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Thumbs up, thumbs down

June 24, 2006

Thumbs up to the Washington County Water and Sewer Infrastructure Commission and its chairman, Merle Elliott, for the two years the group spent assessing the area's future water and sewer needs and how they would affect growth. It's a topic of paramount importance, but one that tends to make the average citizen's eyes glaze over. Thanks for your dedication.

Thumbs up to congressional Democrats, for finally backing up their rhetoric with action by stripping Rep. William Jefferson, D-Louisiana, of his seat on the Ways and Means Committee while he is being investigated as part of a federal bribery probe. The Dems' actions were undercut by the fact that they sent lawyers to seek the return of documents seized from Jefferson's office as part of the probe.

Thumbs down to West Virginia's Tourism Commission, for awarding the state's four horse tracks $2.1 million of $3.29 million in video lottery money - two-thirds of the cash collected - to help them pay for mailings, advertisements and marketing. How about a few more bucks for those attractions that don't have the cash cows called slot machines on their premises?

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Thumbs up to Mike McKee of Washington County, who arranged for the handicapped-equipped van donated to his late wife to be given to 27-year-old Kimberly Hose, who lives with her parents in an area west of Clear Spring. Thanks also to the Clear Spring Lions Club, which paid the taxes on the transfer of the van.

Thumbs down to the person or persons who used one or more all-terrain vehicles to destroy nearly 300 saplings planted behind the Windsor Knolls Middle School in Urbana in Frederick County. This wasn't just a spur-of-the-moment thing; the ATV riders broke through a chain barrier to reach the trees, planted as a part of a project to reforest and improve Bennett Creek and the Monocacy Watershed.

Thumbs up to the police, rescue workers and neighborhood volunteers who spent 4 1/2 hours searching for 7-year-old Kimberly Andrea Thomas, who left her house while her mother and a friend were having an argument. The child went to the home of a neighbor, who had picked up a flier advertising the search for the girl. Thanks to all who helped turn this into a happy ending.

Thumbs up to all of the Lions Clubs in the Tri-State area that participated in the annual Kiss-A-Pig contest at Hagerstown's Municipal Stadium. The event, which benefits diabetes research, raised more than $12,500. So far this year, District 22-W of Lions International has raised more than $40,000 for that very worthy cause. Now that's bringing home the bacon.

Thumbs down to the Federal Trade Commission's Division of Privacy and Identity Theft Protection, for losing two laptops containing sensitive information for 110 people. This is the division charged with fighting identity theft, but the laptops were stolen from an FTC attorney's locked car. Question: If this material is so sensitive, why are government employees carrying it around on laptop computers secured by nothing stronger than a car door lock?

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