EDITORIAL: Thumbs up

Nov. 24, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

THUMBS UP: Dean Smith

Here, in the heart of Carolina country — “Carolina” referring to a region of basketball fanatics basking in the blue-tinted glow UNC-Chapel Hill, something event Wolfpackers and Dukies would have to concede – we’ve grown accustomed to the legend and legacy of Dean Smith. That he was a great coach (the winningest of all time upon his retirement) and an even better person are well-documented and inarguable, even if you bleed State red or Duke blue.

Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which Smith did this week, only enhanced Smith’s legacy.

Smith was one of 16 people to receive what is the nation’s highest civilian honor Wednesday in Washington. A degenerative brain disorder prevented him from attending, so President Obama made the presentation to Smith’s wife, Linnea.

The award is given to those people who have made meritorious contributions to the United States. Smith’s emphasis on fairness, teamwork and education as a coach made him much more than just someone who pursued national championships. He’s always been all about character, and because he so successfully instilled that into his players — teaching the rest of us along the way — he is most deserving of the honor.

THUMBS UP: Mural Arts Program

The City of Sanford’s Appearance Commission has found a perfect solution to a nagging, irritating problem: replacing broken and boarded-up windows in downtown Sanford and other parts of the city with painted murals.

Aside from vandalism, nothing says “we don’t care” so much as broken glass in vacant buildings (including storefronts) not being replaced, or left boarded up. As an enhancement for downtown, Sanford Historical Preservation Planner Liz Whitmore says the murals will present an attractive enhancement to the city, plus help present depictions of Sanford’s rich history.

The first in a series of public murals — maybe a dozen or more will be done — can be seen at 140 N. Steele St. A second mural, on Moore Street, will be started soon. Artist Shirley Romero Massie was the creator of the first mural, completed just last week, which beautifully depicts a woman driving a horse-drawn buggy; Lee County High School senior Katie Hancock is set to create the second mural.

The mural program is an ideal way to turn a negative into a positive.

THUMBS UP: JOY Program opportunities

Sanford and Lee County’s generosity is unquestionable, but in the reality of this economy, many needs are aren’t being met. One need not yet fulfilled is the number of “unadopted” Angels in the local Salvation Army’s JOY (Joy for Others at Yuletide) program, also known as the Angel Tree program.

As of this weekend, more than 50 children ages 12 and under had not been adopted for Christmas. As you’ll probably recall, each year, the Salvation Army screens parents who apply for the program, in which individuals and businesses “adopt” those who qualify and provide them (at the cost of about $100 each) with gifts for Christmas. The application is based on family income and expenses, and those who qualify may not receive gifts during Christmas otherwise. The gifts purchased by those who adopt the children typically consist of needed clothing items and toys from the child’s wish list.

Although hundreds have already been adopted, some children still haven’t been. If you’re interested, contact the Salvation Army at (919) 718-1717 and let them know. You’ll make a child’s Christmas in the process.