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Thumbs up, thumbs down

May 19, 2007

Thumbs up to all of the police officers honored at the recent "Recognition of Excellence" awards at Hagerstown Community College and in a separate ceremony at the Hagerstown Police Department. Every day, whether they're on the streets or in the detention center, these professionals face the possibility that they might be injured or killed. That they persevere in the face of such threats is something those they protect shouldn't forget.

Thumbs up to the student council at Martinsburg (W.Va.) High School, for organizing fundraisers that brought in $3,000 for the relief effort now under way for Enterprise High School in Enterprise, Ala. The school, and much of the town itself, was ravaged by a tornado that actually touched down in one of the school's hallways, killing eight students. Thanks for thinking of those in need.

Thumbs down to the Maryland officials who determined that it was appropriate to place patients with criminal histories at the Potomac Center, a state-operated residential facility for the developmentally disabled. Officials say those admitted aren't violent, but patients' relatives there have already expressed outrage, in part because some employees there say they don't have adequate training.

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Thumbs up to all of the citizens who turned out for this week's Pennsylvania primary election. In addition to a number of countywide races, voters had to consider changing the way in which they are taxed under the legislation known as Act 1. Those who didn't bother to vote should thank those who did for doing the hard work of citizenship.

Thumbs up to Maryland officials, for their award of a $1.03 million grant to Hagerstown Community College. HCC officials say that the five-year grant will enable the college to graduate twice as many nursing students each year - from 40 to 97 - as it does at present. The grant will enable this area to do its part to relieve a nationwide shortage of nurses and provide some good-paying local positions.

Thumbs up to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, for its grant of $400,000 to restore the stream buffer along Rockymarsh Run, a stream that runs along the border of Jefferson and Berkeley counties in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle. Not only will the project improve the quality of water in the stream, it will also reduce the amount of nutrient runoff that eventually reaches the Chesapeake Bay.

Thumbs down to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, for his 2004 visit to the intensive-care hospital room of his predecessor John Ashcroft, to persuade him to reauthorize the president's domestic surveillance program, which had just been determined to be illegal by the Justice Department. The president's loyalty to the man who was his White House counsel is understandable, but it's time for Gonzales to hit the road.

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