THUMBS UP! To the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 146 for volunteering to set up holiday lights in downtown Decatur. Volunteers are putting lights on poles and trees in advance of the Jaycees Lighted Christmas Parade on Nov. 18. 

THUMBS UP! To the positive efforts from Durfee Magnet School. Students at the school painted positive, uplifting messages on rocks and placed them around the community. On the back of the rock is a sticker asking those who find them to post a photo of the rock, and themselves if they're willing, to the class Facebook page, Durfee Fifth Grade Rocks, so they can track how many are found. A couple have made it all the way to Australia. One person reported getting one from a trick-or-treater in Mattoon on Halloween. 

THUMBS DOWN! To having to think through the unthinkable. Pastors and church leaders in Macon County are thinking more about security for their own buildings after a mass shooting that killed 26 people in a small-town Texas church Sunday. Many churches already had plans in place, just as they have plans to deal with natural disasters. Being forced to consider preparation for fire or tornado is challenging enough. As Rev. Wayne Dunning, pastor of Decatur's Faith Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church said, "It saddens me that it's gotten to the point that we have to be suspicious at church.” 

THUMBS UP! To Jerger Pediatric Dentistry. The practice's annual Candy Buy Back program on Monday collected unopened Halloween candy in exchange for cash. Children received $1 per pound, up to five pounds per child. The candy will be sent to military troops serving overseas through Operation Enduring Support, which organizes local efforts to send care packages to military personnel. The effort serves a number of purposes – treats for military personnel overseas, a reduction of candy consumption by kids here, and the good feeling of helping others and instilling that attitude at a young age. 

THUMBS UP! To an impressive turnout for what we hope is a positive and beneficial effort. Dozens turned out this week to talk with city leaders and develop neighborhood revitalization goals. There will be five more meetings seeking input. Those present seemed enthusiastic and possessing a number of ideas. Here's to the upbeat attitude about the effort continuing. 

THUMBS UP! Yet again to Macon County Sheriff Howard Buffett. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation has already paid for a portion of potential upgrades for the county jail, and Buffett said he would not be surprised if his foundation spent at least $1.5 million on consultants and jail upgrades.  The amount of generosity from Buffet and his foundation to our are is priceless. We consider ourselves (again) quite fortunate and grateful. 

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