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Thumbs Up! April 21, 2014

ALBANY HERALD EDITORIAL BOARD: Good news to start the week.

Shortly after being named as the permanent superintendent, Dougherty County School System’s Butch Mosely laid out his plans for the future of the 15,000-plus student body. Over the course of the next three years Mosely believes that the goals of increasing student achievement, more parental involvement, increasing graduation rates, increasing duel-enrollment opportunities with Albany State University, Darton State College and Albany Technical College, reducing truancy, addressing homeless issues, budgeting for the best bang for the taxpayer buck (just to name a few) are all obtainable. Mosely listed his immediate concern as putting discipline back in the classroom. “Our top priority is teaching children to do math and to read and write by the third grade,” he said. “And that revolves around maintaining discipline in the classroom. Teachers cannot do their jobs with unruly students disrupting the learning environment. We want to be able to reach these kids without putting them out onto the streets.” After 15 months of mostly damage control, both with finances and staffing, it looks like the DCCS has just the right person to move the system forward. Tally-ho!

The Red Hat Society is the women’s group dedicated to fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment and fitness. Women approaching 50 and beyond maintain a social networking community and offer a variety of services and group experiences, all the while boosting confidence, pride and enthusiasm for life among its members. The Leesburg Red Hat Society recently hosted a baby shower in support of the Pregnancy Resource Center of Lee County. Among the gifts for babies yet to come were clothing, lotion and powder and a small mountain of disposable diapers. The Red Hatters, in fact, made one of the largest single donations of much-needed items the organization has ever received.

Everybody loves to hear a story of how the good guy won…unless you happen to be the bad guy. Don Dellinger, co-owner of AATCO Transmission on West Broad, had a feeling the other night that before pulling up his bed covers that it would be a good idea to check the live surveillance cameras from his business by way of his home computer. That was one gut feeling that was right on the money. There was a man inside the fenced area of the business and he was busy entering automobiles, taking whatever he could. Dellinger called 911, officers arrived and the crook was caught. Damage to the windows of the vehicles was estimated at around $1,000 while the value of stolen items was a measly $2.

The news that Albany State University is now offering more online courses, allowing students additional flexibility as well as the ability to fast-track their freshman and sophomore years, is good news indeed. Universities are seeing more and more students that have families and jobs that demand much of what is considered the regular hours of the day. Online courses are perfect for just such situations. The announcement that tuition rates are going up, again, is all the more reason to be grateful for the offerings of technology across the University System of Georgia.

Interventions with Dougherty County youth by way of the county jail have been going on for many years. The Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office has numerous programs in place to steer a troubled youngster back on path and away from a life of crime and incarceration. A & E Network put the camera on the idea of bringing youngsters into jail so they could see for themselves where they were headed and named it “Beyond Scared Straight.” The show’s production team was so impressed with the DCSO and its programs that an episode was filmed and aired last November. A second filming was made and aired last Thursday. The idea of previewing life behind bars is not a new one, and does not always work but the successes are truly life altering…for the child, the family and the community.