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Thumbs up, thumbs down

Thumbs down to the grades the American Lung Association has given North Carolina — straight F’s on tobacco prevention and spending control, smoke-free air, cigarette tax and youth access. We’re not alone; most of our neighboring states fared about the same. The American Lung Association may be hitting the state with more of a club than need be, but that’s its way of getting attention. The association gave North Carolina some credit for OK’ing a 35-cent-per-pack hike in the cigarette tax, but the lack of statewide provisions mandating smoke-free worksites, child-care facilities, restaurants and retail stores here is a no-no. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and tobacco-loving North Carolina is not going to become smoke-free in a decade. This will take time.

Thumbs up to Rowan County District Attorney Bill Kenerly for seeking the death penalty in the 2006 murder of a Kannapolis nightclub owner Jeffery Allen Wills. Even if you don’t support the death penalty, you can appreciate the importance Kenerly is putting on this case and bringing Wills’ killers to justice.

Thumbs down to the growing rate of child obesity across the nation, causing more children to develop adult disease risk factors such as type 2 diabetes. And 70 to 80 percent of overweight children and teens become overweight adults. So thumbs up to one local solution, Music Therapy with Exercise at McKnight Preschool. Think of it as early aerobics for the preschool set, and boy are they happy about it. See today’s story (and a lot of happy faces) on Page 3. Thanks, Mr. Music Man!

Thumbs up to the opening last week of Shady Brook Elementary School’s new buildings, a drastic improvement to the school’s facilities. That was $7 million well spent. Quality instruction is the schools’ top priority, but the form of old schools doesn’t always fit the function of modern education. This is another step forward for Kannapolis City Schools.

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