A two-day report: Poverty in Augusta

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EDITORS NOTE: Poverty is an equal opportunity offender, touching nearly every demographic group. One group is affected more often : single women who head households.

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Christa Glosson pay bills from limited income. "I don't want to lose where I'm staying," she said. "I don't want my power cut off."  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Christa Glosson pay bills from limited income. "I don't want to lose where I'm staying," she said. "I don't want my power cut off."

These households experience the highest poverty rates nationally, in Georgia and South Carolina, and in the three-county Augusta area.

Today and Friday, The Augusta Chronicle profiles some of the women facing poverty and their difficulties , youths who come from these households and what can help decrease the high poverty rate of a city such as Augusta.

Christa Glosson says she is trying.

Ms. Glosson, 24, has a job at a day care center, but the business doesn't open until next month. She's signed up for GED classes but has missed more than a month because of a broken transmission on her 1991 Ford Escort.

The single Hephzibah woman provides for her 5-year-old daughter, her mother and 9-year-old niece. They're living below the poverty line.

Her situation is not unique.

In the United States, according to 2008 U.S. Census data, single women who head households where no husband is present have a poverty rate of 28 percent, nearly three times the rate for all family households. In Georgia, the poverty rate for these households is 30.2 percent. The rate is 40 percent in Richmond County. Columbia County's rate was 20 percent, five times higher than its overall household poverty rate.

The slide into poverty for Ms. Glosson began about three years ago, she said, after her stepfather, Raymond Hobbs, the family's other breadwinner, died of a heart attack.

Her mother has a degenerative bone disease and can't work, Ms. Glosson said.

When the engine in the family's car died, she didn't have reliable transportation to her cashier's job at the Walmart on Deans Bridge Road, where she had worked four or five months.

She had to quit the job.

Next, she worked as a photographer at Augusta Mall, then was laid off because the business had hired too many people, she said.

When she was offered a job at the day care center, she took it. While waiting two months for the inspection that would permit it to open, she hasn't worked.

"This is a guaranteed job, so I don't want to quit," Ms. Glosson said.

But she doesn't have the money to repair the car and the closest bus stop is more than 10 miles away -- on Deans Bridge Road or Peach Orchard Road.

Last month her family was threatened with eviction from the mobile home that costs them $400 a month. The landlord has worked with them, Ms. Glosson said, even giving them three months' free rent after the death of Mr. Hobbs, who performed maintenance for the neighborhood.

A friend, who usually helps out with $100 each paycheck, stepped in. Their only other income comes from cleaning houses or baby-sitting, $20 here, $30 there. There's also the $80 a month for her niece's child support. She says she hasn't received the $103-a-month, court-ordered child support from her daughter's father in months.

All four members of the household receive food stamps, and she and daughter, Nevaeh, are on Medicaid. She worries about the basics.

"I don't want to lose where I'm staying; I don't want my power cut off," she said.

Forget luxuries that some might consider necessities. Nevaeh understands she can't get her that Tinkerbell DVD or extra toys, Ms. Glosson said, and she's used to hand-me-downs. For Nevaeh's Halloween costume, Ms. Glosson used an old pink church dress, sewed last year's fairy wings to it and painted her face.

Last Christmas was the first year she signed up for toys from the Salvation Army. They're not gifts from a list to Santa, but she's grateful for the help.

"She's like, 'Mom, all I want for Christmas is a (Nintendo) Wii,' " she said.

"It breaks my heart because the only thing she wants I can't give her," she said, wiping away tears.

Sometimes, it takes a toll on her.

"People say 'don't lose faith,' " Ms. Glosson said. "I feel like I've done everything in my power ... unless I'm missing something."

But she doesn't plan on staying in poverty.

"(Just) because you're a single mom and you're in poverty, it doesn't mean you can't get out of it," she said.

If she can find a way to work at the day care, she'll be the assistant teacher of the class for 1-year-olds. She'll get minimum wage and work from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., which will be a good schedule to be with her daughter.

"I won't be able to take her to school, but I'll have the time after school with her," Ms. Glosson said.

Her long-term plan is to be an ultrasound technician. She wants to be an example for her daughter, have her life together more and be in a more stable financial situation.

There are significant challenges in her way -- transportation to work and, like many single moms, child care. Her mother already has her hands full caring for Ms. Glosson's 9-year-old niece and, on occasion, a nephew.

"Right now, I'm just looking for that step up, for that help up to know what to do," Ms. Glosson said.

Reach Sarah Owen at (706) 823-3223 or sarah.owen@augustachronicle.com.

POVERTY RATES

for all people

13.2%

in the United States

14.7%

in Georgia

15.7%

in South Carolina

24.1%

in Richmond County

5.7%

in Columbia County

16.8%

in Aiken County

Poverty Rates

for households headed by women with no husband present

28%

in the United States

30.2%

in Georgia

33.7%

in South Carolina

40%

in Richmond County

20.9%

in Columbia County

36.2%

in Aiken County

U.S. FAMILY HOUSEHOLDS (two or more people)

- 78.8 million total

- 14.4 million (18.3 percent) headed by women with no husband present; 28 percent of these households are below the 100 percent rate of poverty, compared to 10.3 percent of all family households

- 5.2 million households (6.6 percent) headed by men where no wife is present; 13.8 percent of these households are below the 100 percent rate of poverty

- 59.1 million households (75 percent) headed by married couples; 5.5 percent of these households are below the 100 percent rate of poverty

GEORGIA

- 2,364,041 family households

- 520,658 (22 percent) headed by women with no husband present; 30.2 percent of these households had incomes below the poverty rate in the past 12 months, compared to 11.1 percent of all family households in the state

- 1,685,437 households (71.3 percent) headed by married couples; 4.9 percent of these households had incomes below the poverty rate in the past 12 months

SOUTH CAROLINA

- 1,142,172 family households

- 247,966 (21.7 percent) are headed by women with no husband present; 33.7 percent of these households had incomes below the poverty level in the past 12 months, compared to 11.6 percent of all family households in the state

- 822,091 households (72 percent) headed by married couples; 4.6 percent of these households had incomes below the poverty rate in the past 12 months

RICHMOND COUNTY

- 47,818 family households

- 17,528 (36.6 percent) headed by women with no husband present; 40 percent of these households had incomes below the poverty level in the past 12 months, compared to 21.1 percent of all family households in the county

- 26,656 households (55.7 percent) headed by married couples families; 11.9 percent of these households had incomes below the poverty level in the past 12 months

COLUMBIA COUNTY

- 30,234 family households

- 3,809 (12.8 percent) are headed by women with no husband present; 20.9 percent of these households had incomes below the poverty level in the past 12 months compared to 4.2 percent of all family households in the county

- 25,358 households (83.8 percent) are headed by married couples; 1.9 percent of these households had incomes below the poverty level in the past 12 months

AIKEN COUNTY

- 42,149 family households

- 8,299 (19.6 percent) headed by women with no husband present; 36.2 percent of these households had incomes below the poverty level in the past 12 months, compared to 13.2 percent of all family households in the county

- 31,512 households (74.7 percent) headed by married couples households; 6.9 percent of these households had incomes below the poverty level in the past 12 months

Source: 2008 American Community Survey by U.S. Census Bureau


Click on image for a larger version

BASICS DEFINE LEVELS

The definition of poverty most commonly used by state and federal government and many experts is determined by basic food needs.

In the early 1960s, the Social Security Administration published an analysis of poverty defined as people who couldn't afford the cheapest of basic grocery lists developed by the Department of Agriculture in 1955 to be nutritionally adequate for short periods. The analysis also relied on the department's research showing that the typical family of three at the time spent about one-third of the household's after-tax income on food.

Using the grocery list and personal budget information, the federal government devised a poverty level for other family sizes, including for single adults.

That original poverty level is updated annually by the U.S. Census Bureau to show the impact of inflation on food prices.

Some advocates for the poor say the formula unfairly ignores many families because it doesn't include the cost of other necessities, such as housing, transportation, child care and health care. On the other hand, critics of government spending say the formula shows too many people in poverty by not including the value of benefits such as food stamps, unemployment checks and welfare payments as income.

Efforts to devise more comprehensive poverty level figures have failed to catch on.

- Morris News Service

RELATED STORIES

Single-minded mission

Early influences may cause struggle with poverty

Comments (71) Add comment
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FedupwithAUG
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FedupwithAUG 11/26/09 - 01:05 am
0
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Solution two words, Birth

Solution two words, Birth Control!

catfish201
0
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catfish201 11/26/09 - 06:22 am
0
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She made some poor choices

She made some poor choices during her life. She dropped out of school and gave birth to a child she couldn't afford to raise. If she had stayed in school and practiced birth control her situation would be different. I have no sympathy for her. I am tired of all these excuses. People need to accept responsibility for their decisions. She can change her situation if she really wants to put forth a little effort. Plus, she doesn't look like she has missed any meals so she couldn't be that poor.

justus4
113
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justus4 11/26/09 - 06:24 am
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...nothing new here, but
Unpublished

...nothing new here, but check out those numbers of the working poor who have so-called jobs. It ain't pretty.

whatisthisworldcomingto
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whatisthisworldcomingto 11/26/09 - 06:41 am
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You people do NOT know her

You people do NOT know her entire situation and she is trying so give her credit for that. Her weight has nothing to do with it. People today are so quick to judge others that it isn't even funny. Judging is GOD's job, not yours!!!! If more people would pick up their BIBLES, this world would be a much better place. I just pray that God grabs a hold of you who are posting these nasty replies.

JohnTaurus
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JohnTaurus 11/26/09 - 07:28 am
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There will always be poverty.

There will always be poverty. It is unfortunate, but there will always be people too lazy to work, people too sick to work,and people with mental problems that can't work. The list goes on. All people were not created equal. Some people are smarter, some people are better looking. Communism didn't work, also better known as "redistribution of the wealth", accomplished by taking from those that produce and giving to those that don't. When everyone gets the same thing regardless of effort, everyone will stop pulling and will want to ride the wagon. Soon, there will be no horses pulling and the wagon will be loaded with riders. America is becoming a third world country at sonic speed because of such reasoning. I don't have a cure for poverty except for "Full Employment" where people work for the State for minimum wage. The low wages will encourage those capable of finding other employment. Those incapable will be stuck in low wage jobs. Life is tough.

charliemanson
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charliemanson 11/26/09 - 07:45 am
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FedUp: It is actually one

FedUp: It is actually one word, Castration.

corgimom
38696
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corgimom 11/26/09 - 07:47 am
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She is doing the best she

She is doing the best she can. I didn't see where she dropped out of school. She takes care of her sick mother and provides for a niece, too. Happy Thanksgiving wishes to her and her family.

LBenedict
2
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LBenedict 11/26/09 - 08:01 am
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She is sleeping in the bed

She is sleeping in the bed that she made...but, she dragged a child in with her which makes her, in my mind, something that will probably be removed if I posted it. That said, she is able to work and wants to work and will work, and, wants to get a GED and then go to college. Now, had she stayed in and finished high school to begin with, that would have been one hurdle cleared. From what I gathered above, she is basically raising other children in her immediate family...WHY? What is wrong with people? Until people take responsibility for their own actions; ie, stay in and do well in school, stop mating and mating with losers, and so on, we will continue to have more and more stories of poverty, generational poverty. However, many will continue to do as they want when they want and bite the head off of anyone advocating staying in school and what not while ordering the person to not preach morality and we will have more and more children born in to poverty, which is a crime. I hope that this "news story" serves as a wake-up call to those headed down the same path.

LBenedict
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LBenedict 11/26/09 - 08:09 am
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corgimom, it reads, "She's

corgimom, it reads, "She's signed up for GED classes but has missed more than a month because of a broken transmission on her 1991 Ford Escort" which means that if she is taking, or has signed up to take, GED classes, she dropped out of school. Good for her for taking care of an ill parent...but where is the other parent? Could it be that there are three generations of single mothers raising kids to follow in their footsteps? She does raise or help raise other kids in the family...where are their parents? Ah yes, key elements of a valid news article left out

SusieQ
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SusieQ 11/26/09 - 08:18 am
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Everyone in the home gets

Everyone in the home gets food stamps. Unbeleivable. I thought that only the head of the household got them.

LBenedict
2
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LBenedict 11/26/09 - 08:28 am
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Susie, there are probably 101

Susie, there are probably 101 ways to circumvent that...such as each applicant giving different addresses - then again, with all of the different last names in that household, perhaps the borderline incompetent bureaucrat at the food stamp/DCH/DHHS office didn't make the connection.

andywarhol
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andywarhol 11/26/09 - 08:28 am
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It doesn't take a rocket

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that if you drop out you are going to have a tough time making it in life. She made that choice as an adult to drop out and then had a child. She knew the consequences then. She doesn't get my sympathy.

andywarhol
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andywarhol 11/26/09 - 08:31 am
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corgi, if someone is taking

corgi, if someone is taking GED(Good Enough Diploma) classes that means they dropped out of highschool.

scoobynews
3896
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scoobynews 11/26/09 - 08:46 am
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I have a 3 college degrees,

I have a 3 college degrees, work full time (40 plus hours a week), my mother keeps my 10 month old son, and I still barely make it every month. I bought a used car this summer in order to get a lower payment, selling my small modest house because taxes keep increasing causing my house payment to increase, I now get my hair done every 2 months instead of every month despite the grays, and cut back on movies and entertainment. Some of you are just plain mean. I am not one for government hand outs but a lot of these people grew up in households were education was not priority. There are many of us with college degrees up to our eyeballs in college loan debt and cost of living debt. I have not had a raise in 2 years and the future looks pretty bleak. Many of you who sit here in judgment may one day be in this boat yourself.

andywarhol
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andywarhol 11/26/09 - 08:48 am
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I may be in that boat myself,

I may be in that boat myself, but I'm sure it will be much easier to bounce back, because I made better choices in life. It's like wild animals, only the strong survive. Some people's choices get them killed.

JohnTaurus
0
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JohnTaurus 11/26/09 - 08:59 am
0
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It all boils down to work. We

It all boils down to work. We are all slaves. We must work to survive. We pay taxes to the masters, we must buy food. We must work. Education pays. Get an education. You will still be a slave but a slave that is better rewarded. It is too bad poor people hate learning but that is the way the system is set up. Those are the rules. Unless you can change the rules, and jail is full of people who have tried to change the rules, then you are stuck. Face reality. That is the way it is. Education pays. High School is not enough. The system is collapsing as I write this. THere are few jobs.

LBenedict
2
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LBenedict 11/26/09 - 09:00 am
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"...but a lot of these people

"...but a lot of these people grew up in households were education was not priority" Let's try, "but a lot of these people grew up in households where education was not a priority" That aside, this story is about a dropout, single parent, her kid, other kids from within the family, a sick parent with no sign of her other parent. Will a high school diploma and a college education guarantee that one day you will not live below the poverty level? No! But raising a family by yourself at the age of 24-years-old? Quite possibly. I have 4 college diplomas (and official transcripts from each college to authenticate the diplomas) and student loans and bills associated with having a family. However, many...many Americans live waaaaaaaaaay above their means. If you make $10/hour, don't live a lifestyle of one making $20/hour. If your salary is $75,000/year, why are you living as one with an annual income of $125,000? I AM NOT IMPLYING THAT YOU DO. I am making a point that many people think that just because they are employed, they have no limits. Good luck to you and to everybody.

corgimom
38696
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corgimom 11/26/09 - 09:00 am
0
0
She is doing her best to work

She is doing her best to work and improve herself, and she takes care of her sick mother and an abandoned child. I don't mind helping people like her. She doesn't has it easy and at least she wants to work. And getting minimum wage, she will still qualify for food stamps.

seenitB4
98428
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seenitB4 11/26/09 - 09:13 am
0
0
Give me a break,,She had the

Give me a break,,She had the baby she didn't abort,,She isn't robbing stores,service stations,etc, She is trying TO SURVIVE..Not oneof these rants says ANYTHING about the dad missing with child payments,, he could fix 15 yr old car to help her..Women are NOT PAID the same wages as men in any level..College degree or not..I wish the lady a better future,,maybe some kindness from others this holiday..

HotFoot
17
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HotFoot 11/26/09 - 09:18 am
0
0
I wonder how many of you

I wonder how many of you exhibiting a total lack of compassion and empathy claim to be Christians? Whatever your religious convictions, you are in deep, deep denial. You believe that nothing bad could ever happen to you because what you have is due entirely to your own virtues and good life choices. But anyone who's survived to adulthood must realize that life is unpredictable, unknowable, and frequently uncontrollable. One of the primary reasons people have difficulty holding a job is the lack of reliable transportation. The nearest bus stop is 10 miles away, which is shameful. And catfish? Poor people are MORE likely to be overweight because cheap food tends to be fattening. You people are sitting at computers in warm houses with the smells of Thanksgiving starting to rise in the kitchen. What small hearts you have!

Roeschen
1
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Roeschen 11/26/09 - 09:18 am
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While this article is about

While this article is about poverty, it should really be about self-imposed poverty. Ms Glosson made bad choices in her life and now she must suffer the consequences. Unfortunately, she has dragged a child down into the mire with her. If she really wanted to get that GED, she would not have let anything stand in her way, including a broken-down car. And, at 24, she has had plenty of time to get her GED. I hope she manages to get out of the hole she has dug for herself and her child. I also hope she teaches her daughter and her niece self-respect, responsibility, and the value of an education. Those values alone will go a long way to stay above the poverty level.

judgenot
0
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judgenot 11/26/09 - 09:19 am
0
0
A common complaint I see from

A common complaint I see from single mothers is transportation. Use stimulas money to start a not for profit taxi service for those living away from the bus line. That will put people to work driving. Advance the Mothers first month fees then only charge for actual cost to run the service. Or fix their cars for them and offer free or reduced cost maintenance to keep the cars running. That will put other people to work. Make it easier for the willing to get off their butts & get to school &/or work. There are so many ways the government could put people to work but they only look for ways to give a free ride. Last but not least, get a father's name for the kids and make him pay child support!

Boston93
117
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Boston93 11/26/09 - 09:34 am
0
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justus4: So-called jobs come

justus4: So-called jobs come from So-called education.

corgimom
38696
Points
corgimom 11/26/09 - 09:42 am
0
0
"If she really wanted to get

"If she really wanted to get that GED, she would not have let anything stand in her way, including a broken-down car. " She was supposed to get on a broom or flying saucer and fly to her classes? Why don't you offer to take her, since you think that free transportation is so readily available? And her reasons for quitting school were not given, but I can tell you now, having a sick mother was a major factor. We see it even in the young kids- if there is serious illness in the home, the kids don't do well. The family is too busy trying to keep the home going. And I speak to you from personal experience- as someone who became very ill when my son was in high school, and I was very sick and housebound for 2 years. It was an extremely difficult time.

lenard
0
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lenard 11/26/09 - 09:57 am
0
0
I am sorry but we all have

I am sorry but we all have problems...Family. health and many things...I get I thought was good income from SS and pension but told by AARP and Tax people we are living at poverty level...we cant get help becase we make to much..what is to much? gas prices going up, food going up. and our President don't think so...he is not giving anyone an increase..whats his problem? He is in a home tht provides him with everything...Can't even find a part time job,season or not... We all try One Day At A Time....and Let God lead us...

happychimer
19565
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happychimer 11/26/09 - 10:01 am
0
0
Even if fathers are ordered

Even if fathers are ordered by a judge to pay child support, it can takes months or even yrs to enforce child support. The state of GA drags on forcing someone to pay child support.

crackerjack
153
Points
crackerjack 11/26/09 - 10:21 am
0
0
I know where she is coming

I know where she is coming from, I had some of the same problems except I had two kids and lived in North Augusta back in the 80's
I worked in Hephzibah at minimum wage and when the family car broke down, I bought a used bicycle for $15.00 and rode it to work everyday and the grocery store when needed. Saved enough to get the car fixed went to Aiken Tech got a better paying job, etc. and never looked back. It can be done, but you have to do it. Don't sit around feeling sorry for yourself, and waiting on the government or someone else to send you money.

And I rode that bike for over a year. And almost froze in the winter. But I was in the best shape of my life.

corgimom
38696
Points
corgimom 11/26/09 - 10:28 am
0
0
The President doesn't give

The President doesn't give anyone a Social Security increase, that is done by Congress. who passed the law.

corgimom
38696
Points
corgimom 11/26/09 - 10:32 am
0
0
Crackerjack, what woman in

Crackerjack, what woman in their right mind would ride a bicycle around Augusta?

seenitB4
98428
Points
seenitB4 11/26/09 - 10:40 am
0
0
Crackerjack if you rode a

Crackerjack if you rode a bike from n.augusta to hephzibah to work I bet you were in good shape...I wish we could feel safe to do that in todays world..

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