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Thumbs up, thumbs down

February 02, 2008

Thumbs up to Antietam Cable, The Herald-Mail Co., Hagerstown Community College, WJEJ radio and many others who helped put on Wednesday's debate on Washington County's proposed home rule charter at HCC's Kepler Theater. If you didn't know anything about the issue, this event told you all you need to know before the Feb. 12 vote. If you missed the event, you can see a rebroadcast of it on Antietam Cable Channel 19 today at 2 p.m., on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m.

Thumbs down to the Morgan County (W.Va.) Commission, for ruling out a discussion of zoning by the county's newly appointed land-use management panel. Discussing land use management without looking at zoning is like talking about cooking dinner, but ruling out any mention of frying pans or stew pots. Zoning helps group appropriate land uses, so neighbors can't open a noisy factory in a residential neighborhood.

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Thumbs up to the Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors and the Washington Township Municipal Authority, for meeting together to discuss how to better communicate on issues related to the operation and maintenance of the township's water and sewer systems. At a time when the region is facing issues related to growth, all must be focused on the task at hand.

Thumbs up to Hagerstown Mayor Robert Bruchey II, for his pledge that, despite hiring nine additional firefighters for the city's department, "we will fund them, and we will find a way without raising taxes." Since Hagerstown units respond with county companies on a mutual-aid basis, perhaps the county commissioners could chip in a few bucks.

Thumbs up to Nancy Wallech, for cooking soup for the homeless who frequent the shelter operated by REACH - Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless - for six months of each year for the past 12 years! How much soup has she cooked? She estimates that it's been 16 to 20 quarts of soup per month. Wallech, now 74, also volunteers at the Washington County Hospital, the Museum of Fine Arts and with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. What a woman!

Thumbs down to the strategists of the U.S. armed forces, who have left the nation ill-prepared to deal with a chemical, biological or nuclear weapons incident. According to the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, an independent panel appointed by Congress, fewer Army National Guard units are combat ready than they were a year ago. Can we keep our dedicated soldiers and replace these inept Pentagon planners?

Thumbs up to Cokey Robertson, coach of the St. Maria Goretti boys basketball team, for the 34 years he spent there teaching young men how to hone their skills and learn concepts such as teamwork that will be useful long after their playing days are over. Robertson actually spent 48 years in the coaching ranks and his prep teams won 872 victories. Most of his former players keep in touch, he said, which tells us he did a lot for them.

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