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Thumbs Up - Nov. 25, 2012

Only seven school districts from the state's 180 made the list as an Advanced Placement (AP) Honor Roll school system. On that short list was the Worth County School System. AP allows high school students to earn college course credit if they complete the course work and pass the not-at-all easy AP exams. Recognition was also given for achieving such a distinction despite the fact that better than 70 percent of the students in the county qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Congratulations!

Not much commotion comes out of Lee County and its governing boards, especially in comparison to some of its neighboring counties. The county's garbage issue and how to collect for the service of pickup, however, made for a large amount of tension. Should the fees be tacked onto the property tax bill? At one time the answer was yes, then no. Efforts were stepped up to collect the astounding outstanding $688,895. It was not until recently, however, that true progress was made. Catherine Ponson took over as utility services director the first of October and has spent much of her time concentrating on the long overdue garbage bills. As of the middle of November, 53.7 percent of the unpaid total that has been turned over to the courts has been collected, a dollar amount of $370,142. While some of the fees will never be collected, it is safe to say that in the future, with Ponson on board, the garbage fee nonpayment issue in Lee County will be a bygone nightmare.

The first "Dirty Devil Dog Mud Run" at the Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany can be chalked up as a tremendous success. Runners paid a $25 entry fee to slog through mud and jump over hay bales, all for fun as well as to benefit the Toys for Tots program. The last 5K run at the base drew 42 runners. The Mud Run drew over 500 participants. The Toys for Tots boxes had to be emptied so more could be added. A success, indeed.

The Dougherty County Police Department delivered 30 turkeys and trimmings a full week before Thanksgiving and it was distributed that same day to those in need. Through St. Claire's Neighbors in Need program, the officers, including retired Capt. Jimmy Sexton, made the holiday food donation for a tenth year. The officers raised money and were helped by several community groups. Westover High School cheerleaders joined in the effort by collecting and donating food at a recent pep rally.

Last week, Hines Memorial Christian Methodist Church held its Sharing and Caring 2012 event. Those in need were offered food, clothing and household items. A pre-Thanksgiving meal was served for any and all that came. While the church provides food and clothing as needs arise, this 15th annual event is by far the largest of its kind each year for the Women's Missionary Society of the church.

Local business owner LaNicia Hart and Albany Police Department Deputy Chief Nathaniel Clark had a conversation about the city's homeless and the holiday season. As the question arose about what will the less fortunate be doing as others gather with friends and family, the duo decided to make something good happen. Hart, Clark and others formed Hands of Hope which fed the homeless on Thanksgiving Day. The meal was free to all, prepared and served by Friendship Missionary Baptist Church volunteers.

It would be impossible to recognize all the people that in some way helped feed the hungry on Thanksgiving Day. To each person that donated money, food and/or time, here is a big "Thumbs Up" for you. And to those yet to help another during this holiday season ... there is always Christmas.