Thumbs up: To our veterans, for all you've done for this country. Thank you.

Thumbs up: And a thank you, also, to all of the candidates -- those who won and those who cared enough about our community to try to make it better -- who ran in last week's election. Appreciation goes as well to the unfortunately small number of voters who participated in this important municipal contest.

Thumbs up: Maddie Hill is facing a challenge no child should have to endure, but the Dover Area High School junior has some special friends at her side.

Sixteen-year-old Maddie is battling myelodysplastic syndrome -- a blood disorder involving the bone marrow -- with which she was diagnosed on Aug. 30. The teenager's first bout with cancer was at age 8, when she was diagnosed with lymphoblastic syndrome.

Last week, she cut her hair in advance of eight days of chemotherapy, and four of her friends showed up to shear their own locks in a show of support.

The teens -- Maddie's boyfriend, John Sterner, and friends Emily Spaulding, Levi Murphy and Nick Nace -- also raised more than $4,000 to help pay their friend's medical expenses.

After her chemotherapy treatment, Maddie will undergo a bone marrow transplant. Her brother, Travis Hill, 14, is the donor.

Travis said he is glad to do the procedure for his sister and wants to do his part to show her how much he cares for her. He said he also was impressed by her friends' commitment to cut their hair.

"It's just incredible," Maddie said. "I have great friends, and I thank them for what they were able to do."


Thumbs up: Valerie Harrigan knows what it takes to be a successful author: Persistence.

So when the 10-year-old Southern Elementary School fifth-grader was told Paul Smith Library's Year of the Book program was for adult writers only, she didn't take no for an answer.

Valerie got the bad news when she submitted her book "Fortunately" to the program, which helps authors develop and publish their works.

"(The staff member) slid the book back to Valerie and Valerie slid the book back," said Sandra Harrigan, the girl's mother. "She was very persistent ..."

The staff member took Valerie's book and placed it on the desk of Demi Stevens, Paul Smith Library's director, who wasn't in the office at that time. Stevens read it and decided to include Valerie in the program.

"It's a delightful story," Stevens said. "She worked hard on the book. Whatever needed to be done for the book, she did it."

"Fortunately" is about a girl's adventure during her quest to buy a saxophone.