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Thumbs up, thumbs down

November 27, 2009

Thumbs up to all of the runners who competed in last Saturday's JFK 50 Mile in Washington County. The 1,000 runners who tackled the course for the oldest ultramarathon in the U.S. are an example of endurance and dedication for the rest of us.

Thumbs up to the Smithsburg volleyball team, which completed a perfect season by sweeping Catoctin last week to capture the Maryland Class 1A state championship. It was the Leopards' volleyball team's sixth state title and their first since winning back-to-back championships in 2000 and 2001.

Thumbs down to everyone who sees the shopping season as a conquest, a frenzied time to elbow through the crowds to get a satisfying bargain. Maybe commercialism is here to stay, but we can always hope that the spirit of giving and the real meaning of the season will win out.

Thumbs up to Shawn K. Stout, a 1991 North Hagerstown High School graduate who recently published her first book, "Fiona Finkelstein, Big-Time Ballerina!!" After being rejected many times by publishers, Stout showed that persistence does pay off.

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Thumbs up to R. Benjamin Jones, who hosted his annual art show last weekend at Hagerstown Community College. He says he just does the paintings, but the money raised from selling them has gone a long way toward helping many students pursue their education.

Thumbs up to the family of Margaret C. "Maggie" Appenzellar. To honor the memory of Appenzellar, who died Oct. 9, three members of her family gave $4.3 million to Wilson College to support the new Brooks Complex for Science, Mathematics and Technology. This is a tremendous gift that will benefit present and future Wilson College students.

Thumbs up to employees of the Martinsburg (W.Va.) Correctional Center and the Martinsburg Police Department, who organized the fourth Operation Christmas Teen gift drive. Thanks to their efforts, more than 1,000 teenagers will have something under the tree this holiday season.

Thumbs up to Jamie Dick, race director for the Hagerstown Community College Thanksgiving Day 5K Turkey Trot for the last five years. As part of the event, a canned food drive is held to benefit Food Resources Inc. He easily could go home to Johnstown, Pa., and visit family for the holiday, but he stays in Washington County and gives back to the community instead.

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