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Laura Doolan, an English teacher at Westminster High School, was named the Carroll County 2013 Teacher of the Year. Doolan, who comes from a family of educators, began her teaching career as a home and substitute teacher for Carroll County Public Schools in 1992. She then worked in Virginia until returning into 2004 to Westminster High, and in 2010 became chairwoman of the English Department. However, it has been her work outside the classroom that helped her garner the honor. Doolan's activities have included serving as the yearbook sponsor, class sponsor, Stand Up! founder and sponsor, School Improvement Team member, chairwoman of the Multicultural Committee and graduation coordinator. At the county level, she has taken a leadership role in writing curriculum and has led countywide professional development on the new curriculum.

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More than 200 athletes participated in the 42nd Carroll County Special Olympics at Westminster High School Wednesday. The annual spring competition featured sprint races and throwing and jumping competitions for athletes with developmental or physical disabilities. While the Special Olympians competed, fan bases of friends, family and classmates cheered, held up personalized signs and wore custom T-shirts, following the athletes all over the stadium. After each heat, athletes gathered at the football field's 50-yard line for a medal ceremony. By late morning, many athletes were wearing multiple ribbons around their necks and showing them off to their friends.

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Fifth-graders at Spring Garden Elementary School participated in an afforestation project, the first of five to occur at county elementary schools. Afforestation is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there was no forest. Carroll County Public Schools received a grant from the Maryland Forestry Board partnering with the American Chestnut Foundation. The grant money will support afforestation, reforestation and restoration of the American chestnut tree projects at county schools. The other county elementary schools that will be planting trees on school grounds this or next school year include Taneytown, Westminster, Mechanicsville and Robert Moton elementary schools.

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Bikers Against Child Abuse and Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services are often called on by the state's attorney's office to help during difficult cases involving child abuse. The two organizations were recognized during a reception at the Carroll County Circuit Court. Wendi Mitzel, member of KPETS, based in Lancaster, Pa., said she has seen victims who have totally shut down because of the trauma they've experienced, but after bringing the dogs to them, they open up. The service the volunteers provide is an integral part in helping the attorneys prepare the victims adequately for trial.

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