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Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down - Jan. 1

December 31, 2010

Thumbs up to Andrew Kipe, who's leaving as executive director of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra to accept a position with the Phoenix Symphony. A Washington County native, Kipe has been a quiet, effective leader of one of the county's cultural jewels. We wish him all the best in his new position.

Thumbs up to the organizers of the Dec. 18 "flash mob" performance of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" at Valley Mall. Hard to call something that moving a "mob," but for those lucky to be there, it was a fantastic salute to the holiday season.

Thumbs up to Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress and President Obama. Watching Washington's political leadership work together to quickly pass the tax cut legislation was a refreshing bit of nonpartisanship. A New Year's wish for 2011: The same spirit and effort applied to substantially reducing the huge federal deficit.

Thumbs down to University of Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson, who decided to buy out the final year of head football coach Ralph Friedgen's contract. Friedgen, a Maryland alum, led the Terrapin football team to an 8-4 record and bowl game, and was named 2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year. And he ranks No. 3 among Maryland football coaches in wins. All of that wasn't enough to keep his job. Sometimes, college athletics just stinks.  

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Thumbs up to the area groups that helped organize holiday meals on Christmas Day. This was a wonderful gesture by these groups to serve meals to the less fortunate or those spending the holiday alone.

Thumbs up to the six Washington County repair shops that gave away two refurbished vehicles last week. It was nice to see the shops come together and give an early Christmas gift to two people who needed vehicles.

Thumbs up to Matthew Goetz for his selfless work in Haiti with Samaritan's Purse and local churches to rebuild an island nation devastated earlier this year. He is planning a similar trip to the Central African Republic to relieve missionaries and work on building projects there. While young men his age love to have a good time for themselves, Goetz has a good time serving the Lord with poor and neglected people.

— Submitted by a reader

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