Ridgeland offering amnesty program through March 7

The city of Ridgeland on Monday started its Amnesty Program that lasts through March 7. Contempt of court fees for traffic violations, misdemeanors or criminal offenses and administrative fees for traffic tickets may be waived during the program. To participate, come to the Municipal Court Service Building at 115 West School Street between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call municipal court at (601) 853-2001.

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MDOT begins reconstruction of Gluckstadt Interchange

Posted today by Central MS Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall:

The Mississippi Department of Transportation began reconstructing the Gluckstadt Road Interchange in Madison County by installing construction signage today. 

The median barrier work will begin tonight. Crews will then mill and overlay one southbound lane of I-55 on Tuesday, September 10 from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. and the other southbound lane on Wednesday, September 11 from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. The same work will be done to one northbound lane on Thursday night and to the other northbound lane on Friday night from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m. There will be lane shifts in the construction zone as each individual lane of I-55 is decreased to 11 ft. in width.

“We look forward to utilizing this roadway to further improve the safety of motorists throughout the area,” Hall said. “We would like to urge motorists to take extra precaution, slow down and watch out for workers on the roadway while driving through this work zone.” 

Crews will also begin placing temporary concrete median barriers and clearing the sides of the interstate this week. There are six different phases of construction and the project is anticipated to be complete by July 2015.

Dear @ShoemakerHomes, can I have one please?

Last Thursday I attended a ribbon cutting by Shoemaker Homes at The Enclave at Towne Center, one of the newest subdivisions in the city of Ridgeland. It’s down the street from where I live (of course I’m not disclosing my address, lol) so I had to check out some of the new homes. I covered the ground breaking over a year ago and I always looked at the building progress whenever I drove by.

Honey, these homes are FABULOUS! High-end, unique floor plans and the materials are top notch. You know how some builders install those super cheap appliances and closet rods and such? Shoemaker Homes wasn’t lying when they said “an affordable convenient community with efficient upscale living.” Here’s a photo gallery of a few of the lots currently on sale. Maybe in four or five years me and hubby could have one of these homes. To learn more and see better photos, check out the Facebook page.

Here's another wide-open living room and kitchen area.

Here’s another wide-open living room and kitchen area.

Another bathroom/shower combo.

A bathtub/shower combo.

This one master bedroom...you can see outside in the courtyard.

This one master bedroom…you can see outside in the courtyard.

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The showers have two shower heads.

The showers have two shower heads.

One floor plan has a bathroom INSIDE the shower. Cool!

Another bathtub/shower combo.

I love the natural light in this floor plan.

I love the natural light in this floor plan.

029 030

Mayor Gene McGee

Mayor Gene McGee

Builder Scott Shoemaker

Builder Scott Shoemaker

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Lovely courtyard.

Lovely courtyard.

The living room and kitchen areas are open!

The living room and kitchen areas are open!

The bedrooms are split by a shared bathroom.

The bedrooms are split by a shared bathroom.

Killer closet space!

Killer closet space!

I WANT.

I WANT.

Nice tub.

Nice tub.

Recycling in Ridgeland goes to the next level

RidgelandBig Belly IMG_9082

 

To enhance recycling efforts, the city of Ridgeland purchased five solar-powered recycling compactors. You can find them at the concession stands at Freedom Ridge Park and at the trailhead pavilion of the multiuse trail (off Rice Road). You may recycle cans, plastic and paper. If the light is green, the compactor has room for recyclables. If it’s yellow, the compactor is full and red means it’s overflowing.

Each compactor can hold up to five times more than regular garbage cans. Since the compactors do not have open tops, the recyclables will stay inside and not blow out. The compactors come with a solar grid in the top, providing the energy source for compacting and the alert system. An interior wireless chip and antenna sends a signal to a main server, providing data that can then be accessed from a web app. The app allows designated city employees to see a map of which of the compactors are full and which are empty.

The city is committed to staying clean in an energy efficient way, proving a model for other Mississippi cities to follow. The city has earned awards for efforts in recycling and green living, such as – 2013 First Place Local Government Award from Keep Mississippi Beautiful, Steward in the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s enHance Program since 2011, 2011 Local Government Recycler of the Year from the Mississippi Recycling Coalition, Tree City USA certification since 2009, Merit Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects for the Ridgeland Area Master Plan and the Mississippi Municipal League’s Planning and Development Award for the Ridgeland Area Master Plan.

Submitted by the city of Ridgeland

Hear from Madison County officials at upcoming Madison neighborhood association meeting

The Madison Organization of Neighborhood Associations (MONA) will meet in the Madison Municipal Courtroom at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 30. Madison County District 3 Supervisor Gerald Steen will speak about the county’s road spending plan and the city of Madison. County Engineer Rudy Warnock, Board Attorney Mike Espy and interim County Administrator Shelton Vance also will be there to answer questions from residents. Each neighborhood in Madison is encouraged to have at least two reps present at the meeting.

BBQ fundraiser for MadCAAP this Sunday

Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty is hosting a BBQ luncheon fundraiser to help provide school uniforms for 150 needy children. The luncheon will be held  11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, July 21, at Parkway Pentecostal Church’s Family Life Center on Mannsdale Road in Madison. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children (ages 4-6). Lunch consists of pulled pork or chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, corn on the cob, a roll, banana pudding and tea. For carry-out orders, call (601)946-3126, (601) 506-4615, or (601) 573-4818.

FYI: Today’s Suburban Digest column is about MadCAAP receiving new technology with the help of Leadership Madison County participants. Read it here to learn more and it contains information on how to volunteer. MadCAAP has lots to do for the citizens of Madison County and can always use volunteers.

Post election review

Election Day can be a journalist’s dream or nightmare, depending on his/her feelings about politics. Depending on the candidates, the issues and the seats open for the taking, my excitement level on Election Day can be rather low. I don’t care for politics, but local elections tend to have more effect on me. For example, I live in the city of Ridgeland and have voted in almost every municipal election since 2010. I used to cover city government in Ridgeland for The Madison County Herald (2010-11) and it was important to know the alderman board members, who wanted to run for the positions and what they could bring to the city I live in. And if the races are tight from the start of campaigning to the finish, I’m eager to get out and vote and write election stories from the polls and the results.

This municipal primary election was especially exciting for me when it came to the city of Canton. I covered city government there as a reporter for The Herald (2010-11) and got to know the Mayor and Alderman Board pretty well throughout the volatile political dealings between the Mayor William Truly and board members. For months, I would hear stories from all kinds of people about a much needed change in city government and leadership and how much people looked forward to hitting the polls. So, I eagerly waited until 2013 came around because the buzz was circulating about prospective mayoral candidates wanting to replace Truly and some aldermen they felt were not getting the job done.

I had my mind made up on who would go to runoff after the Democratic primary and boy was I wrong! I knew there would be a runoff between Truly and State Farm Insurance Agent Arnel Bolden or Truly and small business owner and popular community activist Greg Green. I learned a little about Republican candidate Chip Matthews, owner of Mama Mia’s pizza on the square (he beat Lorraine Levy by a landslide in the May 7 primary). It turns out that Greg Green came in third place behind Bolden and Truly, and former mayor and Canton councilman Fred Esco Jr. came in last, much to my surprise.

The ballot count took nearly three days due to machine failure, hand counting and in my opinion, slow-working elections commissioners. Bolden held a 10-vote lead and only two aldermen held on to their seats — Ward 1 Alderman Rodriguez Brown (currently being challenged by opponent Ray Rosamond) and Ward 6 Eric Gilkey, who ran unopposed. Now Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest is looking into voting irregularities reported during the May 7 primary.

In the weeks leading up to runoff, Bolden and Truly hit the pavement to convince voters to return to the polls May 21 and I felt like either man had the chance. In his first term, Truly helped bring millions of dollars in economic development to the city, tried to improve living conditions (many citizens believe he has done opposite) and supported the Canton Public School District. He’s also a physician and served on the alderman board. I came to know Bolden when he started his campaign and would tell me about various events for his scholarship program, I Have A Dream Fund, and involvement in local nonprofit organizations and supporting the youth. Both men remained visible to voters through social media and local media stayed on the race.

When the primary runoff came, voter turnout was slightly lower (to be expected) but people made their way to their ward precincts to cast ballots. It was unbearably hot and humid. The results of the runoff were also a welcome surprise to many as Bolden won by a few hundred (machine) votes and Ward 5 Alderman Reuben Myers nearly lost his seat. Read the most recent results article here.

Once again, ballot counting dragged along on May 21 as the elections commission slowly went through the ballots — mind you, less than 3,000 people voted. In their defense, hundreds of absentee ballots and dozens of affidavit ballots can take a while to go through. The commission finished counting on Wednesday despite an altercation late Tuesday that led to a member being arrested for disturbing the peace and other charges.

Needless to say, Cantonians wanted change and they made their decision on Tuesday. What’s next for the June 4 general election? Arnel Bolden faces off with Chip Matthews and the alderman races for wards 2 and 7 will be decided. I, like most people, have questions going into the final stretch: Will Chip Matthews prevail and become the first white mayor of Canton in 19 years? Will Arnel Bolden deliver on his campaign promises? Will the next Board of Aldermen have a better working relationship to meet the needs of Cantonians? How much shifting will occur in city personnel, especially in the police and fire departments (considering the unpopular police and fire chiefs)? Will the entire elections commission be replaced? Will the people and leaders of Canton settle their differences and come together and create a better environment for businesses and youth who will be the future leaders?

Only time will tell.