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Thumbs up, thumbs down

July 01, 2006

Thumbs up to all of the firefighters, rescue workers, Red Cross personnel and health officials who helped residents of the region cope with the recent deluge of rain and the flooding that took place afterward. We are humbled and reminded of two things - the awesome power of nature and the big hearts and strong backs of those who reach out to those in need.

Thumbs up to the Rev. George Limmer, for his 31 years of service to the parish of St. Mary Catholic Church in Hagerstown. His journey began with his entry into the seminary at age 13. Posted at St. Mary in 1975, the Rev. Limmer said he has been here long enough to see the babies he baptized become parents themselves and have him baptize their children.

Thumbs down to the intelligence agencies of the United States, which are still not sharing enough information about immigrants entering the country, years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Only in the last year has the administration begun to analyze border security, according to Charles Allen, chief of intelligence for the Department of Homeland Security.

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Thumbs up to the late Sandra Dougherty of Jefferson County, W.Va., for her long service to the community, not only as a teacher, but for her many community activities, including helping to set up an endowment so the Jefferson County Teacher of the Year can attend the Chamber's Leadership Jefferson program.

Thumbs down to the Pennsylvania Legislature, now considering reviving a once-repealed law that prevented motorcyclists over 21 from riding without a helmet. Proponents cite Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's recent motorcycle accident and a legislative report that says serious head trauma to motorcyclists has doubled since the 2003 repeal. There was plenty of evidence of the dangers three years ago, guys.

Thumbs up to Larry Wysk, a truck driver who lives near Berkeley Springs, W.Va., for helping a family whose camper had caught fire on an Ohio interstate highway to put out the blaze. For his quick action and selfless behavior, Wysk was given a Secretary Citation from the Maryland Department of Transportation. This Good Samaritan runs on 18 wheels.

Thumbs up to the members of the Washington County Commission on Women and all others who helped to publish "Working Women: First in their Field in Washington County." The book chronicles the first women in the county to hold certain posts and to practice certain occupations. It's good for those who come after to remember the pioneers.

Thumbs down to all of the TV stations that accompanied the news of the death of Patsy Ramsey with video of her slain daughter, JonBenet, competing in a baby beauty pageant. Encouraging children not old enough to drive to enter such events not only robs them of their childhood, but also encourages them to believe that a person's worth can be measured by his or her physical attractiveness. It's too bad that such contests persist, despite this child's death.

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