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Thumbs Up! - Sept. 12, 2011

Abany State University officials proudly announced last week the establishment of its first endowed chair. The honor was bestowed upon Dr. Cathy Williams with The Fuller E. Callaway Endowed Chair of Nursing. Being selected for this Endowed Chair of Nursing is indeed a tremendous recognition for both the university and the individual. Congratulations go out to ASU and a big thumbs up to you, Dr. Williams.

How much do you know about Turner Elementary School? According to the Dougherty County School System’s website, there are just under 450 students in grades K-5. Of that number, 93 percent are economically disadvantaged with 11 percent having some degree of disability.The school has a student-driven service initiative that assists local victims of child abuse. With a $500 grant recently received from State Farm, the students are supporting “Bear Hugs for Hope” a way to comfort other children. Some of the best lessons taught are not found in textbooks.

Honest and sincere politicians, they are out there, but not in great numbers. Folks that run for office, whether a seat in Washington or Atlanta or on a local city commission/council or board of education, all tend to have great ideas ... at least while on the campaign trail. Earlier this year, Annette Morman ran for and won the seat for mayor in Baconton.High on her list of goals, aka promises, was to have a place for senior citizens to gather, socialize and stay young. With no grants, federal or state financing, the new program opened last week. The people of Baconton must have seen and believed in the honesty and determination in the kind but serious eyes of this mayoral candidate. Two days a week, seniors can now enjoy, arts and crafts, dance, bingo, Bible classes, a nutritious meal and more, all at the hands of volunteers. Keep an eye on Mayor Morman-she no doubt has more plans up her sleeve.

On the 15th of this month, Cancer Ties Inc. will hold its fifth annual benefit. A portion of the proceeds collected from ticket sales, an auction and open bar with go directly to assist a cancer patient with expenses incurred from the disease, its treatment and, hopefully, cure. The 2011 beneficiary is Hayley Champion Tennyson, a young mother of four battling cervical, uterine and ovarian cancer.

It is finally going to happen. At least two neglected and unoccupied downtown locations are about to change. Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority has approved the motion to move forward. The action will bring an arts park to the shockingly blue, roofless remains of the old NAPA building. The once glorious Albany Theatre will see new life for the first time in many years. Phase one will bring small retail kiosks to the bottom floor while an upstairs portion will be perfect for at least four loft apartments. Downtown Manager and ADICA CEO Aaron Blair has set the bar high for the revitalization of downtown and this is just as it should be.

In case you did not know why there were white crosses outside the Albany Fire Department headquarters for the last week or so, it was a 9/11 memorial. The crosses represented the 343 firefighters who lost their lives that terrible day. To every person who flew an American flag, participated in any sort of memorial service, said a prayer, observed a moment of silence or in any way, big or small, remembered the victims of 9/11 — Thank you from the thousands of survivors whose lives are forever changed.

The Albany Herald Editorial Board