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Thumbs up, thumbs down

July 17, 2010

Thumbs up to all of the Washington County teams that won Maryland District 1 Little League Baseball tournaments over the past several weeks. The winners were Clear Spring (9-10 Division), Halfway (10-11 and 11-12 divisions), Conococheague (Junior Division) and Maugansville (Senior Division).

Thumbs up to U.S. Army Col. John Thomas Smith, a Hagerstown native who will attend the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. The assignment is the latest in Smith's more than 25 years with the Army, which included a stint as an artillery officer in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and two tours of duty in the more recent conflict in Iraq.

Thumbs up to Tessa Wiles, a junior at Clear Spring High School who was named Maryland Dairy Princess this week. Tessa has been a member of 4-H and FFA and has been a yearly participant in the Washington County Ag Expo.

Thumbs up to all those involved in a pair of Civil War re-enactment events this month in Washington County. The three-day Retreat through Williamsport: Civil War Weekend was held last weekend and the Battle of Funkstown re-enactment is being held this weekend. It's a great effort by re-enactors in these two towns and beyond to keep history alive.

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Thumbs up to Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps, who launched a partnership this week between the Michael Phelps Swim School and Baltimore City Schools. The program will allow 60 middle school-aged children to take up to 20 hours of swim lessons from Phelps' school. Good to see a famous athlete giving back to his community.

Thumbs down to LeBron James and others who turned his free agency into an overblown saga. Among the characters in this story were James, who announced his decision to sign with the Miami Heat in a one-hour ESPN special; Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who wrote an open letter to Cleveland Cavaliers fans slamming James' decision; and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who accused Gilbert of racism in his reaction. Do we really need all of this drama over a free agent signing when many people are struggling to make ends meet?

Thumbs up to members of Christ Lutheran Church in Hagerstown for providing free hot dogs, soda and popcorn for people headed to Fairgrounds Park for the fireworks display on the Fourth of July. They also allowed free parking in their lot and welcomed people to enjoy the fireworks from the front lawn of the church. - Submitted by a reader

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