Thumbs-up: to a more typical school year. Ashe County Schools is current operating under Plan B for grades 6-12, a hybrid of in-person and remote learning. Given our current vaccine and COVID-19 trends, the plan is to return to Plan A — and to in-person school — on March 29.

Thumbs-up: to those who need just a bit more time. Unlike the more extensive filing deadline of 2020, the IRS is still extending filing and payments until May 17 this year without penalties or interest additions. No extension form is required unless you need more time beyond the May deadline. Those who are owed refunds, of course, are encouraged to file as early as possible.

Thumbs-down: to a tragic fire that destroyed a community landmark. The Todd General Store was born by the timber industry boon of the early 20th century, and it’s been a meeting place ever since. The fire on Feb. 25 ended that 107-year run, but plans are in place to resurrect the business.

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Tom Mayer is the executive editor of Mountain Times Publications, a group of five news newspapers, six websites and one monthly periodical in the High Country of North Carolina.

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