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Thumbs up, thumbs down

April 19, 2008

Thumbs up to The Herald-Mail's Advertising Department, for the hard work and imagination it took to win 13 awards in the 2007 Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association ad contest. Highlights include a "best of category" for Robin Straley and Kathy Gelwicks for a Martins Furniture ad. The two won an additional first place for a Spicher's Appliances ad, while Angie Sease and Cherish Harvey won for Blazin' Auto. Sease, Heather Guessford and Michele Wills took first place in community service.

Thumbs down to whoever dumped confidential plans for the Freedom Tower, a 1,776-foot structure to be built on the site of the World Trade Towers, into a trash can in lower Manhattan in New York City. A homeless man gave the 150-page schematic to The New York Post, which reported that it contained floor plans and locations for walls, air ducts, elevators, electrical systems and support columns.

Thumbs down to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, for funding a study in which sludge made from human and industrial wastes was dumped on yards in poor, black neighborhoods, to see if it could reduce concentrations of lead in the soil. An Agriculture Department researcher said families weren't told about the possible dangers of sludge.

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Thumbs up to Susan Graham-Grey of Greencastle, Pa., for her determination, despite being nearly 40 and legally blind, to compete in the U.S. Olympic Women's Marathon Trials in Boston tomorrow. She credits much of her success to coach Mike Spinnler of the Cumberland Valley Althletic Club. Spinnler told her it was OK to dream and have bigger goals, she said.

Thumbs up to Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, for agreeing to bring his cabinet to Hagerstown on May 8, to make the Hub City "Capital for a Day." Perhaps we can get the governor to travel that portion of Interstate 81 that goes through Washington County, to show him why the Intercounty Connector isn't the only road in the state that needs some state money, or the intersection of Edgewood Drive and U.S. 40, which will take many to the new hospital.

Thumbs up to Lisa Key of the Washington County Free Library and the staff of The Maryland Theatre, for successfully putting on the second annual "Teen Idol" contest. Patterned after TV's "Americal Idol," though without the blunt comments from judges that have reduced some contestants to tears, the local event featured 19 finalists vying for the top prize of $1,000.

Thumbs up to the more than 150 bicycle riders who participated in the seventh annual Pedal for Pooches bike tour to raise nearly $30,000 for the Briggs Animal Adoption Center near Charles Town, W.Va. Jim Taylor, president of The National Humane Education Society, the shelter's parent organization, rode 30 miles, even though he could only pedal with one leg.

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