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More than 40 school children participated in "The Dream Lives On: We're Still Marching" event on Martin Luther King Day last week, part of the fifth annual "A Day On Not A Day Off" at McDaniel College. The day of service and learning about the work of Dr. King is a collaboration between McDaniel College, Carroll County Public Schools, the Carroll County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Carroll Community College and the The Ira & Mary Zepp Center For Nonviolence & Peace Education. The program changes every year and always features a different service project. This year, students assembled care packages of donated items, including gloves, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and shampoo, and personally delivered them to The Shepherd's Staff.

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The Usual Suspects won at Rock for Liberty: Battle of the Bands at Cre-a-tv Studios in Eldersburg last weekend. The band is made up of Century High School students Joey Marcellino, on drums; Garrett Mabe, on guitar; Joe Vincent, on bass; and Sam McIntire, on vocals. The group won professional recording and production of a three-song CD with photos and graphics by Neely Johns, of Threshold Productions in Westminster.

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Dick Swanson was recently named Mount Airy's volunteer of the year. He was the first recipient of the award, which he received at January's town council meeting. Swanson is the chair of the town's Ethics Commission, a member of the Board of Elections, the Water and Sewer Commission and Main Street Association. Swanson is present at nearly every town council meeting, ready to stand up at the podium and answer a question on anything ranging from state ethics to water and sewer. Council members said the town has relied on Swanson's expertise in water and sewer and ethics for many years. Swanson also spends hours researching information and speaking with state and local officials, council members said.

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The cost of shipping packages through the United States Postal Service is about to go up. Effective Jan. 26, the price of stamps will increase from 46 cents to 49 cents and sending postcards will go from 33 cents to 34 cents, for instance. Domestic pricing for Priority Mail Flat Rate products have retail prices starting at $5.60. The hike is significant, because it's above the established limit based on the rate of inflation. However, the law allows for an above-inflation rate increase under exceptional circumstances. In this case, the rate hike was needed to "ensure that the Postal Service will be able to maintain and continue the development of postal services of the type and quality which this country needs," according to a USPS spokeswoman.

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