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Thumbs up, thumbs down

August 11, 2007

Thumbs up to the Washington County Commissioners, for their decision to hold up approval of a Clear Spring housing development until some of the school crowding issues have been worked out. Because of the state regulation and approval process, it's not as easy to build or enlarge a school as it is to build single-family dwellings. If the next wave of homebuilding has started, by golly, let's get it planned correctly.

Thumbs up to the Franklin County (Pa.) Commissioners, for their decision to ban open burning, starting Sunday. Too much material is burned that could be recycled or reused in some way, not to mention the air pollution caused by this practice. Fans of outdoor blazes can take heart, however, because it's only in effect for the next 30 days, or until the commissioners lift it.

Thumbs down to President George W. Bush, for his statement that while people who lose their homes to foreclosure deserve "enormous sympathy," they don't merit any help in digging their way out of the financial hole they're in. If federal rules about mortgages had been more stringent, many of the people who shouldn't have qualified wouldn't be in this boat today.

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Thumbs up to U.S. Sen Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., for introducing a bill that would guarantee a subsidy for commercial airline service at Hagerstown Regional Airport for at least the next five years. Officials of Air Midwest, the current carrier, say they can't operate profitably here without the $650,000 annual federal subsidy. Thanks, Senator.

Thumbs up to all of the men and women who work in correctional services at the three state prisons south of Hagerstown. Without their dedication to watching some of Maryland's most dangerous criminals, citizens of Washington County wouldn't be able to rest as easily as they do. As reported in The Herald-Mail's three-part series, which concludes Sunday, their willingness to do what many would not keeps this community safe.

Thumbs up to all of the volunteers, exhibitors and sponsors who have made it possible for the Berkeley County (W.Va.) Youth Fair to survive into its 60th year. Almost 1,000 youths exhibited a variety of livestock, garden produce and crafts, just to name a few of the categories. Such events teach young people to become better organized, to work on a deadline and deal with standards not of their own making.

Thumbs down to the person or persons who spray-painted a red "B" on the mural that decorates the Burhans Boulevard underpass near the CSX rail yard in Hagerstown. It takes imagination to create something beautiful, but it doesn't take much thought to deface it. Perhaps those who cannot or will not create something original resent those who can.

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