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Thumbs up, thumbs down

September 09, 2006

Thumbs up to all of the Washington County citizens who organized Operation Ian, to pay for the medical expenses of Ian Rhys Rogers while he battled a malignant brain tumor. Without your caring efforts, the family, which did have health insurance, would still have been financially overwhelmed at a time when they were emotionally overwhelmed. Sadly, Ian passed away this month after his nine-month fight.

Thumbs up to the Hagerstown City Council, for agreeing to up the city's annual contribution to the Community Free Clinic from $40,000 to $50,000. The cash will come from the Community Development Block Grant fund, a federal payment municipalities are supposed to use to help those in need. Now the clinic must find $30,000 to fix its Mill Street building's leaking roof.

Thumsb down to whoever failed to make sure that law enforcement personnel in the new Berkeley County (W.Va.) judicial center could talk to each other by police radio. A needed "repeater" system might not be installed for 12 weeks. It seems as if this should have been a key consideration for those planning the building.

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Thumbs up to the late Kenneth Lee Brandenburg II, for his eight years of service to the people and the town of Keedysville as its mayor. His friends and those with whom he served on the council say he always had the best interests of the town at heart, and was particularly kind to children. He will be missed.

Thumbs down to Dr. Mark McClellan, oversight officer for the new Medicare drug benefit program, for departing after eight months with the statement that he's "very confident with the track that the agency is on." This is the same officer who had to announce in August that 230,000 beneficiaries had their premiums refunded - by mistake. If that's being on track, we'd hate to see his idea of a train wreck.

Thumbs up to the Washington County Gaming Office, for its attempt to work with the Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Co., so that the company's alleged gaming violations do not affect its ability to serve the citizens of Clear Spring and the surrounding area. That's the right approach; the law creating the gaming commission was passed to make sure the money accomplished good things.

Thumbs up to the members of STEP UP, a Berkeley County, W.Va., coalition of parents, teachers and other concerned citizens, for their decision to lobby state lawmakers on behalf of a plan that would change teacher pay plans so that good educators aren't lured across state lines to better-paying systems.

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