Thumbs Up! - June 3, 2013


The difference in the way the Dougherty County Board of Education has begun conduct business as compared to recent years is a positive change. Too many times in the not-so-distant past, it mattered little to none what the topic of discussion, the board voted strictly down racial lines. While there is always a published agenda for such meetings, members too often came with their own personal agendas, rarely to be swayed. The most recent example of the board’s unity came with the hiring of six new principals last week. The choices bring fresh faces to the schools with a disregard for whether they are family or friends of board members, just as it should be.

When the Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany announced that, thanks to sequestration, there would be no public Independence Day celebration on base for the first time in nearly two decades, the subject could have been closed. But, even with city coffers not exactly brimming over, City Manager James Taylor went above and beyond to provide a fireworks display for the residents of this city. Working with Suzanne Davis of the Albany Recreation and Parks Department and Skip Nichols of the local Exchange Club, a solution was found. The fireworks will be held at the Exchange Club Fairgrounds. There will be a charge of $2 per person or $5 for a carload of people up to six. Do the math and you will find that the carload of celebrants will pay less than 85 cents each, which includes parking, entrance to the grounds, security, a full-fledged all-day (3 p.m. until midnight) event including family entertainment, music, vendors and fireworks. It is a true head-scratcher that some folks are complaining about having to pay such a minuscule amount for such a great way to celebrate our nation’s independence. Thank you to all who have worked so hard on such short notice to bring this celebration to Albany.

In the business of law enforcement, there is good news for the Albany area. The Albany and Dougherty County police departments, Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office, Albany State University Police Department, Dougherty County School System police and local parole officers have joined together to work as one this summer in Operation Takeback. The plan is to attack gang activity, concentration on specific areas prone to a variety of crimes, hold roadblocks and execute a warrant sweep. Additionally, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office has joined with Albany Area Crime Stoppers to allow citizens to call in tips and possibly receive a reward for doing so. Additionally, APD Chief John Proctor has announced that he is looking to fill vacancies within the department. This is good news for everyone except, of course, for the criminals.

According to the dictionary, a patriot is a person who vigorously supports his or her country. An additional entry defines a patriot as one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests. Bill Brooks is a patriot. He is the man responsible for the 122 white crosses that covered the Albany Mall lawn over Memorial Day weekend. Each cross represented a combat death of a Dougherty County native and was inscribed with the first initials and last name, as well as the rank and conflict of the fallen soldier. Each of the white wooden crosses was crafted by the hands of Brooks. To say thank you seems too small a gesture so to you, Bill Brooks, here are 122 thumbs ups!

— The Albany Herald Editorial Board