Thumbs up and down
THUMBS UP: Early voting
Early voting has begun in the Sanford municipal primary and will continue through Sept. 7. City residents who fail to vote early can make their choices during the Sept. 10 primary.
All city residents have the opportunity to vote on four bond referendums — $2 million for Parks and Recreation Bonds, $2 million for Sidewalk Bonds, $4 million for Greenway Bonds and $6.5 million for Streetscape Bonds.
Democratic and unaffiliated voters can vote for incumbent Cornelia Olive or challenger Chet Mann, with the winner to become mayor.
Democratic and unaffiliated voters also can vote for incumbent L.I. "Poly" Cohen or challenger Norman "Chas" Post III for the Democratic nomination for the at-large seat on Sanford City Council. Republicans and unaffiliated voters can vote for Keith Clark or Max Dolan for the Republican nomination for the at-large seat.
And, Democrats and unaffiliated voters have the choice of incumbent James "J.D." Williams or challenger Ervin Fox for the Ward 3 seat.
It's great that residents have the option to vote early ... and that they have choices.
Regardless of how the election goes, it's also great that such significant decisions have been placed in the voters' hands.
THUMBS DOWN: HAVEN's bind
The announcement that HAVEN (Helping Abuse and Violence End Now) will have to close, at least temporarily, is a true tragedy.
According to a press release, the agency has suspended its various operations while it reorganizes and attempts to get its finances in order.
It's a shame that money woes brought it to this, as HAVEN was a true refuge for women and children seeking help with domestic violence. Now, while already in painful and stressful circumstances, these victims will have to relocate — certainly not an easy or pleasant task.
HAVEN has served a valuable role in our community — and we can only hope that a long-term solution can be found so that this shelter can reopen and continue serving as a beacon of hope for those in crisis.
Let's hope that the agency's leaders will not allow this temporary setback to end its mission on behalf of these victims. Our community needs to step forward and offer the needed assistance to help get HAVEN back on its feet and continue to provide this valuable service for those who are hurting and needing help.
THUMBS UP: High school athletics
The North Carolina high school football season officially got under way on Friday night, with Lee County's two schools in action — Lee County playing Spartanburg Christian and Southern Lee taking on Western Harnett.
The season is about more than football. It's a tradition that involves not just the teams, but the school's cheerleaders, bands and fans. It's a time to come together in a common spirit of school pride and comraderie.
Sure, winning is nice. But the gatherings on Friday nights are special, in that it's a time of unity and sportsmanship for our schools and community.
Wouldn't it be nice if our nation, our state, our counties and our cities could come together in such a way?
We wish all of our Central Carolina area high schools the very best this fall, both in the classrooms and on the gridiron.
Go Jackets! Go Cavaliers!
We're proud of you.