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Thumbs up, thumbs down

September 15, 2007

Thumbs up to all of the emergency fire and rescue personnel who risked their lives and, it now appears, seriously affected their health by searching the wreckage of the World Trade Center towers for survivors after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. They deserve the nation's support as much as any veteran, because although they didn't know it at the time, they were involved in the aftermath of the first serious battle against terrorists on American soil.

Thumbs down to Robert Eckert, CEO of Mattel Inc., the toymaker that had more than 20 million toys recalled because of problems, including the use of lead paint, by Chinese subcontractors. Echert told federal officials that "we were let down and we let you down." In other words, it was somebody else's fault. Mattel should have its own people in China, making sure nothing like this happens.

Thumbs up to the West Virginia Board of Education, for its promise to develop a plan that would help Eastern Panhandle teachers get paid at a rate that would enable them to keep up with the cost of living in this region. Of course, it would've be better if the board's decision hadn't come after a lawsuit that challenged its inattention to a law that mandates that the board look at the issue.

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Thumbs up to the half-dozen Burmese refugees who spent part of their Wednesday feeding and entertaining a group of residents at Holly Place in Hagerstown, an assisted living home for elderly people who cannot afford other accommodations. We hope they'll attend the Sept. 19 forum on refugee resettlement at Hagerstown Community College, so more local folks can meet them.

Thumbs down to workers and management at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, which hasn't done a complete inventory of the plutonium stored there for 13 years. Kevin Roark, a spokesman for the lab, defended the lab's use of statistical sampling in its inventories and said that an inventory of all its material would be impractical, given the large supplies stored there. So much that somebody might not miss a little, eh Kevin?

Thumbs up to the late Gordon Lynn, a Hagerstown attorney who not only defended many clients, but served in a variety of volunteer positions with the YMCA and the Boy Scouts. Lynn was also a candidate for Washington County State's Attorney in the last election, for which he deserves much praise. Without challengers, incumbents wouldn't have to defend their records and voters wouldn't have a choice. Thanks, Gordy. You'll be greatly missed.

Thumbs up to Sharon Leatherman, for the many years of service for which she was recognized as "Woman of the Year" by the Business and Professional Women's Organization of Hagerstown. She has worked on women's issues and causes, mostly behind the scenes, because she prefers making progress to getting a lot of credit publicly. Thank you so much.

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