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Thumbs Up! - Jan. 19, 2014

Albany Herald Editorial: A look at some of the good things going on in Albany and Southwest Georgia.

The mission of Feed the Children, founded in 1979, is “to provide hope and resources to those without life’s essentials.” Through the foundation’s partnership with the National Association of Educators for Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY), Feed The Children supplies backpacks filled with school supplies, ready-to-eat meals and personal care items for homeless children enrolled in U.S. public schools. Marion Stevens, lead social worker and homeless liaison for the Dougherty County School System, got the ball rolling to bring assistance to Albany. Supplies, from age-appropriate books to food, arrived in abundance. DCSS social workers reached out to other counties, as well as Open Arms, Inc., to share the wealth. Early last month school social workers from Mitchell, Grady, Worth and Crisp counties came to Albany where supplies were distributed. The value of the Feed the Children donation was $61,200.

Some halls of fame seem compelled to induct new members every year. Not so with the Georgia Peanut Hall of Fame. In the last 32 years only five people have made the cut. Last week, at the 38th annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss became that fifth inductee. Chambliss joined an elite group that includes former President Jimmy Carter, Georgia House Agriculture Committee Chairman Henry Reeves, the late U.S. Sen. Herman Talmadge and Professor J. Frank McGill of Tifton. Congratulations, Senator.

What seemed like bad news at first will likely end up as some of the best news of the year for south Georgia cancer patients. The committee planning the Hope Ball was more than a little stunned to find that the American Cancer Society would no longer sponsor the event. What? The ACS has chosen not to sponsor an event that has raised at least $50,000 a year beginning in 2008? While it may not have seemed so at the time, the cold shoulder will be of great benefit locally. In the Herald’s “Cancer Chronicles” by Carlton Fletcher, Dr. Chuck Mendenhall, radiation oncology director at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s Cancer Center, stated that the American Cancer Society holds “these local fundraisers that bring in thousands of dollars, and every dime of it supposedly goes into research. Where it goes is into a fancy high-rise building in Atlanta. We’ve asked them on a number of occasions to help us provide programs for local people. … They’ve always said no.” So, the Hope Ball is now A Night for Hope and the sponsor is the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia. All of the proceeds — that’s 100 percent — from Cancer Coalition events has always been, and will continue to be, used in the 32 counties of south Georgia. The willingness of the Coalition to step up is just one more reason to support its mission.

In 2009, Lee County’s Grand Island Club was, to put it mildly, in a financial mess. The county created a Parks and Recreation Authority to handle the club and handle it they have. In a recent update from the chairman of that authority, Ed Duffy, the story is completely different. In 2010, the County Commission cut $150,000 out of the budget for the complex. That same year, commissioners allocated $40,000 for Grand Island, not one penny of which was used to balance the club’s budget. By 2013, Grand Island had a net profit without depreciation of $74,789. It does not take a CPA to figure out that what was once on the brink of becoming a major headache for Lee County has now become a valuable asset. Well done.

The Albany Herald Editorial Board