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Thumbs column

OPINION by Melinda Gassaway, guest column | September 1, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

We begin the ninth month of 2021 with the hope that the Spa City's September will be remembered for more ups than downs in all aspects of community life.

That said, "Thumbs-up" and "Congratulations" to local watercolorist Richard Stephens for recently being named the Garland County Historical Society's latest "History + Art" featured artist. Stephens, whose works are widely known throughout the state and country, created a poster featuring "The Old Post Office" building that offered a range of services at 119 Benton St., now Convention Boulevard.

The society's "History + Art" program was introduced in 2020 with "a local artist designing a piece of artwork based on his or her interpretation of Hot Springs history." Tansill Stough Anthony, the first honoree, created an abstract of downtown Hot Springs.

By the same token, "Thumbs-up" to National Park College nontraditional student Karin Owens, recipient of a $1,500 scholarship from the American Association of University Women.

Owens, wife and mother of three -- two in college -- renewed early dreams of becoming a nurse in 2019 after seeing how nursing professionals cared for her critically ill mother. Enrolling at NPC, she completed prerequisites with a 4.0 GPA, was accepted into the RN program, has maintained a 4.0 GPA, and was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, a national society.

Best wishes to Owens as she continues her course work and training and eyes goals of getting a master's degree and becoming a nurse practitioner or nurse educator.

Staying on the subject of health care and well-being, here's a "Thumbs-up" and "Thank you" to some dedicated individuals at the Walgreens on Albert Pike Road for their many courtesies and concern for others.

Sadly, we must bid, "Adieu," to knowledgeable and personable pharmacists, Bill and Robin, and to clerks. Ginny and Judy, who always knew the store's stock and greeted patrons with a smile and friendly, "May I help you?"

Their customer service was A-plus and they will be missed.

Meanwhile, here is another "Thumbs-up" to the unofficial "traffic cop" who last Saturday helped motorists safely maneuver through the St. Louis Street and Richard Street intersection after an apparent car breakdown shortly before noon.

The young man confidently signaled when drivers at the always busy four-way stop should halt or move ahead and seemed to have things well in hand when this writer arrived and turned on her left-turn light.

His willingness to put himself in the middle of all those autos took some know-how and mettle.

Speaking of deftly directing individuals to where they need to go without causing a disruption for others, a Hot Springs resident gives a "Thumbs-up" to ushers who worked the recent Kansas concert at the Oaklawn event center. In an email, she thanks the ushers for showing courtesy to disabled persons attending the concert, noting, "There is an aisle-width space between the designated seating and the row of seats in the section in front of them. Other concertgoers were ushered through that area prior to the show. but once it began, the ushers discontinued use of this 'aisle.'

"This prevented the distraction that is, unfortunately, a common issue around disability designated seats in many venues, especially football stadiums accessed from the field level."

Ah, yes, football season is here for sure, but avid tennis fans are no doubt engrossed in the 2021 U.S. Open, which is well into its third day of competition at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queen's, N.Y.

While the on-court action is always the center of attention, here's a "Thumbs-down" to the persistent grunting and shrieking players whose noisemaking is still annoying.

Not really sure that helps their game.

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 in writing with a telephone number and home address for verification purposes. This information is kept confidential.

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