Thumbs up to education, down to losing friends

Posted 10/10/18

No community — regardless of size, socioeconomics and locale — is without some good; likewise, most have some bad … sometimes the result of unfortunate circumstance and other times the …

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Thumbs up to education, down to losing friends

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No community — regardless of size, socioeconomics and locale — is without some good; likewise, most have some bad … sometimes the result of unfortunate circumstance and other times the consequence of suspect decisions that benefit the few instead of the many. 

And so, it is time again for our “Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down” measure of a hometown that keeps getting a little bigger by the year, thanks to expanding business, unprecedented diversity and a swirl of newcomers who want to retire here because they’ve heard a little about “The City With Spirit.”

Let us begin:

• THUMBS UP to Dr. Michael Stokes, vice president for Student Services at Cleveland State Community College, who had the pleasure of announcing the beautiful Frontage Road campus this year is enjoying a 9 percent increase in enrollment. But Stokes would be the first to acknowledge that he was just the messenger. CSCC’s good fortunes should be credited to a total team effort.

It’s a simple formula: Students of all ages enroll at the local community college because it offers flexible scheduling, as well as relevant degrees and diverse certifications, for working adults who want to advance their opportunities.

• THUMBS DOWN to a retired publisher of the Cleveland Daily Banner, but not because he’s a bad guy. Steve Crass, who retired in 2017 after some 40 years in the newspaper industry, is one of the good guys. In the near future, Steve and his sweetheart of a wife, Deborah, will be relocating to the Lone Star State (Texas) to be closer to family.

Hence, the Thumbs Down is not going to Steve but to the loss to this community. He spent a lot of years in Cleveland. During his newspaper career, he relocated more than once. With each move, Deborah was always by his side. Steve said it himself by once telling the Banner editor he hired eight years ago, “She’s been following me all these years. Now it’s time for me to follow her.”

We wish for them both the best that life can give.

• THUMBS UP to Steve Hartline, owner of My Mix 104.1/WCLE radio, who has been named to the Cleveland 100 board of directors. Hartline will succeed Crass in the nonprofit organization whose volunteers commit their time, talent and energy to the cause of emergency responders and their families.

This community boasts many fine nonprofits. Cleveland 100 is among the best.

• THUMBS DOWN to the recent vandalism of a church in Charleston. Dale Dockery, 52, was arrested for marking the front doors of the Charleston Cumberland Presbyterian Church with “666,” the number of the beast as prophesied in the Book of Revelation.

Dockery’s motivation is unknown although church pastor Bill Bond suggested the suspect could be dealing with emotional issues. We will not condemn Dockery because we don’t know the details; we will condemn only the act.

Pastor Bond said it best by pointing out his congregation did what Christians do: “We prayed for him and his family.”

• THUMBS UP to Connie Fulmer, tax clerk in the Bradley County Trustee’s Office, who — when announcing the office would be closed for two hours of training on a recent Thursday — remembered to alert the public that a County Clerk's Office drive-through service for tag renewals and handicapped placards operating in the same building would remain open.

Such actions might seem trivial to some, but it assured an untold number of Bradley County residents they wouldn’t be wasting a trip to the Trustee’s Office to get their tags renewed during their lunch hour.

• THUMBS UP to Rodney Dillard and Amanda Lee, the past chairman and vice chairman of the Bradley County Board of Education, who are being succeeded in these roles by Troy Weathers and Jerry Frazier, respectively. 

 In his years as board chair, Dillard did an exemplary job. His commitment to education, and his service to this community as an elected board member and a professional businessman, remain unparalleled.

There we have it. “Up” wins again. But then, this is Cleveland, Tennessee. “Up” should always win.

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