Thumbs-Up, Thumbs-Down – January 1

Warming hearts

Thumbs-up to everyone who donated to the One Warm Coat Jackson County coat drive and to all the businesses who participated as drop off locations. Together, 152 coats were collected and donated to the Jackson County Clothing Center.A history of winningThumbs-up to Brownstown Central boys basketball coach Dave Benter for picking up his 300th career win. By reaching that milestone, the Braves coach joins 42 other current coaches around the state with 300 or more wins.

Since 2001, Benter’s teams have finished with 14 straight winning seasons. They’ve also won five sectional titles, advancing to the state finals two times, and they’ve also earned eight Mid-Southern Conference titles.

Breaking hoop records

Thumbs-up to senior Keegan Rebber for breaking Trinity Lutheran’s single-game scoring record with 30 points against Austin in a recent boys basketball contest.

Remembering those who served

Thumbs-up to the volunteers who put together gift bags of personal care items for the 86 veterans living in nursing homes in the county including Larry Spurgeon, Luke Nolting, Mike and Linda Jordan, Carl Shake, Jack Gillespie, John and Margaret Smith, Susie Glasgow, John Nolting, Tom Wright, Mike Couch and others. A related thumbs-up to those who donated items or money to the program.—Wayne and Judy Gilbert

Leading the way

Thumbs-up to Mike and Soni Birch for being named Volunteers of the Year by Indiana Main Street. The couple, who own The Picket Fence in downtown Seymour, have been supportive of Seymour Main Street and helped set up and run that organization’s Sidewalk Saturday program for several years. When that program ran its course, the couple came up with others ideas to attract customers downtown. One program involves has downtown businesses conducting open houses and inviting customers to visit at least six businesses for a change to win a gift certificate. No purchase required.

Disrupting education

Thumbs-down to those who would disrupt the education of children by making threats leading to the cancellation of classes. It has happened on several occasions in recent days in Indiana and in other places across the country.Each such incident puts a strain on everyone involved, from the school officials who have to make decisions about classes to the teachers, students and parents who have to live with those decisions and the threats.