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It's Thursday and another chance to fire off a few up or down thumbs about some news developments in our neck of the woods and elsewhere:

[THUMBS UP] We suspect most Arkansans would, given the opportunity, receive a vaccine for the coronavirus right now. Sure, there will always be those who decline for whatever reason, but Arkansans across the board are sick, figuratively, of this virus and too many of them are literally so. Rightfully, front-line health care workers were also at the front of the line to receive the vaccine. They deserve the protection a vaccine affords them so that they can care for others without the stress of worrying about getting it themselves. But now Gov. Asa Hutchinson is expanding vaccine access to Arkansans 70 and older. The older generation is where most of the deaths have come from, so it's thrilling to see the protection of the vaccine rolling out to those folks.

[THUMBS DOWN] We've heard lots of comments about how embarrassing or damaging it is that Richard Barnett of Gravette was the first, highest-profile attacker on the U.S. Capitol to be identified and arrested. But that crowd of rebels intent on invading (and worse) the nation's Capitol building was made up of misguided people from every state in the Union. Every state has them. If people want to believe the worst about Arkansas, well, so be it. Any reasonable person knows a state, just like the nation, is made up of a diverse bunch. If an Arkansan becomes president, does that mean every Arkansan is presidential material? No, so it stands to reason the state doesn't hold a monopoly on people with poor judgment who are subject to getting stirred up by a rabble-rousing president trying illicitly to hold on to power beyond the time when the American people have allowed him to have it.

[THUMBS UP] It's a bold and impressive move in Rogers to contract with Brian Crowne for event marketing and programming at the city's new Butterfield Stage at Railyard Park. Rogers' City Council this week approved spending $150,000 on the contract, the result of which will be several concerts between April and October this year. The move is a pretty aggressive step by a local community trying to up their music game with a newly renovated stage to work with. Crown is known in the region as owner of George's Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville and as vice president of the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers. Crowne also was the former owner of the AMP back when it was at the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville.

[THUMBS UP] Donald Trump says he won't attend the inauguration of Joe Biden next week, which some people took as an affront. But really, who in the world wants him there? He'd be a distraction, as he has been so often, from the serious business of governing the nation. Perhaps his pre-inauguration departure is the most appropriate way to bring an unconventional end to an unconventional presidency, one unlike any we hope or expect to see again.

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Want to give some brief feedback on news? Someone who deserves a pat on the back? An idea that needs a dose of common sense? Recommend a “Thursday thumb” by calling Greg Harton at (479) 872-5026 or by email at [email protected]

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