Dougherty Today Newsletter, First Quarter 2023

Page 1

F or Dougherty County Board of Commissioners’ new Chairman, Lorenzo L. Heard, being at the helm of County government is allowing him to learn more about what we do and he said that right away, he was met with an amazing group of people committed to the mission of the county and who have welcomed him with open arms.

Heard has been overwhelmed with the kindness and acceptance of his leadership from everyone and is proud of the human capital that he has seen

INSIDE FEATURES:

Dougherty County’s New Chairman

Lorenzo L. Heard Begins

His Journey as First African American Chairman of the Board of Commissioners

right away in the amazing people he has met thus far. He said that the impact of county staff plays a critical role in maintaining the quality of life for the citizens of Dougherty County.

“Dougherty County has everything we need to be successful,” said Heard. “Our future is bright and I feel very good about that.”

This experience has inspired the new Chairman to look again at Dougherty County with “fresh eyes” and he said it’s like falling in love all over again with the community he has loved for years.

• Meet Maverick: Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit

• Up Close with Sam Allen on Opioid Abuse on the Rise

• County Department Highlights from First Quarter 2023

When asked about how it feels to be the first African American Chairman of the Dougherty County Board of Commissioners, Heard said his most important goal is to leave a legacy that has made a difference and has made Dougherty County better for everyone.

At the forefront of his vision and goals for Dougherty County, Heard’s priorities include more housing opportunities for the citizens of Dougherty County. This includes the development of partnerships with subdivisions, as well as the Marine

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Dougherty Today A Quarterly Publication of the Dougherty County Board of Commissioners | FIRST QUARTER 2023

Up Close

with Sam Allen

Opioid Crisis in Dougherty County

Meet Maverick

Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office K9

ASU-toDowntown Trail

Groundbreaking Trail Connector

Employee Health & Wellness Center

Grand Re-opening with CareATC

Chairman/ Commissioner

Participation

Essentials Program

Commissioner Highlights

First Quarter 2023

Around Dougherty County

Latest Happenings in our Commission & County Departments

DOUGHERTY COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Lorenzo L. Heard, Chairman

Ed Newsome, District 1

Clinton Johnson, District 3

Gloria Gaines, District 5

Victor Edwards, District 2

Russell Gray, District 4/Vice Chair

Anthony Jones, District 6

DOUGHERTY COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

Michael McCoy, County Administrator

Alex Shalishali, County Attorney

Jawahn Ware, County Clerk/Procurement Manager

Bristeria Hope, Deputy County Clerk

Darlene Hollis, Procurement Specialist

Wendy Howell, Public Information Officer

ABOUT DOUGHERTY TODAY

Dougherty Today is a quarterly news publication of the Dougherty County Board of Commissioners. For questions, comments, or more information, contact Wendy Howell, Dougherty County Public Information Officer, at whowell@dougherty.ga.us.

INSIDE THIS EDITION Dougherty Today

CONTINUED FROM FRONT PAGE

Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) Albany and how the County can expand on what they do and the value they bring to our community.

By developing more home ownership opportunities, for particularly those families working in law enforcement and educators within the Dougherty County School System, Heard believes that a greater sense of community can be achieved.

With higher education as another primary vision for Heard, he strives to create a sense of a “college town” feel in the community by partnering more with Albany State University (ASU) and Albany Technical College (ATC), specifically focusing on the expansion of student housing opportunities.

“We have so much more potential with our community partners, such Phoebe

Health Systems, Turner Job Corps, and other industries,” said Heard. “We have so much opportunity to build on, and I have the will to make it happen.”

In his first two months in office, Heard has had the opportunity to take a tour at the Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) Albany to learn more about them and how the County partners with the Land-to-Energy project. Many more opportunities are ahead for the Chairman and he is excited and plans to embrace each of them.

The Dougherty County Team is pleased to welcome our new Chairman and look forward to his leadership.
Chairman Heard is the first African American Chairman in Dougherty County History
“Dougherty County has everything we need to be successful. Our future is bright and I feel very good about that.”
DOUGHERTY TODAY, FIRST QUARTER 2023 3
-- Chairman Heard

Up Close with EMS Director, Sam Allen

Opioid Crisis Remains Real Issue in Dougherty County

W hen it comes to the abuse of Opioids in Dougherty County, Emergency Medical Services Director (EMS), Sam Allen, says that this is a dangerous drug dependence in our community that shows no respect of person when it comes to age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. And the impact of this crisis on Dougherty County EMS continues to become greater and greater each year.

While the average age range of the cases Dougherty County EMS works is from 25 to 60 years old, the caseload for those in their 20’s and sometimes even younger, is ever increasing. Allen attributes this to the new form of Fentanyl known as “Rainbow Fentanyl,” where the younger adult, teen, or adolescent is targeted. This version appears to look something like Skittles, or Sweet Tarts, and in many cases, most of the consumers think

it’s candy until it’s too late and an ambulance is called in.

“We have discovered that Rainbow Fentanyl can contain up to 2mg of Fentanyl, which is a lot,” said Allen.

Allen said that recently, in just a three-week time period, his department worked three cases of Rainbow Fentanyl with patients in their early 20’s. He also said that awareness is the key in helping to prevent anyone from consuming these and not knowing it, as well as the effects of abuse in users.

For this reason, Allen has participated in providing information via a video that is now part of a Traveling Exhibit sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). In this video, he shares gripping stories of Dougherty County’s continuous struggle with

this crisis in our community.

The exhibit, entitled “Drugs: Costs and Consequences,” opened on February 7, 2023, at Thronateeska Heritage Center, located at 100 W. Roosevelt Avenue in the Chautauqua Room, and is open to the public for viewing at no charge through Labor Day. Locally, the event is sponsored by Artesian Alliance, the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), and Phoebe Health Systems.

“It is an honor for us to have been chosen as the site for this national exhibit,” said Allen. “We hope that this tour will provide insight both locally and nationally on the Opioid Crisis in our area and the nation.”

Allen’s efforts stem even further as this year, he, along with Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler, the Department of Public Health,

CONTINUED ON PAGE 5 4 DOUGHERTY TODAY, FIRST QUARTER 2023

Southwest Georgia District, and Phoebe’s Network of Trust, brought back the Opioid Awareness Reenactment Event. Since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic and aftermath in our community, this was the first time in two years the event has been held.

Targeted at middle and high school students in the area, the purpose of this event is to provide attendees with a first-hand live reenactment of a drug overdose situation where the person dies and is declared deceased by the Coroner, a funeral home removes the deceased body, and everything that could possibly happen in a drug overdose situation. Drama students from local high schools serve as the actors.

“The students really watch this reenactment and take it all in,” said Allen. “It’s so quiet during the Coroner and Guest Speaker of the event that you can hear a pin drop, and although, we are not attempting to scare these young kids, we are trying to bring home the fact that if you use drugs, you don’t know what might happen, even death.”

The Opioid Reenactment Event was held on March 28, 2023, at 10 a.m. at the Albany Civic Center. The event was not open to the public, but only open to area middle and high schools.

Schools who attended included Monroe High School, Westover High School, Dougherty High School, and Arlington School. The goal is to get more and more schools to attend for future events.

Finally, in addressing the Opioid Crisis in Dougherty County, there is also a somewhat misconception of Narcan use with Opioid dependency. With local health departments and businesses providing this substance, Allen wants to reiterate that there is no guarantee that the Narcan will work. He said it depends on the patient, as well as what other drugs they might be on with the Opioids. Dougherty County EMS makes every effort to get the Opioid user to Phoebe Emergency Center, so that they can be admitted to Aspire and other Rehabilitation locations for addiction treatment.

“It’s a role of the dice when it comes to Narcan,” said Allen. “About 60 to 70 percent of the time, we are able to revive a patient with the nasal version of Narcan, which is what is distributed by public health, however, the other 30 to 40 percent of the time, we have to administer an IV of Narcan because the nasal version just isn’t powerful enough to revive the patient, and yet, in some cases, death still can occur.”

Allen warns abusers and families

of the abusers with relying on this as a course of action when patients overdose. He said the best plan is to eliminate the drug abuse and for family members of the abusers, to provide as much support in recovery as possible.

For more information on the DEA’s Drug Exhibit currently on display at Thronateeksa Heritage Center, visit https://drugexhibit.org.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 4
DOUGHERTY TODAY, FIRST QUARTER 2023 5 RE-ENACTMENT PHOTOS 2023
The DEA Opioid Exhibit: “Drugs: Costs & Consequences” will be on display at Thronateeska Heritage Center through Labor Day. Admission is free. COMMUNITY PARTNERS FOR THIS YEAR’S EVENT INCLUDED THE CORONER, PHOEBE NETWORK OF TRUST, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH, DOUGHERTY EMS, ALBANY POLICE DEPARTMENT, AND DOUGHERTY COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM.

Meet Maverick

Man’s Best Friend is a True Detective

F irst glance at this beautiful Dutch Shepherd and you are awed by his playfulness, but when it comes to duty time, Detective Maverick is a canine that is more than man’s best friend.

Maverick is the first canine in the brand new K9 Unit that is part of the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office and hails all the way from the state of Wisconsin, where his owners reside and have donated his services to the community they once served in as officers.

Deputy Michael Hefton, Maverick’s handler and nearly six-year officer of the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office, traveled to Wisconsin and trained with Maverick and his owners before returning to Dougherty County and swearing in this black beauty. A native of Dougherty County and graduate of Albany High School, Hefton trained for five weeks and said the owners paid for all the training and travel as well.

At the top of his class of K9’s, Hefton said that Maverick is an incredible part of the Sheriff’s Office in tracking missing people, especially juveniles and elderly, weapons, bombs and other explosives, and many other items. He will also help Hefton in better patrolling all downtown Government buildings and helping to keep these buildings safe for both employees, visitors and the community.

With the increase of elderly population in our community suffering with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, having a K9 like Maverick to scout out potential locations for lost individuals is an asset to our community.

The Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit has been operational now for almost one month and is just one of the many ways that we are helping to keep our County and community a safer place to live and work. We welcome Maverick to the team and thank Deputy Hefton for his continued work for the K9 Unit!

County Sheriff’s Office First K9
Dougherty
6 DOUGHERTY TODAY, FIRST QUARTER 2023
MAVERICK IS THE FIRST CANINE IN THE BRAND NEW K9 UNIT THAT IS PART OF THE DOUGHERTY COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE.

Dougherty County Flint River Trail System Expansion

ASU-to-Downtown Groundbreaking

D ougherty County Board of Commissioners and Albany State University (ASU) partnered on Thursday, March 9, 2023, to hold an official Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Flint River Trail, ASU to Downtown portion of the Flint River Trail System. The ceremony took place at 10 a.m. at ASU East, Lower Campus, located at 504 College Drive at the old softball fields.

This portion of Dougherty County’s Trail System involves the installation of approximately 1.3 miles of a concrete multipurpose trail in the Downtown area of Albany, between the Broad Avenue bridge and Albany State University’s East Campus.

Designed to following an existing pathway, the trail will start on the northeast side of the Broad Avenue bridge, travel down the hill and loop under both the Broad Avenue bridge and the Oglethorpe Boulevard bridge. From here, it will head south for a couple of hundred yards before climbing to the top of the large berm/ dike running between the ASU campus and the Flint River.

With Dougherty County’s completion of four miles of the Flint River Trail at Radium Springs last November, this project will bring more promise to one day connecting the ASU portion of the trail from the other side all the way to Radium Springs, providing

miles of continuous trail for residents, students, visitors, and the entire community to enjoy.

“Dougherty County is excited to finally bring this portion of the county trail to our community, especially to the thousands of ASU students who will be able to run, walk, or bike along the trail from the ASU campus to Downtown Albany, providing a significant connection between the cam-pus and the downtown district,” said Lorenzo L. Heard, Chairman of the Dougherty County Board of Commissioners.

Albany State University is a proud community partner to the city of CONTINUED ON

PAGE 8 DOUGHERTY TODAY, FIRST QUARTER 2023 7

Albany, Dougherty County, and the state of Georgia. The Flint River Trail’s connection from the heart of downtown Albany through our East Campus will enhance ASU’s partnership with our community by providing recreational space for a healthier Albany and ASU,” said Marion Ross Fedrick, President of Albany State University. “Collaborations like the Flint River Trails project supports the institution’s goal for greater community involvement while developing a deeper connection and understanding to the history of ASU and Albany, which is so closely intertwined (or use one and the same). The project furthers the university’s commitment to our overall health and wellness goal in support of robust health sciences programs and other community partnerships.”

“The Flint River Trail’s connection from the heart of downtown Albany through our East Campus will enhance ASU’s partnership with our community by providing recreational space for a healthier Albany and ASU.”
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 8 DOUGHERTY TODAY, FIRST QUARTER 2023
-- Marion Ross Fedrick President, ASU

Employee Health Wellness Center

&

he Dougherty County Board of Commissioners, Administration, Staff, and officials from CareATC and NFP, Dougherty County’s insurance brokerage provider, held a re-grand opening and ribbon cutting for the Dougherty County Health & Wellness Clinic, powered by CareATC, a county employee benefit designed for employees who participate in the employee healthcare plan, on February 28, 2023.

Dougherty County launched the Health & Wellness center for employees in 2016, with the intention of providing county employees who participate in the County’s healthcare plan with quick and convenient health services, prescription medications, preventative healthcare and more. Em-ployees and covered dependents are eligible to receive care at the Health & Wellness Center.

CareATC, Dougherty County’s new provider for the Health & Wellness Center, thrives on a model of

providing employees with primary care providers who can provide more individualized appointments to strengthen the patient-provider relationship and increase genuine patient accountability, which results in little-to-no waiting, extended time with medical providers, an emphasis on risk markers and total health, and integrated and coordinated care.

In 2008, Dougherty County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on a requirement for employees to undergo an annual Personal Health Assessment (PHA), which includes a check of blood pressure, height, weight, waist measurement, and blood draw to help with preventative care. The Health & Wellness Center is instrumental in assisting employees with this requirement and providing health coaching as needed for each employee.

The Dougherty County Health & Wellness Center, powered by CareATC, is staffed by local phy-

DOUGHERTY TODAY, FIRST QUARTER 2023 9

Re-Grand Opening T
sician, Dr. Michael Satchell, and Nurse Practitioners, Nedra Fortson and Mike Kelly. Currently, nearly 115 County employees and their families take advantage of the services provided in the Health & Wellness Center each month.

County Chairman and District 6 Commissioner Participate in Georgia Academy for Economic Development’s The Essentials Program

D ougherty County Commission Chairman, Lorenzo L. Heard, and County District 6 Commissioner, Anthony Jones, were among several across the state of Georgia to participate in The Board of the Georgia Academy for Economic Development’s The Essentials program that was held on March 8, 2023, in Americus, Georgia. The Essentials provided attendees an opportunity to gain a unique understanding of the complexities of economic and community development on the local, regional, and state levels.

Participants in the program included community and economic

development professionals, elected officials, public servants, business leaders, educators, and engaged citizens from across Georgia. Created in 1993, the Georgia Academy for Economic Development assembles a cross-section of experts, research-based curriculum, and resources necessary for building a vibrant economy. The Board of Directors of the Academy represent public and private economic development organizations and agencies across Georgia.

Georgia Electrical Membership Corporation (EMC) and Georgia Power provide facilitators for the program on behalf of their members and stakeholders, and the Georgia

Department of Community Affairs (DCA) provides staff and resources to execute the program statewide. Since its inception, the Academy has provided training for thousands of Georgians.

For more information on the Georgia Academy for Economic Development: The Essentials, visit GeorgiaAcademy.org.

10 DOUGHERTY TODAY, FIRST QUARTER 2023
Dougherty

Dougherty County District 6 Commissioner Appointed to Chair Southwest Georgia Regional Commission

At the February 24, 2023 meeting of the Southwest Georgia Regional Commission (SWGRC), Dougherty County District 6 Commissioner, Anthony Jones, began serving as Chairman. Jones succeeds Colquitt County Commissioner, Paul Nagy, who served as Chair of the SWGRC for several years.

Being named as a board member of the SWGRC in 2015, Jones has served as Vice Chairman since 2016. As Chairman, he will chair Executive Committee meetings and preside over monthly meetings. He will also be responsible for appointing committees and is authorized to authenticate by signature resolutions, contracts, and other documents adopted by the Commission, and will

also serve as a member of the board of directors for the Georgia Association of Regional Commissions.

A multi-county agency for the Southwest Georgia region headquartered in Camilla, Georgia, the SWGRC is one of 12 public agencies in the state, created by the Georgia Planning Act, to assist local governments on a regional basis and assist in establishing coordinated and comprehensive planning for the state.

Jones has served as Commissioner for Dougherty County’s District 6 since 2015 and is retired after 24 years of service as 4-H Youth Development Coordinator and County Extension Director for the Dougherty County Extension Service.

Dougherty County Commission Chairman Makes County Committee Appointments for 2023

During a recent Dougherty County Board of Commissioners meeting, Chairman Lorenzo L. Heard announced a few County Committee appointment changes for the year. Affected committees included chair positions for the Finance, Recreation, and Public Works Committees.

Leading up the Finance Committee for 2023 will be District 3 Commissioner Clinton Johnson; for the Chair of the Recreation Committee, District 2 Commissioner Victor Edwards was appointed; and Chairing the Public Works Committee will be District 1 Commissioner Ed Newsome. Each year, the Chairman of the Dougherty County Board of Commissioners reserves the authority to appoint and reappoint both Chairpersons and Committee members to any County Committee as he deems necessary.

The purpose of the

Dougherty County Finance Committee is to provide budget information for the county general funds, special services funds, and Solid Waste Enterprise Fund. The Recreation Committee coordinates with City of Albany Parks and Recreation on various County Park projects, as well as reviews potential park and recreational endeavors in the County. The Public Works Committee works with County Public Works to review various projects within this County department.

Johnson has served as Chair of the Recreation Committee since 2014 and Newsome has served as Chair of the Finance Committee since joining the Board of Commissioners in 2021.

This marks Edwards first appointment as Chair to the Recreation Committee. For the past year, he served as Chair of the Public Works Committee.

DOUGHERTY TODAY, FIRST QUARTER 2023 11
COMMISSIONER HIGHLIGHTS
CLINTON JOHNSON DISTRICT 3 ED NEWSOME DISTRICT 1 VICTOR EDWARDS DISTRICT 2

AROUND DOUGHERTY COUNTY

CHAIRMAN HIGHLIGHTS

Chairman Lorenzo L. Heard has been busy his first quarter of office, kicking off the year with a visit to the Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) Albany, and beginning touring with various County departments so far, including Public Works, Landfill, Clerk of Courts, Jail, Morgue and Probate Court. He also had a full tour of Radium Springs, with more tours in the works soon.

COMMISSION HIGHLIGHTS

Our Board of Commissioners have been busy this first quarter of 2023: Honoring area school football, cross country and track teams, visiting our State Capitol for Albany-Dougherty Day, touring the County Morgue, learning more about Broadband for our area, and more!

12 DOUGHERTY TODAY, FIRST QUARTER 2023

AROUND DOUGHERTY COUNTY

COMMISSION HIGHLIGHTS

Our Board of Commissioners have been busy this first quarter of 2023: Honoring area school football, cross country and track teams, visiting our State Capitol for Albany-Dougherty Day, touring the County Morgue, learning more about Broadband for our area, and more!

DOUGHERTY TODAY, FIRST QUARTER 2023 13

AROUND DOUGHERTY COUNTY

COMMISSION HIGHLIGHTS

Our Board of Commissioners have been busy this first quarter of 2023: Honoring area school football, cross country and track teams, visiting our State Capitol for Albany-Dougherty Day, touring the County Morgue, learning more about Broadband for our area, and more!

PUBLIC WORKS

Russell Allenbaugh, Public Works Maintenance Shop Manager, officially retired in January after 25 years of service to Dougherty County. Congratulations and Happy Retirement, Russell! We appreciate your service to Dougherty County!

Thanks to our Public Works Department for coordinating our annual Water Station for the 2023 Albany Marathon with their “Super Heros” themed booth, as well as all of our employees who volunteered to help out at the station!

Congratulations to our own Krista Dixon from the Library on completing her very first half marathon!!

14 DOUGHERTY TODAY, FIRST QUARTER 2023

AROUND DOUGHERTY COUNTY

EMS TRAINS PUBLIC WORKS STAFF

Thanks to Dickie Livingston with our EMS department for providing some training with our Public Works director, assistant director, managers and supervisors and getting them CPR Certified!

FACILITIES MANAGEMENT

Our Facilities Management Team has been busy this first quarter with installation of a new chiller at the Mental Health Building on 11th Avenue, HVAC units at Department of Health building, shelf removal and installation for Law Library in the Judicial Building, generator replacement at the Newton Road Fire Station, and reviewing options for warning lights at the bay doors for all EMS stations to improve safety!

DOUGHERTY TODAY, FIRST QUARTER 2023 15

Remembering Judge Stephen S. Goss

On March 1st, the Dougherty Judicial Circuit and Georgia Bar Association held an Unveiling Ceremony with a portrait of the late Judge Stephen S. Goss to be placed in the atrium of the Superior Courtroom in the Judicial Building.

16 DOUGHERTY TODAY, FIRST QUARTER 2023
Join Dougherty County as we celebrate National Counties Month in April!

Articles inside

AROUND DOUGHERTY COUNTY

1min
page 15

AROUND DOUGHERTY COUNTY

1min
page 14

AROUND DOUGHERTY COUNTY

1min
page 12

County Chairman and District 6 Commissioner Participate in Georgia Academy for Economic Development’s The Essentials Program

2min
pages 10-11

he Dougherty County Board of Commissioners, Administration, Staff, and officials from CareATC and NFP, Dougherty County’s insurance brokerage provider, held a re-grand opening and ribbon cutting for the Dougherty County Health & Wellness Clinic, powered by CareATC, a county employee benefit designed for employees who participate in the employee healthcare plan, on February 28, 2023.

1min
page 9

ASU-to-Downtown Groundbreaking

1min
pages 7-8

Meet Maverick

1min
pages 6-7

Up Close with EMS Director, Sam Allen Opioid Crisis Remains Real Issue in Dougherty County

3min
pages 4-5

Dougherty County’s New Chairman

2min
pages 1-3

AROUND DOUGHERTY COUNTY

1min
page 15

AROUND DOUGHERTY COUNTY

1min
page 14

AROUND DOUGHERTY COUNTY

1min
page 12

County Chairman and District 6 Commissioner Participate in Georgia Academy for Economic Development’s The Essentials Program

2min
pages 10-11

he Dougherty County Board of Commissioners, Administration, Staff, and officials from CareATC and NFP, Dougherty County’s insurance brokerage provider, held a re-grand opening and ribbon cutting for the Dougherty County Health & Wellness Clinic, powered by CareATC, a county employee benefit designed for employees who participate in the employee healthcare plan, on February 28, 2023.

1min
page 9

ASU-to-Downtown Groundbreaking

1min
pages 7-8

Meet Maverick

1min
pages 6-7

Up Close with EMS Director, Sam Allen Opioid Crisis Remains Real Issue in Dougherty County

3min
pages 4-5

Dougherty County’s New Chairman

2min
pages 1-3
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.