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Thumbs Up! Feb. 10, 2014

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

Walmart will be opening within the next few months in Sylvester. Whether a fan (or not) of the company and some of its decisions/actions, a new business brings with it tax dollars and jobs. The Worth County Walmart is expected to hire around 100 people and already has a temporary hiring center at 114 N. Main St. What is most impressive about the company’s hiring policy is the Veterans Welcome Home Commitment. Started Memorial Day 2013, the commitment is as follows: “Walmart will hire any honorably discharged veteran who wants a job in his/her first 12 months off active duty.” There is no asterisk which denotes “when available” or “selected sites only.” It is a simple, yet powerful, pledge to help veterans transition back into civilian day to day life.

The Dougherty County School System Police Department officers take their role very seriously and are highly qualified to protect the more than 15,000 students within the system. Here is a perfect example: At the first meeting of the Board of Education for 2014, Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely recommended Theotis Gervin be promoted to the rank of interim assistant chief of police and the board members agreed. Gervin, a 15-year officer and a captain since 2005 with the DCSSPD, has a resume that would get any law enforcement department’s attention. Prior to coming to the school system, Gervin served 10 years with the Albany Police Department in several special sections, from homicide investigation to counter intelligence. In addition, he is a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the Military Police. Congratulations on your promotion and thank you to all the officers that serve to insure the safety of students.

Inmates at the Dougherty County Jail have plenty of time to make decisions about the future. Many just count the days, weeks, months off the calendar with no thought to anything but getting out. Such is not the case with inmates LaMontae Brown, Otis Meyers, Courtney Green and Brian Harris. These four young men all received a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) on the last day of January. When they are released from jail, each now have tool that can serve as a great asset when looking for gainful employment and/or further education. Sheriff Kevin Sproul stressed at the GED ceremony that no county funds were used to pay for the training and testing but that private supporters of the program provided all the associated expenses. Over the past two years 15 others have gotten their GEDs while incarcerated. Sure, some will likely re-offend but the odds are good that at least some will take advantage of their new diplomas and make a go at becoming productive citizens.

SOWEGA Council on Aging is once again offering free assistance with tax return counseling and preparation. The service is available to all people of moderate to low income but special attention will be given to those age 60 and older. Appointments can be made by calling (229) 432-1124. Be prepared to gather up all documents relating to income in 2013, any items documenting deductions, a copy of the previous year’s return, Social Security cards for all persons on the return and a picture ID. This will also be a great time to see the newly completed Senior Life Enrichment Center, a truly awesome facility.

There is good news for former Westtown Library patrons. The branch, which closed at the end of June 2012, will soon be reopened. Most of the materials are in place with just a few details left to iron out. New hours of operation have been announced as Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 2-6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. It is now up to area citizens to prove that the reopening was a good idea.

The Albany Herald Editorial Board