Thumbs-up: Although we could understand a thumbs-down, depending on your perspective. It’s spring in the High Country and with it come train whistles, trout fishing and … a ski season melt-down. For all those looking for a bit of warm weather outside activity, your season is nigh. For those who already miss the slopes, your season isn’t over — it’s just heading into a temporary delay. Check with your favorite resorts for a list of opening days and summer events.

Thumbs-down: to what feels like the passing of an old friend. To those of us who are frequent visitors to Grandfather Mountain, the death of cougar Aspen is sad news, indeed. Aspen had a fine run — he outlived the average lifespan of a cougar in the wild by two years — but we’ll miss seeing that run on the mountain.

Thumbs-up: to sixth-grader Sam Nystrom on his repeat win in the regional spelling bee in Winston-Salem. The Hardin Park student now goes on to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Maryland in May. We wish Sam much success as his hard work continues to pay off.

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