Thumbs Up! - Jan. 15, 2012

Congratulations are in order for Dougherty County Police Department’s Officer of the Year. Earlier this month DCP Chief Don Cheek presented Officer Robert Richards with a plaque. Being designated as the the best on the job, regardless of the what the livelihood, is a great honor and a moment rarely forgotten. In this particular case, however, it’s even greater knowing that the award comes by way of selection by peers within the department.

Albany Advocacy Resource Center and Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital brought Temple Grandin, a world-famous animal scientist and autism self-advocate, to Albany last fall for a presentation. Autism awareness has increased and Albany ARC is on the forefront of that awareness. Meetings and workshops have been made available for anyone in the community, but especially parents and/or caregivers of the those diagnosed with autism. Coming up next month will be a Judevine Autism Training Program, Workshop for Parents. The three-day event (from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 7-9) will teach parents how to work with children who have autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, autistic characteristics or pervasive development disorders. This much-needed training is free. Those wishing to attend are encouraged to register by calling (229) 888-6852, ext.357 or ext. 350.

In the Regional Academic Bowl held in Moultrie, Merry Acres Middle School led the way in its division with five consecutive victories in the early and middle rounds of the competition. Judges acknowledged the team as first place winners in Division I and the team entered the Crossover Round against Valdosta Middle School. Merry Acres teammates met the stiff competitors head-on but were defeated. The team will next compete in Atlanta in March with students from across the state, where the students can proudly represent the division. Well done and good luck!

It seems that no amount of governmental or economic turmoil can slow racers from what has become a highly touted Boston Marathon qualifying race in Albany each March. Already 930 (and counting) people have signed up online to participate in either the full or half marathon. The first weekend in March is showtime for all of Albany with not only the marathon but street festivities, vendors, music, a bike race, a turtle race and more. While the economic boost of these events is great, the long-term results of the opportunity to present a positive image of Albany is much greater.

The true minority group in this country today are those few never touched by the dreadful disease of cancer. Think about it. From youngest child to the oldest adult, just about everyone has known someone in his or her family or at work or school or a friend or a neighbor, and often more than one, whose live has been altered by cancer. The HOPE Ball is coming up February 4 and, quite frankly, the majority do not have or cannot spend the money it costs to attend. But, for those that can, it is an excellent way to help the American Cancer Society help others. Think about it.

Randolph-Clay Red Devil fans love their basketball team and its heritage. Friday night was a big one as the newly renovated gym was opened for fans and players. In Cuthbert basketball history, no name is bigger than that of the late coach Joe Williams. Coach Williams led his teams to six state titles and 90 consecutive wins between 2003 and 2008. The gym, dedicated to this local legend who didn’t even have a gymnasium when he came to Randolph-Clay, will bear his name indefinitely. A jersey now hangs from the rafters of “the house that Coach Joe built” with the number 1,015 upon its back-the number of wins in Joe Williams’ career.