Tag Archives: Ashley Paulk

VDT: Quarterman Road project completed

The Valdosta Daily Times caught me working on being tactful.

Matt Flumerfelt’s writeup actually conflates two different county commission meetings, but gets the gist right:

The fate of the tree canopies lining the rural road were thought to hang in the balance. Several residents spoke in favor of the paving, citing dangerous conditions along the road during periods of stormy weather.

John and Gretchen Quarterman, whose ancestors lent their name to the country lane, led the fight to preserve the road in its original pristine dirt-road condition.

A longleaf pine on Quarterman Road. The forest along Quarterman Road is “a scrap of the longleaf fire forest that used to grow from southern Virginia to eastern Texas,” said John Quarterman following the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This forest has been here since the last ice age.”

Quarterman Road, pre-paving, was the kind of dirt road down which Huckleberry Finn might be envisioned skipping barefoot with a fishing rod projecting over one shoulder.

It was the kind of road near which Thoreau might have planted a cabin.

“Many people don’t know that a longleaf pine forest has more species diversity than anything outside a tropical rain forest,” Quarterman said. “In our woods, we have five species of blueberries, …

Oh, the beaver will be mad. I forgot to mention the beaver.

The rest of the story is on the VDT web pages. More pictures of the event in the previous blog entry.

For pictures of what lives in the forest, see longleaf burning gopher tortoises, snakes, frogs, bees and butterflies, spiders and scorpion, and raccoon, and beautyberry, pokeberry, passion flower, pond lily, ginger lily, Treat’s rain lily (native only to south Georgia, north Florida, and a bit of Alabama), thistle, sycamore, palmetto, mushrooms, lantana, magnolia, grapes, yellow jessamine, dogwood, and native wild azaleas.

The VDT has a good picture of Gretchen cutting the ribbon.

But it’s not over just because one road project is completed:

“More people around the county seem to be paying attention these days. Commissioners tell us that already another road in the county has had its canopy saved during paving, and the commission has promised residents of Coppage Road that if their road is paved, their canopy will be saved. Commissioners even seem to like the idea of recognizing canopy roads as a feature of quality of life for residents of the county and for visitors.”

We have a forest. The county just has roads.

Now let’s go see what they’re doing to the rest of our roads. And schools, and waste management, and biofuels, and industry…. If you’d like to help, please contact the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.

Expansion of Lowndes County Commission?

Since a proposal for nine commissioners was voted down in the 1980s and the Justice Department required a minority-majority district, leading to the current three commissioners plus non-voting chair, there have been various attempts to expand the number of Lowndes County Commissioners. Thomas County has eight commissioners, as do several other nearby counties with less population than Lowndes County. For that matter, the city of Valdosta has I think seven city council members, for less than half the population of Lowndes County.

The previous commission was divided among itself on this issue, and the local state representatives would not bring it up in the legislature without consensus among the commission. The new commission has been trying to move forward on this. The last version I heard involved keeping the same commission districts as now, plus adding two overlapping commissioners for new east and west districts.

Interestingly, there was nothing said about all this at Monday’s work session, yet we discover in the newspaper:

Paige Dukes, Lowndes County information officer, said the commission visited with reapportionment in Atlanta twice during the past few weeks. As a result of those meetings, the reapportionment office forwarded several maps to the commission for its review, Dukes said.

Lowndes County Commission Chairman Ashley Paulk said, “The commission continues to work feverishly on the expansion issue. We are at an 80 percent consensus regarding a plan that will meet local needs and satisfy requirements determined by the Department of Justice. I am working one on one with each commissioner in an effort to get a plan to citizens as soon as possible.”

Paulk was a guest of Scott James on his morning radio on program TALK 92.1 Monday, and in the course of that interview, Paulk said that if all the commissioners agreed on the plan, the expansion could actually be voted on by the board at tonight’s meeting.

It’s not clear from that just what they might vote on, but from context maybe it would be to forward a plan to citizens to vote on.