Thumbs-Up, Thumbs-Down – March 20

Longtime volunteer

Thumbs-up to Master Trooper Tommy Walker, who recently was recognized with the highest honor Special Olympics Indiana can give an officer — the annual Spirit of Special Olympics Indiana Officer Award. Walker, who once worked at the former state police post in Seymour, has had an association with the organization for disabled children and adults for more than two decades. He is credited with raising more than $42,000 for the program in that time.

Top dog

Thumbs-up to Medora teen Breanne Caudill, who recently showed a coonhound, Rowdy, during the 139th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The 14-year-old girl, who attends Brownstown Central High School, and the male coonhound placed fifth in the competition at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Solid on the mat

Thumbs-up to 7-year-old Asher Ratliff of Seymour for gaining statewide recognition during the past two years as a wrestler. Ratliff recently finished as the 65-pound Bantam runner-up at the Indiana State Wrestling Association Folkstyle State Finals at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. The first-grader has compiled a 115-37 record during his three-year career.

Gold medalists

Thumbs-up to musicians from Seymour High School, who recently qualified for the Indiana State School Music Association Solo and Ensemble Contest at North Central High School in Indianapolis. Soloists qualifying by earning a state gold medal at the district competition were Mariah Lewis, Jenna Hardin, Carson Regruth, Levi Pfaffenberger, Samantha Silver and Harsh Patel. The ensembles of Reno Tanida, Josiah Rudge and Kaitlyn Knight and Jenny Stuart, Grace Hartman and Lorelei Schmidt also won state gold medals.

Budding photographer

Thumbs-up to Hana Elmore for having two photographs she snapped during the 2013 Jackson County Fair published in the Indiana Agricultural Statistics 2013-14, a publication of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Talking turkey

Thumbs-up to 60-year-old Rick Steward of Dudleytown, who won the Grand National Champion of Champions award during this year’s Grand National Wild Turkey Federation Decorative Call Competition in Nashville, Tennessee. Steward spent about 160 hours making the call, which was named The Dogwood, and it was the 100th one he has made since starting his business, Back 40 Custom Calls, in 1999.