Thumbs up to Honda of South Carolina, which made a big announcement on Thursday. It will make a $45 million investment with a 115,000-square-foot expansion that will bring 250 new jobs to its Timmonsville plant. This is great economic development news for Florence County. Honda is expanding to meet demand for its side-by-side vehicles, produced exclusively at its South Carolina plant. Before this latest announcement, Honda had invested $93 million and added 150 new jobs in South Carolina during the past five years. We’re pleased to see this new expansion. It speaks well for Florence County that Honda is pleased with the pool of workers in the Pee Dee. The big news was well received by local leaders. “We applaud Honda of South Carolina for their continued product line and workforce growth – both boldly underline that Florence County is at the forefront of economic growth,” said S.C. Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh K. Leatherman of Florence. Roger Poston, the chairman of the Florence County Council, said the investment “is a testament to Florence County’s economic vitality and strong workforce.” Frank J. “Buddy” Brand, the chairman of the Florence County Economic Development Partnership and a member of the Florence City Council, said, “Quality, associates and customer satisfaction is what Honda is all about.” We agree. Honda also is a terrific corporate citizen that does a lot of good in the community. The company seems as happy with Florence as Florence is with the company.

Thumbs up to the Boys & Girls Club of the Pee Dee Area, which will hold its signature event of the year on Tuesday night at The Waters Building in downtown Florence. That event is the 2016 Champions for Youth Tribute. “It’s a fundraiser for us. It helps us operate day to day,” said Neal L. Zimmerman, the executive director of the clubs. “I think more important than that, we want to advocate in this community, be good to kids.” The club makes a difference in the lives of many children in the Pee Dee. The event helps make those efforts possible. The tribute will begin at 7 p.m. after a 6 p.m. reception, and it will feature a presentation to Florence City Councilman Frank J. “Buddy Brand,” a longtime member of the Boys & Girls Club of the Pee Dee Area’s board of directors. Tickets cost $75 and can be purchased at the door, online at www.bgcpda.org or by calling 843-662-1142. This is a great cause to support.

Thumbs up to the community leaders who are pushing for the return of Delta Air Lines service to and from Florence Regional Airport. The airline pulled out of our market in January 2011, and it has been missed. American Airlines recently confirmed another 12 months of service from Florence to Charlotte and back, but it will be scaling back from five flights per day to four. Its service has been somewhat unreliable in terms of cancellations and late flights. Competition could improve that service. An option to connect with flights in Atlanta in addition to Charlotte also would make business and leisure travelers happy.

Thumbs up who helped make a recent girls’ high school tennis tournament a success. That praise came from Beth Jones, the girls’ coach at Trinity-Byrnes. In particular, she praised Ed Sprenger, Richard Walker, Rob Hill, the Florence Tennis Association and numerous volunteers. “For 10-plus years, Ed and Richard and many volunteers have given their time to hosting a high school tournament for girls in the fall and boys in the spring,” Jones wrote. “This tournament is a great way to kick off the season. Sixteen teams comprised of several local teams and others from South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia compete for three days, with many teams on the waiting list. Often featuring some of the top high school talent in the country. Ed and Richard spend countless volunteer hours planning and hosting the tournament along with many volunteers.” This is a great benefit for all of the teams and Florence County, Jones noted. “Ten - plus teams of coaches, players and family fill up our hotels, dine and spend time and money in Florence. I commend the FTA on an awesome job and look forward to participating again next year. ”

Thumbs up to the city workers who used shovels to clean grass from the street, curb and sidewalks on Second Loop Road, wrote Sara Lee Simons of Florence. “It looks so good,” she wrote.

Thumbs up, thumbs down is a regular feature of the Morning News and appears each Saturday on our Opinion page. We seek nominations for both good and bad deeds from our readers. Send nominations to us by email at letters@florencenews.com. Be sure use the word “thumb” in the subject and include a contact number. Thumbs can also be mailed to us c/o The Morning News, 310 S. Dargan St., Florence, S.C., 29506.

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