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Thumbs Up! - Nov. 21, 2011

It took six years in the making, but the Career Development Center at Albany Technical College held its ribbon cutting earlier this month. The renovated campus building will serve both students searching for employment and employers searching for workers. ATC students can find an abundance of resources enabling them to choose a career path that will, in turn, assist them with suitable and rewarding employment — a combination that most often leads to a successful, production citizenship. In turn, employers seeking workforce-ready applicants can often make ATC a one-stop shopping trip. With education beyond high school a near-necessity these days and jobs at a premium, Albany has a resource many cities can only wish for and a win-win situation, if ever there was one.

Beginning in 1983, Lights of Love is a Christmas present that never stops giving. Sponsored by the Junior Women’s Club of Albany, each year a tree, located at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, is adorned with many, many lights. Each light represents a gift made to honor a cancer survivor or in remembrance of someone who died from the disease. Funds raised are used year-round to help patients and families, all facing a variety of needs from the effects of cancer. If you are a faithful supporter of Lights of Love, please remember that the time is once again near. If you have never been involved, this is a great time to start. Add attendance to this event to your family’s list of Christmas traditions and see for yourself just how powerful an evening it can be. The 2011 Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. in the Wetherbee Lobby at Phoebe.

The Pecan City Pedalers are a group of bicycle enthusiasts that are also strong supporters of Chehaw. Each year the group holds the Nut Roll and donates proceeds to the park. In September, more than 300 riders participated in the Nut Roll with 87 taking to the 100-mile route. A check was recently presented to Chehaw for $5,000. Those dollars will go a long way in the ongoing development of the BMX race track — a great way to support young riders, attract families to the area and enhance tourism (and the local economy).

While, it is the job of a newspaper to report news, both positive and negative, this column has the distinction of boasting the good in the community. Be it individuals, organizations or government, all have a place herein. When the city agreed to fund the Albany Police Department Gang Unit, not everyone in town was a fan of the expenditure. Now, unless perhaps a member of a local gang, citizens can (and should) agree that it was a wise move indeed. In 2010, 500 arrests were made by the unit with 151 gang-related cases. In August of this year alone, nearly 400 warrants were executed against more than 50 accused gang members. Charges against the suspects are serious ones and few, if any, can expect to back on the street any time soon. Thanks to the Albany City Commission and the Albany Police Department, there is good news about gangs that deserves plenty of ink.

Hunger is an everyday issue, but one of even greater concern during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Children have many days away from school — a place they can normally get two meals a day, five days each week. Many people are unemployed and families are struggling and some simply cannot meet the needs of the household and certainly have little chance of a turkey dinner with football and naps to follow. To every individual involved in helping the less fortunate, thank you for every can of food given, every dollar donated and every minute spent in volunteer work. This “thumbs up” is for you!