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Thumbs up, thumbs down

July 29, 2006

Thumbs up to Spc. Noe Santos-Dilone of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Spc. Sergio Lopez of Bowlingbrook, Ill.; and Pfc. Eduardo Leal-Cardenas of Los Angeles, for enlisting in the U.S. armed forces and becoming American citizens. The three were wounded in Iraq and took the oath of citizenship in the presence of President George W. Bush.

Thumbs up to Frederick County State's Attorney Scott Rolle, for dropping charges against a Thurmont town commissioner, who had been charged with assault and child abuse after allegedly striking his 13-year-old son after the boy charged with smashing mailboxes with a baseball bat. Rolle said his investigation found that the boy was slapped, not punched.

Thumsb down to groups criticizing Pennsylvania's Safe Haven law, which allows parents to drop off their baby at a hospital at any time before the infant is 28 days old. Their complaint is that since the law was passed in 2003, only two babies have been dropped off. Those are two children who didn't end up in a trash can, or freezing to death on a doorstep.

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Thumbs up to Patrick Breakall and Derrick Flook, students at Washington County Technical High School, for the hard work and study they did to win seventh place in Web site design at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. Flook's specialty is coding, while Breakall concentrates on graphics.

Thumbs down to the unnamed Defense Department contractor who sold $1.1 million in sensitive military gear to investigators for the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The purchases included body armor, an antenna used to track aircraft and a digital converter used in naval surveillance. How can anyone justify making a buck when the cost might be deaths and injuries to American citizens and soldiers?

Thumbs up to Scott and John Hilleary of Catonsville, Md., for their donation of 27 acres of farmland to the Berkeley County (W.Va.) Historical Society. It's their second donation of land and this parcel was originally purchased by their mother, Eleanor "Polly" Trapnell Hilleary Dorsey Dosh as a possible getaway in time of nuclear war. Thanks for the generous gift.

Thumbs up to the Maryland Historical Trust, for awarding two Washington County restoration projects more than $1.4 million in renovation tax credits.

One project will restore the former Henry's Theater in downtown Hagerstown, while the other will facilitate the restoration of a historic home on West Main Street in Sharpsburg.

Thumbs up to Kevin Pittsnogle of Martinsburg, W.Va., for the hard work and dedication that landed him a one-year contract with the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association. Fans may remember him as a star at Martinsburg High School and at West Virginia University, where he helped his team get to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight and Sweet 16.

In announcing the move, Pittsnogle said he didn't want to give a speech, but just thank his coaches and others who helped him.

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