Category Archives: Uncategorized

Plasma donations are used to manufacture life-saving medicines!

Plasma donor centers are considered an “essential business,” because the plasma donated at our centers are used to manufacture life-saving medicines. These donations are more crucial than ever to ensure continued supply of these life-saving medicines.

We are taking new precautions within plasma centers to ensure a safe donation and

limit the spread of COVID-19.  Grifols centers are following all guidance from local, state, and federal authorities developed to control the spread of COVID-19.  For instance, we are utilizing more of an appointment system to limit the number of donors in our centers.  We are seating donors in every-other donation bed and reduced the number of seats available in the lobby.  We have enhanced existing cleaning protocols.  We are carefully monitor both donor and employee temperatures before they come into a center.

We are proud that Grifols, our parent company, is leading the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Grifols has begun identifying, screening and selecting volunteer donors who have recovered from COVID-19 to donate their plasma.  Our local Albany, GA facility is one of these donation centers.

The plasma will be used to produce a hyperimmune globulin that could potentially treat the disease

All potential donors must be prescreened. Those interested should visit GRIFOLSPLASMA.COM/EN/ENDCVI9 to find out more about the locations and protocols in place prior to visiting a Grifols plasma center

Here are some requirements to donate plasma:

  1. Interested recovered donors must have a diagnosis made with a test (nasal swab or

blood) and complete resolution of COVID-19 symptoms at least 28 days prior to donation;

  1. Or complete resolution of symptoms at least 14 days prior to donation along with a

negative molecular test for COVID-19;

  1. As well as meet our routine eligibility criteria for normal source plasma donation.
  2. A donor must feel healthy, weigh more than 110 pounds and be between the ages of 18 and 69 and live in the local area. Visit for details regarding eligibility.


Chamber CEO: Let’s reimagine and redefine what we can be

On Economic Recovery, Reimagination and Resiliency


Albany has demonstrated time and again that it can withstand a crisis, unite in its wake and emerge stronger in its aftermath. We are innovative, compassionate and resilient. We don’t need to reinvent who we are. We need to reimagine and redefine what we can be.

By Bárbara Rivera Holmes

President & CEO

Bárbara Rivera Holmes
President & CEO


Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet and theologian, thoughtfully wrote that a wound is the place where the light enters you. The concept is most often visualized within the context of personal healing and growth, but it also beautifully applies to our community. Now, through this difficult time, we must recover in a way that allows us to improve our economic competitiveness and resiliency, and create new pathways for our citizens.


In January, at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce’s 110th annual meeting, I shared with more than 400 business and civic leaders the challenges and opportunities on which our organization would focus in order to advance economic sustainability and prosperity for our community and our region. In February, we launched the community’s first comprehensive work force strategy. The forward trends and issues within our focus areas — small business innovation and entrepreneurship; economic development; inclusivity and advocacy; talent and work force training — are now more important. Urgent, even. The environment has accelerated, and so must our response. Because COVID-19 didn’t just present a health crisis; it hit fast forward on a socioeconomic paradigm shift.


The disruptions in global supply chains, the changes in consumer behavior, the development of social distancing guidelines, the limitations on travel, the broad implementation of telework — these are challenges in what is becoming the old economy. The opportunities — onshoring production for domestic security, a preference for locally-sourced goods and foods, closer-to-home leisure travel, an increase in automation and demand for high-tech skills, flexibility to work from anywhere, a surge in gig jobs — exist within the emerging new economy.


Upskilling and diversifying the existing work force, and creating, retaining and recruiting talent, will create exponential growth opportunities. Spending more dollars locally than abroad and online will allow them to recirculate within our economy, which will mean stronger small businesses, offsets to tax hikes and improvements to critical infrastructure. Helping our existing industries grow and recruiting new ones will strengthen our economic anchors, expand the tax base and provide more jobs.


The Albany Area Chamber is working with community partners to frame the conversations around economic recovery and resiliency. Together, we responded decisively and innovatively in the face of the health crisis. Together, we are supporting businesses through reopening. Now, as we write the next chapter of Albany’s history, together we must move forward.


COVID-19 has wounded us. We can recover, and we will. We can also reimagine and redefine what we can be. We can regenerate as more inclusive and resilient and vibrant. We can let the light enter us.


Bárbara Rivera Holmes is president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Manage Your Business Remotely in Times of Uncertainty

As a Grow with Google Partner, The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce would like to invite you to tune in to a special livestream for small businesses: Manage Your Business Remotely in Times of Uncertainty.

Learning objective:

Discover tools, tips and resources to help you manage your business remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn how to update critical business information online to keep customers informed, and how to host virtual meetings and events. We’ll also share the latest resources from Google and other partners to help support small businesses.

The Grow with Google team will be hosting this live, virtual event on May 6, 2020 at 9AM PT / 12PM ET.

Interested in learning about tools like Google My Business, Google Ads, Google Meet, and YouTube? RSVP to tune in today: In the “how did you hear

about this livestream event” you can let the Google team know that you heard from The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce! You can ask questions live during the event on Twitter by using #smallbizlivestream.



Chamber, United Way facilitate philanthropy during COVID-19


April 13, 2020

United Way of Southwest Georgia’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund Receives Significant Donation from Wildfair Plantation

ALBANY, GA – Wildfair Plantation announced today a $125,000 donation to the United Way of Southwest Georgia’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund to help people most affected by the current pandemic.  The donation comes alongside contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals including the Turner Foundation, Betty & Davis Fitzgerald Foundation, Garnett Smith Foundation, Truist Foundation, and UPS.


“On behalf of the Wildfair family, our businesses and friends, we believe we have greater impact when we work together,” said Joseph Davenport III, owner of Wildfair Plantation, a local hunting preserve. “We stand strong with Albany and are pleased to support the community through the COVID-19 Community Relief Fund. We know the Fund’s leadership will ensure that the individuals and organizations that need it most will get support quickly to help weather this storm.”


The Southwest Georgia COVID-19 Relief Fund is being managed by the United Way of Southwest Georgia. Local organizations, including the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce are also offering their support and leadership.


“This gift by the Davenports and the Wildfair Plantation community is so much more than a charitable donation; it represents a commitment and desire to improve the human welfare of Albany and the Albany Area in a way that will have immediate, significant and lasting impacts,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber, the region’s leading business advocacy organization. “We are grateful for the relationship with the Davenports and to have facilitated their philanthropy, which we hope will serve as a catalyst for further support and investments for our citizens and our community.”


“COVID-19 is a new test of our collective strength and together we will rise,” says Shaunae Motley, president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Georgia.  “We are grateful to Joseph and Susan Davenport and the Wildfair family for believing in our mission and choosing us as a vehicle to provide hope and respond to our community’s emergency needs.  So many citizens will be helped through their generous gift.”


The Fund is working to quickly address the economic challenges of COVID-19 by rapidly deploying resources to community-based organizations in need of funds to meet the immediate needs of individuals affected by the crisis.  The distrubution committe comprised of a cross-section of community leaders is reviewing applications from local nonprofits and organizations seeking funding and expects to distribute the first round of grants beginning April 14.


To contribute to the COVID-19 Response Fund, visit or text FIGHT COVID to 313131. As funds are distributed, United Way will publish the receiving agencies, along with the help they can provide and contact information on their website.


About United Way of Southwest Georgia


For over 65 years, United Way of Southwest Georgia has been an innovative force in the community, successfully responding to emerging needs and transforming people’s lives. Today our work is focused on education, financial stability and health – the building blocks for a good life. We invest in quality programs, advocate for better policies, engage people in the community and generate resources.  United Way of Southwest Georgia serves a geographic territory of thirteen counties including: Baker, Calhoun, Crisp, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Lee, Mitchell, Randolph, Sumter, Terrell, Wilcox and Worth.  To learn more, visit 



Albany Area Chamber releases business impact survey


For Immediate Release

Contact: Barbara Rivera Holmes


April 16, 2020


Albany Area Chamber and LSG lead regional business impact survey


Albany, Ga. – The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and Locate South Georgia have partnered to collect information through a series of surveys regarding the extent to which the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has affected local and regional business operations. The online survey opens today and closes April 29.


“The pandemic has impacted every aspect of life and commerce in Albany and Southwest Georgia. The surveys will provide deeper insights into the real-time impact and help continue to inform local, state and federal leaders so as to align policy to needs,” said Bárbara Rivera Holmes, president and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber. “By working regionally, we can create a stronger platform for near-term economic relief and long-term economic recovery.”


The partnership brings together chambers of commerce and other economic development organizations throughout Southwest Georgia.


“We created Locate South Georgia to better leverage the assets of the region. By partnering with the Albany Area Chamber on this impact survey, we can better serve our business communities and support the overall regional economy,” said Jason Dunn, executive director of the Fitzgerald and Ben Hill County Development Authority and chairman of Locate South Georgia, an economic development collaborative of communities throughout the region.


The survey, which can be accessed online at is to businesses in all industries, including agriculture. It has 20 questions and is expected to take no more than 10 minutes to complete.




Since 1910, the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has advocated for business success through leadership and economic development. Learn more at


LSG markets South Georgia as a globally competitive location for business and industry. Learn more at



An Insider’s Perspective on the Leadership of J. Scott Steiner

J. Scott Kavanaugh, BSN, RN and Manager of Phoebe Care Command, was recently tasked with an assignment while pursuing his Master of Business Administration. The assignment was, “Choose a CEO or top official who is a strong leader in a public or private organization who has displayed exemplary leadership with current world circumstances” based on the five practices of exemplary leadership found in the book, Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner. For Kavanaugh, the choice was evident as he had a front-seat view to watch leadership play out in real-time at the top of his organization. The following is one insider’s view of the inspiring leadership of J. Scott Steiner, President, and CEO of Phoebe Putney Health System.

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”

–Ronald Reagan

An organization often cannot see the full effects of a decision until the time of crisis hits. In the early spring of 2019, as most of southwest Georgia went about their daily routines, Phoebe Putney Health System put two decisions in play that have proven crucial during the current coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic for our community: the launch of Phoebe Care Command Center and the installation of a new CEO.

As an employee of Phoebe Putney Health System, it’s easy for me to choose for this assignment Mr. J. Scott Steiner, our President and CEO – especially amidst the current pandemic we all know as COVID-19. Even before the pandemic, Mr. Steiner was displaying exemplary leadership with only a 1-year tenure with the health system. The mission of Phoebe is supported by his commitment and advocacy for the community we serve, and the individuals we employ. He is a transparent leader, communicating honestly and timely to provide information that aids in alleviating speculation or unrest. While there was preparation for this pandemic for our organization, there was no way to know precisely the impact on our hospital. Though it has impacted our community and health system significantly, Mr. Steiner has promoted and communicated calmness in the storm, as evidenced in national interviews that spotlight his leadership and efforts during this challenging crisis.

When I think about the type of leader that Mr. Steiner is, it is difficult to place him in only one category [as described in the book]. As a charismatic leader, he inspires all within the organization to operate at a higher level of performance as well as consider “out of the box” ideas to best serve our healthcare community. Along with that, Mr. Steiner is diligent in instilling confidence in those to whom he “pins a task.”.

As an authentic leader, he is consistently passionate about the goals and objectives of the health system and is quick to channel our focus in achieving them.

As a servant leader, Mr. Steiner can always be counted on to genuinely interact with all employees working in any capacity. I have witnessed him leading by example over many areas of our health system, and he is engaged in many community activities that the health system employees support.

As a transformational leader, he challenges everyone in his scope to look beyond themselves to see how we can support the best interest of others. By doing this, it further assists in achieving the company’s goals and objectives as well as community credibility. His leadership over the past year has transformed our organization by continuing to push us toward the calling upon which we were founded. As well, during the current pandemic crisis, his leadership has demanded a transformational mindset for the entire organization in a consistently fluid environment. Because of this style of leadership, we are easily able to adapt and be creative because we know we have his support to do so. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to provide the level of support that we’ve demonstrated in our community during this pandemic crisis.

Mr. Steiner’s leadership encompasses all five leadership practices, but the one that seems relevant for the current critical situation is “encouraging the heart.” No matter the circumstance or challenge at hand, he is always the first to provide encouragement at the culmination of any meeting or conversation. For this reason, it is easy to follow his leadership as well as provide credible work inspired by his vision.


WALB wants you to register your business

Dear Valued Customer,

It is our goal at WALB to provide you, our loyal customers, the opportunity to inform the public that you are open for business during the current COVID-19 crisis. Starting Friday, April 10, on WALB News 10 and through promotional spots, we will begin promoting how to access a link on our website at that will showcase all government deemed “essential” businesses that are currently open. The information will include phone number, business web address, street address, maps, logos, etc. We will continue promoting this resource until the crisis has passed.

If you are open for business and you would like the community to know, please register using the easy steps listed below:

1. Go to which will direct you to the “Connect Shop Buy” page

2. At the top right side of the page you will see: “Register Your Business” and click on the link

4. Provide your name, email address and a personal password to create an account

5. You will receive an email verifying your account. Click on the “Verify Account” button, which will take you to the New Business Information Page

6. Click on the green button “+ Add Business”

7. Fill in the requested information

8. When completed hit “submit”

This process is designed to be user friendly to make it easy to upload the information. Should you have any questions, please contact your account representative. The sooner this information is uploaded, the sooner the public will have this information at their fingertips. We appreciate your business and loyalty to WALB News 10, and we are here to help. Please know that we are in this together.

24-bed personal care home facility located in Albany, GA that will admit clients exposed to COVID-19. ISS Personal Care Home will help with hospital bed capacity and caregiver shortage due to Covid-19.


Innovative Senior Solutions (ISS) has a 24-bed personal care home facility located in Albany, GA that will admit clients exposed to COVID-19. ISS Personal Care Home will help with hospital bed capacity and caregiver shortage due to Covid-19. This brand-new facility is designated as a refuge for Seniors and individuals with a disability that are in need of personal care and oversight.

This facility will be most advantageous for Seniors and disabled individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 who are in hospital settings and cannot be discharged home or to a skilled nursing facility setting. In addition, in-home care clients for which agency caregivers cannot provide care due to exposure to COVID-19 may receive necessary care from ISS Personal Care Home. The personal care home provides:

  • Private and semi-private suites
  • Personal care, including bathing, dressing, grooming, etc.
  • 24-hour supervision
  • Medication management
  • Three meals served daily
  • Laundry services
  • COVID-19 management trained staff
  • Care and services are overseen by nurses

    The personal care home facility is licensed and capable of admitting clients immediately. Additionally, this facility welcomes Seniors and disabled individuals from around the state; transportation can be provided if needed. Virtual tours are available for case managers, family caregivers, and residents. Please contact us at 229-380-4719. Innovative Senior Solutions is committed to the care and safety of Seniors.

    In this together,

    Innovative Senior Solutions

    229-380-4719-Corporate Office phone Email
    Like us on Facebook

Local Attractions Go Online to Stay Connected

With their doors and gates temporarily closed this spring due to COVID-19 closures, local attractions are finding innovative ways to take their messages online and stay connected with the varied audiences they serve.

At the Flint RiverQuarium, curatorial staff are staggering shifts to feed animals, clean tanks, and maintain life support systems, while the marketing and education departments have teamed up to create content that is being shared on social media channels, a new Flint RiverQuarium YouTube channel, and the organization’s website. A new video premieres on Facebook each morning at 11 am. Topics include Creature Features, Exploring Nature, Behind the Scenes, and Bio Bits. Regularly scheduled programs, like the monthly Adventure Seekers family program and Tadpole Time for preschoolers, also are being offered digitally. All of these videos also can be viewed on the aquarium’s YouTube Channel. Additionally, printable coloring, craft, and other activity sheets are constantly being developed and shared on both Facebook and the Flint RiverQuarium website.

Thonateeska Heritage Center is producing Science Shorts videos, which are posted Monday-Friday at 2 pm, on their Facebook page and on the new Thronateeska YouTube channel. Also, for the month of April, several planetarium shows are FREE for families to enjoy at home! Check their Facebook page each Wednesday for a link to a new show.

“The original content that we are creating at both the Flint RiverQuarium and Thronateeska is designed to provide supplemental educational content for parents who find themselves schooling at home, to provide positive information on the important work we are doing at both organizations for those who are scrolling feeds full of fear and uncertainty, and to build a library of engaging content that will continue to be a future resource when we are able to put this current crisis behind us,” says Flint RiverQuarium and Thronateeska Marketing Manager Wendy Bellacomo.

At Chehaw Park and Zoo, content is offered twice a day via Facebook Live. Every morning at 10 am, viewers can see and virtually participate in the Cubs program, designed especially to fit the interests and attention spans of children ages 3-4, but fun for all ages. Each program includes an animal-related story, craft, and an animal experience. Craft supply lists are posted the night before on Facebook so parents can gather supplies needed for kids to craft along with the video.

Chehaw curatorial staff take over in the afternoons. Keeper Chats, spotlighting different animals at the zoo are aired on Facebook live each day at 4:30 pm. Viewers can go behind the scenes with the animals at the zoo in this fun, virtually interactive session, watching some of their favorite animals, meeting ones they’ve never seen before, and learning about the daily activities that happen behind the scenes.

“School may be over for the year, but parents are still looking for ways to engage their child’s brain, and kids are looking for ways to stay entertained during quarantine,” said Morgan Burnette, Director of Guest and Public Relations at Chehaw. “While our staff still visits daily to care for the animals, it’s a perfect time to create unique digital content that is both educational and entertaining. Staff is using this time to find creative options for guest engagement as well as unique opportunities for animal enrichment.”

The Albany Museum of Art has been staying connected to members and guests through Facebook, Instagram and their website. Each weekday by 5 p.m., Education and Public Programming Director Annie Vanoteghem posts an engaging Staying Inspired! art education activity kids can do with their parents. The AMA Art Lovers Book Club has its first online meeting on April 7. The museum also is asking people to create and share paintings, drawings, photos and sculpture of what they see in their backyard while in shelter in their Art in Residence contest, and to join in a local version of the Getty Museum Challenge, Life Imitating Art, to re-create famous art in photos using common things found around the house. Submissions will be shared on social media and the AMA website.

“As we all face the great challenges presented by COVID-19, we’re continuously working on innovative ways to bring the Albany Museum of Art to our members and guests. While folks are sheltering at home, it’s especially important to keep creativity alive with engaging ideas and activities inspired by art,” Jim Hendricks, AMA director of Marketing and Public Relations, said.

Even though our community is sheltered in place for the time being, this may actually be an ideal time to pay a “virtual visit” to our local attractions!



A Win-win for U-Save-It Pharmacy

With the Covid-19 outbreak, Albany’s business landscape is changing daily. While some businesses are being forced to temporarily close to help slow the spread of the virus, others, deemed as necessary, are seeing increased demand and are adapting to meet the needs of their customers. U-Save-It Pharmacy, owned by the Sharpe family, already offered drive-through and free delivery options at several locations but quickly became overwhelmed by an avalanche of new delivery requests as their customers chose to limit time outside of their homes while scrambling to make sure that all of their essential prescriptions were filled.

“When all of this started a couple of weeks ago, my brother Tommy was helping our principal delivery man, Mr. Charlie, who had more deliveries than he could possibly make on his own,” says business co-owner Jay Sharpe, “Tommy had an idea to call our favorite restaurant server, Mr. Jerry from Villa Gargano’s. Mr. Jerry has become a family friend over the years, and we knew that Villa Gargano’s had just closed their dining room in response to our city’s Covid-19 plan.”

Tommy gave server Jerry Perez a call, and Jerry jumped at the chance to help the Sharpes out.

“I was already bored,” says Jerry, who is accustomed to a busy schedule. “I had cut the grass twice that week, and I was planning to paint the front of my house. But, when I got the call and learned about the situation at U-Save-It, I knew I needed to save the painting for later. It was time for me to give back to the Sharpes who have been such good friends to me and my family over the years.”

Jerry joined the U-Save-It team Monday, March 23.

“On that day, Mr. Charlie broke his all-time delivery record by 40%. Thankfully, Jerry was on board and able to help him get it all done,” says Jay.

Jerry plans to help out until Villa Gargano’s re-opens and he is able to return to job of 11 years. So far, this temporary arrangement has been a win-win for all concerned.

“The pharmacy is able to make sure that our customers get their medications, patients are able to use the delivery service instead of going out, and Jerry is able to have a job during a down time,” says Jay.

U-Save-It pharmacy locations are currently operating with closed storefronts for the safety of staff and patients, but the drive-through windows remain open at all locations. Of course, free delivery is still an option.

While no one knows how long it will be until business as usual can resume, Jay Sharpe notes that our community has withstood difficult times before, and he has confidence that we will do so in this situation as well.

“I’ve lived in Albany all my life and there’s one thing I’ve noticed over and over. Whenever there is a challenge that tests our city, Albany does a wonderful job of coming together to work for the betterment of our community.”