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Thumbs Up! July 21, 2014

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

Congratulations are in order for Kimberly Suress Gaiters-Fields. The educational ride for Gaiters-Fields came full circle as this Albany State University graduate accepted the position of dean of the College of Education at her alma mater. After serving as interim dean for a year, the search committee could find no other other candidate that was better suited for the position than the person already in place. As interim, Gaiters-Fields worked diligently to become involved in the community herself as well as increasing community involvement expectations for faculty and staff. She also used resources from within the University System of Georgia to promote teamwork and improve morale within the department. The connection between the public school system, the university system and the resulting economic impact of an educated community are all a part of this educator’s plan for success. Albany is fortunate that Gaiters-Fields chose ASU, first as a student and now as a dean.

Not just anyone would have been as patient with the Albany- Dougherty Inner City Authority as Johnnie Williams. Albany’s ADICA-owned skate park has been idle most of its life. For at least four years one proposal after another has failed to satisfy the ADICA board, so the property generated no revenue from use, began deteriorating and was kept well away from the property tax rolls. After six months, a deal has finally been reached with Williams that will allow him to move (and expand) his business. Williams will open Rabbitman Footwear; pay wages to employees, taxes, a utility bill and insurance, and generate foot traffic to area. This is no fly-by-night company. Williams has been at his current location for 28 years and the family has done business in Albany for 50 years. The lease amount of $500 a month for five years may sound a low, but not when compared to what the property previously has brought to the city coffers. For all the years of business in Albany, here’s wishing Rabbitman all the best as his business continues to prosper and grow.

The news that East Albany’s Boys and Girls Club has closed was not what parents and children wanted to hear. Structural damages that simply are too serious and expensive to repair, as well as safety issues, are the reasons for the closure. Before the shuttering announcement, plans were already in the works for providing alternative services to the children in that area. Agreements are under way to establish Boys and Girls Clubs within the area at all the schools. Students who do not have a program at their school will be transported to another location. Others will go straight to their school-based program after the last bell rings. The cooperation between the Dougherty County School System and the Boys and Girls Clubs is very apparent and both are to be commended.

Mark your calendars. National Night Out in Albany is scheduled for July 31 at Radium Springs Middle School from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. The first National Night Out took place on Aug. 7, 1984. That year, 2.5 million Americans took part across 400 communities in 23 states. National Night Out now involves more than 37.8 million people and 16,124 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities, and military bases worldwide. Join the fun as Albany and Dougherty County law enforcement agencies host the event’s 30th birthday. There will be free food, drinks, school supplies, face-painting, games and ID kits and drawings for prizes, including a new bicycle.

The Albany Herald Editorial Board