Thursday, December 27, 2007

Albany Beat

Lott headed out?
If Albany City Manager Alfred Lott keeps his word (we know, we know), he’s in the homestretch of his first stint as a top administrator. Lott declared after being hired in September 2005 that he would stay in Albany for three years and that he then would, as it puts it, “graduate” to a bigger and better public management gig. How’s Lott, who was hired in September 2005, doing so far? Who knows? The City Commission has breached its contractual responsibility to appraise the city manager’s performance each year.

‘Fireproof’ on Dove’s A-list
Sherwood Baptist Church ’s new production, “Fireproof,” lured The Dove Foundation CEO Dick Rolfe to the movie set this month. Dove is a nonprofit advocacy organization committed to moving Hollywood in a more family-friendly direction. “The success of movies like ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ and ‘The Passion of the Christ’ made Hollywood sit up and take notice that there was a huge audience being underserved,” Rolfe told the San Francisco Chronicle after his Albany visit. “Fireproof” follows the Sherwood hit “Facing the Giants,” which cost $100,000 to make and brought in $14 million. Rolfe and other parents started the Grand Rapids , Mich. , Dove Foundation in 1991 to create a guide to what they consider “safe” family viewing. Rolfe says the organization’s Website ( garners 2 million hits a month. “We have as much or more experience than most organizations do in reaching American families,” Rolfe says, “and we have sensitivity to what they're looking for in the way of entertainment.”

Must-see TV on at 7 , too
Like news? We do, too. That’s why we’re celebrating WALB-TV’s expansion – so to speak – of its news coverage. The Albany NBC affiliate’s 6 p.m. news is now rebroadcast at 7 p.m. on Mediacom cable channel 26. Since WALB now also broadcasts the 24/7 Weather Channel over the air, it can be picked up by antenna, too.

Albany’s new jet service
DayJet Corp. is expanding its on-demand business travel airline service network to Albany and 27 other new destinations in Georgia , Florida , Alabama and Mississippi . The 5-year-old company’s network expansion follows the October launch of the company's jet service in Tallahassee. Other cities that can be booked by the airline are: Brunswick , Savannah , Valdosta and Waycross , Ga. ; Boca Raton, Daytona Beach, Destin, Fort Pierce, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Key West, Kissimmee, Lakeland, Leesburg, Melbourne, Miami/Opa-Locka, Naples, Ocala, West Palm Beach, Panama City, Pensacola, Punta Gorda, Sanford, Sarasota, Sebring, St. Augustine, and St. Petersburg ; Dothan , Fairhope and Mobile , Ala. ; and Pascagoula , Miss.

Paying to fight crime
Conceding that it might not be able to be done, Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington is asking residents of his community to put up or shut up about fighting crime. A former police chief who ran a law-and-order campaign before being elected in 2006, Wetherington is asking business leaders to support his request that voters pay an extra penny in sales tax – mostly to pay for public safety. Under Wetherington’s plan, which hasn’t been presented to the City Council, a July referendum would be held. While the bulk of the tax would fund public safety, roads and infrastructure also would be financed with the extra penny, which would raise about $36 million a year and increase Columbus ’ sales tax to 8 percent. “I want to put more police downtown, more police on the Riverwalk, more police in the parks. I want to build new precincts,” Wetherington told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. “With all of the broth, we are not prepared in the Public Safety Department to deal with it.”

‘Como esta?’ ‘You’re fired!’
Here’s one piece of federal legislation that will not – it had better not, anyway – get anywhere when Congress reconvenes. In his “Common Sense English Act,” Rep. Tom Price (R-Roswell) proposes to amend the Civil Rights Act to allow employers to require workers to speak English while on the job. “English is the language that unites our society and keeps our economy,” Price said in a statement. “Denying employers the right to promote our national language in the workplace only encourages division and creates troublesome misunderstandings.” We figure that Price must think that the U.S. Constitution begins, “We, the English-speaking people of the United States …”

Who’s in your wallet?
Do you know where your Social Security number is? Chances are pretty good a thief does, as it probably is in the hands of every insurance company you've ever had, your bank, your credit card companies, your doctor, the hospital where you had surgery, your student loan company, your university admissions office, and on and on and on. With identity theft now directly affecting 1 in 4 Americans, an online petition drive has started to enable Americans to tell Congress that their SSN is theirs – and should be protected. Info:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Albany Beat

Retiring Lex -- in style
Amid much pomp and circumstances – and on live television, to boot – Cpl. Dusty Lee’s beloved canine partner, Lex, will retire on Friday from Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. Lt. Caleb Eames, a Marine spokesman, says he has fielding lots of media requests, including some from some national television networks, to cover Lex’s 8:30 a.m. retirement ceremony. Following a national petition derive and a North Carolina ’s intervention in the matter, Lex is being adopted by Quitman , Miss. , residents Jerome and Rachel Lee, parents of Dusty Lee, who was slain March 21 by combat mortar in Iraq . Lex was wounded during the attack, but recovered and returned to duty. Lex, who turns 8 this month, will become the first U.S. military dog adopted by the family of a deceased handler, military officials say.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Albany Beat

A hundred grand from Bishop
An interesting U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop campaign strategy has caught the attention of the authors of Political Insider, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s daily political blog. Bishop recently donated $100,000 from his campaign treasury to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to assist “less secure candidates,” the Insider noted, as Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Grantsville has done for Republicans. The difference: No challengers have stepped up to oppose Bishop’s 2008 re-election bid, while Westmoreland has two Democratic challengers. “While other Georgia politicians are scratching for extra campaign cash to fund their 2008 races – Rep. Jim Marshall, a Macon Democrat, comes to mind – Bishop and Westmoreland’s checks make sense,” the Insider noted. “Giving to the campaign committees is a must-do for veteran house leaders like Bishop, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. More importantly for Westmoreland, giving big bucks to the committees is a way of winning friends that any
future House leaders would need.”

Stocking stuffer: A great read
The book everyone interested in Lee County has been waiting for is finally on the shelves – just in time for Christmas. The Lee County Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday that it will release the historical collection, “The Caboose Came Last”, at a reception at 4 p.m. today at the Lee County library. The contributing authors will be sign autographs, and the book will be sold for $20. Info: 759-2422.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Albany Beat

Andre to Michael: Stay
Political blogger Andre Walker ( is among those who aren’t crazy about the idea of losing Sen. Michael Meyer Von Bremen from the state legislature. Meyer Von Bremen, a Demcorat, is considering a 2008 Superior Court run. Says Walker: “There’s a lot of good leadership in the senator from Albany, and to be quite frank with you, I think the quote by Dougherty County Commission Chair Jeff Sinyard says it best: ‘In all honesty, I wish he’d stay where he is.’”