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Thumbs Up! - March 5, 2012

It was early one school morning in February that the atmosphere was filled with excitement at Lincoln Elementary School as what was perhaps a new high attendance record was set. The school's first Doughnuts for Dads event was indeed a great success. The overflow crowd of men dedicated to making a difference in at least one child's education (and life) shared breakfast with their child/children. Before any naysayers get a chance to think anything negative ... those in attendance, more than 600 of them, included fathers, grandfathers, uncles, godfathers, brothers and others willing to give of their time as positive and supportive male role models. Thank you!

Georgia Meth Project, in partnership with Phoebe and the Dougherty County School System, held a community forum last week. The director of the project, Jim Langford, made it clear that his goal in being here was to recruit volunteers and engage young people. The TV commercials and billboards on Georgia highways, while definitely attention-getters, are just one part of the project. Forums like the one held in Albany offer first-hand testimonies, educational materials, a question-answer opportunity and much more. Methamphetimine use costs way more than what the user spends, There is property damage, health costs, incarceration, foster care for children, treatment, destruction of families and so much more. The costs to the state of Georgia alone are estimated at $1.3 billion per year-more than the entire 2012 budget for Georgia Tech or the University of Georgia ... and that's just in dollars.

Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful is once again gearing up for the annual collection of old telephone books. With 100 tons of new directories arriving in the Dougherty County area, many of the old editions will no longer be wanted. Rather than putting the book in the trash which then makes its way to the landfill, donate it for recycling. Books, one or many, can be dropped off at any Dougherty County elementary school, the city's recycling site on Meredyth Drive or any McDonald's in Albany or Sylvester. Three or more phone books at McDonald's will be rewarded with a free order of french fries. The school that turns in the most telephone books per enrolled student will receive a $500 check from McDonald's. The runner-up school will receive a $300 check from The Darsey Family Foundation.

Congratulations to Dougherty County's 2012 STAR student and STAR teacher. Representing Deerfield-Windsor, Chris Michas has been named the STAR student and he chose Travis Campbell as the county's STAR teacher. Others honored at the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce 52nd annual STAR student/teacher luncheon were: Forrest Schultz and teacher Leslie Winks (Albany High), Chelsea Cox and teacher Johnathon Johnson (Monroe High), Andrew Bode and teacher Lindsey Sanders (Sherwood Christian Academy) and Ellen Roberts and teacher Barbara Jack (Westover).

Last week, the American Red Cross re-opened its remodeled Pine Avenue Flint River Chapter headquarters with a celebratory ribbon cutting. With a presence in Albany since 1917, the American Red Cross is still in the business of helping those faced with disasters as well as providing military family services.

Tomorrow is a big day in the future of Georgia and all of America. It's Super Tuesday -- a chance to voice individual opinions as to the direction the nation will head over the next four years. If not among those who took advantage of the early voting days, including a Saturday, then make plans to include a trip to your polling place tomorrow.

-- The Albany Herald Editorial Board