Short takes for Jan. 18

Progress at the Pointe

THUMBS UP: It’s nice to see steady progress being made at the Heritage Pointe senior living center on North 4th Street in Marshall – the former site of the Marshall Junior High School. After the school was razed, the area had sat empty for a number of years, but no more. Today, we see the new building taking shape and we look forward to its grand opening.

Another cheating athlete

THUMBS DOWN: Could’ve went sideways with this one, but in the end it’s hard to positively recognize Lance Armstrong’s apologies and admission of doping this week after he spent years defending himself and denying any wrongdoing while winning seven Tour de France titles. Whether it was his conscience or his PR people who made him confess, the fact is he cheated. Then he lied about it, joining a number of professional athletes who had previously come clean, as it were, after trying to get away with doping. The apology and confession came this week after Armstrong promised to answer questions from Oprah Winfrey “directly, honestly and candidly” for a much-talked-about interview. Whatever, Armstrong. You’re a passionate champion in the fight against cancer and your work in that respect should be recognized, but “on the field” you’re a cheater and will always be known as such. You got to the top of the mountain in your sport the wrong way and sent the wrong message to your fans and anyone who looks up to you and admires you. Armstrong, who made millions of his fame and abilities, was rightfully stripped of his Olympic medal this week and will have this cloud of shame follow him, probably for the rest of his life. Sadly, he is just one more example of why parents are and always should be their kids’ No. 1 role model. Children with good parents don’t need pro athletes to look up to, especially ones who cheat.

New cross country coach

THUMBS UP: We like Marshall High School’s hiring of Brian Leibfried, who will take over the reins for long-time coach Mike Jacobs. Big shoes to fill, indeed, but we think Leibfried, a local product and an accomplished runner in both high school and college, is up to the task. He’s been an assistant with the program for five years, so he knows the program and obviously works well with student-athletes. It’s been more than three decades since someone other than Jacobs has led this team, and we’re pleased to see the baton has been handed to Leibfried.