Albany's 311 system of reporting issues to various departments within the city and/or county has been a great success. Initially, calls could be made, and many were, to report such things as clogged street drains, street lights that needed attention, code violations and such. Then there was the website, recently updated, used for the same purpose. And now, there's an app for that -- the first in the state. Mobile users can make reports at Albanyga311. The city has made the system as convenient as possible and the number of contacts continues to grow. During fiscal year 2010, citizen contacts totaled 14,921. The new numbers are in for fiscal year 2013 and the total has climbed to 32,381. Such a simple idea has made such a big difference to the city and county departments and to all residents.
For some young people, ages 16 to 24, life has taken a wrong turn. Poverty, lack of parental guidance, inability to stay on track academically or a host of other reasons can sideline a young life before it gets started on a solid path. Whatever the cause, Turner Job Corps offers a chance to turn the corner before it's too late. Help with getting a high school diploma or GED, hands-on career training, and for those eligible, even housing, living allowances, counseling and basic medical care are all available. From construction to information technology to health care, there is something for each student. Participants learn life skills and are prepared for continued education or military service. TJC, under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Labor, is currently accepting new students. If you or someone you know can benefit from the program, now is the time to act.
Congratulations to Albany-based Thrush Aircraft on a recent deal with a Chinese business for the acquisition of 20 agricultural aircraft. The company will benefit financially and so will the surrounding counties. Money made is money that can be spent and for this, we can all be thankful.
When Emma Nickole "Nicki" Harper came into this world on Dec. 1, 2009, she was tiny and couldn't even be held by her mother until Christmas Day. For four months, little Nicki lived in the neonatal intensive care unit at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. Her days in a hospital did not end there. In March 2010, the family spent six weeks in Augusta. Even now Nicki frequently travels to the upstate hospital. The Ronald McDonald House made it possible for her mother and grandmother to stay close during each and every visit. A new facility is planned by the Ronald McDonald Charities of Augusta on the campus of Georgia Regents University and Nicki has been chosen to be the hospital's poster child. If you know her or saw her picture in the paper, it's easy to see why. She's a real beauty.
During the 2011 municipal election cycle, Cheryl Calhoun decided to step up and run for a seat on the Albany City Commission. She followed the qualifying process as instructed by the local elections office and was all set to campaign for the Ward I seat. Told by officials that her residence fell within that district only to later be told, after qualifying expired, that oops, she actually lived in Ward II. Calhoun was disqualified. In her words, "I was knocked to the ground for a 10 count." Fully recovered, Calhoun has since moved to Ward III (she checked carefully) and isready to try again. The incumbent, Christopher Pike, will face off with not only Calhoun but businesswoman B.J. Fletcher also. Stayed tuned, this is going to be a great race.