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Thumbs Column

OPINION March 1, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

As we all know, time marches on and so we begin this third month of the year with continued best wishes for Hot Springs and Garland residents and, of course, the luck of the Irish on St. Patrick's Day.

And fittingly, we start off today's digit doings with a "Thumbs-up" and belated "Happy Birthday" thoughts of 91-year-old Mary Ragsdale, former waitress at the popular Spa City eatery, McClard's Bar-B-Q.

Ragsdale worked at the restaurant for more than 25 years and was married to Alex McClard, grandfather of Phillip McClard, one of the former owners and now its manager.

She was treated to a surprise visit there on her birth date -- Feb. 14 -- and said, "It was the best thing they could do for me. It brings back so many memories."

"Thank you, Mary, for your hospitality to so many of McClard's customers."

On another high note, a "Thumbs-up" goes out to Lakeside High School Choral Director Mark Langley, Bentonville High School Choral Director Terry Hicks, Julia Reynolds, executive secretary-treasurer of the Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association, and other affiliates of the ACDA, for recently welcoming more than 800 choral, orchestra, and band students to Hot Springs for the 54th Annual Arkansas All-State Music Conference and All-State Clinic.

The event has been held in Hot Springs since 2001 and is an opportunity for the students to work with some of the best internationally-known music clinicians.

Bravo to everyone involved in this entertaining and learning gathering at Hot Springs Convention Center.

Speaking of local pluses, we give a well-deserved "Thumbs-up" to Hot Springs National Park, which has been listed as one of 30 world landmark sites on the Wander With Alex website. Per a story in the hometown newspaper, the said locations were a suggested "bucket list" of places people should visit before they die.

The website post said in part, "Whether you're an avid traveler or simply looking for a new experience, visiting famous landmarks is an opportunity to create lasting memories and expand your knowledge and appreciation of the world around you."

We who are familiar with the many facets of the country's oldest national park say, "Kudos to all of the HSNP administration and field personnel who maintain and grow its special features."

We also award a "Thumbs-up" to the Literacy Council of Garland County for recently hosting a "Read Between the Wines" benefit at The Warehouse.

The Feb. 23 social featured good food, good conversations, and spotlighted Bitty Martin, local author of "Snake Eyes: Murder in a Southern Town." Martin's well-researched and well-written true crime work examines "a decades-old murder and cover-up" case" that involved Frank Davis, owner of the Blacksnake Ranch.

Proceeds from the evening fete go to the nonprofit's ongoing goal of "enhancing success in daily living by building literacy skills."

Staying on the subject of literacy, we say, "Thumbs-up" and "Thank you" to Erin Baber of the Grarland County Library for her article in last Sunday's Senior Scene section of The Sentinel-Record.

Baber reminded us of National Library Lover's Month and enumerated ways the library serves the needs of its constituency, listing them under three categories: Ease of access, Thoughtful expansion, and Considerate leadership.

This writer refers our readers to the commentary which she feels will prompt them to think of other ways in which our library works for us.

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 and contact purposes. This information is kept confidential.

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