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Thumbs Up! - Sept. 2, 2013

While there have been some difficult days for the Dougherty County Public Library System this year, things are apparently taking a turn for the better. The County Commission has nothing but positive words for the work of the system’s interim director, Pauline Abidde. Renovation on the Central Library is nearing the halfway mark and progress is just as the Library Board expected. The Library Board’s personnel committee has narrowed its list of candidates to fill the director’s vacancy, all of whom are described as “highly qualified.” The Westtown branch, closed last summer, is on track to reopen soon. The Southside branch will remain closed, but proposals are being accepted for re-purposing the facility’s use and a good number of folks have shown interest. With the economy as it stands, the public can (and should) be pleased with all of the positive news coming from the diligent work of the board members.

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Everyone handles the death of a loved one in his or her own way. The common thread is the grief associated with the loss. GO Ministries, founded by members of area churches in 2006, will hold its 28th production Saturday on the campus of Darton State College. This play’s title is “Life’s Forever Changed: Learning to Live Life Again After Death.” The story is based on the experience of Lee County’s Bridget Mack after the sudden death of her sister. There will be no inappropriate attire or language and families are encouraged to come and bring the children. The show is about just what it’s title implies. Doors will open at the Darton Theatre at 5:30 p.m. and the production will begin at 6 p.m. and there is no charge.

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It’s no secret that town hall-type Saturday meetings usually have plenty of vacant seats. Such was not the case recently when the guest speaker was Dougherty County Probate Judge Nancy Stephenson. Stephenson, always an entertaining speaker, dealt with the subject of wills and the importance of not just having on but making sure it is a legally binding document and not hidden where it cannot be found. Mixed with her usual humorous anecdotes, Stephenson gave attendees a lot of useful information, as well as a good chuckle now and then. The meeting was a part of Ward I Commissioner Jon Howard’s town hall series. Thank you, commissioner, and thank you, Judge Stephenson, for participating.

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A bit of recent news that deserves repeating concerns how one local student spent her summer. Westover Comprehensive High School sophomore Destiny Burch was selected to attend the (Georgia Supreme Court) Justice Robert Benham Law Camp in Atlanta. Burch spent two weeks in a classroom before she was assigned to the Fulton County Juvenile Court as an intern. This young lady worked directly with judges and lawyers in child deprivation and juvenile delinquency cases. Burch was the first non-metro Atlanta student ever selected for this honor. Congratulations!

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Finance Committee Chairman Lamar Hudgins of the Dougherty County Commission, never one to mince words, was not about to start doing so when it was recently announced that the county has $3 million more than expected in its coffers. His exact words were: ‘There’s no way we’re going to ho-hum this. This is wonderful news.” On the same day the Dougherty County employees’ group health insurance representative informed the commission that per-employee insurance costs in the county were 16 percent below government norm and 34 percent below the county’s rate in 2009. Again Hudgins spoke up saying, “This is certainly the kind of good news we like to hear.” It was indeed a good day.

— The Albany Herald Editorial Board