Thumbs up, thumbs down

August 05, 2006

Thumbs up to members of the Hagerstown City Council and the Washington County Commissioners who served on the 2-plus-2 committee that worked out an agreement that led to Gov. Robert Ehrlich's pledge of $6 million toward the upgrading of the Edgewood Drive/U.S. 40 intersection. Good things come to those who put their time into finding solutions.

Thumbs up to Gov. Ed Rendell and the Pennsylvania Legislature, for finally agreeing on a bill to provide property tax relief to citizens with money from slot machines and other sources. The critics complain that it isn't perfect, but neither was the first automobile. Once a law is on the books it can be refined, but without that first step, Keystone State residents would get no tax relief.

Thumbs down to the Maryland officials who failed to identify accused slayer Melvin Jones Jr. as being in violation of his parole after the twice-convicted sex offender was accused of choking 11-year-old Irvin Harris and saying "I'll kill you." Jones has since been charged with murder, assault and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with Harris' death.


Thumbs upto 20-year-old Amanda Jones of Clear Spring, for volunteering for a mission trip to an area of Indonesia ravaged by a tsunami. Jones said that although the trip was sponsored by Washington Bible College through Evangelism Explosion, they did not go to preach, but to build relationships between the two cultures.

Thumbs down to the Jefferson County (W.Va.) Commission, for conditioning their donation of $15,000 toward the purchase of Happy Retreat on a matching contribution from the City of Charles Town. The property, once the home of Charles Washington, brother of the country's first president and the founder of Charles Town, is a historic site that deserves the county's support, no matter what the city government does.

Thumbs up to the Sovereign Bank Foundation, for its donation of a matching grant to the Washington County Community Action Council, to help CAC staff its Affordable Homes Program.

Working with the foundation and USDA Rural Development, CAC helps would-be homebuyers obtain low-interest loans for homes in rural areas. Thanks, Sovereign.

Thumbs down to the campaign staff of Republican Michael Steele, candidate for one of Maryland's two U.S. Senate seats, for setting up a "background" lunch meeting with nine reporters in a Capitol Hill restaurant, during which Steele bashed the president. We know the president's poll numbers are down, but didn't the White House encourage Steele to run?

Thumbs up to officials at Hagerstown Community College, for committing to a $1.3 million project to add wet laboratories to the college's Technical Innovation Center.

The move should open the area to start-up companies in the biotechnology sector. At the same time, the college is starting a biotechnology course that will train students to be lab technicians in just two years.

These are the jobs of the future. Thanks to HCC for being ready to go out and get them.

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