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Thumbs Up! - Dec. 31, 2012

As the year winds down, there are an untold number of agencies, organizations and individuals that have found a spot in this weekly good news editorial. Here are some worth another mention in 2012.

Albany Technical College held two major ribbon cutting events this year. In August, the ribbon was snipped on two new labs at Freedom Hall. There is now a state of the art hotel/ restaurant/ tourism management lab on campus allowing for extensive hands-on training in every detail related to the hospitality industry. A new marketing lab, equally impressive, offers a wide variety of training, including the use of newest technologies. In September, the ribbon was cut on a new facility in one of our neighboring counties. The Lee County Adult Education Center now has a home of its own where those in want and need of a GED can do the prep work and testing to move on with his or her education. These additions to ATC, along with many others, were accomplished with the lowest budget per student of all the technical colleges within the state.

Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful continues to utilize thousands of volunteers to improve the ‘looks’ of a city where many folks simply do not care about the environment. From collecting telephone books to picking up trash left by others, the efforts of KADB tirelessly does its part and much more. One of the major events of the year was Go Green. KADB teamed up with local law enforcement agencies and volunteers to collect electronic equipment, paper for shredding and unwanted or outdated medications. The items collected for recycling and/or safe disposal were, for the most part, headed to the landfill.

Girls Incorporated is a national youth organization dedicated to helping every girl become strong, smart and bold. Girls Inc. of Albany offers programs such as Operation SMART which builds girls’ skills in science, math, and technology, Friendly PEERsuasion, a substance abuse prevention program that specifically targets girls, Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy gives girls all the information, skills and confidence to avoid early pregnancy and Sporting Chance which builds competitive spirit, team playing skills and interest in all sports. The best thing Girls Inc. of Albany does is provide a safe place after school hours and during the summer for girls to grow and mature into productive, educated and happy adults.

The seldom-heralded law enforcement agencies in Albany-Dougherty County are among the folks that deserve recognition for the work they do. While many of us are nestled snug in our beds, riding down the roads without a care and simply going about our daily routines, the Albany Police Department, the Dougherty County Police Department, the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office, the Gang Task Force and the Albany Dougherty Drug Unit are making every effort within their power (and budgets) to keep us safe. Crime will always be a way of life for some people but so will arrests and incarcerations, thanks to the officers that put their lives on the line each and every day.

The ‘Thumbs Up! of the year goes to an agency that quietly goes about taking care of the elderly among us. The Albany-Dougherty Council on Aging was incorporated in 1966 to meet the physical mental and spiritual needs of older people in the area. In 1979, in order to accurately reflect the 14-county service area, the name was changed to the SOWEGA Council on Aging. The COA plans, provides, develops and coordinates services for all people 60 years of age and older in a 14 county, 6,000 square mile area of southwest Georgia. Services include but are not limited to, legal assistance, health fairs, elder abuse prevention, Meals on Wheels, daily phone calls to the homebound and on the list goes. Executive Director Kay Hind, with the agency since 1968, has longed for a new facility in Albany for more than two decades. That dream is about to become a reality as dirt is relocated on West Society Avenue for the new Senior Life Enrichment Center. That accomplishment is from the work of many, many people but none so diligent as Hind. Happy New Year!