Thumbs UP to Stillwaters running deep, even if the new name is Mr. Smith's. Longtime barista boss Trent Beard, known to local caffiends as the Coffee Beanery man, is taking over the downtown coffee house. Same selection, different decor -- but a downtown business is staying in business with a long-term commitment. After last week's sad news about Admiral's Daughter, that is to be cheered.
Thumbs UP to never, ever being too old to learn. Alberta McLaughlin is pursuing a second degree at Ohio Business College, complete with work experience at the Erie County Health Department -- at age 72. We hear about people having to work past retirement to make ends meet, but it's nice to hear about someone who refuses to believe gray on top means gray inside stops working. Rah!
Thumbs DOWN to those who just have to justify the cheap KKK prank by the state troopers. The usual defense: Blacks tell jokes about themselves, or whites -- and what about Dave Chappelle, the comedian whose skit the troopers were supposedly aping? Here's what we say: Chappelle's a comedian, not a law enforcement officer. But, hey, as long as we're talking about TV characters and law enforcement officers, let's bring up one of Sgt. Joe Friday's better lines: "It's not a reason, ma'am. It's just an excuse."
Thumbs UP to Tom Baaske, who steps out from 41 years behind the wheel of his Sandusky school bus with a lasting -- good -- impression. We talk of teachers who leave their mark, and rightly so, but Baaske is one of the many who demonstrate everyone has a chance to influence others, for good or ill. Let's hear it for the good.