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Thumbs up, thumbs down

August 04, 2007

Thumbs up to the organizers, exhibitors and sponsors of Washington County's Ag Expo & Fair. They provided an opportunity for the next generation of farm families to show off their agricultural achievements and the county residents who don't live on farms a chance to see that the beautiful fields and the livestock that graze there are the result of someone doing the work to make it happen, from morning's first light until sunset.

Thumbs up to Waynesboro, Pa., Police Chief Ray Shultz, for disputing the contention that his city's downtown area is unsafe after dark. As the chief said, there are no statistics that would support that conclusion, even though Main Street Manager Carole Malin said she's heard plenty of anecdotes about problems with rowdy teenagers. A few arrests for disorderly conduct should clear that up in a hurry.

Thumbs down to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the three generals who testified at a congressional hearing that they shouldn't be blamed for the delay in reporting the "friendly fire" death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan. Instead, they said, it was "the system" that failed. Working for this administration apparently means never having to say you're sorry.

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Thumbs up to Cal Ripken Jr., the Baltimore Orioles' great inducted into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame, for showing the fans and his fellow baseball players that even in an era of multimillion-dollar salaries that teamwork, dignity and attention to the fans' needs still count for a great deal. Let's hope he isn't the last big leaguer to embrace that philosophy.

Thumbs up to City National Bank of Cross Lanes, W.Va., for its decision to provide office space to the Berkeley County chapter of the American Red Cross at the bank's property at 617 Winchester Ave. The decision allows the county to avoid spending money to renovate the old CVS Pharmacy off Raleigh Street. Bank officials said the Red Cross would not have to pay rent for its space, but would be expected to pay utilities. Seems more than fair to us.

Thumbs up to the volunteers of the Halfway Manor Neighborhood Watch, for their successful eight-month effort to make the streets safer in and around the 100-unit low-income housing complex. The group not only deters crime by patrolling the streets in pairs at night, but also organizes community events. When people know their neighbors, they're more prone to care about what happens to them.

Thumbs down to Maryland Transportation Secretary John Porcari, for telling residents that the state's bridges and roads are "sound and safe." Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., notes that a 2005 U.S. Department of Transportation report listed 30 percent of Maryland bridges as "structurally deficient or functionally obsolete."

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