THUMBS UP: The updated state budget passed recently by the North Carolina General Assembly includes an additional $500,000 in funding for capital improvements and equipment for the 4,164-square-foot library/youth center to be housed in Fairmont’s former post office building.

THUMBS DOWN: A state budget signed this week by Gov. Roy Cooper failed to include Medicaid expansion, which has been intertwined with Cooper — a big expansion booster — and budget negotiations since 2019. The Republican-controlled House and Senate approved separate, competing measures in June that either accepted expansion or laid out a path to expansion, but no compromise was reached.

THUMBS UP: Robeson County’s unemployment rate saw a slight increase in May, according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, still the most recent report contributes to a downward trend in jobless rates. The state’s most recent report showed that Robeson County had an unemployment rate of 5.9% in May.

THUMBS DOWN: A National Weather Service Heat Advisory issued last week for Robeson County is a reminder that summertime temperatures can rise to dangerous levels. National Weather Service forecasters out of the Wilmington office, suggest anyone who must be outside for any length of time to “drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun and check up on relatives and neighbors.”

THUMBS UP: United Way of North Carolina is partnering with Lumber River United Way and United Way of Alamance County to launch a pilot project designed to increase the number of eligible households participating in Medicaid and Affordable Care Act coverage or private Insurance. This project will be funded through a $400,000 grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, located in Winston-Salem.

THUMBS UP: Former Robesonian news reporter Jessica Horne has joined staff at The Public Schools of Robeson County as its chief communications officer. Horne, a Robeson County native took the reins of the Communications office on July 1, after serving her last day as a news reporter at The Robesonian on June 29.

THUMBS DOWN: Some commercial utility customers with the City of Lumberton have received bills totaling thousands of dollars after a billing error resulted in the accounts being billed an improper amount during the past several months. The error is the result of a glitch as the city converted its accounts to a new software; it was discovered during a routine audit. Only commercial accounts were affected by this particular error.

THUMBS DOWN: Despite the number of new confirmed COVID19 cases in Robeson County going up slightly in the last week, the county has returned to the “green” category, for low transmission rating, on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Community Transmission Map. Any increase in cases is bad news. We encourage residents to remain on guard against the virus.

THUMBS UP: Work is underway to place new playground equipment across multiple elementary schools within the Public Schools of Robeson County as part of the ESSER-funded playground project.

THUMBS DOWN: FBI Charlotte has launched a cybersecurity awareness campaign to educate private sector businesses and organizations in North Carolina about the growing threat of cyberattacks. The Tar Heel state is home to Fortune 500 companies, numerous small businesses, Research Triangle Park and world-renowned universities and colleges, making the state a target-rich environment for cybercriminals and nation-state actors. The FBI encourages organizations of all sizes to partner with their local FBI office before a cyber incident occurs.

If you have a suggstion for a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down, contact Executive Editor David Kennard at [email protected]