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Thumbs up, thumbs down

February 23, 2008

Thumbs up to the family and friends of the late Marguerite Doleman, for their plans to seek a building to house her extensive collection of artifacts gathered over decades from African-American homes in Hagerstown and Washington County. The African-American experience is part of this county's heritage, and local government and organizations dedicated to preserving history should help the Doleman family make this a reality.

Thumbs up to Jesse Buchman, Katie Farr, Justin Gardenhour, Robert Kornides, Michael Lilley, Jordie Lord, Mark Oliver and Scott Rice, for the outstanding performances that won them state track-and-field titles on Feb. 18 at Prince George's Sports Complex in Landover, Md. Becoming the best in the state in any athletic event requires hard work, dedication and determination. Congratulations.

Thumbs up to the members of the Boonsboro High School Service Club, for their Feb. 16 dance marathon, held to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society's Washington County chapter. Sally Poole, the club's faculty advisor, said members were inspired to honor one of their own, Brittany Neville, who died two years ago of aplastic anemia.

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Thumbs down to Berkeley County (W.Va.) Board of Education officials, for their failure to address the issue of old and outdated books in school libraries in a positive way. How about an annual fundraiser, or distribution of a list of needed books that members of the community could donate? Reading is fundamental and so is finding new ways to buy books.

Thumbs down to critics of West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, for blasting his bill to create toll roads to fund road repairs in this region and other parts of the state, without offering some alternative. The upside of tolls is that those who actually use the roads would pay for the privilege. But if residents don't like the idea - and we foresee bottlenecks created by toll booths - what could raise the cash? It's easy to say "no," harder to offer a plan.

Thumbs up to Devin Showe, a 17-year-old senior at the Washington County Technical High School, for the hard work she did to design a billboard for "Dream Come True," which grants wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses. The graphic communication student's achievement shows her fellow students that art can be more than decoration. In this case, it might inspire those who view it to help children in dire circumstances.

Thumbs up to firefighters from 37 companies in three states who responded to fight a fire at the historic Boone Hotel in Boonsboro. Best-selling author Nora Roberts and her husband, Bruce Wilder, announced in April that they were renovating the structure that dates from the 1700s and was once known as the Eagle Hotel. Thanks to the emergency crew members who worked so hard to keep the fire contained.

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