Thumbs up and down

Jun. 01, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

THUMBS UP: Swimming safety

Summer’s almost here, and after a long, cold and somewhat icy winter, many of those of us who frequent swimming pools are eager to throw caution to the wind and just dive right in.

Swimming and spending time in a pool — whether your own or a pubic pool or one in a residential development somewhere — can be outrageously enjoyable. It can also be deadly. More than two dozen children under the age of 18 die in North Carolina each year from unintentional drownings, and drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in children under age 5.

The best ways to prevent such tragedies is to teach young people to swim and to never, ever let children swim alone.

That was the message this week from John Payne of the Lee County Parks and Recreation Department, who discussed “Safe Kids North Carolina” with The Herald. The statewide program has released tips for parents about child safety, particularly when it comes to being around a swimming pool. Payne is also working to create awareness about safety.

If you have children eager to throw on their swim trunks and hit the water, or if you don't know how to swim, first consider lessons from LCPR. Lessons are being offered to all age groups this summer by American Red Cross-certified instructors. The lessons are $30 per person per session for county residents, and $40 per person per session for non-residents.

“It's not just teaching kids how to swim, it's teaching them how to be safe and their friends to be safe around the water,” Payne said.

The lessons will be held at O.T. Sloan Pool, the only public pool in Lee County, located on 1420 Bragg St.

For more information on pool fees and rules, call (919) 775-2107 ext. 201. For more information on lessons, call ext. 207.

THUMBS DOWN: Senate takes on Redskins

North Carolina’s Kay Hagan has joined 49 other Senators (all Democrats) in signing a letter addressed to the commissioner of the National Football League. The letter’s purpose: to ask the NFL to endorse a name change for the league’s Washington Redskins.

The name “Redskins” doesn’t appear in the letter, which was addressed to Roger Goodell and dated May 21, but it’s clear how Hagan, Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the other signers feel about it. By not compelling the owner of the “Washington, D.C. football team” to change its name, the writers accuse the league of “endorsing slurs against Native Americans,” saying that the name of the team conveys “racism and bigotry” on par with the offensive remarks of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in the NBA.

The Wall Street Journal this week described Sen. Reid as “a one-man, First Amendment wrecking crew” because of his penchant for going after those with whom he disagrees politically, of trying to “shut you up or make you disappear.” Reid (and by extension, Hagan) seem to miss the point of our society’s move toward tolerance, reading it “be tolerant only toward those who share your worldview.”

At any rate, we think the Senate has more important work than taking on the team that gave us Sonny Jurgensen, Billy Kilmer, Charley Taylor and Chris Hanburger. Thankfully, so far, Sens. Reid and Hagan appear not to have written a similar letter to Major League Baseball about the Indians … or the Braves … or the Pirates. (Maybe Hagan might draft one of the behalf of some Southerners about the name “Yankees”?)

The NFL is certainly more popular and probably more powerful than the Senate right now. This letter is just another reason why.