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Spotting the silver lining in coronavirus clouds

Special coronavirus silver lining edition of Good job!/Needs work:


Good job! Sallie Carr had a really good idea that spread like a … well, we won’t use the word. Anyway, the idea caught fire in Haywood Forest. A few weeks ago, Sallie invited the whole neighborhood via email to create a chalk tribute to physicians, nurses, other medical personnel and all essential workers who are soldiering on in the coronavirus shutdown. Sallie even supplied boxes of chalk to all who raised their hands. Nearly everyone did. Nearly every rooftop, it should be noted, either shelters a doctor or shelters a close neighbor of a doctor. Five physicians live in Haywood Forest. The resulting chalk tributes on driveways and streets brightened up the neighborhood and raised the spirits of everyone. The neighbors celebrated with the Chalk Walk under sunny skies last Tuesday afternoon. The art stroll turned into a big outdoor cocktail party and an opportunity for friends to catch up, give thanks and remember handshakes and hugs.

Needs work … Social distancing is imperative. Social distancing works. It seems to have helped to greatly flatten the curve of Covid cases in our community. But the scolds who insist the county should close the Park at Flat Rock and all other outdoor recreation spaces go too far. When they claim to be observing violations of the 6 feet of separation, they’re seeing things. Almost universally, people are adhering to the rules. The self-appointed pandemic police are spotting people side by side. Most likely, those folks live in the same household and have been married for 50 years. Exercise, sunlight and fresh air are three of the best remedies for physical and mental health. Keep the parks open.

Good job! Dolph Diamond not only has a great name. He had a great idea. The radio broadcaster woke up one night last week and thought to himself, “I don’t need my stimulus check but I know who does.” He contacted Elizabeth Willson Moss, the executive director of the Interfaith Assistance Ministry, and offered the gift to help needy families. Thus was born the IAM Stimulus Check Challenge. Diamond donated his $1,000 check plus another $1,000 from the Christian radio station he manages, WFHC-FM-106.5, to seed what he hopes will be a $500,000 campaign.

Good job! The contractors doing the $60 million renovation/new construction of Hendersonville High School face a tight timeline with little room to spare to get everything done for a ribbon-cutting in August 2023. That’s why it’s good that demolition specialist D.H. Griffin caught a break. With no children on campus, the wrecking company was able to advance the demolition of the old gym by more than two months. A demolition of that magnitude is dangerous work, notes John Mitchell, the county’s director of Business and Community Development, and would not have been attempted with kids on campus. (John’s favorite phrase is “on time and on budget.”) “I think the whole thing will be gone in early May,” he said, beaming (we think, though we were on the phone). Good job! bonus: The county negotiated an add-on deal with Griffin to salvage the granite from the 1937 relic. The stone is being staged at Jackson Park.

Good job! The Blue Ridge Parkway is closed for 76 miles from the French Broad River overlook to the southern terminus. Closed, that is, to motor vehicles. Open for bicyclists and hikers. On Sunday, the parking lot at U.S. 276 was full and the parkway was peopled with young families, retirees and every age in between on foot and on two wheels. All had one thing in common: a smile on their face.