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Thumbs up, thumbs down

January 06, 2007

Thumbs up to all who participated in the annual Polar Bear Potomac River Plunge on Jan. 1. The event, which began more than 15 years ago, has not only become a New Year's tradition, but it is also a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Washington County. This year's plunge raised funds for the Sharpsburg Horse Rescue and Medical Fund, set up after the owner of a horse farm was unable to care for the animals.

Thumbs up to John W. Small, for his 50 years of service in the Berkeley County, (W.Va.) County Clerk's office. First sworn in as chief deputy clerk in 1956, he became chief clerk after the death of Eugene C. Dunham and has been re-elected to the position ever since. Small has never lived more than a mile from the courthouse. He's stayed so long, he said, because "I just like, you might say, helping people."

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Thumbs up to U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, for dismissing Linton Brooks as the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration after a series of security breakdowns at the Los Alamos, N.M. laboratory and other facilities. Finally, a few people in this administration are getting their walking papers for not performing their duties properly.

Thumbs up to the City of Hagerstown, the Washington County Commissioners and other donors who provided funds to allow the Community Free Clinic to again begin accepting new patients. It's much less expensive for the clinic to treat patients than to send them to the emergency room, where their uncompensated care raises everyone's bills.

Thumbs up to the late Sgt. Edward W. Shaffer of Mont Alto, Pa., for joining the U.S. armed forces to protect America's people and the freedoms they cherish. Citizens might disagree about whether the war was necessary or how it's being conducted, but there should be no disagreement that soldiers such as Shaffer serve honorably in what they feel is an attempt to bring democracy to a land that has never known it.

Thumbs down to the protesters from the Westboro (Kan.) Baptist Church, for their plan to show up at the funeral of Sgt. Edward W. Shaffer of Mont Alto, Pa., who died after being injured in a bomb blast in Iraq. The church's spokespeople claim that because soldiers voluntarily entered an army that includes gay soldiers, the country is "forsaken by God." It's more likely that those who deliberately cause pain to a grieving family will face God's wrath.

Thumbs up to the Waynesboro (Pa.) Borough Council, for its decision to rezone two blocks of property along the borough's Enterprise Avenue to allow the Waynesboro Hospital to expand. They expect to break ground on the project by the spring of 2008. What do these folks know about winning approval for a hospital expansion that the people of Washington County don't?

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