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Thumbs Up! - Jan. 9, 2012

Business owner Dale Saunders has no time for wound-licking and/or pity parties. Founder of the extremely successful Riverfront Bar-B-Q, Saunders later opened what became known as Riverfront Seafood Shack. That establishment, a bit off the beaten path, did not attract the hoped-for clientele. So, yes, it was necessary to close the doors. Saunders found the silver lining in the experience saying he "learned some valuable lessons" as well as perfected some recipes. Next month, Riverfront 2 Bar-B-Q will open at Lee Market Place. Whatever "it" is that makes for a successful business in these trying economic times, Dale Saunders has it. Thank you for the great food and positive attitude.

Finally, the Heritage House has a place in this goods news editorial. Having had more than enough delays, Superior Court Judge Stephen Goss has set what is likely the last time clock for the dilapidated structure. On Dec. 29, Goss ordered Greenbrier Holdings and principal owner Romeo Comeau to post a $157,000 bond to continue their appeal of the already-ordered demolition and gave them 20 days to do so. With no representation in court that day and an unpaid property tax bill exceeding $26,000, the clock is finally on the side of local residents with 10 days down and 10 to go.

Mark the calendar for noon on Jan. 23 and plan to spend your lunch hour learning about identity theft. Hosted by the Albany Police Department and the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce, attendees of a seminar will learn about current ID theft trends, ways theft can happen, risks faced by individuals and how to protect yourself and your family. The LifeLock presentation will be held at the Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau on North Front Street, free of charge.

If joining the YMCA was on the New Year's resolution list and has yet to be be accomplished, the time to act is now. Through Jan. 31, the local Y is making it easier than ever by waving the initial enrollment fee.

SOWEGA Council on the Aging has a unique fundraiser on the horizon. On Jan. 30 from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., an event called "Empty Bowls" will take place at the Civic Center. Participants will enjoy a variety of soups from local restaurants and take home a ceramic bowl as a reminder of the empty bowls filled by a donation of $20. Proceeds from the event will benefit Meals on Wheels, which provides a hot noonday meal to senior citizens five days each week across 14 counties in Southwest Georgia. The commemorative bowls are themselves a treasure, hand-made by local artists.

The news that of the 55 suspected Crips gang members arrested last August and indicted on Racketeer Influenced and Criminal Organization (RICO), 29 had charges changed to street gang participation may have seemed disturbing at first glance. Prosecution, however, will be easier and therefore, less costly and more likely to end in conviction. Many of the accused gangsters are already in jail or prison and could have another 15 years tacked on to their sentences. A quote from the Dougherty District Attorney Greg Edwards says it best: "Investigators testified in court that since the raid, not a single Crips gang-related crime has been recorded." Edwards did his homework, and for that everyone can be grateful.

-- The Albany Herald Editorial Board