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Thumbs up, thumbs down

June 28, 2008

Thumbs up to the State of Pennsylvania's governor and its legislature, for putting together a plan to legalize slot-machine gambling almost four years ago. Legalized gambling now brings the state $2.7 million daily(!) and also provides property tax rebates to senior citizens on fixed incomes. The process has also produced 6,500 new jobs. Perhaps officials of Maryland, which shares a border with the Keystone State, could take a look at how to get this done - and get the benefits rolling.

Thumbs up to City of Hagerstown's Fire Department, for obtaining more than $2 million in grants since 2002. The department didn't use a professional grant-writer or a lobbyist, but a committee of firefighters took on the task of doing the paperwork necessary to make the process work. Not only do these people risk their lives to protect people and property, they raise the funds to do it. Thank you.

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Thumbs down to the administration of George W. Bush, for asserting executive privilege to block an investigation into whether the president pressured the Environmental Protection Agency to relax some of its decisions on the control of smog and greenhouse gases. The key issue is not whether the president intervened, but whether he acted for the good of citizens.

Thumbs up to the more than 100 people from seven churches, including: Grossnickle, Hagerstown, Welty, Harmony, Beaver Creek, and Myersville Churches of the Brethren, and the Christ Reformed United Church of Christ of Middletown, Md.,who are growing food as part of the 2008 Grossnickle Growing Project. The proceeds from produce raised is used to fight hunger overseas.

Thumbs up to the late Margaret Zinn Dailey, of Charles Town, W.Va., for donating a portion of her estate to Camp Frame, the Eastern Panhandle's 4-H regional camp west of Hedgesville, W.Va. All but $95,000 of her $595,000 bequest was used to start a foundation, the proceeds from which will be used to offset the expenses involved in running the camp.

Thumbs down to the Antrim Township (Pa.) Board of Supervisors, for dragging their feet on passage of an ordinance that would give people in residential neighborhoods some relief from neighbors who constantly burn trash, furniture and other items that should go to a landfill. If you don't want to ban it altogether, set aside one day a week for it, so it's not a constant problem.

Thumbs up to the hundreds of motorcyclists who came out on Sunday, June 22, to participate in the third annual Jeffery Wroten Memorial Ride. Wroten, a correctional officer, was killed at the Washington County Hospital while guarding an inmate there. He left behind five children and other loved obnes and correctional officer colleagues. As one said, Wroten risked his life to protect the public.

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