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Thumbs up, thumbs down

April 26, 2008

Thumbs up to the editorial staff of the The Herald-Mail, for the hard work that won the newspaper 25 awards in the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association's annual contest. There were 14 first-place awards, 11 second-place awards and the paper was named Newspaper of the Year among daily newspapers in the 30,000 to 75,000 circulation division. Executive Editor Terry Headless also won a Best in Show for his column on the cost of a Hagerstown Mayor and Council holiday party.

Thumbs up to W. Edward Forrest, a candidate seeking a return to the Washington County School Board, for his stand on the issue of whose name will appear on plaques at three new elementary schools. Forrest said he was not concerned with whose name appears on the plaques, adding that "I'm just glad that we're going to have new schools for the kids, and I had a role in seeing that happen."

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Thumbs down to officials at the New Hope Shelter for the homeless in Waynesboro, Pa., for blocking a stairwell access door with a bookcase. The action left two firefighters trapped during firefighting operations. According to Fire Marshal Jerry Hartman, the fire was five minutes away from threatening the lives of the two men. It's time to get this facility on the right track.

Thumbs up to Dale Swope of Photography by Dale, who is retiring after 40 years and more than 1,000 weddings. Swope, who photographed many civic events, was also the official photographer for the Miss Maryland Pageant. The large portraits he produced were works of art that underscored how important the event is to downtown Hagerstown and The Maryland Theatre.

Thumbs up to Shanna Byrd, for the hard work she did to merit being named Washington County Public School Teacher of the Year. Byrd, a second-grade magnet school teacher at Funktown Elementary, says that she learns from her students, too. Congratulations also to Ellen Brown, who won honors as Washington County's Private School Teacher of the Year, and is a fourth-grade teacher at Grace Academy.

Thumbs up to all of the experts who gathered on April 20 at the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies to talk about how to balance the world's growing population with a dwindling water supply. Those who believe this area is OK are mistaken; despite the recent rains, experts say the groundwater resources have not been recharged after last year's drought.

Thumbs up to the late Budd A. Moore, who spent 39 years in the Washington County Public Schools, many of them as a school counselor. His wife, Faye Kilbride Moore, said that it was "obvious the kids he wanted to help the most were the ones that most people felt weren't going to make it." Bob Beard, assistant principal at Clear Spring High, said that Moore's secret was listening to students who hadn't been heard before.

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