Thursday, January 24, 2008

Albany Beat

Holy Smoke!
Local and state arson investigators say they don’t buy the Rev. Joseph Howard III’s contention that his Metropolitan Baptist Church was torched by racists; rather, they say that Howard did the dirty deed. Howard was arrested Friday and charged with New Year’s Eve arson, which destroyed the church sanctuary, causing an estimated $150,000 in damage. Citing Howard’s “vision and commitment,” U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop in 2003 helped Howard’s Trinity Community Development Corp. receive $3.975 million for 49 senior citizen apartments. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department grant was Trinity CDC’s first. Bishop added at the time: “I was pleased to support this grant application.”

Purple Heart to Lex
Albany ’s most famous military working dog is getting a new pendant for his collar – a Purple Heart. The recently retired German shepherd, which was wounded during combat in March in Iraq , will be honored during a ceremony on Feb. 16 at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach , Fla. Based at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Lex was serving alongside Cpl. Dustin Lee, a canine handler from Quitman, Miss., when the two were targeted during a mortar attack. Lee, 20, died from his wounds and his parents adopted Lex upon the dog’s retirement in December. Info: Four military dog handlers and three military working dogs have been killed in action during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.