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Thumbs up, thumbs down

August 14, 2009

Thumbs up to U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, who came to Hagerstown Wednesday to host a town hall meeting on proposed changes to the nation's health care system. Many in the crowd aren't happy with the proposed changes and used the occasion to vent their frustrations, but Cardin kept his cool while letting the people have their say.

Thumbs down to the unidentified man who held two signs near the entrance of Hagerstown Community College inciting violence against President Obama, his wife and their two daughters. Opposing Obama's health care proposal is one thing, but there is no place for these kinds of signs.

Thumbs up to the Conococheague Little League 11-12 All-Stars. Even though the team was eliminated in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Little League Tournament, the players will have plenty of memories from winning the Maryland state tournament and giving it their all in the Mid-Atlantic tourney.

Thumbs up to those who organized and attended a meeting last week about problems in the neighborhood around Western Heights Middle School. The residents are fed up with the behavior of the students who flood their neighborhood after school. Kudos to Del. Christopher B. Shank, Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith, Western Heights principal Stephen Tarason and other officials for listening to the residents' concerns and trying to come up with solutions to the ongoing problem.

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Thumbs down to Pennsylvania government, again. The state's continued budget impasse nearly caused the South Central Community Action Programs (SCCAP) to close its Franklin County, Pa., homeless shelter next week. The stalemate also has left organizers of the Franklin and Fulton county fairs in limbo regarding financing for this year's events.

Thumbs up to the groups and organizations that have provided free school supplies for area children as Washington County Public Schools open Wednesday. With the rising cost of supplies and the troubled state of the economy, any help is welcome.

Thumbs up to Rachel Powell, a 2009 graduate of Boonsboro High School who recently was selected to join the Duquesne Tamburitzans song and dance company at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Powell will receive $24,000 per year toward her education through the Tamburitzan scholarship and an academic scholarship. She also was the only female dancer from the U.S. to be selected this year to the world-renowned troupe.

Thumbs up to Dean White, who recently won the World Boxing Foundation USA welterweight title. The 38-year-old Smithsburg resident retired from boxing after his two children were born, but returned to the ring five years ago. White is proof that through perseverance, dreams can come true.

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