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Aug. 03, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

THUMBS UP: Jobless rate

Central Carolina counties received some very good news this week with the announcement of the latest unemployment numbers from the N.C. Department of Commerce, which show that Lee and our surrounding three counties showed a drop in  unemployment.

Lee County’s rate in June was 8.1 percent, down from 10.8 percent one year ago. Chatham County is at 4.5 percent, compared to 5.9 percent a year ago; Harnett County’s rate is at 7.4 percent, compared to 9.9 percent a year ago; and Moore County is at 6.0 percent, compared to 8.1 percent a year ago.

While Lee’s 8.1 percent was just slightly lower than the 8.4 percent in May, every improvement is worth noting. Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce Bob Joyce duly noted, “Even though it’s a small decline, that’s more families getting a paycheck.”

That’s good news for our citizens and for our business community — but better news if the trend continues.

THUMBS UP: Arts and Community Center

The Lee County Arts and Community Center has been a tremendous resource to our community.

First serving as the former Sanford High School, the facility has seen new life in housing a variety of non-profits that are beneficial to our community, including the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and many more.

Now, the possibility of a renovation that would range in the $3 million to $5 million range is being considered. The renovation would focus on the gymnasium and auditorium, which could be rented out for a variety of purposes like concerts, plays, weddings, family reunions and more.

It’ll take a real effort to raise the money, but what a welcome addition of usable space that could prove beneficial for the entire community.

At one time, it appeared as if the old school would not survive. But good folks like Tommy Mann Sr. and Annie Laurie Pomeranz worked hard to rally support to secure the needed funds and the center became reality.

The latest project involving the facility is definitely worthy of community support.

THUMBS UP: Young Commissioners

The Lee County Young Commissioner Leadership program is under way, with eight teens ranging from 13 to 15 years old learning more about local government.

This program has much merit, giving young people the opportunity to get a practical education in seeing how our government works. No doubt, this invaluable lesson would be of great benefit to much of our population.

Despite what some people may believe, the United States’ republic system of government — from the local to the national level — is the greatest in the world. We should take great pride in the process.

Let’s hope that these young people will learn one important lesson — that despite how good our government may be, it is only as good as the individuals who are involved in the process. Perhaps they’ll learn that while our government leaders may have their own opinions that are contrary to their comrades, they can work toward the belief that our government works best when civility and the ability to get along is a most important part of that process.