Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Thumbs Up: The Page 1 story in today’s Robesonian has encouraging news. We continue to see COVID-19 numbers come down. Fewer people are getting sick and the number of deaths has dropped lower than it has been in several months. Still, we are losing far too many people to this pandemic. Rember: Get vaccinated. wear a mask, stand 6 feet away and avoid crowds, wash your hands, cover coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect, and monitor your health daily.

Thumbs Down: Election drama continues to drag on here in Robeson County. Several races can’t be finalized until all write-in votes are counted. That could be done today, or not. Look, we’ve been voting in this county for almost 250 years. We appreciate the process and want every vote to count, but at the same time we wring our hands at such a slow pace.

Thumbs Up: A program to divert substance abuse disorders deserves praise. The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office are using the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program to help low-level offenders get clean and stay clean — and stay out of jail. LEAD is a model that has proven results in many cities and counties across the country.

Thumbs Down: The Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina has reason to hope that The Lumbee Recognition Act will give the 55,000 members access to education, health care and other benefits provided to federally recognized tribes. We support the act, but are concerned that this often ignored population may be hoping in vain. This recognition should have taken place years ago. We value the Lumbee people and the culture they share. We support its cause, but the act is in the hands of federal legislators, who too often give only lip service where action is required.

Thumbs Up: During Monday’s Robeson Community College trustees meeting, discussions centered on the possibility of creating a career and technical center. RCC President Melissa Singler said there has yet to be any long-term plan established for the center.

It’s time. The greater Robeson County area would benefit from these skills-based learning.

Student who complete the coursework often graduate with real world skills and real world jobs.808

Thumbs Down: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Emergency Temporary Standard that mandates vaccines or testing for corporations or businesses with more than 100 employees is getting pushback from state officials. This is a classic example of people in general not liking to be told what to do, especially when it’s related to COVID-19, which has been a hot button issue for more months and months.

North Carolina’s Department of Labor Commissioner said he is concerned about the mandate and its potential consequences for North Carolina jobs. During those months and months that we’ve been talking about COVID-19, we’ve already seen consequences that impact our state and local economy. At the risk of sounding like a myna bird, but the science tells us that vaccines are working. Getting that message to sink in is not working.

Thumbs Up: The installation of air purifiers is a welcome move toward keeping our children safe at school. Credit must be given to the school board, district staff and the boots-on-the-ground maintenance workers who jumped toward the task of the project. While it is expected to take about three months to get every unit up and working, this is a positive step in such a vital part of community.

If you have a suggestion for a Thumbs UP or Thumbs Down, contact Executive Editor David Kennard at [email protected]