THUMBS UP: To the Valdosta Mainstreet Program for sponsoring the annual Brown Bag Lunch Concerts this week in the Lowndes County Courthouse square. Those who attended could buy lunch, enjoy the warm weather and listen to live music from area bands amid the architectural splendor of downtown Valdosta. We suggest local leaders find a way to do this at least once a week in spring, summer and fall. It helps to bring people downtown to show them what a wonderful place it can be to live, work, shop and eat.



THUMBS DOWN: To the federal Office of Management and Budget for failing to act on granting Valdosta metropolitan status as of yet. Local officials and others have been working on this designation for a long time and were told last year that this status was expected earlier this year. It's now May, and no action has been seen. Valdosta will become the state's 10th metropolitan area, and along with it will come not only improved eligibility for federal funds but higher interest from retail and restaurant chains. But we should not need to be waiting to enjoy these benefits.



THUMBS UP: To the more than 900 students graduating from Valdosta State University today. As part of Georgia's university system, VSU has increased its academic status in recent years. Today's graduates should be proud of their accomplishments, and we wish them the best in searching for jobs during the current economic climate. We also urge them to find work locally and consider staying in South Georgia. Congratulations!



THUMBS UP: To Coca-Cola for bringing back the huge neon Coke sign to downtown Atlanta that has been missing since 1981. The previous sign was a landmark for nearly 50 years in the city where the soft drink was created. The new sign is 33 feet in diameter and was unveiled Tuesday near Underground Atlanta and Woodruff Park. It's hoped celebrations such as New Year's Eve and others will be held at the site.

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