“Into every life, a little rain must fall.”
This old adage is meant metaphorically. That each person will face troubles in their lifetime. Sometimes, the metaphor becomes literal.
While the rains may have ended in our region Monday night, they continued falling as they moved north. Three days of sunshine and clear skies later, the combination of what fell here and what fell to the north and flowed south converged.
On a bright Thursday morning, several Valdosta and Lowndes County residents faced calamity. Rising waters threatened their houses and businesses. Authorities helped some people evacuate. Others held their breath as water flowed closer to properties, flooding yards and roadways.
For many residents, Thursday was a nightmarish deja vu of the 2009 floods that caused thousands of dollars of property damage in various areas throughout Valdosta. Many of these same people could only watch helplessly Thursday as the houses they had repaired from flooding four years ago were swamped in water again.
Meanwhile, throughout the week, the rising Withlacoochee River has caused sewage from the City of Valdosta’s Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant to spill into the waterway. From Monday to Thursday, more than 15 million gallons of partially treated wastewater and an estimated five million gallons of raw sewage had flowed from the overwhelmed city treatment plant — the same 40-year-old plant that has deteriorated to a point where portions of the operation can no longer operate on the best of days.
While we can all consider that old saying about a little rain falling into each life as a warning that troubles are inevitable, city leaders should have long ago grasped that it also serves as cautionary advice.
Through experience, the city should have known that areas flooded in 2009 may flood again at some future date when faced with similar conditions. These conditions returned this week, but nothing has been done in the past four years to halt a repeat of the 2009 flooding.
Also, since that flood, the city knew the wastewater treatment plant could no longer withstand heavy rains and a non-stop influx of rising waters. Given the plant’s aging infrastructure, the city may also face environmental penalties in the form of tainted waterways and payments to the feds until the problem is resolved.
These situations remind us of another old, yet appropriate, quote.
Before he was the 34th American President, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the supreme commander of Allied Forces in World War II. He oversaw the operations of D-Day, the most massive invasion in human history. Eisenhower said, “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
A better plan may not have resolved the issues faced by the city and within the city this week, but better planning may have had officials and residents better prepared for an occasion when more than a little rain fell.
“Into every life, a little rain must fall.”
- What We Think
Qualifying a horse race
With the announcement earlier this week by Sen. Tim Golden that he was not going to seek reelection this year, candidates seemed to appear from everywhere. Rumors flew all week, the Bird Supper in Atlanta was a rumor mill, and the jockeying for position was more reminiscent of a Kentucky Derby than a typical south Georgia qualifying week.
aaTHUMBS UP: To Music Funeral Home for its donation of a pall flag to honor fallen Valdosta city firefighters. Casey Music presented the flag to the Valdosta Fire Department this week. The flag will be draped over a firefighter’s casket during funeral services. It honors the brave men and women who spent their lives battling fires.
Time to save the daylight
If you’re a little more sleepy this Sunday morning and subsequent mornings, blame Benjamin Franklin.
Bringing the world to Valdosta
This week’s Azalea International Folk Fair is more than beautiful costumes, exotic dances, and intriguing foods.
Azalea Festival celebrates our region
The Valdosta-Lowndes County Azalea Festival returns Saturday and Sunday.
Garren leaves proud legacy
When Ken Garren was asked to step in at the Industrial Authority, it was a time of great turmoil in the late 1990s. The Authority had recently split from the Chamber of Commerce, it’s director left in disgrace, and the entire county commission was voted out of office following the decision to bring Sterling Chemical Co. to the community.
Annual Bird Supper this week
As the legislative session winds down to its final days, many in the community will travel to Atlanta this week to attend the annual Bird Supper.
Calling for candidates
Beginning Monday, the week-long qualifying period for candidates in the November election begins.
THUMBS UP: To Mac Loudermilk. The Valdosta High School senior racked up several awards
earlier this week during the annual Wildcats Touchdown Club football banquet. Loudermilk won the Howard Bridges Scholastic Award, the Wright Bazemore Scholarship Award and the Special Teams Award for his successes on the gridiron this past season.
A salute to Black History Month
Today is the last day of February.
- More What We Think Headlines
- Qualifying a horse race