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Thumbs Up! - May 6, 2013

When AAmir Greene enrolled in the telecommunications technology program at Albany Technical College, it was no doubt to learn the skills to assure himself a good job and a stable future. A Marine, Greene found himself facing his third and final tour in Iraq. Upon his return to the states, it was time to get back into civilian life. Today Greene finds himself not only getting a good education but also ATC’s Student of the Year and the state’s Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership recipient. As such, Greene will serve as the ambassador for the Technical College System of Georgia for the next year. Competition for the recognition is tough, but the top student prevails annually as it did this year. Congratulations.

Meanwhile, across town on the campus of Darton State College, another student has been tapped for a prestigious award. More than 1,800 students were nominated from more than 800 community colleges for the New Century Scholar recognition. Psychology student Claire Dyal has been named the 2013 New Century Scholar for the state of Georgia. Congratulation to yet another outstanding student.

The year was 1983 when 20-year-old James Williams joined the Albany Police Department. Williams has many feathers in his APD cap, including his work with the Gang Task Force. Lt. Williams has no plans to sit around during his retirement but will remain active in the community, and for that, we can all be grateful.

Since first arriving in Albany, Downtown Manager/ Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority President Aaron Blair has pondered how best to make use of the beautiful Flint River in the downtown area. Without the expenditure of a ton of taxpayer money for yet another “study,” Blair and Albany Convention & Visitors Bureau Director Rashelle Beasley brought together a team of folks to brainstorm a path through any obstacles. The team has done its work, and design plans for launching canoes and kayaks from the banks of the river have met with all necessary approval. Permits are expected shortly and work can begin when the water levels allow. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?

Summer is just around the corner, and kids of all ages will be attending camps of all sorts. For children with severe disabilities, the choices are limited. A camp held in Berrien County is the exception. Camp ARROW serves children ages 7-14 from the Southwest Georgia area who have a variety of disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spina bifida, or hearing, visual, or cognitive impairments. According to The Sylvester Local, two young ladies from Worth County, Morgan and Melissa Bentley, worked at the camp as volunteers last summer and are well aware of the many items needed to pull off a successful week. The two high school students asked friends and family to donate items for the camp and filled multiple boxes with collected goods. This year the pair will be paid staffers and have pledged a portion of their pay back to the camp. The efforts of Melissa and Madison are examples of community service at its best.

When school resumes in August, do not expect to find Westover’s Andrew Niquette in the classroom. This young man has been chosen as one of 50 out of 25,000 applicants across the nation to spend 11 months during the 2013-14 academic year studying in Germany. An opportunity to study abroad is rare, and those chosen are carefully selected. Thumbs up to you, Andrew.