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Thumbs up, thumbs down

November 19, 2006

Thumbs up to employees of Charles Town Races & Slots, for collecting more than nine tons of food for the Jefferson County (W.Va.) Community Ministries. Among the items donated were 1,661 pounds of hams and turkeys in what employees describe as a friendly competition between different departments. Apparently, thoroughbreds aren't the only creatures at the track with a lot of heart.

Thumbs up to the late Juanita May Queen, for her years of service giving people who called in to Hagerstown radio station WJEJ's show "The Phone Party" advice on everything from cooking a turkey to getting stains out of a garment. She was such a regular caller that some listeners assumed she worked for WJEJ. Right now she's probably advising St. Peter on how to put a brighter shine on the Pearly Gates.

Thumbs down to Washington County Circuit Court Judge John H. McDowell, for his decision to suspend all but 134 days of an 18-month term given to a man who burned four kittens to death during an argument with his girlfriend. If there's a good reason why this 22-year-old shouldn't do at least six months, for the life of us, we can't figure out what it would be.

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Thumbs up to West Virginia State Police Troopers M.A. Cole, F.H. Edwards, M.S. Armentrout, B.G. Sites and Sgt. Eric Burnett, for their sucessful attempt to rescue a man who was on the edge of a bridge crossing Interstate 81 and threatening to jump. Their efforts might have saved passing motorists from injury as well.

Thumbs down to the Federal Emergency Management Authority, for purchasing hundreds of modular homes for the victims of 2005 hurricanes and then allowing them to be damaged beyond repair because of sun and rain exposure. The loss is pegged at $5 million by FEMA. Someone was in charge of this and whoever that person was should be charged with criminal negligence, if the law allows. And if it doesn't, let's change the law before the next such foul-up.

Thumbs up to Chelsey Scott, a fifth-grader at Hickory Elementary School for the work she did to reach tomorrow's Punt, Pass & Kick program at M&T Stadium in Baltimore prior to the contest between the Baltimore Ravens and the Atlanta Falcons. The talented youngster won a regional contest in Westminster, Md., and could advance to the nationals in January.

Thumbs up to Maryland regulators for beginning work on a possible fix for the state's electric power system, deregulated in 1999 on the premise it would produce more competition and cheaper prices. It didn't, of course, and now the regulators are looking at possibly allowing power companies to own generating plants again. Whatever fix they devise should include an apology from all the lawmakers who voted for it in 1999, then paid no attention until power prices soared.

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