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Looking Back April 3

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

The year was 1972 and the place was Albany, Ga. What was making the news? Here is a look back at that time in local history.

* For sale in Northwest Albany: Contemporary-style, three-bedroom, two-bath home with exposed beams, shag carpet, central heat and air, family room, patio and fenced yard. Price: $29,500.

* Former Albanian Wilbur D. Owens Jr. was sworn in as U.S. DistrictCourt jJudge. The ceremony, held in Macon, was open to the public.

* The Albany State College men's basketball team edged past the Valdosta State College Rebels 80-78. The game was attended by approximately 1,500 fans and was the opening round of the NAIA District 25 playoffs.

* Terrell County's 1972 March of Dimes was the most successful in the county's history. The total raised was about $1,500 which surpassed the 1971 collection by $200.

* The Albany-Dougherty Planning staff presented a paper to city commissioners entitled "Which Way Should Dawson Road Go?" The subject of the question (and paper) was whether the road should remain residential or be allowed a combination of residential and commercial development.

* City police officers warned the public that purse snatching was a rising concern. Thieves were snatching and grabbing (and mostly escaping with) both men's wallets and the purses of women.

* A letter was sent to Albany Ambulance Service from the city stating that if the quality of service did not improve, funds for payment would be withheld.

* A proposed legislative bill that would have made the Dougherty County Commission chairman's post elective was blocked by local representatives R.S. "Dick" Hutchinson and George Busbee.

* The Knights of Columbus Albany Council 3607 celebrated its 90th birthday.

* Due to disruptive student behavior, the Albany Public Library on Barnesdale Way implemented new rules for use of its reference (study) room. A student visiting the facility during evening hours was required to list his or her name and home telephone number on a form and leave his or her library membership card at the circulation desk. Any student asked to leave for disciplinary reasons could expect the parent(s) to receive a call and the library card would be held until a parent made arrangements for its return.

* Showing at the State Theatre was Vincent Price's "House of Wax" with Charles Bronson, Phyllis Kirk and Carolyn Jones. All seats were $2.

* Circle Baptist Church, Albany's most recently organized congregation, held its first service in the Civic Room of Hotel Gordon.

* Aero Commander was seeking a computer operator with two years of experience for the IBM 360, Model 20 Card System.

* A "sunshine" bill passed the Georgia General Assembly in the closing hours of the 1972 session. The bill limited which meetings could be conducted behind closed doors and set a penalty for violators at $100. That penalty is the same amount now, 39 years later.

* In just three days, 14 drug arrests were made in Albany.

* Pilot Bill Bradbeck brought a Aero Commander aircraft to a safe landing after circling the Albany Airport for three hours with partially disabled landing gear.

* Local reaction to a bill signed by Gov. Jimmy Carter met with overwhelming approval by Albany officials. The bill granted 18-year-olds full citizenship, which allowed for the legal signing of contracts and the purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages in Georgia.

* The State Board of Regents approved an Education Auxiliary Training Program (teacher aides) for Albany Junior College.

* Angered by an interview by an Albany Herald reporter with one of his officers, Bainbridge Police Chief Ennis Pittman threatened a news blackout against the paper. The interview followed a shooting rampage in Bainbridge and the subsequent arrest of a 19-year-old. Pittman said, "From now on, anything The Albany Herald gets from this office will be what I want them to have."

* Dog owners in Albany and Dougherty County were reminded that all dogs were required to have a 1972 rabies tag by the first of April. Dogs that were caught would remain impounded until the owner paid a $5 fee, plus a 50-cent daily boarding fee.

* A $21,000 HUD grant was awarded to Albany for use in developing a computerized system to assist officials with decisions related to land use.

* East Albany Pawn Shop on Broad Avenue was burglarized. One man's wrist watch, three ring sets and six revolvers were taken.

* Furniture Discount Inc. on Roosevelt Avenue had vinyl-padded replacement dinette chairs for $4.95 each, completely assembled.

* The line at the City-County Governmental Building began forming just after midnight on the last day to purchase vehicles tags. An estimated 500 people waited in line to purchase tags before a penalty could be charged. During the night an intoxicated man wandered into the building and fell asleep. It was later reported that upon waking, the man sold his place in line for $5.

* The Dougherty County Board of Education, following an all-day hearing on black students' complaints, issued answers to 13 demands. Demand No. 7 was that "all corporal punishment without parental consent must be immediately eliminated." The board's answer: "This board is of the opinion that discipline is one of the prime requirements for quality education." The answer went on to say that parental consent would be required, but it would not stop the use of corporal punishment at any school in the system.