Bellwood donations admirable

With the wind-down of America’s military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, many Americans’ attention has shifted to other concerns.

Yet, every day, the lives of United States military men and women are in danger, not only in those two trouble spots but in other locations in the world.

Bellwood-Antis High School students merit a thumbs-up for being among those who not only remain cognizant of U.S. troops’ continuing roles overseas, but have opted to do something for Easter to express appreciation for the soldiers’ dedication and sacrifices.

A B-A schoolwide service project will be sending treat bags and letters to local deployed service members.

Not only have students, families, faculty and staff of the high school donated items, but the local Military Families Ministry co-founded by Bellwood resident Tracie Ciambotti has been accepting donations of the needed items, as well as monetary donations to help cover shipping costs, from other community residents, businesses and groups.

The items and letters will be uplifting to the troops as they continue their important responsibilities away from home during the Easter observance.

Others worthy of thumbs-up, thumbs-down mention:

Although the Blair County Prison Board has been criticized for procrastination in addressing a call-offs problem involving prison guards, it now deserves a thumbs-up for its plan to make sweeping reforms in the prison’s operation to put that and other problems to rest.

The plan follows a review of prison operations and subsequent recommendations by evaluators from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

The prison board on March 20 met its duty to county taxpayers by releasing 13 DOC recommendations for improving the prison operation.

The board indicated that implementation of the plan is on a fast track, and that’s the right course.

Unfortunately, there always are reasons for a thumbs-down, and the Caprock Academy in Grand Junction, Colo., is certainly deserving of one.

The school suspended a third-grader for shaving her head as a show of support for a friend with cancer who, as a result of chemotherapy, has lost her hair.

Although the school’s board of directors, apparently feeling the heat of public criticism, has allowed the third-grader to return to classes, it’s clear who better understands what the word “compassion” is all about.

Altoona’s rich railroad heritage got a boost from Norfolk Southern Corp.’s announcement that 2013 was a breakthrough year for the company.

Norfolk Southern, which operates the Juniata Locomotive Shop, gets a thumbs-up for its record performance levels, new precedents for railway operating revenues and income from railway operations, as well as new landmarks for net income, earnings per share and operating ratio.

CEO Wick Moorman credited the achievements to investments in network capacity, technology and new talent. Doubts about railroading’s future are being put to rest by the company’s blooming optimism.