Thumbs Up! March 3, 2014

ALBANY HERALD EDITORIAL: Good news from Albany.

In only its second year, Leesburg’s 9/11 Heroes Run continues to grow in popularity. On the last Saturday of February, runners were still signing up for the day’s 5K run exceeding the first year numbers by more than 30. The run was dedicated to the fallen service men and women, especially those who were Lee County natives, including military, EMTs, law enforcement officers and firefighters. Lee County Commissioner Greg Frich, himself a retired Marine, stated that the event was inspired by patriotism and went on to define that term. “A patriot is somebody who loves the principles of freedom, duty, honor, sacrifice and service. We’re all called to practice these principles. That’s what makes this country what it is.” Joining the locals were more than 20 Marines representing Marine Corps Logistics Command and Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, running in formation, the way they know best. And with that in mind, participants and those watching enjoyed a great day of run, camaraderie and a reminder of how Americans have remained free for so long.

Middle School can be a trying time for youngsters unless that is, they can stay focused and have productive activities to occupy free time. Jordan Deshawn Brown is an honor student at Robert Cross Middle School and has focus and stays busy shooting hoops. For the fifth time in six years, Jordan has won the Elks Lodge Hoop Shoot State of Georgia Championship. He did so by sinking 22 of 25 free throws. Prior to the state event, Jordan sank 23 of 25 free throws to take the district championship. Next up, on March 15, this basket master will face off against winners from Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi for the Southeast Regional Championship. It is not necessary to personally known Jordan Brown to know that his future looks bright, wherever it takes him.

Interim manager of Albany’s Water, Gas & Light Commission, Tom Berry, did not come to the city to make friends but to lead the utility into greater efficiency. Many changes, including trimming fat, have already occurred and there are no doubt more to come. Berry took time, on a Saturday, to attend and answer questions at one of Ward I City Commissioner Jon Howard’s town hall meetings. Around 50 residents came armed with questions and concerns about high utility bills and Berry answered calmly, even when the crowd was not so patient. Since day one Berry has been transparent in his beliefs as to what WG&L needs to do to become financially sound without staining the pockets of its customers any additional amount. He has taken numerous steps toward leaving a sound financial utility in his wake and for that, customers should be thankful. Along the way, Berry has made numerous friends.

If ever you find yourself believing that something won’t work, can’t be done or just in a rut of pessimism about the city of Albany, find a way to spend just a short time in the presence of Downtown Albany Manager Aaron Blair. In his position since the fall of 2010, Blair sees the city clearly by walking its streets and has an amazing capacity to see the best and the worst. Using what resources are available, improvements have been gradual downtown and are by no means at an end. Read the story in The Albany Herald’s Outlook from February 23 and get on board to help bring one or more of the developments listed to fruition. Not everyone, in fact very few, have the financial resources needed to open a business or transform an old building into the future, but believing that it can be done just might encourage those that can do so to move forward.

Looking for something fun, wholesome and affordable to do? Look no further than Twin Oaks Elementary School in Lee County. On March 7 and 8 and again on March 14 and 15, students will present HONK! JR, the Ugly Duckling at 7 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria. The musical will showcase the two-month preparation of more than 60 students. Adult tickets are $5 and those for children are $3. Bring the family and get ready to be highly entertained.