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Thumbs up, Thumbs down

April 22, 2006

Thumbs up to the University of Maryland medical students and police, fire and rescue personnel and officers of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, for their combined efforts to rescue a woman whose kayak capsized in the Potomac River after part of it became entangled in tree branches. Thanks to all who helped.




Thumbs up to Skip Tovornik of Frederick, Md., whose company, CHS, has agreed to purchase and covert the Holiday Motel on Hagerstown's Prospect Street into office space. The motel was the subject of surprise inspection in October 2005 which uncovered mold, vermin and problems with heating and lighting systems. This is one makeover that should draw every city resident's applause.




Thumbs down to the Washington County Commissioners, for putting $134,097 into the local health department's budget for teen pregnancy prevention, then pulling the money back while they explore other programs. After paying a consultant $50,000 to assess the problem and suggest remedies, now the commissioners are going to brainstorm a solution?

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Thumbs up to the Maryland Office of the People's Counsel, for working out an agreement with the Potomac Electric Power Co. and the Delmarva Power and Light Co., to allow power customers to have a large rate increase phased in. Perhaps that office could share its expertise with the General Assembly.




Thumbs down to Todd Rock, candidate for the 90th District seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, for pulling out of an April 19 forum with incumbent Patrick Fleagle. Rock said that it's not that he's unwilling to debate, but he feels door-to-door campaigning is more effective than addressing groups. We agree. Your opponent isn't there to dispute anything you might say about him or the platform you're advancing.




Thumbs up to Ben Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, for his warning that the U.S. cannot continue to run up large trade deficits and budget deficits indefinitely. Bernanke raised the possibility that if the trade deficit, which hit $723.6 billion last year, continues unchecked, there would be long-term problems with U.S. financial markets, production and employment.




Thumbs up to the Berkeley County, W.Va., government, for reducing property taxes there for the fourth straight year. This year's reduction will mean that, if assessments remain the same, the owner of a $200,000 home would see a reduction of $40 in the county's portion of the tax bill. As assessments rise, this government tries to ease the pain.




Thumbs up to the borough of Waynesboro, Pa., for its solution to the problem of residents who want to put out more than the allowed three 32-gallon containers of trash each week. Under the borough's system, you can set out more than that, but only if you to go to the borough hall and purchase extra "trash tags." Linking the amount of waste residents produce to how much they pay should encourage citizens to be less wasteful and recycle more of the containers they purchase.

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