Thumbs Up! - Jan. 2, 2012

While the Albany Museum of Art is on the list of under-utilized-by-residents list, there are many supporters of the fine facility. AMA houses a substantial collection of art and is the place to go for rotating displays of great variety. There are also kid-friendly, family-oriented activities that provide a much needed shot of cultural diversity for the area. The highest honor given by the museum is that of the Lifetime Trustee Award. Three pillars of the community were recently honored with such a designation. Anna Louise McCormack has served as vice president of the Albany Area Arts Council, president of the Albany Concert Association, co-chairman of the United Way and in many other capacities in Albany. Bee McCormack has been instrumental in some of the same organizations and was a founding director of the local Easter Seals organization. The duo served as co-chairs for the campaign steering committee that raised $1 million in 1978 to build the museum. Rounding out the trio of honorees is Jane Willson. Willson, along with her late husband Harry, donated the funds needed to build the auditorium at AMA. She has served on numerous boards throughout the years and is a staunch supporter of the arts. Thank you, ladies for all you have done, and continue to do, for Albany and its citizens.

A 4,000-mile bike ride across America is not something to be taken lightly. Tejas Bhavsar, a senior in college and a Lee County High School alum, has set his mind on just such a trip From across the country, only 100 Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members have been invited to take the journey. In order to participate, however, each rider is expected to raise a minimum of $5,500. Bhavsar’s personal goal is $7,000. All the dollars raised are earmarked to raise awareness and fund construction projects for people with disabilities. From play units for children to accessibility ramps,the money raised through the Push America bike ride will go to help improve the lives of the young and old living with a disability-induced barrier. For more information, visit www.pushamerica.org.

All reports from Chehaw’s 2011 Festival of Lights have been, well, glowing. For many years, lights were rented for the holiday season at a rather high cost. Director Doug Porter believed the park could do better and set about making a plan to do so. Although the park’s maintenance director, Don Meeks, had never undertaken such a project, he was more than willing to give it a try when Porter broached the subject. Chehaw came up with the money and a staff was hired to assist Meeks. The light show made its debut in 2010 but by the time 2011 rolled around, the new lights were truly ready to dazzle. Those who went to the park were treated to a great display and for those who missed it, go ahead and pencil it in on your new calendar for the 2012 holiday season.

It is almost time again for Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful to hold its annual telephone book recycling event. KADB keeps thousands of telephone books from ending up in the landfill by a friendly competition between schools in Dougherty County. Individuals and businesses are encouraged to drop off expired books at the school of their choice or send them by a student/parent or staff person. A call to KADB at (229) 430-5251 will answer any questions about the month-long collection set for February. Last year, more than 35,000 telephone books were sent for recycling. A check will be awarded to the school with the largest collection.