THUMBS UP: To the Lowndes/Valdosta Beautiful Committee for coordinating the recent program to recycle Christmas trees into mulch or fish habitat. This year, 1,418 trees were taken to the various sites. The committee was assisted by organizations and businesses alike, and we commend everyone for their help and participation in this important environmental effort.

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THUMBS DOWN: To the City of Cochran for continuing to fly the Confederate battle flag on city property despite protests from some city residents. The mayor cast the deciding vote after Council split 3-3 on the flag issue. Flag supporters say it's a tribute to both black and white soldiers who fought for the South in the Civil War. That fails to acknowledge that the flag was turned into a symbol of hate by racists in recent decades.



THUMBS UP: To 74-year-old J.C. Adams for proving himself a formidable foe to would-be robbers of his Decatur, Ga., store. For the second time in three years, Adams shot and killed a robber even though he moves slowly with the aid of a walker. In his 26 years as owner, the grandfather of four says he's been robbed 12 times. It's too bad these criminals aren't smart enough to know his record.



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