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Thumbs up, thumbs down

August 18, 2007

Thumbs up to the members of the Hagerstown Youth Hockey Association, for volunteering to operate the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex, following the city's decision to terminate its agreement with the previous management. HYHA will operate the ice rink on a limited basis for the next six weeks, using volunteers to oversee hockey practices and games and figure skating events.

Thumbs up to Doug Pittinger, for his 13 years of service as ambulance chief of the Shepherdstown (W.Va.) Fire Department. Pittinger said he isn't leaving the department, but will continue to work as a paramedic. The department, which has 80 volunteers, about 40 of whom are active, has issued a call for additional personnel to deal with additional call volume as a result of local development.

Thumbs down to the West Virginia Department of Education, for its inability to quickly decide whether parents or schools should supply students with paper, pens and rulers. With the start of school approaching, parents need more time and direction to get their children ready for the new school year. In our view, students will take better care of materials if their parents buy them.

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Thumbs up to Hannah Pearson, 14, of Martinsburg, W.Va., for agreeing to direct The Shakes-peare Generation's summer performance of "Romeo and Juliet." She organized auditions and rehearsals, coordinated costumes and music and dealt with a cast that ranged in age from 8 to 21. Pearson also took many photos of the cast and plans to study photography.

Thumbs up to the Hagerstown City Council, for its decision to have its staff draft an ordinance to remove the sunset provisions on the city's rental licensing program. Hagerstown began this program decades after other Western Maryland cities such as Cumberland and Frostburg had done so. Not to renew this law would embolden landlords who don't care about maintenance and accelerate the deterioration of the city's housing stock.

Thumbs up to Robert Whitmore, for his 16 years of service to the public on the Antrim Township (Pa.) Board of Supervisors. Whitmore said the time commitment required for his township responsibilities and the need to juggle that with his full-time job and other obligations made it difficult to continue. Too often voters take for granted the service that their fellow citizens provide, year in and year out.

Thumbs down to officials of the Waynesboro (Pa.) Hospital, for coming to the borough's planning commission Aug. 13 and asking that panel to support abandonment of parts of two streets and a couple of alleys near the hospital's expansion project without providing even a sketch of how the action would fit into the project. More details, please.

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