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MARY BRASWELL: Looking Back, June 22, 2014

HISTORY: See what was making the local news in June 2004.

Reader poll

QUIK QUIZ: With new laws set to take effect July 1, Georgia became the last state to make what crime a felony?

  • Driving under the influence 0%
  • Delinquent child support 33%
  • Child endangerment 33%
  • Payday loans 33%

6 total votes.

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.

This month marks a decade since the Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority voted to demolish the Holman mule barn only to decide the opposite just a week or so later. The barn is still standing and still vacant. Using the newspapers from June 2004, see what else has or has not changed in Albany and Southwest Georgia over the last decade.

— The Flint RiverQuarium’s holding facility was filling up with animals in anticipation of its Labor Day weekend opening. The newest arrival was Buster, a 50-year-old, 90-pound alligator snapping turtle.

— A new housing project on Johnson Road in East Albany was named after the late former Albany City Manager Roy Lane. The 48-unit development on 28 acres would henceforth be known as Lane Landings.

— Southern lawmakers secured a deal to pay tobacco farmers almost $10 billion to give up their quota program.

— Thousands of people flocked to the newly opened RiverFront Park along Front Street. Children were eager to try out all the new playground equipment at Turtle Grove as well as cool themselves in the fountains nearby.

— An announcement was made that Albany was to be the site of the Special Olympics Georgia Fall Games for three years beginning in 2005.The statewide games were expected to bring in $250,000 extra sales tax each year.

— Lee County Commissioners voted to give all county employees a 2 percent cost-of-living increase.

— Albany State University President Portia Holmes Shields stated that the school would do whatever was asked of it to come out of the “Code 5” rating for the fiscal year 2003, the worst possible rating under the state’s auditing system. Shields pointed to the firing of the assistant vice-president for fiscal affairs for embezzling money and the termination of the director of financial operations for insubordination as two main reasons for the critical rating.

— On June 5, former United States President Ronald Reagan died at the age of 93.

— On June 10, Albany native Ray Charles, master musician, died at the age of 73.

— Board members of the Lee County Chamber of Commerce unanimously decided to begin charging a hotel/motel tax in anticipation of more such businesses coming to the county. At the time, the Fairfax Motel was the only overnight lodge in the county and charged $25 for a single room per night.

Tractor Supply opened its doors for business at 2761 Ledo Road.

— Differing stands on such controversial issues as gay marriage lead the Southern Baptist Convention to split from the Baptist World Alliance.

— A celebration was held at Albany’s Veterans Park to honor Ray Charles and recognize his many accomplishments. Among others, performers included Willie Moody and the Bo Henry Band.

— U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, announced that the Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany was set to receive about $134.2 million from the defense appropriations bill.

— A class-action lawsuit was filed by Oxford, Mississippi attorney Richard Scruggs alleging that Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, and three other Georgia hospitals, were overcharging uninsured patients for services. Scruggs also stated that Phoebe was using “abusive, harassing and humiliating collection lawsuits, liens and garnishments.”

— Gas prices were 10-cents more per gallon in Albany than they were in Macon. In fact, the only place in Georgia where gas was higher was the Savannah area. At 50 cents more per gallon than one year ago, the average price locally had spiked to $1.82.

— The Albany City Commission voted 5-2 to approve a $77,236,000 budget. Effective July 1, all city employees were given a $600 increase, regardless of performance, to be distributed over 26 pay periods. Assistant City Clerk Sonya Tolbert was an exception to the $600 increase. Tolbert’s salary was raised by $11,500.

— The controversial movie “Fahrenheit 9/11” did not show in Albany. The closest location the Michael Moore film, rated R, could be seen was in Tallahassee.

Squawks

— Seems like half the drivers on the roads today have a cell phone glued to their ear.

— A third-grader could balance the budget by raising taxes.

— If you’re from East Albany and complain, you’re a whiner. If you’re from Doublegate and complain, you’ve got special concerns.

— I wonder if a mirror would help O.J. Simpson in his search for the killer of Nicole Brown Simpson?

— Arena football? You have got to be kidding.

— Forgive Bill Clinton for his moral error? Yes. Buy his book and make him richer? No.

— It’s a crying shame when the Boy Scout summer camp in Dougherty County has to be run by women.

— The only reason marijuana has not been legalized is because tobacco companies cannot control it.

— Planting palm trees in Albany will not make it a tropical paradise.

— My wife says my mind works like lightening-one brilliant flash and it’s gone.

— The reason they have graduation ceremonies for kids leaving elementary school is that for a good percentage of our students, it will be their only graduation.

— The person who invented the boom box needs to have his head stuck inside one and its volume turned wide-open.

— I’ll bet when the cable goes out, the people on the Mediacom switchboard look at all the flashing lights and just laugh and laugh.

— Click-It of Ticket is an excellent fundraiser.

— Don’t tear down the Mule Barn. We may have to start riding them if gas prices get any higher.

— Ed Rynders only took $59 from lobbyists. Come on, Ed, put your hand out. Get in the game.