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Thumbs up, thumbs down

September 29, 2007

Thumbs up to Schurz Communications, corporate parent of The Morning Herald and The Daily Mail, for continuing to publish morning and afternoon editions long after most U.S. dailies had ended the practice, and for pledging that the new, combined Herald-Mail newspaper will contain all of the features - including the comics and the local columnists - that were carried in the separate editions.

Thumbs down to all of the people who, because they're too cheap or lazy to go to the landfill, toss their rubbish into the Antietam Creek. Volunteers with the Antietam Creek Watershed Alliance, which held its second annual Rubbish Round-up last week, picked up, among other things, a toilet, a car seat, tires, grocery carts and numerous bicycles. Thanks to all who worked to undo others' irresponsible actions.

Thumbs up to Marine Cpl. John Myers of Hagerstown, for his service in Iraq during two tours of duty with the mortuary affairs division, which picks up Americans and other coalition soldiers killed on the battlefield and prepares them for burial. Cpl. Myers said he doesn't remember many of the 240 bodies he has seen in detail, but it's a job that can't fail to affect those doing it.

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Thumbs down to Berkeley County (W.Va.) Assessor Preston Gooden, for filing a lawsuit against the Berkeley County Commission, for allegedly overstepping its bounds when it determined how salaries are set for some county employees. When government officials take their disputes with others in government to court, taxpayers get the bill. Settle this by negotiation, please.

Thumbs up to Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, for his proposal to use some of the revenue from the legalization of slot machines to aid the state's horse-racing industry. A 2005 study showed the industry has an annual impact of $1 billion on the state's economy and, just as important, plays a major role in preserving 200,000 acres of green space. Finally, the study found that there are at least 20,000 jobs in Maryland related to horse racing.

Thumbs down to Phillipe Dauman, CEO of Viacom Inc., for testifying before Congress that his company regularly removes obscenities, gang symbols and portrayals of violence from its music videos, but said he doesn't believe it's the firm's role to "censor the creative expression of artists." Record companies have been telling artists what they can and can't get away with since Thomas Edison invented the recording process. Take a stand, Phil.

Thumbs up to Edward H. Lough, of the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, for the public service he's done on economic development and the revitalization of downtown Hagers-town that won him the 2007 Volunteer of the Year award from the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce. Thanks, Ed.

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