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Thumbs Up! -- Aug. 26, 2013

Editorial

On Aug. 25, 20 students walked across the stage at Westover High School to pick up something special — their diplomas. These were Dougherty County School System seniors who worked through the summer to attain the credits needed for graduation. Studies have shown that the higher the educational attainment, the better the job prospects. It is to their credit that these students, who came from all four Dougherty public high schools, stuck with it and did the extra work needed to get those valuable diplomas. Congratulations, graduates!

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Expanding your skills is important in any job, particularly so in the area of public safety. Last week, Lee County emergency medical technicians started on an ambitious course in which they will each get 192 hours of firefighting training. Beginning with online courses, the paramedics will later get hands-on training. The effect will be doubling the county’s full- and part-time manpower when it comes to public safety personnel ready to handle a blaze.

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The Albany Mueum of Art had a special “unveiling” on Aug. 15 — the newly renovated Willson Auditorium. A record attendance showed up for the opportunity to see the renovated museum, along with the opening of exhibits of the works of artists Steve Penley and Ray Stephenson. The museum is one of Albany’s jewels, a nationally accredited facility with more than 2,100 pieces of artwork in its collection. It’s certainly worth a visit if you haven’t seen it yet.

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We’d be remiss if we didn’t give a big shout-out to one of Southwest Georgia’s best known ambassadors, country music superstar Luke Bryan, of Leesburg. Bryan had a big week by any standard. His new album, “Crash My Party,” sold more than a half-million copies in its first week of release, a feat for a country music artist that only Taylor Swift has shared in the last five years. It was also the best debut of any album produced by a male country music star in nine years, reaching No. 3 among the highest-selling albums this year. Congratulations, Luke!

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We and other media are quick to criticize when a government body fails to follow the state’s Sunshine Law, particularly when hiring important positions. So, it’s only fair that we commend the Leesburg City Council for releasing the names of the three finalists for its first city manager. Bob Alexander, currently the city’s director of planning and engineering, is in the running, as are two veterans of municipal management in north Georgia, Ron Raburn and Frank Etheredge. By providing those names to the public, interested Leesburg residents can check out information on the trio and provide their City Council representatives with their opinions on who is best suited for the job. Operating in the Sunshine allows citizens to work with their government, and that’s the way it should be.

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And finally, a big thumbs up to John Burns and Masterpiece Barber Shop. A donation by Burns allowed thre shop’s barbers to give free haircuts to 50 young students at Jackson Heights Elementary School. The donation will also allow the barbers to give 50 more free-of-charge haircuts at another Dougherty County public school next month. It was a wonderful gesture and one that we’re sure the kids and their families greatly appreciated.

— The Albany Herald Editorial Board