Thumbs up! - July 30, 2012

Saturday was a big day at ASU as several hundred young people attended the Parents for Change "4GIVEN" Youth Empowerment Summit. The day-long event was filled with educational and entertaining activities. Subjects up for discussion ranged from alcohol and drugs to gangs and violence to abstinence and setting life goals. With the target group of middle and high school students, the goal of empowering young people positively is a message that cannot be too often delivered. A difficult time in the lives of the youth in any situation, the poverty and lack of education in Dougherty County serves only to increase the possibility of failure. Letting kids know exactly what their options are and what the consequences, both good and bad, of certain behaviors does offer them a chance to see beyond the streets and into the future. Entertainment included a talent show, live music and dance. The seeds have been planted. Now watch them grow.

Maybe you recognize the name, maybe not. Angelo Taylor is an Albany native who will compete in the 2012 London Olympic games in just a few days. Taylor hopes to win a third gold medal for the USA in the men's 400-meter hurdles. An injury last year could have ended Taylor's Olympic dreams -- and many would have given up -- but this young man simply refused to give in the the pain. He has made an amazing comeback. Here's wishing Angelo Taylor safety and success in this third run for the gold.

How long a person stays on any one particular job does not necessarily speak to the quality of his or her performance. But, when a person has to re-apply for the same job every four years, it is a bit different. That is how Freddie Tompkins career has gone for nearly three decades. Each election cycle the Worth County Sheriff has asked the people of his county to review his performance, look over other possible candidates for the job and decide whether to fire or re-hire. And so, in this case, longevity does speak loudly as to Sheriff Tompkin's service in law enforcement. Enjoy you retirement, you deserve it.

Mission Change, the Albany Housing Authority, Americorps and the United Way joined together last week for two block parties. The first was held in the 700 block of West Society Avenue with the second in the William Binns Homes area. There isn't much not to like about a party, especially for kids and these events came with special treats. Backpacks loaded with school supplies were distributed to make sure the school year gets off to a good start. Thank you to everyone that made these events so successful. And, by the way, it is never to late to contribute school supplies. Call the Lorraine at the United Way -- (229) 883-6700 ext. 29 -- and she will point you in the right direction.

Have you voted? If not, the polls will open at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday and remain open until 7:00 p.m. There are many places in the world where the freedom to vote does not exist. Please do not take this privilege, honor and civic responsibility lightly. If your ballot has already been cast, thumbs up to you! If you have not yet voted, there remains one last chance. See you there!

-- The Albany Herald Editorial Board