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Thumbs Up! - Sept. 26, 2011

In his FY 2011 State of the College address last week, Albany Technical College President Anthony Parker was filled with all sorts of good news. Summer enrollment was an impressive 3,944 but, as the school transitioned to the semester system, fall enrollment set a new record with 4,562 students. Of the more than two dozen schools in the Technical College System of Georgia, ATC was the only campus to have an increase in enrollment during the summer transition. Despite the pitiful state of the economy on all levels, ATC had not one furlough day or layoff to report. In that same fiscal year, ATC issued 3,435 awards (diplomas, certificates and degrees) and 1,071 diplomas. Simply put, ATC has an amazing record of attracting and keeping students and such a success with graduation placement that the college is drawing attention from all corners of the state. The greatest attention is from employers, and therein lies the true success.

Qualifying for municipal races has come and gone, and now begins the serious campaigning. It is encouraging to see so many step up to run for office this year in Albany. There are three candidates for mayor, three for Albany City Commission Ward II, two for Ward IV and three for Ward VI. Regardless of which candidate a person chooses to support, it is a privilege that should be taken seriously. There is still time to register ... the deadline is Oct. 11 for the upcoming Nov. 8 elections.

Just this month a tipster was awarded $2,250 from the arson tip line for helping make a case against an arsonist. Crimestoppers is certainly nothing new to Albany, and it seems folks are showing a renewed interest in the program. Tipsters can remain anonymous and will be rewarded if the information given proves to be valid and instrumental in solving a criminal case. Since the first tipster received an award in 1997, 32 people have given information leading to an arrest and were proven worthy of an award. If you see something, hear something or just suspect someone is involved in an illegal activity, call Crimestoppers at (229) 436-8477 or the arson tip line at (800) 282-5804. The call could save a victim from further suffering and prevent others from becoming a victim, as well as put a few much-needed dollars in someone’s pocket, legally.

Four volunteers from the Willson Hospice House have joined together to make the bereavement of a lost loved one just a bit more tolerable. The quartet takes an article of clothing left behind by the deceased and makes it into a teddy bear. The bears often include a button or patch or tags that were important in life and can now live on. This is currently an offer exclusive to family members who have had a loved cared for in the facility, but the idea originated back in 1993 with Albany Community Hospice and is done at no cost to the family.

In the minutes of the September meeting of the Lee County School Board, one item stands out that may well be a lesson (or at least a suggestion) for other boards. No, it wasn’t the field trips or meal service or athletics or academics or even the upcoming debate tournament over in Alabama. With little ado, the Lee County BOE voted unanimously to reduce the pay of each board member by six days. This reduction in pay matches that which teachers are losing by the reduction in the number of days on the school calendar. The board members are Sylvia Vann, Robert A. Clay, Greg Duke, Frank Griffin and Louis Hatcher. Here are five “thumbs ups,” for you definitely deserve at least one apiece!