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Thumbs up to local girls Laura Thomas, Payton Moore, and Zoe Curtis for having fine seasons for the women’s college basketball teams of the University of Indianapolis, Anderson University, and Earlham College, respectively.

Thumbs up to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Classic selection committee for choosing four boys high school basketball teams for this year’s Raymond James Hall of Fame Classic who provided fans with four very good and competitive games Saturday, Dec. 29 in New Castle Fieldhouse.

Thumbs up to New Castle High School wrestler Tytus Ragle for being undefeated in all of his matches during the 2018 portion of the regular season and to teammate Traye Owens for having just one loss.

Thumbs up to New Castle High school wrestling Coach Rex Peckinpaugh for recording his 1,000th win as a coach in dual meets, a feat only one other high school coach in the country has achieved.

Thumbs up to the Indianapolis Colts for reaching the NFL’s AFC playoffs after a 1-5 start to the season.

Thumbs up to Mary Hall of Springport, winner of the Cook’s Illustrated “Revolutionary Recipes” cookbook, provided by America’s Test Kitchen. The Courier-Times appreciates all who took the time to enter the contest in this Neighbors-page giveaway.

Thumbs up to Justice Edwards and Jarred Bell of New Castle for rescuing and caring for their pet birds. More thumbs for their tips on being responsible pet owners of birds, as featured in today’s newspaper.

Thumbs up to all the electric company work crews who rush to restore power around Henry County when winds knock down power lines or trip up the system.

Thumbs up to the Memorial Park Board for getting the W.G. Smith Building renovation project to the bidding stage, and thumbs up to the Henry County Commissioners for accepting bids on the various parts of the project. We look forward to seeing how that process continues.

Thumbs up to everyone who is taking part in Winter Reading at the New Castle-Henry County Public Library.

Thumbs down to local drivers who don’t pay attention when school buses are on the road. Our kids are back in school now and the buses are back on their routes. Slow down, put your phone down and pay attention. No one at this newspaper wants to report on another tragedy.

Thumbs up to the Henry County Fatherhood Initiative for preparing another annual Daddy/Daughter Dance. Contact the group through their Facebook to RSVP for the dance.

Thumbs up to the First Christian Church for their annual Epiphany Community Bonfire that takes place this evening at 6 p.m. The event celebrates the wise men’s journey to visit Jesus in the manger, while also helping dispose of live Christmas trees.

Thumbs up to everyone involved with the 2019 Memorial Park calendar, filled with memorable images, information about the impressive memorials and more. The $15 calendar is well-worth the price, with the money going right back into helping the park, a true treasure in Henry County for nearly 100 years. We encourage readers to check it out. Look for them at the Arts Park, the Early Bird Diner or from any Friends of Memorial Park member.

Thumbs down to the UCLA Bruins for their firing of New Castle icon Steve Alford. Those here who cheered for Steve many times in so many remarkable games at the Fieldhouse when he played here are cheering still, because they know of the high character this coach has. UCLA’s loss will be someone else’s gain, as Alford has proven he is a winner time and again – as a player, a coach and person. Alford has been a winner everywhere he’s coached. He was 78-29 at Manchester, 78-48 at SW Missouri State, 152-106 at Iowa and 155-52 at New Mexico. Even at UCLA, which wasn’t satisfied, Alford’s teams won twice as many as they lost, as he finished with a 124-63 record. Overall, Alford’s Division I coaching record is 509-269. If you add his Manchester experience, he’s 587-298. The colors on those big shoes at the Steve Alford Inn in town may change, but the true colors of this man still resonate with all those who know and love the Alford family.