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Thumbs column

OPINION by Melinda Gassaway, guest column | January 5, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

The calendar has turned over to 2022 and local denizens have a clean slate on which to write the next chapters of their personal stories.

Had she lived, my mother would have turned 112 on Jan. 3. How I would love to still get her take on today's headlines.

On that note, let's begin this month's digit doings column with a big "Thumbs-up" to Coach Sam Pittman and the Arkansas Razorbacks for their 24-10 win over Penn State in last Saturday's Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.

Congratulations to Arkansas quarterback K.J. Jefferson for his impressive performance in leading the team to a New Year's Day victory and a 9-4 season record. And special thanks to Coach Pittman for always expressing his thanks to the players and fans and for doing so with graciousness, good humor, and humility.

The singular kindnesses of lesser-known persons certainly need not be overlooked, either.

And a "Thumbs-up" is definitely in order for the thoughtful gesture proffered by a fellow Christmas week shopper at the Kroger Store on Airport Road.

This customer was walking behind the checkout stands when he noticed a store employee was down on his knees in one of the aisles, putting together a floor display of various containers of cleaning supplies. The gentleman stopped and went to assist with the undertaking.

Such personal gifts are welcome each and every season.

Speaking of showing goodwill, here is a "Thank you" and a "Thumbs-up" to Elks Lodge 380 for again organizing its annual Christmas Project that helps Hot Springs families in need.

Elks members and their families, along with the generosity of several local businesses and the Elks National Foundation, raised funds for the project which in December saw the delivery of 96 food baskets, 50 new bicycles, and more than 110 bags of toys.

Kudos to these super Santa's helpers.

Meanwhile, here's a "Thumbs-up" to the Women's Foundation of Arkansas for its recent $10,000 grant to the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts.

Grant moneys will go to the school's hosting of a 2022 Equity in Computer Science Summit for school districts around the state. The focus will be on "strategies and tools to increase female student enrollment within computer science and provide them a path from college to career."

According to the hometown newspaper, "The WFA is the only statewide organization focused on academic and economic development for women and girls across the state."

Thanks to ASMSA for its visionary approach to expanding computer science education for female students.

On the other hand, we send out the first "Thumbs-down" of the year to the preponderance of litter already visible along the highways and byways in and around the Spa City.

Surely, we can all do better to keep our streets, yards, parks and recreational areas, clear of such unsightly trash.

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

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