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Noted and passed - March 18, 2013

Posted: March 15, 2013 5:11 p.m.
Updated: March 18, 2013 5:00 a.m.

• There is something comforting about tradition, and the election of a new pope -- with the tell-tale white smoke billowing from a chimney atop the Sistine Chapel -- is about as traditional as it gets. With 1.2 billion members, the Catholic church is facing both challenges and opportunities as newly elected pontiff Pope Francis begins his tenure. He has won adherents from the beginning because of his humility, and it will be interesting to see how he takes on the challenges of the church.

• We’ll give our tenacity award to Reba Williams of Columbus, Ohio, who was awarded her high school diploma last week at the age of 106. Williams finished her high school courses decades ago but wasn’t allowed to graduate because she refused to read an assigned book; she had already read it once and didn’t want to give it a second go. But the local school board relented after almost 90 years and took a diploma to her apartment, along with the “mortarboard” cap that is traditional. We haven’t received word yet on whether she plans to begin college.

• If you’re looking for evidence of what conference realignment has done to college athletics, you need look no further than last weekend’s Atlantic Coast Conference basketball tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Once the toughest ticket in the country to get, the tournament now plays to mediocre crowds, and interest is a tiny fraction of what it used to be. Yes, we know this is the price we pay for the money game that has become college sports, but it doesn’t make it any easier to stomach.

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