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Thumbs up, thumbs down

February 09, 2008

Thumbs down to inmate Brandon Morris, for filing an appeal of his murder conviction in the case of Officer Jeffery Wroten before the first batch of tears of the victim's family were dry. The judge in your first case spared you the death penalty so Wroten's family wouldn't have to go through an endless round of appeals. But with your heartless decision to seek one anyway, you've managed to make a merciful jurist look like a chump. Here's hoping you lose - again.

Thumbs up to all of the campaign volunteers, donors and representatives of the United Way of Washington County who made it possible for the 2007 campaign to hit its $1.9 million goal. Special thanks to the Community Foundation of Washington County, Ann and Howard Kaylor and Ellsworth Electric for agreeing to donate $50,000 if someone would match it. Thankfully, First Data stepped up to the plate.

Thumbs up to Mike Deming of Demcore Development, for agreeing to rent 40 studio spaces to artists in the Schindel-Rohrer building at 28 S. Potomac St. The site is in the heart of Hagerstown's Arts & Entertainment District and near the site of the new Barbara Ingram School for the Arts. Thanks, Mike, for giving artists space where they can create.

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Thumsb down to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., for overturning a lower court's decision that nearby property owners lacked standing to challenge plans to redevelop the old First Ritchie Army base. Why now, when redevelopment of the base is finally starting to occur, do we need to go over this old ground once again? It makes no sense.

Thumbs down to Star Simpson, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student, for wearing a blinking circuit board attached to her shirt into Logan International Airport, then wondering why police would get upset. Maybe because that's where two of the planes involved in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks took off from. Her lawyer argues that the device, which spells out "Socket to Me" and "Course VI" (an MIT course) is free speech. OK, but can we get some free common sense?

Thumbs up to all of those who took the time to read and debate the proposed charter for Washington County. For the most part, the arguments were fact-based, as opposed to emotional appeals. The process encouraged ordinary citizens to get educated about what charter government would and wouldn't do. If every discussion of a public issue in Washington County were this thorough and civil, the area would be much better off.

Thumbs up to Maryland Del. Kevin Kelly, D-Allegany, for introducing a bill to prevent gas or electric companies in the state from billing customers for energy-saving devices they didn't ask for. The legislation stems from the Allegheny Power decision to send customers energy-saving light bulbs, then trying to bill them for the devices. We'd really like to be in the hearing room when the utility lobbyists testify on this one.

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