Thumbs UP to the island that just doesn't stop caring. Kelleys Island artist Chuck Herndon is rightly lauded for pulling young Joel Hutchinson away from the plane wreck that killed his brother and father, but Herndon and his fellow islanders are taking things one step farther, helping to benefit a scholarship fund in memory of Joel's brother Jeremy. The scholarship will be for high school seniors in Lima, the Hutchinson hometown. "When people realize what it's for, you don't have to say anything," said Megan Joyce, wellness committee chairwoman for the Kelleys Island Schools' Parent Teacher Organization. We'll say something anyway: Good for you.
Thumbs DOWN to the mounting, mounting, mounting costs of investigations of city employees That's $60,000 so far in legal bills plus the thousands of dollars paid to city employees to do nothing while they're investigated. Whether it's because of political posturing or a long-overdue housecleaning, that's a lot of tax money down the drain over wrongdoing on someone's part. Let's hope Sandusky emerges from this mess wiser in the long term, albiet a little poorer in the short term.
Thumbs UP for an apparent turnaround at Harbor Light Landing, up to 25 percent occupancy from a low of 10 percent. New owner Ralph Ruta is crediting expanded parking with making the "New England-style" shopping center in Portage Township more attractive to vendors -- proof that the little details count.
Thumbs UP to Vermilion trying to quiet the trains while still addressing safety issues -- such as pursuing the grant that would pay for gates that completely block a railroad crossing when they're lowered, so drivers can't try the often-fatal dodge. We still wonder what's worse -- the regular sound of train horns or the occasional sound of ambulance sirens -- but Vermilion is thinking about safety hand-in-hand with ambience.
Thumbs UP to Ottawa County for taking a chance on building it and seeing if they'll come. A "spec building" -- a ready-made industrial building set in hopes someone will want to move in -- may seem like a flight of fancy to some, but it's one that has paid off in other areas.
Mechanical thumbs UP to Bill Reed, whose work ethic has given him a hand and an arm in the exploration of Mars. He's a leader on the team that developed the robot arms that let the durable rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, do what they do, and he worked on the arm attached to the Phoenix lander that's on its way to the Red Planet.