Thumbs Up! - July 2, 2012

Some of the best news Albany has heard in a while came last week. Outdoor Network, one of the largest online suppliers of parts and accessories for marine and power sports enthusiasts, announced it is relocating its Internet fulfillment center to Albany. Along with the company's move will come 112 jobs. It seems that the company's owner, Tom D'Azevedo, was among the visitors attending the 2012 Georgia Quail Hunt and liked what he saw. Training for the new employees will take place at Albany Technical College ... soon.

While the much-touted Albany College and Career Academy failed to win a majority of the Dougherty County Board of Education, citizens turned out if force. The outcome of the gathering shot down a year's worth of work but the upside was the turnout. Regardless of which view taken, citizens that took time to be a part of the standing-room-only crowd are to be commended for attending. Board meetings are always open to the public and perhaps this is the beginning of a new habit for those that pay the bills.

At the June meeting of the Gang Task Force and Violence Prevention, the agenda was a bit different than usual. People from the community were invited to share their views as to how the task force is working and offer suggestions for improvement. Sylvia Hart from the Friendship Care Learning Center spoke about a visit by the APD officers and how the children have begun to open up about what they see and hear in their neighborhoods. Eddie Lopez credited obvious improvements in his neighborhood to the Gang Unit's attitude with the young people. Much work remains to be done in deterring gang recruitment, crime and violence and the officers need the assistance of those that live with the issue day in and day out. Meetings are held each month at noon at the Government Center on the fourth Thursday (except in December) in room 120.

The preliminary scores for the 2012 CRCT are in for the school system and the news is good. Improvements can be seen in most areas and in most grades. And, it is important to note that the newly released data does not include adjustments for summer school and re-testing. Congratulations to the students, the teachers, school administrators and parents.

People remember the names of celebrities, especially those from the area in which they live. Southwest Georgia certainly has its share of musicians and athletes to brag about and now there is another name to add to the growing list. Manswell Peterson, a Darton College professor, has become quite a success by way of his new book. "Tracks of My Tears" was a difficult book for Peterson to write as he says"it hit so close to home." Readers love it. A week after its release it was ranked one of the hottest new books by amazon.com and tracked No.1 in the "family relationships" subgenre. First available only as an e-book, readers can now get the hold-in-your-hand version.

Strive2Thrive, a local program that teaches families how to get out of poverty and stay out, continues its route of success. Thus far, 31 of 35 families have completed the 16-week course and many have gotten jobs, GEDs, sustainable housing and much more. The program has 15 new families lined up for the fall. The plunge into poverty can happen to anyone and, for some, last for generations. Strive2Thrive is slowly but ever so surely, turning lives around. To the program, the participants, the sponsors and the volunteers, here is one big 'Thumbs Up'!