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Thumbs up, thumbs down

July 19, 2008

Thumbs up To officials of the Eastern Panhandle Mission of Mercy, for their promise to repeat the June dental clinic at Hedgesville High School, where oral health-care professionals volunteered to provide more than $475,000 worth of dental services during a two-day clinic. Plans are for another first-come, first-served clinic on June 26 and 27 in 2009. Thanks.

Thumbs up To Hagerstown's Bridge of Life Church and the musicians who raised more than $2,000 to help the family of 2-year-old Corey Kitchen, who was diagnosed with malignant brain tumors June 27 and who will begin chemotherapy next week. Unfortunately, the family will need more financial help as time goes on, because the cost of fighting cancer is not cheap.

Thumbs down To the Humane Society of the United States, for emphasizing the health of animals over humans by obtaining a $130,000 grant to build a tunnel that will help box turtles cross a road near Greenbrier State Park in Washington County. We're sorry some turtles are killed on the road, but this winter will be a hard one for many people facing high food and heating oil prices.

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Thumbs down To state education officials, for changing the Maryland School Assessment tests in a way that resulted in an unusually large improvement in scores. Education experts say that will make it difficult to compare the latest results with previous scores. The state superintendent's office defended the action, saying that while the revised test was shorter, it was no less difficult. Question: Is it easier to run 100 yards or 50?

Thumbs up To the late William Edgar "Bill" Dorsey, for his service to many public causes, including a stint in the Army Air Corps during World War II, co-president of the Washington County Council of PTAs, a 50-year member of the Lions Club of Halfway and a member of both the Washington County Planning Commission and the county's Ethics Commission. At his request, his body will be donated for medical research.

Thumbs up To Gary Bricker, a manager at the Chambersburg, Pa., Lowe's store, who, along with about 30 other "Lowe's Heros" helped put together equipment for the expansion of the playground that serves the NHS Autism Program at Norland Shopping Center. In addition to the equipment, the group also donated two shopping carts full of books.

Thumbs up To Charles Town Races & Slots and Jimmy Pierson of Jefferson County Youth Football, for their donations of $13,000 to help out the financially troubled Jefferson Memorial Park in Charles Town, W.Va. Even with the donations, park officials say the cost of running the park, particularly its aging swimming pool, might force them to consider turning the 13-acre facility over to the county government.

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