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Thumbs up, thumbs down

July 12, 2008

Thumbs up to the Washington County School Board, for its proposal to require board members to disclose any possible conflicts of interest, such as spouses, parents, children or siblings working for the school system, whenever a board vote could be of financial benefit to them. They're not required to recuse themselves from such votes, but we're betting that most of them would.

Thumbs up to Adam O'Brien, for his decision to transfer the liquor license from Decourcy's Pub on Hagerstown's Mulberry Street to the former site of Meda's Tavern at 24 E. Franklin St., because of neighbors' complaints about noise at the Mulberry Street site. O'Brien and partner Alan Greenwald, told licensing officials that they plan to convert the old tavern into a nightclub that will feature jazz and classical music.

Thumbs down to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, for asking Congress to alter testimony about the effects of global warming, saying it might make it tougher to avoid regulating greenhouse gases. At the same time, the White House was asking for the deletions in testimony by the head of the Centers for Disease Control because, it said, it doubted the science was accurate.

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Thumbs down to whichever official of the Washington County Public Schools allowed some school buildings to go uninspected by the state fire marshal's office for the past two years. According to Jason Mowbray, deputy state fire marshal, the annual inspection requirement is not a local policy, but one mandated by Maryland because of the state funding that the school system receives. Let's never let this happen again, OK?

Thumbs up to Denny Norris, a now-retired bus driver for Washington County Public Schools for the last nine years, for all he did to make the students on board his bus feel safe and comfortable. Norris always scanned The Herald-Mail for news of his riders and when one was recognized in some way, he put the clipping on the student's bus seat. Parents showed appreciation by putting his photo on T-shirts students wore on his last day.

Thumbs down to Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, for his failure to name anyone from Western Maryland to the group studying the death penalty in this state. You would think, with 1,700 people employed at the three state prisons nearby, that one person from this region who was worthy of serving could have been found. By the way, six members are from Baltimore or Baltimore County.

Thumbs up to Ingrid Betancourt, a candidate for the president of Columbia in 2002, for her bravery during six years of being held captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. She was kidnapped in a demilitarized zone after going to meet with revolutionaries and was not released until Colombian troops tricked her captors into believing they were revolutionaries, too. In some countries, being a politician means risking your life.

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