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Thumbs up, thumbs down

October 03, 2009

Thumbs up to voters in Berkeley County, who overwhelmingly voted in favor of a taxpayer-financed $96.5 million bond that will lead to the construction of a fourth high school in the county, a new middle school and two other projects. Even though taxpayers will see an increase in their residential property tax bills, they stepped up and saw a need to help with the county's crowded school situation.

Thumbs up to the more than 1,000 people who volunteered for last weekend's Hagerstown Convoy of Hope at Fairgrounds Park. The convoy provided food, health care information and employment leads to about 4,000 people. The weather might have been dreary, but hope was in the air last Saturday.

Thumbs down to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which has proposed opening a halfway house in Hagerstown or somewhere else near Martinsburg, W.Va. To put a halfway house in downtown Hagerstown would offset many of the gains seen by the city in the last several years and put a strain on the area's social services and criminal justice systems.

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Thumbs up to the Hagerstown YMCA's Black Achievers program for continuing to provide career, cultural and educational opportunities to local students. This year's program will get under way later this month.

Thumbs up to Hannah Marie Smith of Clear Spring. A senior at Virginia Tech, Smith received a $4,000 Maryland Dairy scholarship. One day, she hopes to become a veterinarian and return to Washington County. Congratulations, Hannah.

Thumbs up to Gina Miller, Connie Perry and Joanne Wadsworth, who were honored at the Girl Scouts of the Shawnee Council's fifth annual Women of Distinction luncheon in Martinsburg, W.Va. Their leadership, achievements and service to the community serve as a fine example for girls who strive to make a mark on their communities in the future.

Thumbs up to the students at Mr. Jimmy's White Tiger Martial Arts in Hagerstown, who raised more than $1,700 during a Sept. 19 kickathon for breast cancer. The event lasted 45 minutes and the students kicked more than 1,000 times.

Thumbs down to U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., who said on the House floor this week that Republicans "want you to die quickly if you get sick" while talking about the GOP's health care proposals. Not only that, but he reinforced his point with signs saying the same thing. The health care issue has caused much controversy in Congress, but the partisan bickering needs to stop.

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