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I personally like two components in downtown redevelopment in Georgia: funky and mixed use.  The main street programs in Tifton, Moultrie, Americus, Madison and Athens are so cool to me.  Eccentric shops, coffee houses, sports bars, and bookstores might provide an after hour balance to the lunch spots for governmental workers in Albany.  When Albany State plays FVSU in Columbus, we make an annual stop at a place called the Cannon Brew Pub on Broad Street; that area could be the model for downtown Albany with the hip college kids and people who find the mall area lacking in character.  I have not been there but I hear good things about the Broad area of Augusta. 

Yes, it was a rough day when Bo Henry headed west because the second floor of his place had that vibe.  The old Broad Street Bistro had a chef from a local country club who took hook up a peanut entrusted pan-seared trout that was brilliant and all within minutes of my old office.

So let’s operate backwards for a second: while some people are wary of downtown Albany after dark, who are the possible brave souls who might help turn the area around.  I might be wrong but I still like students from the three colleges and obviously brave Marines.  I wish downtown jumped when I was in the dorm at ASU because walking across the bridge to an entertainment zone could have been too cool.  Remember Morehouse College and Spelman College, and pre-Olympics Georgia Tech (Techwood Homes) are/were in some rough areas that make downtown Albany seem like nothing to fear.  It is my understanding that Yale and the University of South California are in rough areas and I know every college student must be careful anywhere in D.C.

With all the concerns, different clienteles are packing them in at the Albany Theater.  If I were a young person, I could get into living in the building that had the crosses on top during Christmas if it was converted into apartments and lofts with ASU upperclassmen in mind.  But what am I thinking, the new dorms at ASU are great.  I am having a hard time thinking of an HBCU that is closer to a hip area and I would like seeing college students living in a town where a car is not a necessity—don’t forget about the Darton and Albany Tech students as well as young working people.  What about college hours at the First Tee? 

Another model for downtown Albany is the cool NoDa area of Charlotte, North Carolina.  They have a bar for people with dogs.  I am tired of people saying that the Albany area is fine in many ways but let’s run to Atlanta every other weekend.  

http://www.noda.org/

 http://www.dogbarnoda.com/

 http://thecannonbrewpub.com/history.php

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Congratulations to blog contributor HBA for being Number 43 on Metro Spirit’s Most Influential List in Augusta.  You really are a community asset. 

 http://www.metrospirit.com/index.php?cat=1211101074307265&ShowArticle_ID=11011407090611343

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The headline in last Thursday’s Augusta Chronicle ‘Juvenile Crime up 23% in Richmond in the last year’ was troubling.  So much so that I teamed up with a friend who manages three Waffle House restaurants and three local organizations that work directly with at-risk and disenfranchised boys to do something about it. A press conference was held Wednesday and once again the local media were there. Our CBS and NBC affiliate, our daily newspaper and the black owned weekly newspaper were there and gave us much coverage and much love. In about 24 hours, we’ve got over 60 men who have signed up to serve as mentors for our young boys. Our goal is 250 men, by August 7th, who commit to at least one hour per week with a young man. It seems we’re well on our way. We’ve even attracted people who want to help ‘recruit’ men to get involved. I’m blown away by the response we’ve received in such a short time…

The following article was featured in today’s Augusta Chronicle. http://www.augustachronicle.com

Effort seeks mentors for young males
By Stephanie TooneStaff Writer
Thursday, July 16, 2009

Helen Blocker-Adams met with media and community partners Wednesday about filling the void of father figures in the lives of Richmond County’s young males. // <![CDATA[//

Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Radio host Helen Blocker-Adams (right) and Waffle House District Manager Escubar Moore (left) want men to volunteer to be mentors for young males to help combat the rise in juvenile crime in Augusta.

Mrs. Blocker-Adams, a talk show host on WNRR-AM 1230, said she was disturbed after reading in The Augusta Chronicle that juvenile crime has increased 23 percent in the past three months, compared to the same time last year. That should be a wake-up call to Augusta, she said.

“Juvenile crime is just off the Richter scale,” she told a crowd in front of the Waffle House on Gordon Highway on Wednesday. “We have to find some surrogate fathers for these young males because a lot them don’t have one.”

She and Escubar Moore, the district manager of three Augusta Waffle House restaurants, will sponsor the Back to School Men’s Drive for Kids, a campaign to recruit positive male role models for Augusta’s male youth.

By July 27, Mrs. Blocker-Adams and Mr. Moore hope to sign up 250 men to volunteer with local mentoring agencies: Dads in Action, An Ounce of Prevention and Full Circle Refuge Juvenile Justice Ministry.

Mr. Moore said men can sign up at Waffle House locations on Gordon Highway, Deans Bridge Road and Wrightsboro Road. The men are asked to give one hour a week with one of the three mentoring agencies. About 75 men had signed up to volunteer as of Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Moore said.

“I hope we blow that number away and have even more,” he said. “That 250 hours per week can make a whole lot of difference in our community.”

Devon Harris, the executive director of the Full Circle Refuge Juvenile Justice Ministry, has worked with troubled youth for several years. He said the statistics are not surprising. A positive male in the lives of some of the young men in his program could make a difference in their lives and have an impact on the community, Mr. Harris said.

“We want to think it’s somebody else’s problem or the government’s problem, but we have to plant the seed,” he said. “These young men are looking for guidance. They want someone to invest in their lives.”

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

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Although it was less than 10,000 of the Richmond County, Ga. voters that took the time to go and vote, there was mandate of 70% of them that said ‘yes’ to SPLOST VI. This issue was one of the first that I was publicly vocal because it impacts so many people. Local, state and federal government are not the perfect models. Especially in this day and time. But it’s what we’ve got. And for a local municipality to have a revenue stream to fund infrastructure, roads, capital projects and quality of life projects without having to put the total burden on property owners, SPLOST VI is the way to go. My prediction was 68% yes and 32% no. Seems I was pretty close and I’m pleased about that. Vocal supporters had a victory party at one of the local night spots and the media took notice. Check out the front page photo of today’s Augusta Chronicle. http://www.augustachronicle.com. By the way, I’m the one in the middle holding my Blackberry that showed the election results.

hbatax

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2009/06/17/met_527947.shtml

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Seems I’ve been on the frontlines of politics lately. Umm.. Wednesday night,  I was on the air with Herman Cain and this coming Monday afternoon, it will be a cyberspace online debate with a local Liberterian on an important Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST VI)upcoming vote. See article below from the Augusta Chronicle. http://www.augustachronicle.com

P.S. By the way, that photo was from my 2005 Mayoral race in Augusta…

Coming Monday: online SPLOST debate

Posted by Johnny Edwards on June 03, 2009 – 5:18 PM

SPLOST VI – a mean, lean infrastructure package, or chock full of pork?

A good way to keep property taxes down, or yet another government mechanism for fleecing the people?

Back on track now that the Augusta Commission has made progress on the TEE center, or doomed because commissioners did too little too late?

So far, about 400 people have cast early ballots on the city’s proposed $184.7 million special-purpose sales tax package, which goes to the polls citywide on July 16. For the benefit of the remaining registered voters – about 10 to 15 percent of whom are expected to take part in the referendum – The Augusta Chronicle will hold an online debate on the merits of SPLOST VI on Monday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., moderated by yours truly.

In one corner, representing the “No SPLOST” crowd, will be Libertarian Party of the CSRA Chairman Rocky Eades. This will be the first time any Libertarian anywhere has been permitted to take part in a debate in the United States. Not really, but I do believe it’s high-time the nation’s third-largest party had a voice in national and local political forums.

In the other corner, from the “yes to SPLOST” viewpoint, will be Helen Blocker-Adams, former mayoral candidate, host of “People and Issues with Helen” on NewsRadio WNRR-AM (1230) and one of the Garden’s City’s sharpest pundits. Far from a tax-and-spend liberal, Ms. Blocker-Adams was a speaker at the Augusta Tax Day Tea Party at at Riverwalk Augusta’s Jessye Norman Amphitheater in April.

The debate will unfold on our Web site in a live chat format. To follow along or take part, go to http://augustachronicle.com/metro.

So long as you’re logged on to our site, you can submit questions as we go which I will selectively pose to the participants. (Stick to the subject matter, be civil and no profanity.) Questions can also be submitted in advance though a link already up on the Metro page.

I’ll also take early questions at my e-mail address, johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com. To preserve the integrity of the debate, please don’t post your questions on this blog. At least not if you want me to use them.

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Former Newt Gingrich staffer Matt Towery, who heads the political firm Insider Advantage, has the “right” idea about what’s next for the Republicans.  Notice I did not say “conservatives” because some mild conservatives might find a comfortable home inside the Democrat Party if the Blue Dogs continue to growth.  If the White House initiatives actually start to kick-in, the Blue Dog conservative Democrats numbers could counterbalance some of the liberal weight and produce a near center party.  That nightmare scenario could be real trouble for the GOP.

Why Fox or CNN hasn’t put a pile of money in front of Towery is a mystery because the guy makes good old common sense.  In a recent column, Towery wrote of the need for new blood in the GOP.  I personally don’t think the Republican party is on life support quite yet, but they could use some new style points to get their swagger back. 

(Here comes a classic ramble)

So I am watching ABC Private Practice last night because that show is almost as thought-provoking as Grey’s Anatomy (recorded CSI and NBC’s Southland—I need a life).  The guy who saved the lady president on Fox’s 24 is starting a cutting edge medical facility and trying to woo the attractive sister over to his operation.  The lady with the cool southern accent who runs the regular hospital wants the job but the guy from 24 said no and by the way, you are fired because you don’t have a heart.  Ouch.

My point is that you must have a heart to go with your mind or the people will notice and react.  Love him or hate him, Obama has a heart and cares about moving America forward.  The same statement can be said about Newt Gingrich, Obama’s obvious opponent in 2012. 

On the subject of heart, contributor to this blog Helen Blocker Adams of Augusta is celebrating her birthday today so I assume the local schools are closed for the holiday or for flu prevention.  Helen is an asset to the region because she has a kind heart and the area elected officials must be hearing the footsteps of her approaching stylish pumps—watch out. 

Republican Ray McKinney of Savannah brought new blood to the 12th District congressional race last year but the blue bloods wanted a D.C. insider.    The return of the GOP starts with new blood from existing sources. 

http://townhall.com/Columnists/MattTowery/2009/04/30/arlen_specter_and_other_magic_bullets_aimed_at_the_gop

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