By Sonny Lofton
I draw the curtains as the sky goes black
And set a match to candles sheathed in glass
Against a keyhole draught, the insistent whine
Of weather through the unseen aperture.
This is our sole defense against the season;
There are the things that we have learned to do
Who live in troubled regions.
– Adrienne Rich, Storm Warnings,1951
I watched an old movie the other night. You starred in an old Western motion picture. Also in the movie was Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers. Gabby Hayes was not in this one. Your sidekick was Andy Devine. Andy had such a gravely voice and played a great clown to your hero persona. During the movie a feeling of loss and sadness overcame me. Where are you and Gene Autry now that we need you?
We need heroes so badly. In those old days as I grew up here in Albany I got to see you and your friends every Saturday afternoon at the old Liberty Theater in downtown Albany.
It’s now only an empty lot at Broad and North Jackson Street. It’s hard to believe a theater once stood there. The lot seems too small for a theater, but there it stood for well over 50 years.
It only cost 15 cents to get into the Liberty and popcorn was only a nickel as was the soft drinks. Hundreds of young urchins hung out there on Saturdays watching Dale and Gabby at your side battle the bad guys.
We knew the difference in good and bad in those days and we loved you so much. I really wish you were back again riding the range and defeating evil. The bad guys are all around us today, but you, Gene, Cisco, Tom, Bob, Lone Ranger and all the others are gone. You still live in my heart and prayers and I hope one day to see you and Trigger in person. I will spend hours with you, thanking you for what you gave me as I grew up. Sleep peacefully, Roy.
The latest selection of the 100 Most Influential Georgians included Phoebe’s Joel Wernick, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss and U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop. As an unrepentant Republican, I am proud of Senator Chambliss. I can’t argue with Congressman Bishop’s
selection, as he is our Congressman, albeit Democrat.
The selection of Joel Warnock was particularly satisfying. I met Joel as he arrived in Albany back in the 1980’s and took over the helm at Phoebe Putney Hospital. I was impressed with him then and continue to be today. Joel led the hospital through its amazing growth from about 1,800 employees to well over 3,500 today. The growth and expansion of the south Georgia hospital is unmatched by any other large facility in our area. New buildings, treatment systems and new physicians have been nothing short of breathtaking.
There has been criticism of his salary and bonuses, but as President Lincoln replied when told of Gen. Ulysses Grant’s cigar smoking and whiskey consumption: “Find out the brand of liquor and cigars he consumes and send him a case from me”.
Keep up the good work Mr. Wernick. Some of us appreciate what you are doing!
HOLY COW, BATMAN
There has been an application filed by a group of local Hindu worshippers to construct a local place of religious assembly. Albany has a growing Hindu population and they want to construct their own temple. It will be the only one in the Albany area and should serve several hundred followers of that faith.
One of the reasons for the new temple is to raise the spiritual and moral life of our area. I am a Christian and I have no problem with a Hindu place of worship in Albany. There are more people of that faith in our community than you would imagine.
The upside is that they are dedicated to making life better here in Albany. I’m all for that since there are well over 250 Christian churches in the Albany area and they have been trying to accomplish the same goal. More power to the Hindus if they are more successful at it.
I did not know until recently that if Dougherty and Lee County decided to open a new charter school between the two counties they would avoid a lot of red tape and headaches.
They would be able to go to the state for their charter and avoid the local school system.
Baconton Charter School has more than 700 students in north Mitchell County and has been a great success, but not without annoying the Mitchell County Board of Education. The school pulls students from the Mitchell County School system as well as Pelham and Westwood private school.
I have talked with folks down there and they are really proud of their school and know the education and social environment are better by far than at other nearby schools.
NEW LEE COUNTY CITY
Four weeks ago, I wrote of forming a new Lee County city in the southern portion of Lee County near Albany. I got several interesting comments about the idea. The Winn-Dixie Shopping center on North U.S. 19 would be the center of the new city. It is located within a stone’s throw of a location that was named Forrester.
What a great idea even if it was mine. Forrester, Georgia with a population of 7,000 to 10,000 would be a new Georgia city.
Stretching five miles east to west and two miles north to south this new municipality would be larger than cities such as Camilla and Pelham. It could be larger than Blakely, Ashburn and Nashville.
It could have a town hall, commissioners, police and fire department.
Could be about time for this idea to grow!
THE WHITE FOLKS
ARE AT IT AGAIN!
Seems Albany City Commissioner Tommie Postell has figured out what those rascals, the white folks, are trying to do. The white folks who number less than 30 percent in Albany are pushing consolidation because they want to usurp the African American vote with a flooded ballot box just slap full of Caucasian voters. County voters are only 33.5 percent white with 63.5 percent African American. Not since Reconstruction has there been such a blatant attempt to seize power by white people.
Mr. Postell can’t seem to understand that county white folks can’t really change that much at the ballot box where black and white votes are concerned. Blacks have a 30-percent majority voter bloc in the county so what does Mr. Postell really fear? Is it the right of white folks to vote their preference just as black folks have a right to exercise the same privilege at the ballot box?
BLAH, BLAH, BLAH?
Are you sure there is still something out there about consolidation that you haven’t heard, yet? Does it solve male impotence? Will it grow hair on bald heads? Will all the pin head politicians get 30 IQ points once the issue passes the voter test? Would Albany still be a Chocolate City after consolidation? The answers are as follows … No, No, No, No and Yes.
Here are some local news reports that maybe escaped your eyes and ears. Consolidation goes all the way back to 1923 when a grand jury said consolidation would work better. There would be some confusion over animal control with a combined government as some county control officers might lose their jobs as the city takes it over. One city council member was quoted as saying, “Too many cooks in the kitchen ruin the soufflé”.
With all the city and county commissioners involved, there seems to be a good reason for consolidation and yet one of the reasons it would be so difficult. One city council member has gone so far as to draft a 10-year plan to slowly consolidate both city and county. That same council person was quoted as saying, “Everything has to be done in a sincere way or it all falls apart”.
Bibb County and Macon have tried several times to consolidate in the past, but … Bibb County? What the heck is this stuff? Oh. Hell … All the aforementioned problems and quotes come from a recent Macon Telegraph story on consolidation in that city and county. None of that stuff comes from Albany.
Or maybe it does! The arguments, plans, schemes and everything else are alike. The only thing that changes is the particular city and county trying to consolidate.