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Thumbs up, thumbs down

July 21, 2007

Thumbs up to William "Mac" McLean, for his more than 50 years of service to the Arc of Washington County, also known as the Association for Retarded Citizens. McLean, his wife Mary, and a dozen other parents began a school for children with developmental disabilities. McLean was instrumental in developing programs for the organization and also served on the board of the local and state-level groups. Thanks, Mac, for a lifetime of service.

Thumbs up to the Hagerstown Convention and Visitors Bureau, for the 10 years of hard work that followed the privatization of the Washington County Tourism Department. The CVB has increased the number of conventions held locally, promoted the county as a site for film-makers and assisted with the promotion of a number of local tourism-related businesses. Happy 10th and here's wishing CVB many more.

Thumbs down to U.S. automakers, for telling Congress last month that an increase in fuel-economy standards could hurt their industry. This is the same refrain we've heard much too often in the last few decades. Not only does it insult the average American's intelligence, but it also denigrates the ability of the industry's engineers, who we believe can rise to the occasion and meet the new standards.

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Thumbs up to the United Way of Washington County, for 50 years of service to the community. United Way, with its volunteer board, assures donors that their money will be well-spent and that financial statements will be available on a timely basis to anyone who wants to see them. The combination of transparency and service has served the community well.

Thumbs up to Purdue Pharmaceutical Co., for its decision to give cash rewards to three Virginia residents who helped apprehend a Waynesboro, Pa., man who was charged in a May 2 robbery and carjacking in Williamsport. The idea that the manufacturer of a drug, OxyContin, that some people are apparently willing to commit illegal acts to obtain, is willing to reward those who help apprehend suspects in such cases is commendable.

Thumbs up to the Waynesboro (Pa.) Area School District's educators, administrators, parents and volunteers, for the hard work they did to get the district removed from state "warning status." The district, which shared that unenviable status with just five of the state's 501 school districts, was found to be below standards in graduation rates and low secondary level math scores on the state's standardized assessment tests.

Thumbs down to Gov. Ed Rendell and the Pennsylvania legislature, for costing the taxpayers $3.5 million with a one-day shutdown of state government. Almost 24,000 workers were furloughed during a battle over the budget. Rendell spokesman Doug Rohanna said the furlough will be treated as a paid office closing, such as a snow day. It's more like a snow job for the taxpayers.

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