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Thumbs up, thumbs down

June 17, 2006

Thumbs upto Citi Hagerstown, now celebrating 20 years of doing business in Washington County, for providing jobs to thousands in this region. The firm arrived at a time when the local jobless rate was high and there wasn't much hope that it would get better quickly. Citicorp not only provided new jobs, but opened up opportunities for those working in other local companies.




Thumbs up to governments of Waynesboro and Washington Township in nearby Franklin County, Pa., for agreeing to work on a comprehensive plan that would provide both with a blueprint for development for the next 15 years. Could you folks see your way clear to send a bit of that cooperative spirit down South and across the Maryland line, please?




Thumbs down to Colleen Graffy, deputy assistant U.S. Secretary of State for public diplomacy, for her undiplomatic statement to the British Broadcasting Corp. Graffy told the BBC that the suicides of three Guantanamo Bay detainees were a "good P.R. move to draw attention." When U.S. officials needed to be discreet in their comments, Graffy wasn't.

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Thumbs up to U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., for his 60 years of service to the state, the public and the nation. Long ago he could have used the connections he has made and the relationships he has developed to make himself wealthy. Instead, he decided to help his state, its citizens and Americans in general.




Thumbs up to Danny Shirley, for the hard work he did to win the 2005 "Rookie of the Year" honors from the Hancock Volunteer Fire Co. The company also honored Derek McBee as Firefighter of the Year for being the most active in running emergency and nonemergency calls. And on the business side, Greg Yost was named Fireman of the Year, because of the administrative work he does in addition to fighting fires.




Thumbs up to Jim Mobley, for the many years of service to the mentally challenged through the Arc of Washington County that won him the group's 2006 Volunteer of the Year award. Mobley has also held state- and national-level posts in the organization and also serves as president of the Washington County Election Board. Thanks for all you've done and continue to do, Jim.




Thumbs down to the U.S. officials who allowed up to 16 percent of the federal help meant for the victims of Hurricane Katrina to go to a variety of con artists, who used the cash to take Hawaiian vacations, purchase season football tickets and even pay for a divorce lawyer. More than one person was asleep at the switch - or should we say the cash register?




Thumbs down to the U.S. Congress, for cutting back on the funds the Department of Housing and Urban Development sends to local governments to build and maintain low-cost public housing for the indigent and the elderly. At a time when purchase and rental prices for dwellings are nearing record levels, does it make sense to ask those with limited incomes to tighten their belts a little bit further? Hagerstown's annual funding was cut by 10 percent and Washington County's by 13 percent.

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