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THUMBS UP! To Decatur donors. In this specific case, those who tossed any amount of paper or coin toward the Salvation Army this Christmas season. Decatur contributions topped $486,000. Reasonable weather and multiple fundraising efforts – not just the bell ringers stationed outside local businesses – helped the organization exceed its fundraising goal by more than $100,000.  

THUMBS DOWN! To our government saying no. Our current national and international news is dominated by what is not happening. A trade war between China and the United States is weakening both economies. A partial federal government shutdown is producing and will continue to produce stories that are at the very least depressing and possibly as bad as horrific. The last thing the country's citizens need is to wait for some side to blink in either issue. One of this century's most troubling tendencies is the inability or unwillingness to negotiate.

THUMBS UP! To examining more of the issues as our state approaches legalizing recreational marijuana. Proponents need to pay attention to the concerns of law enforcement about underage use and potential impairment while driving. Those supporting legalization have arguments on their side, including the state's already existing quality control and a farmland friendly to the plant. A rush to legalization would only strengthen the stigma users would feel.

THUMBS UP! To the pending opening of a social services and drug treatment campus near downtown Decatur. The first two facilities of the $30 million effort planned for the Wabash Crossing neighborhood are tentatively set to be up and running next year. The 17-acre Community Care Campus will aid in battling the challenge of drug addiction and opioid abuse in Macon County. It is being funded by the private foundation of former Macon County Sheriff Howard Buffett. A transitional housing facility should be open by summer, and a residential rehab facility should be operating by the fall.

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