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story.lead_photo.caption The Sentinel-Record/Mara Kuhn - Melinda Gassaway has her picture made on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016.

Hot Springs residents continue to move forward and look ahead to a wide range of fun springtime activities. But, it will be hard to top the celebratory occasions of this past weekend when -- under bright sunny skies -- locals and visitors celebrated the March 16 running of the split divisions of the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park and saluted all things Irish with the music and merriment associated with the First Ever 16th Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday, March 17.

Everyone involved with these events merits a "Thank you" and a big "Thumbs-up" but we send out special upturned digits to Hot Springs natives, Queen Dona Pettey and King Scott McClard for presiding over the Spa City's St. Patrick's Day and its related functions with panache and goodwill.

By the same token, we say, "Thumbs-up" to Chase Hartsell, Lakeside 11th-grader, for winning first place in the March 1 Ouachita Mountains Regional Science and Engineering Fair. He did so with an interesting project that challenges the accuracy of baseball's WAR (Wins Above Replacement) statistics that have been a popular way of determining lineups and new Baseball Hall of Fame inductees.

Hartsell's "WAR: Baseball Fact or Fiction" project was based on four months of gathering and analyzing related data.

As The Sentinel-Record reported, Hartsell also created his own statistic to look at the projected difference in wins, or PDIW, examining how many games the Chicago Cubs would have won or lost if each player had played in all 163 games last season.

Congratulations, Chase, and a tip of the hat to the 16 other Lakeside students who participated in the science fair and to teacher Margaret Hall for challenging them to use what they are learning in such interesting ways.

Here is a great big "Thumbs-up" to Bill Nester, pharmacy manager at the Walgreens on Albert Pike at Airport Road, for helping this customer get a refill for a commonly used blood pressure medicine that was in short supply in Hot Springs.

Nester and his courteous associates, including Robin, Jennifer, Jessica, are exceedingly diligent about taking care of prescription needs which are becoming increasingly frustrating for all concerned when drug companies and suppliers are later and later about keeping drugstores well stocked.

And here is a "Thumbs-up" to Corey Alderdice, director of the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts, for his March 15 letter to the editor affirming ASMSA's long-established partnership with the Hot Springs School District in reference to giving ASMSA students opportunities "to participate in Arkansas Activities Association-sanctioned varsity sports."

In his letter, Alderdice explained why "a proposal to expand the selection and radius of schools in which ASMSA could partner" would likely face substantial challenges if put before AAA and he pointed out other concerns such a move would present.

Thanks to Director Alderdice, the ASMSA faculty and staff, along with their counterparts in the Hot Springs School District, for making a two decades' alliance work so well.

The NCAA's "March Madness" is upon us and here is a belated but well deserved "Thumbs-up" to the Arkansas women's basketball team that took on regular season champion Mississippi State (30-2) in the championship game of their SEC Tournament.

Arkansas (20-14) was the conference's first-ever 10th-seed to play its way into the tournament title game and even though the Lady Razorbacks were outsized and lost 101-70 to a far more experienced team, Coach Mike Neighbors has his group poised to build on this experience.

Finally, here is a "Thumbs-down" to ESPN for leaking the 2019 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament bracket hours before the airing of the selection show. ESPN apologized for the "technical error" that threw off plans for the evening broadcast and of its slated watch parties and interviews.

While the 2019 NCAA Men's Tournament continues to receive near 24/7 news coverage, the women still get short shrift even though this is probably one of the most competitive fields in the history of NCAA women's basketball.

The Thumbs Column appears in The Sentinel-Record the first and third Wednesday of each month. The newspaper welcomes readers' comments and suggestions which should be submitted with a name, telephone number and home address for verification and contact purposes. This information is kept confidential.

Editorial on 03/20/2019

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