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MARY BRASWELL: Looking Back - Jan. 5, 2014

FEATURES COLUMN: Looking back at years gone by.

Mary Braswell

Mary Braswell

In the days before news was instantly available, south Georgia residents obtained their information primarily from word of mouth, The Albany Herald and later, radio. Here is a look back at what was making the news in early January of years gone by.


— Due to falling prices, Georgia farmers burned two million bales of cotton in an effort to raise market values.


The City of Albany disbursed a total of $146,516.39 during the year. Of that amount, $6,822.28 went for school purposes while $14,367.70 funded the police department.


New Mayor M.W. Tift raised the fine for those arrested as “plain drunk” from $5 to $10.75.


— The Albany Trust and Banking Company began business with a capital of $100,000 and a surplus of $40,000.

— Firewood, either oak or pine, was available for $2 per load.


— An epidemic of chickenpox was reported from Newton. A little more than half of all school children were confined to their homes. One classroom teacher had only five students in attendance.


— Georgia Tech beat California in the Rose Bowl by a score of 8-7. California’s Roy Reigels ran 69 yards in the wrong direction after recovering a fumble. It is estimated that some 4,500 news articles were written about the game and that one play in particular.


— During the first week of the new year, Dougherty County health officials reported that at least 200, and possibly as many as 300, residents within the city were suffering from influenza.


— According to law enforcement agencies in Albany and Dougherty County, there were no traffic fatalities within the city or county for the entire year.


— The War Department approved the establishment of a pilot training field in Albany. Basic pilot training was to take place in Macon while advanced training would take place in Albany. At a cost of $2 million, the field was to accommodate 437 enlisted men, 154 officers and 167 cadets.


— Dougherty County started the new year with all bills paid, a healthy bank balance and enough funds to meet all budget requirements until the end of its fiscal year, June 30.


— During the first week of the year, over 1,000 person per day filed through free X-ray and blood test stations offered by the county’s VD-TB drive. In the first two days of the three-week project, 313 people tested positive for syphilis. Those persons were called back for a second test and offered a series of penicillin injections. Severe cases were referred to Georgia’s syphilis hospital in Atlanta.


— The Albany Heart Clinic opened at Phoebe Putney Hospital. The clinic was set up to serve indigent patients with heart problems. Physicians volunteered at the facility each Wednesday afternoon. Local pharmacies volunteered time to prepare needed medications and the Heart Association funded the drug expenses. Each patient was certified by the county welfare department as unable to afford private treatment.


Stem’s Restaurant started the new year completely re-decorated and re-equipped. Located at 250 Broad Avenue, the eatery was open 24 hours a day with year-round air conditioning and 22 comfortable booths.


— The Dougherty County Commissioners adopted a resolution requiring justices of the peace to issue all arrest warrants in duplicate and to furnish a copy of each warrant to the commission.


— A tractor trailer near Irwinville caught fire as the driver slept. Bound for Douglas, the driver pulled to the side of Ga. Hwy 32 to sleep. He was awakened to the sound of chickens squawking. Of the 21,000 chickens loaded in crates on the trailer, it was estimated that 4,600 birds burned to death. The driver was not injured.


— After 15 years of business, Albany’s Gibson’s Discount Center closed its doors. The closure left 45 people without a job.

— Showing on local movie screens: “Kramer vs. Kramer”, “The Electric Horseman”, “The Jerk” and “Star Wars”.


— Albany native Anne Heinemann became the first South Georgia woman to enter the Episcopal priesthood. The bishop of the South Georgia diocese, however, disapproved of the ordination of women leaving Rev. Heinemann unable to perform her priestly duties in Albany.

— Dougherty County’s grand jury criticized what it termed the failure of the Albany City Commission to support department heads in disciplinary actions and called on the next grand jury to investigate personnel policies.


— Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital reopened a medical intensive care unit that had been closed for two years because of staffing shortages, especially critical care nurses.


— Albany Police Chief Jack Lumpkin left his position to take on the job as police chief for Athens-Clarke County. Lumpkin was chosen for the Athens position from a pool of 77 applicants.