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Just days into the Year 2021, it appears that local denizens look forward to better times with more than a modicum of hope and optimism. That said, this writer shares an encouraging message excerpted from Edgar Albert Guest's literary work, "It Couldn't Be Done," and included in Caroline Kennedy's collection, "Poems to Learn by Heart."

"There are thousands to point out to you one by one

The dangers that want to assail you.

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,

Just take off your coat and go to it;

Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing

That 'cannot be done' and you'll do it."

On that note, here is a "Thumbs-up" to local poets Elmer Beard and Kai Coggin, who will be honored this year with Governor's Art Award.

Beard, a former Hot Springs city alderman, will receive the Judges Recognition Award and Coggin, who teaches poetry to students throughout the state, will receive the Arts in Education Award. Both honorees have authored books and been highly active in organizations and causes that stress the importance of the arts in our history and culture.

Here is another "Thumbs-up" to Shirley Canon Goff, who recently was recognized by Akansas Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, for "40 years of commitment and volunteer service to Hot Springs and Hot Springs Village."

Goff, who served six years as Akansas Chapter's first vice regent and chair of several committees, volunteered more than 3,500 hours at the Fordyce Bath House in Hot Springs National Park. She and her husband, Dean, are well known throughout the area for their cordiality, enthusiasm, and generous spirit and we thank them for giving back to the community.

Meanwhile, here is a big "Thumbs-up" to the ambitious agenda of activities planned to commemorate the 100th year since Hot Springs Reservation was renamed Hot Springs National Park.

Hot Springs National Park Superintendent Laura Miller announced in a December news conference that the centennial year would start Jan. 1 with a series of hikes, bike rides, and trail runs and urged residents and visitors to enjoy their national park and public lands, albeit still following COVID-19 precautions.

The March 4 anniversary celebration of the name change will include virtual and in-person events.

Speaking of December, it is certainly not too late to congratulate and send out a "Thumbs-up" to Kyria Wilson, assistant principal at Hot Springs Junior Academy, for last month being named the Arkansas Association of Middle Level Administrators Assistant Principal of the Year.

A news release about the award said, in part, "The award is given to an Arkansas middle level assistant principal who contributes to a positive and motivating environment for others and exhibits exceptional leadership skills in the school community.

"Best wishes, Kyria, and thank you inspiring your students and our future leaders."

And, finally, in appreciation for the ongoing kindnesses extended to so many people in the Spa City, here is a "Thumbs-up" to the three motorists who recently came to the aid of a woman whose van appeared to have stalled at the intersection of Central Avenue and Alcorn.

The men -- one on a motorcycle -- signaled for other drivers to stop so they could push the vehicle on to a vacant lot where the driver could be out of the traffic and safely call for assistance in assessing the problem.

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

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