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Thumbs up to the New Castle Redevelopment Commission for its continued foresight and decision-making. Their largely unsung efforts are making a big difference in this community.

Thumbs down to fair-weather movie fans who missed perhaps the last film ever shown at the Castle Theatre last Sunday, Aug. 19. Among the 25 present for the finale was one person who expressed surprise the iconic movie house wasn’t packed. Here’s hoping the support for a local theatre is there if New Castle Main Street and Mayor Greg York can work their magic and obtain ownership of the building from its largely phantom tenants.

Thumbs up to the folks working at Memorial Park to get the Smith Building renovated and other projects taken care of throughout the park. The main building could be a combination of something new and something people still remember after all is said and done.

Thumbs up to Indiana teachers for doing everything they can to prepare students to be ready for life after high school. A recent report showed that the Indiana Academic Standards measure up pretty well to Common Core standards.

Thumbs up to everyone who has shared their opinions and concerns about the county’s new wind turbine ordinance. Let’s hope that this level of civic engagement continues as time goes on and the issues change.

Thumbs up to the New Castle and Hagerstown High School football teams for starting the regular season with victories on the road Aug. 17.

Thumbs up to the Blue River Valley High School volleyball team for opening its regular season with a victory on the road against defending Sectional 56 champion Seton Catholic Aug. 20.

Thumbs up to Blue River Valley High School cross country runner Andrew Whitinger for finishing 11th among 139 runners with a time of 17:20.83 at the Pendleton Heights Arabian XC Round-Up, the top finish and time of all runners from the local area.

Thumbs up to the New Castle High School boys tennis team’s No. 2 doubles pair of A.J. Abrams and Jackson Clapp for finishing undefeated in the New Castle Invitational Aug. 18.

Thumbs up to Greg Reece of New Castle, drawing winner of “F Company 347th Infantry Regiment 1942-1945,” co-authored by New Castle native, Frederick Carmichael, who is 95 years old. His family donated the book to The Courier-Times for a community-wide giveaway. The interest in this book was great. If anyone wishes to read it, the New Castle-Henry County Public Library also has a copy.

Thumbs up and welcome to First Presbyterian Church in New Castle’s new pastor, Rod Smith. He is also a long-time newspaper columnist as his work published in South Africa. He plans to contribute to The Courier Times’ column, Faith Perspective.