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Monroe Student Athletes Named to All-Region Teams take Player of the Year Honors

ALBANY, Ga. — Student-athletes from Monroe Comprehensive High School dominated the 1-AAA All-Region teams, including Player-of-the-Year nods, while the boys and girls head coaches snagged Coach-of-the-Year honors.  Leading the honors were Marius Ellis, the All-Region Player of the Year, and Dominick Henderson, who was named the All-Region Defensive Player of the Year.

The Monroe boys team, which claimed the Region 1-AAA crown, ended up with Senior Matthew Green and Junior Kareem Nixon on the first team All-Region team. Sophomore Cedric Johnson was named to the second team All-Region team. Head Coach Michael Hoffpauir, who is in his first season as the Golden Tornadoes head coach, was named Boys Coach of the Year by his fellow Region 1-AAA coaches.

The Monroe Girls team, coached by Jennifer Acree, had Kenzi Williams and Catriesa White named to the first team All-Region squad, with Aaliyah Johnson named to the second team All-Region. Jordan Elder and Saniyah McDuffie were named honorable mention. Acree was named the Region 1-AAA Girls Coach of the Year.

 

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Winterwood Neighborhood Voices Strong Opposition to Addiction Recovery Facility

On Tuesday, January 28, 2020, in a marathon City Commission meeting that lasted from 6:30 PM to nearly 11:00 PM, citizens, one by one, raised objections to a proposed rezoning of property at 2804 Phillips Drive.  The Planning Staff and Planning Commissioners proposed to rezone this property that is currently used as a church, and zoned residential (R-3), to Community Residential Multiple-Dwelling (C-R).  However, beyond and in addition to the rezoning, the property would have to be granted Special Approval to establish an Addiction Recovery Campus in new C-R district.

The addiction recovery facility would be operated by Penfield Addiction Ministries, Inc.  The property is currently occupied by Raleigh White Baptist Church.  The church would continue to operate through an agreement with the new occupant.  The transitional housing facility would provide a more structured environment than outpatient services for the purpose of establishing or maintaining abstinence from alcohol and other drugs for up to 50 residents.  These residents would be free to go and come for work and other purposes with approval of staff.  Staff, however, would be limited to as little as two during weekends.  Penfield operates three campuses all of which are at some distance from residential areas such as Winterwood.

The Winterwood neighborhood has been in existence since the early 1970’s.  It is a stable, safe community of single-family homes on large lots.  It has a viable and functioning Neighborhood Watch that keeps an eye on upkeep and general appearance of the area and its environment.  Even the staff’s own analysis states that the “C-R designation is not consistent” with the future land use recommendation for the area.

State law states that, “When a proposed zoning decision relates to or will allow the location or relocation of a halfway house, drug rehabilitation center, or other facility for treatment of drug dependency, a public hearing shall be held on the proposed action.  Such public hearing shall be held at least six months and not more than nine months prior to the date of final action on the zoning decision.”  This provision in state law means that the decision on the rezoning cannot be made before July and not after October of this year.

Penfield Addition Ministries, Inc., is headquartered in Union Point, Georgia.  It was established in 1979 and is a non-profit whose mission is to reclaim alcohol and drug addicted men and women through Christ and Christian love.

One of the outspoken residents addressing the Commission at the hearing was Ms. Marion Gaines Jones.  She is a retired educator with the State Prison System.  Ms. Jones has a long history of working in the community and was jailed numerous times as a young girl marching during the Albany Civil Rights Movement.  At eleven, she made the journey to Washington, DC to participate in the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  She states that like Dr. King, “I just want to do God’s will.  God gave me the courage to speak up for what is right on behalf of myself, my family and my neighbors and I will always do that.  I plan to follow this important issue to its finish.  I believe God is on our side and we will prevail.  We will not let this go.  You never see this kind of imposition in other neighborhoods in the city.  Why must we always have to fight to keep our neighborhoods safe and family friendly.  We care about the well-being of our families just like everybody else and are willing to fight if we must.”

Ms. Jones said that her family has been in Dougherty County since slavery, for four generations and have always stood for what is right.  “I can do no less,” she stated.

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Queens-R-Us

By The Editor

Queens-R-Us is an organization created to offer a variety of services and inspirational messages to help develop, motivate and encourage young women between the ages of 5-18 to become the Queens they are meant to be.  The focus starts on the inside and works outward.

The organization seeks to inspire girls and young women to understand and know their worth and to mentor them into becoming successful and intentional in all aspects of their lives through adulthood.  Queens-R-Us works to empower young women to become future leaders who exact positive social influence.  The mentoring programs are designed to boost self-esteem, provide educational sessions on health, fitness, dressing for success, financial literacy, community service and more.  It is a holistic approach to being a Queen in today’s society and discussing relevant information about subjects associated with today’s young women.

According to Ms. Carla Hawkins, founder and operator of the program, “It is a dream come true, as I have always wanted a safe and beautiful place where girls can realize their worth and value in this world.  I once was very lost and took a more complicated path in life until God and a very special mentor in my life helped me to realize who I am and who I was meant to be.  I am only paying it forward and want so much to provide the resources that our girls need.  The most important being LOVE AND SUPPORT.  Queens-R-Us wants to be an extension of each girl’s village and remind them that they are meant to be Queens!”

Ms. Hawkins had the honor of being crowned Miss Black Georgia in 2010.  It was her encounter with a young girl as tour the state speaking to young women that lead her to found the organization.  She recalls a little girl commenting that she could never be a Queen.  Ms. Hawkins feels very strongly that no girl should ever feel that way and wants to do what she can to lift that self-doubt.

The organization is currently seeking to increase enrollment by providing school bus transportation from the following schools:  Lincoln Elementary, Lamar Reese School of the Arts, International Studies Elementary Charter School, Robert Cross Middle School, Radium Middle and Monroe High School.  They hope to soon have their own van to pick up girls from all locations.

Queens-R-Us is located at 1319 W. Broad Avenue, Albany, GA  31701.  You can contact them at 229-449-1912 or at queens.r.us.inc@gmail.com.

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Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Fund Established to Support Grand Bahama Hurricane Relief and Recovery Efforts

By znsbahamas

www.znsbahamas.com

The Grand Bahama Port Authority has partnered with Coastal Community Foundation to establish the Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Fund, a charitable giving fund to support relief and recovery efforts on Grand Bahama. Contributions to this fund are tax-deductible under the US tax code.

What:  Hurricane Dorian has created unprecedented destruction in Grand Bahama. To provide charitable assistance for disaster relief and recovery efforts in Grand Bahama, a charitable gift fund to support relief and recovery efforts has been established at Coastal Community Foundation of South Carolina.

Who: The Grand Bahama Port Authority has established a charitable gift fund with Coastal Community Foundation to support relief and recovery efforts in Grand Bahama.

How:  Individuals, businesses and other donors who wish to financially support relief efforts may do by visiting www.gBDisasterrelief.org. This website provides contribution information for the Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Fund at Coastal Community Foundation and will also be updated with local resource information.

Why:  The devastation for Hurricane Dorian is extensive and will require significant financial resources in the immediate days as well as coming weeks and months. Support at this time is critical for relief and recovery efforts.

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Albany State University Presidential Investiture of Marion Ross Fedrick Set for September 6, 2019

ALBANY, Ga. – Marion Ross Fedrick will be officially installed as the 10th president of Albany State University (ASU) at the Presidential Investiture Ceremony scheduled for 11 a.m. on Friday, September 2019.  The Investiture Ceremony will be held at the Billy C. Black Building Auditorium on the ASU East Campus. The ceremony will include a formal procession and greetings from elected officials.

Steeped in history and tradition, a presidential investiture symbolizes the embrace of a new era for the institution and acknowledges the authority of a new leader as well as the official rights and responsibilities of the office.

Fedrick was appointed as the 10th president of Albany State University on August 14, 2018, by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. She was appointed after serving as both the Interim Executive Vice President and Interim President for the University since October 2017. Fedrick is an accomplished senior leader whose proven expertise spans over 30 years. Her professional background includes:  higher education administration, strategic planning, crisis management and strategic partnership management in both the private and public sectors.

Committed to the impact of academic development, Fedrick believes every student deserves access to an excellent and affordable education. She is a two-time graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s Degree in Adult Education with a concentration in Organizational Development and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

As president of Albany State University, Fedrick continues to apply her diverse experiences and commitment to drive initiatives that ignite excellence. Under her leadership, the institution has undertaken several critical initiatives that include a redesign of the institution’s academic colleges, approval of the University System of Georgia’s (USG) first nexus degrees and the design and implementation of the university’s integrated student success model to include the creation of the Albany State University Summer Success Institute.

Formerly serving as the USG Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, Fedrick has led strategic initiatives relating to effective university administration, leadership development and human resources planning.

Celebratory events for the investiture will be held Wednesday, September 4 – Saturday, September 7, 2019. For a full list of activities, please visit www.asurams.edu/asuinvestiture.

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Albany Accepts GRAD Certification Award at Georgia Economic Development Conference

Albany, GA – The City of Albany received a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development (GRAD) program certification for 85 acres of undeveloped land on a southeast section of the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport.  This certification, during the recent Georgia Economic Development Conference, positions the airport land for fast-track development. The advantage of holding this certification allows the City to better compete for the attraction of additional or expanded business and industry at the airport. City of Albany Transportation Director, David Hamilton, stated “… the airport serves as an economic engine for the Southwest Georgia. By working to have this tract of land meet GRAD certification standards it will provide an excellent platform to market the site to business selection consultants as they work to secure sites for clients.”

To accomplish this certification, City staff was required to complete a number of pre-development tasks for the 85 acres that included a phase I environmental assessment, zoning designation, cultural and endangered species investigation and wetlands delineation. The City and its economic development partners will begin marketing the land to site selection consultants as GRAD certified property is highly sought by business and industry when looking to locate or expand operations.

For more information, please contact Monique Broughton Knight, Public Information Officer at mbroughton@albanyga.gov.

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A Tribute to a Living Legend: Mayor Pro Tem Tommie Postell

It was a fun, celebratory atmosphere!  Albany gathered to say thank you to the legendary City Commissioner and current Mayor Pro Tem, Tommie Postell.  Thank you for 15 years of service as City Commissioner and many more in the school system of Dougherty County.  As the “lion” prepares to pass the torch to a new generation, folks from all facets of his service and life were at the Government Center on Thursday evening, September 24, 2019, to laugh, tell stories of their times with Commissioner Postell and to applaud his lifelong commitment to the people of Albany.  The place was filled with comrades from the Dougherty County School System, state government, city and county government, fellow church members, family and, of course, his beloved Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Brothers.

As they came, one by one, over a period of about 2 hours to talk about their memories, each time The Legend would raise his fist in triumph.  He came to the commission a proud man and he is leaving in the same manner.  They came with stories of marching during the Albany Civil Rights Movement, to his uncompromising insistence on discipline, respect and learning in the schools to his description as a ‘bulldog’ in getting things done for the least among us on the city commission.

Commissioner Jon Howard, who served for the entire period of Mayor Pro Tem Postell’s time on the commission, said that, “he was a fighter and did not compromise.  He was always willing to enlighten the commission on matters that sometimes he alone was familiar with, especially the Civil Rights Movement.  He was a warrior.”  Some other terms used during the evening to describe him were: “He was determined, tough, unapologetic and kept us honest.”

Pastor Edward J. Heath, formerly of the Albany Police Department and current Pastor of Mt. Hebron Baptist Church, talked about service to the community and proposed that “in his honor, the City of Albany should name the walking park on MLK, Jr. Drive at the site of the old Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School for Commissioner Postell.  Mr. Postell was responsible for so many good things that happened around the city including this park.”  When asked, many of those present agreed.

Another part of the commissioner’s life that received a lot of jabs was his ever-present place at the House of Jazz.  It was where he mixed with citizens from many walks of life.  It was the place where he would unwind on Friday nights.  The place where he worked on his strategy for the next commission meeting.

Former School Superintendent John Culbreth put it best when he said, “Postell was like the old Frank Sinatra song, he did it his way.”  Hats off to you Commissioner and thank you for your fortitude and commitment.  You had spine!

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Steel ballpoint pen

Tiffany and Reginald Brown

The first time I heard Reginald Brown laugh was Sunday when he was talking about his children.  He has two daughters, Camille and Brianna Brown, both of Blakely, his hometown, and two sons, Reginald, Jr., and of course, our hometown hero, Trent.  What made him laugh was when I told him that the story in 2nd Mt. Zion Baptist Church is that when he and his two sons walk into the church on Sunday mornings, the three are so big they block out the daylight.  It was a delightful chuckle.  You could tell he was brimming with pride in his children.  The same sense of pride oozed from Trent’s mom, Tiffany, when she told me stories of him in my sister, Donna Gaines’s, geometry classroom.  Tiffany has the reputation of checking on her children and reinforcing her and Reginald’s rules of humbleness, staying on task and respect, even visiting the classroom to make sure.  She says that Trent thrived under Ms. Gaines’ instruction when he had struggled before, becoming the best student in geometry at Albany High School that year.  They were both proud of what Judy Gaines had to say about the respect both the boys showed as she taught them in Children’s Church.  She called them her big babies.

Reginald grew up in Blakely but joined the Armed Services where he met Tiffany.  Both are veterans.  She, however, is from Texas where Trent was born.  They moved to Albany in 1993 when he joined the Albany Police Department and is now a Major with more than 25 years of service.  Mrs. Brown is in administration with the Dougherty County School System.  Reginald is the nephew of former Acting Albany Police Chief, Wilma Griffin who comes from a family of 13 brothers and sisters.

Major Brown says that his sons, Reginald, Jr., and Trent, are roommates and have been so since Trent left to play for San Francisco in 2015.  He says though Trent is one of the largest players in the NFL, he was raised the old-fashioned way, to say yes sir and yes ma’am.  Although he may appear to be a gentle giant off the field, both sons are that way, they can be just as tough and fierce as Trent is on the field when necessary.

Tiffany, too, talks about how they raised their children.  “Trent can set a table just as good as I can,” she said.  “It was his duty every night when we sat down for dinner.”  Great discipline training.  It certainly paid off Mrs. Brown.  A big embrace and salute to you both.  You deserve it.  You all have made us all proud.  Let’s keep the lessons going families!

Trent will report to training camp with the Raiders the end of July.

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Solar Cell

Country Club Estates Reject Solar Farm Zoning Change

The residents of the Country Club Estates community are totally opposed to the solar farm project which would cover 25 acres of land and include more than 8,000 panels within walking distance of their front doors.  Albany City Commissioners denied the solar farm project earlier this summer that was later approved by the Zoning board.  Another full commission vote is scheduled for August 27, 2019.

This is too close for some residents who fear a dramatic increase in traffic, while others are concerned for wildlife that would be impacted by the construction. In an interview with WALB, Jasmine Williams said she feared her quiet neighborhood would change when she saw the proposal for a solar farm that would be steps from her home. “You don’t want all that traffic coming into this quiet neighborhood. This is a residential area and I would want that in a commercial area .”

Others have expressed support for the solar farm project in the area as long as it is handled correctly or “done right.” Some have suggested this project be considered in another part of Albany with a smaller residential population.

A major glitch in the proposal was a city ordinance that stated a solar farm in a two-mile radius of the airport would have to be reviewed by the FAA and prove no interference with airport operations.  According to one resident, Country Club Estates is not two miles from the airport.

Solar farms (sometimes known as solar parks or solar fields) are the large-scale application of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate green, clean electricity at scale, usually to feed into the grid. Solar farms can cover anything between 1 acre and 100 acres and are usually developed in rural areas.

The sentiment of some members of the County Club Estates Homeowners Association are that, this project will not add any value to homeowners while adding value to the people who own the companies.  Joyce Hardy, a Homeowners Association member mentioned the reasons she opposes the project include, “there are no benefits to our community.  This project will decrease our property values while the vegetation, wildlife, animals, bugs and creatures will increase.  The barbwire fences will imprison our neighborhood and give us a prison-like atmosphere.  We are a viable community and contribute greatly to the City of Albany.  This project shows a lack of concern for our neighborhood as a whole.”

The solar farm debate in Albany is far from over. The Country Club Estates community and the West Town community are strongly against the solar farm being located next door and in their backyards.  All concerned citizens of Albany are encouraged to attend the commission meeting on August  27th and voice your opposition to this proposal.

Sources: https://www.walb.com, https://www.npr.org, https://sciencing.com .

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Albany State University Summer Enrollment Increases From Previous Year

ALBANY, Ga–Summer semester enrollment at Albany State University (ASU) grew by 4.6 percent from last year, with numbers increasing to 2,590 compared to 2,475 in summer 2018. ASU has the second highest summer enrollment growth among the University System of Georgia (USG) comprehensive universities.

“The increase in summer enrollment is a reflection of the commitment of our University faculty and staff members. Everyone worked diligently to share the benefits of the institution,” said President Marion Ross Fedrick. “ASU faculty were more involved with activities inside and outside of the classroom, the volume and quality of student programming greatly increased, communication to our students improved and the list goes on. We are supporting our students in ways that they have not experienced before at ASU.”

Some students elect to take summer courses because of the opportunity to complete courses in advance and focus on a smaller course load. Year-Round Pell allows eligible students to use Pell Grant funds during fall, spring and summer semesters.

“We continue to see an increase in summer enrollment since year-round Pell Grants have been restored,” said Kenyatta Johnson, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success. “With access to the full grant amount being available during the summer semester, students are able to progress more quickly toward the attainment of their degree and decrease their amount of loan debt.”

Classes begin on August 19, 2019, for the fall semester. More than 6,200 students have currently registered and more are expected to register in the coming weeks

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