• THUMBS UP: To the St. John’s Catholic Church Youth Choir for its special performance this weekend at the Vatican. The choir will sing for Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Basilica as part of the New Year’s Papal Mass. The eyes and ears of the world will be on this stellar group of young people as their beautiful voices ring through the Vatican.

• THUMBS UP: To the Lowndes High Georgia Bridgemen for being part of the 117th Annual Rose Parade on Monday morning. The band will be at the front of the parade when NBC affiliates devote a two-minute segment to the Bridgemen. We are proud to have this community so well represented by these young people.

• THUMBS UP: To South Georgia Medical Center for offering a free series of four-week smoking cessation classes throughout the upcoming year. The classes focus on educating students about the overall effects of smoking as well as determining one’s own personal smoking status. For information, call 333-1610, Ext. 5.

• THUMBS UP: To the City of Remerton for offering a chauffeur service on New Year’s Eve. Officials want to ensure that everyone who celebrates in Remerton makes it home safely.

• THUMBS UP: To those who will make — and stick to — New Year’s resolutions that center on healthier lifestyles. Whether it’s starting an exercising program, quitting smoking or just cutting back on junk food, we applaud those who resolve to make 2006 a healthier year.

• THUMBS UP: To the police, deputies and Georgia State Patrol troopers who will monitor the roads this holiday weekend. While the rest of the community celebrates the New Year, these dedicated public servants keep our highways safe for travel.

• THUMBS UP: To the Jackonville Jaguars football team for donating a vehicle, a Buick Roadmaster, to the Georgia Sheriffs’ Boys Ranch. The vehicle will be used by the boys at the ranch for driving to school and social activities.

• THUMBS UP: To all members of the U.S. military who are deployed in the War on Terror this holiday season. Our freedom remains safe because of their service and sacrifice.

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