On July 29, "Taking Authority: Stop the Violence" held the first of four planned citywide forums focusing on crime in the Albany/Dougherty area. The people involved, including Sheriff Kevin Sproul, Bishop Frederick Williams and Dougherty County Commissioner Gloria Gaines, do not have all the answers and are quite willing to say so. What the group wants is for the community to come together to identify specific problems and brainstorm to arrive at possible solutions. Bishop Williams expressed the fact, and it is a fact, that everyone pays for crime. Sheriff Sproul relayed news that the jail population is up. Sproul said he believes that education is key and has initiated a program to help inmates get their GED. Gaines said she believes that returning to family values and parents taking responsibility for their children are key to the prevention of crime and violence. All three have good ideas but need the help of a lot of people to move forward. When the next forums are scheduled, make plans to attend. The idea you carry to the table could be just the one Stop the Violence (and all of Albany) has been searching for.
First Presbyterian Church of Albany, Family Literacy Connection, the Albany Tennis Association and the Dougherty County School System teamed up for a very unique summer program. Reading & Racquets tutored 38 children to improve reading and writing skills. To insure that the children remained interested in their academics, twice weekly the group played tennis. There simply isn't much a child loves more than playing, and playing with any sort of ball makes it even more fun. Tennis is a great physical activity, hones gross motor skills, teaches teamwork and rules, and, best of all, is fun. To every person who worked to make this program possible, "thumbs up!"
Speaking of playing and balls, it looks like pro basketball is returning to the city of Albany. The American Basketball Association will welcome the Albany Shockwave on the court at the Albany Civic Center. Yea, yea. Some folks say it will never survive, but those same people need to come out and support the team. The Shockwave will fill some of those open months during the off-season of the Albany Panthers. Let's step up and give this new team a try.
There are a lot of warm-weather days still ahead for Southwest Georgia. Any one of those days in August would be a great time to take in the fun at Chehaw. Take the kids to one of the best playgrounds around, pack a picnic, cook on the grill, go for a walk or simply go alone with a cool drink and a good book. In observance of Chehaw's 75th anniversary, admission is free throughout this month.
The article that ran in The Albany Herald last week about the new food kitchen for the Second Harvest Food Bank of South Georgia brought an interesting mixture of comments. With all the government programs available -- welfare, food stamps, free breakfast and lunch at school, free summer lunches, etc. -- why is there a need to have a Kids Cafe to serve evening meals during the school year? The question is a good one. But, at the end of the day, whatever the answer(s), whatever the reason(s), there are children in this city who are hungry. The current arrangement for cooking has allowed the Food Bank to prepare 650 evening meals, and that is not sufficient to meet the needs. With the new commercial kitchen, meal production could near 5,000 per day. Donations have brought the new $200,000 facility within $75,000 of completion. Simply said, Second Harvest and the children of Albany need our help. Perhaps you will consider a donation -- of any amount -- as you and yours enjoy this evening's meal ...
-- The Albany Herald Editorial Board