Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County
Dougherty County Schools’ athletic director Johnny Seabrooks, a member of Kiwanis of Dougherty, introduces the lineup of DCSS football coaches.


The high school football season is well underway, and on September 15 the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County got the traditional annual report from the head coaches of Dougherty County’s four high school teams.
Coaches Charles Truitt of Monroe High School, Corey  Joyner of Dougherty High School, Octavia Jones of Westover High School, and Felton Williams from Albany High School each talked about the early results for their  respective teams as well prospects for the rest of the season.
Coach Truitt commented that although the Monroe High record was a 1-2, “We look forward to continuing to get better as the season goes on.”
Although they are competitive on the playing field, all of the coaches expressed a commonality, and that is an emphasis on academic success for their players. Looking to the future, said Coach Joyner, the teams are grooming “young guys to be not only great football players but also to be great men.”
Kiwanis of Dougherty feeds the Dougherty High team once a year, this year on September 4, and Joyner expressed appreciation for that.
Coach Jones noted his team’s nationally-televised match-up against Lee County. Even though Westover lost 13-0, he said, “it was a great experience for all the coaches and all the kids and fans.” His team is taking a “one game at a time approach,” building on what they learn from their mistakes in each contest.
Coach Williams said there are 75 players in Albany High gridiron program, including 9th grade, junior varsity, and varsity, and “the kids are playing hard.”
In his introduction of the coaches, Johnny Seabrooks, a Kiwanis of Dougherty member and athletics director for the Dougherty County School System, thanked the club “for what you do for the Dougherty County School System and especially Dougherty County School System athletics.”

Dougherty County Schools’ athletic director Johnny Seabrooks, a member of Kiwanis of Dougherty, introduces the lineup of DCSS football coaches.

The high school football season is well underway, and on September 15 the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County got the traditional annual report from the head coaches of Dougherty County’s four high school teams.

Coaches Charles Truitt of Monroe High School, Corey  Joyner of Dougherty High School, Octavia Jones of Westover High School, and Felton Williams from Albany High School each talked about the early results for their  respective teams as well prospects for the rest of the season.

Coach Truitt commented that although the Monroe High record was a 1-2, “We look forward to continuing to get better as the season goes on.”

Although they are competitive on the playing field, all of the coaches expressed a commonality, and that is an emphasis on academic success for their players. Looking to the future, said Coach Joyner, the teams are grooming “young guys to be not only great football players but also to be great men.”

Kiwanis of Dougherty feeds the Dougherty High team once a year, this year on September 4, and Joyner expressed appreciation for that.

Coach Jones noted his team’s nationally-televised match-up against Lee County. Even though Westover lost 13-0, he said, “it was a great experience for all the coaches and all the kids and fans.” His team is taking a “one game at a time approach,” building on what they learn from their mistakes in each contest.

Coach Williams said there are 75 players in Albany High gridiron program, including 9th grade, junior varsity, and varsity, and “the kids are playing hard.”

In his introduction of the coaches, Johnny Seabrooks, a Kiwanis of Dougherty member and athletics director for the Dougherty County School System, thanked the club “for what you do for the Dougherty County School System and especially Dougherty County School System athletics.”

Three local organizations received support in the form of cash contributions from the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County during its weekly luncheon meeting on September 15. Photos from top to bottom, representatives Bob Lynch, Danny Dukes, and Phyllis Banks, respectively, accepted donations for The Anchorage, a substance abuse treatment center for men, $1,000; Second Harvest Food Bank, serving the Southwest Georgia area, $500; and Crimestoppers, which offers rewards for tips that help take law-breakers off the streets, $300, to continue their good works benefiting the community.  The checks were presented by club president Lance Barnes. (Photos by David Shivers)

PHOTO CAPTIONS

Top: Mark Masters of ACF Stakeholders and Albany State University explains to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County mission and methods of the stakeholder organization. (Photos by David Shivers)

Bottom: From left, Kiwanian Jerry Wessel, Albany Herald reporter Terry Lewis, and Mark Masters discuss regional water basin issues.

There has been much media attention focused on the “water wars” and litigation between Georgia, Florida, and Alabama over usage shares from the Appalachicola, Chattahoochee, and Flint rivers water basins. Less well known, perhaps, is work being done quietly  behind the scenes to determine the best, most equitable application of this natural resource among a diverse array of users.

Mark Masters, director of the Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center at Albany State University, is also a member of ACF Stakeholders (ACFS), a grassroots, privately-funded organization comprised of the many and various facets of the rivers’ use and research. He shared with the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County on September 8 what ACFS is and what they are doing to help resolve the water conflicts.

ACFS’s overall goal, according to Masters, is to answer positively the question, “Can the diverse users of the ACF Basin act cooperatively to create sustainable solutions among stakeholders that balance economic, ecological, and social values in the sharing of this natural resource?” The mission is to achieve equitable solutions among the stakeholders that balance economic, ecological, and social values and to offer viable solutions that ensure that the ACF Basin is a sustainable resource for current and future generations.

ACFS was established in late 2009, said Masters. It began by identifying 14 water user groups and dividing them into four sub-basins (Upper Chattahoochee, Lower/Middle Chattahoochee, Flint, and Appalachicola) and creating a board with 56 member representing the gamut from agricultural to industrial, municipalities and recreation and policy makers, “pretty much anybody who has anything to with water in the ACF Basin.”

“That group gets together quarterly to try to help slog through some of these tough issues that have facing our basin for a long time,” said Masters. “And consensus rules the day. Any one of those 56 people can pull the cord on the train and stop everything. We don’t move forward until everybody can live with it.”

He acknowledged that with such a large and diverse board, arriving at a consensus “can be pretty challenging. We want to enhance communication and I think we have actually met that goal.”

Masters recalled a stakeholder meeting in Appalachicola, Fla., where he observed an Atlanta water official sitting next to a Florida oysterman.

“Those two people would never have talked to each other without ACFS,” said Masters, adding that it was evidence of enhancing communication that “went an awful long way toward building trust among the real users.”

Another way of building trust that was “extremely important” was inviting input on what various users want and think they can live with. “We’ve take our watershed and broken it up into 17 what we call nodes, and a node is just a place on the river where there’s a gauge. There (are) 17 nodes…and 14 environmental interests. There are 238 blocks in our matrix, and so we said, ‘Here’s what I need at my spot on the water.’ That was extremely important to building our trust, because that’s something we’d never been able to get done before. Having the membership say ‘Here’s what I can live with’ was very, very important.”

The ACFS is in process of creating a Sustainable Water Management Plan it hopes will be finished by the end of this year.  An upcoming meeting will involve examination of “thousands of documents” including scientific research and modeling to look at the watershed and how Appalachicola Bay is ultimately impacted. Master described the process as “extremely difficult, extremely complex.” Also among the technical materials is a close examination of what Masters termed the “absolute impact” of the Floridan Aquifer on surface water.

Also among “the reams and reams of technical data,” said Masters, are key projections  forecasting water demands out to the year 2050.

“When we have that (SWMP) in our hands, we’re going to look to the three governors (of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia) and the Army Corps of Engineers and say, ‘Hey, this is what we think a good path would be to go to maintain the watershed,” he said.

As far as ongoing litigation between the states, Masters said, “I can’t speak to where the states are. With the litigation the ACF Stakeholders are under some restrictions here, so I’m not going to get very specific. I will say this about the Corps of Engineers: The Corps has been extremely supportive of ACFS. We’ve with their commanders. The timing, we feel, is pretty good with the Corps. They’re in the process of updating what’s called The Water Control Manual for the ACF and we’re trying to be sure we complete our process.”

“We are under no illusion that this is an easy fix,” Masters concluded, but, “We feel really, really good that we’ve advanced the ball, at least in terms of knowledge of the basin.”

Top photo: Erin Hutchins, director of the Albany Area YMCA’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, tells Kiwanis of Dougherty members about the program.

Bottom: From left, Kiwanians Chuck Darsey and Kevin Armstrong speak to Erin Hutchins about 21st CCLC  following the meeting.

 Children do better in the classroom when they develop the confidence to participate. According to Erin Hutchins, that’s the goal of Albany Area YMCA’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.

Hutchins, director of the program who came to Albany in 2011, talked to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County about 21st CCLC’s goals and how are they are being met on August 25. The program is administered with federal funds to establish community learning centers that operate during after regular school hours with three specific purposes: to provide opportunities for academic enrichment and tutorial services; to offer students a broad array of additional services, programs and activities to reinforce and complement the regular academic program; and, to offer families of 21st CCLC students opportunities for literacy and related educational development.

The overall goals are to improve student academic performance in reading and math as well as classroom performance and to increase parent participation in the educational process.

While the school year is underway, 21st CCLC didn’t start until after Labor Day. “The reason for that,” said Hutchins, “is so that teachers can test the children and see where these kids are” in their academic performance levels.

The learning centers are currently at Alice Coachman and Live Oak elementary schools in Albany, where classrooms can be used for the sessions, which run from 2:15 p.m. until 5:45 p.m. Work centers on things “to help children, to positively reinforce them and change their direction,” said Hutchins. They also focus on helping parents learn to communicate positively with children about their academic performance. (A new grant has just been obtained for the expanded program, which initially started at Magnolia Elementary School but had to re-locate when the Dougherty County School System decided to close that facility.)

“A parent calling a child stupid, that’s not acceptable,” Hutchins stated. “We’re trying to teach them how to communicate. That’s part of the YMCA mission, to help people be respectful and caring.”

While tutoring and break-out sessions are part of the program, field trips are also included. Previous outings have been to Wakulla Springs, Fla., the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, and the Butterfly House at Callaway Gardens.

“A lot of these kids have never left Albany, so they were really excited about this,” said Hutchins.

Public speaking classes are also offered to help boost students’ self-esteem. According to Hutchins, “There are quite a few children where you see quite a change because of their confidence level when they go into the classroom.”

The 21st CCLC has recorded success here. According to Hutchins, “There were 37 children last year that at an ‘F’, and by the end of the year they were at a ‘C’. We’re so proud of them and want to keep them going.

Top: Phyllis Colvin sings “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” to set the tone for the Affinis Hospice presentation.

Bottom! Kimberly Kimbrel explains Affinis Hospice’s services and philosophy, while clearing up misconceptions.

The program opened with a beautiful rendition of a verse of “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”.

After she finished, Phyllis Colvin, social services director for Affinis Hospice’s Albany regional office, related to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County on August 18, “When I think about hospice, I think about how when we come into contact with people, they’re tired and worn and their caregivers are weary. We need to come into their homes and provide them some type of support, and I feel that with hospice care we can come in and be that support, not only to the patient but also to their family members.”

Colvin then turned the program over to Kimberly Kimbrel, Affinis’ regional community outreach coordinator. From its Albany office, Affinis serves 21 counties in Southwest Georgia. In addition to Albany, throughout Georgia, Affinis Hospice has regional offices in Augusta, Cartersville, Gainesville, Newnan, Vidalia, and Watkinsville.

Kimbrel offered some history on hospice care and sought to clear up misconceptions she said people often have about hospice.

According to Kimbrel, the hospice concept originated with Cicely Saunders, a World War II English military nurse who recognized three “very important things people need as they are dealing with the end of life”: dignity and compassion, pain and symptom management, and counseling for psychological and emotional needs.  Hospice Inc. was founded in 1974 in the United States by Florence Wald and hospice care has grown nationwide since that time.

Also, said Kimbrel, “Hospice is not necessarily end of life, that might surprise you.” Affinis can provide services during a life-threatening illness, and it’s beneficial, Kimbrel said, to begin in-home services early “so that we can have a relationship with the family and teach them caregiving tips so that it’s not so hard on them.” Medicare pays 100 percent for eligible clients, she added, including medications and hospital equipment for a wide range of illnesses.

If a patient doesn’t have Medicare or insurance, however, Affinis doesn’t turn them away. Operating under the multi-faceted Community Health Services foundation umbrella provides additional resources, but “of course we have to have a population of people who have insurance so we can survive. We are a nonprofit company” and the foundation helps.

Kimbrel addressed several “misconceptions.”

“I had one family that was in hospital and they would not come on services with us because they thought we were going to stop Mom’s medication. We don’t do that, we don’t stop medication. We don’t stick somebody with morphine and keep pumping it in them. We don’t do any of those things, those are misconceptions. We let the family make all the choices for the caregiving that we do. We don’t do anything without the family knowing. Everything we do has to be approved by the family, because we understand that the family is the caregiver. We’re just there to help.”

Another false idea is that a doctor has to decide when hospice care is needed. “Hospice is not something that a doctor has to say you’re ready for,” Kimbrel said. “You need to make that decision, it’s a patient’s choice. You can actually call us.”

While a doctor does not have to refer a patient, a doctor’s order is needed for Affinis to go into a patient’s home. When a patient contacts Affinis, said Kimbrel, Affinis must contact their doctor and request the order and the patient’s medical records.

Also, Kimbrel added, “Hospice never wants to say you have to sever that relationship with your doctor. We don’t ever say that.” But, “We want to be your 911. If you have an emergency while you’re with us, call us. If you go to the hospital while you’re with hospice, we have to discharge you,” due to Medicare  regulations. “We have to discharge the patient while they’re in the hospital and then we’ll bring them back on afterwards.”

A patient may want to continue being seen in hospice by their regular doctor, but the decision is ultimately up to the doctor, Kimbrel said. Affinis has a local medical director, Dr. Michael Satchell, to monitor its patients, and some people choose to switch over.

“We go over our patients with our medical director bimonthly,” said Kimbrel. “Every two weeks we have a meeting and go over each patient, and the nurses will be there in the meeting talking about different things going on with each patient, if they need medicine changes or if they have a symptom that needs to be managed.”

 

Our club presented a check today to the Dixie League Baseball Association to help building batting cages at the Dixie League park.On hand to accept the gift from President Lance Barnes were Kyle Harrison and Lawson Swan. The funds - $5,981,42 - will be matched with a $5,000 grant approved at last weekend’s Georgia Kiwanis District Conference in Savannah and forthcoming from the Georgia District Kiwanis Foundation.

Our club presented a check today to the Dixie League Baseball Association to help building batting cages at the Dixie League park.On hand to accept the gift from President Lance Barnes were Kyle Harrison and Lawson Swan. The funds - $5,981,42 - will be matched with a $5,000 grant approved at last weekend’s Georgia Kiwanis District Conference in Savannah and forthcoming from the Georgia District Kiwanis Foundation.

Tricia Borsdorf of the Albany/Dougherty County 311 call center explains to Kiwanis of Dougherty members the function and operation of the non-emergency center.


“I get excited, because I really feel  like it’s an awesome service,” said Tricia Borsdorf. “It’s something not all communities have.”
The service Borsdorf was referring to during an August 11 presentation to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County is Albany-Dougherty’s 311 call center, a non-emergency hotline for people seeking information or to register a complaint or report regarding services provided by the city, the county, or Water, Gas, and Light (WG&L).
Almost right off the bat, Borsdorf emphasized, “If you have an emergency (accident, medical crisis, violent crime in progress, etc.), do not call 311. You want to dial 911. However, for anything else that has to do with city or county government, we are glad to assist.”
“A lot of the time people are calling us because they need services,” said Borsdorf. “They need a pothole filled, their ditches need to be cleaned, a trash pickup has been missed, a streetlight has fallen down, a stop sign has been blocked or there’s grass or bushes covering it.”
“You don’t need to know who any of those services belong to, all you have to do is call 311. Once we find out what your issue is, we have software that actually generates a request” and forwards it to the proper department for a response.
An important element  of the 311 call service, said Borsdorf, is  its “trackability.”
“If you call 311, we take every phone call and we put it into our system so that we’re able to go back and track it.” Non-responses to a report or complaint “escalate” to a supervisor or department director and eventually to the city manager, she added, and “you can be sure nobody wants a service request going up to the city manager and it has not been worked on. I can guarantee if you call 311 and ask for a service that’s provided, we can go back, pull that request, see everything that’s done with it, and we can at least direct you to the right people. If it wasn’t done, we can reopen it, put it back in, and say it wasn’t done.”
Reports called in on issues such as code violations can be made anonymously if the caller wishes, Borsdorf said. She noted, however, “If you do submit something via the web or your (mobile) phone, then you have to register with a valid e-mail address with either of those.”
The 311 call center is manned by live operators from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week. After regular business hours and on weekends, access is available via voice-mail messaging and by computer or cell phone (with Android or Iphone mobile apps) via the center’s website (www.311.answers.com).
Online or mobile reporting have the added capability of attaching a photo of the issue in question. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” Borsdorf reiterated, so in addition to a word description, the responding department can actually see the situation.
The 311 center can’t control responses to complaints about services by outside entities such as Mediacom, Georgia Power, the state department of transportation, or the railroad, since they don’t fall under city or county authority. What they can do, however, is provide a name and/or number the citizen can contact, but “we can’t control what they do with issues presented.”
Callers to 311 can also obtain information about community events or government functions such as where to pay a ticket or how  to obtain a birth certificate or marriage license. “We pretty much have a schedule of what’s going on in the community,” said Borsdorf. “We try to keep up with what’s happening so we can pass information on to the citizens, and we do get a lot of calls.”
The 311 call center falls under the jurisdiction of the city’s information technology department, said Borsdorf, but funding for it is provided by the city, county, and WG&L.
“I can’t say that I know the answer to every single question,” Borsdorf concluded. “However, I can say that I will research and I will call you back. We will at least attempt to find out who does this and get you connected to them.”

Tricia Borsdorf of the Albany/Dougherty County 311 call center explains to Kiwanis of Dougherty members the function and operation of the non-emergency center.

“I get excited, because I really feel  like it’s an awesome service,” said Tricia Borsdorf. “It’s something not all communities have.”

The service Borsdorf was referring to during an August 11 presentation to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County is Albany-Dougherty’s 311 call center, a non-emergency hotline for people seeking information or to register a complaint or report regarding services provided by the city, the county, or Water, Gas, and Light (WG&L).

Almost right off the bat, Borsdorf emphasized, “If you have an emergency (accident, medical crisis, violent crime in progress, etc.), do not call 311. You want to dial 911. However, for anything else that has to do with city or county government, we are glad to assist.”

“A lot of the time people are calling us because they need services,” said Borsdorf. “They need a pothole filled, their ditches need to be cleaned, a trash pickup has been missed, a streetlight has fallen down, a stop sign has been blocked or there’s grass or bushes covering it.”

“You don’t need to know who any of those services belong to, all you have to do is call 311. Once we find out what your issue is, we have software that actually generates a request” and forwards it to the proper department for a response.

An important element  of the 311 call service, said Borsdorf, is  its “trackability.”

“If you call 311, we take every phone call and we put it into our system so that we’re able to go back and track it.” Non-responses to a report or complaint “escalate” to a supervisor or department director and eventually to the city manager, she added, and “you can be sure nobody wants a service request going up to the city manager and it has not been worked on. I can guarantee if you call 311 and ask for a service that’s provided, we can go back, pull that request, see everything that’s done with it, and we can at least direct you to the right people. If it wasn’t done, we can reopen it, put it back in, and say it wasn’t done.”

Reports called in on issues such as code violations can be made anonymously if the caller wishes, Borsdorf said. She noted, however, “If you do submit something via the web or your (mobile) phone, then you have to register with a valid e-mail address with either of those.”

The 311 call center is manned by live operators from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week. After regular business hours and on weekends, access is available via voice-mail messaging and by computer or cell phone (with Android or Iphone mobile apps) via the center’s website (www.311.answers.com).

Online or mobile reporting have the added capability of attaching a photo of the issue in question. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” Borsdorf reiterated, so in addition to a word description, the responding department can actually see the situation.

The 311 center can’t control responses to complaints about services by outside entities such as Mediacom, Georgia Power, the state department of transportation, or the railroad, since they don’t fall under city or county authority. What they can do, however, is provide a name and/or number the citizen can contact, but “we can’t control what they do with issues presented.”

Callers to 311 can also obtain information about community events or government functions such as where to pay a ticket or how  to obtain a birth certificate or marriage license. “We pretty much have a schedule of what’s going on in the community,” said Borsdorf. “We try to keep up with what’s happening so we can pass information on to the citizens, and we do get a lot of calls.”

The 311 call center falls under the jurisdiction of the city’s information technology department, said Borsdorf, but funding for it is provided by the city, county, and WG&L.

“I can’t say that I know the answer to every single question,” Borsdorf concluded. “However, I can say that I will research and I will call you back. We will at least attempt to find out who does this and get you connected to them.”

PHOTO CAPTIONS

Top: Justin Andrews speaks to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County about Threeforty Creative Group. Justin was introduced as speaker by his wife Erin, left, a member of Kiwanis DoCo. (Photos by David Shivers)

Bottom: Justin and Erin Andrews meet are greeted bu DoCo Kiwanian Tommy Padgett after the program.

One of Albany’s newest businesses is turning out to be a big success, according to one of its owners.

Justin Andrews partnered with Evan Barber and Jeb Tabb just over a year ago to create Threeforty Creative Group, a multipurpose enterprise focusing on using music to give back to the community. Andrews spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County on August 4 about Threeforty’s mission.

It all began, he said, “with a chicken scratch of an idea that turned into this huge monster, which turned out to be wonderful. We teach music lessons to kids for piano, guitar, bass, violin…anything and everything you can just about think of. Our mission for the area is we want to give back for kids.  It originally began as a program for the city of Albany for children whose families can’t afford to pay for music lessons.” Music curriculums have often fallen victim to cutbacks in schools, and they hope to someday see that corrected.

Threeforty also works with nonprofit and for-profit organizations providing talent, sound, lights, and stage for events. Among other services offered are venue management, concerts/festivals/special events, marketing and graphics, booking, recording, and access to video production.

“We do a raft of things, everything that can help grow your business, help grow your music career,” said Andrews.

Threeforty also produces large-scale music events. “Threeforty is currently involved in six music festivals. They range from the Briar Patch Musical Festival in Damascus, Georgia, all the way to the Flintfest here in Albany to the Georgia Throwdown that we did two years ago, and this year our launch of the Big Pine Music Festival,” slated for October 24 and 25 at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds in Albany.

Big Pine will feature some 41 bands on four stages over the two-day period, according to Andrews, for a ticket price of $35, and “the production quality of the festival will be at the same level (as the Georgia Throwdown), it will be high-end production, it will be something you’d see in Atlanta if you  paid $50 for a ticket to see one band.” Country music luminaries John Anderson and Clarence Carter are in the lineup, as well as such regional favorites The Bo Henry Band, Evan Barber and the Dead Gamblers, Highway 55, Jodi Mann, and many others.

Next April there will be “a little more urban festival,” the 100 Watt Festival hosted by Threeforty Creative Group at the Downtown Art Park on Pine Avenue, featuring music and art. “We have people coming from California, South Florida, Atlanta, and New York” to participate in that, said Andrews. “Until I got into it,” Andrews said of the art park, “I never realized how big of a deal it is to this community. It’s really an interesting part of downtown development, which we’re proud to be part of.”

A successful part of the Georgia Throwdown that Threeforty plans to repeat at the Big Pine festival is opportunities for nonprofits to host fundraisers at no charge to the organization.

“We’re a young company that’s growing really fast,” concluded Andrews, “and I couldn’t be more proud to be part of the company. Our main goal is to give back to the community…We really want to keep this going for the city of Albany and to help grow something really cool and bring up the youth of this city in a positive atmosphere.”

For information about Threeforty Creative Group, their services, or nonprofit cooperation, contact them at 229-496-1633 or info@340creativegroup.com.