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Thumbs Up! - July 16, 2012

There are literally thousands of scholarships presented to deserving college-bound students each year. Each recipient is to be commended for the hard work that led to such an honor. One Lee County High School graduate can be especially proud of the educational gift recently bestowed upon her. Kayleigh Sullivan will be attending the University of Georgia to study international affairs and political science. Sullivan, along with a very impressive high school resume, will take with her one very, very special $1,000 scholarship from the Kiwanis Club of Dougherty County. This outstanding student is the recipient of the inaugural Robert E. "Big Bob" Fowler Scholarship. Dedicated in his name, the late Bob Fowler was a longtime member of the Kiwanis Club, a coach, an educator and is described as "a champion of young people." What an honor it is to be the first to be recognized in this way.

Beach United Methodist Church made its sixth trip to Albany last week. The middle school and high school youngsters, along with a healthy number of adults, venture to Albany each year on one of the church's mission trips. In the mornings, the kids conduct Vacation Bible School for the children in different neighborhoods and spend the heat of the day cleaning up yards and assisting with neighborhood beautification. A big thank you goes out to Beach United Methodist for their continued dedication to Albany.

Grant money is one way to get services and supplies needed for educational institutions when the money simply is not available in the ever-shrinking budgets. Recently, Albany Technical College received two such grants. From the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, ATC received $10,000 that will go directly to provide computer literacy skills needed to take GED tests. As all of Georgia transitions to GED testing by computer this academic year, the grant could not have come at a better time. The second came in the form of a USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant which will allow for the purchase of equipment to train students in various medical fields. This will be money well-spent.

Time has not been on the public's side when it came to the blighted Heritage House. Loans, liens, promises, delays and anything imaginable that could, did get in the way of demolition. But all that is now in the rearview mirror. Oxford Construction Co. purchased the property, removed dangerous asbestos and other contaminants, all in short order. The bulldozers and front-end loaders are busy removing the eyesore and danger to the community, even as you read this column. From the first effort to the last, whether from a citizen, a banker, code enforcement or a judge, thank you for making this finally happen.

Dougherty County Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson reports that the turnout for early voting has been good so far. In just the first three days, 453 votes were cast. The state truly cannot make it any easy for those wishing to have a voice in government.

Speaking of elections, The Albany Herald would like to thank all the candidates, and those still planning to do so, for taking time from work, family and the campaign trail to come in and speak with the Editorial Board. From law enforcement to county commissions and those making decisions that will affect the lives of thousands of school children, each race is important and every vote counts.