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Laney Walker residents unsure about halfway house in neighborhood

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Some Laney Walker area residents are hesitant about the possibility of a federal transitional facility locating just minutes away from their homes.

A public hearing was held Monday following the monthly Augusta Planning Commission meeting about a potential 6,900-square-foot residential re-entry center on a half-acre at 802 Seventh St. where a vacant building currently stands.

The hearing was required by law as Nebraska-based Western Alternative Corrections Inc. seeks a contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons for a center that could house both newly-released prisoners and patients of a rehabilitation facility.

“It’s a great opportunity to do something with an old building that is currently sitting empty,” said Blanchard and Calhoun Property Management Director Davis Beman, who aided the company in finding a location.

Michelle Hultine, of Western Alternative Corrections, said the federal bureau deemed that such a facility was needed in Augusta and her company simply responded to that request. Zoning action would be required between six to nine months from the hearing date.

A handful of homeowners who spoke at the meeting were mostly concerned about additional drug activity and their own safety. They also pointed out that a similar state transitional facility exists across the street from the site in question and has caused them a host of problems stemming from a lack of supervision.

“It’s hazardous enough over there,” said Cassandra Bowdre, who lives on nearby Adams Street. “There’s enough crime in the neighborhood already without putting these people down here and nobody’s monitoring them like they’re supposed to.”

Western Alternative Corrections ensures through case managers that residents don’t leave without permission, Hultine said. They also are drug-tested randomly at least once weekly, searched upon re-entry into the facility and are required to work.

The federal contract calls for 35 residents, both male and female, in the facility. Hultine’s partner and brother, Marc Hultine, said the building would be designed to hold 58 people, who would likely stay between three and six months.

Western Alternative currently operates a similar center in the historic downtown district of Hastings, Neb., Michelle Hultine said.

“Our residents are very valued in our community,” she said. “They’re very present in cleaning up the downtown. We are an asset to our community, and if you give us the opportunity, I think that would come to be here as well.”

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corgimom
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corgimom 07/02/13 - 04:42 am
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I've been to Hastings, NE.

I've been to Hastings, NE. Believe me, there is no comparison to Hastings, NE and Augusta GA. Hastings is small, quiet, clean, very nice.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 07/02/13 - 07:15 am
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soapy_725
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soapy_725 07/02/13 - 07:16 am
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Transitional house? From crime to no crime. Good statring poi
Unpublished

nt. Logical. Ease them back into the FREE WORLD in a comfortable setting.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 07/02/13 - 07:17 am
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Welcome back to the FREE WORLD. We embrace you.
Unpublished

Give them a bicycle and let them ride on Bobby Jones.

soapy_725
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soapy_725 07/02/13 - 07:18 am
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Government Rehabilitation does not work. Never has never will.
Unpublished

A heart transplant is necessary. Ye must be born again.

triscuit
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triscuit 07/02/13 - 09:54 am
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"They also are drug-tested

"They also are drug-tested randomly at least once weekly, ..... and are required to work."
If only more residents in that area were....

tom31510
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tom31510 07/02/13 - 10:22 am
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Ex felons

One lady from the neighborhood in question said they didn't need ex felons in the area. Look around lady, the area is full of future felons. The ex felons will prolly be model citizen compared with a lot of the folks already there.

corgimom
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corgimom 07/02/13 - 12:09 pm
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I don't know anybody that

I don't know anybody that wants a halfway house in their residential area. Who would?

But Western Alternative has no idea what they are getting into- Hastings is like Mayberry, it's 93% white, and has ONE registered sex offender.

A whole lot of Federal exconvicts went to prison for drugs and weapons convictions, putting them in LW is like bringing coal to Newcastle.

Pops
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Pops 07/02/13 - 03:57 pm
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Put them to work

at the Five Guys that's coming.

rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 07/02/13 - 04:59 pm
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Drug testing
Unpublished

seems to work well. Look at college football. michael dyer, aaron hernandez and any number of players 18 to 20 that can't keep clean and are being "tested" at their respective college or university. That's just college athletics. We're not even talking about the boys on da hood. Of the 28 NFL players arrested this year, 3 white, 1 Hispanic and 24 blacks. Blacks only comprise, at most, 15% of the national population. You have to start in the neighborhoods where these criminals learned their habits.

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