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Thumbs Up! Feb. 3, 2014

ALBANY HERALD EDITORIAL: See who deserves a thumbs up this week.

Popcorn sales are to Boy Scouts like cookie sales are to Girl Scouts. Four years ago, the option of paying for popcorn to be donated to military personnel was added to the annual fundraiser. Apparently there are a lot of people in the 29 counties of the South Georgia Council of the Boy Scouts of America that wish to support the cause but really don’t care to have the popcorn. It was that portion of the sales that was recently presented to Marines at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany. The popcorn handed over to service members was valued at $8,000 this year as the option grows more and more popular.

Congratulations are in order to the recipients of the Albany Police Department’s Officer of the Year, Citizen of the Year and Civilian of the Year awards. Sgt. Kawaski Barnes, an investigator with the Family Protection Unit (FPU), has been named Officer of the Year for his work within the department as well as outside of regular time within the community. The FPU, in part, works with child abuse cases, none of which are simple. Regardless, Barnes has close to 100 percent clearance in caseload.Gabriel Martin, pastor at Kingdom of God Ministries in Arlington, is the department’s Citizen of the Year for her tireless work to improve the relationship between APD and the community. Additionally, Martin was responsible for the coordination of volunteers that led to the feeding of more than 900 people at Thanksgiving. Two nominations, equally deserving, were made for the Civilian of the Year Award. Sonya Johnson, APD’s planning/research and accreditation manager and David Sparks, crime analyst for the department, share the award. The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies allows 36 months from the time of application to become accredited. In large part due to the leadership and hard work of Johnson and Sparks, APD was accredited in only 18 months, one of only 33 out of more than 200 municipalities in Georgia to receive the recognition.

Eric Neel became the Darton State College Lady Cavaliers softball coach with just three weeks to get ready for the season. While certainly Neel saw the need to practice, practice, practice, that is not all of his vision. In every coaching job Neel has held, he always took his team out into elementary schools and has no plans to stop now. Every Tuesday the Lady Cavs are visiting Kinchafoonee Primary School to read to the students. The teachers love it, the kids are excited and so are the players. On a list of win-win situations, this sharing of time can certainly be found.

The Albany Civil Rights holds Community Night programs which provide information relevant to all residents of Southwest Georgia. Most recently, it was Ginger P. Nickerson, supervisor of the Albany/ Dougherty County Office of Voter Registration and Elections that took the podium. She explained voter registration and election day procedures. Much ado has been made about voter ID, mostly by those who do not understand how easy that ID is to obtain. Free photo ID cards are available in Georgia. Also accepted are driver’s license (even those that are expired), military ID, state or federal employee IDs, a valid passport or a valid tribal ID. Citizens can register to vote by downloading a postage paid form online, at the driver’s license office, at the elections office, on college campuses, at the DFCS office and at any public library. And, just so you will know, the registration deadline to vote in the May 20th primary is April 21st.

Elementary and primary schools are particularly fond of celebrating the 100th day of school. The ideas for ways to do this are limitless. Brooke Stinnett challenged her first grade class at Worth County Primary to bring in 100 pounds of dog food for the county’s Best Friends Humane Society. This lesson in math and giving was a greater success than anticipated. The children eagerly added up all the weight listed an the bags of food and came close to having enough to celebrate twice. Best Friends was appreciative of the 193.5 pounds of donated dog food. Well done.