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Thumbs up, thumbs down

March 08, 2008

Thumbs up to Frank W. Buckles, 107, of Charles Town, W.Va., for his service to the nation in World War I. As the last known American veteran of that war who is still living, Buckles was honored Thursday at the White House by President Bush. Buckles joined the service at age 15, but said he was "not a liar," but was only "exaggerating" his age at the time. We can't exaggerate the debt the nation owes to Buckles and other veterans who served.

Thumbs up to Andrew Serafini, for the community service, business acumen and commitment to his family that impressed the Washington County GOP Central Committee so much that it named him to replace District 2A Del. Robert McKee, who recently resigned. Serafini was quickly appointed by Gov. Martin O'Malley. We wish Serafini well and appreciate his willingness to take on a tough task.

Thumbs up to Quad Graphics In Martinsburg, W.Va., for its donation of $1 million to create an endowment to help recruit a leader in internal medicine and expand programs at West Virginia University's Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, located at Martinsburg's City Hospital. Thanks for your generosity.

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Thumbs down to the Berkeley County (W.Va.) Commission and local delegates to the state legislature, for the recent round of finger-pointing over who is responsible for the county not getting more state funds. Two delegates who sit on the House Finance Committee couldn't get a bill on the committee agenda and the commissioners didn't help lobby. Calm down and work together next year.

Thumbs down to the person or persons who cut a 4-foot by 8-foot section of newly installed artificial turf from the playing surface at Ram Stadium at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va. This isn't some prank like stealing the team's mascot, but vandalism of a piece of school property that cost $924,000 to install. When caught, we recommend the culprits be sentenced to clean up the stands and restrooms after games.

Thumbs up to Charles Robert "Bob" Hornbecker, for the 36 years of service he's given to many students at South Hagerstown High School. Hornbecker teaches psychology and government and has taught U.S history. Not only that, he coached the school's cross-country team for 30 years and has taught curriculum-based workshops for 15 summers. And as if that weren't enough, three years ago he became adviser to the school's National Honor Society chapter.

Thumbs up to Jeremy Cress, a 16-year-old junior at North Hagerstown High School, for volunteering every Tuesday night for three years at Children In Need, a nonprofit that provides clothing, school supplies and other services to students eligible for either Head Start or for free and/or reduced priced public-school meals. He began volunteering to fulfill his community service hours, but stayed because he has got a big heart.

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