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Thumbs up, thumbs down

May 05, 2007

Thumbs up to the Community Foundation of Washington County, the Pauline Anderson Foundation and the Women's Giving Circle, for their donation of $68,171 to eight area nonprofits. Among other things, the funds will allow agencies to train baby-sitters, help with a diabetes case-management program, expand Meals on Wheels and teach life skills to women who are in early recovery from drug and alcohol dependency.

Thumbs up to the students at E. Russell Hicks Middle School who are collecting school supplies for Operation Iraqi Children, a program that provides pencils, paper, scissors, rulers and the like for students in that war-torn country. For some of the recipients, who often have to cope with classrooms of up to 60 children, even having a pencil can be a luxury.

Thumbs down to the Washington County School Board, for its decision to name the new elementary school in the Westfields development "Rockland Woods." The Rockland estate was once home to James W.C. Pennington, a slave there before he escaped and became a noted abolitionist and a Presbyterian minister. If Pennington's name can't be used for the school, neither should Rockland's.

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Thumbs up to author Nora Roberts and husband Bruce Wilder, for purchasing two historic but rundown Boonsboro hotels to renovate. The Boone Hotel, in particular, has been in need of some tender loving care for more than 20 years. For its six rooms, Roberts says she plans to borrow themes from classic fiction such as "Jane Eyre."

Thumbs down to an unnamed employee of Maryland's Department of Natural Resources for losing a miniature computer storage device with 1,400 names and Social Security numbers of past and present employees. Is it our imagination, or is something similar to this happening every month? The official explanation for this latest foul-up is that the employee was taking work home. Too bad he or she wasn't taking care of this valuable data.

Thumbs up to Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, for his decision to close a loophole in state law that enabled Seung-Hui Cho to purchase the handguns he used in the recent Virginia Tech massacre. Now anyone who is found to be a danger will be in the state's instant-check data base, even if he or she is not admitted to a mental hospital. No system is perfect, but this might prevent the next disturbed person from going on a killing spree.

Thumbs down to the person or persons who are calling in bomb threats to Tri-State area schools and colleges. Not only is class time being lost to these so-called pranks, but after the recent massacre at Virginia Tech, a great amount of anxiety is being generated among students and faculty. We hope that when these perpetrators are apprehended that they are forced to repay schools for the cost of these interruptions.

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