THUMBS UP! To the Decatur Police Department and other law enforcement agencies for closing more open cases, thanks to enhanced DNA techniques. Police have announced that Melvin Johnson, who died of stomach cancer in 2003, was responsible for two other killings in the city in the 1980s. Police said Johnson was responsible for the sexual assault and murder of Sandra J. Hopson, 25, in April 1985 and the death of John L. Woods, 46, in May 1988. Although Johnson's crimes will never be brought in front of a court of law, the police work does bring some closure to the friends and families of the victims.

THUMBS UP! To the Boys and Girls Club of Decatur and Competitive Edge for teaming up to give free back-to-school haircuts to club members. Although many of the young men receiving haircuts professed not to care about their appearance, it's clear that a new haircut is a good way to start the school year. This is the second year the club and Competitive Edge have worked together to offer the free haircuts, and more than 90 boys were expected to receive the service.

THUMBS DOWN! To the U.S. Coast Guard for planning a military exercise near some 9/11 remembrance ceremonies and for the electronic media for jumping to conclusions quickly and inaccurately. The Coast Guard held a training exercise on 9/11 on the Potomac River near remembrance ceremonies at the Pentagon. The confusion that was caused led some television media to treat the exercise as if there were an actual invasion, which caused a lot of unnecessary fear and panic. The Coast Guard planned to take a "good hard look at what we did here today." That sounds like an excellent idea.

THUMBS UP! To the first Cruise 11 event, which was an event designed to remember 9/11 and raise money for military-themed causes. Although the event gave car lovers a chance to admire some classic vehicles, it was clear that the theme was to remember those who have served the country throughout the years and a memorial for victims of 9/11. It was a nice event that seems destined for a long future in Decatur.

THUMBS UP! To the Decatur and Macon County Animal Shelter Foundation's annual Furry Scurry, which took place last weekend. The ninth annual event featured all sorts of activities for dogs and pet owners, including costume contests, licking contests and a pet trick contest. The money raised by the event is used to fund the county's animal control operations and Fido Fields dog park.

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