Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: June 27

Published 7:18 am Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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Citizen scientists monitoring Herrington Lake

We would like to say thank you to the local residents who are giving their time to help monitor water quality in Lake Herrington as part of a pilot program that’s the first of its kind in the state.

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The volunteers will be measuring visibility and other aspects of the lake’s water during time windows when a monitoring satellite is passing overhead. Combining their measurements with what the satellite sees will allow scientists to use the satellite images more accurately and better detect any water quality problems in the future.

Herrington Lake is generally in great shape, water-quality-wise, and that’s due in part to the large number of people who live around it and care about keeping it clean. It’s very important that the lake quality is maintained, as it is the source of drinking water for tens of thousands of people in many different cities and counties.

We’re glad to know that thanks to the involved and aware people who see Herrington Lake as part of their community, its quality can be protected long into the future.

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Plans for Caterpillar plant

Toward the end of this week, we’re supposed to be hearing good news about Danville’s Caterpillar plant. A purchase contract on the facility has been confirmed by the “project funnel report” released by the Economic Development Partnership last week, and EDP President Jody Lassiter has said to watch for an announcement about a new project for the building to be made by the governor’s office on June 29 or 30.

How many jobs and how well-paying they might be are unknown. But if it’s big enough that the state is involved, we hope that’s a good sign.

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Educational summer camps

Danville and Boyle County schools have both held their summer camps, giving students lots of ways to have fun and get educated at the same time.

Summer learning loss is a real thing — kids gain academic skills during the school year, but then lose them over the summer if they’re not doing things that keep their minds sharp. It’s like several steps forward and one back: When you start the next school year, kids who took a step back have to make up for it before they begin making any net progress academically.

It’s been estimated kids may actually move backward academically by one month over the summer on average. Those losses can be greater in reading and math.

A kid who loses a step every summer year after year could quickly wind up a year or more behind kids who don’t experience summer learning loss.

The Danville and Boyle camps integrated fun, recreational activities with classes that taught kids all kinds of useful stuff. So not only did they have a good time, but when they go back to school, they’ll hopefully be prepared to pick up where they left off, turning summer learning loss into a win.