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Thumbs up, thumbs down

December 16, 2006

Thumbs up to all of the citizens and organizations working to collect funds and run events to raise money for food, clothing and shelter for those who were left homeless after a recent series of fires in the Tri-State area. When the people of this region see a need, they're quick to jump in and do whatever is necessary. It's not just the mountain views that make this a great place to live. It's the caring people, too.

Thumbs up to Claude H. Sasse, a 44-year veteran teacher with Washington County Public Schools, who has announced that he will retire in July 2007. Sasse has served three different times as the president of the Washington County Teachers Association. That is a job in which the person holding it cannot make everyone happy all the time. The fact that he returned repeatedly to the role speaks to his dedication.

Thumbs down to outgoing Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, for his statement last Wednesday saying that correctional officers' jobs went unfilled because the economy was good, with only 4 percent unemployment. Well, gee whiz, Bob, why didn't state officials think about doing what other employers do when they have no candidates for difficult jobs and raise the pay?

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Thumbs up to Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 83, which represents officers in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia and other individual departments' officers, for raising money to provide for a number of needy children at Christmas. Not only do they catch crooks, but they've surely captured a place in these kids' hearts.

Thumbs down to Jefferson County (W.Va.) Commission President Greg Corliss, for his public attempt to remove Paul Raco from his post as executive director of the Jefferson County Department of Planning, Zoning and Engineering. The question of Raco's performance is a personnel matter that should have been discussed in executive session, because it's evident from their discussions that the commissioners aren't sure right now what they want to do.

Thumbs up to George Keefer of Williamsport, for the 33 years he has spent as a math teacher at the Maryland Correctional Training Center. For helping 4,700 inmates earn their GEDs, he was nominated for Washington County Teacher of the Year in the private school category, and was awarded the "Spirit of Correctional Education Award" for 2006 by the Director of Correctional Education at the Maryland State Department of Education.

Thumbs down too whichever official of Allegheny Power decided that a meeting on possible rate hikes should be held on a weekday night less than two weeks before Christmas. Allen Staggers, the company's manager of communications, said the turnout of about 20 residents could have been the result of the holiday season. Please schedule the next session after the holidays and try to arrange to have it televised for folks who don't want to go out at night.

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