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Tom Lawrence

Thumbs up to the Powell Valley Healthcare staffers who agreed to forego a raise to keep the operation from suffering even further financial woes.

The employees voted to decline a 2 percent raise for fiscal year 2015, realizing the nonprofit healthcare system is in dire need of a financial turnaround. Earlier, some workers agreed to take furloughs — unpaid time off — to help out, while retaining their paid leave.

In case you’re wondering what 17 tons of garbage smells like up close: Not good. Nope, not good at all.

But the departure of the first load of municipal solid waste (MSW) from Powell to Billings, Mont., was sweet news for the city, which saw its efforts to take the household waste to the Billings landfill come to fruition July 1. The city had been taking its MSW to a Big Horn County landfill in Cowley.

Thumbs down to the deep, distressing, divisive tone in this nation’s politics.

Friday is the Fourth of July, the 238th anniversary of the release of the Declaration of Independence. It was agreed to by men from New England to the South, by those who supported a strong central government and those who favored a looser confederation of states.

The Fourth of July! Love those words and that day.

Like many special days and events, memories help shape our feelings about it. Mine are almost all positive, even after a finger was smashed into a bloody mess by a slammed car door on July 4, 1976.

Well, it was Lightning Awareness Week.

Four Powell golfers are more aware of lightning than ever before. Ray Acker, Mike Dusenberry, Mike Foulger and Joe Hicks were on the third hole of the Powell Golf Club on Wednesday when a bolt from the sky struck with a resounding boom.

Chewing tobacco has chewed up and swallowed enough victims.

For generations, millions of Americans have “put a pinch between cheek and gum,” providing themselves with a hit of nicotine during the day. They have also quite likely exposed themselves to a greater risk of several diseases, including cancer of the mouth, tongue, cheek, gum, throat, esophagus, stomach and pancreas — sense a trend? — according to the American Cancer Society.

Thumbs up to the renewed attention being brought to the 1944 trial of 63 Japanese Americans who protested the fact they were unconstitutionally held in a confinement camp by refusing to serve in the military.

Gas. Hamburgers. Cable bills.

You could write a long list of things that have increased in cost in the past 12 years. Go ahead, it’s easy.

Beer. Clothing. Cell phones.

For the most part, people have accepted it. They realize prices go up, and while they may grumble a little, they pay the extra cash and move ahead.

Call them what you will — four local musicians are making a mark in the local scene.

The Willwood Gypsies performed at the opening night of the Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Summer Concerts in the Park Series on Friday. It’s a quartet, although just three of the band members were able to make the gig.

Thumbs down to the problems and confusion that led to a shutdown of work on the extension of East Monroe Street.

The one-block addition between South Jones Street and Panther Boulevard was added to the city last fall as a Missoula-based developer planned a $2.3-million apartment complex. The Buck Creek Apartments were scheduled to open June 1.