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Thumbs up, thumbs down

July 22, 2006

Thumbs up to Richard Douglas, former attorney for the Washington County government, for the valiant effort he made to continue serving in his post despite migraine headaches that lasted for days, chronic daily headaches and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. For a person in public life, that's quite a burden, but he carried it bravely until his last day, on May 22.

Thumbs up to the Bedington (W.Va.) Volunteer Fire Department, for agreeing to a 99-year lease of up to two of the nine acres that it was recently given, so the citizens of north Berkeley County can have a new branch library. The new facility will be named for the original donor - E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. Kim Sencindiver, a former DuPont employee, is credited with making the donation happen.

Thumbs down to Carrie Gouff, a candidate for Washington County Commissioner, for her statement that this year her property tax bill "went up by $600" when it actually increased by only $221.27 - before the $150 tax rebate. Asked to explain, Gouff said she pays someone else's tax bill, but wouldn't say whose it was. Citizens need facts, not some "trust me" explanation.

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Thumbs up to former Major League baseball pitcher Tommy John, for his willingness to come to Hagerstown to participate in a church league softball game. John pitched in the big leagues from 1963 to 1989, which is just about the time when many professional athletes began to lose touch with the average fan.

Thumbs down to the U.S. government, for withdrawing its offer to do free credit monitoring for up to a year for 26.5 million veterans whose sensitive information was temporarily lost when a Veterans Administration employee took home a laptop computer in violation of policy, then had it stolen in a burglary. It's odd that a government that expected those vets to complete the terms of their enlistments is so reluctant to keep its promise.

Thumbs up to the 115 teenagers and 75 adult volunteers who are spending time this summer working on the ninth annual Chambersburg (Pa.) Project, which involves doing repairs, painting and clearing brush for people and nonprofit agencies that couldn't otherwise afford it. As of July 15, they had completed 47 of the 65 projects for which they received requests for help.

Thumbs up to Larry D. Kump, of the Hagerstown Community College Class of 1991, for the many years of volunteer service to the community that won him the 2006 HCC Alumni Community Citation award. He has been a Cubmaster, a Scoutmaster, Sunday school teacher and a volunteer program coordinator for a number of youth groups and other organizations.

Thumbs up to Dr. Matthew A. Hahn, for the professional service, personable manner and community involvement that won him the Maryland Academy of Family Physicians' Family Doctor of the Year award for 2006. Dr. Hahn will serve as the Maryland chapter's nominee for the National Family Doctor of the Year award.

Dr. Hahn is the director of the Tri-State Community Health Center, a community health center located in Hancock.

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