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Thumbs Up! - Dec. 19, 2011

Christmas is traditionally a time that opens the hearts of almost everyone. Pocketbooks are tight right now, however, and giving is often not possible. One very easy and affordable way to share this season has been made available by the Albany Federal Employee Credit Union. The credit union is donating $1 (up to $500) to Albany’s Salvation Army for each person who “LIKES” their Facebook page by Dec. 25. Check it out at www.facebook.com/afecu.

Looking for a sizable tax deduction for the end of the year? Donate your unwanted car by Dec. 31 to Cars4Charities and get a deduction of at least $500 on your upcoming itemized federal return. Cars4Charities will arrange for your vehicle to be picked up free of charge (it does not even have to run), sell the vehicle, then donate the full net proceeds to a charity chosen by the donor from a sizable list of reputable nonprofits. Call (866)-448-3487 for more information. It simply doesn’t get much easier than that.

First Presbyterian Church in downtown Albany shared a bit of Christmas joy recently. On the night of the annual Celebration of Lights parade, church members served hot chocolate and snacks to anyone who came their way. Located just one-half block from the parade route, this community outreach was a great gesture of kindness by the church.

A record number of students received diplomas from Darton College last week. The proud graduates numbered 425 and hailed from a wide variety of backgrounds. There were those not long removed from high school and those starting a new career after a time in the work force. Some were laid off workers, some quite young, others already well into adulthood. Whatever brought the individual student to this point in his or her life, congratulations on your graduation. Others believed in you and now you can, too.

Deerfield-Windsor first-grade student Jackson Harris, along with friends and family, held a fundraiser for Albany Advocacy Resource Center on Dec. 10. The event featured hot coffee or cocoa and a Krispy Kreme doughnut for $1, a bargain on any day for any reason. When Jackson and friends tallied their dollars, there were 600 of them. Albany ARC serves all ages of area residents with developmental disabilities, and the $600 check was presented to the preschool program. Impressive, indeed.

It has been an award-winning year for boys and girls in Albany. As declared by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Georgia Area Council, East Albany’s Unit won the state’s Character and Leadership Award for its Young Teen Moguls Inc. program. Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany took the State Program of the Year for its Bringing Up Grades (BUGs) program. As if to drive home the organization’s excellence, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Albany Executive Director Ed Deming received the Professional of the Year award, also on the state level.

The Albany City Commission has made a move and, this time, one that will not likely stir up the squawkers. While the decision is not final until voted on by the full commission at its regular meeting, members at last week’s work session voted unanimously to spend up to $100,000 in federal HUD money for Flint River Habitat for Humanity to build two houses on Sunny Lane. The homes will be designed and earmarked for disabled veterans. The city donated two lots to Habitat to help defray costs. This move is perhaps the wisest made by commissioners in all of 2011 and deserves a super-sized “thumbs up!”