School supers, ‘Herks’ and home-grown tomatoes
by Joe Kirby, Otis A. Brumby III and Lee B. Garrett, - Around Town Columnists
February 11, 2014 04:00 AM | 7019 views | 1 1 comments | 81 81 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RETIRED Cobb Schools Superintendent Dr. Kermit Keenum was one of the honorary chairs of the Cobb Schools Foundation annual gala at the Marietta Conference Center on Monday night, and one of his comments got quite a rise out of the crowd.

Said Keenum, “Superintendents are like tomatoes — they’re a lot better when they are home-grown.”

His comments were seconded by Carole Kell, who accepted an award on behalf of her family in honor of her late husband, legendary Cobb Schools Athletics Director Corky Kell.

“There ain’t nothing wrong with home cooking,” she told the crowd.

Those were not-so-subtle hints to the school board (all of which was in attendance), that it should look in its own backyard to find a successor to Dr. Michael Hinojosa, who unexpectedly announced last week that he was resigning effective May 31 and moving back to Texas.

The board discussed his status at a closed-door session at an emergency called meeting on Saturday and is to vote at its work session Wednesday, Feb. 19, on whether to accept his resignation. His contract with the system does not expire until year-end.

Dr. Hinojosa, by the way, was a no-show at the banquet.

After he steps down from the Cobb School District, Hinojosa intends to work for Wilmette, Ill.-based PROACT Search, a national executive search firm that aims to help school districts “find their next generation of leaders,” a source tells Around Town.

Calls to the firm were unreturned by press time Tuesday.


APPLICATION DEADLINE is Feb. 20 for this year’s Cobb EMC Youth Tour Scholarships. The program offers high school juniors scholarships of up to $1,500 along with two all-expenses-paid trips to Washington, D.C. and one paid student summer internship, reports spokesman Mark Justice.

For more, go to or call (678) 355-3124.


MARICOPA County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was guest speaker at Thursday’s Marietta Kiwanis meeting, served up a healthy dose of what has kept him in the headlines.

Arpaio houses many of his county’s jail inmates in Army surplus tents, rather than in air-conditioned jails.

“When it gets to be 148 degrees in the summer and they complain, I say ‘The men and women that are fighting for our country, they live in tents. So shut your mouth,’” he said.

His average daily jail census is in excess of 8,000 — third largest in the country — and every cell (and tent) is decorated with a small U.S. flag. Those who deface those flags find themselves on a bread-and-water diet for 38 days, he said.

“Not for desecrating the flag, because that’s free speech. But for destroying county property,” he said.

He also serves only vegetarian meals at his jail to save taxpayers money; and is the first sheriff in Arizona ever to put prisoners on chain gangs. And not just male prisoners.

“We have the only female chain gang in the history of the world,” he said. “No one has ever hooked women together on a chain gang. I’m an equal opportunity incarcerator. Why should I discriminate against women? Besides, they volunteer for the chain gang.”


AND AFTER NOTING that newly released inmates were leaving jail wearing multiple pairs of taxpayer-provided underwear and then reselling them — “Hopefully they washed them first,” he said — Arpaio began issuing pink underwear to his inmates instead.

That prompted a query from club member Victoria Turney asking what color underwear female prisoners are required to wear.

“That’s an easy one,” he answered. “I’m an equal opportunity guy. Everybody wears pink underwear.”

Replied Turney: “But the girls might like wearing pink underwear!”

Arpaio: “Yeah, I thought about that. (Laughter) How about the men? Some men like it, too!” (Even more laughter).


ANOTHER VARIANT of the fabled C-130 Hercules could soon take wing at Lockheed Martin’s plant in Marietta.

The LM-100J would be aimed at the commercial market and would be an offshoot of the C-130J “Herk.” The Hercules has been in continuous production longer than any airplane in history and is a big part of the backbone of the U.S. military airlift fleet.

Lockheed has submitted a Program Notification Letter to the Federal Aviation Administration for a “type design update” for the plane.

The company manufactured more than 100 of the original model L-100 between 1964 and 1992. Those aircraft were variants of the first-generation C-130 (which first flew in 1955). Many of the original L-100s are still in operation worldwide by commercial and government customers.

“The LM-100J is a natural expansion of the Super Hercules family. It is a modern answer to the existing, multi-tasked L-100 airlift fleet which, true to Hercules form, is a workhorse that has been a critical cargo asset for 40 years,” said George Shultz, vice president and general manager, C-130 Programs. “Our customers and legacy L-100 operators tell us that the best replacement for an L-100 is an advanced version of the same aircraft. The LM-100J is that aircraft.”

Like the military version of the C-130J, the civilian version will be capable of landing and taking off from short, unprepared airfields without ground-support equipment.

Also like the military version, the LM-100J is expected to be able to be configured to fill aerial spray, aerial firefighting and delivery, medevac/air ambulance, humanitarian aid and VIP transport missions.

RETIRED developer Hap McNeel of Marietta lost a long battle against cancer early Monday. McNeel was born here in 1927, was the grandson of Morgan McNeel, who lived in Ivy Grove, developed the Cherokee Heights neighborhood and was the owner of McNeel Marble Co., one of the city’s biggest employers in the early years of the 20th century.

Hap saw Navy service at the tail end of WWII, then after four years at UGA and a stint at Lockheed went into the home-building business. He developed the Brookwood Subdivision next to Whitlock Heights, as well as the Westgate, Dunleith and McNeel Farms subdivisions, plus the Cobb-Marietta Industrial Park on Cobb Parkway. He also was a mainstay on the Kennesaw State University Foundation board and the Marietta Museum of History Board. RIP, Hap.


OOPS! Saturday’s edition of Around Town managed to mangle the name of Scott Tucker, one of the candidates for the Northwest Cobb seat on the Cobb Commission. Sorry about that!


MDJ LIFESTYLE columnist Lauretta Hannon, author of “The Cracker Queen: A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life,” will be among six Georgia authors featured on C-SPAN at 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday as part of its BookTV programming. The channel will be profiling the history and literary heritage of the Macon area, near Warner Robins where Hannon grew up.

“The segment will be an extended interview with some never-before-seen photos from my childhood,” she tells Around Town. “And if you’ve read my memoir, you know some of those photos will be a hoot!”

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Got to be joking
February 11, 2014
Hinojosa left Dallas in a mess with a 50 million dollar blunder, yet he is going to work for a firm who hires "top talent" in the US for schools? That is kind of an oxymoron isn't it? Unbelievably, this firm is currently looking for a "cabinet" for the Dallas ISD school system where tamale boy just left. Ba ha ha ha. Good luck with that!
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