Thursday, February 7, 2008

Albany Beat

Super Tuesday 101
The Dougherty County School System had its game on in preparation for Super Tuesday. For one thing, its 3,000-plus third- through fifth-graders participated Monday in a mock presidential election, and the participants proudly sported official Georgia voter stickers for the remainder of the school day. Before Tuesday’s primary elections, the same students learned about the history of voting in America , qualifications for candidacy, and about the issues facing our country. It’s a civic lesson that increases the chances of those children becoming better citizens. And here’s icing on the cake: Dougherty High School administrators provided space and support for a voter-registration drive at the school. As a result, 65 new voters are now on the rolls.

When severing doesn’t warrant a severance
An Albany Tomorrow Inc. board member says that she and her colleagues erred in hiring Kenneth Weaver, who resigned last week as CEO. Emily Jean McAfee told WALB-TV that she and board Chairman C.W. Grant came to that conclusion, and that Grant shared that perspective with Weaver, who then submitted his resignation. In particular, Ms. McAfee said, Weaver’s shortcomings became clear through his inability to recruit retailers. Unlike Albany City Manager Alfred Lott, who recently forced his finance director to resign after three months on the job, Ms. McAfee and her fellow ATI board members opted not to award a severance package to Weaver as a reward for his three months of service.

Voter disenfranchisement?
A workers’ vote Tuesday at Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. in Albany created some controversy. An employee told The Albany Journal that rules have been put in place by some – but not all -- supervisors for the Findlay, Ohio-based company wherein employees must take time off and that they could lose their perfect-attendance status simply by casting a ballot. Let’s hope that didn’t actually happen.

Humble disassociation
Sometimes, your alma mater – or at least some people connected with it -- lets you down. That happened with many University of Alabama alumni in the 1980s when a classy and successful coach was run out of town by a redneck contingent, and that’s also what is happening to Albany teacher Laura Swette-Bridges’ alma mater, St. Cloud State University in Minnesota . Since November, there have been at least 19 reports of swastikas showing up in public places at the college. “I have always, secretly, felt a little smug to have come from a part of the country that was more enlightened and had people with more important things to do than worry about race,” Ms. Swette-Bridges wrote in Wednesday’s St. Cloud Times newspaper. “As an example to my young students, I have a desktop full of stuffied huskies ( St. Cloud ’s mascot) and university mugs … I am not faced with the sad realization that I am embarrassed and ashamed to be associated with this memorabilia.”