Editor’s note: The weekly “Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down” editorial offers opinions on highs and lows in the news during the past week.
Thumbs up: To hear Christian Thaxton tell it, players competing in this week’s blind baseball World Series are simply athletes doing what they love.
“Blindness is not that debilitating,” Thaxton, a member of the Boston Renegades team, told the Leader-Telegram’s Lauren French. Video taken by French and posted on the Leader-Telegram’s website shows vision-impaired athletes hitting a beeping ball in the modified game and running full speed down a baseline to a beeping tackling dummy at a base. Thaxton and others playing this weekend sure show that blindness won’t keep you from what you’re passionate about. Players and fans say the game is a way for blind athletes to connect or stay connected with a great game.
The Beep Baseball World Series finals are scheduled today at Eau Claire Soccer Park, the climax of a 22-team tournament this week. The championship game starts at 11 a.m.
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Thumbs down: Suing municipalities over tax assessments must be in vogue for businesses these days.
A dozen lawsuits were filed recently against the cities of Eau Claire and Altoona as businesses seek property tax refunds, according to a Leader-Telegram story by Christena T. O’Brien. The businesses — six of the filings centered on Kwik Trip stores and others included Menards and Walmart — say they’re owed money because they were over-assessed. The city has been sued before over businesses that believed they received excessive assessments, with the city prevailing.
One of the suits concerns the former Mega East grocery store site on Hastings Way and that could be interesting. The building that housed the store was only four years old when it closed in February 2016 after an agreement between Mega Co-op and Gordy’s County Market. The building was assessed at $8 million in 2017, but owners believe that assessment on a facility that has been empty for more than two years should be less than $2 million.
If the businesses are successful in having their assessments reduced, the lost revenue will have to come from somewhere. Any guesses who will be paying more?
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Thumbs up: Altoona doctor John Drawbert and his adventurous group were thankfully in the right place at the right time this summer when they help rescue two stranded men in an isolated region of Alaska.
A Leader-Telegram story by Julian Emerson detailed the efforts of Drawbert, his son Hans, and two others who helped men who were dumped from a raft in a creek. Drawbert’s medical training and the foresight of the group to bring a satellite phone may have saved the lives of the men who wandered into their campsite.
It wasn’t the vacation the Drawbert group had planned, but they were thankful they could help. “It was an unforgettable trip, that’s fore sure,” Drawbert told Emerson.