Thumbs Up! July 28, 2014

ALBANY HERALD EDITORIAL BOARD: Good news to start the week

Fortunately for Albany, there was no long gap between the time that Aaron Blair left for California and Sharlene Cannon stepped into the role of interim downtown manager. The wheels that were set in motion by Blair and his work to renew life to the downtown area had little time to slow and no time at all to consider stopping. Cannon has a resume filled with successful work revitalizing downtowns — Thomasville and Quincy, Fla., as well as other locations. The ideas this new set of eyes brings to our city are an asset and may just be the ticket to move plans from paper to storefront. Cannon believes that the potential is here and the advantage of having the Flint River at hand is one many, if not most, cities do not possess. Cannon has stressed the need to be patient reminding everyone that the “deterioration of downtown did not happen overnight, and revitalization won’t either.” Welcome aboard, Ms. Cannon.

The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) has more than 500 member colleges. Each of the colleges have a variety of sports in which students can compete. Among those sports are everything from baseball to basketball to ice hockey to bowling. There is tennis, soccer, swimming, volleyball, wrestling and on the list goes. Darton State College is among the many members of the NJCAA and student Crawford Berry has been named the top male junior college athlete for 2014, across the nation and from all sports. Berry is a four-time nation champion diver and will carry his talent by way of scholarship to the University of Georgia this fall. This young man leaves Darton as the school’s first and only four-time national champ in any sport and the first swimmer or diver to take the top NJCAA honor in the 22-year history of the award. Congratulations, young man, and good luck as you take the stage for UGA.

It turned out that there was nothing to the rumors going around earlier this year regarding the sale by the city of historic Tift Park. The city has considered the sale of the corner once used by the Albany Police Department’s mounted patrol but that, too, seems unlikely. News spread quickly, and not so accurately as it turned out, that the park would be sold “parcel by parcel” until its existence was only a memory. The good news is that people once again were reminded of the good times had at the zoo, the Wigwam (a safe place for teens to gather), family, school and church picnics and more. Through social media, Friends of Tift Park was loosely organized. It is some of those folks we can thank for a spruce up and for what is hoped will become a longstanding tradition, the Tift Park Community Market. Join the fun on Saturdays with fresh produce for sale as well as crafts and gifts and a variety of good food. Bring the family for a safe, wholesome and free-to-easy-on-the-pocketbook fun.

Karen Kemp served as interim director and then full-time executive director for the Albany Museum of Art for the last two years. Word of her resignation brought questions to mind as to why this happened. When asked, Kemp said, “I felt with my family situation that I needed some life-work balance and some flexibility. I decided to step down so I would not be a distraction.” What that situation is, quite frankly, no one’s business. The fact that Kemp made the decision to step down with the museum’s best interest at heart is an action to be commended.

Okinus, a finance company in Mitchell County, made a big difference for many local kids last week as they prepare to return to the classroom. Employees were allowed to wear jeans to work every Thursday for a $2 donation. This simple idea proved to be a popular one. The company was able to provide 500 book bags filled with school supplies to children that came by the Pelham Depot last Thursday. Pelham Loan Company held a drawing after the last bag was gone and one lucky person walked away with a new HP laptop.

— The Albany Herald Editorial Board