citizens have come to me, and they have this thing they like to say, that we do not have enough staff, that we’re short on staff, that we’re not getting things done.”

See for yourself in this excerpt of Valdosta’s own facebook live video of the meeting. Continue reading

Army Corps resumes oversight; miners have to reapply for strip mine too near Okefenokee Swamp

Hahira, GA, June 5, 2022 — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has reversed its October 2022 abdication of oversight over the proposed titanium strip mine site too near the Okefenokee Swamp. That puts Twin Pines Minerals back to re-applying for a USACE permit, in addition to its permit applications to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA-EPD).

[Okefenokee Swamp, Mine site, Ossoff, Connor]
Okefenokee Swamp, Mine site, Ossoff, Connor

This Friday, Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, issued a memorandum revoking the previous decision by USACE that said there were no Waters of the U.S. related to the proposed mine site. He said the Muscogee Creek Nation had not been properly consulted, despite their request for such consultation. Twin Pines Minerals must resubmit an application if they still want to mine there.

“The Okefenokee is a sacred natural resource. It is a wildlife refuge that must be protected,” said U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff, May 6, 2021. https://wwals.net/?p=55536

“Thanks to Georgia U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff for Continue reading

Trash and 12-foot alligator at Valdosta City Council 2022-02-24

Mayor Scott James Matheson said he and Council had been discussing solutions to the trash problem, before last Thursday’s Valdosta City Council meeting. Afterwards he came outside and discussed that a bit more. Stay tuned.

There’s also a new Neighborhood Development and Community Protections Manager, Anetra Riley. Community Protections Manager is what they call Code Enforcement, so that is relevant to the trash problem. Continue reading

Valdosta trash in creeks and rivers 2022-02-22

We even saw the Valdosta trash problem on the Mayor and Chairman’s Paddle. One paddler fell in picking up trash, and two more collected a huge bag of trash in a canoe. I think those two live in a different county.

Maybe you’d like to come say a few words tonight to the Valdosta City Council. 5:30 PM, City Hall, 216 E. Central Ave., Valdosta, GA 31601.

The WWALS trash boom at Sugar Creek is showing some promise, but there need to be more of those and people dedicated to cleaning them out, plus something done about fast food parking lots upstream, including on Threemile Branch.

[Valdosta Trash on Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River, Little River]
Valdosta Trash on Sugar Creek, Withlacoochee River, Little River

For all about the Valdosta trash situation, see: https://wwals.net/issues/trash/

SB

Remember the second boom we put across Sugar Creek? Here’s a report from the last day of January: Continue reading

Litter in the City of Valdosta: Sources and Solutions 2021-09-10

This public health, well-being, and eco-tourism issue may be brought up at the Valdosta City Council meeting at 5:30 PM this Thursday, February 24, 2022, down at City Hall, 216 E. Central Avenue, Valdosta, GA 31601.

You can thank whoever brought it up, or bring it up yourself, at the end of the agenda in Citizens to be Heard.

Here’s a facebook event so you can encourage others to attend.

And if you can’t go in person, you can watch on Valdosta’s facebook livestream.

Meanwhile, if you see trash, report it with Valdosta Click N’ Fix: https://www.valdostacity.com/public-information/click-n-fix

The Valdosta trash situation is still much like this summary from last fall. For new wrinkles, see https://wwals.net/issues/trash/.

[White Paper, Trash down Sugar Creek to Withlacoochee River]
White Paper, Trash down Sugar Creek to Withlacoochee River

White Paper

See also PDF.

The other documents cited are on the WWALS website. Continue reading

Valdosta working to protect Okefenokee Swamp –WFXL TV 2021-11-15

Kyra Purvis, WFXL, November 15, 2021, The city of Valdosta is working together to protect Okefenokee Swamp,

The city of Valdosta is working together to protect the Okefenokee Swamp from a proposed strip mine being placed near the area.

[Reporter, Mayor, Suwannee Riverkeeper, mine in Suwannee River Basin map]
Reporter, Mayor, Suwannee Riverkeeper, mine in Suwannee River Basin map

The Okefenokee Swamp is a 438,000 acre wetland that straddles the Georgia-Florida line and is a place [where] many local residents go for nature-filled fun.

Continue reading

Denied: Deannexation of Cherry Creek Mitigation Bank @ VCC 2021-08-19

WWALS E.D. Gretchen Quarterman heard it on Valdosta’s facebook livestream. The result was surprising only in that it was unanimous.

Bryce Ethridge, Valdosta Daily Times, Aug 24, 2021, City denies de-annexation request, approves park projects,

VALDOSTA — After tabling it at the last meeting, Valdosta City Council denied the de-annexation of 310 acres from the city.

This was a request made by the Uvalde Land Company for the city’s portion of the Cherry Creek Wetlands Mitigation Bank property located between the Withlacoochee River and Cherry Creek residential neighborhoods.

The company wanted the change for “wildlife management and recreational use” for a hunting ground.

The request, even before being brought up in the council meeting, was opposed by nearby residents, some of whom were concerned about being in the path of stray bullets because of their homes’ proximity to the area.

Mayor Pro-Tem Tim Carroll said the applicants can seek permits to hunt on the land while it remains within the city.

“None of the reasons given warrant the de-annexation of the property, especially when you consider there are a host of homeowners that have homes above this property,” he said. “They are citizens of Valdosta and they deserve to have their voices heard by their representatives.”

Carroll motioned to deny the request, followed by a unanimous vote in favor of the action.

[Aerial of proposed de-annexation]
Aerial of proposed de-annexation in 2021-08-05 Regular Session, Valdosta City Council

The picture is from the preceding City Council meeting, when they held the Public Hearing, before tabling at the landowner’s request.

Tim Carroll is visible behind the small monitor at the speaker’s podium. The de-annexation would have been from his City Council district, so, as is usual in such cases, the other Council members followed his lead, although some of them also had other reasons to deny.

See also: Continue reading

No Valdosta City repair work at chronic sewage spill manhole, Wainwright Drive, Onemile Branch 2021-07-08

Update 2021-07-14: Valdosta Manhole Rehabilitation lists 2021-07-13.

“Doesn’t look good,” WWALS member Scotti Jay summed up the situation at the Wainwright Drive Onemile Branch manhole that spilled yet again in Tropical Storm Elsa. “No lime was put out.”

[Caution, Sewage Spill, Manhole ajar, Wainwright Drive, Onemile Branch, Valdosta, GA]
Caution, Sewage Spill, Manhole ajar, Wainwright Drive, Onemile Branch, Valdosta, GA

This is a manhole at 1212 Wainwright Drive, where Valdosta, Georgia, spilled 37,500 gallons of raw sewage on July 7, 2021, during Tropical Storm Elsa. That’s the same place Valdosta has spilled numerous times before, listing it as 1208 Wainwright Drive, or “1200 block”, including 51,800 gallons 2018-12-14, 166,275 gallons 2018-12-03, 9,800 gallons 2017-01-22, and 90,500 gallons 2016-02-04. That’s a total of 355,875 gallons spilled at that one location.

Is a third of a million gallons of raw sewage not enough for Valdosta to pay attention and fix that location? Will it require a million gallons?

Back on November 11, 2017, Valdosta Utilities Director Darryl Muse joined WWALS on a cleanup of Onemile Branch, including at the bridge in these pictures. He said they were trying to get the number of sewer spills down to zero.

Yet a year later at a Valdosta City Council meeting and then at a SRWMD Board meeting, Director Muse neglected to mention the 218,075 gallons spilled at that location alone in December 2018. In both cases I had to stand up and correct him in public.

SRWMD Board member Virginia Sanchez noted, “You don’t want to swim in a little sewage versus a lot of sewage either. Both of them are bad. A spill is bad.”

When I asked him another year later during one of the Florida dozen-county Valdosta sewage Task Force meetings with the Valdosta City Council when Wainwright Drive would be fixed, Darryl Muse did not recall that location.

Still years more later, Scotti Jay last week observed, “You would be amazed at all the incompetent work being done around the Wainwright location. With no effort whatsoever towards improving the faulty, damaged manhole. Absolutely nothing.”

WS

“Will the City of Valdosta finally repair the most dangerous sewer hole that threatens sewage intrusion. Ask your local government to update the sewer system.” Asked about the sign, Scotti Jay wrote, “it’s just zip tied. But some locations have permanent signs.” Continue reading

Songwriting Contest on Steve Nichols radio show 2020-08-18

Here is video of Steve Nichols and Suwannee Riverkeeper talking about the Songwriting Contest on the radio, last Tuesday morning at 8:30 AM, 105.9 FM WVGA.

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.

[Radio, History, Waterworks, Georgia Beer Co.]
Radio, History, Waterworks, Georgia Beer Co.

The Contest Finals are this Saturday (tomorrow), 7-9 PM, August 22, 2020, at the Turner Center Art Park, 605 North Patterson Street, Valdosta, Georgia 31601.

Scott James of 92.1 FM will be the M.C. The headliner, Dirty Bird and the Flu, will play. Then each of the three judges will play. The finalists will play for the judges and you the audience. Somebody will win the $300 First Prize, and the other prizes.

[First Prize, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest]
First Prize, Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

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.

Bring your own chairs and tables if you can. We will have some, but if you can bring your own, that will be great. There’s plenty of room to have tables spaced apart. We will be requiring masks when you go up to the WWALS information tables or close to others not in your group.

Food will be by Rico’s Tacos’ food truck. Drinks will be provided by the Pour House.

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

Steve Nichols and I also talked about Why care about the waters?, WWALS Cleanups and Outings, Water Quality Testing, Masks at the Contest, and Georgia Beer Company, Top Tier Sponsor.

Why care about the waters?

Video at 3:33. Steve Nichols asked why I was so involved in this water stuff.

A century ago, my grandfather Continue reading

Troupville River Camp not on GOSP approved projects: try again this year 2020-01-22

There is a list approved by Georgia DNR for grants from the Georgia Outdoor Stewardshp Program (GOSP), but Troupville River Camp is not on it:

[GOSP Proposal of Approved Conservation Projects]
Georgia Reporter: GOSP Proposal of Approved Conservation Projects; see also PDF.

The GOSP web page says pre-applicants will be notified February 3, 2020, but the GOSP board apparently made their choices more than two weeks ago. Like everybody else, they’re making it up as they go this first year of GOSP.

Jill Nolin, Georgia Recorder, 22 January 2020, Georgia park projects axed as tax on outdoor gear comes up short, Continue reading