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Thumbs up, thumbs down

August 12, 2006

Thumbs up to the officers of the Maryland State Police and other agencies who conducted a two-year investigation into gang activity in Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties, which resulted in the arrest or indictment of 50 people who are allegedly members of branches of the gang known as "The Crips." Thanks, officers.




Thumbs up to William "Buzz" Neikirk and his son Jamie, for the many years they operated Neikirk's of Hagerstown at the corner of West Franklin and Jonathan Streets. For decades, they gave people one more reason to come to the downtown area and their fine service kept people coming back, even though it was sometimes difficult to park nearby. They'll be missed.




Thumbs down to top officials of the West Virginia State Police, for their refusal to probe the disappearance of $7,665 seized after a 2004 traffic stop by the Shepherdstown (W.Va.) Police Department. They suggested instead that the department investigate itself, which makes no sense at all. Outside investigators, with no ties of friendship or camaraderie, are needed.

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Thumbs up to all of the volunteers, library staff and elected officials who had a hand in creating a new home for the Smithsburg Library. The new 8,700-square-foot building, for which U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., cut the ribbon this week, includes a community room where groups such as Girl Scouts can meet.




Thumbs down to the person or persons who are refusing to break down cardboard boxes brought to recycling units provided for citizens' use by the Town of Boonsboro. Waste haulers charge extra if the boxes haven't been flattened and unless residents start doing what seems like a simple task, the bins will be removed at the end of August, according to Debbie Smith, the town's interim manager.




Thumbs up to Gary "Chopper" Hoffman, for his 36 years of service as a Hagerstown firefighter. Hoffman began volunteering as a teen and following four years in the Marines from 1966 to 1970, he passed a written test and joined the Hagerstown department. It was not a job so much as it was a brotherhood, he said, in which the struggles of one were shared by all.




Thumbs down to the U.S. government, for the tortoise-like pace it has adopted in getting rebuilding assistance to New Orleans residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. If the U.S. House and Senate offices had been damaged by a flood, we're certain the cash to rebuild would have been delivered at the speed of light.




Thumbs up to Leadership Franklin County, for its offer to share its skills and services with area nonprofits in need of assistance with local projects. Applications will be accepted through Aug. 31. Projects will be designed so that they can be completed by May 2007, when the current Leadership Franklin County class graduates. In 21 years, more than 270 have graduated from the program, run by the Greater Chambersburg (Pa.) Foundation, a part of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce.

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