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Thumbs up, thumbs down

June 23, 2007

Thumbs up to West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, for an $83,000 grant that will make it possible to place sidewalks near Shepherdstown Elementary and Middle schools, so children can walk to class safely. Perhaps officials at Lincolnshire Elementary School in Washington County, where some students have to walk in the street, could ask Gov. Martin O'Malley for the same kind of help.

Thumbs up to the late Tammy Day, who put up a valiant fight against cancer for two years, so that she could see her daughter Megan graduate from Chambersburg (Pa.) Area Senior High School. She was unable to make the ceremony, but she was able to see her daughter with the diploma the teen hopes will be her first step toward becoming a registered nurse specializing in pediatrics.

Thumbs down to President George W. Bush, for his statement that he will veto any bill that leads to runaway government spending. In March, the U.S. Congress approved a $780 billion increase in the federal debt limit, the fourth since Bush took office. The national debt now tops $8 trillion. While the president's belated commitment to frugality is welcome, he ought to acknowledge his role in previous spending jumps.

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Thumbs up to the Washington County Commissioners, for their decision to ask former commissioner and Hagerstown city councilman John Schnebly to chair the county's Excise Tax Task Force. It seems to be a good group, including Frank Erck, Sherry Brown Cooper and Edward Forrest, all known for their commitment to improving the community.

Thumbs up to Ed Branthaver and other Washington County residents who are pushing for the establishment of a senior citizen center that would offer elderly residents a range of activities and the opportunity to socialize together. Their preferred site, chosen because of its proximity to a number of senior-citizen apartment complexes, is the old Antietam Paper building across from the District Courthouse in downtown Hagerstown.

Thumbs up to employees of Paesano's Pizza in Martinsburg, W.Va., for successfully foiling an alleged armed robbery attempt by wrestling the gun from the suspect and cutting him repeatedly with a large kitchen knife. We don't recommend this sort of resistance because of the danger involved. On the other hand, there is always the chance that a perpetrator might decide that witnesses shouldn't live to tell their stories.

Thumbs down to Douglas K. Britt of Boonsboro, for his failure to keep a home he owns at 600 N. Mulberry St. in conformance with the city code. John Lestitian, chief code enforcement officer for the City of Hagerstown, said Britt has paid about $6,000 for violations over the past 2 1/2 years. Here's a question: At what point could the city seize such properties and make the necessary repairs on its own?

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