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Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

November 17, 2007

Thumbs up to the late James F. Strine, who spent many years in service to the citizens of Washington County, including as State's Attorney, counsel to the County Commissioners and as a judge on the District Court bench. These are jobs that not every lawyer aspires to, because the public criticism can be tough. Strine took it in stride and served with honor and professionalism.

Thumbs down to the U.S. Army, for appointing Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman to command Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md., and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command located there. Gen. Weightman was fired in March as the commander of the Walter Reed U.S. Army Medical Center after the Army said it had lost "trust and confidence" in his leadership abilities. Either the Army was wrong then or wrong now - which is it?

Thumbs up to the Western Maryland Hospital Center's staff, administration and volunteers, for taking care of the chronically ill with compassion and professionalism for the past 50 years. The hospital, which officially opened a new brain-injury unit on Sunday, Nov. 11, has often become a new home for those patients whose conditions require near-constant care.

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Thumbs down to the Johns Hopkins University researchers who mistakenly labeled Hancock Middle-Senior High School a "dropout factory." Had they done the research that they should have, they would have found that students who left the school didn't drop out, but transferred to other schools, including 13 who spent their final two years at the county's technical high school.

Thumbs up to Community Action Council of Washington County and the City of Hagerstown, for their proposal to create workforce housing on a lot on South Potomac Street across form Bester Elementary School. The four duplexes and a single-family home to be built there will cost about $130,000 and will be sold to those who earn too much to qualify for low-income rental housing, but earn too little to purchase a home.

Thumbs down to the person or persons who called in three bomb threats this week in Greencastle-Antrim (Pa.) School District. The class time lost and the expense of having police search the facilities is one cost, but the emotional damage done to students and faculty is even worse. In one case, three male middle-school students have been suspended for their alleged role in a threat. If they're guilty, kick them out.

Thumbs up to all of the evangelical pastors of Washington County who participated in Let's Talk Month with the Washington County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition. According to one participant, Pastor Bill Wyand, sex is a part of God's creation, but humans experience problems when they mistake sex for love. The big problem faced by this county, which has one of the state's highest teen pregnancy rates, is that there is too little thought about the consequences of sex.

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