Dogwoods, Still in Bloom!

The dogwoods are still in bloom for the most part, although if we get the high winds and heavy rain that are predicted, that will probably change. It’s been an interesting spring for the dogwoods. I’ve never seen them with bigger blossoms, although I’m not sure that there are as many trees in bloom as usual. It may be that the wet winter and cold March – reportedly the coldest since 2002 – contributed to the size of the blooms, but that’s just a theory.

We have lady slippers and trillium in the yard, and there seem to be a lot more lady slippers this year than in previous years. I’m flame azalea is starting to come, and I’ve even seen one laurel beginning to bloom.

Michelle Malone is playing the Blue Ridge Community Theater on May 3. Call 706.632.9223 for ticket information.

Speaking of live music, the Blue Ridge Brewery has live music from 6:00 – 9:00, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in May. The schedule is on their website, along with brief descriptions of the genre. I’ve heard some pretty good music there lately, covering genres from blues to alternative to folk.

We’re enjoying a wonderful local scandal, triggered by a Georgia Department of Revenue audit of our tax office that reported that four of the people who work there own properties whose assessments were improperly lowered by applying a factor for “economic obsolescence.” (People in our tax office don’t log into the system with an unique user ID, making it impossible to say who lowered those assessments. The state audit noted that proper procedure is to assign and track unique user IDs.) For several weeks, the identity of three of the four employees was known, but the fourth was not, with the suggestion being repeatedly made by various officials that there really was no fourth. But Fetch Your News, a local online newspaper, reported on April 21 that Nick Genesi of the Department of Revenue identified the fourth employee as Steve Stanley, who is Chairman of the School Board and is currently running for re-election. The Board of Assessors was already at loggerheads with the County Commission, having recently asked for the money to hire their own legal representation, not being satisfied with the counsel that was being provided by the county attorney. While the commission granted that request, they have now asked the entire Board of Assessors to resign on the grounds that the people of the county have lost confidence in their leadership. One of the reasons that this is a hot issue is that the county continues to be fined by the state because our assessments are not high enough. The state sets standards for those, and ours have been out of compliance for a number of years.

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