ALBANY — National Night Out is back after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, and the annual event in which area law enforcement agencies hand out bookbags and school supplies looks to be bigger and better in 2022.
About 2,000 attendees were on hand for the last National Night Out, and with inflation taking a bite out of parents’ paychecks, it is expected to bring out an even bigger crowd this year.
The event runs from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, and vendors will be on hand beginning at 1 p.m. at Radium Springs Middle School, 2600 Radium Springs Road.
“We are aware of the need,” Dougherty County Police Department Capt. Tamiko Whitlock said. “Forty-seven vendors is the largest group we’ve ever had. When we put out the ask, everybody stepped up to volunteer their services for free because they felt the need.”
Flint River Fresh will be on hand to distribute 300 boxes of fruit and vegetables.
The annual event will include activities for children, food trucks, inside barbers will be giving haircuts and the Georgia Department of Public Health will be administering COVID tests.
“We’ve been doing this for over 30 years, but didn’t the last two years because of COVID,” Whitlock said. “We have a very large event. We were told that south of Macon we have the biggest National Night Out event in the state.
“It’s all law enforcement — (including) Albany Police Department, Georgia State Patrol, Sheriff’s Office, Albany State Police.”
TIFTON — “Jack for President.” No, not that Jack. I’m talking about Jackson, my English Lab.
Jack has many of the qualities our country needs right now in a president, and he comes with little baggage. In fact, he’s about as uncomplicated as a creature can be.
Every presidential candidate can expect an intense scrutiny into his or her background. Jack’s is pretty simple. He is from Maryland, the Eastern Shore to be exact. While he is adopted, my husband and I consider ourselves his real parents. His breeder has a stellar reputation, and he came to us with a bundle of papers describing his lineage.
All this, however, means nothing to Jack. He is very unassuming. “Jackson” is a family name; it’s my maiden name, and my Dad’s close friends often called him “Jack.” My husband and I considered several names before Jack was born, including Dickens and Winston in honor of his English heritage. We also never planned for Jack to be a hunting dog, so I briefly considered using the name my friend’s family chose for a dog whose only job was to be a dog. His name was Fundog. However, when I finally hit on Jackson, I knew we had found a name for our boy.
English Labs and American labs are not recognized by the American Kennel Club as separate breeds; Jack’s breed is Labrador Retriever. A clear difference exists, however, between American Labs and English Labs. Jack is our first English lab; our other two dogs were American labs.
As I have read and experienced, American Labs are like finely tuned athletes, always-ready-to-go, highly focused overachievers, eager to chase something, retrieve something, do something. They are, in general, bred for field trials and as high-end hunting dogs. English labs are generally bred for show and to be companions and, in contrast, have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude about most things. Jack likes to take early-morning walks and chase soccer balls, but other than that he is happy doing nothing.
Besides realizing that doing nothing is sometimes the best course, Jack has other attributes that would make him a good president. For example, he’s had a very stable childhood with, I think, a good balance of discipline and praise and lots of love. As a result, he has no narcissistic tendencies and takes no pleasure in being cruel. Gerald and I try to make sure he is a dog people want to have around. If he is aggressive or rude, we redirect him, and we give him praise and treats when he behaves well.
When I selected Jack, the breeder warned me that while he was clearly the best-looking pup in the litter, he did have a “strong personality.” We are trying to teach him that being a bully is unacceptable. We understand that he has to “defend” his territory, our backyard, but we don’t allow him to instigate disputes with other dogs and act like an ass. Jack also has no unacknowledged or unruly offspring whose behavior might be embarrassing, scandalous or criminal.
As the age of two of the possible presidential candidates is an issue for some, I need to point out that Jack, at 2, is young enough for the job. He is also a smart dog; Labs as a breed are known for their intelligence, and Jack is no exception. He was potty-trained after only a few accidents, and he quickly learned what behavior earns treats. For example, he will sit and stay on command. He is also quicker on his feet than one might expect, given he weighs 80 pounds and his generally casual approach to life.
I had to move the bird feeder because he caught both a bird and a squirrel, feats I had no idea he could accomplish. Additionally, in the car he is very cooperative, placidly looking out the window of the back seat or opting to take a nap. I never have to worry about him lunging for anything in the front seat.
Jack also doesn’t care to what political party a person belongs. He doesn’t meet a stranger. As long as someone is willing to scratch his ears or rub his belly, Jack will be a friend. He is incapable of deceit or artifice. With Jack, what you see is what you get. He has never told a lie. He will bark, but he doesn’t sound off all the time like one of those dogs that cannot shut up and drives the neighbors nuts.
Jack is, like most dogs, faithful and true. I know when I arrive home in the afternoon that he will be glad to see me and won’t be shy about showing it. I told my daughters many times about one of our previous Labs, “If you can find a guy as loyal, brave, gentle and kind as Chief, you should marry him.” I would say the same about our other Lab, Buddy, or Jack.
While most presidents are partial to golf, Jack is different. He loves soccer. When I come home in the afternoon, I often find him waiting for me at the end of the driveway with a soccer ball beside him. As soon as I exit the car, he knows that I will kick the ball and he will chase it. We keep three or four balls in the backyard, and he often holds one in his mouth while chasing another or uses the one in his mouth to deflect the one I kick to him. He is quite good and gives me as much pleasure watching him play as he derives from our game.
He learned this as a puppy one weekend when my friend and I were staying at my daughter’s lake house, and we needed something to keep him busy. The only balls Dollar General had that we thought Jack would not eat were soccer balls, and a passion was born. He chased that ball up and down the house’s long hallway until he was worn out.
Jack is pretty uncomplicated. His favorite things are naps, food and food. He dislikes hot weather, trucks pulling trailers and the neighbor’s French bulldog, who, in Jack’s defense, growls and snarls at him as if the bulldog was not an eighth of Jack’s size. He is not subject to tantrums or angry outbursts.
He does make a mess sometimes with his water bowl; he slops water all over the floor, but he doesn’t mean to. He lies down in front of the water bowl to drink and sometimes gets as much on the floor as he does in his mouth. Jack goes to bed when we do and gets up when we do. He used to chew the kitchen table, but he’s mostly stopped doing that.
He will still destroy a dog toy occasionally, but he is now more likely to bring the toy to my husband or me for a game of fetch than he is to eat it. We also don’t leave shoes where he can reach them, but it’s been a while since he ate a TV remote. Jack is progressing nicely toward being a responsible, civil member of our household, who follows the rules and contributes to our family’s overall happiness and well-being.
Additionally, Jack is a reminder of what all of us who love dogs have in common, including the joy of watching a goofy puppy grow into a loving, devoted, still goofy companion; an appreciation for a soft head resting on our knee; and the knowledge that the value of a dog depends not on his pedigree, his looks, or even his behavior, but on the size of his heart.
America could do worse than a dog for her leader. Recent experience has taught us that. I say, “Jack for president.”
ALBANY — Albany Technical College and Turner Job Corps Center will enter into a three-year agreement starting fall 2022. A formal memorandum of understanding will be signed between ATC and Turner Job Corps on Friday at 11 a.m. in the LEC Boardroom on the college’s main campus.
The purpose of the MOU will be to provide coordinated services for students at Turner Job Corps Center to receive Advance Career Training courses leading to certificates, diplomas, or associate’s Degrees.
“We look forward to providing an academic support program for the retention of students, including individual or group tutoring, counseling, remediation classes, or learning resources,” interim Albany Tech President Emmett Griswold said in a news release. “We will also make available day, evening, and online classes whenever possible in areas specified in the agreement.”
Turner Job Corps officials have outlined student enrollment, including but not limited to Culinary Arts, Criminal Justice, Health Care Office Assistant, Office Administration, Electrical, Welding, Horticulture, Masonry, Carpentry and Certified Construction Worker courses.
“This agreement provides opportunity and joint oversight of students enrolled at TJCC participating in Advance Career Training on the Turner JCC campus and any of the Albany Technical College campuses,” Turner Job Corps Center Director Nathaniel Cooper said. “We are happy to be teaming up with Albany Technical College to provide educational opportunities for our students.”
Registration for classes is currently in process, with fall 2022 classes starting Aug. 17. More information is available at www.albanytech.edu/apply-now.
ALBANY — Democrats took to the podium in Albany on Thursday to promote party candidates around the region and state and blast Republican policies they said are “too extreme” for Georgia voters.
Speakers for the “Too Extreme GOP” tour, sponsored by the Georgia Democratic Party, stop in Albany included state Sen. Freddie Powell Sims of Dawson and state House District 151 candidate Joyce Barlow, who is challenging Republican incumbent Mike Cheokas in the November election.
“Today I want to talk about a contrast, a contrast the American people and the people of Georgia see very clearly, a contrast that’s growing sharper every passing day, especially as we head into the November elections,” Sims said. “This contrast speaks to the choice that Georgians have available to them in November — the record of Democrats, a record that is inclusive of all Americans who work toward taking care of themselves and their families’ basic needs, safe and clean environments, a quality education, affordable and available health care and a sense of moral values and integrity.”
The extreme agenda of Republicans included obstructing and delaying legislation to assist military veterans sickened by exposure to burn pits and legislation for small, rural hospitals, she said.
“(It) rolls back the rights and freedoms that we so rightly deserve,” she said. “Our veterans wait and wait for medical assistance. They wait for government to pass legislation to improve their health care, but when good legislation is obstructed by the GOP, what do they do? They high-five each other in congratulations because they blocked a bill that veterans so desperately needed after being exposed to open burn pits.”
Republicans in Congress have recently opposed efforts to cap the price of insulin for diabetics and lower prescription drug costs for all Americans and to legislation that would strengthen the country’s supply chains, the senator said.
“But that is not all, ladies and gentlemen,” Sims said. “A group representing 75% of House Republicans, including all eight Georgia Republicans in Congress, released a budget plan saying they would even put Social Security and Medicaid for seniors on the chopping block — if they regain power in Washington.
“As we witness the votes of Georgia’s eight congressional Republicans over the last few weeks, we come to understand that Georgia’s health and economic well-being is at risk thanks to the GOP extreme agenda. Just ask our veterans and American women who now lack reproductive health care, mental health care.”
Responding to a question from The Herald about the rejection by Kansas voters of a referendum to remove protection of abortion in its constitution, Sims said that Planned Parenthood provides a significant amount of reproductive health care for women, in addition to abortion
“Planned Parenthood saved the lives of countless women and provided advice and free medications,” she said. “We cannot afford to go backward. If we put these extremists in Congress, we’re going to get the very thing that happened, (more) constitutional rights are going to be overturned.”
Barlow, a nurse and owner of Englewood Health Care in Albany, said that black women in Georgia already have maternal mortality rates that are 2 1/2 times greater than their white counterparts. The closing of rural hospitals, including in Cuthbert, also will have a significant impact.
“We have a hospital desert in our area,” she said. “If medical facilities close, you (also) lose jobs. Health care is at the basics of everything we do.”