Thumbs up, thumbs down

April 01, 2006

Thumbs up to Melissa Partlow and all the other stylists at Hagerstown's Hair Cuttery, who spent Sunday, March 26, cutting hair to raise more than $1,000 for the family of Jeffery Alan Wroten, a correctional officer who died after being shot while guarding an inmate being treated at Washington County Hospital.

Thumbs up to the late John Long, for spending more than 20 years and at least $50,000 of his own money restoring a 1912 Western Maryland steam engine at Hagerstown's City Park, where he eventually developed a railroad museum. Long worked at the park as the museum's attendant, explaining railroad lore to the many visitors. Long even donated his small salary to the city to help with museum costs.

Thumsb down to the U.S. Army, for its order prohibiting soldiers from wearing any body armor except that supplied by the military. It's bad enough that GIs have to dig through junkyards to put "hillbilly armor" on their Humvees, but now the brass wants to tell soldiers risking their lives that they can't make choices about what gear they should wear to avoid being wounded.


Thumbs up to "Ballistic Books Are Back," a team of fifth-graders from Boonsboro Elementary School who won the 19th annual Battle of the Books contest co-sponsored by Washington County Free Library. The challenge begins each fall, when students start reading 20 various types of books on which they are quizzed later.

Thumsbn down to all of those who have once again failed to keep an important revenue-raising measure for Washington County - the excise tax bill - from getting caught in the rush of last-minute legislative business in Annapolis. Last year's bill received final approval at 11:56 p.m. on Monday, April 11, 2005, just minutes before the session ended. This year's deadline is two weeks away. Why can't these issues be resolved earlier?

Thumbs up to Kirk Livers, Umar Qadri and Usama Qadri, members of the Smithsburg High School team in the 10th annual Academic Team Championship contest, for winning top honors for the second straight year.

They answered questions on a variety of subjects, including math, science, literature and current affairs and all without the aid of notes or calculators.

T Thumbs up to the Hancock Community Bank and its many customers who donated $2,500 to help bring girls soccer back to Hancock Middle-Senior High School. To get the cash, the bank held a special sale of two-year certificates of deposit. For each CD purchased, the customer agreed to pay $10, which the bank then matched.

Thumbs down to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, for not keeping a close watch on a $1 billion contract to beef up airport security. Now, after most of the money has been spent, an inspector general for the Homeland Security Department says the contractor supplied some older model cell phones from a chain store's bargain rack, that closed circuit TV monitors didn't work and that radios carried by security personnel couldn't communicate with others on the same concourse.

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