Newswire: Naomi Osaka put her well-being first and withdraws from French Open tennis tournament

Naomi Osaka

By: Stephanie Guerilus, The Grio

Four-time Grand Slam tennis phenom Naomi Osaka put herself first—becoming more of a hero for prioritizing her mental health and antagonizing those who hate when women exercise their agency. Especially Black women who have the nerve to do so. Japan’s Osaka announced last week that she wouldn’t be doing any press interviews at the 2021 French Open for the sake of her mental health. She found athletes subjecting themselves to post-match Q&As similar to “kicking a person while they were down.” Knowing she’d be fined for reneging on this obligation, Osaka hoped that money would be donated to mental health charities. Osaka is arguably one of the franchise players in tennis, reportedly earning a historic $55 million in 2020. The Japanese-Haitian superstar is a box office draw. Still, she didn’t flex and dictate diva demands. She wanted to protect her peace. But even when we explain ourselves nicely, the collective world still doesn’t listen to Black women if we’re not staying in our place. It’s all about checking in with yourself until it’s put into practice.  Roland-Garros fined Osaka $15,000 after she won her first round in the competition. The tennis star was then threatened with expulsion from the French Open, and future expulsions from the Australian and United States Opens and Wimbledon, if she didn’t participate in any news conferences. Roland-Garros applied even more pressure by seemingly mocking the second-seeded woman athlete with a since-deleted troll tweet about other tennis stars who “understood the assignment.” These organizations can master the latest trends but don’t have similar evolutions when it comes to the well-being of their star player. Osaka pulled out of the French Open on Monday, citing her depression and anxiety that resulted after her 2018 breakthrough U.S. Open win against Serena Williams, which catapulted her to worldwide fame. Several major women tennis players including Martina Navatalova, Billie Jean Young, Serena and Venus Williams have come to the defense of Naomi Osaka for her decision to protect her mental health.

Greene County High School Graduating Senior, 2021

NOTICE

The Greene County Democrat staff invites all Greene County High School graduating seniors, 2021, to come to the Democrat’s office, with white shirts/tops, to get their graduation photos taken for the newspaper.  The deadline for the photos is Friday, May 14, 2021. 

Office hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. 

Students may also  make individual appointments with 

Mrs. Barbara Amerson Hunter at 205-372-3373, or submit a photo to bamerson1345@bellsouth.net

 
 

Newswire: Baseball icon Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron dies at 86

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Hank Aaron


Baseball’s recognized home run king and an African American hero, Henry “Hank” Aaron, has died at the age of 86.
Aaron, who broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record on April 8, 1974, was not just a baseball legend but a hero to superstars. “He’s the one man that I idolize more than myself,” the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali once said about Aaron.
While with the Atlanta Braves, Aaron tied Ruth’s mark of 714 homers on April 7. A day later, he slugged No. 715 against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Al Downing.
Before and throughout his chase of Ruth’s longstanding record, Aaron was subjected to racism and hate. Death threats were common, and even some teammates and those throughout baseball despised Aaron as he approached their white hero’s record.
Despite beefed up security at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium, some fans breached the outfield walls as Aaron trotted around the bases following his record-setting dinger.
“A Black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol,” Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who called the game, proclaimed as Aaron’s mother, family, and teammates greeted him at home plate.
Born Henry Louis Aaron on February 5, 1934, in a poor Black section of Mobile, Alabama, called “Down the Bay,” Hank Aaron was the third of eight children born to Estella and Herbert Aaron. Aaron’s father made his living as a tavern owner and a dry dock boilermaker’s assistant. Aaron and his family moved to the middle-class Toulminville neighborhood when he was eight years old.
Aaron, who became known as “Hammering Hank,” developed a strong affinity for baseball and football at a young age and focused more heavily on sports than his studies. During his freshman and sophomore years, he attended Central High School, a segregated high school in Mobile, where he excelled at football and baseball.
Aaron first starred in the Negro Leagues in 1952 and again in 1953, batting .366, with five home runs and 33 RBIs in 26 official games. He began his Major League Baseball career in 1954 with the Milwaukee Braves and spent 23 seasons as an outfielder with Milwaukee – the franchise eventually moved to Atlanta.
Aaron finished his career with 755 home runs, a record topped by Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants in 2007. However, many baseball purists recognize Aaron as the true record holder, alleging that Bonds used performance enhancing drugs to bolster his power.Bonds has denied those allegations.
Aaron’s biography at the Baseball Hall of Fame, where he earned induction in 1982, noted that he was “a consistent producer both at the plate and in the field, reaching the .300 mark in batting 14 times, 30 home runs 15 times, 90 RBI 16 times and captured three Gold Glove Awards enroute to 25 All-Star Game selections.” He also had over 3,000 hits during his MLBaseball career.
On the 25th anniversary of Aaron’s 715th home run, Major League Baseball created the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the players with the best overall offensive performances in each league.
Aaron received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, from President George W. Bush in 2002.
According to the New York Times, the Baseball Hall of Fame opened a permanent exhibit in 2009 chronicling Aaron’s life. His childhood home was moved on a flatbed truck to the grounds of Hank Aaron Stadium, which was the home of the Mobile BayBears, a former minor league team, and opened as a museum in 2010.
“Through his long career, Hank Aaron has been a model of humility, dignity, and quiet competence,” former Atlanta Mayor and U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young noted in a statement. “He did not seek the adoration that is accorded to other national athletic heroes, yet he has now earned it. ”

Greenetrack, Inc. Charities distribute $71,000 for October, and $1,000 scholarship award

The non-profit charities operating electronic bingo at Greenetrack in Eutaw, AL, E-911 Communication Services, the Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and Woman to Woman, Inc., provided charitable contributions, for the month of October, to a variety of local organizations, all benefitting Greene County residents.
A total of $71,100 dollars was divided and given to the following charities:
Greene County Board of Education ($13,500); Greene County Hospital ($7,500); Greene County Commission ($24,000); City of Eutaw ($4,500); City of Union ($3,000); City of Boligee ($3,000); City of Forkland ($3,000); and Greene County Ambulance Service ($8,000).
Woman To Woman, Inc. distributed the Greenetrack $1,000 scholarship to Tyleshia Porter, a 2020 graduate of Greene County High School.
The following non-profit groups received $300: Greene County Nursing Home, SCORE, Greene County Golf Course, James C. Poole Memorial Library, Greene County Foster & Adoptive Parents Association, PARA, Greene County Housing Authority Youth Involvement, Children’s Policy Council, Reach, Greene County DHR, Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and the Society of Folk Arts and Culture.

Newswire:  John Thompson, coaching legend and unforgettable mentor, dies at 78

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

Coach John Thompson


John Thompson was the first Black coach to win the NCAA Championship. In 1984, he led the Georgetown Hoyas to victory over the Houston Cougars. In 1985 Thompson was named Coach of the Year.  He coached at Georgetown University from 1972 to 1999.
Thompson was a coach who set the bar high for his players on and off the basketball court. He coached Patrick Ewing, Allen Iverson, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutumbo. He became a mentor to many long after they left Georgetown and competitive basketball.
Thompson had a preference for players that had a passion for the game on the court. He once said, “you can calm down a fool before you can resurrect a corpse.”
He emphasized the power of habit, attitude and state of mind with his players. “If you think you are beaten you are. If you think you dare not, you won’t,” he once said.
“Big John Thompson is the single most important African American man in the history of D.C. sports,” Sia writer Clinton Yeats. In 1999 he was selected to be in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
In 27 seasons, Thompson compiled a coaching record of 596-239. Most importantly to Thompson, 97 percent of his players stayed four years and left Georgetown University with a college degree.
Thompson was born in Washington, D.C. and went on to play in the NBA for the Boston Celtics.
Thompson is survived by his three children, John Thompson III, who also coached basketball at Georgetown, Ronny Thompson and Tiffany Thompson. Thompson’s autobiography is due out in January 2021.

Greenetrack charities distribute $71,100 to local non-profit groups

E-911 Communication Services, the Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and Woman to Woman, Inc., provided charitable contributions, for the month of July, to a variety of local organizations, all benefitting Greene County residents.
According to Luther Winn, Greenetrack CEO, “By giving to the organizations directly, the charities are taking a progressive approach to assist the community in areas where the need is most apparent.”
Winn explained that the Greenetrack charities operating electronic bingo at Greenetrack are following the rules set forth by Sheriff Jonathan Benison but they have decided to provide the funds directly rather than through the Sheriff’s office.
A total of $71,100 dollars was divided and given to the following charities:
Greene County Board of Education ($13,500); Greene County Hospital ($7,500); Greene County Commission ($24,000); City of Eutaw ($4,500); City of Union ($3,000); City of Boligee ($3,000); City of Forkland ($3,000); and Children’s Policy Council ($3,000); Soicety of Folk Arts and Culture ($3,000) and James C. Poole Library $3,000.
The following non-profit groups received $300: Greene County Nursing Home, SCORE, Greene County Golf Course, James C. Pool Memorial Library, Greene County Foster & Adoptive Parents Association, PARA, Greene County Housing Authority Youth Involvement, Children’s Policy Council, Reach, Greene County DHR, Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and the Society of Folk Arts and Culture.

Greene County High students show noted progress in ACT scores

The Greene County Board of Education held its regular meeting on Monday, June 15, 2020, as a Virtual Zoom meeting in keeping with safety measures relative to COVID-19 Pandemic. All board members were participants as well as Superintendent Corey Jones, Attorney Hank Sanders and CSFO LaVanda Blair.
In his report to the board, Superintendent Jones provided an overview of the ACT Data Analysis for 11th graders. The participating students were engaged in an eight-week mathematics test prep course. They were given a mock pre-test, quizzes and test-taking tips. The consultants met with students one day per week for 8 weeks from January to March.
Dr. Jones noted that during this time the Mastery Works Team provided the students with instruction in mathematics based on the previous formative and summative assessments to ensure mastery skills. “Collaboration between Mastery Works Test Prep, Marimac Academy, GCHS Administrative Team, counselors, teachers and students made possible the progress in raising our ACT scores,” he said. Jones stated that more details will be provided at the next board meeting.
In his update on maintenance, Superintendent Jones stated that air conditioners at all locations have been cleaned; all buildings are being pressure washed; foam sanitizers are purchased for all school facilities; and there is a grounds beautification project in progress.
According to Dr. Jones, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the postponement of state evaluations, the State Department of Education (SDE) has advised that all school systems will maintain their academic status from the previous year. He also noted that the SDE is advising school system to consider opening schools after August 20. Specific guidelines will be forthcoming.
The board approved in its personnel items a listing of retirements, resignations, hirings and re-calls and salary adjustments.
*Resignations: Brittany January, Math Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School, effective May 22, 2020; Toice Goodson, Principal, Greene County Alternative School, effective May 31, 2020.
*Retirements: Verna Nickson, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation, effective June 1, 2020; Brenda Washington, 3rd Grade Teacher, Eutaw Primary School, effective July 1, 2020.
*Employment: Nicole Henley, Health Science Instructor, Greene County Career Center; Caaliyah Nelson, 4th Grade Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; Cecil Cunningham 5th Grade Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; Franklin Ball, 7th & 8th Grade Math Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; Samantha Jones, 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; Demilla Snyder 7th & 8th Grade Science Teacher, (Star Academy); Sherita Abrams Pickens, 3rd Grade Teacher, Eutaw Primary School
*Re-Call the following employees, Eutaw Primary School: Gwendolyn Webb, PreK Instructional Assistant; LaKeisha D. Johnson, PreK Instructional Assistant; Danielle Sanders, Elementary Teacher; Lurena A. Smith, Elementary Teacher; Chandra M. Toney, Elementary Teacher; Domonique McDaniels, Elementary Teacher; Valerie Moore, PE Teacher; Quenterica White, Elementary Teacher; Tara Thomas, Elementary Teacher.
*Re-Call the following employees, Greene County High School: Josef Stancer, Band Instructor; Tyler Mitchell, Social Science Teacher; Jacqueline Edwards, full-time Janitor.
*Re-Call the following employees, Robert Brown Middle School: NKenge Reynolds, Social Science Teacher; Alisa A. Ward, Elementary Teacher; Leanita R. Hunt, Elementary Teacher; Starr D. Christian, English Teacher; Ashley Moody, English Teacher.
*Renewal of contracted employees: Cynthia Crawford, Technology Assistant, Central Office; Jacqueline Allen, Reading Coach, Eutaw Primary School.
*Approved salary adjustment: James Gaines, Interim Transportation Supervisor.
*Approved a one-time signing bonus of $1,500.00: for all new and current bus drivers that sign a two-year contract with the school system. In the event that a bus driver does not fulfill the two-year commitment, they must pay back the $1,500.00 bonus.
*Approved: Angela Harkness, Virtual Summer School Instructor, for Odyssey Ware.
The board approved the following admin istrative services:
Contract with Curriculum Consultant Malysa Chandler, to Develop and Implement Curriculum; 21st Century Grant for FY 2020-2021; Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.

Sheriff distributes $349,814.79 for February from three bingo facilities

Shown L to R accepting bingo distributions: Union Councilwoman Louise Harkness; Martina Henley, representing the City of Eutaw; Kelsey Spencer, representing the Eutaw Housing Authority; James Morrow for the Greene County Golf Course; Sheriff Benison; Marylin Gibson for the Greene County Library; Earnestine Wade for Town of Boligee; Yolanda Young for DHR; Dr. Marcia Pugh CEO GC Health System and Forkland Mayor Charlie McAlpine.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Department reported a total distribution of $349,814.79 for the month of February 2020 from three licensed bingo gaming operations in the county, including Frontier, River’s Edge and Palace. The Charities of Greenetrack, Inc. reported distributions to the various community entities separately from the sheriff.
The recipients of the February distributions from bingo gaming designated by Sheriff Benison in his Bingo Rules and Regulations include the Greene County Commission, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
This distribution report includes the following Bingo Sub- Charities: Association of Volunteer Fire Departments, Greene County Golf Course, Poole Memorial Library, Children’s Policy Council, Greene County Housing Authority and Department of Human Resources.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $68,997 to the following: Greene County Commission, $18,342; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $20,250; City of Eutaw, $5,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $2,325; Greene County Board of Education, $6,300, Greene County Health System, $7,500. Frontier’s total distribution included $4,080 to six sub charities at $680 each.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $118,904.85 to the following: Greene County Commission $31,609.38; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $34,897.50; City of Eutaw, $9,564.50; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,006.75; Greene County Board of Education, $10,857, and the Greene County Health System, $12,925. River’s Edge total distribution included $7,301.22 to six sub charities at $1,171.87 each.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $161,912.94 to the following: Greene County Commission, 43,042.56; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $47,520; City of Eutaw, $13,024; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $5,456; Greene County Board of Education, $14,784 and the Greene County Health System, $17,600. Palace’s total distribution included $9,574.38 to six sub charities at $1,595.73 each.

Greenetrack issues charitable contributions for February

Shown L to R: Johnnie Knott, Woman to Woman Inc; Hodges Smith, Assoc. Volunteer Fire Department; Iris Sermon, E911 Communication Services

Eutaw, AL- Today, E-911 Communication Services, the Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and Woman to Woman, Inc., non-profit charities operating electronic bingo at Greenetrack in Eutaw, AL provided charitable contributions to a variety of local organizations, all benefitting Greene County residents.
According to Luther Winn, Greenetrack CEO, by giving to the organizations directly, the charities are taking a progressive approach to assist the community in areas where the need is most apparent.
The charities operating electronic bingo at Greenetrack are following the rules set forth by Sheriff Joe Benison but they have decided to provide the funds directly rather than through the Sheriff’s office.
Over seventy –one thousand dollars were divided and given to the following charities:
Greene County Board of Education ($13,500); Greene County Hospital ($7,500); Greene County Commission ($24,000); City of Eutaw ($4,500); City of Union ($3,000); City of Boligee ($3,000); City of Forkland ($3,000); and Greene County Ambulance Service ($9,000)
The following charities received $300: Greene County Nursing Home, SCORE, Greene County Golf Course, James C. Pool Memorial Library, Greene County Foster’s Adoptive Parents Association, PARA, Greene County Housing Authority Youth Involvement, Children’s Policy Council, Reach, Greene County DHR, Greene County Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, and the Society of Folk Arts and Culture.

GCHS Boys Varsity are 3A Area 8 Champs, heading to Montgomery for the Sweet 16

Greene County High School Boys Varsity Basketball Team achieved 3A Area 8 Tournament Champions 2019-2020 in their win over Hale County High last week. The Tigers were victorious over Prattville Christian Academy, 58-50, Tuesday, Feb. 11 at GCHS which has advanced them to the Regional Sweet 16 beginning Monday, Feb. 17 in Montgomery. Team members shown above, following the Hale County win, include: Akeem Edmonds, NorDarrius Harris, Quanta Ball, Allen Pelt, FyShawn Burton, Joshua Merritt, Kentaye Levingston, Alex Williams, Lamon Pelt, Brandon Pack, Willie Davis, Tremaine Sanford, Tyler Naylon, Jonathan Merritt, and Desmond Wilson. Boys Varsity Coach, Rodney Wesley, is shown standing far right.