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Thumbs up, thumbs down

September 04, 2009

Thumbs up to Edith Sweigert of Hagerstown, who was honored last Sunday for her work developing and promoting Washington County's superb park system, particularly Pen Mar Park. Generations of area residents benefit from your efforts. Thanks for a job well done.

Thumbs down to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and state legislators, who continue to bungle through the state budget process. Pennsylvania now holds the distinction of being the only state without a comprehensive spending plan for its next fiscal year. Meanwhile, workers are being laid off, people are going without special services and school districts and local governments are holding their collective breaths. Stop the finger pointing and come to a compromise.

Thumbs up to Rocky Rutherford, 15, a Boonsboro High School student who spent part of his summer in China with the People to People Ambassador program, designed to promote international understanding and world peace.

Thumbs up to Hagerstown native Beverley K. Swaim-Staley, who was appointed Monday as Maryland's next Secretary of Transportation by Gov. Martin O'Malley. A graduate of South Hagerstown High School and Hood College, Swaim-Staley has been serving as acting transportation secretary, overseeing about 9,000 employees and a $3.7 billion budget. Congratulations and best wishes in your new position.

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Thumbs up to the Hagerstown City Council for approving the Partners in Economic Progress Incentive Program. The program offers grants, waived fees, fast-track approval and other incentives for those who want to fix up their properties. The program will help properties look better and could be a valuable marketing tool for economic development for the city.

Thumbs up to Eric and Gloria Sundback of Shepherdstown, W.Va., who were selected as grand champions of the National Christmas Tree contest. One of their Fraser firs will be displayed inside the White House this holiday season. This was a nice, early present for the Sundbacks.

Thumbs up to Janet Williams of Sharpsburg and her son, Roger, whose sharp eyes for detail enabled them to win The Herald-Mail's 13th annual Landmarks contest.

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