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Brian Drake, an instrumental music teacher at Westminster High School, was named the inaugural Carroll County Music Educator of the Year. The award is sponsored by Music Advocates of Carroll County. Drake has served as an instrumental music teacher at Westminster High School for more than a decade. During his tenure, Westminster has been recognized several times for top concert and marching band ensembles. Drake will be presented the award during today's USBands Northern Maryland Regional Band Show at Westminster High School. The show begins at 4 p.m. Drake will be presented with the award at approximately 6:15 p.m.

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Five members of the community were chosen by the Carroll County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to receive its Freedom Fund award this year. The award is presented to those carrying out the NAACP's mission of ensuring equality of rights for all people. This year's winners were William M. Decatur, a member of the Buffalo Soldiers in World War II; Patricia Levroney, Carroll County Public Schools' supervisor of equity and community outreach; Donald Cash Sr., NAACP state executive committee and national board member; and Cindy Pehl and Doug Metz of The Pehl Collection, donors to the chapter's education scholarship fund.

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Veterans in Carroll will soon be eligible to receive free rides to select military hospitals. The Carroll County Board of Commissioners voted to begin a pilot program that shuttles Carroll veterans to the Baltimore VA Medical Center and Fort Detrick in Frederick. The board approved using $25,000 from the county's reserve for a contingency fund and a $25,000 grant to pay for the program for about a year. Veterans will be picked up by a wheelchair-accessible van at the TownMall of Westminster, then from the Carrolltown Center in Eldersburg and then taken to Baltimore on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Howard said. On Wednesdays, veterans will be picked up from the Carrolltown Center, then the TownMall of Westminster and then transported to Fort Detrick. The program is expected to begin in November.

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Last Saturday, Oct. 6, marked the second annual Homeless Resource Day, where more than 75 service providers filled Winters Mill High School's gyms, cafeteria, library and offices with free services and food for the Carroll County homeless and at-risk population. DSS officials coordinated with local service providers to help hundreds of homeless or at-risk individuals receive care they needed - such as oral cancer screenings, clothing, eye exams, flu shots and more. Volunteers from McDaniel, Hood and Carroll Community colleges were on hand to serve as navigators for those attending.

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