Thumbs up:To local black history tour educating and inspiring:

The first “Looking Back at Forward Thinkers: Aiken’s Authoritative African Americans” tour took off this month – offering tourists a chance to see the achievements and contributions of blacks in the community. The trip, which lasts between two and three hours, tells the story of remarkable Americans who had a positive impact on Aiken. Participants visit more than 30 locations where those individuals made an impact. Organizers of the tour should be commended for spotlighting such achievements and offering a glimpse of our community’s past.

Thumbs down:To scams associated with the most recent winter storm:

Aiken Department of Public Safety unfortunately had to warn residents of scammers last week as crews worked to remove debris from yards following the ice storm. The department received several complaints of individuals approaching homes and asking for permission to clean up yards, but with an excessive price tag attached. If you suspect you or a loved have been taken advantage of, please contact local law enforcement. It’s disheartening to see local residents being taken disadvantage of, especially older residents that may not have a nearby network of friends or family.

Thumbs up:To the S.C. Senate proposal for a three-year tech degree:

Six S.C. state senators have introduced a legislative measure that would create a three-year technical college program, which should help strengthen job training for students and create economic development benefits in the future. The legislators recognize a gap in technical education, especially with the country’s need to catch up with the manufacturing capabilities of the rest of the world. Such an education would be a great catalyst for jobs in the high-tech and manufacturing sector, especially in South Carolina for companies such as Boeing and Bridgestone.

Thumbs down:To Head Football Coach Dan Pippen leaving North Augusta:

The Yellow Jackets are in need of a new head coach after Dan Pippen decided to take the head coaching job at Greenwood High School. The team undoubtedly saw success under Pippen’s tenure – only failing to qualify for the playoffs in his first season with the school. He also racked up two region championships – in 2010 and 2013 – and was the region runner-up three times. Pippen cemented quite a legacy at the school, and North Augusta should wish him the best as he moves on to his new post. The winning attitude instilled at the school under Pippen will hopefully help it as it transitions to a new era in Yellow Jacket football.